Hello again. It’s me, though I don’t know who else it could be. I’d like to let you all know that I got Fairy Tale back from the editor yesterday (it’s at the formatter now) , and in honor of that and as per usual, I’m going to post the first chapter below. Be forewarned, Fairy Tale is the first book I experimented with longer chapters. Enjoy!
The “No Accidents Since 1908” sign crashed into my front door, narrowly missing me as I leapt to the side and slammed haphazardly into the remains of my blackened husk of a couch. I tucked my body into a roll that left me covered in ash and debris and came up on my feet, fists raised in a fighting stance. The only thing that greeted me was the burned out shell of my apartment.
The beam the sign had been attached to creaked and groaned. I grimaced as it broke free of the ceiling and smashed into what was left of the bathroom wall, tearing a sky-light-sized hole in the ceiling.
“That’s it,” I growled. “It’s time to punch the Fairy Queen in the face.”
Just because she was like four inches tall and all sparkly, didn’t mean she could ignore a job she agreed to do. Since I’d contacted the pint-sized pixie to rebuild my apartment three weeks ago, I’ve been randomly dropping in to see what progress they’ve made. The short answer? None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
I glanced at the safety sign impaled in my front door. “Well, they’ve hung a sign, that’s progress right?” I asked no one in particular because the place was empty, again.
So far, I hadn’t managed to catch them working even once. Every single time I called, the line just rang and rang or went straight to a voicemail that was full. How voicemail boxes even got full nowadays was completely beyond me.
I sighed and tapped at the device on my wrist. It glowed with soft white light, humming like one of those portable, electric fans people carry around on hot days. Just like that the scene around me melted away.
Sunlight streamed through the window to my left, hitting me square in the face. I glared at the window and flopped onto my borrowed bed, annoyed. Originally, I’d thought I’d chosen a poor place for my bed, but all of the beds were arranged so that sunlight always streamed into your face after first light which was at some stupid hour like before noon. I firmly believed that the sun did not come out until well after mid-day.
I grumbled and rolled onto my bed, stripping off my clothes in the process. It was like trying to get comfortable on cement. I bunched my pillow around my head and tried to ignore the relentless rays of sunlight determined to keep me awake, despite the fact I was out fighting monsters all night.
This was part of the reason I was so angry at the damn fairies. Since my apartment had been thoroughly destroyed when Grollshanks threw a car through my front door three weeks ago, I was staying with my mother. This sounded worse than it was.
For starters, I was only seventeen years old. Most seventeen year olds lived at home so I was fairly sure that this reduced my coolness factor to about normal. Secondly, my mother ran a supernatural army known as the Dioscuri, and I was only borrowing a bed in one of the barracks. This was a big deal for me, personally, however. I couldn’t remember the last time I stayed for even a few minutes in the Dioscuri headquarters in the floating city of Lot.
I was mostly a run away from home and hide type of girl. If you grew up like I did, you would understand why. Part of it was that I still hadn’t quite come to terms with being the reincarnation of one of the most powerful Dioscuri the world has ever seen.
But, more importantly, I was used to having my own space and stuff. I was not used to sharing a dormitory with a bunch of other girls. Granted, there was only one other girl in this particular barracks, and since a good two-thirds of the city was badly damaged from a fight with a clan of orcs, non-destroyed space was in especially high demand.
Most of the other barracks were so packed to the brim with people it was common for girls and boys to share. The thought of being stuffed into a thirty bed room with a bunch of smelly male teens made my stomach twitch. The thought that they might be trying to sneak peeks or, worse yet, watch me sleep, made the hair on the back of my neck stand up straight.
I wouldn’t be in this position if those little fairies got their stupid butts in gear and rebuilt my apartment. I hadn’t even seen one damn fairy since I commissioned them. And now that I thought about it, the fairies have been doing a pretty shoddy job for a while now. The two months prior to the event with the giant, car-flinging orc, were so bad that I actually did a load or two of laundry myself, and if you knew me even a little bit, that was saying something. Cleaning was something Lillim Callina did not do. It was right there with cooking and homework.
I sat up in my way too hard little bed and nearly smacked my forehead on the underside of the bed above me. I managed to stop myself only inches from the solid iron bed frame and swallowed with relief. That would have hurt.
I scrambled out of the bed and nearly tripped over my nest of blankets. I took three rather awkward steps trying to right myself before a hand grabbed me by the shoulder and steadied me.
“What’s got you all in a rush, Lillim?” Kishi, the girl I was sharing the barracks with, asked in her songbird voice. She was one of those ancient beauty types. The kind that were frequently sequestered inside castles waiting to be saved by princes.
Her long, dark hair flowed down her back in a silken wave, and her bright green eyes sparked like jewels in the noontime sun. It made her look radiant even though she was dressed in a red, hooded sweatshirt and jeans.
I’ll be the first to admit that when I stood next to her, it made me a little jealous. Being around her when a group of guys walked by reminded me of one of those movies. You know the kind where everyone else fades from view and the hero can only see the heroine? I was one of the fade-away girls, and there were times when I hated her for it.
“The fairies are in trouble. I have to go see what’s wrong,” I gasped, already throwing off her hand and rushing toward the door.
“Maybe you want to put some pants on first.” She laughed, a cute little sound that reminded me of puppies and sunshine.
I grumbled at her as a blush spread across my face. “Fine!” I snapped because well… she was right and I wasn’t about to go adventuring in my underwear. I rummaged through my duffel bag for something to wear as Kishi sat on her bunk watching me, which was a little odd because I was half-dressed.
A few minutes later I was clad in jeans and a forest green t-shirt, and as I moved to walk past her out the door she got up to follow me.
“I don’t really like fairies very much,” Kishi said. “They get everything all dusty. Sometimes, after they clean, you have to go behind them with a vacuum. I always wind up re-cleaning the whole place anyway.” Kishi shook her head as she followed me toward what was left of the transportation center.
“That must be a profitable side business. I heard that stuff is more valuable than gold,” I said with a smirk. Just imagining someone following after the fairy cleaners with a dirt devil trying to clean-up the nearly non-existent amount of fairy dust left behind made me smile. I would never, not in a million years, be able to even notice the dust, let alone be bothered to clean it up.
“I wouldn’t know. I turn it straight into R and D,” she said with a smile before covering her mouth and leaning toward me conspiratorially. “Have you ever tried it?”
“Tried what? Fairy dust?” I asked, glancing at her. This was a side of Kishi I’ve never seen before. Well, to be honest, being that she was a councilman’s daughter meant that I’d have little contact with her anyway. I didn’t know any side of her, so maybe this was the normal side of her.
I was the daughter of Diana Cortez, the Sagalie Tyee of the Dioscuri, and Sabastin Callina, the leader of the judges, and still I wasn’t really good enough to “mix” with the councilmen’s children. Us fighting types weren’t exactly encouraged to mix with the “nobility.” Then again, that may have been more to do with me being Dirge Meilan reborn. Who was to say?
Anyway, for all I knew the councilmen stood around snorting fairy dust or doing whatever it was you did with the stuff.
“What is it you do with fairy dust anyway?” I asked, glancing sidelong at Kishi. “And why are you following me?”
“You eat it. It tastes divine. You’ve eaten a candy swizzle right? It makes those things taste like dog poo.” She smiled at me. It was like watching the sunrise for the first time. I shook my head and looked away.
Of course I’ve tasted a candy swizzle. In my former life, I dated the guy who created them. Hiro Hideko created a synthetic “candy” that tasted exactly like whatever you wanted most. People were known to draw blood over the things when supplies ran low. It was why they weren’t made anymore. If fairy dust tasted better than that, I couldn’t even imagine what people would do for the stuff.
A shiver ran down my back at the thought. Maybe someone following them with a hoover wasn’t quite as unreasonable as I initially thought.
“You still didn’t tell me why you’re following me,” I said.
“It took you three tries to get out of the barracks fully clothed. If I hadn’t stopped you, you’d have run out here in just your bra and panties. If something was so important that you, the queen of prudes, would forget to put on a pair of pants, I thought I should keep an eye on you,” she said before leaning close to me and whispering into my ear. “Besides, I’ve heard about your adventures. They seem like fun.”
“Fun? They weren’t fun. They were scary and terrifying and I thought I was going to die like a thousand times over.” My stomach tensed as images of being crushed by a giant dragon clashed with those of the Blue Prince flinging me from the top of a building. And that was only the tip of the iceberg. “You seriously need a new definition of the word fun.”
Kishi’s body stiffened a little at the comment, and I nearly stumbled over her. Note to self: when someone is leaning close to you and stops suddenly, be ready to avoid her if you don’t want to end up in a heap on the floor.
“You know how many times I’ve seen real battle?” Her eyes were hard, and her voice made me look around for somewhere to hide. It was like the gunshot that scatters all the wildlife.
Very slowly, she raised one hand and held up a single finger. “Once when the orcs attacked a few weeks ago.” She held up a second finger. “When Manaka sieged the city.”
I waited for her to continue, but she did not. Maybe that was the point. Maybe that was her entire point. I was going to try to argue with her, to say something along the lines of “she should be happy she didn’t have machine gun toting maniacs kicking down her door.” I probably should have told her to be glad that no one threw a car through her front door.
I did not do those things because a thought struck me. Warthor Ein, my old master, was incredibly powerful. So powerful that dragons were scared of him. Like Kishi, he was a member of one of the noble houses.
Perhaps… perhaps he wasn’t the exception to the rule. Maybe, just maybe he was the rule because now that I thought about it, Manaka was a noble too… All of the people I could think of with noble blood were really damn strong.
I couldn’t imagine having that kind of power and not being able to use it because people didn’t want me to get hurt. That would drive me crazy. I also knew that no one was likely to take Kishi seriously if her parents didn’t want it to happen. No one really wants to wind up on the wrong side of council members.
To go on an adventure, she would have to get in with someone who didn’t care about rules and had just enough juice to make punishment not really stick. In short, I was her only hope of getting out there into the real world.
“Kishi, I’m going to let you tag along. If you’re incredibly lucky all you’ll get out of it is going to be a few scars.”