Chapter Ten

Merry froze.

“Aye, ye hear me, Meriadoc McDaniel!” the little voice shouted.

He turned and looked around the yard. Nothing. A large moth flitted in his face again and he batted it away, annoyed.

“Ach! Ye banjax me wing! Ye cursed humans be ever so impertinent!”

He looked down to where the little voice emanated from. A large moth fluttered angrily in the grass, seemingly trapped in the tall blades and unable to take flight again. Its wings were a vivid, neon yellow and huge for a moth.

“Aye, human! I be spakin’ of ye!”

“What the hell,” Merry whispered.

The moth batted its wings angrily at him as it twisted and spun gracelessly in the green blades. “For Consort’s sake, throw us a lifeline and stop lettin’ death take me hand!”

Merry squatted and peered closely at the eerily beautiful moth, and jumped back with a start, landing on his ass when he realized it wasn’t a moth at all, but a small per—Okay, wait. The last couple of days had been weird. Seriously weird. Insanely weird. But this was just wrong in the extreme. And if his neighbors caught him talking to a moth in his backyard, well, they would think he was certifiable. Worse yet, they’d call his dad. That would be all kinds of bad. He rubbed his eyes, certain his imagination was OUT. OF. CONTROL. He would not talk to a six-inch moth person. Nope. Not happening. He quickly stood and headed toward the backdoor. “There is not a little hu—moth person yelling at me from my backyard. There is not a little moth person yelling at me from my backyard,” he repeated as he opened the backdoor.

“Meriadoc McDaniel, I come at the behest of the Prince of Flesh and Bone, Bearer of Hands of Fire and Water!”

“There is NOT a little moth person—”

"I have ye a message from Quinn!"

At the mention of Quinn’s name, he stopped in his tracks. He turned and walked back to the fluttering moth and squatted next to it as it flapped madly in the grass. “Y-you’re a Fairy?”

Large, shiny jet eyes to match a wild ebony mane looked up at him. She looked like a miniature, deranged Barbie with wings. Thin and frail, she wore nothing more than a filmy tunic faintly hued with yellow. Tiny, black-velvet antennae sprouted just above her large pointed ears and moved frenetically has she struggled to stand upright in the grass. “What else I be?” she demanded.

Good question.

“Quit ye tomfoolery and give me a hand already!”

Merry extended a hand and, with considerable effort, the small fairy climbed onto his palm, breathless and grumbling something about banjax as she straightened her wing. It looked a little crooked and slightly mangled, and he instantly felt remorse for having swatted at her. “S-sorry.” 

“Aye, well, ye be jammy I can heal me self. Be a moment,” she sighed. With more effort, she stood and brushed dirt from her knees and elbows. With a curtsy, she offered, “Lady Sadb an Buí, in the service of we Prince of Fairy, He Majesty Quinn Malloy O’Cuinn, son of we Queen Muirgan of we High Court of Fairy, Queen of Flesh and Bone, Bearer of Hands of Fire and Water.”

Whoa. “Hi.”

“A human o’few words are ye? Odd, if I do say so meself.”

“You’re really a fairy?” Stupid question. What else could she be?

“I be demi-fae!” she announced indignantly, parking angry hands on her hips.


Her large black eyes became larger still, now way too big for her tiny face. “What ye mean to ask?”

Great. Talking to her was like talking to Quinn. Definitely empirical evidence of fairyness. “What is a demi-fae?”

“Oooooh, oh. That what ye mean to ask?”


“Oh, well, we be the essence o’Fairy. We carry all magicks of the Land.” She abruptly sat in his palm, bent his fingers, and leaned against them comfortably. “Ye see, long ago....”

Merry stared at her as she spoke of someone named Gaea, islands beneath the sea, deadly mists, and faraway lands. After five minutes, he couldn’t take it anymore. “You said you had a message from Quinn?”

She was immediately offended. “Ye must address me proper. And if ye add a bit of deference, ’twould right please me.”

He bit back the angry words that tried to fly from his lips. “Okaaay. What’s your name again?”

“Lady Sadb an Buí, in the service of we Prince of Fairy, He Majesty Quinn Malloy O’Cuinn, son of we Queen Muirgan of we High Court of Fairy, Queen of Flesh and Bone, Bearer of Hands of Fire and Water.”

“I have to say all that?”

“Why not?”

“How about Lady Sigh-eve-an-bwee?”

A tiny fingertip tapped her chin as she considered his address. “All be right. What be ye question?”

“What’s the message from Quinn? Is he okay?”

“That be two questions. Ye only ask for one question.”

Merry frowned, irked. “What’s the message from Quinn?”

“He wish me to tell ye....” She paused.

Merry waited. And waited. And waited. “Tell me what?

“I not rightly recall.”

Merry was incredulous. “You don’t remember?”

She glared at him. “I not be in the Land o’Fairy!”

“So what?”

“It make me mind weak and I cannot recall!”

Merry wanted to choke her. “Is Quinn okay? When he left here h-he was bleeding.”

“Aye, he be a right ruin.”

Merry wanted to scream. “Is. He. O. Kay?”

“Ye dare not raise ye voice to a Lady of we High Court!”

Ohmygod. Talking to this demi-fae made talking to Quinn seem like a walk in the park. “Okay, sorry. Sorry. Please tell me if Quinn is okay.”

“After a fashion.”

Merry rubbed his eyes with thumb and forefinger in frustration. “So, he’s not okay?”

“He be when he return to ye.”

“When’s he coming back?”

“On the morrow.”

Relief flooded Merry. “What happened to him? It was like some monster attacked him or something.”

Her jet eyes turned sad. “Aye.”

“What was it?”

“Not be what. Be who.”

Merry’s frustration ratcheted another notch. “Okay, who?”

“Queen Mother.”

Merry was shocked. “Why?”

“We Mother lose she temperament.”

Merry tucked his chin in disbelief. “Why?”

“Prince Quinn delay in he response to she call.”

Questions bounced off the walls of Merry’s mind and he couldn’t decide what to ask first. “Quinn is a prince? A real prince?”

“Ye be daft? Why ye ask such a thing?”

“Okay, okay. So, Quinn’s mom got mad because she called and he didn’t answer fast enough?”

“Aye, he delay a fair bit, then he dare to stop time, and she lose she temperament.” She was thoughtful for another long moment, fingertip tapping chin. “He ne’er defy we Queen afore. Makes ye wonder what he be doin’ be so important as to defy she, don’t it? Ye know what he be doin’ when she call?”

Ah, yeah, he knew, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to say. “He was with me.”

“Aye, but he would not ignore we Queen’s call lest it be a matter of utmost urgency. What he be doin’?”

Yeah, it had been urgent, all right. Merry quickly changed the subject. “Is there any more to the message besides he’ll be okay by the time he gets back in the morning?”

“I not recall.”

Merry rubbed his eyes again, aggravated beyond reason by the nonsensical conversation. “Can you take a message back to him?”

Her brow knitted. “Me Prince not say so.”

“Will you do it?”

Her eyes narrowed on him, an evil little grin forming on her face to reveal sharp, pointy teeth. “Do ye mean to ask a favor of me?” she asked excitedly.

“It’s not a favor. It’s a request. Will you please take a message back to him?”

“Shite! Ye not fall for me trixie!”

In the blink of an eye, she stood and stomped her foot hard on his palm. It startled him and he dropped her. She took flight and zoomed at his face, her large black eyes frightening as they came at him. He couldn’t help it. He batted at her.

“Ach! Why ye aim to harm me?”

“I don’t! Just don’t fly at my face like that!”

She stilled, and floated gently on the air in front of him, her eyes large and round as she ogled him closely. “Ye spake true.”

“Yeah, I do. Will you please take a message back to Quinn for me, Lady Sadb an Buí?”

“Why ye not address we Prince by he title?”

Merry fought not to raise his voice again. “He’s never asked me to. Will you take a message back to him or not?”

She thought for another long moment. “He not say so.”

Merry was close to losing it with this little creature. “You can’t do something unless he tells you to?”

“Aye. What say we ask ‘im?”

“What do you mean, ask him? We have to ask him if you can take a message back to him?”


“How?” She flew at his face again and he fought not to bat at her. Then he felt her tiny hand touch his cheek and he took a step back. “W-what are you doing?”

“Ye wish to ask ‘im, do ye not?”

“Doesn’t sound like I have a choice.”

“Then I need touch ye.”


“So ye may spake to ‘im through me.”

“How does that work?”

“Ye try me patience! How ye think it work? It be Fairy magick!”

That explained everything. Not. “Wait. Just, just give me a sec.” He wasn’t afraid of her, exactly, but there was something very menacing about her, and he definitely didn’t want to see those black eyes and sharp teeth coming at him again. He breathed deeply and gathered his calm. “Okay.”

Her tiny hand touched his cheek, and she yelped and flew away.

“What’s wrong?”

She darted back, her eyes wide with disbelief, a hand covering her gaping mouth. “Ye be Fairy Kissed!”

Oh. My. God! The stupid Fairy Kiss again! “Yeah, so?”

“Be forbidden to Fairy Kiss a human!”

Merry didn’t know what to say to that. He didn’t want Quinn to be in more trouble than he already was. He just needed to talk to him. “Can I talk to Quinn? Please?”

She flew in erratic circles, leaving brightly colored trails to arc the air as she ranted in a language Merry guessed to be Irish.

This went on for no less than ten minutes. He finally called her name. “Lady Sadb an Buí!”

She halted her rant and flew at him, her frightening black orbs and sharp teeth monstrous as they came at him. Her wings buzzed a wickedly high pitch as she whizzed past, narrowly missing his cheek, and he fought not to step back.

“All be right! I use ye other cheek!”

Finally! “Okay. Ready?” He closed his eyes and her tiny hand touched his other cheek.

His mind swirled and dizziness threatened to overwhelm him right before a sterling calm filled him. He found himself seeing another world, as if he looked through someone else’s eyes.

“Aye, Meriadoc,” Sadb whispered. “Ye see me Prince’s chamber through me eyes.”

Only the sound of Merry’s name from Sadb kept his mind grounded in reality. His eyes drank in the vast, finely furnished cavern as the scent of freshly cut grass and spring rains imbued his senses. Ornate gold sconces littered the jagged stone walls and filled the enormous space with soft, golden candlelight. Handcrafted rugs depicting unicorns, three headed dogs, and fire-breathing dragons graced a highly polished, crystalline floor that looked to be made of crushed diamonds.

Tearing his eyes from the spellbinding room, he looked for Quinn. He lay on a bed of flowers, his bleeding back a stark contrast to the soft pastels of the flora. One beautiful, glassy green wing wafted slowly above him, while the other lay in bloody tatters at his side. A colorful cloud moved and swayed above him and Merry realized it was a flurry of demi-fae tending his wounds.

“Quinn,” he breathed.

Quinn turned his head toward the sound of Merry’s voice. “Sadb?”

“Aye, ’tis me, Sire.” Sadb spoke quickly, defensively. “Merry wish me return a message to ye, but ye not give ye say-so to do so. So, he wish ye say-so for me to do so on ye say-so. So, I use me mind’s eye to ask ye say-so. Ye say so?” She abruptly fell mute.

Quinn groaned as he rolled partially onto one side. “Must ye be so bloody literal, Sadb?”

“If ye say so, Sire.”

“Aye, aye! Ye have me say-so! Do as Merry wish! But ye not permit the lad to see within we mound! Ye risk he human sight for all time if ye do!”

“Too late,” Merry said softly.

Chapter Nine                                                Table of Contents                                                 Chapter Eleven 
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