Chapter Twenty-four: The Cave of Woe

Ferbish started another fire, its warmth soothing my skin but the vision of Brenden’s brothers and their threat kept reappearing in my mind. “Um…Brenden?” I asked, hoping he wouldn’t think I was crazy. “I had a strange dream last night.”

He gave me a nervous look. “That doesn’t sound good. Please share it then.”

I detailed what I saw–Brenden’s brothers only they had tan skin and dark hair.

Ferbish groaned. “That’s them in shrouds, Miss. But I didn’t see anyfing while I was sleeping. They couldn’t be close.”

Grigor shook his head. “Nawr…not close. I didn’t see them either.”

“Are you sure they said they would ambush us as we leave the ruins?” Brenden asked, worry etched along his face.

I nodded wishing it wasn’t true.

Ferbish shot a glance at Brenden. “Then me and Grigor best not put on our shrouds today. Gotta fly. And I don’t fink we got time fer breakfast neither.”

Brenden gulped. “I quite agree.”

Pigeon gave a squawk and flew up ahead of us, not putting on her shroud so she could fly as well.

Ferbish wrapped his arm around me and said, “Sorry, Miss, but it’s the fastest way.”

I smiled gingerly at him, wishing I could turn into that drakkan and fly myself. I was so heavy, I felt badly. Grigor picked up Francisco and Holly. I looked all around, but there were no scary elves chasing us, thank God.

Through the cold air, Pigeon kept cawing loudly to follow her. After a while, I saw the clearing and the fence of Gilly’s Trap. “She’s taking us to the ogres. Why are we following her?”     

“Because now that my brothers know about us,” Brenden explained, “we have to leave quickly. The only way out is through the Cave of Woe. Unless you can use your magic, Athena.” He searched my face, but I only shook my head. 

Ferbish flew into the cave and set me down. Both he and Grigor put on their shrouds, turning into those handsome teenagers again. Luckily, the ogres weren’t anywhere around.

I spied a glow pulsing from within, similar to what I saw in the moor. “Is there crimerife here?”

    Brenden shrugged. “Could be, but I wouldn’t know. Only witches can sense it. I’m an elf that’s been cobbled into a fairy. I have no powers. Do you feel something?”

    Sniffing, Ferbish jerked his head. “I don’t smells anyfing, Miss.”

    “Can you see a glow over there?” I asked.

    “I see nofing. What about you, elf?”

    “I’ve been in this cave before. I didn’t see crimerife, but there could be other things lurking. I haven’t visited the place in quite some time. But, Athena, we must get you back to Middle Realm. It’s the only way. If there is something living there, we’ll have to deal with it.”

I noticed a shimmering pond with a gaping hole in the cave’s ceiling. I shivered. And then I saw the glow, but it didn’t worry me. “Beautiful!” I whispered.

“What is it, Athena?” Holly asked.

“I’m not sure,” I answered, walking closer to the light.

Right in the middle of the cave danced large, shining fireflies. 

As I approached, I noticed the bright glowing things flitting around a bush.

Ferbish raced ahead, whooping. “Well tickety too, would ye look at that!”

“Wait up!” Grigor cried.

Obviously seeing the same thing I did, Ferbish went over to the bush with the glowing dots flashing here and there.

“Come here, ye little imp,” Ferbish cooed as he swiped up something I couldn’t quite see.

With a mischevous grin on his face, Ferbish said, “Close yer eyes, Miss. I have a present for ye.”

Walking over to him, I asked, “What is it, Ferbish? Tell me!”

“Nawr…I promise I’ll show ye, but we gotta be quick. Come here now.

“Open yer hands and be careful or you’ll scare it clean away.”

Draping his arms around around me, I widened my fingers and he placed a tiny pixie in my hands. It had a slender body and a delicate, angular face with wings that looked exactly like a harp. “Oh my God, is this a harpswing fairy?”

“Aye that. Be careful!” he warned. “They’ll bite if’n ye get in their way fer too long.”

Before I could say anything more, the fairy fluttered out of my hands. Suddenly, a warmth fell over me. It was as if my heart squeezed. Next thing I knew I was looking into Ferbish’s eyes as he tilted my chin toward him.

“Did ye like yer gift?” Ferbish asked, his voice so light, it was like a song that I was drifting through. What had come over me?

Without a word, I just nodded, hugging him as he hugged me back. Ferbish felt warm and safe. “It was amazing,” I answered. “Thank you for the gift.”

“Ye was lucky the full moon happened last night and a birth of harpswings was here.”

Suddenly, my head felt woozy as if I’d just spun in circles.

“What are you two up to over there?” Brenden asked.

In a haze, I floated over to Brenden–the dark elf fairy whom I liked so much, he made my heart beat fast.

For some reason, I felt all giddy like a million giggles wanted to bubble out of me. “We just saw a fairy, Brenden. A harpswing. Did you know it looked like a girl version of you only it had sharp teeth. Very cute. I wanted to kiss it but it flew away!”

“Athena…are you feeling well? You’re looking quite pale.”

“I’m feeling fine. The best ever! If only I could feel like this forever, I’d be…” But my mind forgot what I was about to say.

“Yeah, Mr. Elf. We feels just fine. Me and the little Miss got a…”

The warmth I felt earlier ran along my arm and sprang into my chest, satisfying me like sitting by a campfire on a cold night. My thoughts went to my mother and father. My sister. I wanted to see them so badly. I pictured our little house and the tiny garden. Oh, how I wanted to go back to it. I’d never complain again or wish for another life. 

     And then like in a dream, my heart soared to the Middle Realm. I saw myself flying over a sea of sand, yearning for a mountain in the distance. The air whipped around me, buffeting my ears with a loud roar as I flew faster. 

“Athena, Ferbish!” Brenden shouted. “What’s happening?”

Without warning, the warm feelings turned into incredible pain, rocketing through my body and then a shroud of darkness overtook me.

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15 thoughts on “Chapter Twenty-four: The Cave of Woe”

  1. Why did they decide to trust something glowing and mysterious found in a cave??? 😱 I have a feeling that was no ordinary pixie… Athena needs a blindfold for the rest of the journey! No more shinies! 😛

    I have the feeling this was all some kind of elaborate trap orchestrated by Brenden’s brothers. Getting away and avoiding the ambush was just too easy… And now given how this chapter ended, I’m more suspicious than ever!

    Also, whether it was pixie influence or not, I was tickled to see some Athena-Ferbish-Brenden love triangle action 😂😈❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glowy things = Athena, don’t touch!

      You could be spot on about a trap made by Brenden’s brothers. 😈 We’ll see next week!

      (The pixie might have had something to do with the lovey feelings of Ferbish and Athena…but yeah. It was funny to see Brenden wondering what was up!) 😜

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yay, you managed to get a chapter done in time even with a nice trip to London! ❤

    I don't think I've ever visited this secret lot but I love it. Or maybe I visited it once. Either way, perfect for your story.

    Was that fairy cc? That was so cool! Well, maybe not for poor Athena.

    Ferbish putting the moves on Athena… 👀 I have a feeling Brenden wouldn't have left them alone together if he knew.

    And another cliffhanger! 😱

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I got it done right before we left!!

      That hidden lot is in Oasis Springs. It’s really beautiful and perfect for this story! What I love about it is that it’s so different from the other hidden lot but just as beautiful.

      That wasn’t fairy cc–I used photoshop to place the fairy in her hands. That one scene took hours. Omg…I’m nuts.

      Ferbish…always angling to be near Athena. But he did promise her to make a present of a harpswing. Too bad something else happened that surprised him.

      Sorry for the cliffhanger! You will find out what happens to them next chapter! (If I get time this week. Ugh.)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think Ferbish knew exactly what would happen if he caught the harpswing fairy for her. It’s was sorta like a love potion, but I truly don’t think he thought it would hurt her, just make her love him. Maybe she passed out because she was trying to use her magic to get home or it was a trap set by Brenden’s brothers…

    Yikes…something rotten is getting ready to happen.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ferbish may have known about the fairy’s love potion properties but the sinister parts were a huge surprise. (You’re very correct on that.) But things aren’t always what they seem in this story so something else must have happened that we don’t know about.

      And yes…something very rotten is afoot! 😳

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Here’s my thoughts after reading the chapter and the comments before me.
    1) Athena had started to use her magic, with the help of the harpswing fairy, but Brendan calling out to her stopped her and brought her crashing back to reality — literally.
    2) Ferbish had some sinister plans with the harpswing fairy (unlikely).
    3) Ferbish made a love potion with the harpswing fairy, and the brothers appeared and broke everything.
    4) Something very bad is going to happen next chapter.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lover WitcHazard: As much as I’d hate Brendon’s brothers if they were involved in third mishap I can’t deny that they’re all hot so I’ll let it slide🥰

    Dark WitcHazard: I’m starting to think Athena’s dragon side is into collecting men!😝

    Shipper WitcHazard: Gosh darn it how I can I pick a ship when you make them all so adorable to watch!

    Anti Shipper: Simple by the end of the quest all her options die trying to save her the end!

    Shipper WitcHazard: I won’t let that happen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anti…you COULD be onto something…

      Dark–hee hee! That dragon prowess cannot be compared. Holly has a hard time trying to keep the gargoyle gaze on her!

      Lover–they ARE beautiful in a devilish way. You may get your wish to see them again! 😍

      Like

  6. Ferbish makes Athena feel warm and safe. Since he’s the ultimate protector, that makes sense. They were definitely under some kind of love spell. Brenden looked apprehensive about what was going on. Based on Athena’s comments, I don’t think he has anything to worry about. She said the harpswing looked like a female version of Brenden and she wanted to kiss it. 😀

    Of course, trouble is on their doorstep once again. These guys can never catch a break. Enter The Trouble Triplets. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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