I couldn’t remember what had happened after the gargoyles said they’d help. It was as if I’d sputtered out of life and then swirled right back in, waking up in a warm, tawny bedroom. The bed was large and comfortable. The walls were made of calming stone and there were several candles burning, giving off a pleasant glow. It was so strange to be able to feel legs and feet, something I’d never known my whole life. I had no idea what had happened to me, but one thing was for sure, my legs would never be the same.
And then my stomach pricked with a jolt. I lifted my hands and couldn’t believe they were attached to my body. These weren’t mine. These hands and arms were long and delicate and…and…BLUE!
I bolted upright and shrieked, “Ahhhh!”
A middle aged woman burst into the room. The two gargoyles shuffled along behind her. “There, there, dear, what’s all the fuss?” She had a kind face, sort of like a mom. She was really pretty with red hair and shiny blue lips. Wiping my forehead with the cold sponge, I calmed instantly. “Now, then,” she said, “you’ve had quite a fright, I’d say, but all is well. Nurse Mellecant has made it better.” She sat me up and settled next to me on the bed.
I swallowed, noticing my mouth was dry. “Could I have a drink of water?” My whole body was shaking. What was wrong with me?
“I can do better than that.” She got up and turned to one of the gargoyles. “Ferbish, fetch a glass of that elixir I made earlier and for Great Guardian’s sake! Put on your shroud. It’s nearly nine in the morning.”
She gave a stink eye to the other one. “And you, too, Grigor. Honestly, don’t ye have any manners?”
Ferbish hustled behind Grigor like he was trying to hide from Miss Mellecant’s wrath and hung his head, saying, “I’m sorry, Miss Mellecant, but we feel awful sorry about what had happened to the young lass, and we wanted the make sure she was all right.”
“Yes, m’lady,” Grigor agreed. “We was just sore afraid, we haven’t gots more thoughts in our heads. Is she well?”
Miss Mellecant nodded and whisked a finger at them. “She’s fine. Now get the elixir but only after yer decent. Understand?”
“Aye, me lady.” The two huge creatures sauntered out the door.
She shook her head. “Goodness, you have to watch those two like a vampire in a room full of humans.”
I giggled. Even though the gargoyles had wounded me, I was beginning to like them. “Miss Mellecant, thank you for taking care of me, but I need to know a few things.” I scooted up, so I could sit straighter. “What exactly is wrong with me?” Thrusting my arm out, I showed her the strange light aqua color. “Will my skin go back to normal?”
“Oh, dear, yes, that.” She fluttered her eyelashes and put on a wide grin, sliding next to me again. “Well, I’ve been chatting a bit with your friends, trying to sort it all out. And I examined your shroud. It seems it was created in a very different way than ours.”
I cocked my head to the side. “Than the Under-realmers?”
“Exactly. You see, our shrouds are thin and light and we can whisk them off at any time, preferably every night. Sort of like taking off a coat or a hat.”
Ferbish opened the door with a slow creak. My eyes widened. Instead of an huge, menacing gargoyle, he looked like a normal, muscular teenager. He placed a glass that held some flaming amber liquid on the bedside table. It did not look appetizing. I didn’t want to drink it.
“Thank you, Ferbish,” the nurse said.
Ferbish nodded then waved at me. “Hello, Miss.”
My face warmed. He was actually cute. I couldn’t believe I was attracted to a gargoyle. I had to get back to my own realm. And fast.
“I hope ye feels better, Miss. Just listen to Nurse Mellecant.” He gave me a wink then strode out the door.
Miss Mellecant shook her head at him. “Silly boy. Even though they can be a nuisance at times, Ferbish and Grigor do have good hearts.” She sighed then went on, “Now, getting back to your shroud. Ye see, it is much different than the Under-realm shrouds. For some reason, it was crafted by powerful magic that would hide your whole body and keep you subdued. Also, it was designed to be attached permanently.”
She gave me the glass. The acidic mixture bit my nose. “Drink up, lass.”
I choked at the smell of the stuff. One time Francisco had some smelling salts he used at mixed martial arts meets. He made me sniff it, and I about died since the scent felt as if it had burned all my nostril hair. This was no different. “Oh, Miss, I don’t think I can.” I turned my head and coughed.
“I know it has a wee bite to its head, but it’ll go down smoothly, trust me.” She insisted, and I felt I had to obey.
Plugging my nose with my fingers, I took a tiny sip. Surprisingly, it didn’t taste bad at all. Taking the glass from the nurse, I sipped it again, but this time, it tasted like a caramel ice cream chocolate shake. “Yum!” I said and gulped it down to the last drop.
Nurse Mellecant smiled. “That’s a girl. You’re going to be as good as new in no time with that attitude.”
I wiped my mouth. “Miss Mellecant, I’ve been thinking on what you said about my shroud. Does that mean this is my real skin color?”
“Indeed. It’s a very fetching color, if you ask me. It sets off your golden eye color.”
My eyebrows knitted. “But my eyes are green.”
“No, lass. That’s your shroud’s color. Your true eye color is a brilliant, beautiful gold. But that’s enough about that. Once you’re well, you’ll get all acquainted with the true you, but for now…” She fluffed up a pillow and pointed. “You need rest. Your body has been stuck in a chair its whole life and you, my dear, were never meant for a wheelchair.” She tapped the end of my nose. “I had half a mind to report your parents to the high Tri-realm council for magical abilities suppression, but I have a suspicion they were trying to hide you, so anyway…” Miss Mellecant grinned making her eyes sparkle. “I won’t worry you about it.”
Just then I heard a knock and a dark haired Brenden peered inside. “May I come in?” His skin no longer glowed like it did outside in the night time.
As he stepped closer, I yelped, trying to hide my face. I didn’t want anyone to see me like this even before I’d looked in the mirror. “Make him go away! No visitors!”
Disregarding me, the nurse shot up and welcomed him. “Yes, Brenden, come in and close the door. The lass seems a wee bit shy, but she’ll snap out of it.”
She waved her arms at me emphatically. “I dinna know why yer sore afraid, lass. He’s got a good plan for yer escape. You should listen to him. But if he says anything to upset you, just give a shout and I’ll come to the rescue, okay?”
She leaned in and whispered, “I know fairies have an untrustworthy reputation, but I’ve taken a shine to this one, and he says he’s yer friend, so won’t ye give him a chance, dear?”
I nodded. I might listen to Brenden, but he wasn’t seeing my face. No way. I probably had one eye for all I knew. One ugly golden eye. Blecch.
After a few moments, I felt someone pat my arm. I peeked through my fingers.
“Athena?” Brenden said, “I’m…uh…er…sorry for my behavior earlier. I hope you will forgive the things I’d said. They were insensitive and absolutely, categorically out of line.” I heard him sigh. After a few minutes of me not moving and him not speaking, he finally said, “Won’t you stop hiding your face and talk to me?”
“No,” I spat, almost in tears. I couldn’t face him like this. I couldn’t face anyone.
“If you’re worried about what you look like, I’ve already seen you for hours.” Then he whispered so lightly I could barely hear him, “You’re the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Gingerly, I peeked through my fingers again. “What did you say?”
Brenden bent down on his knees and reached toward my head, pulling a strand of my long hair out of my face. “Light blue skin and sparkling silver hair, no doubt a mixture of witch and brindle elf.” He lifted my fingers in his. I felt a tickle ripple through me as my heart pounded.
“Long fingers from your elfin grandfather. And…” His gaze locked onto me.
“The eyes and scales of a…” He stopped suddenly, looking away and swallowing.
“Of a what?” I whispered, not sure if I wanted to know.
He drew in a deep breath and said, “Dragon.”
Next update will be Wednesday, December 19th.