The witch was sitting in his room, he had taken up knitting again and was adding a stitch when someone knocked on his door. He ignored them, the knocking got even more insistent. Sighting, he got up from the bed and flung the door open, standing on his porch was Arssaya and Lanika with an upset Rashell also on his front porch. “Aren’t you guys still grounded?” he asked them.
“This is more important, Greyman trapped Rayanna, Tyrome, and Raquan in their house.” Arssaya explained “We need your -”
Nick cut her off anger flowed through him. “It’s always Nick I need you. Then once you’re done with me it’s right back to pretending I don’t exist.”
Arssaya glared. “This is not about your ego, people are going to get hurt!” she retorted.
“Is one of those people Rayanna? Because I’d love to see her treacherous ass in something dangerous.”
Rashell’s fists tightened. “Watch what ya say!”
Lanika put a comforting hand on his shoulder to calm the fairie boy. “Yeah, go coddle the little monster, for all you know he’s playing you like a fiddle.” the Witch declared.
“Maybe Nick is right Arssaya,” Lanika suggested.
“No, please, I swear I’m telling the truth. Rayanna and her human companions have been trapped in the house by the Erlking. I swear it!” the blond fairie sounded desperate. Nick looked at the other boy suspiciously “They said...you’re the only who can help. I know Rayanna isn’t the nicest, but please, she’s me sister. He’ll hurt her. He’ll hurt her bad.”
Nick suddenly had an idea, he flashed back to the fairie myths. “I’ll confer with the fairie, you two go outside.” he said to Arssaya and Lanika.
“What’s so important you can’t--”
Rashell glared at them. “Go!” he snapped, the two girls exited the house quickly. Rashell then turned to Nick tiredly. “What da ya want?” he asked knowingly.
“How do you know I want anything?” he demanded, Rashell gave Nick a look of incredulous contempt. “I’ll save Rayanna and her two pawns provided you give me your name.”
The Leanansidhe plastered a look of confusion on his face.
Nick glared at him. “True name.” The witch was through playing games. There was a long pause as desperation crossed the blond boys face. “Every moment you waste, the Erlking gets closer.” Nick interjected smoothly.
“How cruel ya are how, human.” Rashell said bitterly
“Tick tock, Rashell,” Nick replied mercilessly. He calmly watched as Rashell cracked in front of him.
“If ya rescue me sister and her companions, I’ll give ya me true name.” he agreed looking beaten.
“Fine just let me get my kit.” Nick felt more confident; a fairie couldn’t break their word, that he remembered from all the stories. Now just try and hurt me, he thought feeling relief that he had some sort of weapon.
The three unlikely rescuers were in Arssaya’s car, Nick had his sewn jacket wrapped around his shoulders or at least half of it, the other sleeve hadn’t been quite finished when they had burst in on him. So it hung on him awkwardly then again style wasn’t the point of this particular jacket.
“Those are odd spectacles.” the fairie boy commented from his position on Lanika’s lap. As he curiously pointed to the contraption on her face.
“Oh this...it isn’t glasses,” Arssaya commented awkwardly.
“Oh, what is it?” Rashell asked.
“It’s called a Bioptic telescope, I have some vision problems, so this helps me spot lights and signs.” she explained sounding awkward.
“That’s interesting.” he commented with the air of someone talking about the weather as the group drove off. When they arrived in South side Nicks eyes nearly out of his head at the sight of the inner city area turned into a beautiful lush forest with trees poking out of almost every house growing up through the ground and poking straight through the roof.
“Oh my God!” Arssaya gasped the others looked and saw that the tiny house was completely covered by a thicket of plants and other vegetation primarily around the doors and windows.
“This is the Erkling’s work.” Rashell said looking worried as they got out of the car.
“If I’d known it was this bad I’d have brought a weed wacker,” Arssaya quipped nervously, then she opened the trunk of her car to reveal two cans of wasp spray, and two iron skillets that came from her own kitchen. “I won’t be caught unaware again.” she stated grimly. Arssaya took one of iron skillets and handed another one to Lanika. Then she also took a can of wasp spray and shook it she extended it to Nick. He took it nervously the impact of what they were walking into starting to hit him. Rashell simply extended his parcel.
“I’m good.” he commented. Arssaya pursed her lip and pocketed the other can.
“Ya need ta go ta the house and freeze the plants we’ll break them after,” Rashell stated.
“Sounds simple,” Arssaya replied.
“Never is.” the Leanansidhe said darkly. Arssaya walked ahead of them slowly and then when she was nearly at the porch a group of people dressed in bear, wolf, skins all sprang out from the bushes others came from behind the house others rose up from the grass all of them were covered in green and brown clay, their skin smeared with dirt. They surrounded Arssaya quickly letting out loud whoops. Rashell sprang forward and knocked a confused Arssaya to the ground just before they threw their axes where Arssayas head was seconds later.
“What? What?” Rashell sprang to his feet and picked up the axe from the ground and threw it back at one of their assailants who fell over dead with the axe buried in his skull. Nick felt sick as the wild people rushed forward. Some of them drew sharp blades which looked like they were made of some type of animal horn and others drew arrows.
“Get behind me!” Rashell pulled out a diamond sword from the hilt of his parcel and held his it in front of them both as a shield. One of the wild people came up and tried to wrestle Rashell’s sword from him while another came up and struck the boys shoulder with his club. Rashell let out a cry of agony shortly after the sicking crack.
Nick focused his power and stretched his jacket sleeve until it wrapped completely around the hunter taking advantage of his disoriented state; he followed this with a kick to the groin he dragged Rashell into the car and shut the door. “What are you doing?” he demanded.
“We need to get you to a hospital!” he said looking at the obviously crushed shoulder blade.
“No. I’ll heal in a minute.” Rashell protested.
“I can see bone.” Nick retorted as an axe ripped straight through the car window shattering the glass. Rashell stabbed the person in the face with his good hand piercing his eye. Nick winced sharply as the body hit the ground. He inhaled sharply grabbed his arm as a purple spark of magic danced over his torn flesh. But then...
“Shit!” Nick saw one of the hunters line up their arrow for a clear shot. A hunter girl knocked the bow from his hands and the two of them began arguing in a strange language of growls and snarls. “What’s going on?” he asked Rashell whose arm was now covered by a soft glow.
“They have orders ta take me alive,” the Leanansidhe responded.
Something in Nick’s brain clicked. “Give me the sword,” Rashell eyed him suspiciously. ” You want to save your sister?” the witch asked him. Rashell handed it over, Nick put it to his neck and dragged him out of the car. “Alright no one move!” he barked.
“Nick, what the hell are you doing?” Arssaya yelled poking her head up from the bush where her and Lanika were crouched. The wild hunters who had their arrows ready were motioned to by the same girl who made a growling noise.
“Typical of yer kind,” The boy hunter spat, lowering his bow, the others followed suit. “Give us our master’s Leanansidhe, lad, and we’ll let you and your comrades leave in peace.” He motioned to the girls.
“How about you clear the area before I chop his head off?” Nick threatened. he felt Rashell tense in front of him and heard the start of a sharp breath as he used the other boys body as a shield. The hunters exchanged a look and switched back to the series of growls and snarls as they communicated with gesturing, their voices low. Then there were a series of gunshots and all three hunters fell down dead. Then a group of military men rushed into view. “I saw them take on a full grown Sphinx once,” Rashell said in a shocked tone as Nick released him.
“You’re a slave to an evil empire.” he stated awkwardly.
“The Wild Hunt are a warrior culture; the fairies in it train their whole lives. They apply what they know ta put meat on the table and gain victory in battle.” Rashell corrected.
“So if they hadn’t run off. we’d be dead.” Arssaya gulped.
“So the asshole who was mad about not shooting you?” Nick asked.
“Taavetti, ugh! Such a wanker! He used ta act nice ta whatever Leanansidhe was on cup bearing detail. While his comentada pissed in the water we had ta serve the Hunt.” Rashell made a face.
“What, did he try to charm you and you broke his nose?” Nick asked.
“I put me knife in between his friends legs and told him “Darling ya can make a change or I will,“” the Leanansidhe responded. “He didn’t take ta kindly ta me after that.” There was an awkward silence.
“Why is it whenever I share stories of me youth everyone gets odd?” Rashell asked looking baffled.
" Carter, Graham, Martinez, Gardon, and Smith, you go out and check the area for any more enemies.” one of the soldiers ordered. Some of the other men hurried off after a “Yes, sir.”
“You kids okay? Come on, we’ve got evacuation trucks waiting for you.” the man said kindly. His walkie talkie crackled to life. “Sir?” The man looked relieved. “We lost contact, what happened?” he asked.
“A few of the drug dealers started shooting at us from the rooftops delaying our entrance, sir,” the man on the other end replied.
“Were there any other problems?” the man beside them asked. “Everyone else corporated.”
“Sir, we’ve started moving the residents of Southside, do you want us to begin the blockade?” a voice cracked over the speaker.
“Hold off, soldier, some residents may still be trapped in their homes.” the other soldier stated.
“Understood, sir.” the walkie talkie went off.
“You’ll have ta move me cold dead body,” Rashell’s eyes said as his eyes narrowed.
Arssaya cut in. “What he means is our friends are trapped in there, we’re trying to get them out.” she explained.
" Kids, look, it’s great that you want to help your friends, but this is a dangerous area. We’ve had reports of homicidal centaurs who took out at least half of one of the local gangs.” the soldier explained.
" I’m not moving till I see me sister safe,” Rashell retorted. ” Either help or get out of me way” the boy rudely brushed by them.
"“So, um, about getting inside?” Arssaya asked hurriedly breaking the tension.
" We can take it from here,” the soldier argued. As the other soldiers started breaking the plants, but within a few minutes the greenery sealed itself up. ” What The hell!” the soldier breathed his men started muttering and gaping as well.
" Ya never did make it easy, did ya, Grey?” Rashell murmured softly.
“Can’t you just freeze the plants?” Lanika asked her hopefully.
“I can try.” Arssaya said and closed her eyes and focused; nothing happened.
“Think about something that makes you mad,” Lanika suggested. Arssaya closed her eyes, suddenly, her jaw clenched and suddenly sparks flew from her hand.
“I’m doing it, I’m doing it!” she exclaimed before the ice started pouring from her hand faster than she could contain it. “What? No!” before long the entire house was encased in ice.
The soldiers gasped at the sight. “Well I’ll be, it really is magic, ain’t it?” one of the men whispered in awe.
“No, oh goddess, no!” Rashell took his sword and tried hammering away at the ice wall ripping it with his small fingers frantically.
“Rashell, Rashell, stop it!” Nick grabbed his arm his hands were bright red. “It’s not going to do any good.”
“Easy fer ya ta say bet yer loving this!” the fairie boy snapped.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Arssaya whimpered.
Lanika looked at them. “Hey people! let’s Calm down and look at this objectively,” She paused. “This here is windshield ice what breaks windshield ice?” she asked.
" Don’t you just let it melt?” asked Nick.
“You’ve never used Windshield de-icer?” Lanika asked as well. “Arssaya keys please!”
Arssaya tossed her the keys and she shoved the frying pan at Nick and went to the car and opened the trunk. “Ah hah, and we’ve got a scrapper too right next to the two jumper cables.” Lanika remarked.
Everyone looked at Arssaya. ” I like to be prepared.”
“Allow me,” the soldier offered. “Look, I don’t know what the hell is going on, but we came to help and that’s what we’re going to do.” He took the scrapper which Lanika handed to him and the rest of the soldiers used their pickaxes to pick and break at the ice as well. Rashell joined them, his bare hands continuing to claw regardless of how blue they turned, his magic protecting him from the frostbite. It took them a while but soon they had scrapped the ice away from the window and threw it open.
“Hey, listen, could you just forget about what you saw today?” Arssaya asked the soldiers, nervously tugging at her hair.
“No,” the head soldier started. “But you came all this way to help your friends. That makes me think you’re a good kid, and unless you become a threat to national security, I don’t think there’s any need for us to say anything about you beyond a brief mention.”
Arssaya looked shocked. ” You don’t think i’m a monster?” she asked.
“Kid, I’ve met several monsters over the years you don’t even come close.” the soldier reassured her.
“After ya,” Rashell said to Lanika and Arssaya, although Nick could tell he really wanted to rush in there by the way his eyes were fixed on the window. They did so and everyone followed afterward.