*** THIS IS THE FINAL CHAPTER OF MYSTERY. HOPE YOU'VE ENJOYED IT ***
Apparently, the Sylph King noticed his favourite knight in the crowd too. "Trey, please escort the Dark King and his minions from my Court, right now" He bellowed, and Trey nodded once, shot Emily an apologetic glance, and began trying to usher the Dark faeries out. They didn't want to budge, but some jerked away from Trey and his glowing fingers as if he might electrocute them just by touching them. That would be amusing.
The Dark King looked inclined to say something seething but he didn't get the chance because there was collective gasp from just about everyone in the room as Oscar appeared out of thin air, standing on the steps of the dais, and, boy, did he look pissed off. That icy expression he'd worn when confronting the hoodies in the street was nothing compared to fury on his face right now. A harsh wind blasted around the room, powerful enough to knock some of the goblins off their feet and nearly snuff out the flames of the salamanders. His green eyes were bright as gems lit in firelight, and he was more beautiful than ever with heightened cheekbones and an aura as wild as the wind he had power of at the touch of his fingertips. Looping lines and swirling patterns glowed green under his skin, making him look exotic and feral. His eyes scanned the room, the crowd of shocked faeries, passed right over the Dark King and his soldiers with a look of disgust, and finally fell on Emily in her cage. An expression of agony flashed across his face and in an instant he was by her side, kneeling by her cage. Emily felt relief and…something else…flood through her at the sight of him.
"Emily. Oh God, I'm so sorry. I should never have left you alone. I should have stayed to make sure you were okay. Are you okay? Have they hurt you?" Oscar stared into her eyes, all his emotions clear on his face. It made Emily gasp, the vulnerability he showed her. Just the fact that he'd come here, come back to this place he'd spent two years running from, for her, made her heart stutter and her eyes sting. He raised his hand to the bars, but didn't dare try to touch her through the iron. Emily smiled gently and put her hand through the bars to twine her fingers with his. With her other hand, she touched his face, tracing the swirling green lines on his skin with his fingertips.
She felt a whole lot of fear and tension leave her body at the touch of his smooth skin, the twinkle of his green eyes, the sight of that familiar smile. "I'm okay. They haven't touched me. Yet, anyway. But I really would like to get out of this cage. I feel like a ferret in here"
That made Oscar chuckle and something in her chest fluttered at the melodic sound. "A ferret? Well, we can't have that now, can we?" He turned and got to his feet, staring directly at his mother and father on the dais. They looked back at him in horror, disbelief and embarrassment all their fine faces at their son's display of obvious affection for the human girl. "The key, mother. Give me the key to let her out" Oscar demanded in a voice devoid of petulance or the usual teenage fear of those older than you. He sounded like a distinctly unhappy adult telling his mother to give him the key, not asking. The Queen's eyes widened and she raised a hand over her heart as if his words hurt her.
"Oscar, you cannot be serious. She is human! She must be kept in the cage until we decided how to get rid of her. But, oh, my boy, it is good to see you again. There will consequences for your running away, Oscar, but you can lessen your punishment by stepping away from the side of that girl" The Queen reached out her hand toward him and Oscar made a low sound like a growl.
"Let her out. You won't lay a finger on her or else you'll lose your precious prince as well. I will not let you hurt her, and I will not leave her in your clutches" He said, his tone strong and unwavering.
The King stepped forward, a thunderous expression on his face. "Oscar, you will come here and leave the human for the goblins to have. If you don't, I will make you watch her being eaten alive" He warned and Emily shuddered, her stomach turning over. That got to Oscar. He paused, looked down at her with a miserable, agonised expression. Then something flashed behind his eyes, a decision, and he faced his parents once again.
"Let her go and I'll stay here in Court. I'll take the throne when my time comes. I won't try to run away again. Let her go home, unharmed, and I'll be your noble, well-mannered little prince, just the way you wanted me to be" Oscar's voice was scathing.
Emily gasped, eyes wide. "Oscar, no! Don't! Oscar, you hate it here. Don't stay because of me, please" As much as she really didn't want to be eaten alive by evil, slobbering green monsters, she wasn't sure she could stand the guilt if Oscar gave up his freedom to keep her safe.
Oscar ignored her. "Have Trey take her home and I'll face my punishment without a word of protest" He didn't so much as blink, his steely gaze fixed on his parents like he wished they would turn to stone if he just glared hard enough. Trey was watching the whole thing with barely concealed amusement, one hand gripping the arm of a Dark soldier. The Dark King was just as fascinated by this standoff as everyone else, including his own minions, everyone gaping with open interest like they were watching a drama show on TV. There was near silence in the hall while they waited for the Sylph King and Queen to make a decision – concede to their son's demands, or haul him off and feed the human girl to the gremlins.
Seconds ticked by, stretching to endless minutes of tense anticipation, before the King and Queen finally exchanged consulting looks, and then announced their decision. The King took a step forward, pulling his shoulders back and staring down his nose at his son, looking regal and dangerous at once. When he spoke, his voice echoed around the room. "Trey, release the girl from the cage and give her a head start. Perhaps she can outrun the gremlins, if not outwit them. It is only fair. Guards, see the Dark King and his soldiers out and then take Oscar to the iron stockades in the palace dungeon"
Oscar let out an enraged roar and lunged toward the guards advancing on him, a vicious wind belting through the room, blowing out the flames of the floating candles and toppling many of the smaller fey. Trey's face split into a grin and Emily screamed at him, "Trey, you lying bastard! I thought you were going to make sure I was safe, I thought you cared! You lousy, miserable son of a bitch! Get away from me, go to hell!" She screamed louder as he reached her cage and began to unlock it, producing the key from nowhere. He twisted the key in the lock and the door sprang open. Trey reached in to haul her out, but she grabbed his wrist and, as she flung herself out of the cage, she twisted and threw him into it. She slammed the door and searched for some way to jam it closed. Trey roared in pain as the iron ate at him, the bars pressed against his skin sizzling away. The stench of burning flesh made Emily gag, and Trey's feet connected with the unlocked door, kicking it open and sending Emily flying to the ground in the midst of the slavering, chomping goblins and gremlins.
Screaming, Emily scrambled to her feet as little green men and ugly monsters shedding tree bark for skin clutched at her pyjamas trousers and wrapped nasty, dirty fingers around her ankles, scratching and clawing and climbing their way up her body. Trey slid neatly out of the cage and to his feet in an easy, fluid motion, then snatched the gremlins off of her quickly, before any of them could sink a crooked tooth into her. He leaned in as he was untangling a particularly nasty little bugger from her hair, and whispered to her in a low voice, "Stop it! I am going to help you, but I can't do so openly in front of the King and Queen. When I get this thing out of your hair, grab the third bar from the left in the cage door – it's loose from me kicking it – and swing it at me". Oh. Damn. Did he always have to be an ass about being on her side? It reminded her of when he'd helped prevent her from being kidnapped that night with Roman. Yet he'd taken her here himself? Why? For the glory? It seemed like everything he did either contradicted something he'd said or done before, or he had some secret, alternative motive behind his every action. It was getting really, really annoying trying to figure out just what Trey actually wanted.
Once he finally got the gremlin to let go of her hair, Emily ducked under his arm while he was still wrestling with the ugly beast, and grabbed hold of the third bar in the cage door. It wobbled a little. Like Trey said, it was loose, but loose enough to pry out? Maybe for a freaking faerie knight. For a little human girl, prying iron was kind of tricky. She yanked on it with both hands, hearing it groan as it bent, but it refused to release its grip on the frame of the little door. Her hands burned against the rough metal, the ridges biting into her skin. Something sticky smeared across her palm as she twisted her fingers on the bar, and there was a collective hiss from the nearby gremlins and goblins and various other monsters. A long claw touched her shoulder and she jerked, letting out a scream. The sharp, unintentional movement caused the bar to snap away from the doorframe with the sound of shearing metal. Emily whirled and swung it as hard as she could toward whatever was touching her. There was a horrible crack as the bar collided with the jaw of a wraith. The skin sizzled and blistered under the touch of the iron and the wraith let out an inhuman screech before flying backward like it was pulled by a string. She didn't see where it went because her view was suddenly blocked by Trey and, in her panic, Emily swung the bar at him without thinking. He just barely ducked in time, the thick metal rod slicing the air just over his head. In the next second, she found herself running toward the one person she thought could get her the hell out of here.
Oscar was caught in a swordfight with one of the guards while other guards were limping and retreating. One had a clearly broken arm. Another had blood pouring from his nose and a gash in his chest. The Dark soldiers were joining the melee, rattling up the rest of the crowd into a riot, until the room was filled with clashing swords and yelling faeries. Some women and children screamed and fled, but most of the guys stayed to pick a fight with whoever they could. It was chaos, and it seemed that only the Sylph King and Queen were staying out the action. Even the Dark King was brandishing a shiny blade against some of the Sylph guards attempting to usher him and his minions out of the room. Emily had to duck and dodge and slide between fighters to get anywhere near Oscar, and she finally reached him just as he cut down the last of the guards trying to take him away to the dungeon. It seemed nobody else dared touch the Sylph Prince, not even the Dark faeries. A banshee hurtled past, screaming a deafening scream that sent ice right to Emily's bones, followed swiftly by a salamander balancing an orb of writhing fire on his palm, his flaming hair spiked in ribbons of gold and orange. Aside from the obvious malformations, he was pretty. But then again, most of the occupants of the room were stunning in a runway model way. Only the lesser creatures were ugly, but you wouldn't tell them that or they'd eat your face – literally.
"Oscar!" Emily cried, trying to get his attention while also struggling to keep a nasty kelpie from grabbing her ass. Ugh! It seemed sleaziness wasn't confined to the human race after all. It was universally spread throughout male chromosomes. Oscar spun as she ran to him and firmly wrapped a protective arm around her waist, holding her close to him and pointing his blade at anyone who strayed too near. Trey was helping keep the Dark soldiers and a couple of wraiths away, but he was doing it in a way that made it look like he was just doing his job. He got in front of the Dark solider attempting to raise his sword and tapped the faery's wrist with the end of his sword, a silent warning not to try anything. The Dark soldier scowled but backed off to pick a fight with a nymph that was dripping water everywhere.
Then there was an almighty bellow from the King, demanding they all stop, and the room froze. It wasn't the natural kind of freezing, where a person simply chooses to stop moving. No, this was more like time stopped, and everyone but Trey, Oscar and Emily were paralysed in the moment, some with arms raised, some in the middle of sword fights, a couple having a magic fight, orbs of blue and red paused in mid-air. Flashes of light as if from a camera were dotted around the room, some spell being cast and stuck in the time-warp. Even the flickering of the candles stopped, the flames completely still. It was all very surreal, and Emily gawked around her in amazement.
But she didn't get to gawk long because the King and Queen slid off the dais and came toward her and Oscar. Trey slunk closer, his face blank but there was wariness written in his eyes. Oscar's arm tightened around Emily and she felt her heart stumbling in her chest, tried not panic. Oscar wouldn't let them touch her, Oscar would keep her safe. Hell, maybe Trey could even do a little smooth-talking if it came to that. Surely with his silver tongue, he could convince the King and Queen to let her go home.
"Oscar, enough of this! This is not the behaviour of a young prince. A king-to-be. This is foolish, Oscar! We understood your decision to run away, allowed you a brief period in the mortal world before we sent Trey and Roman to look for you. We understood you were upset about Melinda, but this? This is too far. You are lucky you are our only son, or we'd have you sent to the Badlands to rot. But, with no other children to take the throne, you must live, but that doesn't mean you shan't be severely punished. We can make this much more difficult for you, Oscar, but if you give up the girl now, we will keep your punishment…humane" The Queen said in that chilling voice of hers, her eyes slicking over Emily with pure hatred. Emily bit her tongue and clung more tightly to Oscar, her ears ringing with her beating pulse. She dreaded to think what these people classed as inhumane if locking their own son away in an iron cell was their version of parental leniency.
Trey moved forward and said something in a low voice to the King, whose grey eyes narrowed to menacing slits focused on his son. Stepping back, Trey's expressionless expression slipped for a moment to show true anxiety beneath. Nobody but Emily saw it, though, because they were all glaring at each other while Trey hung back. Emily wondered what he'd said to the King.
As the King took a step toward Oscar, Oscar raised his sword so that the sharp point was level with his father's chin, almost touching the elegant beard. "I don't care about your damn punishments. I won't let you hurt Emily. Either you let her go safely back to the mortal realm, or I take her back myself and never come back. I hid from your guards for two years. I can hide again" Not to mention, it was unlikely Trey would come looking for him particularly hard after this. Emily was still trying to figure out Trey's motives.
The Sylph King drew himself up and glared down at his son. "Trey has just brought to my attention something that may save your little pet, Oscar. HE has pointed out that while we are at war with the Dark Court over the Badlands, it would perhaps be of our advantage to have a human who can handle iron. Of course, she would not be integrated into our guard – that would be an abomination – but perhaps she could be of use as a…watchdog at the borders of the Badlands. If she could set up an iron blockade to keep the Dark King from taking over the Badlands, we could – just possibly – allow her to stay in Elfhame, unharmed. She would have to figure out her own accommodation on the Badlands and she would not be permitted beyond the borders, but she would be alive. I believe this is an acceptable agreement, don't you?"
Oh, how wonderful. I get to stay here in Elfhell and be a watchdog for a bunch of faeries who really want to eat me. The idea did not appeal to Emily in the least. She wanted to go home and have a hot bath and eat some pizza and go to bed. The statues of faeries around her were making her feel a little dizzy, and she had the urge to get a ladder and force those floating candles to sit on the ground like they should. Objects defying gravity, time bending faery Kings, and territory battles were all way too much for her to handle.
Finally running out of patience, exhaustion making her bold, Emily spoke directly to the King, meeting his steely gaze unflinchingly. "I want to go home. I don't want to stay here as your stupid pet watchdog. I don't care about your Court or the Badlands or the Dark King. This is your world and I just want to go home to mine. If you'll just let me go home, I'll never say a word about any of this, I'll never try to find Oscar again. I'll stay out of your world if you just let me go. I'm sorry Oscar, but I can't-" She turned to Oscar with tears in her eyes, her heart wrenching at the pained expression on his fine face. To think she'd never see those green eyes again, see his beautiful smile, share another kiss with him, hold his hand, nothing. Never again. But it was for the best. He was from a different world that she couldn't be a part of. She'd thought perhaps he could be the boy she would fall in love with, but obviously it wasn't to be. The look in his lovely eyes told her he understood that, but it still hurt him.
Then Trey cut her off mid-sentence. "No! No, you can't go! Emily, you have to stay here in Elfhame! Haven't you wondered why I brought you here? After making it so obvious I didn't want Oscar to come back and take his place, I still took you here. You want to know why? Because you're not normal, Emily!" The outburst stunned everyone, including the King and Queen, who looked horrified that their precious Knight had fallen victim to humanity. But Trey went on heedless of their outrage. "Emily, you could see me, that first day in the alleyway, you could see me – but you shouldn't have been able to! I was cloaked form human eyes and still you saw me! That was why I let you go, why I stopped Roman from taking you. I wanted to know more, to make sure of my hunch before I brought you to Elfhame, and now I'm certain. You're not entirely human, Emily. There is magic somewhere in your blood, you have the Sight. That's why you could see me, why you could perceive something off about Oscar when most people would notice nothing out of the ordinary, why you were able to escape the Aural Trap I set on you that day in the alley. I know you felt it when you passed through it, like a sudden pressure change. That, I didn't do deliberately. I was honestly trying to keep you in, I wanted to talk to you to see what you already knew about our world, but you slipped right through. You belong here in Elfhame, Emily" Ooookay. Trey had clearly jumped on the crazy bus. She didn't have the Sight. She knew what that was, and she didn't have it. She didn't see pixies in her garden or sprites in the woods or ghouls on the streets. Whatever Trey thought, he was wrong. Maybe his cloak thing wasn't working right, maybe there had been a hole in his magic trap, maybe she was just more perceptive than others. There were rational explanations to the things he described. She was entirely human.
There was a very long, very tense silence during which all four pairs of faery eyes were trained on her intently, searching for some sign to confirm Trey's absurd theory. Emily grew uncomfortable and squirmed, gazing pleadingly at Oscar, trying to tell him without words what she knew was the truth. But there was something alight in his eyes, a new curiosity and amazement as he looked at her. Taking advantage of the pause, Trey stepped forward and held his hand out to Emily. "If you don't believe me, I can prove it" In the next moment, he had her hands in his and his eyes were closed, the blue lines under his skin lighting to a blazing blue glow. Oscar stood back, releasing her as Trey did his magic. The King and Queen watched with unreadable expressions. Emily wanted to pull her hands from Trey's but she couldn't. He was holding her wrists too tightly, and there was a strange tingling moving up her arms. At first she thought it was pins-and-needles from Trey cutting off her circulation, but then it slid over her whole body, making her nerves jangle. Suddenly, she felt light as air, as if she might float to the ceiling if Trey let her go. She grasped his wrists tightly in response. His lips moved as he chanted in a strange foreign tongue, all the while a blue glow seeping out of him and sounding his skin like…like an aura, she realised.
With a surprised gasp, Emily looked down at her hands in his and saw a faint golden glow starting to form over her own skin, melding with Trey's blue where they touched. Awed by the beauty of her own aura, the writhing gold mist sliding over her skin and clothes like a layer of fine glitter, Emily looked up at Oscar to gauge his reaction, to see if he was seeing what she was seeing. It was obvious from his expression that he was, but there was more to it than that. There was a kind of incredulity on his face, too. The King and Queen no longer looked inscrutable and angry, but just as amazed as Emily herself. They must have been seeing something else in her aura that she didn't see.
"I can't believe it. She's a Fortune" The Queen breathed, reaching out hesitantly as if she wanted to touch Emily but didn't dare. Trey's eyes came open, bluer than ever, and he gave Emily a wicked grin.
"I told you. And by the way, that kiss in the cave? No need to feel bad about that. I put a temptation spell on you. I wanted to taste your aura to be sure of what you were, and I needed to kiss you in order to do that so…sorry" He said with a slight shrug, still grasping her wrists. Emily felt her jaw drop open a little and she glared at him, yanking her wrists back to herself. What a prick! The golden glow of her aura dissipated, and Trey's glow slowly dimmed. Oscar stepped between them as Emily raised her hand to slap Trey.
"You sleazy bastard! You manipulated my emotions? You disgusting, lying, stupid tosser!" Emily yelled, feeling sick all of a sudden. How dare he screw with her feelings like that! And she'd just been beginning to think he was a friend. Ugh! If Oscar would get out of the way, she'd find that iron bar and show Trey exactly what she thought of him. But Oscar didn't move, though he did throw a poisonous glower at Trey over his shoulder.
He gritted through clenched teeth, in a voice close to a growl, "We'll talk about that later". Trey just made a vague hand gesture and sent a wink at Emily, who snarled back at him. That was when the King interrupted, shooting Trey a stern look, and swatting Oscar aside to get a good look at Emily. His fine robes shone as he stepped into a pool of light cast from one of the large floating candles, the gold threads catching the orange light and frozen shadows. His silver beard looked wispy and shimmering up close, his pale face etched with few lines despite his obvious age.
He eyed Emily over carefully and nodded once as if to himself, then stepped back and turned his attention to Oscar. "We shall not hurt your girl, Oscar, provided she stays here in Elfhame. We can set her up in one of the Court rooms, and we shall announce that we have a Fortune in our Court who is not to be touched" And just like that, the entire ballroom thawed and there was a great, deafening clamor as everyone resumed their fighting and arguing like nothing had happened. Swords clanged, voices screeched, people hissed and grunted in pain. Everything once again became a whirling kaleidoscope of colours and motion. The flames on the candles flickered and danced, casting shaking shadows on the pale walls.
Emily moved back into Oscar's protective arms just as the King got back up on the dais with his wife and called for silence. At once, everyone fell quiet, but there were twitches and impatient ticks to show that this was a natural pause this time. Nobody looked happy to have been stopped in the middle of their battles. But they didn't dare continue and disobey the rule of the Sylph King in his own Court.
"Ladies and gentlemen, faeries of all Courts, I have an announcement. It has just come to light that the girl we have committed to be punished is not a human girl at all. She is a Fortune" At that word, the whole room gasped. Excited chitters ran through the crowd, wide eyes turning to look at Emily, until the King held up his hand for silence again. "As I'm sure many of you know, it has been over a century since we last discovered a Fortune, and nobody is to harm or bother this girl, or else they will face the stockades. I have assigned my best knight to her protection. Now, I declare this meeting adjourned. Please show yourselves out, or be removed by the Hounds" The Hounds, it turned out, were big, slavering wolves with giant copper collars attached to thick chains. A handful of Sylph guards who had not been involved in the fray came out now, leading the massive beasts by the chains. The wolves were beautiful, fierce-looking creatures with slick silver coats and razor sharp fangs. Emily knew without being told that those were no normal wolves; they were werewolves. How the faeries had gotten ahold of werewolves, let alone bound them with chains, was beyond her understanding. Probably the wolves had made a deal with the faeries that had gone wrong. The fey were notoriously tricky like that.
The room cleared out quickly once the Hounds were brought out, and the King and Queen retreated somewhere while Emily was distracted by watching the crowd of fleeing faeries. Even the Dark soldiers were turning and leaving, their King looking furious as he stormed out the huge double doors at the end of the hall. Huh. Guess nobody wanted a fight with three snarling werewolves. Smart.
Once the guests left, there was just Oscar, Emily, Trey and few servants running around trying to tidy up. Emily's head was spinning and her knees gave out. She slumped to the floor and just sat there for a while, trying to work what the hell had just happened. Oscar knelt beside her and tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear. With one word to Trey, he got the lingering knight to go away. Emily was thankful for that – she'd be only too glad if Trey got ripped apart by those growling wolves - and she leaned into Oscar and closed her eyes.
"What just happened?" She asked quietly, waiting for her heart to stop racing.
"You were recruited to the Sylph Court's special unit. The unit reserved for rare and talented creatures, like Fortunes" Oscar said calmly, stroking her hair.
"Yeah, about that. What's a Fortune?"
"A Fortune is what we call a human with the Sight. Because of your gold aura"
"And what's so special about a Fortune?" Emily inquired, not really caring about the answer. She was still reeling, figuring out the consequences of everything that had happened. She wasn't going home. She'd probably never see her mother and father again, or her little brother, or her friends. She'd never go to school or get a job or do any of the things normal people did. Because she wasn't normal. She was a Fortune, whatever that meant.
"A Fortune is extremely rare. They come along only once or twice a century, and they can have incredible power if they're trained properly. Right now, all you can do is see things normal humans can't. But there's magic inside you, potential to see the future or be able to find lost objects and hidden treasures. Eventually, with help from the stronger faeries in the Court, you'll probably be able to see auras and read people's thoughts too. You might even be able to do what Trey does, illuminate auras like he did to show you yours, and project Aural Traps. Trey became a knight because he was the only son of a Fortune and the last knight to the Sylph Court. And now, you're protected from any and all other fey who might wish to do you harm. Of course, having Trey as your protector could cause some issues, but I'll see what I can do about that. I don't want him anywhere near you, the slimy son of a-"
"Uh" Emily interrupted him before he got ranting. She pulled back to look him in the eyes, and he gazed back evenly. "So…I'm stuck here now? For how long? Forever?"
Oscar nodded solemnly. "I'm afraid so. I'm sorry. If you want to leave, I can try to find a way to help you escape but it'll take time and I-"
"I don't want to leave" Emily realised as she said it that it was true. She didn't want to go back home, to that house. She didn't want to go back to her abusive father and bitchy mother and sulky brother. To the friends she couldn't rely on or the school she was failing classes at. To the life she was supposed to lead, growing up and going to college and getting married and having babies…She didn't want that. Sure, she didn't want to be a Fortune trapped forever in Elfhame either, but of the two choices, she could see merits to the latter. For one, staying here meant she could be with Oscar. "I don't want to go" She said again, "I think I can adjust to living here, so long as you're around. I mean, I wouldn't be going back to much if I went home, would I? At least here, I'm apparently worth something, and I've got you, and I can learn the rules and customs. Maybe I'll even learn to do some of the things you say Fortunes can do. That would be pretty cool"
Oscar stared at her for a long moment, reading her face, before splitting into a delighted grin. He leaned forward and caught her lips in a kiss that sent tremors all the way to her toes. His mouth was soft and light on hers, his tongue tracing her teeth until she pulled away gasping, in need of air. Oscar looked so happy it nearly made her heart leap out of her chest. "Wh-what was that for?" She panted, raising a hand to touch her fingertips of her swollen mouth.
"That was for being the most amazing girl I've ever met, more amazing than I could have imagined. And because I love you" Oscar said simply, as if it were an accepted fact, his emerald eyes bright and warm as he looked at her. Emily felt her breath catch in her throat and stared at him in awe, something inside her doing backflips at her words. With his fair hair tousled from the fight, he looked more beautiful than ever.
"You…love me?" She spluttered, her eyes wide. Oscar just nodded. Emily took a moment to process this information. He loved her. Oscar loved her. This gorgeous, brave, loyal faery prince was in love with her. Was she in love with him, too? She didn't know. She couldn't be sure. But there was something inside her that lit up every time he was around, something warm and fluttery and when he was away from her, it was that something that went cold, that caused her to wonder where he was or if he was thinking about her. Was that love? She thought perhaps it was. Perhaps she was in love with Oscar.
"It's okay" Oscar said gently, breaking into her reverie. He twined his fingers with hers and dropped his gaze to their joined fingers, a faint blush touching his high cheekbones. "You don't have to say anything. I just thought you should know. And I'm glad you want to stay. I don't what I would have done if you'd left and I couldn't have ever seen you again. I would have let you go if you'd wanted, of course, and if it had been a matter of letting you go or letting you get eaten by gremlins, I'd have done anything to send you back to the human world, but…" Oscar stopped talking and bit his lip nervously, glancing at her through his lashes. Emily smiled and reached out to put two fingertips under his chin, tilting his head up. She leaned in and placed a sweet, chaste kiss on his lips. When she sat back, Oscar was grinning devilishly.
"What was that for?" He asked.
"Because I love you, too" And just like that, everything was okay. It didn't matter that she wasn't who she'd thought she was, that she wasn't completely human, that she wouldn't ever get to go home, that Trey was a scumbag and her protector and she had to figure out how to survive in this new world. None of it mattered because she had Oscar. She was living her own fairytale, with her very own prince.
*************** The sequel to Mystery – Fortune – is now on FictionPress *****************