The scream echoed throughout the house, and if Seamus O'Massey hadn't been awake before he certainly would have been now. Then again, his daughter waking up well past her alarm was an almost every day thing and so he had grown to literally expect it.
The pitter-patter of footsteps in the hallway upstairs definitely belonged to his teenage daughter. "Daddy! Why didn't you wake me!?"
The middle aged man continued to read the article on his tablet. He called up to her, "I tried to, Aoife. Three times I called to you, and three times you said you were getting up."
Aoife gave an exasperated reply, "And you believed me!? I'm so dead if I don't—WAHH!"
Finally raising his head up in time to hear a series of thuds avalanching down the stairs, Seamus finally laid eyes on his daughter as she collapsed in a heap at the bottom of the stairs on the hard wood floor. The cry of pain she gave upon the final impact added insult to injury. Having fallen down the stairs the entire way the only major injury that the girl suffered was to her now sore backside which she rubbed with one hand to lessen the sting.
"You okay there, Aoife?"
The girl, seemingly remembering what was going on and or realizing the time, got off the floor in a hurry. She replied sarcastically, "Um, no! I'm not!" Dressed in her dark green school uniform which was rather disheveled due to being thrown on in the last few minutes, Aoife grabbed the lunch box that was on the table next to her father.
Seamus sighed and reminded her, "Don't forget your shoes this time." The day before she had run out of the house in only her knee high white socks because she had yet again woken up late. He had to bring them to her after she got to her first class. He loved his daughter more than anything but she was quite a forgetful person at times. Still he loved her.
Almost forgetting that detail, Aoife went and found her shoes hidden under the kitchen table. "Thanks daddy." She gave him a quick peck kiss on the cheek before making a mad dash to the front door. The fact that she managed to put on her shoes and grab her school bag at the same time before she even reached the door handle was nothing short of talented. "I'll see you later!"
The weather outside was still dreary even though the main part of the rain was now gone there was evidence of more on the way. The sky was a light shade of grey and the world around was covered in a layer of slick dampness. The air was cooler too which Aoife didn't like. Like her personality she preferred things to be bright and cheerful. She preferred days where the sun was shining and the birds were chirping. The type of weather she now found herself in was something more akin to the type of days she would have rather stayed indoors. However, seeing as she had to walk to her school nearly a mile away she had little choice in the matter.
Yet she personally wished she had a car of her own, then she wouldn't have had to worry about what she knew was coming next.
Going up the hill alongside the road she saw a young man standing near the crossing sign. His uniform was ruggedly worn with the shirt not tucked in and his tie not tight with his jacket unbuttoned and his reddish brown hair disheveled.
Aoife knew who it was and while she was annoyed she tried to hide it behind a smile, "Top of the mornin' to you, Tine."
"Well if it isn't the chosen one, finally got out of bed I see," he said sarcastically.
Aoife continued to walk without a word and yet when she passed the taller Tine she retaliated for his remark with a smack to the back of his head.
"OW! Wench, why'd you-"
"I'm gonna be late for school, the last thing I want is for your sarcasm this early in the flippin' morne!" Then she broke out into a run.
"Sheesh what a stuck up girl..." said the red head as he began to make a run after his charge.
The two made it up the hill and across the field in record time. The school that Aoife had to go to was a building on the outskirts of a forest and was a small building when compared to the schools of a bigger city like those of Dublin back home. The school itself could hold up to five hundred people, pretty good size for a countryside establishment.
At the gate that led to the building itself stood two young men, both wearing the uniform of the school similar to Tine. One wore thin rimmed glasses and had combed back light brown hair and dressed in an orderly fashion. The other one didn't wear the tie and wore black gloves on his hands. His hair was also black and short, his eyes a clear almost otherworldly blue.
Aoife approached them first with Tine close behind. Her expression was one of relief in comparison to how she had felt when she had seen Tine earlier. "Hello Gail, and you too Quilo."
A smile formed on Gail's mouth as he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, "Hello Aoife, I see you tried to outrun Tine again."
Tine was out of breath and was thus unable to come up with a retort.
"I was just about to succeed when we got here…" said Aoife while adjusting the strap of her bag on her shoulder. "Well, shall we then?"
The three boys led her into the building and immediately became a bright light to the entire student body. Why wouldn't she? Being flanked by three really hot guys did that, especially when she had nothing to show for being popular with them in the first place. The guys never took notice of her and many still didn't. The female half was a different matter. Gail, Quilo, and Tine were three mysterious boys who appeared literally out of nowhere and from there they became so popular that the girls were talking about them all the time. The only downside to their desire was that the guys had no interest in any of them save for Aoife, and she in turn earned the ire of the other girls. She had to learn to grin and bear it for the most part.
Too bad there was another problem to add to her list, and he made himself known as soon as Aoife had entered the room.
A tall short raven haired young man stood at the front of the classroom, dressed in a black suit and tie looking all professional as an instructor even though he didn't look a day over twenty. Ishka Maynard was his name, and he was another reason reason that Aoife was so envied at her school. "Alright everyone take your seats and we'll begin the first lesson of the day."
Though he had spoken to the entire class Aoife could feel his eyes on her.
She simply took her seat and prayed that the day would go by quickly enough, wanting to sleep the day away. Knowing that would be impossible, she laid her head on the table and closed her eyes.
Lunchtime came quickly enough and it was then that Aoife could at least hide from the prying eyes of everyone else.
Except for the four guys that tended to follow her wherever she went.
Sitting on a wooden bench behind the school Aoife tried to enjoy her lunch but the glare of Time was bugging her. He was looking at her like a hawk looking at a mouse.
Her appetite was not quite there because of that. "What's with you?"
"Still trying to figure it out," was his reply and he sat back against the bench.
"What makes you so special."
"I think he means why you were chosen. His pea brain can't understand it," said Quilo as he sat next to Aoife on her right. He had already eaten his lunch and was just relaxing. He was the quiet one of the four and for that Aoife tolerated him more than Tine.
"What'd you say, jerk face?!" Tine's brash and more explosive personality was easily irritated, and Quilo's no nonsense hold nothing back attitude was like mixing fire and ice when they were at odds.
Sitting between them was the worst possible place for Aoife and yet there she was, with nothing to distract her from their arguing.
"Sod off, both of you."
Both of them turned to see Gail approaching with a bag that had his lunch in it. Aoife had a headache, so Gail's attempt at stopping the others from going off on each other was appreciated on her part.
"It doesn't matter what rhyme or reason she was chosen. Our job remains the same. We look out for her, and support her until that job is done."
'The voice of reason, as always. Thanks Gail,' thought Aoife and she sighed. 'Not to mention the one who always reminds me of my new obligation…' Her expression saddened, but no one noticed it. She stood up, "I'm going to the rest room. Please don't hurt each other in the meantime."
With that she jogged away, turning the corner and going in the opposite direction of the restrooms. She had to get away from being reminded of her new role in life.
Stopping in a corner of the school yard, away from prying eyes and the noise, Aoife felt at peace.
The school garden, which was in a poor state at this time of year due to lack of maintenance, it was in this place that Aoife's life changed forever. For better or worse.
It was a little over a week ago that she was tending to this garden and met something extraordinary. Being punished for being late (once again) Aoife had to clean the garden from top to bottom, and while it had been cool outside the place had been warm enough to where she could take her time. Cleaning out the plant pots was a tedious process and so she didn't know how long she had been doing it when she saw a small flickering green light fall into one of the pots nearby. She didn't know what it was but when she saw what was inside she nearly freaked out.
A person was inside it! A woman with butterfly wings to be exact!
Aoife couldn't decide what to do, either to go get someone or try to help this little creature. Help her because she looked like she had been beaten up by something terrible. Carefully she picked the little lady up into her hands, and it was after asking if it was okay (an action out of complete nowhere) that the teenager heard a voice, but it wasn't like she heard it with her ears, but right into her mind.
'A kind hearted soul I have found…one who loves the world…protect it with the power of the Fey…'
Aoife asked aloud what the voice meant, but instead she was answered with what could be thought of as a prophetic response.
'The Demon King will come…unless Titania is there…to stop him…'
All of a sudden the little creature dissolved into a cloud of sparkling green mist, and that had been followed by warmth that had enveloped Aoife.
'I bequeath the power of Titania to you, young one…stop the Demon King…save your world…'
With that the voice had gone silent, vanishing into magical dust, never to be heard again.
Lost in the memory of that day Aoife finally noticed that she had gone to the exact spot where she had met that creature, later she discovered that it had been a fairy (she didn't quite believe it at first) that she had tried to help. Added to it were the arrival of the four young men that constantly hung around her, claiming to the guardians of the Fey Queen, and in the space of a week Aoife's life had been turned completely upside down.
A fallen fairy queen, a Demon King, and four men claiming to be fairies. To top it off I'm supposed to be the one to defeat this king? I would have thought I was dreaming had I not seen it for myself, she thought.
"Returning to where Her Majesty rejoined the planet I see," said a familiar voice. Aoife turned around and saw that it was indeed Ishka.
"I'm sorry you lost your queen."
"We blame the Demon King for her demise, but not all of us morn her passing."
That surprised, as well as slightly infuriated Aoife. "Is that what you handle the death of one of your own?" asked Aoife, curious as to what his answer would be.
"In a way. As death is part of a cycle, we Fey are born from the planet and when our light expires we return to it. Then we are reborn from the planet. Such as it should be, and always will be."
Spoken like a true intellectual.
Looking down at her empty hands, flashes of the dying queen remained etched in Aoife's mind. She didn't even know her name and yet she felt a deep sense of sadness within her.
"But...why did she choose me to be the successor to her power? I mean I was the last one to be with her when she died and yet there should be someone better-"
"She did, and she chose you," replied Ishka. He then added, "For what reason, only our dearly departed Queen knows. But what her reason is, I trust she did so with careful thought."
"Doesn't make me feel any better."
"It's not supposed to. Receiving the queen's power is not something to shrug about, and being a human on top of it means you had something she saw that convinced her to bestow her power to you instead of one of her own kind."
Even being reminded of what had got her into this situation in the first place didn't totally ease Aoife's mind. The poor girl still had a lot to learn about her power, as well as the world she never expected to be more than a fairy tale. She wasn't a wee girl anymore, and fairies weren't supposed to exist!
Yet they did! And Aoife now had the power of their queen!
Then there was the fact that she had the four guards of the recently deceased queen as her personal bodyguards. That was the biggest headache of all.
'But if I can figure it all out, one step at a time, maybe…'
Her thoughts were split when she was reminded that Ishka was standing in front of her. He cleared his throat.
"Still, while I am certain we will make your life more…interesting, be that good or bad, please know we are here to help you through this."
Shrugging her shoulders, Aoife hoped that she could count on them as much as he said, because she felt that her life was going to be far more eventful than ever now.
The Fey worked in mysterious ways after all, and she would know how with time.