The Fairy Folk of Elvedon Manor

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Chapter 6: Hiding

Uni and Flashter got back to Albert before Sofire, they explained to him that Karmy was going to speak to the fairy Elders. Uni told Albert that he was going to keep Sofire and Flashter hidden so that Queen Maylada couldn’t find them and have Sofire arrested.Albert sat on a fallen log by the lagoon with his whiskery chin held firmly in his hands as he shook his head.Uni and Flashter looked up at him with worried expressions from their perch on Albert’s knee.Just as Sofire flew in with the faintest swish of cool air, Albert struck on the perfect idea, the last place anyone would think of looking for a fairy.

“Oh no, we can’t go there!” gasped Sofire.

“It’s the only place she wouldn’t think of looking” said Albert, gently.

“I think it is genius” chirped up Uni.

“Really?????” frowned Sofire.

She was beaten and she knew it. Unicorns were brilliant at reading other unicorns’ minds and turning up when a being needed them most, but they couldn’t vanish fairies from Queens.She knew that hiding in the very place she was accused of hiding was highly dangerous but also totally unexpected.There wasn’t a fairy in the kingdom that would dream of looking for her there.

“OK, you win.But please don’t tell Daniel anymore fairy stories until we’ve left.”

“Deal” smiled Albert.

Flashter and Uni started doing a funny little skiping dance on Albert’s knee while Sofire shook her head, wiggled her pointy toes and looked all round confused and befuddled. She was either going to get in the biggest and worst trouble she ever had been in, or they might just get away with it.Albert reached down and scooped up all three of them into his cardigan pocket.There was a fair amount of wobbling and shaking until they finally stopped elbowing each other and settled down.Once settled, Albert decided he could march quickly through the wood, climb through the gap at the bottom of the garden and sneak in the back of the house without anyone noticing them.

The journey back was rather cramped and fidgety, Sofire felt like she spent most of the journey glaring hard at Flashter. He in turn wiggled about with his hand held tight over his mouth to stop himself from laughing.Uni floated just above the bottom of Albert’s pocket and wasn’t jarred or bounced about at all. Sofire found that this was even more irritating as she was so very uncomfortable with Flashter’s knees and elbows poking her all the time.After what felt like an age, the bouncing about slowed down a bit and the steps felt harder.Then all of a sudden everything seemed to get very light above the pocket and an awful lot noisier!

The voices were so loud they had to put their hands over their sensitive ears. People were shouting to Albert, asking where he had been and why had he been gone so long.Just as they were certain they were to be deafened forever, it all got a lot quieter and slightly darker.Then they felt like they were going upwards and finally everything was light again but this time it was nice and peaceful.Albert’s big hands reached in so the three of them could leap into his palm and were lifted out where they hopped onto a book shelf.

“I’m sorry about the voices” whispered Albert.

“They were so loud!” yelled Flashster, who still had his hands over his ears.

“Sorry, they were just worried.I’d been gone for ages because I was looking for you and then waiting for you to come back.Anyway, you should be ok in here.I don’t think anyone comes in here except when I stop over at weekends.There are plenty of places to hide and Sofire, I think you’ll know how to get out if you need to?”He winked.

Albert then left them to make their own temporary home in his part time bedroom in the human house. Sofire still couldn’t believe she had gone along with their plan.If Maylada found out she was here she would be arrested for sure.She looked at her new friends Flashter and Uni and realised that if she had to be in this position with anyone, then she was glad she had these two.She smiled at them and they smiled back at her as if understanding her thoughts.Then Uni suggested they start making a little home with some beds that the humans couldn’t see if they came in.The three friends started pushing books from the bottom to make triangle gaps, Flashter and Sofire pushed with their hands while Uni took turns from shoving with his shoulder and kicking with his back hooves.

Flashter found some cotton wool and tissues which he flew over to the shelf wincing as he landed in case Sofire told him off. She shrugged her shoulders and helped him make bedding out of the wool and covers out of the tissues.They also draped some tissue over the gap in the back of the books to finish off the camp.Finally, when they were all out of breath and hot from the move, they looked at their little camp with pleasure.They were going to be cosy here for as long as they needed to be.Sofire heard a rumbling sound and jumped with an embarrassed smile she realised it was her own tummy.In their rushing about and panic they hadn’t thought to pick up anything to eat.

“Well we’re going to have to sneak back out to get something” sighed Uni.

“We can’t do that, what if some fairies saw us?” gasped Sofire.

“Do humans have food?” asked Flashter.

Uni thought it was a brilliant idea but Sofire was very worried. Exploring the human household, even when they were asleep, was bound to get her in more trouble.Uni calmly explained that Sofire was in trouble anyway and likely to be imprisoned whether they explored or not, this did nothing to cheer her up.She could not argue that they needed food, her belly itself was already admitting to that.They really had no choice since Albert wasn’t going to be back for five days.Even more annoyingly, Sofire realised this meant she was going to miss the Ice Fairy Festivities.This whole thing was causing her more worry than any fairy really needed to be going through.She eyed up Flashster again, if only he had appeared when she had left Daniel’s bedroom.

“So, are we going to find some food or not?” demanded Uni.

They waited until they were absolutely certain that the humans had gone to sleep. The three explorers left it sometime after the first snore, then carefully and quietly made their way through the gap under the bedroom door.Uni made himself glow light enough to help them see where they were going but not too bright that a human eye would see them.They made their way along the corridor, wading through the thick carpet until they reached the top of the stairs.The only option was to fly down so they kept low to each step and glided as often as they could to avoid letting their wings flap too much.

The carpet stopped at the bottom of the stairs and then the floor was wooden, this made walking easier but they were also worried about echoing footsteps. Everything was so big, the hallway at the bottom of the stair case felt like it had no ceiling and the corridor seemed to go off forever in both directions.They took a vote to choose which direction to explore first and decided straight forward was the best option.They kept close to the edge of the walls and stepped as lightly and quietly as they possibly could.Uni’s glow changed colour very slightly, yellow when he was concentrating, pink when he was excited, purple when he was nervous and green when he was terrified, which thankfully he hadn’t done yet.

Sofire reached the cold tiled floor of the kitchen first and beckoned the others to follow her. Uni hovered just above the wooden floor until he gracefully stepped down onto the white tiles of the kitchen.Flashter tip toed animatedly with his index finger pressed hard against his mouth causing it to squash across his face.Uni giggled quietly leaving the light ring of bells drifting on the air while Sofire glared from one to the other of them looking not in the least amused at the commotion and tapping her pointy purple toe to show it.Flashter arrived in front of her tapping toe looking surprised at her stern face while Uni just shrugged his shoulders while glowing a soft gentle pink colour.Sofire pointed to each of them in turn and then to different corners of the kitchen. Flashter was to start in the furthest corner away from the door, Uni was to start in the opposite corner and Sofire decided she would head straight for the cupboard directly in front. With their plan of attack sorted out, they each flew silently to their sections of the kitchen to start the food hunt.

They each squeezed between the cupboard doors to root around inside. Flashter and Sofire had to make their wings glow to light up what they were looking at, whereas Uni glowed himself all over which made it far easier for him.He found some crisps and biscuits and squeezed back out of the cupboard to tell the others.Sofire was having no such luck in her cupboard, everything was in tins and even her little pointy fingers couldn’t get inside those.She slivered out of the cupboard and nearly bumped into Uni who was by now waiting for her outside.They both clapped their hands over their mouths to stop themselves from giggling at the near on collision.Just as they pulled themselves together they heard a big loud thud.Their eyes widened as they turned their heads in the direction of the noise.

Flashter had wedged open a big white cupboard with a light inside that was by now lighting up the entire room. They both rushed over to stop him when they saw why he was looking at them with such a happy, gleeful expression on his face.He had found the fridge!They completely forgot about the light and the noise and the humans, they flew straight up to where he was tiptoeing across the racks.They started bouncing out tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, all manner of salad without a thought for the noise it was making.Then Flashter made a high pitched squeak and when they looked, they saw he was sliding all over the butter.Sofire tried to help him off while Uni jumped up in the air.

“Quick, quick,” he cried, “footprints”.

They both gasped in horror as they looked down and saw skiddy fairy footprints all over the human butter. Well they knew it was one thing to leave little traces of fairies having been about to make sure the humans continued to believe, and quite a different matter to leave real live fairy footprints.Uni started to glow a soft green which Sofire pretended she hadn’t noticed.She managed to grab Flashter while Uni flew back with a square piece of kitchen roll and started trying to smear the butter over the footprints.Sofire jumped and grabbed Uni with the other hand that wasn’t holding Flashter.

“What’s that noise?” she questioned.

“Oh no, it’s the humans” cried Uni turning the brightest shade of green.

Checking to make sure as much of the marks in the butter had gone that could point back to them. They leapt down from the fridge shelf and skidded on the insides of a tomato that had been dropped to the ground.Again they checked for footprints but they were not so much footprints as lines where they had skidded.Uni and Sofire grabbed Flashter between him and threw him into a crack in the wall, Uni made a last dash for some crisp and biscuit crumbs and flew in behind them.As he pulled his green tail in, the kitchen door opened and in came the unmistakable thudding of human feet!

“Is anyone there?” boomed the voice.

They held each other tightly inside the wall and caught their breath for fear of being heard. The human turned on some lights, banged a few cupboards, opened the back door and looked outside letting in the cold midnight air.Then the human thudded its way over to the fridge, made a funny groaning noise, shut the door and picked up some kitchen roll to clean up the mess.There was a lot of rustling and heavy breathing while this went on.After what felt like days, the human finally left the kitchen muttering something about mice.

The three friends all gave a unanimous sigh of relief as they dropped down to the floor with their feet out in front of them, except Uni who sat on his behind with his back legs tucked either side of him.

“Oh my goodness, that was just too close” wept Sofire.

“I know” agreed Uni, still a light shade of green.

Feeling somewhat nervous, they made their way back to Albert’s room even more carefully than the outward journey. Sofire had the biscuit crumbs in her petal pockets while Uni kept his eyes firmly on Flaster, to be on the safe side.They got back to the bedroom just as dawn was breaking, they could hear the cockerels announcing the sun’s appearance and each climbed into their little bed.With all the worry of the night, Sofire was now even too tired to eat.

They stayed in the bedroom for the next few days, only a hand popped out of the brickwork from time to time to grab some petals hooked on the outside of the house with dew in them to drink. It took two days for Flashter to start getting bored and three days for the biscuit crumbs to start running low.Uni and Sofire looked at each other uneasily.They would not be able to stretch their provisions out to when Albert was due to return at the weekend.Sofire counted the days on her finger and then smiled.

“Tonight is the night of the Festivities!” she exclaimed.

Uni looked sad, he really wanted to attend this year’s Festivities. In his short time with Queen Maylada, he had heard a lot of stories about the events and knew how much fun they would be.

“I can’t believe we are missing them” he sighed.

“No, you don’t see” said Sofire.“If all the fairy folk are at the Festivities, we’ll have less chance of getting caught!”

“You mean we can go outside?” squealed Flashter.

As they nodded, both Sofire and Uni looked worryingly at one another. Sofire was wondering if they could leave Flashter in the room on his own and Uni thinking if he could tie him up somewhere.They knew leaving him would be far more risky than taking him with them, and he had been a lot better recently.So they sat down on the floor and planned their evening’s adventure outside to get more supplies.

As before, when they heard the first snore from the humans they grabbed a make shift bag they had put together out of tissue. This time they also covered themselves in pieces of old dark sock they found as a disguise.They walked sideways tight against the bedroom door and slid out through the crack in the plaster.As soon as they were in the brickwork they could breathe a little easier.They all felt safer creeping through the walls than outside into the humans living area.After climbing down and crawling through some sticky cobwebs, they started to smell the lovely scent of outside.

It must have rained earlier because the grass smelt the strongest closely followed by some roses and jasmine. The air lifted their spirits after nearly three days of being stuck in a musky human house.Flashter fell straight through the gap the brickwork and onto the wet ground outside.Uni and Sofire dashed straight after him stopping suddenly when Sofire ran into something hard and stopped dead.The sinking feeling in her stomach told her not to look up but her eyes were immediately drawn there anyway.She had ploughed straight into Queen Maylada’s pink petal carriage that was being pulled by slugs this time, not the unicorns.Uni had completely vanished and all that was left of Flashter was a green pointy shoe on the ground close by her.

As the door of the carriage started to slowly open, Sofire saw the Queen’s head lean forward. She made a slow, silent climb down from the rose thorn steps of the carriage.When the Queen’s head bent forward Sofire saw that in the back of the carriage was her brother, Kaflinsk.

“What are you doing here!” screamed Sofire, unable to keep her mouth from exploding.

“What do you mean, what am I doing here” yelled the Queen’s, firm, authoritative voice.

“Not you, him” pointed Sofire.

“Funny story” purred Queen Maylada. “I realised I hadn’t seen you for some time, hanging about as you tend to.Then I saw your brother sneaking about near the gap in the hedges around the human garden.We had the unicorns on the carriage but something told me I should leave them all behind.So I followed him for a while, then when I got bored I asked him what he was doing.”

“I didn’t mean to tell her” cried Kaflinsk. “I was trying to find you, to play a game, but she caught me.I’m so sorry.”

“Yes, caught red handed creeping about through the human garden. Told me you were hiding inside with a fresh fairy and a unicorn.Where are they?” she screamed the last question.

“I don’t know what you mean!” lied Sofire.

The Queen smiled broadly like a cat that had got the cream. They both knew that Sofire was lying so Maylada didn’t say anything more.The next thing Sofire knew is she was being pulled at her shoulders by guard fairies and her hands were tied behind her in pixy string, the strongest string in the land.She was pushed into a dark box at the back of the carriage and the door was slammed shut.She knew she was heading for the prison.There was nothing else she could do now but cry and cry and cry.

Uni had grabbed Flashter and dragged him inside a small boxed hedge outside the human’s house the second he saw the carriage. He overheard everything that was said and saw Sofire being thrown into the box at the back of the carriage.His heart had sunk knowing how sad she would be but he didn’t lose sense of the urgency either.Realising Kaflinsk had managed to get them caught and obviously knowing the Queen must realise unicorns are telepathic, she had used the slugs to bring her.Uni concentrated his mind towards his fellow unicorns to ask them for help.There was no panic in response so she obviously hadn’t locked them up, there was just a warm feeling inside him which he knew meant they were with him.

Uni horned head ducked between Flashter’s legs in a split second who suddenly found he was on Uni’s back and whizzing through the air. Uni flew just to the side of the carriage, never taking his eyes off of them to make sure he didn’t lose sight of it.They flew for what felt like days but was most probably human hours.It hadn’t got dark and light again and Uni thought he could hear the sound of fairy music and laughter somewhere far away into the distance.The Festivities must still be in full swing, which on the bright side meant there would not be any other distractions ahead.

Finally they arrived at the fortress looking white ice towers that Uni knew to be the Queen’s castle. Everything shone and gleamed against the rising sun but it looked hard and cold.There was no mistaking that this would be the place Sofire would be imprisoned.He waited in the shadows with Flashter on his back, watching to see what they did with the box that she was locked in.The four guard fairies picked the box up onto their shoulders and walked into the castle.Then the big gates slammed shut and Uni shivered against the warm sunshine.

He flew Flashter straight back to Karmy and explained as quickly as he could what had happened. Karmy gasped, sighed, shook his head and shrugged his shoulders at various points in the story.Finally, after being quiet for some time and rubbing his long purple beard.Karmy stood with his hands on his hips and his feet as far apart as they could.

“Uni, take Flashter straight back to Sofire’s parents and explain what has happened. I need to go to the Elders at Elvedon Manor to see what can be done to help her.Where is Kaflinsk?”

“The brother was booted out of the carriage as we went past the sound of the Festivities. I saw him fly off but didn’t want to leave Sofire.”

“Good, so we only have one of them to worry about” nodded Karmy.

Uni sighed desperately and looked at Flashter before throwing him on his back again.

“Unicorns can get out of hard walls but not into them.” Uni said sadly.

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