The fairies stared at the Ice Mirror in awe. It was something that had never been done before, to travel through their parallel fairy land and use it to traverse into the Land of the Flowing River.
“But. But no one in the history of fairies has done that before, Your Iciness!” started Hetty.
“That is true but these are troubled times. We are all in danger and the threat is to our lands and our very existence. We must act wisely and have the courage to take the path that will save us. Fairies, only you can do this task. The princess’s powers are at their maximum when you are in her hair. She will need this magic to fight off the evil that has come our way. You must get to her and you must succeed if we are to survive.”
The fairies listened to the Ice Mirror and felt the rising responsibility that was being placed on them.
“How will we know the way?” asked Hetitia.
“Fear not, fairies, you will not be alone. Follow the path before you and do not stray from it no matter what happens until you reach Fortune Fountain. By then you would’ve completed half your journey. When you reach Fortune Fountain, look for the ice compass and you will never lose your way. Now come, you must be on your way!”
The fairies hesitated but dared not defy the Ice Mirror. They had heard stories about crossing over from the Ice Mirror, of fairies and water forms who had tried to do it as a dare and ended up freezing on the way, not being able to go back; stuck in a middle form where they could not be part of the Land of the Flowing River nor be part of fairy land. It was true that they were accustomed to both lands but if they stayed long enough in the Land of the Ice Mirror, their bodies would get so accustomed to the climes that crossing back into the Land of the Flowing River would just shock their system. That is what happened to other fairies they had known. They had spent years and centuries trapped in their own fairy land that they could not survive outside of it.
Hetty suddenly realised why they were chosen for this task. They had been given the title of Royal Fairies and she never thought much of it until now. No one else was chosen to fulfil the role of close and trusted companion to the princess except them. There must have been a reason for it and Ice Mirror’s words brought back the implications of their unique abilities. Perhaps there really was a chance that they would succeed after all.
Hetty fluttered about in front of the Ice Mirror and took Hetitia by the hand, determined to find Petuna, “Come on Hetitia we must be on our way!”
“Fairies, before you go, you must remember something very important. Do not linger in the ice world, do not get tricked by those who try and persuade you to remain. Remember, if you stay there long enough you will lose all chance of coming back here,” said the Ice Mirror.
“We understand, Your Iciness and you can count on us,” said Hetty.
“Very well,” said the Ice Mirror before her form slowly faded from the surface of the mirror. The fairies stood back and watched as the surface of the mirror slowly started becoming more fluid and shifting. It looked like it was a current of water trapped between two panes of glass. It was like a wave moving in slow motion and was mesmerising to watch. The fairies found themselves captivated by its motion. Suddenly they felt the current get bigger and bigger even though it was still trapped between the two glass panes. They felt the room around them fade in the distance and their surroundings change. It was as if they were caught in a trance and before they knew everything calmed down.
They stood in front of the Ice Mirror, except now everything that had seen through it was more vivid. They could hear sounds and smell the aroma of fairy cake coming from houses nearby. Hetitia looked behind her and saw that they were standing on the other side of the Ice Mirror. She looked at the surface and saw the king’s quarters where they had been slowly fading away like she was looking at it from behind a thin piece of fabric again.
“Look,” pointed Hetitia to Hetty. Hetty turned around and realised that they had been transported into fairy land.
Hetty smiled at her sister and said, “We’re here! We’re on the other side of the mirror!”
They looked around them for a moment to take in the scene before them. There were trees made from ice with icicles as branches bearing silver and golden pears. The grass beneath their feet consisted of ice crystals that melted as they stepped on it then crystallised again as soon they stepped off. There were ice birds flying amongst the trees and on either side of them were huge mountains of white. Snowdrops covered their sides.
“Come on,” said Hetty to Hetitia.
“How do we know where we’re meant to go?” asked Hetitia.
“Follow the path,” Hetty said, repeating the Ice Mirror’s words. She had no clue if the path they were was the one they were meant to follow but the Ice Mirror had told them that they would not be alone. She had to trust that.
“We’ll figure it out on the way. I’m sure we won’t be lost,” said Hetty thoughtfully.
The fairies started walking through the ice forest for a short distance before deciding to fly instead. Very soon they found themselves over a deep valley. They had kept to the path which they had found themselves on the whole way but now it was starting to get camouflaged and they could not make out the direction they were meant to take.
“I think we should go back to walking,” said Hetty, “we can’t afford to stray off the path.”
The fairies fluttered back down to the ground. The path was nowhere to be found.
“Oh my! Wandering waterfalls, where are we?” exclaimed Hetitia.
“Ahh. We mustn’t panic. It must be here somewhere,” said Hetty looking around her.
All they could see were thousands of snowdrops scattered on the ground. Every time the fairies accidentally stepped on a snowdrop it would send hundreds of magic sprinkles up in the air until the sky momentarily took on a different hue. They tried to tread softly on the ground to avoid stepping on them while looking for the path.
“Stop disturbing our sleep, will you!”
The fairies stopped in their tracks and looked at each other.
“Did you say something?” asked Hetty. Hetitia shook her head from side to side in slow motion.
“Down here!” came the voice again. The fairies looked down and suddenly realised that the voice was coming from a snowdrop.
“Oh! Oh! We’re awfully sorry little snowdrop we’ve just lost our way and we need to get back on to the path.” started Hetitia.
“No ice path here, you need to go east!” cried the snowdrop again.
“Which way is east and where are we?” asked Hetty.
“You’re on the magic mountain! You’d better be along quick before you wake the rest of us and then you won’t hear the end of it! Look up there. Can you see the golden pear tree? That’s east,” said the snowdrop again.
“Thank you little snow drop we’ll be on our way,” whispered Hetty.
“Come, Hetitia I think it best we fly now towards that tree,” said Hetty to Hetitia.
They managed to find the golden pear tree and flew as fast as they could, keeping close to the ground.
“There it is! I see it Hetty I see it!” cried Hetitia. The fairies swooped down until they landed on the path once again but as soon as they got there, they stood in despair. There was a fork in the path right at the foot of the tree. Both paths looked the same and there was no indication of which way they should go.
“What do we do now?” sighed Hetty.
Hetitia looked at both paths and kept fluttering up and down trying to see into the distance but nothing looked out of the ordinary.
“Oh Hetty, we’re in such a splitting snowdrop situation!” cried Hetitia.
“Mmm you can say that again,” Hetty sank on the ground trying to think. “Well why don’t we just take one way and see where we end up. If there’s no clue which way to go then it shouldn’t make a difference right?”
“Not right at all!” said a deep and resonating voice that suddenly boomed at them.
Hetty stood up and looked at Hetitia. She was about to ask her whether she had said something when she realised that Hetitia had heard the voice too. Her face had gone a paler shade and the fairies stood together trying to figure out the source of the voice.
“Who..who’s there?” said Hetty cautiously.
There was silence and a panic rushed through Hetty. The voice seemed to come from the tree and she slowly started circling the tree trunk, with Hetitia holding on to her like a petrified little child. The tree trunk was huge and it took them a full minute to reach the other side. That is when they saw it. There was a glorious fountain embedded in the tree. The water spurted from the ground and slid along the trunk in all directions.
“Hello!” said the voice.
The fairies were startled and jumped when they heard the voice again.
“Who are you? Speak!” cried Hetty.
“Hahaha how interesting,” said the voice again with a smile, “why I’m Fortune Fountain!”