Chapter Eighteen

Quinn’s hand tensed in Merry’s and his anger zinged up Merry’s spine. Conlaoch began to back away and Quinn’s eyes searched the air for Sadb.

“Sadb!” his voice boomed on the air.

She floated down through the demi-fae and came to hover in front of Quinn. Though she made the deferential bow, her face held nothing but defiance. “Aye, sire?”

“Ye give ye word ye would spend five minute with Nolan.” “I do it!” she defended.

Quinn’s gaze moved back to Conlaoch.

“Beggin’ ye pardon, ye majesty. She do naught more than sit on a rock with ‘im. When Nolan speak, she ignore him and move away.”

Quinn’s eyes had taken on a dim reddish glow and his muscles twitched beneath the surface of his skin. Fear crept up Merry’s spine alongside Quinn’s anger as he began to worry. The last thing he wanted was for Quinn to change again. Worse yet, for his mom to feed off his anger again. The air suddenly thickened and it became hard to breathe, and demi-fae began to drop out of the sky, their fall only cushioned by the bluebells beneath them.

Oh, no. Merry gently squeezed Quinn’s hand and dared to ask, “Q-quinn?” Quinn turned his glowing eyes on Merry and he became even more afraid. “P-please don’t get m-mad. Y-you’ll ch-change and th-then your m-mom will f-feed off y-your ang....”

Merry’s words died away as the look on Quinn’s face turned from one of anger to one of outright fury. Merry tried to withdraw his hand but Quinn held fast. “Who tell ye?”

“T-tell m-me what?”

“Who tell ye of me curse?” Quinn demanded.

“Um, w-well, when you ch-changed into your other, um, form, last n-night—”

Quinn’s expression seemed to go through a thousand machinations before settling into a mask of infinite sadness. “I show me ugly side in we night together?”

Uh-oh. “Y-you d-don’t remember?”

Quinn shook his head slowly.

How could he not remember? Now Merry was terrified he’d said something all kinds of wrong and his words came fast and furious. “Y-you k-kinda, well, changed, then you d-drooled a little, kinda on me, I guess, and then licked my f-face and I, ah, asked you n-not to eat m-me. Th-then, um, y-you roared a lot and I sorta g-got this feeling that you d-didn’t want to b-be, you know, all m-monstery, but I was kinda afraid you w-would, I don’t know, m-maybe eat me. Well, n-not eat me, y-you wouldn’t d-do that. Or at least I d-don’t think you would. Well, yeah, okay, I-I was afraid you were g-going to eat me, or at least take a b-bite out of me, a b-big one. Well, okay, really I was t-terrified you were g-going to eat me in one b-bite, sorta like swallow m-me whole, you know? And I think you were t-trying really hard n-not to, and so Sadb told me your, ah, m-mom was sort of, you know, f-feeding off you, your anger, I mean, and she said to, um, t-touch you s-so you c-could feel, you know, how I, um, feel about you, and I d-did and the, um, well, you turned b-back into your, um, well, like you are n-now.” He made a nearly indiscernible gesture with his free hand. “Exc-cept, you, um, d-didn’t have the red g-glowy thing g-going on with your eyes k-kinda like you d-do r-right now.”

Quinn stared at Merry.

Merry waited, truly frightened Quinn would lose it right then and there and change and DEVOUR.HIM.WHOLE. “Are you g-gonna eat m-me?” His voice was small and high-pitched and he cursed himself for sounding so freakin’ pathetic.

Quinn continued to stare at him as the air around them thinned to a breathable thickness again and the red glow left Quinn’s eyes.

“Nay, me we dote,” Quinn said softly.

Merry breathed a sigh of relief and dared to speak again. “Ok-kay, change of subject. D-do you want me to t-talk to Sadb and Nolan t-together? If it’s all r-right with you, I-I mean.”

“Nolan!” Quinn boomed again.

Merry started and nearly fell off his horse. The horse that had wings. The horse that was frozen in mid-air. The horse that waited for the rade to continue. With a leader. Un-freakin’-believable!

Nolan appeared immediately. “Aye, sire?” he said with a deep bow.

“Ye be up to givin’ Sadb a second go?”

Nolan paused in thought, seeming to choose his words carefully. “Far be it from me to disappoint me prince as I exist only to serve ye, sire. Yet, t’would be slapdashery of me if I did no’ confess she whinging try me patience and I be affronted if we make no progression of sorts.”

Sadb opened her mouth to speak but was quickly silenced by a brief, magical wave of Conlaoch’s hand. She made odd noises as she flailed on the air and fought the invisible gag. She bent backwards and forwards, flipped upside down, spun in all different directions, her body contorting and shuddering as she fought to speak and tiny sparks flew. She looked like an electrified Tasmanian devil.

Merry looked away quickly and covered a laugh with a portended cough.

“Ye think ye can give ye wan a second time with help from me Merry?” Quinn asked.

Nolan smiled wide. “T'would be me pleasure to give it me utmost, sire.”

Quinn turned to Merry, his eyes kind, and full of love again. “Ye be willin’ to help, Merry?”

Merry’s heart melted and he felt all mushy inside. After all Quinn did for him, the least he could do was to try to talk some sense into Sadb. “Sure. Um, can you make the horse go, like, down to the ground?”

The horse leaped skyward and, unprepared for the sudden burst into action, Merry tumbled off the back of it with a loud cry. The tiara spun away as he spun ass over teakettle high in the air, certain he’d land with a sickening thud and break every bone in his body. He prayed it wouldn’t hurt too much. He didn’t want to cry in front of Quinn.

“We Consort’s crown!” Ethne the Wee shrieked.

A cloud of demi-fae swarmed the crown and, within seconds, Quinn’s arms were around him holding him close and slowing his spinning descent.

“Ye be a right muppet, ye be, mo chroí.”

They floated on the air, turning slowly, Quinn’s large, soft wings a beautiful iridescent green wafting above them.

“We’re flying,” Merry breathed.

Quinn smiled. “Seem I be aloft, and ye be takin’ ye pleasure in me transportation.”

Merry smiled shyly. “Thanks for, um, catching me.”

Quinn landed deftly, bringing Merry safely to the ground, and set him on his feet. “When I tell ye to take ye hold on, ye need heed me warnin’ lest ye put yeself in peril again.”

“I kinda forgot. Sorry.”

Ethne the Wee flew to Merry and set the rescued tiara on his head.

“All be right. Where be the rock, Conlaoch?”

“Be in we dell, ye majesty.”

“Sadb! Nolan! To the rock! Come now, Merry. What be ye intentions?” Quinn asked as he guided Merry around the giant tree and down into a grassy ravine.

“Well, I thought I would just get the two of them to talk.”

“About what?”

“I don’t know. Anything. Doesn’t have to be anything special.”

Nolan whizzed by Merry’s head at light speed and Conlaoch followed at a much slower pace dragging a now bound and gagged Sadb by her antennas. She fought and squirmed and shrieked on the air and Conlaoch ignored her has he followed Nolan to the rock.

Quinn shook his head. “Ye have ye work cut out for ye. Ye be certain ye wish to do it?”

Merry shrugged as they came to a large boulder boldly situated beside a small stream. Nolan sat on one end of the rock, and Sadb squirmed on the other as Conlaoch held her firmly by the antennas.

Merry sighed. “Can’t hurt to try.”

“Ye be a brave one. Sadb like to bite the head off ye.”

Merry’s eyes went wide. “She bites?”

Quinn laughed softly. “Only with she words.”

“Ah, yeah, okay. Good to know.” Merry looked at Sadb. “Lady Sadb?” She glared at him and he fought not to cringe. “Do you think if Lord Conlaoch removed your gag you could sort of sit there quietly for a few minutes?”

A long moment passed before she nodded once. With the wave of his hand, Conlaoch’s gag was gone. Sadb sat there, sullen and sour as a rotten lemon.

Merry turned to Nolan. “Hey, Nolan.”

“Lord Merry,” he greeted with a bow.

“We’re gonna start this off simple, okay? Like, what’s your favorite color?”

Nolan grinned wide. “Be me red.”

Merry smiled. Of course it is. Dumb question. “Cool. What’s your favorite thing to eat?”

“Ye not answer such a query!”

Sadb’s shriek sliced through Merry’s nervous system like serrated knife. “Why not?” he asked.

She pointed an accusatory finger at Nolan. “He be a predator! He eat he first cousin, if ye let ‘im!”

Merry turned back to Nolan who looked genuinely offended. “You, um, eat your relatives?”

“Be one or two occasion it happen, but only for cause. Be the way of me ilk.”

Right. “Ah-huh. Okay. Sadb, what’s your favorite color?”

She gestured to Nolan as if to say “what he said” then turned her nose up at him.

“Ah, okay. If Nolan’s favorite color is red, then yours must be yellow.”

“Ye be an eejit if ye not figure that for yeself.”

Merry frowned. “Please don’t call me an idiot.”

“I not name ye an eejit. I say ye be an eejit if ye not figure me favorite color.”

Merry sighed again. “Okay. What’s your favorite thing to eat?”

She looked at him in disgust. “Ye be a right useless human. Have ye no memory?”

Merry glared at her. He did feel useless and worthless most of the time but that didn’t mean Sadb could say he was. “Can you get through one sentence without a criticism?”

“What ye mean to ask?”

“Every one of your sentences contains a criticism. Are you always so negative?”

“When must needs be.”

“And when would that be?”

“When I be within a shoe’s shadow of such a horrid thing as ‘im!” She pointed at Nolan again.

Oh, my God. “He is not a thing! How would you like it if he called you a...a...PITA?”

“A what?”

“A pain in the ass.”

Sadb gaped at Merry in horror before launching into a tirade. “Ye be on the side o' the dragon! Ye be unclean! Ye not be fit for me prince!”

“I’m not taking Nolan’s side.”

“Ye be! Ye be! Ye not be fit for me prince!”

“Oh, my God! I am not! You know what, Sadb? You need a shrink!”

“A what?” Quinn asked.

“A shrink! You know, a head shrinker!”

Quinn frowned. “Ye mean to say a shrink of she head be a cure for she poor attitude?”

“Yes!”

Quinn thought for a moment. “Ye be certain of it?”

“Yes! She’s missing a food group!”

Quinn was dour. “What food it be?”

Oh, my God! “I mean she’s nuts!”

“Ye be certain?”

“Yes!”

“All be right then. Conlaoch, ye see to it quicksmart she have three meal o’ nuts a day from now on.” In the blink of an eye, Sadb’s head shrank to the size of a pea. Quinn nodded once in satisfaction. “Ye give ye Quinn right fine advice, me Merry. She be far less riotous with she small head.”

Oh, no. Merry felt faint. He should have known better than to use colloquialisms with Quinn.

Quinn turned to Conlaoch. “Ethne the Wee lead with Nolan! We rade!

No one noticed the black butterfly lurking at the side of the ravine.


The first chapter of Fairy was originally published in
Harmony Ink’s May 2013 newsletter.
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Chapter Seventeen                                     Table of Contents                                        Chapter Nineteen

©2012-2015 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.

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