I stood outside impatiently. It was taking Kilyn and our friends forever to get out here. I didn't know what they were waiting on. Finally, the hurried down dressed in the standard traveling uniform.
"We were appealing to the goddesses," Kilyn said when she saw my impatient face.
I scoffed. "Yeah? And how did that go?"
Sylmae, who we called Syl for short, glared at me. "Just because you don't agree doesn't mean you can't show respect."
I just shrugged and led the way to the city gates. I heard Kilyn mutter an apology. I was of two minds with the goddesses. Why would they have chosen to make me so different? If they were so great and powerful, why was my mother on the brink of death?
Usually, I would go through where the barrier used to be. The flower was in the north, though, and the human village to the south. We looped around the large wall that surrounded the kingdom. It wasn't built until after the goblins attacked. Even though they had focused on the colony my parents had come from, we didn't want to be taken by surprise again.
Folen started to sing the Song of Goodbye with an upbeat tune. Usually, an assembly of elves would sing that when others would go on a long journey or at burials. The others joined in but I didn't. I had always felt like an outcast. Kilyn said I did that to myself and she was probably right.
"How far away is the flower?" Galan asked, coming up to walk beside me once they were done singing.
"If we go without breaks, then it will take us two days to reach it," I answered.
He sighed. "Look, Eroan. I know how you feel about this but hear me out. You may have attributes of the elves, but your body is human. It needs to rest. Remember what happened when you tried to go three days without sleep?"
I rolled my eyes. "I know, I know. My body shut down."
"Exactly. That can't happen on this trip and you know that. We'll rest long enough for you to sleep. That will give us plenty of time to get there and back still."
"Fine," I grumbled.
He patted me on the back and swung his arms as we walked. We all carried our bows and plenty of arrows on our backs. We would be leaving the elven realm soon. The palace lay about 1,000 yards from the edge of where the barrier once was.
When we got to it, we all hesitated.
"Have you ever been out?" Rina whispered to us. We all shook our heads. "I haven't, either."
"What do you think is out there?" Syl asked.
"Not humans," I said. "I've heard rumors, though...."
"What kind?" Kilyn asked nervously.
"Other mythical creatures," I answered.
"Like the goblins?" Syl whispered in fear.
I shook my head. "No, they're to the east. They can't survive the cold we're going into." I adjusted my pack. "Well, we're not going to get anyway by just standing here. Come on."
We all stepped forward at the same time. I didn't feel anything strange. Had a human not forced his way into the realm 28 years ago, though, I would have. It had been forbidden to cross the barrier and any elf that did so would have their memory of the land erased. Just in case, I looked behind me while we walked. I could still see the palace.
"What do you see?" my brother whispered.
"Elves," I whispered back. "Six of them. They're packed for travel."
He frowned. "Why would the be traveling all the way to the north?"
I looked closer. "One looks like a human but his aura gives off that of an elf."
My brother flew closer to me. "Could that be the hybrid we've heard of?"
I flew back to the ground and headed home. My brother, Sindri, touched down beside me and I stretched. We had heard the caterwaul and were sent to investigate. We had a good relationship with the elves but they had never traveled outside of their realm before. Sindri was bubbling with curiosity but I knew my place.
"I wouldn't be surprised," I responded, jumping over the stream that ran through our land.
"I wonder why they've crossed the border," he said.
"It's not our business," I reminded him and he rolled his eyes. "We will tell the queen and leave it at that. We have more important things to take care of."
He laughed harshly. "Shea, there is nothing important about gathering fruits."
I glared at him. "Of course there is! It's what feeds us, keeps our powers flowing!"
"If you say so," he sighed. "I still think you're being over dramatic about it. We have plenty." He kicked a rock. "I hate being a gathering fairy."
"We can't change what we are. This is what we were chosen to do."
He sighed heavily. "I know. I just wish that once we could leave the forest."
We had arrived at our hollow. We shrank in size and flew into the queen's palace. She was fluttering at a window until she heard us.
"Well?" she breathed. "Are we under attack."
"No, your highness," I said. "It's just six elves traveling north."
She looked as curious as Sindri did. "Why are they traveling? They never leave their realm."
"That's what I said," Sindri mumbled.
"We should put scouts on them," the queen said.
"Let us do it!" Sindri said before I could stop him. I shoved him. "Please, Queen. We would be perfect for the job!"
"What if they find you?" she asked wearily. "You were not trained to scout."
"I'm good at hiding," Sindri said eagerly. "We'll stay small."
The queen looked uncertain but finally nodded. Sindri made a noise of glee and flew out. I sighed and shook my head after him.
"We will keep an eye on them," I said to the queen. "Should they come too close to our borders, we will take appropriate action."
She nodded and I followed after my brother. He was already at the stream.
"Wait for me," I said. "I need to keep an eye on you and make sure you don't get us discovered."
He scoffed. "What could I possibly do that would get us discovered?"