Kiara, for once, was glad that she had been left behind.
Besides from the fact that Robin Hood had been looking daggers at her for the short time she had known him (some hero he'd turned out to be) Puck had been sitting on her shoulder in the form of a weasel and playing practical jokes.
Sometimes he used his enchantments to make a Hawk trip, other times he would make two bump harshly into each other, but his favorite was making them forget whatever it was they were doing.
Her initial disapproval gave way to guilty amusement, and she had to work impressively hard to keep from guffawing out loud.
The effects would have been considerably more devastating if she was on a stealth mission.
"How do you do that?" she hissed in the critter's direction as an intimidating-looking Hawk walked head-on into a tree.
Puck spoke directly into her mind, looking at her with beady little eyes.
Magic. You have it too, but living with the humans has hidden it.
"Living with 'the humans'? I've already told you, Puck, I happen to be 'a human'."
He squeaked almost mischievously.
That, darling, is where you are terribly mistaken.
Kiara sighed and ducked into the infirmary, hoping nobody had seen her talking to a rodent.
"Then why doesn't iron burn me?"
The weasel hopped off her shoulder and onto the ground, growing moments later into the elven, fully dressed Puck that had revived her.
"Iron is plentiful on this world. You've been acclimatized to it."
Sounded like a faulty explanation.
"Then do you care to tell me how I was born and raised in the 'human world'?"
Puck sat on a cot and crossed one leg over the other, inspecting his shoes.
"You're a phoenix, dear. You must have crossed into this world eons ago, and have lived, died and been born again from fire hundreds of times. Very few of your kind exist, but even less have such knowledge on this dimension. You would be invaluable in our land."
Now that was absolutely laughable.
"Born from fire? My mother was an adulteress."
"Perhaps that is what she wanted you to believe. You would be surprised what sacrifices humans make."
Kiara felt her logic being stretched to the point of disbelief.
"You, Puck, are many things, one of which is a horrid liar. I don't have time for your tricks."
"And I," the Fae started, "I don't have time for your petty attempts to hold onto your humanity."
Kiara was speechless for a moment and Puck took advantage of the silence to continue, standing and walking around her.
"What is it that drives you to clutch onto it? What are you here, but an insignificant nurse in a pathetically ragtag resistance force? You, you-Kiara O'Brien, have brought each person in this camp back from the reaches of death at least once, and what has it done for you? You are overlooked, forgotten and completely unacknowledged, even though your sheer intellect is more than that of the entire band put together! To them, you will never be on the same ground as their great leaders and heroic, suffering saviors! Their idols themselves were too preoccupied with their own demanding greatness and superfluous squabbles to even turn an eye when you needed them, on the brink of the eternal sleep! How can you still serve dutifully at your post knowing that?"
Kiara stared, dazed, and listened speechlessly.
"You could be so much more than this," Puck continued, biting into an apple procured from the air casually, "Imagine; your blood itself will give you all the power you could ever hope for in our world. The Fae will lay down their lives to pave your path to the throne-"
She cut him off.
"-I paid the Fae a visit in their world and it was anything but pleasant. They treated me as an enemy. A human."
Puck resumed speaking without missing a beat.
"Your time on this planet has disguised your true form. That in combination with your company was enough to persuade bloodthirsty rogues and scouts to assume your hostility."
Puck's face lit up with anticipation.
"Of course, it should be easy for someone of my caliber to reverse."
"Forgive me, this may sting."
He held up a hand and it glowed blue, before the light grew blindingly bright.
Kiara felt her skin crawl and the air seemed to grow uncomfortably hot before the feeling subsided.
She yelped in shock at the sight of flames dancing in her hands, taking a split-second to realize that her flesh was not being consumed, and that the phenomenon was painless.
"What...what's happening to me?"
Puck shrugged, still eating the apple.
"We're about to find out."