“Hey, Beige! Are you going anywhere today? Want to go swim with the Mermaids? They’re having a party today with some fish. Want to come with me? Of course you don’t have to, I know you might be busy-or do you not even want to go swimming? We can go-“
I cut her off by raising my hand. “I’m busy.”
Pharisee turned around and walked out the door of my cottage, not saying another word. I quickly grabbed a bowl of cereal then headed for the stables. My horse, Klary, quickly jumped up as she saw me. I jumped onto her-without a saddle-and rode her out of the stables and toward the Black Forest.
Klary rode into the foggy forest with me on her back. I petted her pale mane as she ran toward the giant oak. “Maybe we can listen into the meeting.” I whispered. “If they aren’t finished that is.” My hand went along her spotted skin, and then back around her neck for support.
I pressed my feet into her sides when we reached the giant black oak tree. I hopped off patting her a couple of times then put my ear against the bark of the tree. I could barely hear their voices, just muffled mumbles.
I grabbed a branch that stuck out of the side of the oak tree and pulled myself onto the middle of the oak, where all the branches meet. At this point is a little hole in which you can see and hear everything inside. I just needed to be careful they didn’t see me.
“… do then what will they do next? Another war?” I recognized his voice. It was Sireon, the Elf leader. “We can’t afford that.”
“We know you can’t. We can’t either. The Maskeeguards know our weakness now. They will use it against us.” It had to be Florence, Truths wife. She was now the Queen of our Pixie clan.
“Even if we can not propose war, my Water Clan will help. We can find a way to kill the Maskeeguards before they kill you. We will protect you. Our Nixies will control the lakes and rivers, and our Mermaids will guard the surrounding oceans.” Ripple the Water clan leader, obviously.
“So will we. We can guard the forests. Our men will not fear such demons.” The deep voice reminded me of Luke, an Animal tribe ruler. His tribe was full of Satyrs, Centaurs, and Fauns.
“The sky warriors are welcome to help.” June of the Sky clan said sweetly. She was a Harpy. Dragons, Griffins, Hippogriffs, and other Harpy’s roamed her land.
“Yes we are aware and thankful for your kindness,” Florence started. “But we will not have you put your life on the line to defeat these vicious creatures. Are you really willing to go against a Maskeeguard? A giant Ogre? Vampires? You don’t know what the Shadow clan is capable of. They will kill any person that has a soul. I can’t let you do that for us.”
“Well the prince is coming soon-“ My heart seemed to skip a beat when Sireon spoke. “And he will be coming for the rainbow stone. We’ve tried to keep our world safe, and now we need to protect the human world as well. Can you imagine not having anything to harvest during the fall? Every color you ever saw turned to grey?”
“Our waters will dry out!” Ripple shrieked.
“Our forests will burn!” Luke shouted.
“Our sky’s will fall!” June exclaimed.
“Calm yourselves!” Florence shouted sending silence through the tree. “The prince will be here any moment. I suggest if you are that frightened that you go back to your-“ Her words were cut off from me.
At that moment a hand covered my mouth to keep my screams muffled, another hand pulling me out of the tree. I started to kick the person’s knee as we got off the tree. “Ow!” The voice sounded like a man. “Will you please stop that?” He let go of me and I turned to look at him. Raven hair shaped around his face, and he wore black Shadow clan armor-A black armor top decorated with black feathers, and some black pants. Black boots covered his feet.
“R-R-Rook?” I stuttered almost falling back. I caught myself before I could fall, putting a foot behind me to steady myself. I couldn’t fall in front of Rook. What was I saying? This isn’t Rook. This is a Shadow clan prince. He and I are enemies now.
“Yes, Beige. I am Rook. Now will you please give me a proper welcome?” He said acting annoyed. I didn’t move though. I stood still.
“I-I’m sorry….” I started. “You know I can’t!” I realized I was shouting and turned away. Tears bugged their way to my eyes. I heard somewhere tears didn’t come because you were sad; they came because you were stressed. I was both.
Rooks arms found their way around my waist. “Oh, Beige. You don’t know how much I’ve missed you…” He whispered quietly into my ear. My ear felt warm now. But I didn’t care. I was afraid. Why was he here? What was he planning on doing?
“Rook why are you here?” I asked silently, taking his hands off my waist.
“Well, you heard enough to know that. I just saw you when I was coming along, thought I’d say hi.”
I curled my hands into fists and started to shout at him. “I haven’t seen you in seven years and you think you can just cone along and say hi?”
“Well…” Before he could finish I came up to him and put arms around him, holding him tightly.
“You are such a jerk.” I whispered into his chest. His lips touched my forehead, and his hand cupped up my chin, lifting my head up.
“Beige,” this time I looked into his eyes. They weren’t smiling or happy to see me. They were sad. “I’m so sorry.” I didn’t have time to run away when I heard the whip. In a second Rook was gone and I was left alone with a Maskeeguard behind me.
I sprinted toward the trees, but the Maskeeguards whip curled around my ankle, making me trip. I landed on the ground panting. The Maskeeguard grabbed me and tossed me into a velvet carriage. -Which I had no idea was there- I opened my mouth to scream, but I couldn’t find the air to do it.
A black figure approached me and put me into a sack before I could crawl away. There I was, stuck in a sack just like an animal.
Never trust one of the Shadow clan was all I could think.
I stayed silent in the bag as the carriage moved underneath me. “I thought you had to get the Rainbow Stone.” No answer. I tried to speak again, louder this time. “You know, this was a waist. The other clans will figure this out and wage war on you.” No answer. This time I screamed. “YOU CAN’T JUST STEAL THE PRINCESS OF THE PIXIES!!!”
Not. One. Freaking. Answer.
“YOU GUYS ARE SO RUDE! YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE THE COURTESY TO RESPOND TO ONE OF MY QUESTIONS!” I screech.
This time I get a response. “Maybe you should be quiet.” Rook spoke so softly, yet it sounded as if he was groaning. “The Shadow clan doesn’t like screaming little girls unless…”
“Unless we’re killing one.”
We’re. He’s acting as if he’s one of them now. Not one of the Pixies anymore. I guess he just kills people 24\7 now. A familiar voice came into my head. But he will…
And then the guilt came back. The day he left. The last day I saw him. The last day I could truly love him. But I still love him. I will always love Rook. Rook is a part of me that could never be replaced. A sting came into the back of my eyes.
And here I was finally being able to see you again, and I can’t even see you.
The cloth of the sack blocked my view from him.
“Rook?” I asked, chocking on some tears.
“Yes?” He had responded quickly. “They aren’t going to kill you. I wouldn’t let them do that.” That just made it worse.
“Where are you?” I spoke touching some of the cloth in front of my face. A hand placed itself against one of my moving ones. I stopped fighting and stayed still. The hand moved above my head and started to tie something-or untie. I couldn’t tell for sure.
Next thing I knew, a hand came inside the bag. I quickly grabbed onto it, placing it on my cold cheek. “I’ll always be here with you.” I could here his voice outside the sack.
Then a door creaked open then slammed against a wall. Footsteps stomped near me and then Rooks hand was pulled out. I heard some shouting, but I covered my ears. Then something was tossed into the sack, the footsteps left, the door creaked back closed. I looked at what was tossed inside.
They were flames.
I stayed silent, as I stared at the flames. The heat burned my hands, making them bright red. Then a spark appeared and the fire got larger. Well this is cloth and cloth can burn and Pixies can burn and Pixies can die from fire easily and-
My breathing started to get loud, and then slowly got faster. I couldn’t breath smog, but I could hold my breath. It was the best I could do; I mean they would take the fire out, right? They wouldn’t let me burn.
But I was wrong. And Rook was a liar.
The fire got bigger and spread to the cloth. My shirt started to burn and so did the hairs on my arm. Maybe they don’t know I’m burning. They just aren’t aware… I kicked at the coals trying to find the opening to the sack. The opening was closed. Scream. Scream. I need to scream! But Rook said I couldn’t scream. But he also said that he wouldn’t let me die. Hmmm….
A scream found it’s way out of my mouth.
I kept screaming louder and louder, trying to get a response. My hair was now on fire, and every time I tried to pad it out it just burned my hands.
The door creaked open-and I was still screaming let me mind you-and footsteps came into the room. “Beige, I told you not to-“ It was Rook. “Beige!” The footsteps got louder beside me. I wasn’t screaming anymore, just sobbing. The footsteps stopped right by my sack and hands quickly opened the sack, taking me out of it.
I curled up in Rooks lap, sobbing on his chest. The fire was gone. But how could the fire be gone? I saw flames right in front of me! I was burning! “Rook...” I sobbed. “I thought you said they wouldn’t kill me.”
“They aren’t.” He sounded like he was trying to keep back a laugh-but he wasn’t doing a good job at it. His palm lightly stroked my hair, soothing me.
“But I saw fire-my hair was burning.” I chocked. I felt the hair behind my head. It was short now, but the fire was gone. My hands collided with Rooks. “My hair…”
Rook let out a sigh. “Oh, you girls and your hair…”
“Boys can care about hair.”
“But we don’t.”
“Human boys do… some Pixies, too. Oh, and mermaids… well Mermaids love their reflection.” I giggled
“Well, the surface of the water can come in handy with that.” He grinned. “But how does this apply to me?”
“It doesn’t. I just wanted to make you smile.” I said looking up at him. “You seemed so depressed. That’s not the Rook I know.”
“That Rook is gone.” He said quietly.
“Oh, yes. I forgot.” I said. “Now it’s Prince Rook. My humblest apologies your highness.” I bowed my head.
“Oh, shut up!” He shouted hitting me lightly on the head. But even so, it hurt. Badly. I winced curling up again. “How bad is it? Where does it hurt?” I subtly raised my bright red hand. He nodded as I pointed to my head and side. As I pointed to my side, he didn’t understand. I lifted up my shirt to show the big black bruise I got when the Maskeeguard tossed me into the carriage.
“It’s ok though. I’m fine.” I reassured him, but he didn’t care. I pulled down my shirt down to hide the bruise.
“I’ll bring you to my Quarters before….” He trailed off as if he didn’t want to tell me something. I didn’t ask what it was, because I knew he’d refuse. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t ask him anything.
“What,” I muttered. “are you going to do with me? Why do you want me? Why not the Rainbow Stone?”
He rolled his eyes. “We have the Rainbow Stone. You of all people should know that.” He looked away from me before he spoke again. “As for you… I want to spend some time with you before-“
“WHAT? In the name of the Fairy, just tell me Rook.” I shouted angrily at him. He should trust me. He shouldn’t be ‘trailing off’…
He looked back at me and held my gaze, his thumb now lightly stroking my cheek. “Please,” He whispered. “don’t make this harder than it already is.”
I said nothing.
I layed my head against the hollow of his neck slowly. A Maskeeguard came into the room. I guessed by the way his groggily voice sounded. “We are here, Prince.”
He said. Rook nodded and got up, lending me a hand to pull me up. I took it as he pulled me up to him.
“Now, please don’t scream.” He whispered into my ear. I laughed quietly as the carriage doors opened. Rook held my hand and hopped out of the moving carriage, taking me with him. I tripped slightly when we got off, but Rook steadied me. “Act natural.”
“And my outfit will sooo help with that.” I mumbled under my breath. I saw him grin at the corner of my eye.
“This way.” He said leading me down a dark alley full of Ogres. We walked away from the town square and into the darkness. I shivered as an Ogre touched my shoulder. I had never seen an Ogre before. They were tall, green creatures with short faces. A tooth stuck out on the side of his mouth, and drool spilled out of the mouth, too. Their chest was bare, with their only cover up being a small skirt thing. Rook pulled me away as the Ogre looked at me curiously. “They are blind you know. You can at least use that to your advantage.” He groaned at me. I rolled my eyes and walked with him down the alley.
At the end of the large brick alley laid a wide door. Rook opened it leading me inside. Gargoyles welcomed me as I stepped inside, and marble flooring chilled my bare feet. Rook led me down the hallway as I stared at some paintings. A child dying in a mothers arm, Mermaids drowning, an Ogre tearing up a Griffin, a Pixie being killed by a Maskeeguard. I shivered at the last picture. Who drew these terrible things? A small voice came into my head. The Shadow Clan.
I fought the urge to yell at Rook, because I knew he’d just roll his eyes at me or just yell back at me.
He stopped in the middle of the hallway and turned to a door on his left. He opened it, motioning me inside. “This is my room.” He said behind me. And part of me already knew it. Already knew Rook.
A black Queen sixe bed lied in the center of the room, and not to far was a desk piled with books. Racks of swords covered the walls, and one tiny mirror layed on the side. “I’ll be right back.” Rook whispered into my ear. I almost jumped not knowing he was behind me.
I turned around to see one last glint of his face before he shut the door on me. “You better not be playing a trick on me again.” I muttered under my breath.
Then the footsteps started to move down the hall.
I waited silently where I stood for Rook to come back. When he did he carried a jar of healing cream with him. He made me sit on his bed. “This is for your bruise.” He said lifting up my shirt. Cold air touched my bare skin making me shiver.
I winced as his cool fingers touched my bruise. “Sorry.” He mumbled without meaning. Sorry for what? Leaving me? Throwing me in a carriage and burning me? You have a lot to say sorry for Mr.
His fingers softly spread the cream against my bruise. A burn went through me every time he touched me. But pain is sometimes a healer to. No wonder he was putting the cream on me. “Why are you helping me?” I asked him. He looked up at me, pausing.
“Because you’re my friend.”
“You left me.” The words spat out of me like knives. “I thought you were dead. For seven years, Rook. Seven years! And here you are acting as if we had been friends the whole time. I got burned in the carriage. Got bruised! None of this would have happened if you just never showed up today.” I paused to look at the hurt in his eyes. My eyes narrowed and I spat again. “I was doing fine without you.”
He looked so broken, and I loved it. “I didn’t have a choice. Not for either of the situations.”
“Yes you did! Don’t give me any excuses!” I shouted.
“I am not a Pixie. I never was.” He was mad now. “I was born of the Shadow Clan. My father is the king here. I was never an orphan. Truth stole me when I was a baby thinking that he could make me one of you stupid Pixies. Thinking I still had some good in me.” He stared at me viciously. Just like one of the Shadow Clan would. “He was wrong.”
“Well I wished you stayed here! I wish I never met you!”
“Do you? Do you really wish that?”
“I thought so.” He whispered leaning back. “You’re going to a little festival today. Jade will be here soon to dress you.” He got up and went to the door. “See you soon, Beige.”
“Bye, your highness.”