3. On Thin Ice

By Ælfstangard

Fantasy / Adventure

Discovering Darcy

“The Newlings’ Chamber is this way,” points Zephyr, leading the way. The Winx and the Tinx and two thirds of the Trix follow her down the branch. It was a few hours later, and word had come from the attending Healer that Darcy is stable and waking up.

The guard stationed at the door steps aside and opens it for the visitors. Inside is a very well appointed and comfortable room, and they find Darcy on the bed, Elixa standing by her side.

Rather than crowd the Chamber, only a few come inside; Flora, Aisha, Iridessa, and Tecna. Ishandra and Stormy would not be left out either.

This is a place for dangerous talents?” Stella whispers to Bloom, “I should be so dangerous!”

Outside the door, a sudden burst of pixie dust heralds the arrival of the Queen. Everyone steps aside for her.

“How is she?” asks Clarion, coming inside and gliding up to her personal physician.

“The material has dried to scales that are ready to come off, Majesty,” says the Healer.

“About time. I still don’t understand what has happened to me,” says Darcy, sitting up.

“To all of us, dear sister,” Ishandra injects, glaring at the queen. The restraining band had been removed, but she knew well Aisha could put it back on her at a moment’s notice.

“Icy? Is Stormy with you?” asks the dark Witch, turning her head toward the voice.

“I’m here, Darcy,” says the Storm Witch in a sweet voice. “The Tree has changed us all.”

“Okay,” says Darcy in a long drawl, “I can’t wait to see what has happened to you,” says Darcy, while thinking she had never heard such a voice from Stormy before.

“Lady Flora, will you help me, please?” asks Elixa, taking a couple of towels from her bag and wetting them in a bowl of warm water.

Together they slowly and carefully wipe the flaky scales away from Darcy’s eyes, and the Witch cooperates, sitting very still while they do so. When the task is done they put the towels aside.

“All right, Miss Darcy, I want you to very slowly open your eyes,” says Elixa. “Tell me if there is pain or if anything isn’t right.”

Darcy does so and looks around. There is a collective gasp from everyone in the room, and the Pixie Hollow Faeries step back, an instinctive spike of fear causing them to do so. Silvermist takes hold of Flora’s arm and pulls her away.

Darcy’s eyes are now bigger than they were, and completely black, not reflecting any light at all. The Witch’s face takes on a puzzled expression. She blinks several times, but nothing changes for her.

“Is the covering gone? I still can’t see anything,” she says.

“Your eyes are now solid black,” says Tecna, “The change is new so give it a minute. Your brain is probably having to decide how to interpret the different input.”

“Solid black? Seriously? What am I, some kind of insect?” asks the Witch of Darkness.

“We do have wings now, so maybe,” snarks Ishandra.

Before Darcy can ask what was meant, Queen Clarion takes Darcy’s head gently in her hands and raises it to look into the strange black eyes.

“My dear, you are now one of the rarest talents ever; an Unlight Talent. There have been only five or six in all of Pixie Hollow’s long history,” the queen says.

“What’s an ‘Unlight Talent’, Majesty?” asks Iridessa, confused.

“Yeah, explain it to me too,” says Darcy, pulling her head away.

“It is related to your Light Talent, Iridessa, but beyond that I don’t know,” Clarion answers, moving away from the Witch.

“Wait a sec… something… yeah, I am starting to perceive things now. But things don’t look like they should,” says Darcy. “You were right, Tecna.” Darcy takes out her glasses and puts them on, but nothing changes.

“Darcy, what do things look like to you?” asks Tecna.

“It’s hard to describe,” says Darcy after a moment of looking around, “The room is mostly dark, but I can see everyone clearly. You all look strange, though. There is a bright spot on your chests, and your body gets dimmer away from it.”

“I think I understand!” exclaims Tecna, “You’re seeing in the infrared!”

“Then what’s that bright spot on the ceiling?” the Witch points to a place where nothing is visible.

“The sun,” answers Stella, who always knows where the sun and moon are.

“You’re detecting it through the ceiling, possibly by the other types of radiation it emits,” adds Tecna.

“The sun does what?” asks Tinker Bell.

“I still don’t get it,” Iridessa says, “Unlight? Light is light.”

“But there is more than just what you can see, Dess,” says Aisha. “Tec, could you explain it? I’d probably get something wrong.”

“Do we have to have a science lesson now?” complains Ishandra.

“Iridessa will be teaching her to use her talent, and she needs to understand what Darcy is working with,” answers Clarion. “I want to know as well; it has been a mystery for a long time.”

“I need to know too,” says Darcy, “I don’t remember much about this so a refresher is actually welcome.”

The Witch of Ice subsides, grumbling about know-it-all Faeries.

“Iridessa,” says Tecna, turning to her, “I do not wish to insult you by telling you things you already know.”

“I understand,” grins the Light Faerie, “This is for everybody. Kinda nice, having my talent talked about for a change.”

“Could you make a small rainbow for me, please?” asks the Faerie of Technology.

“Sure,” is the reply, “Sil, a little help?” She gathers a ball of light in her hands.

Not letting go of Flora, the Water Faerie gestures and moisture in the air is pulled into a small cloud. With a sweep of Iridessa’s glowing hands through it she is holding a rainbow.

“The rainbow is sunlight spread out through water, or a prism,” says Tecna hesitantly, still worried about being insulting.

“Go on,” says Dess, grinning.

“But it doesn’t stop there.” The Technology Faerie points above the red band of light. On this side is infrared. You can’t see it, but you can feel it as heat.”

The Pixie Hollow Faeries murmur among themselves at this. “This is news to me already,” says Dess.

“On this side,” Tecna points below the violet band, “Is ultraviolet. It is what causes sunburn.”

At that, Elixa’s eyes widen. “So that’s the cause! We have debated over sunburn for a long time, and never came up with an answer! This will be welcome knowledge among the Healing Talents!”

“Hey, Faerie, let me see the rainbow,” says Darcy, and Iridessa turns to her.

“Weird. I see a rainbow too, but the green band is split by a gap,” says the Witch.

Bloom steps over to the Light Faerie and points a finger at the red band. “What do you see here?”

“Nothing. That’s the upper part of the gap,’ answers Darcy.

“And here?” the redhead moves her finger down to the violet band.

“That’s the lower part of the gap.”

“So apparently you can see everything but visible light. Your talent is for what Dess doesn’t control,” Bloom concludes. She noticed the Winx were giving her an odd look. “What? Tec’s the expert, but I remember science class from high school.”

“That explains the term ‘Unlight’,” says Aisha. “With such talents in the past, others could see that something was controlled the same way as light, and see the results, but not what was used.”

“And I’m going to have to teach her to bend light I can’t see?” asks the Light Faerie in a squeaky voice.

“Yes. But no pressure,” jokes Stella.

“Now, now, sunflower,” says Rosetta, putting a hand on her friend’s shoulder, “It may not be that bad. When we’uns found our talents we had an understandin’ about how to use ’em. Maybe you just need ta point her in the right direction.”

That makes Iridessa look a little happier. “I hope so. Thanks, Ro.”

“I’m still really hungry,” announces Darcy, “I’m not going to take lessons until I eat.”

Afterwards the Light Talent and the Unlight Talent are left alone in the Newling’s Chamber. Elixa assures them she will be right outside, just in case. The guard closes the door behind her.

“Okay, let’s get started,” says Iridessa, reluctantly.

“What’s the matter?” smirks Darcy, “Afraid of lil’ ole me?”

Iridessa cringes a bit and almost steps back. “Well-”

In an instant Darcy realizes while terrifying this Faerie would be fun, here and now it isn’t a good idea.

“Look, uh, Iridessa, yes, I’m a Witch, and yes, I’m supposed to be ‘evil’,” Darcy uses air quotes, “But you are not responsible for what’s happened to me, and you’re trying to help me. I’m not mad at you, and I’m not going to hurt you.” At least not now, she thinks.

Reassured, Dess steps closer. “All right, then. Do you see any light sources in the room?”

“Except for you and that spot on the ceiling, no,” is the answer.

“For someone new it’s always easier to work with a beam of light. I learned that trying to teach Tink.” She thought for a moment. “Okay, cup your hands together, and try to call the light you see from the ceiling into them.”

“Oh, a basic ‘gathering’ spell. I can do that,” nods Darcy. She tries, but nothing happens. She tries several more times, getting more and more frustrated with each failure.

She turns to her teacher. “This isn’t working! I’m the Witch of Darkness, not the Witch of Light!”

“Okay, okay, watch me.” Iridessa cups her hands and a ball of light gathers into them. It grows larger and brighter until it is the size of a basketball. “See what I did?” She lets the light go and it fades away rapidly.

“No! You’re not holding anything! Argh!” she throws up her hands and sits down on the bed.

This annoys Iridessa, who puts her hands on her hips. “Hey, now, did you give up this easily when learning to be a Witch?”

Darcy is tempted to blow this annoying Faerie through the door, but grits her teeth and restrains herself. “No, I didn’t. But learning spells is entirely different!”

“Well, then, maybe we should try- wait a moment!” Dess is thinking. “Tell me exactly what you were doing.”

“Using a spell to bring the light to my hands! Duh!” is the snarky reply.

“A spell?”

“Yes! A spell! I’m a Witch, remember!” Darcy shakes her head at Iridessa’s stupidity.

“Oh, I get it! You were using magic, not your talent!” the Light Faerie says smugly.

Darcy looks up at her sharply. “What?”

“Try again, but this time don’t use magic,” she directs.

The Witch sighs but stands up, cupping her hands and looking at the spot of sun.

“Call it to you using your mind and heart,” Dess advises.

The mind, yes, thinks Darcy, But the heart? Sounds like a Faerie thing. Nevertheless she gives it a try and is rewarded by the appearance of small ball of red in her hands.

She turns and shows the Light Faerie. “I did it! See?”

“Actually… naw. I mean, I guess you’ve got something, but I can’t see it,” says Dess.

“Can you feel it, then?” asks Darcy, making the ball bigger and the color change to orange.

Iridessa holds her palm toward a spot above Darcy’s hands. “Yes, I can! It’s warmer there! You did do it! Nice job!”

Darcy concentrates, making the ball intensify, and the color shifts upward to yellow.

“Whoa! That’s too hot!” Dess complains taking several steps back, “Tone it down, will you?”

Darcy lets the ball go, and it dissipates quickly, allowing the room to cool off. “I’m going to try something else,” she advises the teacher.

This time the ball that appears is a rather pretty blue-green.

“Oh! I can’t stand it!” Iridessa stumbles back and into the side of a chair. She trips and hits the floor heavily. “That feels very harsh! Stop it!” She holds up an arm to protect herself.

Darcy lets the ball go just as the door opens. “Miss Iridessa, are you okay?” Elixa asks, coming in.

“No, I’m not. My skin feels funny,” she answers, rubbing her arm.

Elixa kneels down beside the Light Faerie and examines her. “You’re sunburned.”

The Winx and Tinx and Trix are in the door, watching, and Stella leans over to Bloom. “To quote that Earth movie we saw, ‘By George, I think she’s got it!’”

“What happened?” asks Tecna, stepping over to the Witch.

“She showed me how to gather infrared using this ‘talent’ I’m supposed to have now, and it worked,” Darcy explains, “Then I tried in the ultraviolet, and that worked too, but it burned her. It wasn’t intentional.”

Elixa asks from beside Iridessa, “What about you? Are you sunburned too?”

Darcy rubs her arms and face. “No, I’m fine.”

The Healer goes over and examines the Witch, and confirms there is no damage. She still finds the large black eyes unnerving, but resolves to get over it.

“So you’re immune to the types of radiation you can work with. That’s good to know,” says Tecna.

“Yeah, it is…,” says Darcy, thoughtfully, while thinking, “I wonder if I can use the rest of the spectrum.”

Bloom helps the Light Faerie stand up. “Dess, I can heal you. Will you trust me?”

“Of course, Bloom! And thank you!” she responds.

A warm red glow appears in Bloom’s hand, and she moves it along the dark skin slowly, making the blisters that had started to rise disappear. Finally it fades away.

“Did I get it all?” she asks.

Dess checks herself over. “Yes, I’m fine now. Thank you!”

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