Curious Creature

He isn't quite certain what she is, nor is he entirely certain where he is or how he got there. All that he's really sure of is that is most definitely a curious creature.

She was a curious creature, to say the least. He'd never seen anything quite like her, perched on the amethyst crystal like a delicate china ornament, almost appearing to give off a strange, purple glow. The short, straight mop of hair atop her head looked black, and wonderfully soft to touch, and the flimsy black and purple wings sprouting from her back gave her the appearance of an oversized butterfly. The short black dress she wore revealed a significant amount of pale, porcelain skin that looked so smooth he wondered if his fingers could sink into it. And those big, shimmering violet eyes, framed by feathery dark lashes, were almost heart-stopping.

"Are you lost, bec?" She asked kindly in a calm, melodic voice.

He gazed around. "I think so," he answered, even though he knew damn well that he was lost; there was no 'think' around it.

"Which way did you come in?" She quizzed.

"Umm…" He turned this way and that, looking for the direction he might have come from. "Forgive me, but I'm not entirely sure. There was a forest… with really big toadstools… and they were glowing… and then I was here, but I don't know how."

She tilted her head to the side questioningly. "Really? A youngster like you is allowed to wonder the Spritewood alone?"

He shook his head. "I'm not allowed," he explained, "I was running away."

"Oh were you?" She asked. "What were you running from?"

He opened his mouth to answer, only to realise he couldn't remember. "I don't know," he finally replied.

There was a questioning look burning in her purple eyes. Or was it the light of the amethyst cave that made them purple? He couldn't tell. He felt like he should be unnerved by her, but at the same time he felt somewhat relaxed, not like she was a stranger at all.

"How did you get that?" She asked, her eyes on his cheek.

He frowned, and reached up to touch it. It burned angrily and he winced, realising he had a wound slicing down from just below his temple to an inch to the left of his lip.

"I don't remember," he answered. He wondered if it was why he'd run away.

She continued to look at him quizzically. "You really should get home," she told him, "It's not wise to be around these parts. Someone might see you and think you're up to no good, and if they think that you might as well call yourself a corpse."

"So what are you doing here?" He asked.

"Me?" She smirked. "I'm on the run too."

"From what?"

"Oh, just my government," she answered, "They aren't particularly fond of people of my trade."

She stood up, revealing herself to be just over two feet tall, and extended a hand towards him.

"Come on; I'll take you home," she said.

He stared at her hand. "What's your trade?"

"Frowned upon," she answered simply. "Come on, don't be shy; I won't bite you."

As she said it, he noticed that the teeth she'd hidden behind her full black lips were small, pointed and razor-sharp-looking. It sent a shiver down his spine. She laughed, a melodic, sing-song laugh.

"I promise, I don't eat elves," she explained, "I'll just take you back to the Spritewood and then I'll disappear."

Once again, he turned his eyes to her outstretched palm. While trusting a bizarre creature of whose existence he'd never known until today seemed outrageously foolish, he realised there wasn't really a better option. Either trust her, or stay here in the shimmering purple cave indefinitely. And if what she'd said was true, about calling himself a corpse, he'd rather take his chances with her.

He took her hand. To his surprise, it was warm against his skin, and softer than phoenix down. She smiled pleasantly, this time keeping her fangs concealed.

And then the cave simply vanished, and was replaced by emerald green grass, towering oak trees and giant, indigo-spotted purple mushrooms; the Spritewood.

"See, that wasn't so difficult, was it?" She asked.

"Thank you," he replied. Although he still couldn't remember why he had come here in the first place.

"I should leave," she stated, "I am an unwelcome guest in this woodland."

"Why?" He asked.

She gave a mysterious smile, her eyes, now clearly violet in the gently glinting sunlight, shimmering with dark knowing.

"Surely, even in your daze, you know the answer to that, bec," she answered with a smirk.

He tried to think, but it didn't make sense. Why was she unwelcome? Did the woodland creatures find her disturbing? He couldn't help but wonder whether her appearance alarmed others as much as it had alarmed him when he'd first seen her. She was a curious creature, after all.

And then, from what seemed like nowhere, an arrow struck her shoulder. She cried out and stumbled backwards, clutching at the wound. He turned around to find the source of the arrow, and gasped.

The elfman riding towards them was clad in leather armour and had already loaded a second arrow into his mahogany bow. His long, white-blonde hair streamed behind him as the white horse cantered through the forest towards them, and a look of anger was scrawled across his face.

And there were more of them; more elves riding on horses towards them, six or seven of them, all cantering towards where they were stood, bows and arrows raised. Panic rose in his throat and something told him to run. But he stood in front of her, shielding her from the arrows, and cried out to the oncoming cavalry.

"Stop!" He bellowed. "She's not dangerous! She's-"

But before he could finish, she leader was yelling back at him.

"Get out of the way, son! Get out of our way!"

"Then lower your weapons!" He cried. "Please, just leave her alone! She-"

And then all he saw was a flash of purple bolting over his shoulder, so fast his eyes could barely keep up with it. It paused for a split second in front of the leader, and for that split second he saw her, scimitar in her hand. But then she was a flash of purple light once more, and the elf cried out as blood gushed from his face.

"Damned pixie!" He yelled, firing another arrow furiously after the purple light, rage carved onto his face like it might never come off. The bolt of light darted between the trees and disappeared into the darkness of the forest.

He watched after it, uncertain what to feel about the events. The past few minutes had been most peculiar, and now it felt like he was slowly beginning to awaken from a bizarre and wonderful dream. Had she been real?

The leader drew up level with him and dismounted his horse. He still held a murderous look in his silver-blue eyes, but he had replaced his bow on his back. Now he turned his wrathful glare on his son.

"What have I told you about coming to the Spritewood?" He snarled.

The son continued to gaze through the trees, taking no notice of his father's words. "What was that?" He asked calmly.

"That," the father growled, "Was a damned pixie. Thieving, murderous scoundrels the lot of them."

"She was friendly," the son answered, "She took me back here."

"What do you mean, she took you back?" The father snapped. "Where did you go that required you to be chaperoned back here, of all places?"

"I'm not entirely sure," the son replied, "It was a beautiful cave. I must say, I'm not quite certain it exists at all. Perhaps I was nowhere."

With minimal warning, a hand struck the back of his head and he dropped to the ground with a yelp. Before he had even hit the forest floor he could feel his head beginning to swell as his brain throbbed from the impact.

"Foolish child! Foolish, ignorant coward!"

The child barely heard his father's words. He knew it was hopeless to get up; he'd only receive another blow. He could feel the cut on his cheek bleeding, and he realised it had been ripped open when he'd cried out. His mind began to feel fuzzy and his vision started to blur. Words and woodland sounds merged into one single monotonous drone filling his ears as his sight failed him.

His last thoughts were of a pale girl with black hair and purple wings laced with black, holding a scimitar, a malicious smirk on her face.

She was most certainly a curious creature.

The End

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