3. On Thin Ice

The Arrival Of The Trix

Minister Snowflake arrives with all haste to the luxurious audience chamber to which Her Queen had summoned her. Lord Milori had earlier delegated to her the tasks of meeting with the Witch from another dimension and to bring her – by owlback if necessary – to the Winter Woods.

She did not like the idea of any Witch coming to Pixie Hollow and even more so now that she knows that she will be in charge of three of them instead of the planned for one and that she had not been kept in the loop about the change.

“It was a last minute change,” Queen Clarion explains to her. “The Witch named Icy suddenly refused to come unless her two sisters, Darcy and Stormy, were allowed to come as well.”

“She hasn’t arrived yet,” Snowflake replies, trying to suppress her anger, “and already she thinks she has us over such a barrel that she can demand anything she wants from us and get it.”

The Minister looks about and notes that Queen Clarion is leaving nothing to chance. The transport dais is now inside a secured area. Behind her stood Her Captain of the Guard and spaced evenly about the chamber were the toughest Sparrowman guards she had ever seen.

“Give them room to breathe,” Queen Clarion had told her guards, “but be vigilant and if you see any hint of danger, don’t wait on my command – act.”

In attendance are five of the six Faeries from Alfea College known collectively as The Winx, Zephyr, the Queen’s Courtesan and Vidia, The Queen’s Cartographer. Summoned but yet to arrive is the young Tinker Faerie named Tinker Bell who is the only living Pixie Hollow Faerie, save for Queen Clarion, to ever go to the world from which these Witches come.

A floating sphere is suddenly hovering before Queen Clarion. “The Trix and Princess Aisha are on our transport dais and ready,” speaks the voice of a kindly-looking, white-haired woman whose face is visible within the sphere.

“We are ready and awaiting their arrival, Faragonda,” Queen Clarion tells her.

“Perfect,” says Faragonda. “I need to concentrate on the transfer spell so I’ll contact you again when the Trix have settled in.”

“I look forward to your call,” smiles Queen Clarion then the sphere vanishes.

There is a humming as a blue light forms over the dais while Minister Snowflake braces herself to be confronted by three masks of horror but is resolved not to turn away. Four misty figures form within the light then solidify whereupon she lets out a gasp not out of horror but in shock as she stares into the face of the silver-haired beauty before her. “My Sister!” she breathes, astounded, then places her hands over her mouth.

All are suddenly shifting their focus between Minister Snowflake and the tall newcomer: the same hair color, the same eyes, the same body shape and regal bearing.

Just then, Tinker Bell flitters in, lands beside Vidia, then turns as if to ask her a question. Suddenly, a guttural and feral shriek splits the air.

“Look out!” screams Vidia, knocking the Tinker Faerie to the floor and throwing herself over her just as a bolt of lightning flies over their heads to hit the wall behind them and set the wall hangings there ablaze. Immediately, a guard launches a spear that would have skewered a Faerie through her back – had she been a Faerie – but she is the Witch of Storms, who pivots and with her other hand lets fly a bolt of lightning that in a flash renders the spear into so much floating, black smoke. By then, three of the Winx have launched into the air holding balls of pulsing energy in their hands. The guards are rushing in to protect their queen.

The silver-haired Witch swiftly grabs her sister by the arm, spins her around and deals her a resounding smack across her face then kicks her feet from under her so she falls hard to the floor then blasts her with a shaft of cold from her hands.

“Stand down!” orders Queen Clarion. “Move back – slowly.”

“Did she just kill her?” asks Snowflake in horror while staring at the Storm Witch’s frozen body that had been caught in mid-scream.

“No,” replies the Faerie of the Dragon’s Fire, landing beside her. “Icy’s used the same spell on me once or twice. It can kill a Faerie but Stormy has just been put into cryogenic sleep. She’ll survive.”

“Cryo…?” begins Snowflake shakily.

“Enforced hibernation,” says Flora gently.

“Oh,” says Snowflake numbly.

Tinker Bell and Vidia are picking themselves from off the floor. Silvermist and some Water Faeries fly in to put out the burning wall hangings. The one whom the Minister of Winter still thinks of as Queen Aisha is talking to the silver-haired Witch and both are angry and upset. The Nature Faerie has spread her wings and is emitting a soothing scent. Snowflake is feeling weak and sick to her stomach but is managing to keep standing.

Icy turns to Queen Clarion and speaks to her in her own cacophonic language.

“That was as close to an apology as you’ll ever get from her and a promise to make her sister rue this attack for years to come,” says Aisha, acting as interpreter.

“Tell her that I accept her apology but I’m holding her responsible for her sisters and if there is any more trouble, she’ll deal with me and take any punishment I mete out,” replies Queen Clarion.

Aisha interprets and Icy is nodding but with a smirk on her face as if hearing the biggest joke in her life.

“It’s agreed,” replies Aisha.

“Fine,” says Queen Clarion as Aisha interprets. “It’s nearing nighttime so nothing more can be done today. I will have the Trix bed down in the Chamber Of Voices where, hopefully, the Tree will grant them the ability to speak and understand our language.”

The Trix with guards on either side are marched off, with Icy floating a still frozen Stormy in the air, to the Chamber Of Voices. Minister Snowflake slumps onto a chair and puts her head wearily into her hands. “May the Tree grant me a peaceful sleep tonight!” she prays.

In the Chamber, Icy reverses the spell and removes the ice. Stormy slowly sits up, holding her head.

“All right, you little idiot, why did you do that?” she demands.

“I saw that blonde Faerie in green come in, the one that nearly killed us with that dust! Didn’t you see her? I took her out while she wasn’t expecting it! We have our revenge!”

“No, we don’t,” Darcy interjects, “You missed.”

“A good thing, too!” Icy snarls, “That queen could have ordered us killed on the spot! What good would revenge be then? You have to think! Pick your battles!”

“Okay, okay, I get it!” says Stormy, standing up.

“You’ve always been too much of a hothead for your own good, Stormy,” Darcy adds.

“I saw an opportunity, and took it,” Stormy tries to defend, glaring, but it is a weak effort.

“What opportunity? We just got here, we don’t know this place, we are surrounded by armed guards and the Winx, and you start throwing lightning!” Icy shakes her head. “Even if you had killed her and we got away, where would we go? What would we eat? How many enemies would we have chasing us?”

“All right! I get it! Now shut up about it!” Stormy’s temper starts rising.

Icy decides to back off a bit. “All right, but one more thing. The queen threatened to punish me if anything else happens and if because of you she does … I will give you three times what I get. That goes for you too, Darcy.”

Stormy starts to retort, then thinks better of it and closes her mouth.

“You know better than that,” says Darcy with a smirk. Then something occurs to her. “Wait a moment, Icy. Are you afraid of her?”

“Of course not,” Icy snaps, “She’s a pathetic pixie like all the rest. But I made a deal with Aisha, and we will honor it.”

Her sisters stare at the Ice Witch until she leans closer and whispers, “But once the deal is done, all bets are off.”

“Still,” says Darcy with a meaningful look at her hothead sister, “it’s best for us to heed Icy’s warnings. We are strangers in a strange land. That pixie in green almost did send us crashing into the three moons. If she could do that while on Alfea, what might she be capable of in her own world? Also, the one in mauve looks to have a mean streak a mile long and is a powder keg of raw anger that will explode at the least provocation. Furthermore, she bested you, Stormy. And how did their queen become queen? It’s for sure she didn’t get there by winning a Miss Congeniality contest. For all we know, she could have assassinated her way to the throne. Remember how badly we misjudged Bloom and how dearly we paid for that? Let’s not make the same mistake twice. Okay? Stormy, you just can’t charge into a battle like a damnthing on a rampage. No! You need to plan, be prepared and be patient and ready to strike when the moment is right – like a stealth viper.”

Stormy grudgingly admits that her sisters have made sound arguments, apologizes and promises not to step out of line again. Satisfied, they smile at her and the air relaxes as they look around the room. It is bare except for three thick mats with pillows and blankets, and a table with food and several wooden pitchers and cups, along with plates and utensils.

“What is this room?” Stormy asks, puzzled.

“The queen called it the Chamber of Voices,” Darcy answers. “Supposedly a night’s sleep here will give us their language.”

The Storm Witch grimaces. “I don’t want to learn some Faerie language.”

Icy strides over and grabs Stormy by the jaw and pulls her to within a few inches of her own face. “What did I just say?” she hisses.

“Tha-that we will honor the deal,” Stormy stutters.

Icy pushes her back, releasing her. “Right. And don’t forget it. Keep your eyes open for anything that might be useful, and tell me when you get the chance.”

“Okay, I will. Calm down, will you?”

Darcy snorts in laughter. Stormy saying that to Icy.

Ignoring the interplay behind her, Icy inspects the food. “I don’t think there’s anything here we can eat. It’s all vegetables and fruit. Stupid Winx didn’t tell them about our food requirements.”

“What about the pitchers?” asks Darcy, coming over followed by Stormy.

“Water, hot tea, and fruit juice.”

“I’m not hungry anyway,” says Darcy, getting a mug, “But I can go for some tea.”

“Me too,” says Icy, holding out a cup.

“I’m not hungry either,” says Stormy, “but I am tired. I call this one.” She lays down on the far mat, away from Icy, and relaxes.

Soon the Trix are asleep, and the Pixie Dust Tree begins its magic.

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