The queen gave her a wide-eyed look so miserable and tragic it nearly broke the Fairy Godmother’s heart.
“You think the king doesn’t love you?”
“Oh, he says he does but how can he when I can’t even…” She trailed off, turning away from Aryssa to collapse onto the bench. Angrily she said, “He loves her!”
Aryssa furrowed her brow. “Her who?”
“Fairy Godmother.” A voice bellowed.
Aryssa turned to find a statuesque Fairy dressed in emerald silks rushing toward her. The elegant Willow Fairy Hazelbite was advisor to the crown of Davenmour since time immemorial. She looked to be about twice Aryssa’s age, possibly to maintain the wise benevolent granny image of her position, though most were too intimidated to ever speak to her.
“Good evening, Mystic Hazelbite.” Aryssa greeted her cheerfully.
“Good evening, Miss Thornhart, I was told you were here. I know it is common practice for Fairy Godmothers to suddenly appear in one’s home but I was not aware that extended to royal palaces.”
Aryssa bristled at Hazelbite’s breach in protocol by omitting her title when addressing her and raised her chin.
“I was summoned to the palace by the queen, Mystic.”
Hazelbite frowned at the queen who remained with her back turned.
“Were you? Well, I am afraid that was in error. Your services are not required here. Good day.” Hazelbite held an arm out towards the doorway at the end of the garden but Aryssa remained steadfast.
“What’s wrong with the queen, is she ill?”
The Royal Mystic stiffened. “There is nothing whatever wrong with the queen. Her majesty is in perfect health.”
Aryssa glanced at the royal, who started muttering to herself and raised an eyebrow. “Her majesty is in a terrible state of melancholy and starting to go mad.”
The Fairy Godmother glanced about to make sure they were still alone. “You know the queen is half-Fae.”
Hazelbite’s face went purple for a moment before taking on a serene expression.
“Alright Godmother, what is it you want?”
Aryssa blinked. “Excuse me?”
Hazelbite crossed her arms. “Everyone has their price for keeping silent. Name yours.”
The Fairy Godmother gaped. “I won’t breathe a word if that’s what you want, of course.”
“But Queen Saskia needs to use her magic far more than she is. She’s headed for madness.”
“What she needs is to concentrate on being human and serving her human husband.”
“You can’t stop Saskia from being who she is!” Aryssa gasped.
Hazelbite leaned forward, her eyes flashing. “You need to stop meddling in the affairs of others.”
Incensed, Aryssa leaned forward as well, practically touching noses. “I am a Fairy Godmother, meddling in the affairs of others is my job. I suggest you remember how to do yours.”
They glared at each other for a moment, the cloud of power rising from them silenced every bird and bee in the garden. Even the queen gave an absentminded shiver. Finally, Hazelbite leaned back again.
“Quite right.” She motioned for a pair of guards standing in the doorway. “Guards, Miss Thornhart is leaving. Please escort her out.”
Despite the rage roiling inside her Aryssa made her face serene as the guards approached.
“It was enlightening to have met you, Mystic Hazelbite. Good evening, your majesty.” She replied, glancing at the queen who still hadn’t moved.
As the guards escorted her out, Aryssa heard footsteps padding down the hall. She reached out and found the signatures of a Rose and Beryl Fairy. Strange, the stoic, anal-retentive Beryl Fairies almost never associated with the more flamboyant Rose Fairies. Their flighty nature was a constant irritant.
Aryssa produced a purse from her sleeve as she approached the door and bumped into one of the guards so that the entire contents spilled onto the floor.
“Oh my, I’m terribly sorry.” Aryssa started.
“No, no, it’s entirely my fault for being so clumsy, Godmother!” The guard said.
While the guards busied themselves picking everything up, Aryssa turned to find a Rose and Beryl Fairy peering at her from behind one of the large columns down the hall. Garbed in a fashionable pink gown, the lithe and delicate Rose Fairy Honeypetal, with her long snowy locks, grey eyes, and heart-shaped mouth frowned. A crease formed between her perfectly shaped eyebrows and the Fairy Godmother resisted the urge to warn her about wrinkles. Rustling beside her was the plump and gaudy Beryl Fairy Merrypuff. The sapphire smothered hennin that rested on dark hair pulled into a bun matched the overly flouncy gown she wore. Her blue eyes narrowed and she scowled upon realizing she’d been spotted. Aryssa caught movement in the corner of her eye and turned to find Hazelbite in the garden doorway waving off the other fairies. When she caught the Willow Fairy’s eye Aryssa nodded and said,
“Please give my condolences to their majesties on this tragic day.”
Aryssa mulled the situation over in her mind as her carriage made it's way back into the city. She hated to leave the Dark Fairy with any semblance of hope that she could or even would help her but their conversation did little to aid her investigation. Ravenshade denied killing the princess of course and even denied putting the curse on her but neither instantly granted her innocence. Every prisoner was innocent if you asked them directly.
So Honeypetal found the news of Ravenshade’s refusal to attend the Jubilee amusing. The Rose Fairy was charming and beautiful, the envy of all in Davenmour. However, Aryssa already knew her demeanor was insincere. Having met and granted wishes for many an impoverished servant, henpecked husband, and abused stepchild, the Fairy Godmother could spot hypocrisy of the heart from 100 paces.
Aryssa found it odd that Honeypetal would be at the palace with a frump outside her clique of beautiful Fae but for the queen’s own Mystic, Hazelbite, to associate with them was most irregular. The Fairy Godmother stopped at The Witching Flour Bakery to pick up some treats for the team meeting she realized she needed to call that night. There was a lot to consider and Aryssa decided she had a new client after all.