The satyr grumbled under his breath as Ava finished cleaning his wound. The elf also remained a grumbling annoyance as Olivia tied the clean bandages on his arm. Though while she did she was careful of her hands. Strangely, they didn’t sting as much as they should’ve. The burns were just as bad as the whips on her back and they took almost three weeks to heal. It hasn’t even been a week and already her hands were healing.
“What’s your name?” Olivia asked, keeping her mind on a different topic would keep her wonders at bay.
The elf only turned his face away and snatched his arm from her grasp. “What’s it to you?”
Olivia narrowed her eyes at him. “Maybe because I just saved you from the pole despite the arguments,”
“I told you. You’re making a mistake with me. First chance I get, I’ll steal all your worths and run,”
Olivia scoffed. “You think you can outrun a dragon shifter and a witch? First chance they get they’ll rip you apart,”
Beside her, Rykal was leaning against the tree; his nails grew into long claws and he piked his hand against the tree and brought his claws down. It left four jagged lines along with a loud scratching noise. The elf visibly tensed. Behind her, Ava snapped her fingers and the whole sky suddenly went black with dark grey clouds. Thunder clapped powerfully, lightning crackled all around them, striking the ground and one merely inches from the elf. He stumbled and fell back, yelling out curses in his own language.
“Okay, okay, okay!” the elf yelled out.
Ava humphed, snapped her fingers, and the sky cleared up, but not before she sent one last lightning bolt beside his leg. The elf screamed. Morning sunlight lit up the village and the elf stared at the witch and dragon shifter with the fear that he fought to hide.
“Okay! My name Raegel Yhendorn, I’m from an elven kingdom in the south and I steal for a living. And by the elf lords don’t kill me!”
Rykal scoffed. “Think twice about disrespecting Olivia and we won’t. She is the one who saved you. She is the reason we’re not showing you unimaginable pain. Hurt her and well. . .” Rykal glanced at Ava and she smirked. “What comes around goes around. Understand?”
Raegel rapidly nodded his head. “Got it. Anything you want, I’ll steal it for you,”
Olivia cocked her brow. “Why are you stealing in the first place? Where are your parents?”
Raegel shook his head. “I don’t have any. They disowned me after finding out I was a thief with a high sentence,”
Olivia frowned. “Why did you start stealing in the first place?”
“I’ll tell you why,” the satyr cut in. “It’s because folks like him are too lazy to put in the effort for an actual living and would rather steal off other’s lives to benefit his own. It’s folks like him that are the scumbags Ava and I have to deal with,”
“Vil!” Ava exclaimed.
“No,” Raegel snapped. “The donkey’s right. I’m a selfish scumbag. That’s your mistake, girl,”
“And until then,” Olivia walked over and held out her hand. “Do yourself a favour. If you want to live, don’t try and run. That’s my mistake,”
Raegel took her hand and she helped him. He gave a weird look and she glanced at Rykal. He looked away, muttering under his breath. Olivia shook her head and gave Raegel a forced smile.
“I’ll get Ava to cook you —"
“I’m not hungry,” Raegel muttered, again taking his hand from hers. “I just want to be left alone,”
Olivia sighed. “Okay. I’m heading into the village,” she glanced at Ava and the satyr, Vil. “Can you watch him until I—"
“Until we get back,” Rykal interrupted.
Vil nodded with a grunt and Ava snapped her fingers. A silver band appeared around Raegel’s neck. “You run. I click. You back. I zap,”
Raegel nodded, avoiding her gaze and quietly sat on the log. Vil sat on the ground, Ava beside him on the log he leaned back on. Ava snapped her fingers and a fire ignited as Olivia turned away with Rykal beside her.
“Hey!” Vil called out.
Both the girl and dragon shifter looked back as Vil threw a small sack their way. Rykal caught it and Vil nodded at them. “Values are better off with you then around him,”
Rykal nodded and stored them in their sack he was bringing along. Olivia remained quiet and glanced at the quiet elf one last time before the two set off for Dyunzo.
It was strange that in some way Olivia had grown accustomed to the mythical creatures surrounding her. She figured it was because Rykal was with her and she knew that he wouldn’t let anyone hurt her. Anyone could see that. They hadn’t talked about themselves since coming into Dyunzo and Olivia knew it wouldn’t last much longer until one of them brought it up.
He remained quiet, silently observing the busy streets whilst standing behind Olivia, letting her lead the way. Truth be told, Olivia had no idea where she was going. Her dark brown hair would occasionally blow onto her shoulders and her overgrown bangs over her face. Her hair had grown since Limrock as it was swaying down to the middle of her back. She couldn’t ignore the grease and grime beginning to build in her hair or the odor remains of her cycle.
As if Rykal read her thoughts, he tapped her shoulder and pointed to a tent. Olivia looked over and saw a woman braiding a man’s extremely long honey brown hair with little fairies whizzing around, giving the woman whatever she needed. One thing Olivia saw was soap and water and instantly she grabbed Rykal’s pointing hand and moved toward the colourful tent. Flowers blooming upon leaves and growing on vines eloped the tent to keep it standing. The flowers had many different colours from pink and yellow, to purple and blue, all bright colours that matched the little fairies noticing Olivia.
One whispered into the woman’s ear and the woman looked up, Olivia meeting with bright purple eyes. She gave a nervous smile and the woman smiled broadly. “Be with you soon, honey,”
Olivia nodded. A few fairies flew around her and Rykal and Rykal didn’t seem to enjoy it all that much because he snarled at them. They all squealed and came whizzing back to the woman. She scolded the fairies as the fairies quickly resumed their jobs. Olivia looked back at Rykal and gave him a serious face.
“You got them in trouble,”
Rykal crossed his arms and grunted. Olivia rolled her eyes and nudged his arms with her elbow. “Do you want to go somewhere quiet and away from everyone?”
Rykal looked at her puzzled. “Is there not another place you’d like to see?”
Olivia shook her head. “I just thought you’d like it better if we were alone,”
Rykal cocked his brow. “And you?”
“What about me?”
Rykal stepped closer. “What do you want?”
Olivia felt a tingle in her cheeks but didn’t show that it was affecting her. “Answers,”
“Of course,” he grumbled and stepped back. “It’s the only thing you want,”
Although she wasn’t meant to hear it, she did. She didn’t get enough time to ponder about it when the woman cleared her throat. The man with the extremely long hair was gone, the chair was free and the woman gestured to it.
Strange, I didn’t see him leave, Olivia thought and hesitantly sat down. Fairies swarmed around her, quite interested in her hair.
“Oh, dear, I see why you come rushing to me now,” the woman gasped.
Olivia remained quiet, quite embarrassed. The woman hummed to herself as she began working on the mess that was Olivia’s hair. First, the woman brushed gently through the girl’s hair and Olivia closed her eyes, letting the woman do what she wanted. After brushing out the knots, birds nests, and tangles, the woman tilted Olivia’s head back and poured warm water through her hair. Olivia felt her body relaxing and when feeling a thick layer of soap being scrubbed through her hair, the girl truly relaxed. The woman continued humming, pouring extra water through her hair and scrubbing more.
“Elden is evil,” whispered a voice.
“Don’t let her braid your hair,” whispered another voice.
Olivia opened her eyes to see three fairies flying past her ear. The girl frowned and looked at Rykal who had his eyes closed but his head was tilted in a position of hearing better. Olivia knew he heard the fairies as they repeated it again near her ear.
Warm water dripped on her face and Olivia shot up from the chair, snapping her gaze at the woman. The woman looked at her with a perplex gaze and gestured to the chair again. Olivia looked at the chair again and wasn’t sure what to do. If she ran, it’d cause a scene and she could get her group banished. Olivia had to reassure herself that she wasn’t alone. Rykal was with her and she doubted the woman could take on a dragon shifter with a few fairies who didn’t seem to trust her.
“Honey, your hair is wet. Let me dry and braid it,” the woman said, taking Olivia’s hand.
Olivia snatched her hand back. “No!”
The woman stepped back, startled. Olivia mentally cringed. A fairy flew past and whispered in her ear. “Say no thank you,”
Another flew past. “If you would be so kind. . .”
“To just dry my hair. . .”
“And that’ll be all,”
The woman held out her hand. “Honey, are you alright?”
The girl nodded hastily, swallowing the lump in her throat. “No, thank you. If you would be so kind to just dry my hair and that’ll be all,”
The woman’s eyes narrowed ever so slightly and forced out a smile. “Of course, honey,”
Olivia’s heart thumped as she sat back in the chair. She looked at Rykal and didn’t look anywhere else. He looked at her with a nod as a pathetic attempt to calm her as fairies flew past her ear again.
“You are safe. . .”
“From Elden’s grasp. . .”
“And safe from the same fate. . .”
“We share for eternity,”
Olivia blocked out the fairies whispers. She didn’t want to listen to their stories of the cruel fate they had. She didn’t want to listen to pleading cries knowing she couldn’t help. Olivia squeezed her eyes shut and gripped the arms of the chair tightly. It wasn’t long before the woman had finished and practically shooed her off the chair.
“Payment,” she snapped, holding out her grabby hand to Olivia.
Olivia stepped back and Rykal stepped in front. “Why should we pay for a scam?”
The woman snapped her gaze at the dragon shifter and narrowed her eyes at him. “I do not scam, young man, I work for a living,”
Rykal crossed his arms and Olivia peeked her head from behind him. “You’re not as deceiving as you think you are, witch,”
The woman widened her eyes. “How dare you call me —"
“Elden the Lonely. Forced out of the grand coven and cursed to be alone for all eternity. Uses scams to capture souls into the bodies of murdered fairies if they give you permission to braid their hair. Curses victims to be your company for all eternity. Am I making sense to you so far?”
Olivia looked at Rykal, bewildered that he knew all about the witch until she saw a green fairy beside his ear. The woman was left speechless, stumbling over the chair and falling in the large bowl of soapy water. All the fairies swarmed around Olivia, begging for the death of the witch and Olivia looked at Rykal, unable to hide her concern. Rykal frowned at her and stayed silent for a second. He looked behind him and waved out his hand. Olivia looked over her shoulder and saw an armored guard walking up to them.
“There a problem, sir?” the male asked, Olivia seeing curious yellow eyes, a lycan.
Rykal nodded. “This witch is cursing people and turning them into fairies,”
The male looked at the two for a solid second before looking at the witch. “Is this true?”
“No!” Elden protested and scrambled out of the tub of soapy water, soaking wet. “They’re lying so they won’t have to pay for my hard working services!”
The lycan looked at Rykal and Olivia again. “Do you have proof of your claims?”
Rykal nodded his head. “You’ve got all the proof floating around the Dragella next to me,”
The lycan looked at Olivia who gave him a sheepish smile as fairies buzzed around her ears, cheering and screaming of joy. A few came to his ears and whizzed around his head. His eyes widened and his eyes went blank.
“Thank you for reporting this. She will be locked away, awaiting in line for trail. Will you be there to debate against her accusations?”
Other armored lycans joined the group and got busy inside the tent, the witch yelling and screaming. It attracted attention and before anything else happened, Rykal answered no and thanked the first lycan. He grabbed Olivia by her waist and took off into the air. A squeal from Olivia was all that was heard and the first lycan chuckled as the fairies fluttered around him, whispering their tales to him.
“Rykal!” Olivia shouted, latching her arms around his neck.
He only looked at her with a confused gaze. “Something wrong?”
Olivia gave him a deadpanned look and in return, Rykal chuckled. He flew high into the air, above the village as other creatures joined him. They twirled in the air, riders wearing grins and cheers and it was contagious. Olivia giggled and squealed as Rykal spun them around before folding in his wings and diving down. Olivia felt the air leaving her lungs, the wind whipping her face and she screwed her eyes shut. Rykal spread his wings again and flew low over the village. Some people cheered them on, others exclaimed in awe as Rykal pulled up again.
The girl buried her head into Rykal’s neck, tears overwhelming her. Sobs left her lips that trembled but she was smiling. Rykal paused in the air and looked at Olivia. She lifted her head as a tear fell followed by another. She laughed, cried, and smiled at Rykal who was blinking at the girl, confused and panicked.
“Why are you crying?”
Olivia only cried harder, she couldn’t stop the tears. Instead, she twisted her body around and hugged Rykal, wrapping her arms around his neck. Rykal gave a stifled gasp and didn’t know what to do. Olivia only smiled into his neck. “I’m happy, Rykal. I’m so happy I can’t stop crying,”
Rykal had no clue what to do but slowly hugged Olivia back, wrapping his arms around her waist. He remained silent and the only thing heard was the rhythm of beating wings and cheers below.
“Let’s go back to the group,” Olivia whispered.
Rykal nodded and dove down, changing his direction to the field away from the lively village. A griffin paused in the air and its rider pulled off their mask and goggles. They watched the dragon shifter and girl fly to the field, a small smile forming on their face. “So, the dragon prince lives on,”