“Dragon?” I hollered. “What were my parents? Beasts? Oh GOD!”
Brenden shook his head. “You don’t understand. In your mixed state, somewhere in your lineage there was a…ah…changeling.”
I jerked my chin down. “Changeling.”
“Yes. That’s a person who can turn into a beast or animal at will. Your ancestors must have been able to morph into a dragon type human or drakkan, which is very similar to what I saw last night when you…”
“When I what?”
“Breathed fire.” His eyes nearly glowed.
I slapped my hand over my mouth remembering the cauldron I felt inside me after the shroud was torn off.
He continued, “Now this can be a characteristic of elfin, witch, or even human lineage. Who knows?” Brenden sat down on the edge of the bed, thinking. “But if it did come from your human line, it must be very ancient indeed. Changelings were burnt at the stake in Over Realm ancient history and none survived if they were ever discovered.”
I looked at my skin. It almost sparkled in the candlelight, each scale glinting, but when I touched my arm, it was smooth as satin. “If I’m a changeling, why am I like this permanently?”
Brenden shrugged. “I’m sure it’s the rare mixture of your bloodline. Honestly, the fact that your grandmother and grandfather met and fell in love is a miracle. Add that to your mixture of a human father and an elf-witch mother…” He gave one sharp shake of his head. “Probably has never happened before. You, my dear sweet Athena, are an…an…”
I flinched. “An abomination.”
Brenden shook his head. “No. An answered prayer.”
Arching an eyebrow, I said, “Come on, Brenden. You want me to swallow that? I mean, why are you being so nice to me all of a sudden? Yesterday you were disgusted.” I’d seen first hand that both fairies as well as Under-realmers were prejudiced against some races.
“I knew it was wrong of me but…” Sighing, he shook his head like he was shaking off a bad memory. “It was a reaction I’m not very proud of. I thought you were a witch and witches…well…” Blinking several times, he went on, “Most of them become drunk with power once they find their way to…a certain substance.” He held my eyes for a moment then looked down. “But…what I forgot is you are well…you. I trust you, Athena.” He gave me this look that could melt the biggest glacier. “I do hope you’ll forgive me and not think on how I acted. I’m most ashamed of myself.”
Wanting to believe him, I gazed at him for a moment too long when flutters flew through my body. I had to catch my breath. There was something about fairies that put a spell on me. Ugh. So, I decided to change the subject. “W-What about my sister, Zelda? Is she a drakkan, too?”
“It’s hard to say,” Brenden shrugged, “but since she’s not in a wheelchair, she obviously doesn’t have a magical body to subdue.”
My changeling body gave me the creeps. I didn’t even know how I turned into that…drakkan. It was so surreal. “Yeah. Maybe she just takes after my dad.”
Brenden raised hiseyebrows. “Maybe, but she does have The Sight, which is a rare witchling trait.”
“The Sight?” I asked.
“She could see into the future. Remember when she took me as Wish Book out of your backpack? You didn’t see it, but she grabbed me while you were talking with your parents. And once she did, I could feel her emotions, and she was frightened.”
“Yeah, I remember,” I said, thinking about Zelda worrying about me that time in my bedroom.
“She must have seen your grandmother and that wicked Under Realm queen going after you. If that’s the future then it hasn’t happened yet. She could also see through shrouds.”
I blinked a few times.“I remember her telling me I wasn’t like the bad people. They were ugly, but I was…” I stopped, blood rushing to my cheeks.
“Dazzling?” Brenden asked, beaming.
I pursed my lips. “No…anyway, I don’t like the idea that Zelda can see into the future and the queen and my grandmother will capture me.”
“Maybe it’s a future that doesn’t have to be but might be.” He arched an eyebrow. “Nurse Mellecant has provided us with a map and I’ve devised a bit of a plan. With much good luck, we’ll escape without ever running into your wicked friends.”
The next hour or so, Brenden outlined his strategy to escape into Middle Realm. Using the map provided by Nurse Mellecant, we’d steal into the forest with a team of misfit Under-realmers, including the gargoyles, Ferbish and Grigor, and my newfound fire breathing dragon skills, just in case anyone tried to stop us. He told me the night the gargoyles pulled off my shroud, I’d actually turned into a ferocious drakkan with huge horns and dragon wings. He thought I was going to cast some spell on all of them at first.
But then I surprised them all by spewing fire at poor Grigor from my mouth! I would have been overjoyed at the prospect of turning into a beast whenever I’d wanted except for the fact that it’d nearly killed me. Nurse Mellecant said I just needed time to toughen my body, and I’d be able to use my dragon breath at will.
Over the next few days, my strength grew as I’d drank a ton of that delicious elixir as well as walked through Nurse Mellecant’s “garden” all the time.
It was full of ratty trees and tons of bats who happened to like Brenden for some reason.
Francisco got a kick out of the poor fairy’s misery.
After Nurse Mellecant deemed me fully recovered, the time had come to say good-bye. Unfortunately, I couldn’t force myself to turn into a drakkan no matter how hard I tried. Nurse Mellecant told me it will happen naturally, so I shouldn’t worry, but the thought of roaming around the Under-realm without a shroud and without the protection of my dragon breath made me want to hide under the bed forever. And that’s even with Nurse Mellecant’s pet monsters living there. Yeah. I was totally freaking out.
“But won’t people get the wrong idea if I’m not in my shroud?” I asked her as Francisco tugged on my arm for us to leave.
Over the week, I’d learned shroud etiquette of the Under-realmers. Not wearing it during the day was like walking around the neighborhood in your underwear. We’d attract a lot of attention if I paraded around in my mixed-monster self.
Nurse Mellecant said, “Just wear a hood…none will be the wiser, lass.” She pointed at Holly. “I’ve given her your shroud.”
Holly patted a side pocket on her pants and smiled.
“Don’t wear the shroud unless you absolutely have to because once attached, you can’t take it off,” the nurse warned. “If you do, you’ll suffer the excruciating pain you did before. I don’t have time to weave you a new, lighter shroud, but Brenden assures me this will be done once you arrive at Queen Oria’s palace.”
After many good-byes and hugs, we were on our way.
Next update will be Monday, December 24th.