Chapter Nine: The Middle Realm

1ajAwakening to the smell of gardenias, lavender, and pine, I breathed deeply, wanting to drown in that scent. But before I could get swept away by the smell, my eyes drank in the beauty of the area the fairies called Middle Realm. I never could have imagined it—the colors seemed to be alive themselves, vibrating out from every object. From the enormous unicorn entrance to the sparkling cobblestone path leading up toward a beautiful castle, I was absolutely awestruck.

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Brenden arched an eyebrow. “Nice, eh?”

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I beamed up at him, barely breathing. “Yes. N-Nice.”

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Lenora’s voice shattered my moment of happiness, “We don’t have time for pleasantries. Brenden, take her to her quarters and get her prepared for the Second Trial. We’ve not a moment to lose.” I noticed she looked more like Brenden now with pointy ears and a shimmering dress.

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Brenden bowed curtly, “Yes, my lady.”

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Then his eyebrows drew up angrily when he looked at Francisco wrapping his fingers around my chair’s handles, preparing to push me along. “What about them?” he cried, hands on hips. “I’m not a nursemaid. I’ll not be at their beck and call.”

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Lenora’s gaze picked over Holly, Francisco, and my sister one by one until she shrugged. “You chose her, so you have the honor of dealing with her…inconveniences.”

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She pointed at him. “Have her ready by middle-day and not a harpswing more.”

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Brenden massaged his temples and muttered, “Great Guardian, what do you have against me?” He sighed deeply as if he was about to heave five hundred pounds and said, “Come on then. Follow me.”

Brenden floated ahead of us, leaving glitterdust in his wake. Francisco pushed me as we tried to follow, but then he stopped. Some fairies were arguing in front of us.

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“Asher, I told you to mop this area,” a tiny tot barked at an obviously older fairy. “What do you have to say for yourself. It’s still dirty.”

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“I was just about to, milady. Just need to fetch the mop is all.”

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Instantly, a large mop appeared in his hands as the fairy went straight to work.

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“Strange,” Francisco said.

“Definitely,” I agreed. “I guess the fairy world is much different than ours.”

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As we moved along the cobblestone path, I noticed fairies of all sizes bustling here and there on their way to an important mission of some sort or giving orders. Something struck me as I watched them—they all looked like children.

A few resembled large young adults, giggling together and floating around, playing.

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And others were like Brenden—teenagers, flitting on errands with parchments or food trays, but many were very young, talking importantly amongst themselves or marching to a job here or there. And what surprised me the most were the leaders, the ones who gave the orders. They appeared to be anywhere from two to four years old. Even younger than Lenora.

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As we moved along the beautiful flowered path, Francisco asked, “I don’t get it. Why are the youngest fairies in charge?”

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Brenden laughed. “You have much to learn about fairies.”

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He waved his hand. “You see, they don’t age as humans because time is different for them. Each fairy ages at a different rate so it’s anyone’s guess as to how many earth years they are. What counts is maturity. I’m a one hundred sixty-two earth years old fairy, yet my maturity level is that of an average seventeen year old human.”

At this, a small boy fairy interjected, “He’s lying. Brenden’s more like a twelve year old human.” A few fairies tittered at the joke. I couldn’t help but smile.

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Brenden swatted at the fairy. “Mogelsby, go on now. That hurt my feelings.”

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Brenden leaned toward us. “He’s kidding, of course. When fairies reach the maturity level of sixteen, they are tasked with jobs.” He snorted at Mogelsby, “So how can I have a job if I’m like a twelve year old human? Eh, Mogelsby?”

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He turned back to us and continued, “Anyway, fairies are not born of their mothers as you are. Fairies are born out of the earth, full sized and large, much like a full grown adult human.”

“That explains it,” Francisco said.

Brenden glared. “What is that supposed to mean, human?”

“Just that you’re definitely not in charge around here because you’re too immature.”

I thought I heard Brenden growl. “I’ll ignore that comment. Come along. We’re wasting time.”

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We strolled around the castle. It was so huge! Finally, Brenden motioned toward a set of stairs and said, “We must enter here.”

Holly jumped around as if she just realized something. “Yes. Fairies age backwards! The little kids are really old.” She stammered, “I-I mean…that’s what I think. Am I right?”

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“Yes, as a matter of fact. They are quite ancient.” Brenden rolled his eyes. “And they can be a little uppity about it, too. If you think Lenora is hard to deal with, just try to manage working for a pint-sized tot.”

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Brenden snapped his fingers and my wheelchair ascended the stairs, floating in the air. “That’s convenient,” I said as my wheelchair touched the ground again. “You’ll have to show me that trick, Brenden.”

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“One day, I hope you’ll do even better than that, my dearest Athena.” He winked.

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“Ah, here we are.” Brenden stopped at a large door with a lion’s head for a handle.

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“So, now that fairy age-lessons are over, I bid you three good day. I’ll be taking Athena with me as I’ve got a Wishcaster-in-training to educate. You may stay in here while you wait. The fairies will give you something a little more suitable to wear. You’re to be presented to the queen as well since we unfortunately had to bring you.” He wrapped his hand around the lion’s head. It roared and bit him.

Brenden hollered, “Ow!”

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Zelda giggled, putting her hand over her mouth.

Sucking on his wounded finger, Brenden spat, “Oh, hogswallow! I forgot about the new security measures.” He patted the handle and said, “Nice kitty.” The lion smiled and purred as I heard a click.

Once the door opened, Zelda squealed and yelled, “Candy!” darting inside.

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Holly seemed to float in, mesmerized.

“Holly?” I asked, “Are you okay?”

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She said, “Are you kidding me? They have scientific displays that would rival the Smithsonian.”

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I wheeled inside, confused. All the room contained were two little girl fairies sitting on a bench. There must have been a spell put on this room. For them anyway.

Zelda waved her hands in front of her face and cried, “A gingerbread house!”

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Francisco shook his head. “Whoa. You’re all wrong. Not the Smithsonian or a gingerbread house. It’s video game heaven!”

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He put his hand out to Brenden and said, “Give me some skin, bro. This is way too cool.”

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Brenden grimaced as if he’d witnessed someone running over a rabbit. “First of all, I will not give you any part of my skin for your sadistic pleasures, and second of all, I could have you arrested for suggesting such a perverse plan.”

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Francisco looked at me, lifting his eyebrows. “Is he for real?”

“Of course I’m real, you dopplesided goon.” Brenden brushed past Franscisco. “Now stop babbling. I’ve got things to do.”

Francisco stood his ground, inching his face closer to Brenden’s. “Why don’t you say, please?”

Brenden inched his face closer. “Make me.”

Before I knew it, Francisco had Brenden in a headlock, ordering, “Say please!”

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Brenden gargled out, “Never!”

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I rolled over to them. “Guys, enough! This is stupid. Francisco, let him go!”

Francisco released his grip, and Brenden stumbled forward, rubbing his neck.

“Are you okay?” I asked Brenden.

He nodded, getting to his feet. Brushing off his coat and fixing his collar, saying, “I’ll have you know, Francisco, I could have changed you into a toad, but for Athena’s sake, I resisted the temptation.”

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He turned to me and said, “He’s definitely beneath your notice. He’s a clumsy, warmongering oaf.”

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Francisco gave a half grin. “Aw come on. You can insult me better than that.”

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“Ignore him, Francisco,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Brenden, let’s go.” I pulled his arm as I rolled away from Francisco before the two of them killed each other.

I wondered why Brenden was being so rude to Francisco–just like when he made Francisco do that weird thing in science class. Anger shot through me as I remembered poor Francisco’s face in the middle of science. I’d almost forgotten it was Brenden who did that to him.

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The fairy wore a smug, happy look on his face. Catching my eyes, he asked, “What’s the matter, Athena? You’re not angry with me, are you?”

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I didn’t answer him for a while. I was angry. Why did Brenden hate Francisco so much? Plus, I had no idea what being a Wishcaster meant and what this “Second Trial” was and how I was supposed to get through it.

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Stopping in the middle of the hallway, I answered, glaring, “Maybe I don’t want to be your Wishcaster. Maybe I just want to go home.”

“What?” Brenden asked.

“You heard me,” I said, empowered by the thought. “I want to go home. Let someone else fight this battle.” Who was I kidding? If that first encounter with the witch showed how heroic I was, I felt like this mission was doomed anyway.

“You can’t quit on us now, Athena.”

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Brenden knelt next to me. His voice softened. “We need you. Your realm needs you.” He took my hand, squeezing it emphatically. “The world needs you.”

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“You keep saying that, but I don’t get what it has to do with me! What is a Wishcaster? Why do you need one? And how will that help fight against what seems like powerful, evil magic? It just doesn’t make any sense!”

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Brenden let out a sigh, scratching along the arch of one of his blonde eyebrows. “Listen. I’m about to explain all of that to you. We’re almost to the training room. After that, if you still feel the same way about things, you’ll be free to go. We cannot force someone to be the Wishcaster. The Wishcaster just is.”

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I cocked my head. “What does that mean?”

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“A Wishcaster is one already. It’s a part of their being just as being a human is who Francisco is. The Great Guardian ordains a Wishcaster for a millennium, but once they die, we have to seek a new one. We’ve been looking for the next Wishcaster for over fifty years. Most prospects fail the first test, which you sailed through marvelously.”

“You mean with the witch?”

Brenden’s eyes widened. “No. I mean with Wish Book. You gave back the book. That’s the first test. What you did with the witch showed Lenora that you truly could be our Wishcaster.”

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“It showed Lenora, but not you?”

Brenden blushed, looking down at the ground. Then he stared at me. “I’ve always known you were our Wishcaster from the moment I saw you in the Wish-shard. Lenora didn’t believe, but I did. With the witch, you proved you have your own magic. That’s why you were able to transport yourself out of Sighead’s frozen prison, something neither Lenora nor I could do.”

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I tapped Brenden’s arm. “One more thing before I accept the challenge of training.”

“Yes?”

“Explain why you need a Wishcaster.”

He arose. “Come. I’ll show you.”

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1pammie

Next update Wednesday, November 21st.

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18 thoughts on “Chapter Nine: The Middle Realm”

  1. Thank god they age in reverse because a world full of actual children in charge? 😱 (Not that the alternative is looking that much better for Brenden, lmao)

    Beautiful fairy world! I was wondering what you’d do with it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! I don’t think the world would look this pretty with the gorgeous structures and statues is REAL children were in charge. 😉

      Glad you like the fairy world! I wish I could visit there! 😀

      Like

    1. Lenora’s one sassy fairy! 😉 Glad you like her.

      Francisco remembers what Brenden did to him in science class and so, he’s giving him shit–in a nice teasing way. But Brenden sees Francisco as a rival and doesn’t like him around Athena. To him, Francisco is just an average human, unfit for someone like Athena. Brenden is in a more protective mode than anything atm.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay! This was such a gorgeous intro to the fairy realm! And I love that they age backwards. I wonder, are the fairies in this world immortal? Do they stop aging once they hit toddlerdom? Or do they disappear someday? You’ve totally got me thinking and wondering about the lore now 🙂

    And I love the kinda-sorta room of requirement thing going on haha at least Athena’s friends will be entertained! And Francisco and Brendan can have some time apart before they kill each other 😂

    Looking forward to learning more about Athena’s role as the Wishcaster! Awesome chapter 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fairies live a VERY long time, but just as you’ll see in the next chapter, each fairy ages differently. They live to be in the thousands of earth years. When they’re ready to die, they’ll slow down similiarly to how our elderly prepare to die. They lose their magic first–then it’s not too long after when they fade into sparkle dust. They can be killed too.

      Room of requirement. LOL! I’d forgotten about that room. Yes, I guess this is sort of like that–different for everyone (who has a spell cast on them.) Athena didn’t need the room, so the spell wasn’t cast on her. Sort of like a babysitting chamber. 😉

      Let’s hope Francisco and Brenden can come to sort of a friendship or this could get ugly. 😉

      More on the Wishcaster next chapter!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The fairy realm is absolutely gorgeous! It makes me want to visit it! I’m also intrigued by the fact that the fairies age backwards. This got me thinking just like Citizen. When will they stop aging? What will happen to the quality of their magical powers when they reach toddlerhood?

    The intensity between Brenden and Francisco! Better hope they can resolve things before it gets ugly and the next thing you know, Francisco might be turned into an object or an animal. Or maybe a curse could be placed on him.

    Looking forward to Athena’s role as Wishcaster!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, different from our elders in that they’re weakened with their bodies, fairy elders are VERY powerful with their magic. That’s why they don’t need height or stature to throw their “weight” around. It’s not until they’re about to die that they lose their powers. Then they know their time to move to the spiritual realm is upon them.

      As for when they stop aging? They stop “growing down” at that tot state. No babies. 😉

      Brenden and Francisco will always have this “rivalry” until somehow something stops this. Hopefully, it’ll get resolved in a friendly manner. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG, such beautiful screenshots. Is that Selvadorada? Was it a pain to shoot there? Worth it, anyway. I’m assuming you’re using the fairy mod too! I actually haven’t used it before.

    Loved seeing all the fairies all dressed up, and Francisco trying to bond with Brendan. ROFL. Maybe one day they’ll have a full-fledged bromance…but not today.

    I’m so excited to reach the all-out fantasy portion of the story!! And I’m so curious what’s up next in Athena’s future…

    Fantastic chapter. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ❤

      And yes! That's Selvadorada. It's not a pain at all to shoot there. I put my family on a seven day vacation (and the kids don't want to go to school all the time, thankfully, so that makes it easier.) I can bring anyone there with the teleporter. I also use bb.enablefreebuild whenever I'm there so I can use the teleporter and redo things. So easy.

      And I am using the fairy mod. I love it. The fairies float around everywhere and they have powers! Very cool!

      (Remember when I was cussing about posing? I was working on this chapter. Had to make a slew of tot fairy poses. Almost everything in this chapter was done with my poses.)

      LOL! While I was shooting these scenes with Francisco and Brenden, I wondered if people might ship them. Bahahaaa! At least with a bromance. (But we shall see on that! Both are very heterosexual so bromance is all their relationship can hope for.)

      I'm excited to finally get to this point, too (except now the chapters are freaking DIFFICULT to shoot but worth it! 😀 )

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! ❤️❤️❤️ Yeah, I used one fairy pose. The rest I had to make. 😁 Glad you liked the twist on their aging! 🧚‍♀️🧚‍♂️

      Like

  5. I kinda wondered about the child being in charge. That she was maybe really old but I didn’t guess the aging backwards! Cool twist….

    Love the fairy realm. And did he just hint she might be able to walk or even fly one day? ❤️❤️❤️

    And we get to find out why they need the wishcaster! Can’t wait!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol! Yes, Lenora is much older than Brenden! Glad you like the twist. 🧚‍♂️

      (Yes, Brenden did hint about her mode of travel…but we’ll see! He doesn’t know everything and can’t even guess about what’s going to really happen. 😁)

      ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Middle Realm is gorgeous! Awesome job with world building. It really looks like a fairy realm, especially with all the characters milling about. Love the aging backwards twist. I was a little surprised that Francisco was able to get Brenden in a headlock. I would’ve thought Brenden could’ve protected himself more easily, without resorting to turning Francisco into a toad or something. I’m all caught up now and have to wait for the next chapter. 😦 I love being able to gobble up a few in a row. I’m a greedy reader. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Glad you loved the fairy world! I have so much fun setting all of it up! I was worried how the toddler elders would come off but they’re working out fairly well…especially since I can pose them.

      You are very observant (I love that btw)! There are reasons for Brenden not using a ton of magic that I can’t go into atm.

      I’m the same way. I love being able to read lots of chapters at a time, saving them up! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

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