I kept my eyes closed, afraid of what I would see when I did open them. I could feel her shaking in my arms. Something was different, though. She put her head on my chest and began to sob.
"I'm not a fairy anymore," she sobbed and I ran my hand up her back. It was true. Her wings were gone. "You were right."
I held her tightly, putting my face in the crook of her neck. I didn't know what to feel. Did I take it from her? Was this my fault? Should I have kept going, ignored what she said?
Footsteps announced the arrival of our companions but we stayed gripping each other. I could hear the goblin king fighting against the vines.
“Shea,” Sindri gasped and I finally let her go.
I opened my eyes. She was staring at me, her eyes wide as she touched my face. I brushed her hair aside.
“You’re an elf,” I whispered with a small smile. “You don’t have to worry about being stuck with my human side.”
She shook her head. “Eroan, touch your ears.”
“Why? It’s just going to be the same as ever. Human ears,” I sighed.
I reached up and gasped. I touched my other one in wonder. They were pointed. I was a pure elf now. I let out a shaky laugh and she did the same. I pulled her into a tight hug.
“Now we can go home,” Kilyn whispered.
I turned to her and laughed, hugging her. “I’m an elf, Ki,” I cried and she hugged me back. “Finally I’m an elf.”
“You always have been,” she said. “Come on. Let’s get this flower to Mother.”
She was getting worse. I was worried about Eroan and Kilyn. I was in bed with Camilia. She was hurting and winced every time I touched her but begged I stay with her.
“It’ll happen soon,” she said weakly.
“No,” I said firmly. “They’ll be back any day now.”
“Elwin,” she began but there was shouting below.
“Wait here,” I whispered and she smiled.
“Because I’m going far,” she said sarcastically.
I kissed her lips gently then jogged out of the room. I took the stairs two at a time. The shouting was coming from the kitchens.
“Stop asking questions and do it!” I heard Eroan’s voice yell.
My heart skipped a beat. Could it be? I ran in to see everyone and two people I didn’t recognize.
“Eroan? Kilyn?” I whispered and they turned. I gaped at Eroan. “What-?”
“We don’t have time,” he breathed. “Please tell me Mother is still….”
A goblet was passed to Eroan and he led the way up the stairs, holding the goblet carefully. The group and the other two followed. One was a fairy and dressed as such but the other…. She was an elf but dressed like a fairy.
Kilyn opened the door to our bedroom and Camilia smiled gently at them.
“My children,” she gasped. “Is that-?”
“Yes,” Eroan breathed. “Father, help her sit.” I did as he said and she cried in pain. “Open your mouth, Mother. You have to drink it all.”
It was thick and purple. It reminded me of the potions Elder Winterblade used to make. Camilia coughed a few times but she managed to drink the whole liquid. She collapsed in my arms but she was still breathing. We all held our breaths, Eroan watching with fearful eyes. The she-elf dressed as a fairy held his hand and he laced their fingers. I had many questions but my main concern lay in my arms.
Slowly, her eyes blinked open. She looked around, rubbing her eyes. She saw me first and smiled lovingly.
“Elwin,” she said, her voice strong. “Perhaps we should believe legends more often.”
I sobbed and held her to me.
I sat down heavily on the bed, letting out my breath and crying in relief. Shea wrapped her arms around me from behind and I leaned into her, watching as my father gripped my mother. She held him back tightly and I smiled at the sight. I was tired but not nearly as much as I would have been if I were still part human.
When Father finally let her go, Kilyn ran to my mother and sobbed into her neck. The others were crying quietly. I stood up and kissed Shea’s fingers before going around to my mother’s side of the bed. She gasped when she saw me.
“Eroan,” she breathed and I laughed. “You- You’re an elf!”
“I’ll explain later,” I whispered and kissed her forehead. “I’m so glad you’re okay!"
She hugged me tightly. “Thanks to you and your friends.”
“She’ll need a few days of rest,” my father said. “But she’s going to be fine. Introduce us to your friends, please; especially this she-elf who seems to have captured your heart.”
I blushed but led her over. “This is Shea,” I said and she bowed her head. “And this is her… twin brother Sindri.”
“Brother?” my mother repeated. "But he's a fairy."
Shea and I sat down on the end of the bed and began our tale.
There was a large feast to celebrate the Human Ambassador’s return to health. Queen Tsarra was pleased when she saw the goblin king wrapped up in vines and a blanket.
“We have many questions for you,” she smirked at the goblin. “For now, though, I think you’d find our dungeons quite… hospitable.”
She nodded once and the guards took him away. He was still yelling around his gag. I smirked and bowed to Queen Tsarra. She was as surprised as everyone else of my transformation but I just kept the answer to my friends and my parents. Sindri sat at the ambassador’s table with my family. The women hadn’t come down yet and I sighed.
“What’s taking so long?” I muttered. “I’m hungry.”
“Look,” Sindri breathed, pointing to the stairs.
My mother, Kilyn, and Shea were all descending the stairs. People applauded and my jaw dropped when I saw Shea. She was dressed in a forest green dress that was decorated with leaves. She smiled shyly at me as I quickly pulled her chair out for her. I leaned over and kissed her cheek.
“You look beautiful.”
She just blushed and stared at her lap, obviously not used to such positive responses.
Unfortunately, Sindri had to leave the next day. He hugged his sister for a long time. They cried into each other’s shoulders.
“I will miss you, dear sister,” he said, holding her head in his hands. “But I am so glad you are happy.”
“I will miss you, too.”
“You are always welcome here,” I said, shaking his hand when he let Shea go. “Whenever you wish.”
He smiled. “Thank you, Eroan. Keep an eye on my sister. Maybe soon I’ll bring some fairies.”
Shea giggled and wrapped her arm around mine. I smiled down at her and kissed her head as Sindri said good bye to everyone else.
“I will miss him very much,” she sighed, waving as he flew off.
“So will I,” I nodded. “Can I speak with you?”
We excused ourselves and went to the home that we were assigned. I closed the door and sat her down at our table. I held her hand and took a deep breath.
“Do you regret this?” I asked and she frowned.
“Being with me.”
She laughed and kissed my hand. “No, I don’t.”
“But you’re no longer a fairy. You cannot return.”
“I never belonged there, anyway,” she said. She laced our fingers. “I’m where I belong now.”
I smiled and she caressed my cheek. I leaned into it.
“So you’re fine with being married to a hybrid?”
She laughed and stood, bringing me with her. She hugged me then kissed me deeply.
“I don’t know any hybrids,” she whispered against my lips. “I do know an incredible elf, though.”
“Really?” I asked, putting my arms around her waist and smiling. “Is he handsome?”
“Very,” she nodded. “And he’s an honorable elf, driven by love and, whether he acknowledges it or not, his duty.”
“Hmm,” I said jokingly. “I used to know a fairy like that.”
She giggled and I kissed her.