The magic’s intensity grew rapidly, and I considered running into the room. None of the others had moved, staring as I was. Even Alma simply watched the door and listened to the energetic melody.
A minute passed, or maybe I only felt we had stood there for a minute due to the speed of the song? The door was flung open, and Ariadne came rushing into the room, giggling. Alma looked on guard, but wasn’t preparing spells. I wouldn’t have blamed her in this case. Ariadne was fast, at least as fast as me. She was literally radiant, and the music seemed to flow off her as she started dancing around the room. I was most startled by her laughter, which was remarkably child-like for someone over two thousand years old. My little fairy friend didn’t seem startled by this turn of events at all, dancing through the air far more slowly than Ariadne managed on the floor.
“Boss-man, sir, you should probably get them to the forest.” commented Aaliyah ever so casually.
“But the sun…” started Alma.
“Is setting and won’t even bother her slightly at the moment. Better hurry.” interjected Aaliyah.
Party decorations were appearing around the room. I didn’t hesitate any longer, running to my friend and visualizing her flying into my pocket before I ran. She did as I hoped. Then I grabbed onto Ariadne’s hand. She was strong, very strong. I felt her pulling me to dance with her as her magic was flowing through me, but I resisted and visualized us running to see the other fey in my forest. She seemed to understand, but her thoughts were so different from before. They felt… wild.
Alma rushed to her other hand and took hold. I realized her defenses were now down as I caught an image of her running with us. Then we all left. I worried about what Ariadne’s magic was doing to Alma. She was smiling quite unlike herself, as if every burden had been lifted from her shoulders. Streamers, confetti, balloons, and more trailed behind us in the seconds we took to reach the forest, appearing out of Ariadne’s luminescence. Raine was following us, playfully leaping at the party decorations while still easily overtaking us.
I was sure the others were coming as well. Was this even safe? I hoped. I doubted Aaliyah would’ve made these suggestions if Ariadne would pose a danger to anyone.
All worry was pushed aside as the “voices” of the fey rose up to greet Ariadne. They clearly felt her, knew her, and welcomed her home. Raine was grinning as she danced around us, and the fey we passed seemed equally jubilant. Ariadne’s joy seemed to be heightening here. In our passing, trees were being elaborately decorated in a manner I had not seen before. Miniscule lights dusted every leaf as if residual energy were a powder to be strewn about, but I could feel that wasn’t the case. There wasn’t an energy I could control in the new lights around me, and I worried that the residual energy pumping into me from Ariadne’s hand would be too much too soon. Hundreds of prisms came to hang from the branches of each tree, making rainbows dance in Ariadne’s light. There were ornaments similar to those used for Christmas trees, but seemingly made from plants in elaborate fashions.
We came to a stop as numerous long, wooden tables appeared around us, laden with food. Fey I hadn’t even noticed danced into motion around us, eating from the tables as they moved. The whole while Ariadne’s music continued to emanate from her. The happiness suffusing the images shared between the fey was almost drug-like in how it made me feel.
Alma had moved by me, taking my hand and dancing as she smiled beautifully. I became lost in her eyes and the song. I was surprised when I realized the others from the house were joining us, dancing along with the incoming fey. Even Ai and Mai were here, smiling as foolishly as the rest of us.
Despite my numerous advantages, I couldn’t begin to keep up with the magic around us. All of the fey were in full use of their abilities. The multi-hued light show surrounding us would quite easily put fireworks to shame. The trees of the forest seemed to dance to the music. Sculptures formed straight out of the earth. Heatless fire floated in the air. Things and people vanished from sight, appearing to play pranks on those around them. Crowns of flowers were being brought onto everyone’s heads.
The forest seemed more alive than I had ever known it to be, pulsing with magic, music, food, and dance as if all were supposed to be in perfect harmony. My hazy mind couldn’t summon sufficient words to describe the way I felt, other than to say there was joy. Pure joy seemed to suffuse every aspect of this place, and not one of us seemed apart from it.
When I realized the sun I was seeing had been rising, I noticed the music had stopped. The fey were still elated, but the feeling was somewhat lessened than before.
“The vampires!” I exclaimed, realizing they needed shelter.
Still smiling, though not with such gaiety as before, Alma nodded and searched with me through the crowd. The first we found was Cosette, laughing at some joke I had missed.
“The sun’s rising.” I warned her.
She sighed and asked “Already?” Looking around, she then inquired “Which way is the house? I seem to be a little lost.”
“That way.” stated Alma, pointing confidently.
I was glad she knew. I was a bit turned about myself. “We need to make sure Ariadne’s aware, or we’d show you.” I told Cosette.
Coming up beside Cosette, Mila said, “I’ll see that she gets there, master. I don’t believe the fey wish any of us to go.”
Laughing, I said, “Probably not.”
Glancing first at Alma, I took off running, looking through the still energetic fey for the small vampire who started all of this. Finding her didn’t take too long, since there was still a light show surrounding her and I could feel the difference in her magic. Aaliyah and Portentia were with her along with several of the fey.
“Sorry to bother you, but did you realize the sun is rising?” I asked.
Nodding, she said, “Of course, child, I was born far before alarm clocks. Shouldn’t you make sure the young one… Cosette, was it? Shouldn’t you make sure she’s indoors?”
“She is already on her way. We simply didn’t want anything to happen to you.” replied Alma.
Ariadne looked surprised as she said, “My, my… you seem a bit more lively than last time I met you. Did you and James have a bit of fun out in the woods?” She winked and smirked at us.
Magic sparked in Alma, and I could feel her hand warm as her cheeks turned red.
She firmly said, “No, we most certainly did not do anything indecent.”
Sighing, Ariadne replied “Live a few lifetimes, and you’ll see what is considered decent change over and over. Aaliyah, make sure everyone gets inside before anything indecent happens.”
Grinning, Aaliyah told her “Of course, auntie!”
There was a sudden change in the atmosphere as Ariadne dashed toward the house, as if a bit of warmth suddenly gave way to a cold breeze.
“James, wasn’t that an amazing party?” asked Portentia.
“Really was. I’m surprised no one seems tired out.” I told her.
Laughing, Aaliyah said, “Cosette’s the only one here capable of getting fatigued when auntie’s like that, and Portentia helped her out, didn’t you?”
“Sure did!” she exclaimed. “I also let Ariadne top off again, or the party might have been over sooner.”
“Gee, thanks.” stated Alma, but a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth.
“She usually hates feeding, since that usually means weakening someone temporarily.” stated Aaliyah.
“I shall have to write about the beauty of fey parties for the archives. There is nothing in our texts which really do the creatures justice.” stated Alma.
Smiling dreamily, Aaliyah said, “Yes. I know a girl who will love that story and cherish every word.”
I patted her head and told her “I’m sure many people will. We had one amazing night.”