Fairy Slayer, page 4
“You were given it?” Kalista tilted her head as she looked me up and down, and one hand played with the feather around her neck.
I had the feeling her trust was going to be hard to earn.
“Yeah.” I shrugged as I turned to grab a bottle of water off the kitchen counter. Then I cracked the seal and took one long gulp. In my excitement and the introduction to this life I now led, I’d forgotten my immense thirst. After the first gulp, I chugged down half of the bottle and waited out the silence.
“Look, Kal, it doesn’t matter. He killed the monster. Do you really think he’s Unseelie?” Ariette stepped toward me the slightest bit. She probably didn’t even realize she did it, but I sure did.
“But Danira said--” Kalista began to protest, her bright eyes still narrowed.
“Danira said,” Ariette almost shouted but then caught herself and lowered her beautiful voice before she went on. “Danira said he is on the team. That’s all we need to know, okay?”
There was another long silence where I thought I might melt into the ground and slip away before Kalista finally nodded.
“Fine,” she said, but then one finger pointed into my face, and I shifted my gaze up from her pale breasts to meet her eyes. “Don’t fuck this up.”
With that, her short form disappeared behind the curtain, and Ariette and I were left alone. I watched the elf’s boots glide across the floor as she lowered herself back into a chair, and I snatched up the opportunity to sit in the chair next to her as she scrolled down one of the screens.
Green sentences written in Elvish flew across the monitor. Her eyes were focused on the words as I shifted myself slightly closer to her. Our knees just barely touched as the engine revved up, and I could hear Kalista mumbling to herself from the front. Suddenly, I felt a slight pressure on the side of my knee and realized the slender elf was pressing her leg into mine. She still didn’t look at me, but the hint of red that graced her cheeks told me she knew exactly what she was doing.
I watched as her full round breasts rose and fell a little bit faster, and her eyes tilted the tiniest bit in my direction. I had almost worked up the nerve to say something semi-romantic when she pulled away. It wasn’t sudden or jarring, but more like she decided that was enough for the moment.
“So, uh, what happened to your last adept?” I asked in an attempt to bring our focus away from the charged moment we just shared.
“He got kidnapped. Remember how Danira said she wished he had the Hand of Intelligence?” She paused and glanced at me in amusement, and I nodded. “Yeah, well, he ran right into an Unseelie trap. The killer part of it was that we all told him it was a total trap, but he had a hero complex.”
I sat in silence and wondered if my fate would be the same.
“Hey, HC.” Ariette’s voice was soft, and her tone caused me to turn and meet her eyes. “He had an actual hero complex, not just a heroic personality.”
My reply was cut short when the van suddenly took off at a speed I was almost certain was at least five times the speed limit. Ariette grabbed onto the table in front of her in a moment of wonderful foresight. I wished I had her talent as my chair was flung across the floor of the van when the mammoth vehicle took a right-hand turn at top speed.
I must have worn a hilariously shocked expression because Ariette laughed out loud and her blue eyes twinkled with glee. Before she could get a word in, I flew across the floor of the van again as Kalista veered left. I couldn’t be too mad, though, because the turn had thrown me straight into the back of the elven beauty’s chair, and I found my face buried in her braid.
Her hair held the most amazing amalgamation of smells, like strawberries and cream covered in freshly cut flowers. I had to stop myself from inhaling deeply. I didn’t need to worry, though, because my breath was cut off as I slid even further to the side. My knee was now planted firmly in the top part of her butt that peeked out in the space between the back and the seat of the chair. It was soft and firm, and my knee went hot at the sensation.
All too quickly, Ariette had turned her chair around and took her butt from my knee so that she could pull me in front of the table.
“Hold on,” she hollered, and I gripped the edge of the table with both hands. For her part, Ariette didn’t seem at all shaken up by our wild ride.
“Is this how it always is?” I yelled over the roar of the engine.
“That’s what happens when we let Kalista paint all the windows black just in case someone tries to ‘see inside and spy on us,’ as she puts it. She can’t see out the windows, so she’s got to use her Hand to drive!”
“Hold on, did you just say she can’t see where she is--”
“She’s got the Hand of Sight. She can see the objects in front of her in her mind. Don’t worry, we haven’t crashed. Yet.” A smile adorned Ariette’s face as she finished her explanation, but I couldn’t bring myself to find anything funny about the situation. “Basically, if it’s within fifteen feet of her and there’s no iron around, she can see everything, like an X-ray. She’s a fantastic driver!”
“Fifteen feet?” I screeched. Fifteen feet was, like, barely more than the length of a car. How the hell was she able to drive without a major crash every three seconds?
“Yeah,” Ariette shrugged, completely unbothered with how little space that was. “Comes in pretty damn handy when you want to know what food’s left in the fridge.”
Here I was, in a van with two beautiful warriors who I barely knew, with a new magical power, and a driver who couldn’t actually use her eyes to see. Great.
“So, what’s your Hand, then?” I questioned Ariette.
“Hand of Electricity.” She smirked as she raised her Hand in the air between us, and blue sparks danced mesmerisingly between the tips of her fingers.
“Nice,” I cried out as we hit another turn, but then my rib cage hit the counter violently, and all the air was forced from my lungs in a great whoosh.
“Do you know how Hands work?” Ariette asked as she gazed at me.
“With magic,” I shrugged back jokingly. When the elf didn’t smile, I shook my head. “Not really, no.”
“Well you’re going to have to know how they work if you’re going to be in possession of one,” she grunted, and then she slid her chair toward me so she could pick up my right hand. A surge of electricity crawled up my arm that had absolutely nothing to do with Ariette’s own power.
“Your magic sits in here,” the elf said as she stroked one long finger across my palm, “because your hands are the source your power, your magic travels up through here,” her finger made its way up my arm and neck until it landed at the crown of my head, “to here. Your mind and your Hand mold and become one, and then you can use your gift. But if this is messed up,” she said as she tapped gently on my forehead, “then this,” she whispered as her finger returned to trace my palm, “won’t work either. You have to have a clear head to make a clear connection. Got it?”
I nodded, but then we were torn violently apart when Kalista hit a curb as she made a sharp left turn.
“Sorry!” the dwarf hollered back to us. “Wasn’t paying attention!”
Thankfully, the ride ended without too many more disastrous turns. Although, I wouldn’t have minded so much if one of those turns had thrown me straight into the gorgeous elf again.
“Guess we’re out of time,” Ariette said as the van came to a halt with a loud screech. “I’ll have to fill you in on the rest later.” With that, she flung the door open and stepped outside. “Come on.”
“Right,” I said as I followed her out into the bright sunlight and looked up at the most beautiful building I had ever seen.
The building was smack dab in the center of a plain flat field full of waving brown grass, and it was surrounded by a huge golden fence carved into swirls just like the wooden door. The fence formed a perfect circle around the building that loomed above me like a mountainous castle. There were probably ten floors in total, and huge towers rose
The castle was bright white, almost like it was made completely out of pearls, except for a few embellished swirls of jade. The sunlight bounced off the white and gave the entire thing an angelic glow, and in the center was a huge oak door smack with an intricate design made out of gold inlaid over the wood. I spun in a slow circle as I took it all in. I had never seen a guild hall before, but if they all looked like this, I had missed out. I felt like I’d been dropped into a fairytale.
Kalista and Ariette weren’t so wonderstruck with the beauty because they both brushed past me on their way in. Ariette turned to throw a smile over her shoulder and tilted her head to instruct me to follow.
“Come on, HC, we don’t have time for you to be struck by the majestic beauty of the Fae right now.”
I stepped inside the huge doors, and my jaw fell open at the sight in front of me. Fae of all sorts bustled around the huge entryway. There were dwarves, elves, wizards, and even a few lesser fairies, all in their own little world of guild related duties. Not a single one looked up at me, but I had to take a moment to absorb it all.
I stood in a huge round circle that went all the way to the top of the castle, like a giant cylinder. Above me, a giant skylight let sunshine pour down over us and caused the pearl walls to shimmer the slightest bit. The circle was probably fifty feet in diameter, and the doors and archways that were carved into the smooth walls around me gave the effect of spokes in a bicycle wheel. I looked into the open archways as I took in the amalgamation of creatures I was surrounded by. Never in my life had I been this close in proximity to so many different kinds of Seelie Fae.
There were elves in long white shirts and silver leggings, wizards in gray, white, and navy blue robes, and dwarves in denim overalls with dark brown undershirts. Others were dressed in the clothing of the human world. I saw suits, jeans, and graphic tees on many of the Fae.
Inside the rooms that surrounded the circle, the guild looked a lot like a normal human office building. Through the open doorways and glass windows, I watched as guild life went on as usual. Some Fae were hunched over paperwork and computers that sat on huge wooden desks. Some spoke to each other, others worked alone.
The room to my left appeared to be a gym, with huge floor mats and punching bags in the center, and treadmills and weights were pushed up along the sides of the room. I watched as a stout dwarf, with a long red beard and scruffy red hair, rushed toward a hulking centaur. The centaur quickly cantered away from the dwarf’s attack and landed a swift kick in the dwarf’s butt that sent him reeling toward a punching bag. The dwarf made contact with a soft thud but quickly turned back around with a smile on his face.
“Nice one, Bruntax!” the dwarf bellowed.
I was shocked that I could hear him over the bustle of activity I was in the middle of, but then I remembered that I had Fae hearing.
This was amazing.
Tiny pixies flitted about above our heads, and they moved so fast they weren’t much more than blurs of pink and green light. Humanoid dwarves and elves rushed back and forth in front of me but mixed into the crowd I could pick out other Fae that were decidedly less… normal looking. Those types of Fae never ventured into human spaces, at least not visible to the human eye, and I drank in the magical creatures in front of me like a cold Coke on a hot summer day.
My eyes landed on two Fae that walked across my path, and I almost gasped at the sight of them. One of them I was pretty sure was a nymph. She was tall and slender, much like Ariette, but her features were a combination of harsh angles and sharp lines like she had been cut from glass. Her long pale blonde hair flowed out from under a flower crown in soft waves that touched the backs of her knees, but the most interesting and daunting thing about the nymph was her skin. She had bright pink skin that glinted in the sunlight, almost as if her skin was an even mixture of color and sparkles. As she spoke to her partner, her thin hands waved in the air, and I counted only four fingers on each.
The nymph’s partner was also something to behold, but not in such a beautiful way. He was a satyr, part goat and part human. His lower body was unclothed to show off his matted brown hair and torn up hooves and the thin tail that protruded from what should have been his butt. The upper half of his body was clothed in a tight white t-shirt that showed off rippling muscles, and his head was interesting and slightly grotesque. It was a mixture of both his human and goat halves. Although the skin was humanoid, his nose protruded from his face in a snout-like manner, and tiny tusks curled up from behind his bottom lip. Both eyes were coal black, with no pupils or sclera, and on top of his head was a puff of frizzy brown hair that almost completely hid two tiny horns from view. The horns looked like they’d been sawed off as much as possible because the ends were rugged and uneven.
I had never seen so many Fae in one place before, and it was hard not to be completely awestruck. I could literally feel their magic vibrating through the air as it connected me to every Fae there and gave my entire body a tingling sensation. I wasn’t sure if I felt this way because I was now one of them, or because I’d never been so close to so much magic all at once before. Whatever the explanation was, I never wanted this sensation to end. It was intoxicating.
“HC, stop staring!” Ariette elbowed me hard in the ribs and emitted a deep low growl of warning when the satyr noticed my wide eyes. “That’s Sudin. He likes to play awful pranks when you piss him off. Plus, he’s part of the Guild Ministry, which means he is like ten levels above your pay grade.”
“Shit, sorry,” I apologized to the elf, even though the satyr now gave me a death glare.
I shook myself out of it as the elf pulled me into a corner of the entryway. She and Kalista huddled together, and Ariette bent over a little so that she was at Kalista’s eye line. I didn’t follow suit fast enough apparently because a split second later, Kalista’s hand gripped my collar and yanked me down to her level. I had to stifle a laugh as I imagined what the three of us looked like from the outside. I guessed we looked a hell of a lot like something straight out of a bad spy movie, but neither woman seemed to care. As the Fae bustled around us, Ariette took charge of the conversation.
“Ok, HC, Kalista, listen up. This is the story, and I expect all of us,” two blue eyes glared pointedly at Kalista, “to stick with it. I killed the thing. It just came crashing in from the top of the van and tore straight down its side. I gave HC permission to use his Hand to help me fight, so if anybody questions us or Danira on this, it’s Fae granted. Got it?”
I nodded my head vigorously, ready to agree to anything that would save my butt from being found out and sent to the High Court. I wasn’t in the mood to have to use my newfound powers on a bunch of High Elves.
There was a silence as Ariette waited for Kalista to agree. The dwarf turned violet eyes first on me, then on Ariette. The elven warrior raised one eyebrow, a signal to Kalista that this was the moment she decided if she was on the team or not.
My heart began to palpitate as I waited to see if the dwarf really would keep my secret, or if I was about to end my very short life because I said yes in the heat of the moment.
Finally, that silver head tilted up the slightest bit, before it came down in a curt nod laced with finality. She was in.
“Thank you, Kalista,” I blurted out.
She turned toward me, and I almost thought I saw a smile grace her lips as she made eye contact. But if I had, it was gone quickly.
“Ari trusts you, so I guess I have to. Don’t fuck it up, Milton.” She put an emphasis on my name and made it very clear that if I messed this up, my fate with her would be worse than in the hands of the High Court.
I could live with that.
“Alright then, let’s get to the base room. Danira’s probably ready to send a search team out for us.”
Ariette’s long braid nearly slapped me in the face as she turned on her heel, and K
I followed the long graceful form of the elven warrior up a flight of marble stairs lined with a shiny golden banister, tucked into the far end of the cylindrical entryway. I debated putting my hand on it because it looked so expensive that I felt out of place in my khaki delivery uniform, but I took a deep breath and reminded myself that this was my new home. Then I reached out and, laid my hand on the cold metal, and reveled in its feel. Fae didn’t put nearly as much stock into precious gems and metals as humans did, so they used the riches for decoration and building rather than currency. But my human mind couldn’t get over the fact that I had my hand on tons of pure gold.
The three of us traveled up three twisting flights of stairs, all marble with gold banisters before we came to a long hallway.
“Welcome to the special ops wing,” Kalista said with a dramatic flourish of her arm.
Ariette turned into an archway a few feet down, Kalista and I in tow like she was the schoolteacher and we were her pupils. The archway led into a room that was much quieter than the entry to the guild. Five groups of different Fae, dressed similarly to Ariette and Kalista, filled the room. Each group seemed to stand in its own section of desks and computers, and they all talked in hushed voices to each other.
Most of the Fae here were elves, but I saw a dwarf, a dryad, and a nymph mixed in as well. Ariette nodded to each group as she passed, but there was a tension in the air.
“The other special ops teams,” Kalista whispered to me. “We’ve got a friendly competition going to see who can get the most bad guys. Well, okay, maybe not friendly. And it’s kind of an ongoing thing… Yeah, basically we just want to beat the hell out of their bad guy count.”
The dwarf shrugged and nodded as she finished and didn’t cast a single glance at any of the other special ops teams. I wondered for a moment why they were in such deep competition if they all had the same goal, but I didn’t get much of a chance to come up with an answer, because Kalista grabbed my arm and yanked me forward toward a bank of computer screens with a round table in front of them.