Harmony awoke with a startled squawk as the blankets covering her were rudely jerked away. A grinning Rhapsody stood at the foot of her bed, with Aurora and Serenity giggling madly from the doorway.

"You planning to sleep all day?" Rhapsody asked with a cheeky grin.

"God, what time is it?" Harmony grumbled sleepily.

"You can call me Rhapsody," the small woman replied impudently. "It's already seven. Hurry and get dressed, there's a cool trail I want to show you."

"Seven in the morning?" Harmony complained. "But it's Saturday!"

"You can't sneak anything past this one," Rhapsody observed wryly. "Come on, sleepy head. Let's get out of here before more of those moronic reporters show up."

"Where are we going?" Harmony grumbled as she groggily climbed out of bed.

"There's a trail behind your house that I found," Rhapsody replied brightly. "Since walking down your road is getting too dangerous, I thought we could try the trail instead."

"Fine," Harmony sighed. "I'll be ready in fifteen."

"I brought breakfast with me," Rhapsody informed her. "It'll be waiting in the kitchen when you are ready."

Harmony managed to nod in a zombie-like fashion as she robotically made her way to the bathroom. God, I hate mornings!

The first thing she noticed in the kitchen was a large cup of radioactive looking bright green liquid sitting on the table. A brilliant red fruit the size of a cantaloupe was sitting next to it.

"What the Dalai lama is that?" Harmony asked, eyeing the bright-green liquid suspiciously.

"I told you I had a recipe for a great drink at home," Rhapsody replied cheerfully. "This will perk you right up."

"Is there alcohol in it?" Harmony asked doubtfully.

"Why would I ruin a perfectly good drink with rotting refuse?" Rhapsody asked disdainfully. "This is much better than alcohol."

"It's really good, Aunt Harmony," Serenity assured her, grinning broadly. "Don't be a sissy."

"I'm immune to peer-pressure," Harmony responded airily.

Serenity started making chicken noises and flapping her arms like a chicken. Aurora and Rhapsody both joined in, dancing around the kitchen like roosters on crack while crowing at the top of their lungs.

"Fine, I'll drink it!" Harmony gave in with a laugh. "As long as you'll stop making that horrible noise."

The three girls immediately stopped crowing and gathered around the table, watching her expectantly. Harmony took a tentative sip. Her taste buds exploded in a state of pleasure that bordered on pain.

"Oh my God!" Harmony exclaimed in amazement. "I think I just had a foodgasm!"

"Harmony!" her mother snapped warningly.

Harmony ignored her, downing the entire cup. There was simply no way to describe how good it tasted. "This is better than chocolate! Like, a thousand times better!"

"I'm glad you approve," Rhapsody grinned. "There are amino acids in it that activate a seventh flavor in your taste buds. Normally, your taste buds are only capable of detecting six flavors."

"How do you make it?" Harmony asked greedily.

"It grows naturally," Rhapsody replied, gesturing at the large red fruit on the table. "Most of this Yuccas Fitter is filled with liquid. You just slice it open and pour the liquid into a glass. It remains fresh for over a month, so I thought I would leave it here with you for the next time you need a pick-me-up."

"Yuccas Fitter?" Harmony repeated questioningly. "I've never heard of it. Where does it grow?"

"In my garden," Rhapsody replied with a shrug. "I had to do a lot of cross-breeding to develop it."

"So you came up with the name yourself?" Harmony's mother asked curiously. "Where did you come up with such an odd name?"

"It's just an anagram for Ecstasy Fruit," Rhapsody replied with a sheepish grin. "I know, totally cliché."

"But quite accurate," Harmony declared fervently. "I could so get addicted to that drink."

"Just give it another fifteen minutes," Rhapsody suggested with a mischievous smile. "You haven't felt the effects yet."

Harmony blinked, and then looked at Serenity and Aurora. Her nieces were looking around the room dreamily, their irises almost half-again larger than normal. "What is it doing to their eyes?"

"It's just expanding their consciousness," Rhapsody replied innocently. "You'll see soon enough."

Her mother's eyes were also beginning to change. In Harmony's experience, it was usually the pupils that changed in size, not the irises.

"Come on, let's get going," Rhapsody urged them excitedly. "Now that your eyes are opened, this trail will look a lot cooler."

"Did you really just give us some kind of psychedelic?" Harmony asked disbelievingly.

"Of course not," Rhapsody replied dismissively. She grabbed Harmony's hand and began tugging her toward the back door. "This is a lot more fun than a psychedelic."

"You know this by experience?" Harmony asked dryly as she let herself be pulled along by the smaller woman.

Rhapsody just grinned without answering.

Harmony blinked in surprise as they moved into the trees behind her house. She could have sworn there had not been a trail behind her house before that morning. The trail was wide enough for three people to walk side by side, with a canopy of pine branches a dozen feet high covering the trail. A faint breeze brought a pleasant scent reminiscent of lilacs in bloom. The redwood trees seemed even larger than normal.

After five minutes of walking through the enchanted forest, several elk began walking across the path with no hint of fear at their human neighbors. As they continued down the beautiful path, a variety of other creatures began appearing at regular intervals. Aurora and Serenity were beside themselves with glee as a grey fox sat on a log next to the trail and watched them curiously.

A few minutes later, they reached a small river with a giant redwood tree bridging it. Sitting on the center of the giant bridge was a large mountain lion. Harmony immediately grabbed her nieces, bringing them to an abrupt halt. Rhapsody turned and looked at them with a lopsided smile.

"She's not interested in humans," Rhapsody told them reassuringly. "She's just looking for a nice fat salmon for breakfast."

"I didn't think mountain lions ate fish," Harmony's mother said as she watched the large cat cautiously.

"They do occasionally," Rhapsody replied as she climbed up the redwood bridge. "In a river with as many fish as this one, it is a much easier meal to catch than a beaver or raccoon."

As Rhapsody continued walking toward the mountain lion, it flicked its tail in annoyance and then leaped onto a large branch at least a dozen feet above the fallen redwood. It casually walked the length of the enormous branch until it reached the far side of the river. With a loud huff, it sprawled out on the branch and watched them disinterestedly.

"Coming?" Rhapsody asked expectantly.

Harmony nodded wordlessly and began climbing the rough bark of the fallen tree. She was beginning to feel uncharacteristically optimistic as a warm glow began permeating her stomach. The green and brown colors of the forest took on a more vibrant shade as the warmth spread from her stomach to the rest of her body.

"I'm feeling a little peculiar," Harmony announced hesitantly.

"That would be the Yuccas Fitter kicking in," Rhapsody informed her unconcernedly. "Don't worry; it won't affect your motor skills."

Harmony nodded vaguely as she began walking across the natural bridge. She felt noticeably lighter, as if she had shed at least half of her weight. Aurora and Serenity zipped past her in a blur as they caught up to Rhapsody. Harmony turned to help her mother up the side of the enormous redwood, only to find her mother already standing atop it behind her.

She felt an irrational urge to skip across the bridge as her mother walked past her without any sign of aching joints. She had to fight down a sudden desire to giggle as she watched the mountain lion yawn widely. I haven't been this giddy since I was eight!

After climbing down to the opposite bank, a large rabbit sprinted past Aurora into the thick undergrowth next to the trail. Aurora immediately chased after it, giggling excitedly.

"Aurora, please stay on the trail," Harmony called after her warningly.

"There's a huge cave back here!" Aurora called back through the foliage. "You have got to see this!"

Rhapsody grinned back at Harmony and then walked after Aurora. Harmony glanced at her mother with a raised eyebrow.

"How are you holding up?" she asked her mother quietly.

"I haven't felt this good in forty years," her mother declared with a carefree laugh. "That Yuccas Fitter is worth its weight in gold, as far as I'm concerned."

Harmony could only nod in agreement as she began following her mother into the thick foliage that Rhapsody and her nieces had disappeared into. They only walked a dozen feet before the underbrush opened up to reveal a cave at least twice her height. Her nieces were waiting with Rhapsody several feet inside of the cave. There was some kind of mellow glow emanating from inside the cave.

"What's making it glow?" Serenity asked in puzzlement.

"Phosphorus," Rhapsody replied absently. The small woman was walking further into the cave, with Serenity and Aurora following close behind her.

"What if there are bears inside?" Harmony asked nervously.

"There aren't," Rhapsody replied calmly. "I can smell a bear den a mile away. There's nothing in here but fungus and us."

Harmony cautiously followed them further inside. She was normally too claustrophobic to go inside of caves, but the warmth flooding her body had suspended her innate fear of enclosed spaces. After a few minutes of following the small woman, Harmony looked back and realized the opening was no longer in sight. Taking a deep breath, she forged onward, hoping the effects of Rhapsody's special drink didn't wear off before they exited the cave.

It was like a walk through outer space. Millions of glowing dots adorned the walls and ceiling of the cave, providing enough light to illuminate the ground in front of her. I wonder if I would be able to see this well in the dim light without that ecstasy fruit in my system.

After a few more minutes of walking, a dot of light began growing larger in the distance. She automatically sped up at the thought of finding an exit to the bizarre cave.

"Where do you think it comes out?" Aurora asked softly.

"One way to find out," Rhapsody replied with a smile in her voice.

Harmony was right on Rhapsody's heels as they exited the cave. She looked around in amazement at the enormous variety of trees in front of her. Most of them appeared to be in full bloom, but she had no idea what species any of them were.

"Are we inside the stone rings?" her mother gasped in amazement.

Harmony spun around and stared in shock at the giant wall behind them. There was a large hole in the wall where they had just exited. "No freaking way!"

"How cool is that?" Rhapsody asked with an excited grin. "This is probably the first time humans have ever been inside the Circle."

"The Circle?" Harmony asked sharply. "I thought they were rings?"

"Same thing," Rhapsody replied with a shrug.

"What does it matter?" her mother asked curiously.

"The Native American's called this a Circle of Dominion," Harmony replied, watching Rhapsody suspiciously. "Everyone else refers to it as a stone ring."

"I fail to see the relevance," her mother said with a frown.

Before Harmony could elaborate, Serenity and Aurora let out a squeal of delight. Harmony glanced toward them, and felt her jaw drop in disbelief. Walking under the canopy of foreign trees was a pair of unicorns, one brilliant white, and the other midnight black. Their horns shimmered with brilliant shades of green and red, just like the aurora borealis.

"Are those unicorns?" Harmony asked disbelievingly.

"Of course not," Rhapsody snorted derisively. "There's no such thing as unicorns."

"What would you call them?" Harmony's mother asked in surprise.

"Equineceritops," Rhapsody suggested thoughtfully. "Or maybe Equinoceros. Which one sounds better?"

"Are you mocking me?" Harmony asked with a frown.

"Let's just say I was agreeing with you in a totally unusual way," Rhapsody replied innocently.

"That's a quote from Maverick!" Harmony declared accusingly. "You are mocking me!"

"How does it feel," Serenity asked sweetly.

The two unicorns walked right up to Rhapsody and lowered their heads in a kind of bow. They were larger than typical horses, towering over the small woman by several feet. Rhapsody gently reached out with each hand and began stroking the sides of their faces fondly.

"I think they like me," Rhapsody noted with a wide smile.

Serenity and Aurora were hesitantly edging closer, their eyes alight in wonder. Rhapsody nodded at them encouragingly, and they tentatively reached up and began imitating Rhapsody's gentle strokes.

"How's your skepticism meter holding up?" her mother asked with an arched eyebrow.

"It's hiding under a rock right now," Harmony admitted with a sigh.

As they gazed at the beautiful creatures in awe, the silence was interrupted by the most beautiful sound Harmony had ever heard. It was so poignant that tears began spilling, unbidden, down her cheeks. There wasn't a definable melody, but a mixture of harmonics that seemed to vibrate through her physical body and reach deep into her soul. A moment later, a shimmering golden plumed crow wreathed in a flaring ball of red and green flame glided out of the air and landed in front of Rhapsody. It was nearly as tall as Rhapsody from where it stood on the ground in front of her.

"Is that Ikle Chikle?" Aurora asked in awe.

"It certainly is," Rhapsody replied adoringly. "I told you she was beautiful."

"That's the understatement of the century," Harmony's mother said in bemusement. "So she's the Phoenix?"

"It's all true then?" Harmony asked quietly. "The crows really saved our world from a dying star?"

"Transitioning star," Rhapsody corrected with a grin. "Nothing ever dies. It just transforms into something else."

"I don't think you need the hat and glasses anymore," Harmony said with a smile. As she said the words, she felt like an enormous weight lifted from her chest. Years of skepticism and bitterness fell away, leaving her breathless in sudden wonder.

"Finally!" Rhapsody breathed, her smile growing broader. Rather than removing them, her hat and glasses simply shimmered like heat waves, and then vanished. Larger than human eyes stared back at her, filled with wisdom and love. Her irises were a brilliant shade of lavender. An orchid ring filled with what resembled Sanskrit surrounded her pupils on the inner portion of her irises. Delicate pointed ears poked through a crimson mane of silky hair that spilled across her shoulders, reaching mid-chest.

The transformation was incredible. Without her costume, Rhapsody was inhumanly beautiful; literally. The four humans stood transfixed as they stared at the fairy in front of them. A moment later, an array of multilayered wings sprouted out from behind her, shimmering with the same colors of the Northern Lights.

"Wow," Harmony's mother whispered as a tear slid down her cheek.

"I told you she was a fairy!" Aurora declared triumphantly.

"Nobody likes a know-it-all," Harmony retorted automatically.

"Says the biggest know-it-all in the world," Harmony's mother muttered under her breath.

Rhapsody's musical laughter echoed throughout the clearing, filling Harmony with an indescribable joy.

"Come on, I want to introduce you to the rest of the family," Rhapsody announced when she recovered from her laughing fit.

"Are we really the first humans to come here?" Harmony's mother asked as they followed Rhapsody's winged form deeper into the circle.

"Yep," Rhapsody answered brightly.

"What made you decide to let us inside?" her mother asked quizzically.

"You were ready," Rhapsody replied, smiling at the four of them fondly. "Until now, the human mind would have been incapable of accepting me for what I am. I don't want humans worshipping me, and until now, that is how humans have reacted to our kind."

"Are you really the last fairy in the world?" Harmony asked quietly.

"I am," Rhapsody replied with a sad sigh. "However, there are a few other species closely related to me that inhabit the European and Asian continents. You would refer to them as elves."

"How do they remain safe from humans?" Harmony asked curiously.

"They rarely make themselves visible to human eyes," Rhapsody replied briskly. "One in particular is actually quite hostile to any humans he comes across. Lochnar actually wanted to exterminate the human race when they started sacrificing my kin. He really dislikes humans."

"That makes two of us," Harmony muttered darkly.

"I think he would actually like you," Rhapsody chuckled dryly. "I've spent a lot of time trying to convince him to look at humans individually, rather than collectively. The last century has made that quite difficult though, as a result of all of the reckless technology humans have created that is destroying this world."

"Where does he reside?" Harmony asked curiously. "If it's not a secret, that is."

"Chernobyl," Rhapsody replied with a rueful shake of her head. "He's responsible for the meltdown that occurred several decades ago. It was his way of ensuring humans stayed out of his territory."

"What about all of the wildlife in the area?" Harmony's mother asked with a frown. "Doesn't he care about the local ecology?"

"Without Yuccas Fitter, you can't actually see what the area around Chernobyl looks like," Rhapsody replied. "He made sure that most of the nonhumans in the area were protected from the radioactive decay."

Harmony shook her head in bemusement. Fairies? Elves? Magical creatures in giant stone rings? How in the world have our scientists not discovered any of these anomalies with the amount of technology we have monitoring the earth these days?

"Come on," Rhapsody beckoned brightly. "I want to show you the rest of the place."

Ikle Chikle launched herself into the air with another soul-piercing song of wonder as Rhapsody led them deeper into the enchanted ring. The small fairy was practically bouncing with excitement as she pointed out trees with glowing fruit that a botanist would sell their soul to get their hands on. Harmony followed their exuberant guide in a constant state of wonder as they passed shimmering Yuccas Fitter trees, Barnacle trees filled with flocks of some kind of bird, Ferutter trees that were covered in blossoms that pulsed open and closed like a heartbeat.

After almost an hour of walking, Harmony gasped as she realized that what she had thought was an enormous wall was in actuality a reality-defying tree. It was enormous in a way that atoms were not. Her mind simply couldn't comprehend that a living entity could be so huge!

"What kind of tree is that?" Harmony's mother asked in stunned amazement.

"That's Yggdrasil," Rhapsody replied in an offhand manner.

"The world tree?" Harmony gasped in awe. "I thought it was a myth?"

"You also thought fairies and unicorns were myths as well, if I recall correctly," Rhapsody grinned impishly.

"Is it true that if it dies, the world will die?" Harmony's mother asked softly.

"In a manner of speaking," Rhapsody replied with a shrug. "Every tree in the world receives its circadian rhythm from Yggdrasil. If it dies, all of the forests in the world will stop producing seeds. Without forests, this world won't produce enough oxygen to sustain life."

Harmony finally tore her eyes away from Yggdrasil and noticed that a small lake was washing up against the world tree's trunk. The lake was a rich shade of blue, with lily pads sprinkled liberally across its surface.

"I could have sworn these stone rings weren't large enough to contain a lake of that size," Harmony muttered as she tried to match the blacked-out area Google Earth had depicted with the scene in front of her.

"Objects in ring are larger than they appear," Rhapsody told her with a mischievous grin. "Just like the passenger mirror on your car."

Harmony tried to wrap her mind around the logical conundrum. It was almost as frustrating as trying to comprehend the origins of a first cause in the universe. Her troubled musings were interrupted by the sound of an airplane approaching.

"I thought people couldn't fly over the rings?" Serenity said as she stared up through the foliage at a small plane passing over the wall with a trail of black smoke behind it.

"People can't intentionally fly over it," Rhapsody replied with a frown as she observed the small plane gliding toward the small lake. "Whoever's flying that plane isn't trying to get into the Circle on purpose."

"Can't you do something to help them?" Aurora asked worriedly as the aircraft quickly descended toward the lake.

"She's doing just fine," Rhapsody replied absently as the small plane glided onto the surface of the water flawlessly.

"Won't it sink?" Aurora asked uncertainly.

"Undoubtedly," Rhapsody agreed with a slight smile. "The mermaids will get her out of the plane though."

"Mermaids?" Aurora repeated, her eyes going wide.

"Watch," Rhapsody said, nodding toward the slowly sinking plane.

Harmony didn't need to be told twice. She barely blinked as several heads wreathed in crimson hair bobbed out of the water around the plane. Shimmering arms that reflected the midday sun like mother of pearl pulled the plane's door open as a raven-haired woman staggered out of the hatch and jumped into the water. A pair of shimmering arms wrapped around the floundering pilot and began pulling her toward the shore.

"What's wrong with her leg?" Serenity asked with a frown as she watched the pilot ineffectually paddle her legs as the mermaids pulled her toward the shore.

Harmony squinted against the glare of sunlight reflecting off the lake. The pilot's left leg appeared to end at the knee. "Did she get the injury from the crash?"

"Definitely not," Rhapsody shook her head. "Most injuries that result in a missing limb involve at least a little bit of blood."

Harmony raised an eyebrow at the cheeky little fairy. "You better hold off on the sarcasm in Serenity's presence, unless you would like a lecture on buttery minds. Some of us only have human eyes and can't see the rings of Saturn unaided."

"Bitter!" Serenity growled in exasperation. "If your eyes are as bad as your ears, it's no wonder you can't see the lack of blood."

"Touché," Harmony nodded at her niece approvingly. "It's good to see that you're finally catching on to the art of sarcasm."

Serenity rolled her eyes with a resigned sigh. Rhapsody caught Harmony's eye and grinned sardonically before walking up to the shoreline.

The mermaids brought the pilot of the crashed plane to within a dozen feet of the shore before it became too shallow for them to swim. Harmony followed Rhapsody out into the shallow water and helped the pilot to a standing position. Her left leg definitely ended at the knee; her pant leg hung limp where the remainder of her leg would have been. They half-carried the woman to the shore and then gently set her down.

Her long raven hair was plastered to a face that surpassed beautiful by several orders of magnitude. Harmony suddenly felt awkward as she studied the gorgeous creature in front of her. Her lush figure left little to the imagination as her soaking clothes conformed to her like a second skin. Harmony was tall, but the dazed woman in front of her had topped her by several inches before sitting down on the beach.

"What the hell is going on?" the woman asked in confusion. "Am I dead?"

"Why would you ask that?" Rhapsody asked in amusement. "Is this what you expected the afterlife to look like?"

The woman blinked in surprise. "Not exactly. I thought angels had bird wings, not fairy wings."

"You think Rhapsody's an angel?" Harmony asked with a loud snicker.

"Where am I?" the woman asked in bemusement.

"I take it you haven't watched the news in the last forty-eight hours?" Harmony's mother replied dryly.

"I make it a rule to never watch the news," the woman said distastefully. "There's enough negativity in everyday life."

"What's your name?" Harmony's mother asked gently.

"Mystery," the woman replied with an embarrassed shrug. "Most people just call my Misty though."

"I like Mystery better," Harmony's mother told her with a smile. "What happened to your plane?"

"I have no idea," Mystery replied with a defeated sigh. "It passed all of the pre-flight checks. I was a little distracted when I took off though, so I may have missed something."

"Distracted by what?" Aurora asked curiously.

Mystery blinked when she noticed the two adolescent girls watching her. "I just broke up with my boyfriend. It wasn't pretty."

"It never is," Harmony's mother noted sympathetically.

"So where, exactly, am I?" Mystery asked, studying Rhapsody's winged form in fascination. "I've been flying these skies for over a decade and never seen a lake in this area."

"Have you ever seen the giant stone ring from the air?" Harmony asked curiously.

"Of course," Mystery replied with a frown. "I avoid it though, because my plane always has engine trouble when I get close to it; all of the local pilots know to avoid flying near it."

"Well, you're inside of the ring right now," Harmony informed her with a grin.

"That's impossible!" Mystery declared with a perplexed frown. "There is no way a lake of this size could fit inside of the rings."

"I've been revising my list of what's possible today," Harmony told her wryly. "Before today, unicorns, fairies, the Phoenix, and mermaids were 'fairy tales'. Apparently, the laws of physics are looking the other way when it comes to fairy rings."

"I wouldn't say they are looking the other way," Rhapsody disagreed. "What was it one of your authors said once? 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic'. Humans are just barely starting to question what reality is. If your race manages to avoid destroying themselves, you will eventually understand that what appear to be physics-defying actions are perfectly law-abiding technological mechanisms."

"What happened to your leg?" Aurora asked Mystery curiously.

"Aurora!" Harmony hissed in embarrassment. "That is not a polite question to ask a person."

"It's okay," Mystery assured Harmony calmly. She looked at Aurora with a sad smile. "I got hit by a drunk driver when I was walking home from school during my senior year. They had to amputate everything below the knee when the infection got out of control."

"Now you see why I hate alcohol so much," Harmony growled, feeling a burning rage in her stomach at the thought of how much pain the beautiful woman in front of her must have endured through such an ordeal. "As far as I'm concerned, alcohol is in the same class as heroine."

"How did the four of you get inside the ring?" Mystery asked Harmony as she continued studying the unusual landscape in fascination. "From the little I know about it, there isn't an entrance on the outside."

"Rhapsody, the woman with the wings, led us in here through a cave that probably doesn't really exist," Harmony replied with a nod at the small fairy. "Of course, that was after she drugged us with a hallucinogenic fruit that grows on the trees here."

"It's not hallucinogenic," Rhapsody objected indignantly. "A hallucination induces visions of things that don't really exist. Yuccas Fitter just opens your mind to things your eyes can't normally see."

"I stand corrected," Harmony replied dryly.

"So you're a fairy?" Mystery asked Rhapsody hesitantly.

"According to some legends," Rhapsody admitted with a shrug. "I've been called much worse."

"I don't suppose you have something dry for her to wear?" Harmony asked doubtfully as Mystery began shivering.

"My bad," Rhapsody grinned sheepishly. "I forget how sensitive to temperatures humans are sometimes."

Rhapsody casually waved a hand over Mystery and a cloud of steam hissed out of the woman's clothes. She was dry within seconds.

"Now that was a neat trick," Harmony told Rhapsody in admiration. "How did you do that?"

"You obviously don't know your fairy lore very well," Rhapsody replied matter-of-factly. "Fairies have control of all six elements."

"All six?" Harmony asked with raised eyebrow. "I thought there were only four?"

"That's because you don't believe in spirit, and humans don't recognize time as an element," Rhapsody explained with a shrug. "Now you know better."

Harmony snorted in amusement. "Indeed. Now I know better."

"Speaking of time," Harmony's mother declared with a nod toward the quickly declining sun. "Shouldn't we be getting back to the house soon?"

"I was thinking you could spend the night here," Rhapsody said tentatively. "Most of the creatures who live here are dormant during the day."

"Are any of them dangerous?" Harmony asked before she could stop herself. She wasn't really worried for herself, but becoming her nieces' guardians had brought a whole new level of paranoia into her life.

"Really Harmony?" Rhapsody asked in exasperation. "Do you really think I would allow any harm to come to Serenity or Aurora?"

"Of course not," Harmony muttered in embarrassment. "Forget that I asked."

"That being said…" Rhapsody grinned playfully. "There are several species who would like nothing more than to make trouble for a group of humans. However, they won't bother any guests of mine. After all, they are here as guests as well."

"What kind of trouble?" Harmony asked suspiciously.

"Nothing fatal," Rhapsody assured her quickly. "The leprechauns always thought it was funny to put people's legs on backward, or switch their left and right feet. The Baykok only preys on warriors, so you don't have to worry about her. The Deer Lady only kills men, so she won't be a problem. She's definitely the life of any party though."

"What's a Baykok?" Aurora asked hesitantly.

"Some cultures call her Death," Rhapsody replied with a roll of her eyes. "I don't know who came up with the stupid idea that she carries a scythe, or that she transports people from the realm of the living to the realm of the dead. She does look like a skeleton with glowing red eyes though."

"So much for sleep," Harmony grunted sourly.

"Hey, I told you nobody here would harm you," Rhapsody said defensively. "They are actually quite interested to meet you. I've spent the last couple of weeks telling them all about the four of you."

"Who else do we get to meet?" Harmony asked dryly, glancing at her mom. "Please tell me Santa Clause really is just a myth."

"Of course he's real," Rhapsody answered innocently.

"You've got to be kidding me!" Harmony groaned loudly.

"Well, actually, yes," Rhapsody giggled. "But I had you going for a second, didn't I?"

"There goes your Christmas present," Harmony growled acidly as her mother chuckled evilly.

"Can I cut in for a moment of lucidness?" Mystery asked with a pained expression.

"Yes?" Rhapsody asked, folding her arms calmly.

"Is there any way to retrieve my prosthetic leg from the plane before it finishes sinking?" Mystery asked plaintively. "I'm pretty sure the two of you won't enjoy hauling my gimpy ass around any more than I will."

"How about I just make a new one?" Rhapsody suggested with a twinkle in her lavender eyes.

"With what?" Mystery asked, dubiously looking at the exotic forest behind them. "I'm not sure a peg leg is my thing. Besides, the one that is sinking cost me a fortune."

"I think you'll like the one I make more than your old one," Rhapsody murmured as she knelt down and began inspecting Mystery's leg.

"What are you doing?" Mystery asked with a perplexed frown as Rhapsody began running her hands in the air just above her missing limb.

"I'm having a talk with your leg," Rhapsody answered distractedly. "I'll let you know how the conversation goes when I'm done."

Mystery cast a doubtful eye at Harmony as Rhapsody continued waving her hands over the empty air. Harmony just smiled encouragingly and watched the small fairy work.

After almost a minute without any noticeable change, Harmony noticed a static buzz slowly building in intensity. Sparkling blue and red lights began shimmering in the air around Rhapsody's hands. Mystery gasped and her face paled.

"What's the matter?" Serenity asked in concern.

"I can feel something!" Mystery responded in amazement. She reached a hand down to her deflated pant leg hesitantly.

"None of that," Rhapsody said firmly, slapping Mystery's hand away. "Unless you want your hand permanently fused to your leg, of course."

Harmony watched in breathless anticipation as Mystery's pant leg slowly expanded like a balloon. The static buzz grew louder as the pant leg expanded further toward the base. The sparkling red and blue lights began coursing out of Rhapsody's hands, shooting into Mystery's phantom leg like brilliantly glowing fireflies.

They all gasped as a fully fleshed foot slowly materialized in front of their astonished gazes. The sparkling lights slowly faded away as Rhapsody stood up with a satisfied nod.

"That should work a lot better than the peg you were using before," Rhapsody noted with a disdainful glance at the nearly submerged plane.

Mystery just stared silently at her new foot as she wiggled her toes and flexed her calf. After an entire minute of almost reverent observation, a tear rolled down her cheek.

"Am I really awake?" Mystery whispered in wonder. "Did I really survive that crash?"

"I'm afraid so," Rhapsody informed her in mock regret. "You're still stuck with the living for a while longer."

"How can I ever thank you?" Mystery asked softly as more tears trailed down her cheeks.

"I think you just did," Rhapsody replied gently. "Now come on; let's go introduce the five of you to the other residents of the Circle."