There was a moment where everyone just stared with their mouths open as the tiny fairy devoured part of my bacon. Then everyone started talking at once. “Man-slave! A fairy! A fairy is eating your bacon!” exclaimed Emma. “Is that some sort of magic?” asked Brandon while Brenna said, “She’s so cute!” At the same time, Jarod was saying, “I thought all of the fey were dead. She is one, isn’t she?” Even Marco contributed to the noise, saying, “I’ll have to figure out what she likes to eat and order doll-sized dishes.” Portentia wasn’t speaking so much as motioning to the fairy while gaping at everyone. I felt as if my friends were attempting to mimic the fey with their complete lack of orderly discussion. I raised up my hands and managed to shush them, and was surprised when the little creature dropped the bacon to mimic me. I couldn’t blame Emma for giggling, ruining the brief quiet. “She lives in the woods on my estate and followed me home.” I told them. “You are a man of many surprises, James.” stated Duncan, who had remained quiet until now. He seemed to be studying the fairy, and I hoped he didn’t share his family’s penchant for wiping them out. The fairy had already moved onto stealing more of my food. “I don’t think you’ll have to try too hard to find something she’ll eat, Marco.” I assured him, feeling somewhat amused by the situation.
As Marco smiled and nodded, Duncan asked “After my leg heals a bit more, would you allow me to stroll through your woods and see if there are any more like her, James? This is quite the discovery.” I needed to speak with Aaliyah. I wasn’t certain that Duncan and those creatures would survive each other if he tried to be forceful with them. “Give me a few days to think on it. Oh. Wait. Weren’t you leaving after the auction?” I asked, suddenly confused. “Due to my injury, and now this discovery, I feel a need to extend my trip, as long as you don’t mind me taking advantage of your hospitality a while longer.” he told me. “Oh. Of course. Stay as long as you like.” I replied, not entirely certain I wanted him here at the moment. Only then did I realize Jarod and Duncan were not only sitting by one another, but Jarod was dressed up again. He really was trying to make a good impression with Duncan, despite what he did to him. Of course, Duncan didn’t seem angry about his knee getting dislocated at all. I really didn’t understand that family. Ai and Mai were such handfuls, entirely playful yet willing to kill at Alma’s word. I never knew what to think of their antics. I also didn’t realize Mai was there until I heard the sound of her texting. I didn’t get a chance to say a word when Alma was suddenly by her side.
“James, don’t move.” ordered Alma as she stared intently at the fairy. The fairy, however, dove into the pocket of my shirt. “She really does find you scary, doesn’t she.” I commented as I stared back at Alma. For a moment, Alma almost looked hurt, but her face was a porcelain mask as she told me “Funny, considering she’s one of the most dangerous creatures my family ever encountered. She could kill most of you before I could react.” Things became more odd when everyone, save for Duncan and Alma, started to laugh. “Apparently, she believes you’re here to steal her food.” explained Emma after a moment. “She has telepathy!” exclaimed the twins in unison. I opened my mind to the little creature, and, sure enough, there was an image of Alma, wreathed in fire, coming over to take my food. I pictured myself holding up a hand to keep Alma back as the fairy ate. Her response was to fly out of my pocket and up to Alma’s face for a moment before diving at my plate. “Charming, but she’s dangerous, James. We need to find a place where she’ll be safely away from people.” stated Alma. “She has a place. She lives in my forest.” I told her firmly, wondering if Alma thought “safe” meant some sort of lab.
“But she.. the forest. How many are there?” asked Alma as she closed her eyes. “I always wondered why there wasn’t so much as a bird there. Who did this? How?” she asked, seeming to be talking to herself more than anyone present. Could she really be prodding at the magic there from here? Alma winced and sat down. “I can’t advise anyone to study the enchantment around the forest. There are defenses I’ve never seen before.” stated Alma as she rubbed her temple. The fairy flew out of the room, carrying one of my sausages, and I wondered where she could be going. I was about to ask Mila to track her when Aaliyah rounded the corner, wearing her secretary glasses and eating my stolen food. “Marco, could I get another plate?” I asked, deciding I’d leave my current plate for the fairy. “Me too!” exclaimed Aaliyah. Seeing everyone staring at her, Aaliyah said, “What? She offered. Busy day today, everyone! Boss-man, sir, you’re going to be late for training if you don’t hurry. Alpy? What’s wrong?” The last was said after Aaliyah crawled onto my lap instead of taking a chair. “Hmm? Nothing. James, will you let Ai and Mai handle training everyone today and take me into the woods?” asked Alma. “Why? What do you want to do?” I inquired.
Aaliyah, who was looking at my schedule on her phone, said, “I suppose we can make time, but as your tenant agreement states, you’ll have to sign a visitation form to enter the forest and be escorted by the boss-man.” Knowing of the fey from the start, Aaliyah had already made arrangements for this possibility. She was so remarkable. “Emma, will you join us as well?” asked Alma, surprising me. Emma agreed in an instant, and I felt bad leaving the others out. “I’m sure most of you want to see them after meeting this little one.” I started, motioning to the fairy as she consumed more bacon. Then I continued, saying, “I’ll see how we can manage after gauging how the fey react with these two.” I could tell Jarod was looking down at a glance, but I’d make it up to him. There was so much I wanted to talk with him about that explaining how I just found out about the fey last night was only the tip of the iceberg. As Aaliyah and I ate, Alma started playing some sort of game with the fairy that involved juggling lights between the two. “What’s her name?” asked Emma. I paused with my fork halfway to my mouth and told her “Apparently, they don’t use names.” Brenna then said, “You’ve gotta name her. We can’t just call her ‘fairy’ all the time.” Brandon smirked and said, “Unless that’s her name.” Brenna didn’t approve, hitting her brother for his suggestion.
Portentia wasn’t even attempting to follow the conversation, her eyes glued on the fairy and light show as she leaned on her arm. I couldn’t make heads or tails out of what Duncan was thinking as he stared impassively as well. “We could name her ‘Lucia’.” suggested Mai. “Or perhaps ‘Lucita’, since she’s so small.” added Ai. “I like ‘Glimmerwing’, because she glimmers and has wings.” replied Emma. “Could just call her ‘Laser’, since that’s how she’ll kill you.” stated Alma without glancing up. “That’s horrible! You can’t name a girl that.” pretested Brenna just before Jarod asked “Can she really create lasers?” Alma, ignoring Brenna, said, “According to what I’ve read, which is admittedly one account, these little ones created ‘beams of divine light which burned through scores of men’. The author is credible though.” Jarod was grinning, obviously considering possibilities that’d be thought insane by most men. While still playing her strange game of light, Alma continued, saying, “You can’t tame them or reason with them. There’s no trusting fey. They feel and they react. If you’re going to give her a name and admire her like a pet, you should realize that she’ll probably outwit you and destroy you in a moment of anger. Though I feel my family went too far when they attempted genocide against these creatures, I’m not going to tell you I approve of keeping them in the house either.”
The name debate ended, but I was sure someone would think of an agreeable name for the little fairy, just for the sake of us referring to her. As most everyone left with the twins and their brother for this morning’s training, Aaliyah had Alma initial and sign numerous times on a digital document. “So what do I need to sign?” asked Emma after Alma’s signing was done. “Nothing, silly. You’re the groundskeeper, so that change of lease when you became an official employee covered it. You’ve been allowed there ever since.” replied Aaliyah. I noticed Alma rolling her eyes, but then Emma said, “Oh. I’ve never really been inclined to go there. There’s something weird about the plants. I can’t ever feel them.” Standing, Alma told her “I imagine the enchantment prevents you from interfering with them from this side is all. You should feel right at home when we’re inside.” Emma gazed up at Alma curiously as she asked “And why did you want me to come along?” Alma smiled at her as she said, “Because you’re like me. We share their blood and have powers from them in our heritage. Aren’t you curious if one of them can control plants like you?” Emma grinned at her and hopped out of her seat. I should have known that I’d have no more than a brief respite when I came home. Already my adventure would be continuing.