Day 82

“I can’t use this,” said Alastair. His pulled his hand with the begemmed sword close to his chest to keep from trembling.

“You will if you want to live,” the sub-queen said pointedly. “Your life on Earth was cozy, I presume. You’ve no immediate threat. You didn’t have to kills for food or defeated your lives until all you had were your teeth and fingernails. You didn’t have to fight.” Sub-queen Faeley crossed her arms and stared down at Alastair, Lila, Ginger, Gabbie, and Zane. “Out there, you’ll be like plump fruits, shiny and ripe to be plucked from your branches. At least those,” she gestured to Alastair’s sword, “will be thorns will not expect.”

“Thank you so much, sub-queen Faeley,” Digitalis curtsied awkwardly.

“Yes, thank you, sub-queen!” The children echoed.

“Ugh, I hate being called sub-queen. It’s an unpleasant mouthful.” Faeley smirked and turned. “Agile. Adriei. Please escort our guests out.”

“Yes sub…er,” Adriei grumbled. “Missus Faeley?”

“Now you’ve made this awkward,” Agile hissed from between their teeth.

“She just said not to call her sub-queen.”

“No, she said she didn’t like being called sub-queen, not that we couldn’t call her that.”

“If you take the context clues,” Adriei argued.

“Go on, you lot. Those two who’ll soon realize that you’ve gone without them,” Faeley urged.

The children and their guardians filtered out of the blue room with Perceval at the front. Ginger looked over her shoulder. Faeley was watching over the group. Her eyes were wide and clouded with a far off memory .Was she thinking about her own adventures long ago? Did she often fall back on her time with her long lost husband who perished in a war? Faeley blinked and focused on Ginger. The sub-queen nodded at the girl, and for the first time on this entire journey, Ginger felt ready to take on whatever came next.

“Oh!” The group heard from behind them. Adriei and Agile caught up to them, both chagrined.

“What am I going to do with you two,” Sannier clucked. She walked side by side with Silverskin and her husband. The rigid manner she went about walking along with her hunched shoulders indicated that she was weary of letting her son out of her sight. Her husband was no different. He kept stealing glances at his boy as if it was going to be the very last time he would do so. Silverskin still clutched the piece of paper Faeley entrusted to him.

“I think it’s good a good thing that we’re leaving now,” Zane whispered to Ginger. “They look like we offended their great ancestors. Zane returned the glares of disgust and distrust from the elven folk with a bright grin. “I’m kind of glad that I have arrows. If I can’t shoot anything, then I can just stick them with the arrows.”

“I won’t let anything get close enough for you to do that,” Ginger said. She brandished her new throwing knives between her fingers. The elves gawking at them hurriedly retreated into their burrows.

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