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1. A Clockwork Fairy

By Ælfstangard

Fantasy / Adventure

The Trix Are Up To Old Tricks

“A distraction, huh?” said Stormy, “I’m up for it. What do I need to do?”

“While they are working on the clock, you conjure a thunderstorm,” said Icy, “But NOT a tornado! That would point to you very quickly.”

“That is my signature,” Stormy agreed.

“Anyway, drive it to Alfea, and at the right moment make a strong wind and blow that small fairy miles away into the Dark Forest. All the Alfea fairies will go after her, and that will leave the place empty for us.”

Darcy and Stormy laughed, and Icy joined in.

“I like it!” said Stormy with a grin.

“Me too!” added Darcy, “I’ll make sure the clouds are as dark as possible, to add to the confusion.”

“Just be careful! We don’t want them to suspect it’s us!” cautioned Icy.

“I know what I’m doing!” shot back Darcy, with heat in her voice.

“Okay, okay, calm down, just a reminder,” said Icy. “I’ll add a bit of hail, as it would be expected.”

Stormy looked thoughtful. “If we want it to seem like a natural storm, it will have to move in from the northwest. That’s where the main weather patterns come from.”

“But that means going near Red Fountain,” Darcy protested. “They could detect us!”

“We’ll just have to give it a wide berth,” said Icy, “Go closer to the Barrier Mountains than to that school.”

“Which will make the trip longer,” said Darcy.

“If we want to be convincing, we’ll have to go that way,” said Stormy.

“It just better be worth all the work,” grumbled Darcy.

“It will be,” said Icy, “The Dragonfire is almost ours!”

Darcy sighed, thinking of all the flying and teleporting ahead, but didn’t reply.

“Let’s go eat lunch and blow off afternoon classes. The quicker we get there, the quicker we make our goal!” said Icy, and led the way from the room.

That afternoon several students under Palladium’s supervision brought an intact work table from the potions lab Stella had destroyed last year and set it up on the Admin Building’s porch under the balcony. It was still blackened and scored, but sat solidly.

“What happened to it?” asked Tinker Bell.

“Ask Stella sometime; it’s her story,” said Tecna. “Will this do?”

“Yes, perfectly,” she answered.

“Now you need to make a decision,” said Tecna, “Do you want to start now, or wait for tomorrow morning where we can work all day?”

Tinker Bell almost answered ‘start now’ without thinking about it. But she needed to include Tecna in the decision. “What do you think?”

“Either way is fine for me,” said the taller fairy, sitting down on the table, “You’re the one making the repairs, so it has to be your decision. I’m just the assistant.”

After a minute’s thought, Tinker Bell said, “Let’s at least get the clock down to the bench. It’s going to take some time to do that, and we’ll have all afternoon to take it apart.”

Tecna changed to fairy form and they flew up to the clock.

“You take out the bolts holding it to the hinge, and I’ll hold the clock up,” said Tecna.

As Tinker Bell flew over to the hinge, Tecna flew up under the machine and grabbed it on the bottom.

After a few minutes, the tinker fairy said, “Okay, I’ve taken out the bottom bolt.” She put a dab of pixie dust on the bolt and nut (which she had screwed back together) and tossed it gently toward the table. It drifted down and landed with only one bounce, trailing dust behind it.

“Second one out,” she announced, repeating the dust process on the bolt and nut, which landed beside its twin.

“Okay, I’m ready,” stated Tecna, getting a firm grip.

“Last one coming out… now,” said Tinker Bell, and Tecna heard a metallic zip noise, as the bolt’s threads moved against the hinge.

Unfortunately, her grip wasn’t strong enough. She had far underestimated the clock’s weight, and Tinker Bell had forgotten to put some pixie dust on it ahead of time.

It slipped easily through the technology fairy’s grip as gravity pulled it down.

“NO!” they chorused, watching in horror as the clock landed hard and broke, scattering parts in all directions. The sound was very loud, and fairies converged on it from all directions, emptying the classrooms. The teachers came as well.

“Hold it, everyone!” shouted Tecna, “Find all the pieces and bring them to the table! Hurry!”

As the student fairies began their scavenger hunt, Tinker Bell and Tecna flew down to the clock’s framework. One side was bent and a strut had broken but that seemed to be the worst of the damage.

“It’s my fault,” said Tecna, “I didn’t have a good enough grip, and it is heavier than I estimated.”

“No, it’s my fault,” said Tinker Bell, almost crying, “I forgot to put some pixie dust on it first, so it would float and be easy to handle. I’m sorry.”

“Fault isn’t important right now,” said Faragonda, coming over to them. She was carrying a spring, which she put down on the table. “Are either of you injured?” Both shook their heads no. “Can it be repaired?”

The small fairy looked at the damage again, then at the collection of parts that was slowly building on the table. She turned to Faragonda, her confidence strong.

“Yes, ma’am, it can,” she said, “I’m a tinker, and tinkers fix things.”

The Trix landed in a small open space between several large dark pines. Overhead a Red Fountain scout ship passed by, leaving a trail of fog in its wake.

They had left Cloud Tower after eating lunch, taking a westerly course toward the Barrier Mountains. Then they turned north, knowing they would be well out of sensor range of the military school. It had worked, but they had nearly been spotted twice by long-range patrols. They had taken cover in the forest until the ships had passed.

“Blasted scouts!” grumbled Stormy, “I wanted to zap them into the next dimension…”

“Forget about them,” said Darcy, trying to calm the storm witch down. They didn’t need their scheme revealed at this point. “When we have the Dragonfire you’ll be able to take out the entire place by yourself.”

“Yeah, I could…” Stormy grinned.

“Stormy, how is our position?” asked Icy, “We ought to be pretty close by now.”

Stormy’s eyes unfocused for a few seconds. She had an excellent sense of direction because of her affinity with the weather, and by extension the magnetic field of the planet. She could sense north, and where Alfea was in relation to their own position.

“This will do,” she announced, “It’s not perfectly north-west, but close enough.”

“Then let’s get the show started! At your convenience, dear sister!” said Icy with a flourish and bow.

The youngest Trix raised her hands and looked up. Almost immediately moisture began to collect, becoming a cloud. It continued to grow larger and darker and more turbulent until it covered the sky. Lightning flashed and the winds grew, a distinct chill in it.

Stormy laughed and flew up to her handiwork, continuing to gather power into it. A moment later Darcy and Icy joined her. Darcy using her own magic added darkness to the water vapor, so even less sunlight filtered through it and covered the land in a half-light. Icy threw in tiny ice pellets that would stay in the cloud until they gained enough ice to fall.

“Don’t make it too strong!” Icy cautioned, having to yell over the howling winds. “And scale it back some! It doesn’t need to be horizon to horizon!”

“Spoilsport!” Stormy shot back, “But you’re right.” She made several gestures that gathered the clouds closer together.

“I just thought of something,” said Darcy, “Won’t they all just go inside when they see it coming? We can’t blow that tiny fairy away then.”

“You’re right!” said Icy, thoughtfully, “Do you have a solution?”

“Yeah, I’ll add a weak charm spell. They’ll be engrossed watching the storm until it’s too late!” answered Darcy. She turned to the clouds and cast the spell. Nothing appeared to change.

I’m going to start moving it toward Alfea. Come on, you can help with that!” Said the storm witch.

Followed by her coven sisters, Stormy flew to the back of the storm. Using her magic, along with Icy and Darcy’s, they cast a spell making the clouds move in the direction they wanted.

Everything was going perfectly, and they laughed.

“How long till it gets there?” asked Icy.

“Oh, an hour or less,” was the answer.

“Is that all the parts?” Flora asked Tecna, gazing with wonder at the machinery. Technology simply wasn’t her thing. But she knew she didn’t have to understand it to use it.

Tecna gazed at the diagram. “I believe it is. So far, nothing looks to be damaged beyond repair, but I’m not finished with the inspection.”

Tinker Bell was at the other end of the bench, using her metalworking tools on the bent part of the frame. The Winx watched in wonder as the tiny fairy used an equally tiny hammer to beat it back into shape. And it was working.

She stopped for a moment and wiped her brow. “I’ll be finished with this soon. Then I will start on the broken brace.” She smiled at her new friends, noting their concerned looks. “Don’t be worried,” she assured them, “It will be fixed by tomorrow.”

Suddenly Musa looked toward the northwest. Nothing could be seen that way but blue sky and trees.

“You might have to revise that estimate,” she said, cocking her ear that way. “There’s a storm coming. A big one, too.”

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