A small realm of bright and beautiful FAIRIES somewhere in deep and dark woods...
A gang of their fierce PROTECTORS...
A group of malicious hunters who seek to capture the FAIRIES...
An overbearing council that heads the pretty FAIRIES, preventing them from spreading their wings as far and wide as they want...
Amidst all this, what happens if a proud little FAIRY falls for an arrogant PROTECTOR? Hatred, love and self-respect...all are at stake for our Rosetta. With the life of her sister Jasmine turned upside-down because of her prohibited love for the undeserving Aldrin, Rosetta’s hatred for the PROTECTOR pack is obvious. Then what’s so different about Feanor that sways her from her decisions?
Will she repeat the same mistake as Jas? Or will she succumb to the authority of the Council?
That night no one slept in Frelnoria. Bloom locked Jas and me at home before going off to console Shirley. Most of the Elders were there. The Council members had come to ensure her that they will bring Lily back as soon as possible.
However, I could not even try to think where she was at the moment.
‘Why would anyone kidnap a Fairy?’ Jas asked, pulling me out of my own clouded thoughts. ‘We never hurt anyone.’
A deep breath left my nostrils involuntarily and I blinked at the ceiling. We had been lying on our bed in darkness for what seemed like hours without speaking and yet knowing that the other one was awake.
‘I dunno,’ I managed. As far as I knew, Lily was a cheerful Fairy, not malicious like Violet or mean like Blossom. I never had much to do with her but she never bothered me either.
‘What did Lily do to hurt anyone?’ I asked. ‘It must be for some benefit rather than revenge.’
‘If it is so do you know what it means?’ Jas sat up on the bed, peering down at me. I raised my eyebrows in the dark. ‘They’ll come for more Fairies if they are getting some benefit out of us.’
I swallowed hard. ‘She shouldn’t have been there, wrong place at the wrong time.’
‘I know why she might have been there though,’ Jas said looking at her fingernails and I looked at her questioningly. ‘She fancied a Protector. I mean, she had a friend among them.’
‘What?’ I sat up suddenly, alarmed. ‘How do you know?’
This time Jas raised her eyebrows. ‘I saw her there alone a few weeks ago and Al told me she had come to see someone.’
‘Where? On the Southern Edge?’ I almost squealed. ‘Does that mean you went there alone too?’
‘I haven’t told you where I meet Al after you very rudely forbade him from entering our backyard, have I?’ Jas asked with a tinge of bitterness in her voice.
‘Wait a moment; I can’t take all of it at once. Let me get it clear,’ I tried to analyse. ‘So Lily went there expecting to see the Protector but instead she got the kidnapper, right?’
‘Rose, don’t think what I think you’re thinking,’ Jas said abruptly, shaking her head.
‘Why not?’ I asked defiantly. ‘He knew she’d come. It’d have been so easy for him.’
‘The Protectors have been guards of our realm since centuries,’ Jas reasoned. ‘They cannot breach the pact. Al says it’s like their dharma.’
I sniffed mockingly, ‘but Al does not seem so hell bent upon following other rules like staying away from young fairies, does he?’
Even in the dark I could see Jas roll her eyes.
‘I think we should go and see the sight of the incident,’ I offered. Jas shot me a you-are-totally-crazy look and rolled over on the bed.
‘Please Jas, you will come with me. I want to-’
‘Get kidnapped too?’ Jas completed my sentence in her own way.
‘No, first I want to see whether the Protectors have done anything to make that area secure and secondly I wish to analyse the spot to get a clear idea-’
‘I don’t understand your thought process Rose but please don’t freak me out,’ Jas pleaded. ‘And promise me you won’t go anywhere near the Southern Edge.’
I rolled over on the bed too. But there was not a wink of sleep in my eyes. I kept wondering about Lily and her kidnappers. In spite of myself my mind would jump to the Protectors and I could not think anything else. I never knew when I drifted into a very uncomfortable sleep.
Next day the actual effect of the recent kidnapping could be seen. The young fairies were always escorted by one, or in most cases, more elders wherever we went. As expected the Southern Edge was declared out of bounds just like the woods. And during the classes in the Garden everyone was occupied in gossip. Even the teachers were so glum that they did not force us to listen to them. In fact, even Miss Solani could not carry out her rant.
Lily’s friends, who claimed to have seen her dragged behind a bush, had become celebrities. I could see quite a number of Fairies sitting around them, pouring out questions at them. And awfully, they seemed to be enjoying the attention.
‘I hope they are not twisting the tale a bit too much?’ I asked Jas who was hidden behind a book beside me.
‘Huh?’ she looked up from the book and grunted. She shot a look at them behind her then turned back to me, her golden curls bouncing.
‘Anyway, what did you think about going to SE?’ I asked her again. She shook her head dolefully.
‘Forget it Rose,’ she said going back behind her book. I took the book from her hand.
‘When are you going to see Aldrin again?’I couldn’t believe I was asking this.
‘I ... er... I don’t know. But we’re not meeting at the SE now,’ she whispered. ‘The last time we met there he asked me to come to the forest with him and I-’
‘WHAT?’ I squealed and several heads turned to me. Jas faked them a smile and waved her hand to show that it was nothing. But actually it was really something, something terrible that deserved such a reaction from me.
‘Rose, are you mad?’ Jas whispered sternly.
‘You tell me; shouldn’t I be mad at this?’ I whispered back furiously.
‘Look, the SE is a secluded area but quite a few fairies are always there. Al thought we might be seen someday. So, he told me it’d be better if I went to the forest at the dusk to see him,’ Jas explained in an undertone.
‘Oh, it’s really so wise of dear Al to think so,’ I scoffed. A part of me was laughing at this ridiculous conversation while another part was getting worried.
‘So you went to a lovely, romantic night-time stroll with Aldrin in the forest yet?’ I narrowed my eyes. She shook her head again.
‘You remember I was about to ask you something the other day?’ Jas spoke slowly and I remembered. She was hesitant and she had changed the topic at the time. ‘I wanted to tell you this earlier and also wanted to ask you to accompany me-’ She bit her lips and I stared at her in disbelief. Her dazzling green eyes looked guilty and pleading at the same time.
‘I can’t understand you Jas,’ I said. ‘You don’t want to come to the SE with me because it’s dangerous and forbidden now. But you don’t have any trouble going to the forest to see that wretched-’ I broke off and looked away from.
‘Al will be there with us if we go and we’ll return before anyone notices Rose,’ Jas was asking me to overlook the restriction and walk into the forest- Jas all because of that dog!
‘More than anything, I’m afraid because Al will be there and so will be all the other Protectors or rather I should say kidnappers!’ I spat at her and she pouted.
I was having a dream, a very strange dream that woke me up in cold sweat. It must have been midnight or so and when I tried to remember my dream I could not recall anything, just a cold shiver ran through my skin.
Standing up to get some water I noticed that Jasmine’s place next to me was unoccupied and my eyes widened in apprehension.
“Oh no, she must have gone to the forest!”
No, she could not, I thought as I peeped into other rooms and the bathroom. But she was really gone. I was drenched in cold sweat once again and wished more than anything that this was a nightmare.
“Wake-up Bloom and tell her Rose, Jas might have walked into trouble!”
I had already entered our backyard weighing the possibilities of finding Jas and returning back from the forest before dawn. That was the only thing I could do. If I told Bloom, the whole Frelnoria would know and even if Jas was not in trouble at the moment (and I heartily wished she was not) she would definitely get in loads of trouble with the Council. The only difficulty was that I had never been into the forest before and I was sure to get lost myself.
Nevertheless, I headed out of the backdoor and crossed the plains behind our house at a swift pace. Once in the forest I considered calling out for Jas but my tongue seemed to be tied. A terrifying howl greeted me and I clutched the stitches at my chest.
It’s just trying to scare you away, I said to myself. Remember why you’re here.
I stepped ahead watchfully, my feet making crunching sound on the forest floor.
‘Jasmine!’ My voice echoed in the dense silence of the night and I shuddered myself. Once I found Jas, I’d certainly kill her, I thought and continued to plod on. I kept calling out for her and turning around bends in the criss-cross of lanes. It was a moonlit night and the light seeping through the ceiling of trees kept my way illuminated enough for me to see a few feet ahead.
I must have walked for quarter of an hour or so when I heard wolf-whistles behind me. I turned around to find a gang of men standing half-naked in the thickets at some distance. I gasped.
Brilliant! What a wonderful situation to fall in!
I could see them bearing down on me but could not move a muscle until they had come nearer than five feet.
‘Look who’s here!’ The man who seemed to be the leader of the gang sneered. ‘Seems like a fairy out of her nest.’
The other four men guffawed stupidly. I tried not to tremble and told myself that if the situation got worse I could phase to my fairy form and fly away only to realise that it was night time and young fairies could not transform at night.
I took in a deep breath as another man with sandy hair grinned.
‘Where did you come from Fairy?’
They were coming closer, the five of them and however fast my heart was beating, I tried to remain calm. I might even talk my way out of trouble.
‘From Frelnoria of course,’ I said as boldly as I could. ‘Where else do Fairies live, huh?’
The sandy haired man and the leader exchanged dark looks much to my displeasure. Where was Jas when I was stuck up with these seemingly dangerous beasts?
‘Do you know how far you’ve come from the outskirts of your pretty little town?’ The leader asked in his hoarse voice. Had I already? But perhaps my anxiety showed up on my face for the shorter man on the extreme right stepped closer and spoke with the most revolting lascivious smile, ‘Lost, are you? We can take you to the right place.’
Anger shot up inside me like lightening. These filthy Protectors were trying to molest me instead of helping me out of here. And still they call themselves our Protector. I was absolutely right about them, they were proving it themselves.
‘No thanks,’ I spoke louder than was needed. ‘I can find my own way.’
They started sniggering and disgusted, I stepped a few steps backward. However, to my great horror I tripped on some fallen branch and fell down on my back. A yelp escaped my mouth and they guffawed harder.
‘Ah, cht-cht... A damsel in distress,’ the sandy-haired man crooned crouching beside me and leaning nearer. I could smell his nauseating breath. I grimaced and tried to move backward.
He tried to cup my face and like the knee-jerk reflex I threw a punch straight at his face. To my astonishment his face just jerked slightly to the side and was back with a greedy grin while my fingers hurt like hell.
‘How dare you lay hands on a fairy, you stinking bit of scum!’ I yelled trying to sound braver than I felt. But the moment I said this I wished I had not because a dreadful scowl replaced the grin on his wild face and he grabbed my neck.
‘Leave me you moron!’ I choked scratching and slapping his hand frantically.
‘Leave her Xenus,’ the leader commanded. ‘If you kill her she’ll be of no use.’
I was getting terribly frustrated. They were murderers and no one knew the reality about them.
Xenus loosened his hold slightly but continued to lean closer to me, his awful breath filling my nostrils. I tried to haul myself up and slipped over the slimy ground. And before I could close my eyes with fear and disgust something big and black and hairy erupted from my back and jumped over Xenus forcing him to retreat. A large black wolf was standing with his back to me, shielding me from the assailants. He must have been some ten feet tall and his growl reverberated in the woods. He turned his face on his shoulders to look at me and I stared into its deep brown eyes, completely bewildered.
I tore my eyes away from his when one of the assailants bellowed. One by one I saw two of the men transform into tall brown-black hyenas; their faces contorted and grew snout and their bodies enlarged and sprouted out hair. But they were still not as tall as the black wolf.
Stunned as I was I picked myself up from the ground and slipped behind a wide banyan tree as they roared and fought. I dared not look behind and decided to leave the spot as soon as possible. Running through trees in the dark I could hear their angry roars change to low gurgling and the noise of falling and running all faded. Completely out of my breath, I leaned back on a tree trunk trying to calm down. As I peeped behind the tree I was scared out of my wits by the sudden appearance of someone I least wanted to see at the moment. Feanor pushed me to the tree trunk placing his palm firmly over my mouth, stopping me from screaming out aloud.
‘Don’t shout!’ He ordered. His dark glossy hair fell on his brown eyes, eyes that were strangely familiar. My palm slipped over his sweaty arm and I pushed him away with all my might.
He released me and asked furiously, ‘what madness drove you here at this time of night?’
‘I... huh...’ I needed some time to recover from the shock of what had happened just now. I asked back, ‘What are you doing here? Those-’
I looked back to check whether the wolf and the hyenas were still on my track.
‘They are gone,’ Feanor said still staring at me with a fixed gaze. ‘Won’t care to return for the rest of the night.’
I sighed in relief and then stiffened just the next moment. Feanor was also one of the Protectors.
‘Why are you here?’
‘I asked first.’
‘What I’m doing here is none of your business,’ I retorted. He cocked an eyebrow at me.
‘Safety of you and your clan is definitely my business,’ he spoke calmly. ‘What else am I doing here? Saving your neck from those wild beasts.’
It was then that it struck me, and struck me quite hard in the head that he was the black wolf- my saviour. His deep brown eyes, I’d seen them just minutes ago. I turned red at my own stupidity.
‘I came here to look or Jas. She must have come to see Aldrin and I was worried about her,’ I said slowly and was surprised at myself.
‘Jas went back home safely,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t wise of you to come here on your own, Miss Rosetta.’
Miss Rosetta? I winced. He turned around and started walking away while I just stood my ground. After a few steps he turned around.
‘What are you waiting for?’ he called. ‘Come on.’
I walked quickly to reach his side. It was eerie enough to keep standing at a place in this dark forest.
‘How do you know Jas went home? When did she come? When did she leave?’ I bombarded him with questions. He looked sideways at me.
‘I saw her come, say two hours ago and Aldrin escorted her back to Frelnoria just before I saw you trapped with them,’ he pointed his thumb at his back. Had Aldrin really let Jas go back home? Could I believe Feanor? I was totally confused. I didn’t even know where I was heading to.
‘Those hyenas there, they breached the pact,’ I said. ‘They should never have attacked me. They are supposed to be our-’
‘They are no Protectors, they breached no law,’ he said and I frowned at him. ‘These forests are inhabited by several other beings. There are not only allies that live here, Miss Rosetta.’
The way he talked sent a chill through my bones and his composure was sort of unnerving.
‘Where are we going?’ I asked and my voice echoed eerily.
‘To Frelnoria of course,’ he said gravely. ‘You’ve come too far away.’
Despite that he had saved my life tonight I could not make myself to like him even a bit.
‘And how do I know that?’ I asked defiantly and he turned to me without even slowing down his pace, his expression inscrutable. His skin shined in the moonlight as I watched.
‘That’s because you don’t know the forest so well,’ he said. ‘This is a shortcut I’m leading you through; Frelnoria is half an hour walk from here.’
He was right; I could tell that it was not the same way I had come. But my mind was still apprehensive. I did not know the forest, I did not know my way back home and above all I did not know him well enough to trust him.
‘No, I meant some of your wild pals attacked me just now. How do I know you’re any different?’ I blurted out my concern. But when I asked my mind spat back an answer at me that I could not catch clearly. Perhaps I already knew he was not one of them. Somehow, he felt different, even harmless despite his overbearing nature. But now that I had asked he stopped in his track and turned to face me. His eyes held unmistakable anger.
‘They are not my pals!’ he spoke irritably and the same untamed, crazy part of my mind rejoiced at having made him angry. I looked up defiantly at him as he glared down at me. Then he rolled his eyes and turned away.
‘They were the Vulpines- werehyenas and foxes, the fatal foes of my pack. We’re the Lupines, werewolves only,’ he explained calming down once again.
‘I don’t care how many types of monsters are here in these woods,’ I snapped. It was as if I did not want him to be composed, it arose that familiar wave of fury inside me. ‘How can I believe you?’
‘If you doubt me you’re free to roam about here in the dead of the night,’ he said his eyes boring into mine. ‘Just don’t scream for help if they returned to get you. Good night!’
With that he walked ahead swiftly. Irritating as he was I could not let my only hope of getting out of this forest before dawn slip away on my own foolishness.
‘Hey! Hey!’ I called jogging behind him. ‘Wait-’ and then I’d fallen on the damp forest floor having slipped on the slime again. I groaned loudly and before I could try to stand, Feanor had pulled me up on my feet and was holding my arm for support.
‘Damn!’ I swept away the slime from my hands but my dress was ruined. I heard him chuckle softly beside me and looked up angrily at him as if it was his fault.
‘I heard that fairies don’t swear,’ he shrugged sporting a wide smirk on his face.
‘I can’t see as well as you can in this darkness you-’ but I stopped myself from swearing again. It would not have done me any good to enrage him anymore.
‘I guess that’s the side effect of having wings, isn’t it?’ he mocked casually. ‘You never learn to walk properly.’
He chuckled again and I scowled.
This is interesting :) I wonder what will happen now
Really cool please update
Thnx a lot.
I hope you read all the chapters and enjoyed them. I'll keep you updated when I post next.
Rosetta found out quite a few new things in the course of one day! Seems like her attitude towards the protectors in general and Feanor in particular is starting to change! I wonder if they will start working together to solve the mystery of the kidnapped fairy? Can't wait for the next update!
That's the same thing I'm wondering (believe me!) but since Feanor could not follow the Vulpines when they fled (as he had to escort Rose) we'd have to wait to see how they solve the mystery now.
I'm working and I'll try to post soon.
That was great! Rose is such a combination of horror that Jas might do dangerous things but has little or no thought for her own safety before going off into the forest.
She thought she knew so much - but she has so much to learn. So the protectors do their job. I don't understand why they bother when the faires are so rude to them.
There does seem some chemistry between Rose and Feanor.
So maybe the others stole away Lilly. Did she mean to go with them or was she really taken by force?
I think Rose needs to use her head a little more and she might come up with some answers.
Great chapter. I particularly like her confrontation with Xenus.