Friday, April 6, 2012
The Favour Has Been Called In
Hey there, this is Bree. There is no real news on our werewolf hunt. We've still been doing pretty much the same thing Kaya described when she first told you about our plans, but so far we've had no luck. We're going to keep trying, though, because the werewolf that bit Gia is still out there.
Tonight is the "official" full moon for our time zone, but the moon was full enough last night that Gia had her first transformation of the month. Everything just seemed easier this time. It didn't take as long for her to shift forms - she went into the safe room before sunset, so we didn't have to try to persuade her to go after she shifted - and overall she seemed a lot quieter and less destructive than last month. Last time she destroyed some furniture and caused some serious damage to the walls. Yesterday, the worst that happened to the room was some scratch marks around the door.
When she was human again this morning, Gia confirmed that it has been easier. As well as being faster, the transformation didn't hurt as much this month. It seems like her body is getting used to it. She also said that she felt slightly more in control of the process this time. Although last night she couldn't have fought the change, she thinks that with time, she may learn to be able to decide whether to change or not, or even possibly to change at other times. For the first time, she actually seemed positive about the whole thing, rather than just grimly accepting - so we tried to be positive and encouraging, too.
The biggest news today isn't werewolf-related, though. Remember how when we defeated The Elders, we had asked the local fairies for help... and they agreed, but told us we owed them a favour? Well, ever since then we've been kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Whatever they wanted us to do, it was probably going to big, because the favour they did for us was enormous. Inna had also warned us that it was likely to be something pretty odious, because the fair folk take favours seriously and don't waste a favour owed on frivolous things.
When Inna got back from jogging this morning, she told us she'd seen a fairy circle in the local park. We knew this was meant as a message for us, because normally the fair folk don't venture into the city. Even the woods in a city park aren't woodsy enough for them. If they even came this close to our downtown row house, they must really want to talk to us.
What could that mean? Clearly, the favour was getting called in.
I went to the fairy circle with Inna, because both of us have fairy blood, so they prefer to deal with us than with the other family members. (Fiona has fairy blood too, because she and I are biological sisters, but she's only ten years old, so we don't like to bring her to these meetings because we don't totally trust that it would be safe for her.) We waited for about twenty minutes, and then three of the fair folk emerged from the woods.
Last time we met with them, we saw fairies of all shapes and shades and types, but these three were all pretty human-looking like me and Inna, because we were in a more public place and might be spotted by "civilians."
"Greetings, Inna and Bree," the fairy spokesperson said, and we gave our greetings back to her. (She seemed to find it amusing that I greeted her with "hi," rather than something more formal.) The fairies seemed calm and relaxed, which made me nervous. What exactly were they here to ask? They made small talk with Inna for a few minutes, but my mind was focused on our debt to them, and I couldn't really think of anything suitably mundane to say.
Finally, they got to the point. "We have decided how you will repay the favour you owe us," the spokeswoman said. I braced myself, but she continued, "A young relative of ours wishes to learn more of the human ways. She will stay with you as your guest, and observe the activities of the mortals. It will be as though she is... what do the humans call it? An exchange student. Will you accept those terms?"
"Yes, we will," Inna replied... as I knew she would to pretty much whatever they asked. To say no, or even to question it further, would be a major breach of etiquette, and could have bad consequences. She had explained to me in advance that she would have to agree unless they asked us to do something totally immoral.
Inna briefly grasped hands with the woman to seal the bargain, then the fae melted back into the woods so effortlessly that even though I was watching them the whole time, I barely saw them go. As we headed back toward home, I was pretty relieved and elated. That wasn't bad at all! I had expected a task that would put us in life-threatening peril. Putting up with a guest for awhile, even if she was annoying, seemed like nothing in comparison to what I'd anticipated. Once I'd gotten past my initial reaction, though, I noticed Inna was still pensive, and even more visibly worried than before.
"What's going on?" I asked. "It seems like we got off easy..."
"Yes, it does, Bree," Inna replied, biting her lip. "That's what concerns me. What they ask is nothing. The fair folk aren't fools. They know that in exchange for help in a battle, a major favour is owed. Why would they choose something so small, unless...?"
"Unless there was more to it than that?" I guessed.
"Exactly," Inna replied, sighing. "I wish I could have asked, but I would have been pushing my luck after what they did for us. They might have killed us both for such rudeness. We'll just have to wait and see."
I nodded, glad that she hadn't gotten us ripped apart or eaten. "Any idea what the catch might be?"
Inna shook her head. "No idea. I can't think of anything at all. The fair folk can omit information from an agreement of this sort, but they can't outright lie. I can't think of anything they might be hiding, since what they did tell us has to be true. And... that is the part that worries me the most! The not knowing!"
I could see why. We didn't have time to dwell on that, though, because the sun was starting to get low in the sky, and we all try to be home when Gia transforms, so there's more help to control her just in case. I've been thinking about it the whole evening, though.
What do the fairies really want? What is it that could be behind this simple request?