“My lord,” spoke a servant through a large door. He was a small, pudgy imp, the same imp who retrieved the orb for his master. He wasn’t his master’s favorite servant, the master didn’t have favorites, but the imp was his least hated. “We have more information on the girl.”
The mage stood from behind his desk, no longer wearing his dark purple cloak. He only wore leather pants, his calf length lace up boots, and a muscle tee. “Come in.”
The door opened on its own, and the imp entered slowly, the door slamming shut behind him.
“You may speak,” the mage commanded.
The imp would be shaking in his shoes, if he was wearing any. Servants weren’t permitted very much clothing, and shoes were a luxury they couldn’t afford. They only wore tattered tunic shirts and thin linen pants, provided with two pairs each. “My lord,” his voice cracked. He cleared his throat. “Our scouts have been following the girl you seek.”
The mage stared at him, silently beckoning him to continue. The imp shifted his weight on both feet and went on slowly. “They have found that the girl is not...entirely...human.”
The master’s eyebrows shot up and he came around his desk. He leaned on the edge and crossed his arms. “Go on.”
“Well,” he stammered. “They didn’t hear all of it, but they heard the girl say that she has fae blood.”
The mage drew a hand up to rub the bridge of his nose. He inhaled sharply. This won’t be as easy as I thought, he thought. “The scouts didn’t think to hear the rest of that conversation?”
“Well, no, but they-”
The imp sputtered. “But sir! They brought back crucial information for the prophecy!”
The mage glowered at the being before him. He took three quick steps and clasped a hand around his throat, drawing him off the ground. The imp gasped for air, clawing at his master’s hands. “Do not,” the made growled. “Talk about that, do you understand me?”
The imp nodded immediately, choking on the air escaping his lungs. The mage set him back down. “Do what I have said. Kill the scouts. They brought me back only a piece of information, when I need the entire truth. This does not help me in the slightest. Understand?”
The door opened and the imp nodded again, bowing before scurrying out of the room. The mage let out a long groan before he slammed the door shut once again. He sat back down in his leather chair behind his desk and stared at the orb in front of him. The orb swirled with the same different color reds as before, only this time, it contained speckles of silver.
Fantastic, he thought.
Nicholas stared at Emerson as he took in her words. I’m half fae. The words repeated in his mind over and over before finally, he spoke up again.
“What do you mean, half fae?” he asked slowly.
“What do you think it means?” She looked at the man before her, who was growing more anxious by the minute. When she dropped the bombshell on him, the truth about the blood that ran through her veins, he lost it. He didn’t speak for at least an hour, and when he finally spoke up for the first time, it was a string of mumbles and incoherent words Emerson couldn’t understand. She didn’t say anything, she just let him sit there and take in the news. It wasn’t every day you met a fae. They were almost as rare as the mages.
Now, he was asking a ridiculous question that he already knew the answer to.
“Can you explain?”
Emerson sighed. “As far as I know, my father was human. My mom, though, was 100% fae. My mom isn’t from Selal, she’s from a small town called Kheka. My Granny found her when she was a little girl; she had been wounded really bad by a couple of faerie hunters. Granny Isa isn’t her real mother, obviously, because she’s human. She took her here and raised her as a human because my mother possessed the ability to glamour herself. In short, it means she can hide herself from humans. You wouldn’t know she was fae from looking at her.
“After she found her, she took her to a doctor in Kheka and got her fixed up, then moved her here, with more humans. Kheka is known to be a fae hotspot, you could say, and Isa didn’t want her new daughter growing up around that. My mom met my father some time when she was older and got pregnant with me. She gave birth to me and raised me in Sanguine Spring until I was two. Then she moved me to Selal with Isa, to familiarize me with humans. She said she wanted me to understand the fae part of me, but she also wanted me to recognize the other parts of the world. The other part of me. Then, she moved me back to Sanguine Spring when I was eight, then into the cabin right before she died.”
Nicholas gaped at her. The woman he had been living with was half fae? There was absolutely no way. She doesn’t even look like a fae...
“I don’t look like a fae because I can glamour, too. My mom taught me when I was younger. I only glamour when I leave the cabin. I have a few other abilities, too, but I don’t really have a use for them,” she spoke, as if reading his thoughts.
“Can I...Can I see you without the glamour?” he asked her, unsure of his own words.
She nodded. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, and connected herself with nature. It was the fastest and easiest way to use a glamour. Connect yourself with a source of nature. As her body changed, she heard a sharp intake of breath from Nicholas.
Nicholas stared at Emerson as she changed. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. She was changing right before his eyes. If he thought she was beautiful before, well... Her hair was now white with pale blue ends, but it was so subtle that you couldn’t even tell unless you really stared at it. Her hair was also decorated with different types of flowers and vines, and Nicholas wondered if they grew there or if she placed them there some time ago. He noticed the same jewels that decorated the other fae’s bodies, but hers were light purple, almost pink. Her face didn’t change much, but her lips were now fuller and her nose sharper. Her ears became pointed, and when she opened her eyes, they were purple.
He opened his mouth and closed it, and then swallowed. He was out of breath and out of words, he didn’t want to say something to mess anything up. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered.
Emerson’s cheeks heated up and she looked away, mumbling a thanks. She prepared to turn back, but she felt a hand on her shoulder.
“Don’t!” Nicholas shouted. “Um, not yet. Stay like this a little longer?”
Emerson nodded, suddenly feeling as if she was on display. She felt awkward, and she was at a loss for words. What kind of conversation was she supposed to have looking like this? Fae had a natural lure of humans, especially human men, so she was sure she knew what Nicholas was feeling right now.
“Are you a water nymph too?” he asked.
“I am. Amethyst and Jezebel are my sisters, actually,” she answered.
“They’re your what?”
She laughed, looking back at Nicholas, who was staring at her intently with a look Emerson knew all too well. She quickly changed back before he could make any arguments.
“Amethyst and I are twins. My mom had Jezebel a year later.” She kept her answer short, not caring to continue the conversation, but Nicholas wouldn’t let it go.
“Wait, twins? Sisters?” Nicholas rubbed his forehead. “This is too much.”
Emerson sighed. “I’m the older twin. I don’t know how Amethyst became Queen of Sanguine Creek, either, but when it came time to leave, the elder fae wanted her to stay. My mom couldn’t say no, because technically they were her elders, too. So she took me and left Amethyst. I’m guessing that the elders chose her as the next Queen when the previous one died. As for Jezebel, she’s full fae. My mom got pregnant by a fae right after she had us.”
Nicholas nodded, soaking up the information he was being given. “What other kind of abilities do you have? I don’t know much about the fae.”
Emerson gave him a look he couldn’t quite decipher before answering. “Before I answer that, I want you to understand something about the fae, about us. We aren’t dangerous creatures. A lot of people get stories twisted and paint us as really bad Unnaturals, but honestly, the fae are just fascinated with humans. That’s all. Remember how Amethyst asked us to play?”
“The fae get lonely. Because they’re always regarded as awful beings, humans tend to steer clear of them. Sanguine Spring is a type of... oasis for the fae where a few humans come to spend time with the fae, usually a few days at a time.”
“Wait,” Nicholas realized something. “Amethyst made you pay a price before crossing the bridge. Why did she do that if you’re not human?”
“Three reasons. One, because I was with a human. Two, because while I’m in a human glamour I have to act as a human. And three, Amethyst is just a little shit kid sister who likes to mess with me.”
Nicholas pursed his lips. “And your abilities?”
“Well, obviously I can glamour, but every fae can do that for the most part, unless their fae blood is so thin they don’t have it in them. There’s also allure, which every fae has. You felt attracted to me while I wasn’t glamoured didn’t you? And the fae you saw in the Spring?” Nicholas smiled sheepishly. “Don’t feel embarrassed. It’s a natural beauty we have to entice humans. We’re also mmortal, and we only age at will. The only ways to really kill a fae are really gruesome. As a water nymph, I can manipulate the elements, particularly water, but I don’t do it very often because I never have the need to. I can also heal myself and others, feel emotions, and I’m clairvoyant.”
“Are there more abilities fae have that you don’t?”
Emerson scoffed. “Of course. Photokenesis, telepathy, animal communication, flying, and portal usage. Just because one fae has an ability, doesn’t mean they all do. My mom wasn’t clairvoyant, and Amethyst can make and use portals. It just depends.”
Nicholas slowly nodded for what seemed like the hundredth time that day. “I guess that makes sense. All faeries are immortal?”
“Yes. And we don’t age. Generally, if you see a fae in old age, it generally means that they’re an elder. It’s a way to let you know that they’re in power. Some, however, age themselves to be more connected to humanity.”
Nicholas looked into Emerson’s eyes, now back to her natural blue, and found himself wishing for them to be purple again. “Uh,” she said. “Another thing I can mention. I can read your thoughts.”
His eyes widened. “You can?”
She barked out a laugh and grabbed her backpack and quiver from the ground, standing up. “Don’t worry, I don’t do it intentionally. Sometimes your louder thoughts come to me on their own, though.”
Nicholas scrambled to his feet and found himself looking for an excuse. “Don’t worry about it,” she assured. “But we should get going. It’s getting late.”
When they got to Selal, Emerson led Nicholas right to his father’s bank, Sun Crest. By the looks of it, it was still open. Emerson was unsure whether his father was still there, but it was a better start than going to his house right off the bat.
Nicholas felt his palms start to sweat. “Um, Emerson, I just wanted to say thank you for everything you’ve done for me so far.”
She smiled back at him. “Don’t worry about it. Let’s go meet your father.”
She swung the doors open and walked into the large bank, which was decorated in gold and silver walls. A chandelier hung from the ceiling, and fairy lights glittered and flickered throughout the room. She chuckled to herself. Sun Crest suits a place like this.
“Can I help you?” called a woman from the front desk. Her hair was red and pulled into a tight bun, her nose pointed and long, her thin lips drawn into a line. Lovely, Emerson thought, just what we needed.
“I need to talk to Jordan Evans,” she answered.
The lady held a finger up and dialed a number on the phone, speaking so fast Emerson could barely understand her. All she caught on to were, visitors, dirty, and dangerous. She bit her tongue to prevent herself from causing a scene.
“Mr. Evans does not have time for visitors,” she clipped, then smiled sweetly.
I feel like I’m gonna barf, Nicholas’s thoughts traveled to Emerson.
She rolled her eyes and yanked the phone from her hand, then started to speak. “Look, Evans, I think you’d want to know I have Nicholas with me.”
She slammed the phone down and waited. From behind the desk, she heard clanking and thuds, before a final slam. A small man came out, looking exhausted, his glasses falling off of his face.
“Nick,” he breathed.