"Lady Brook, we have many things to discuss today," Lord Flint was saying.
I was bored out of my mind. I've always had so much excitment in my life that this endless stream of pointless meetings, that was so stressful to the rest of the council, seemed incredibly dull to me and almost relaxing.
Don't get me wrong, it was nice in the sense that my friend's lives and mine were not threatened by the greatest evil to ever exist. It's just the damage Shadow caused in his attempt to bring Darkness to the world, before he came back, had wrecked havoc and I had to deal with the fallout; since my father before me had failed to do so. Shadow had wanted to start a war and we had stopped him.
Then we stopped him again - mainly thanks to Middy - when he'd returned after Maz and I joined the Night World Academy. It hadn't been without sacrifice. My heart twisted as thoughts of Crystal flashed through my mind but then I smiled as I thought of Aziza; Crystal's daughter was almost a clone of her mother.
After all the events the school was closed down and I received a letter from Lady Sequoia. It had begun by hoping I was well and that Lady Trixie had informed them of everything that had happened.
Then she told me that my father was dead and that as his only surviving child I needed to take his place as head of the Pixie Council. It wasn't a 'have to', I had a choice because they would get a distant cousin to represent our family, but I had a feeling in my heart that I should return to the world I was born.
When I appeared in the Pixie World, on the doorstep of the house of my childhood the servants were very surprised. I don't think any of them actually expected me to turn up. I hid a wry smile as I remembered.
It was raining heavily when I materialised. I was eager to get into the warmth. I'd said my goodbyes to my precious friends and called up the pull of the Pixie World. It had all but disappeared over the years but as I reestablished the connection it was like I'd never let it go.
I knocked on the door three times and a minute later a familiar face opened it. It was Shade; he'd been running the Brook household ever since he came of age. He didn't recognize me - after all a lot had happened to change me in the last five, six years. Even before then I was practically a stranger.
"Good evening, Shade, I'm glad to see you looking so well," I greeted pleasantly, "Do you mind if I come in? I'm slowly getting saturated."
"Ah, of course, Miss," he stepped aside so Icould enter and he closed the door behind me, "But begging your pardon, who are you, Miss, and how do you know me? What is your purpose in coming here?"
I smiled at him , amused, "Why, don't you recognize me, Shade?"
He scrutinized me then looked at my eyes and gasped. My smile broadened. My eyes were unique and had been passed onto me from my Mother.
"Ah, h-hello, Lady Zuri," Shade stuttered, "Y-you have come t-to take your p-place on the Council then?"
"Of course," I answered, "And to pay respects to my father. Where is Ava? How is she?"
"She is representing the Brooks, although unofficially," Shade was recovering, "No one thought you would come and wanted to appoint one of your distant cousins immediately but Lady Trixie convinced them to wait and have Ava fill in temporarily."
"They are having a meeting right now?" I guessed from what he said and he nodded. I grinned.
"They are not expecting me? With the exception of Lady Trixie?" Again, he nodded. He was starting to smile and I guessed I had that mischievious twinkle in my eye, "Tell them that there is someone who wishes to see them but they must dry themselves and clean up first but do not give my name."
"Of course... Lady Brook," Shade winked, using my new official title. He told me that I could use my old room since it had been turned into a guest room. I thanked him and followed the familiar way to my childhood bedroom.
I absorbed the room around me. Father had wanted to erase any trace of me it seemed. All I had was the things in the messenger bag over my shoulder.
There was a gentle knock and I called for whomever it was to come in. Lady Trixie slipped in with a dress. It looked very elegant and expensive. She handed it to me wordlessly and winked.
"I had it made personally for you after your father's death," she explained then added, "Nature bless his Essence."
I thanked her and she left. I still wasn't entirely sure who she was but I understood that she, like me, had spent much of her childhood away from this world and knew Crystal.
Lady Trixie left and I took a quick shower then I got into the dress she'd given me. It was silk and clung to my upper body yet still made me look refined. From the waist it flowed like waves to my knees. It was a gold colour that matched my eyes. When I looked in the mirror I truly looked like a Lady and Head of the Pixie Council. I knew that my ancestors were proud.
I headed downstairs and Shade met me at the bottom. His eyes widened slightly then he beamed. He led me to the Council Chamber and quickly spoke to the other Ladies and Lords. The response was apprehensive then Shade ushered me in.
They all frowned none of them recognizing me. Lady Trixie's face was blank and serene. Then she reached out for the ring sitting in front of Ava. It had the family crest on it - or at least our family name when we were first put on the Council.
She rose and came over to me. Shaking, I held out my right hand and she slid it onto my middle finger. She stepped back and bowed, a gesture I returned and then we got reactions.
Several leapt to their feet and/or shouted in surprise. Others gasped or their eyes widened. Many simply remained silent. Ava stared at my face, worry and sorrow etched onto her features.
I smiled at her and some of the worry disappeared. Then I raised an eyebrow at the rest. There were eighteen people on the Council plus the Head (me) so when voting there were no ties.
"Lady Sequoia did send a letter informing me of Father's death and the position being passed on to me if I wished it," I said.
Lady Sequoia hesitantly nodded, "I did and you know it. We agreed and you all gave me permission."
"I suspect it is because they never actually expected me to accept the responsibilities," I told her dryly. This threw them into an uproar, many denied it others told me I had no right to accuse them of such unfairness but there was too much guilt on their faces.
Lady Trixie snorted quietly then held up her hand. They fell silent.
"Lady Brook has done many great things for the worlds. She did not have to leave her friends to come here where she knew she would be resented for leaving - especially after Lord Brook's lies about her making you hate her more - but she did come. We should appreciate that and be grateful. Now, allow her to take her place and we can continue this meeting," Lady Trixie said.
"She knows nothing of our system and how we work," Lord Ridge protested.
"I will teach her," Lady Trixie countered.
"I'm a fast learner, too," I added and a few of them chuckled, diffusing some tension. Then Ava stood up and bowed to me. I bowed back and my Stepmother gestured to the Head seat.
"May Nature bless you with wisdom as you guide us for being a leader is hard - especially for the young - but you deserve the right to sit in this chair," Ava said. Cautiously I walked over to her and kissed her on the cheek before sitting down.
The meeting continued, the tension fading more and more as I proved my worth.
I was home again.