The Fairy Folk of Elvedon Manor

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Chapter 4: Uni

The next morning Sofire woke with the sunshine streaming through the window making her rub her eyes and blink a lot. She looked about her to check on what disasters might have happened in her bedroom at Flashter’s expense.Everything looked the same as last night, she sat up and looked about her again.Flashter was sitting on his neatly made bed, looking directly at her with a big smile on his face.Sofire smiled back and asked him if everything was ok.He slowly unwrapped his legs from their crossed position and silently stepped across the room towards her.

“I’ve been a good fairy and I’ve made my bed. I’ve sat here quietly waiting for you to wake up.I didn’t make a sound.Did you hear?”He said softly.

“No I didn’t hear a thing. You’ve been a very good fairy, Flashter” she smiled.

“Well, Sofire. I was a good fairy.But someone else wasn’t.” He whispered, while patting his nose.

“Who hasn’t been a good fairy?” squeaked a surprised Sofire.

“You won’t get cross with me will you?”

“No…..I hope not” corrected Sofire.

“I’m afraid to tell you Sofire, that your brother Kaflinsk might not be the goodest fairy in the whole world.”

Sofire felt a mixture of relief and concern at these words. She knew her bother to be a prank puller so if he was up to something it wouldn’t be a big shock.Her biggest relief was that she hoped that Flashter might have turned a corner.He obviously trusted her enough to speak now and confide in her on something he wasn’t sure would get him in trouble.Something that she knew was a huge deal to him. So while she sat pondering her brother she couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit proud of her fresh fairy friend.

After a short while, Sofire asked what it was that Kaflinsk had been up to. Flashter, as quick as a flash, sitting on the end of her bed crossed-legged.His big blue eyes sparkled as they looked at her with an earnest expression on his face.Flashter said that he had woken in the night to some scrapping, scuffling and some other giggly noisy stuff.Being slightly concerned there were pixies outside, at first he had hidden under his feather blanket.Then when he saw the light shining under the bedroom door he thought it probably wasn’t a pixie, crept across the room and slithered onto the floor on his tummy.While in the peeking under the door position, he had seen Kaflinsk tiptoeing back and forth between their bedroom and the bathroom.

Sofire realised straight away that Kaflinsk must be re-creating the same water pot bridge he had made for their relatives when they stayed for the last fairy festivities. Realising that the trap would be set straight out of the bedroom door, Sofire told Flashter that when they got dressed and ready, they would have to climb out of the bedroom window and down the vines that hung from the bushes outside.He liked this idea very much, he told Sofire eagerly that climbing was one of his favourite ever things.When she considered he had only been alive a couple of days and neither of them had climbed anywhere together in that time, she smiled.

They got dressed quickly, Sofire tidied her bed to look as close to the neatness Flashter had managed with his. Then she put a finger over her lips and prized open their bedroom window making sure no-one was outside or nearby to catch them.As quietly as she could manage, Sofire leaned out of the window to try to grab the vine.The breeze was blowing it further away from her and her finger tips couldn’t quite reach the closest vine.She looked about her bedroom for something to help pull it close but there was nothing that was bendy or long enough.Then she looked at Flashter with wonder, grimaced a little, looked away and then looked back at him.She knew she had no choice, if that water fell on her head, she knew full well she and Flashter would somehow get the blame as Kaflinsk would pretend it wasn’t him.

Sofire explained to Flashter that she would have to lean off of the ledge towards the vine and he would need to hold her ankles to make sure she didn’t fall off. She reminded him that they were not allowed to fly so at no point could he let go because she wouldn’t be able to do that.He nodded back at her seriously and without any of his usual excited-ness.Sofire climbed up onto the ledge of the window, while Flashter rubbed his pointy hands together to make sure they were awake and grabbed her ankles.She leaned out as far as she could without wiggling her green wings for balance and just as she managed to grab the vine she heard a croaky laugh.At the shock of getting caught, Sofire fell straight off the ledge taking Flashter with her as she held tightly to the vine swinging back and forth.The croaky laugh got louder and faster as they swung and swung like an extra-long, double winged fairy. Flashter was still holding tight to her ankles that made her legs feel like they were stretching down to the ground.

Finally the vine came to a standstill and Sofire called down to Flashter that she was going to try to climb down moving one hand over the one below. She asked him if he felt he could grab the vine and do the same, he said he did and they both slowly made their way down.Sofire knew she was going to have to face something when she got down there but for now the best thing was to get them both down the vine safely.Flashter got to the ground so swiftly that any fairy would think he really had climbed before, while Sofire jumped down the last bit landing just slightly to his left.She checked them both for cuts and bruises but both seemed to have got through their ordeal mark free.They jumped as they heard some cracking of twigs close by and turned to see a little white unicorn.Sofire’s shock turned into complete panicky fear, this was worse than getting caught by her parents or brother.She had seen only the day before that the unicorns were now working with Queen Maylada.

The unicorn trotted lightly closer to Sofire and Flashter, his little croaky giggle chiming away with every single step. Sofire felt her pink cheeks run out of pinkness and turn to white.One of the Queen’s unicorns had just caught her climbing out of her bedroom window with a brand new fresh fairy for company.This went against everything her parents had said, the biggest of which is she was not getting caught by the Queen.Her shoulders drooped and her the purple toes of her pointy shoes began wiggling with the moss and leaves underfoot.Flashter stood next to her silently, eager to meet this newcomer but sensing this might be the right moment to roll about wiggling his legs in the air as he did with Kaflinsk.

“I knew I’d find you if I just took my time” smiled the unicorn.

Sofire hardly dare breath, her mind was racing as she tried desperately to think up an explanation to the Queen’s spy.

“I’m not a spy!” screeched the unicorn, as he stamped his little gold hooves on the ground.

“I didn’t say that…..out loud” whispered Sofire.

“I’m a unicorn!” said the unicorn, by way of explanation.

Sofire’s lips moved but no words came out. Feeling the tension ease off a little, Flashster bounded over to the unicorn, twitching his orange wings and dancing about with waving hands.The unicorn started to laugh again, a cheery little musical sound like metal wind-chimes.Flashster and the unicorn sprang about in a happy little playful dance for some time while Sofire started to come slowly out of her initial shock.When she stopped panicking and saw the two of them playing, her initial terror turned to joy.They both realised Sofire was no longer standing like a statue but once again a pretty, colourful fairy with purple hair and pink cheeks, they stopped their games and walked towards her.

“I’m Uni, the unicorn.I could see from the colour draining from your face that you don’t know anything about unicorns, so I think I’d better explain.First of all, unicorns are not spies!Well they’re not spies for people in power, well unless they’re in trouble. Well no, we are not spies!” said a slightly muddled Uni stamping his gold hoof on the ground again.

“Unicorns are always white and always have a horn on their head.We can all fly, some have wings, some don’t, but we can all fly anyway.Well except my brother Corn, but you don’t need to know about him.Unicorns come in all sizes, well most sizes.What happens is, unicorns appear to the being that needs us the most.We appear the correct size for them.So if you were a unicorn and a human was in a desperate need of help, you’d appear the size that was right for a human.You know, so they could see you, talk to you and sit on your back for a quick getaway, that type of thing.”

Sofire listened politely while Flashster stood millimetres away from Uni, far too excited to stand any further away from him.

“So if you appear to those that need you the most, why did you appear to the Queen?Is the Queen in trouble?” gasped Sofire.

“No” laughed Uni.“We didn’t appear to the Queen, she’s our cover story.She’s a tough one that one.Put anything in prison that one!No we thought it was better to join up here with her on our side than for her to find out we were here without her knowing.”

“Oh I see” said a very confused Sofire.“So, who have you come here for?”

“You of course” laughed Uni as Sofire stumbled backwards and fell to the ground.

Flashter ran over to Sofire and sat on the floor next to her to try to cover up for her fall. He held her hand and patted it while her lips once again moved but no sound came out.Uni wandered about in front of them both, his little gold hooves letting puffs of gold fly up behind them with every step he took.He patiently strolled back and forth for some time waiting for Sofire to come back to herself.

“Do you think she’ll stay like that much longer?” asked Uni.

“I don’t know” shrugged Flashter.“I’ve never ever seen her like this before.”

“Well as you’ve only known her 3 days that’s not really a lot to go on Flashter my friend” replied Uni. Flashster’s little chin dropped down leaving his mouth hanging wide open.

“Oh sorry, yes I know she founded you in the human’s bedroom. It’s one of the reasons I’m here.”Flashter nodded as if that was the perfect explanation.

As if on cue, Uni stopped dead while his white upright ears twitched. His nose shot into the air while he breathed in heavily and then he raised himself slightly higher, balancing on his hind legs.The shiny horn on his head glowed purple and his tiny little silvery white wings flicked gently.

“We need to get out of here” said Uni.“Can you lift her onto my back and keep up with me?”

“Yes, I think so” said an alert Flashter.

He lifted Sofire up under her arms and tried to walk her over to Uni. He bent down onto his four knees so that Flashter could leverage her up onto his back easier.He dropped her over his back end, then pulled her arms up over his head, with a bit of heaving and ho-ing and a bit of shrugging and wobbling from Uni, they finally got her fixed on his back.The second she was up, Uni was off.He flew straight up into the air and high into the branches.Flashter stood looking up at them, he wasn’t allowed to fly.

“Get up here now” shouted Uni.“Quick, she’s going to see you.”

He flapped his orange wings, looked them over and was off as quick as lightening. It was the first time he had stretched them out and held his own body weight with them higher than Sofire’s mother’s kitchen ceiling.He felt the air flow beneath his wings like a warm arm lifting him higher and higher in a soft and gentle massage.Uni beaconed for him to fly up close to him and explained how to move his wings slower so they didn’t make any sound but kept him above the ground.Just as they stilled themselves, the bells started chiming and the gentle footfall of unicorns’ hooves echoed closer and closer.Uni made the mouth shape to shush Flashter who immediately understood.

The ringing bells and clip-clopping hooves came to a stop right beneath them. Uni inhaled again and nodded at Flashter.They stayed there like hanging statues with nothing but the very edges of their wings gently flicking to keep them off the ground.They heard a carriage door swing open and some pointy shoes make their way down some steps.There was a rustle of leaves and a very loud sniffing noise right beneath them.

“I know they were here” said the squeaky voice of Queen Maylada.

“If you know she has one, I don’t understand why you haven’t arrested her?” said the doorman.

“It isn’t for you to understand or not” screeched the Queen.“Anyway, I need proof.I need to know she’s been dealing with humans.I can’t just arrest her because she has a fresh fairy with her.We need some fresh fairies now and then anyway or we’ll all die off.I just need proof of where she got him!”

“Oh” replied the doorman, looking slightly shifty.

From their hiding place Uni and Flashter heard every word. When they dared, they peaked down through the densely thick leaves of the trees below.They wanted to see but didn’t want to see, worried that if they could see her, she would see them.The unicorns seemed to be changing colour, some light green, some pink, some a gentle mauve.Uni smiled to himself and made another shush face to Flashter.

After a bit more shuffling and sniffing, the Queen finally had the doorman fairy help her back into her carriage. He closed the door behind her as she squeaked through the door to return home.The gentle bells started jingling through the air again as the carriage drifted further and further away from them into the distance.Uni sighed heavily and shrugged his shoulders a bit to move Sofire who was starting to slide off his back.Flashter pulled her over a bit and nodded at Uni.They both gently made their way back to the ground, not disturbing any leaves or making hardly a sound.As they got to the ground, Flashter helped Sofire off and then gently gave her a shake.She gave him a hard push and walked away from him for a few steps.She bent down and picked up some leaves to rub and breathed them in heavily.

“She knows about Flashter?” said Sofire to Uni.

“Yes she does” said Uni.“That’s why I’m here.”

“What am I going to do?”

“Like she said, she can’t arrest you for having a fresh fairy with you.If they don’t appear to fairies when humans believe, the fairy race will die out.But she cannot find any proof that Flashster appeared to you in a human child’s bedroom.If she can prove that, you can be arrested for being with humans. You know that means you’ll be imprisoned for a long time.”

Sofire dropped the leaves on the floor and stared hopelessly at Uni. Flashter wiggled his wings and tried to hug her.

“I don’t know why you’re being all like that.You used your wings and you know you’ll be in trouble for that too” said Sofire.

Flahster nodded guiltily and wiped a tear from his cheek. Feeling bad, Sofire then went to his side and held his hand.She reassured him that it was alright and she knew he had no choice.He smiled brightly at her while his left eye still twinkled with an unshed tear.

“OK, ok, this is all lovely and nice” said a bored Uni.“Now we really do have to get some work done here.Firstly Sofire, you have got to sort your brother out.If he hadn’t laid that prank on you outside your door, you would not have jumped out of your bedroom with the Flash-monster here and Queen Maylada wouldn’t have nearly caught you.Secondly, I’m going to help you sort this one out.Granted you’ve done a fine job in 3 days and he is marginally better today than even yesterday, but we cannot give her any room.I found the perfect place so let’s get going.Can he use his wings now or are you going to shove him on my back?One way or another we need to get out of here and to the spot I found.”

Sofire shrugged her shoulders, stopped for a second thinking with her pointy finger attached to her chin. She looked at Flashter, then she looked at Uni, and then shoved him on Uni’s back.

“Sorry but I have to at least try to do what my parents tell me to do” she said.

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