The Family Stone (Chapter 38)

Two and a half weeks has passed. Alex and Boon finally recovers. Alex can finally get off the bed without any trouble of passing out as quickly. After three days, Gwyn calls for a meeting.
Alex got out of the bathroom, clean with a fresh clean shirt and shorts. ‘I can’t believe we’ve been sleeping for over two weeks! It felt just like a day! I feel good now!’ Teg is looking at her disapprovingly.
‘What?’
‘You may have to dress up a little bit more for the meeting,’ Teg tells her.
‘But I always wear what I want.’ Alex says defensively.
‘I understand but this meeting is also a celebration for your victory. Nothing too showy, in case, something gets a wind of it. Anyway, I am merely suggesting that wear something else but you don’t have to.’
‘Psshh! Too late! You’ve already insulted my dress choices!’ Alex walks towards her closet and quickly goes through her stuff, took a purple dress and goes straight to the bathroom.
Teg laughs quietly and shrugs at Boon. ‘Women.’
Alex quickly changes into the one strap purple dress she used for a wedding. Her hair is tied up to a bun which complimented the dress well.
‘You look wonderful!’ Teg says proudly.
‘Pssh! I don’t like you!’ Alex says, crossing her arms.
Just as they were about to leave the quarters, there was a knock on the door. A group of servants were at the door.
‘Yes, what is it?’ Teg asks.
‘Sir, the King insists that you all wear the traditional royal clothing of the people of Tylwyth Teg for this occasion. He would like the Kingdom to know you are all his honorary guests.’
‘Alex? It’s up to you,’ Teg says.
Alex thinks for a moment. ‘Why not?’
Just as she says this, she was surrounded by smaller fairies. They lift her by a foldable screen stand. They work their way to her dress by taking it apart. She wanted to protest but she did not want to make it obvious that she was naked behind the screen. They quickly sew clothes around her and for a moment, she feels like one of those girls in fairy tales. It’s as if she is Cinderella and these fairies were her fairy godmothers or fairy godmother minions. She watches them make the dress on her while she stands there and watch in stunned silence. The details of the dress was beautiful, she’s never seen such beautiful materials either. It can’t be recycled from her cheap dress. When they were done with the dress, they quickly went through her hair, fixing it gently and she assumes that they have given her some kind of make up to freshen up. When the fairies were done, they admired her and nodded at each other. How she wishes she understood what they were saying. Maybe she will in the future, perhaps not. They quickly disappeared from her sight and suddenly they wheeled in a mirror.
Alex couldn’t believe how she looks. She could actually pass for a decent forest nymph.
‘Wow! Thank you! You guys are amazing! How did you do this?’ Alex watches the small fairies, agreeing with each other and they glow as they murmur happily to each other. Alex steps out of the screen and she saw that Boon and Teg are also changed into handsome robes.
‘Can I have some pants instead?’ Teg begs the small fairy that is shaking its head from side to side, clearly looking annoyed that Teg doesn’t like what their group made for him.
‘You look very decent, Teg,’ Alex reassures him. ‘It looks great!’ she tells the fairies, giving the group two thumbs up. The fairies smile and glow towards her and leaves Teg, looking at his robes with dissatisfaction.
‘I hate dresses!’ Teg says under his breath.
‘You look great too, Boon!’ Alex says as he looks at his robes with uncertainty.
‘Thank you, Alex,’ Boon blushes. ‘This is the first time I am wearing clothes all the time,’ he tells her honestly.
‘You know, if I don’t know you so well, I’d think you’re a creep and a very big pervert for saying that to me.’ Alex says thoughtfully. ‘Just remember that you shouldn’t say that to anyone else…they will get wrong ideas.’
This terrifies Boon and nods his head.
‘I’m just kidding, Boon! Take it easy.’ Alex tells him, giggling. ‘But do remember the last part.’ She takes her pouch and dusts it clean. She resizes the cabinet-box to its travel size and puts it back to her pouch.
They did not notice that the small tailor fairies are gone when there is another knock on the door. Another servant, a soldier, appears before them and informs them that King Gwyn requests for their presence at the dining hall.
As they were escorted to the dining hall, the trio realizes that the entire kingdom has gathered to see them. As they walk through the crowds, they either curtsies or bows to them as they pass. They nod back at them in return.
‘Is it just me or do they look like holograms?’ Alex asks Boon and Teg.
‘Holo…?’ Boon says, slowly, obviously not knowing what the word is.
‘She means like an illusion, Boon,’ Teg informs Boon, trying to help him. ‘But you are right, Alex. This is quite strange.’
‘You did say that it was a low-key celebration, maybe that’s just their way,’ Alex theorizing.
‘These are my people, Alex. I would know how they are, even if I was gone for quite some time. I already feel that this is quite an odd way to celebrate.’
As they enter the dining hall, King Gwyn and Queen-Empress Terra are waiting for them at the table, standing very still. The trio stands before them and bows to them as the guards close the door. When they hear the lock turn, Gwyn and Terra runs to them.
‘We have very little time to chat.’ Gwyn tells them, urgently.
‘Wait, what? What’s going on now? I don’t like this already.’ Alex asks, confused at the sudden change of disposition.
‘Ims is in Tylwyth Teg,’ Terra tells them, horrified. ‘He’s somewhere but he’s definitely in the kingdom.
‘I haven’t heard that name since the war!’ Boon says, shocked. ‘Since when was he here mother?’
‘About two hours ago. We did not want to alarm him that we already know he’s here. So we made the necessary arrangements as if we are preparing for a celebration.’ Gwyn informs them. ‘We had a feeling that they will know about Vtl’s death sooner or later,’ Gwyn explains. ‘He’s already gone through the barricade at the entrance and I don’t think any of you are in a position to fight him off.’
‘What about the Fair Folk?’
‘They are already at Annwn.’ ‘It is I and Queen-Empress Terra that are still out here.’
‘Why are you telling us this?’ Teg asks, suspiciously.
‘Because we cannot take you with us,’ Gwyn looks grave at his reply.
‘And why not?’ Alex says confused all over, once again. Why can’t there be any good news, she thought to herself.
‘You are under a curse.’
‘Am I going to turn into a frog?’ Alex asks horrified. ‘I will make an ugly frog and something will eat me because I am not good at being a frog.’ Alex shakes her head. ‘A curse? How can that happen?
‘It can happen very quickly. Ims is very good with curses.’ Terra replies.
‘But I feel fine and I feel better than before.’ Alex is beginning to feel like everything is spinning out of control so quickly. Two and a half weeks of no worry and she was asleep the whole time.
‘If I bring you three back to Annwn, you will die. You will not resurrect,’ he looks at Alex when he makes that point. ‘I promise you, I myself am unable to tell you what is going on. My best priests cannot even lift the curse. I have tried my best to lift the curse on my own but I don’t understand it. It’s quite complex, even for me. I will need time to study it.’
‘When did it start? How did I not know of it?’ Teg asks, suspicious of his King again.
‘It started three days ago, when Domina and Boon woke up. I felt a change in the wind but I overlooked it. I was celebrating our victory. We may have gotten unwanted attention, I am still unsure. It is too soon to tell and all I have at the moment are theories.’ Gwyn is looking regretful and Terra looks forlorn. ‘I did not tell you because I did not want to alarm you and in turn, alarm Domina and Boon. They have just recovered. I was doing what felt right.’
‘What do we do now?’ Alex asks, hoping they will be able to tell them what their first step is.
‘The safest place for now is the Maison de la Mer,’ Teg says thoughtfully. ‘It’s the only way we can lose his trail to us.’
‘I still have so many questions!’ Alex says, worried.
‘That will have to wait for later.’ Gwyn replies.
‘And I have questions about Lulu, mother,’ Boon demands.
‘And so do I,’ Terra replies.
‘Why can’t you come along with us to the manor?’ Alex is feeling desperate.
‘We cannot. There is a possibility that they will find a trail to the manor if I and Empress-Queen come along. We cannot risk your safety.’
There was a long silence. Terra looks towards the distance, wide-eyed. It can only mean one thing.
Ims is near.
Alex can feel her heart beat like crazy.
‘I understand,’ Teg answers finally. He takes his door knob from his pouch and stabs the floor with it. ‘Be safe my King. Please protect the Queen-Empress.’
‘You be safe too, all of you. Teg, please look after the Balance as you always have.’ Gwyn commands as he takes Terra’s arm. They start to fade from their vision.
‘Let’s go!’ Teg tells them as he opens the door on the floor. They all jump in and the door on the floor closes. As it fades away completely, the large doors of the dining hall flies open, crashing onto the table.’
‘Tsk. They’re quick critters,’ a severely thin man with dropping eyes, stares at the empty room with contempt. ‘No matter,’ he tells similar bug-eyed minions that Vtl had, ‘we will find them eventually and they won’t be as quick the next time.’
‘Ceb,’ a figure calls out, with a low booming voice. ‘Don’t tell me they got away…’ his words laced with a tinge of anger. Ceb is visibly irritated at his predicament and terrified at the voice behind him.
‘Don’t worry, master Ims. I will get them for you,’ he assures the voice. A large figure appears from behind the dark shadows. Ims is as large as a black bear with large fangs protruding out of his mouth.
‘Look at me, Ceb,’ he commands the tiny Chaos, ‘look at me!’ Ceb looks at Ims and his eyes start to bleed black almost immediately. Ceb tries to look away but he’s locked on the spot, Ims eyes glows in red. ‘I do not like going in circles and I certainly do not like to waste time. The Libra is awake and another has escaped. Find them both or you die.’

 

‘Yes…master,’ Ceb answers, pleading to be let go, his eyes feels like it’s going to start melting. Ims looks away and slowly walks back towards the shadows and disappears. Ceb falls on the floor and in tremendous pain. When Ims is completely gone, Ceb’s minions run towards him to help out their master. Ceb wipes the blackness on his face, ‘We’ll go after the girl first,’ he tells his minions. Scout ahead and inform me of your findings. Go now!’ The minions fade and disappear, leaving Ceb on the floor of the sabotaged dining hall, still wiping his black bloodied face and picking back up his pride. He gets up from the floor and looks around at the damaged hall. ‘I’m going to kill them all,’ he says as he goes through the floor, leaving the now empty ancient dining hall of Tylwyth Teg.

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