Evan was caught with his pants down - so to speak. Even with the state he was in, he could tell that she was fairy-kind, and she was pissed. He couldn't quite be certain whether the halo of aurora around her was real or Revelation-induced. He did know, however, that it was the Revelation holding him firmly in place despite the instincts telling him to get the hell out of there before she got any closer. The room seemed to shrink around him until it was just barely big enough to hold the pair of them. She faced him, taller than she should be, and thin. Everything about her was delicate, but not so delicate as usual fairy features. Sharply arched red eyebrows; a small, thin nose; full rose-colored lips; ears vaguely pointed at the top; a long, slender neck; and red hair that fell in waves down to her lower back.

"So you're Evan Clark," she said. Her voice was not the high, bell-like tone associated with most of fairy-kind, and that made gooseflesh rise on Evan's arms. There were only two reasons for her voice to be so low. Either she had been drained of too much magic and her fairy traits had begun to fade, or she was one of their royalty. He could only hope it wasn't the latter. "You've been stealing from me."

"I - I've never seen you before," he said. It came out strangled. Evan had never been good at confronting even normal people. An angry fairy-who knew what she could do if she wanted?

"If you steal from my people, you're stealing from me," she said. "Every drop of magic you took was mine. How do you intend to pay me back?"

"I don't -" He meant to say I don't know what you're talking about, but he couldn't get it all out. He tried again, "Magic? There's - there's no such thing."

Her grin was wicked. The lights sparking from it - Revelation-induced? - made it even more dangerous. She made no other motion, but suddenly gravity failed him. Evan's stomach heaved upward with the insane sensation of freefall, and his body lifted from the couch. There was nothing supporting him anywhere. It wasn't like a roller coaster (and he didn't even like those)-there was no lap bar, no harness, no floor beneath his feet. The only thing touching him was his clothing and air. He couldn't help crying out and twisting, trying to reach the floor, the couch, the ceiling-anything. But all he succeeded in doing was spiraling dizzily in midair until he lost what direction was supposed to be up. When he stopped flailing, he was facing down toward the couch. Without warning, he dropped. His head met the couch, which cushioned the fall somewhat-but his knees cracked against the floor. He silenced his sharp cry of pain and jerked around the face the fairy, afraid of what she might do while his back was turned.

"No magic?" she asked. Her voice hinted at sweetness and light, but it was flavored sharply with sarcasm. "You can't begin to fathom what magic can do when properly harnessed." Suddenly her tone was straight disgust. "Not like the senseless stupor you use it for."

Evan's head was starting to clear. He wished it wouldn't. Whatever she planned to do next, it had to be better with Revelation to dampen the effects. "I just... I don't..." He couldn't even begin to think what to say.

"You just wanted what wasn't yours? You don't care about anyone but yourself? Anything but money and keeping yourself dead to the world, high on my magic?"

Evan felt heat erupt in his chest. The remainder of Revelation in his system made it feel like a physical burning, but not like he was on fire; more like he was the fire, smoldering with rage and ready to flare outward at any minute. It isn't right that you have magic and we don't, he wanted to say. It isn't right that you won't share your gift with us. You won't give it freely, so I take it and salvage what little I can from it! Oh, he'd tried to use it for real acts of magic. But without the help of the fairies to control it, he could make it function no better than as a drug.

His mouth froze around the words, as always. The ice in his throat contrasted sharply with the embers in his chest. Instead he tore his eyes away from the fairy, staring knives at the wall. "Angry, are you?" she asked. She sounded amused, but not in a pleasant way.

"It's just." He didn't try to find the end to that sentence. He grimaced at the wall, then forced himself to look back at the fairy. She had such power around her. As the Revelation ebbed, he could see her more clearly. The vibrant aura around her would not be truly visible to an ordinary human, but the traces of magic in his system made it brilliant. He knew with certainty, then: this was the queen. He'd pissed off the queen of the fairies. Well, there was no backing away from this. The heavy feeling of inevitability was almost a relief. It lifted the constant pressure of fear from him, at least for a moment. "Why should you have magic when we don't? It isn't fair. You have so much of it, I don't know how you notice when some of it's missing." His voice was completely calm for once in his life.

"Ah, so you want magic." He could swear her eyes flashed violet before returning to their original sky blue. "And all you can steal on your own is a poor substitute. Well." She stepped up close to him and put a hand on his cheek. "I will give you more than you can handle."


"They found him wandering in the park," the doctor said. "He's completely disconnected from the world. We gave him an MRI, and he showed a Kypernan Lesion. You specialize in this sort of case, correct?"

Kyler nodded. "We'll take care of him." The doctor towered over him, but that was not unusual. Even human women were often taller than fairy men. At the moment, though, he was not fairy. Not to those around him, at least. He was a psychologist from the Jericho Institute, specializing in Kypernan Lesions that caused psychotic breaks resulting in complete detachment from reality. No one seemed to question the fact that all of the patients who showed up with Kypernan Lesions were utterly convinced that they could suddenly see and perform magic.

All those humans who craved magic simply didn't understand that their minds were incapable of handling it. Maybe they'd had it, once. But whatever had been true in the past was irrelevant now. Mankind was no longer a race that was compatible with magic.

Mr. Evan Clark would never know that, though.