I sighed and hastily changed into sturdier clothes before opening the window and dropping to the ground. I misjudged the height but strong arms caught me.
"Hello, Zuri," my saviour said, "Sneaking off again?" I glanced up to see warm brown eyes and dark brown - almost black - hair.
"No, Owen," I answered, "Trying to sneak out my room without passing Father to ask what this is about." When I said 'this' I gestured to the mini army. Owen set me on my feet. If I was tall for a Pixie then Owen was a giant. He was five or six years older than me and had large, silver wings.
"We're not allowed to say," Owen replied hesitantly.
"We?" I raised an eyebrow. Owen flushed with pleasure.
"Yep, I finally passed the test to join Nature's Protectors," he practically swelled with pride. I gave him a small smile.
"Congratulations," I said, "May Nature touch you with fortune in your career."
"Thank you, Zuri," Owen blushed more furiously than before. He used to have a crush on me but I thought it had faded. Father thought highly of Owen and wanted him tied to our family. Poor Owen was Betrothed to Ice because she was the eldest and Father's favourite daughter. From the way he was blushing he still cared for me though. An idea formed in my head. I ignored my feelings of guilt and proceeded.
"Can you please tell me what's going on?" I asked sweetly, glancing up at him through my eyelashes.
"Uh, well, I really can't, Zuri. It's your father's orders," Owen stammered.
"My father's?" I frowned, trying to look cutely confused (Nature's Dark World; thinking that confused me. How do you look 'cutely confused'?)
"Uh, yes, Lord Brook." Yeah, I know my father's name, Owen. All council member's had the title 'Lord' and their family's were 'Lords' or 'Ladies' too. Ugh, Lady Zuri. I resisted the urge to wrinkle my nose.
"Do I have to order you, Owen?" I teased, flirtatiously. He laughed.
"Oh, Nature, I would love to see you try," he smiled, "You're heart is never in it."
"Owen, I would never tell anyone you told me," I whispered, gently and put a hand on his arm.
"Aw, damn it, Zuri! Only you could make me disobey orders," Owen sighed, "Lord Brook has ordered us to hunt the Kistune."
"Mazany?" I asked, alarmed. Owen nodded. "And what? Take him prisoner?"
"No, Zuri," Owen said softly, "We're to kill him on sight. He has to pay for attacking Lord Brook and killing Thalpius." I suddenly felt very dizzy and weak. Owen caught me as I swayed, slightly, where I stood.
"I'm sorry, Zuri," Owen whispered.
"Owen! Come on! We need to leave in five minutes!" Someone called. They were armed with bows and arrows. They had no chance. Mazany could stop them with ease.
What if he didn't?
"Let me just take her Lady to her room." I couldn't really see anymore but I could feel Owen's arms wrap around me and he flew up to my room.
What if they kill him first?
Owen lay me on the bed and said something but I didn't hear him. I blacked out.
Thunder rumbles, echoing all around. There were just flickers of fire and arrows. Screams of pain, begging for mercy. Lightening crashed down. I see people running.
Then I see a flash of blue.
I woke up panting. I had no idea how long I'd been unconscious. The memories came tumbling back to me. I shot out of my bed and grabbed only my satchel and vials. I scribbled a quick note for my father. Then I ran ouside just as the army returned. Their numbers a lot smaller than before. I saw Owen, his arm had been burned. I sprinted over to him.
"Are you OK?" I demanded, handing a vial to heal the burn. He nodded and took it wordlessly. He tried to thank me but the words wouldn't form. I just smiled letting him know I understood.
"Hey, Anil!" I called. An unharmed Pixie turned to me.
"Yes, Miss Zuri?" he raised an eyebrow. He was supporting a wounded friend.
"I'm sorry?" Anil frowned.
"Where'd you find him?" I queried, innocently. Anil was not fooled.
"Anil!" I whined, "Just tell me! I want to stop all this once and for all."
"No." The protest didn't come from Anil but Owen. I turned to him. "If an entire army didn't stand a chance then one lone underage girl would be on a suicide mission."
I snorted, "Of course you didn't stand a chance. He has powerful Elemental magic that he has been taught to use. What did you have? Bows and arrows? The only way to fight magic is with magic. Can any of you do this?" I created water and washed clean all the wounded Pixie's injuries. There were many yelps of surprised. Then I created a breeze warmed by fire to dry them.
They were stunned. "I thought not," I said lightly, "So where'd you find him?" After a pause, Anil gave me a general location. I thanked them and said goodbye. They walked off but Owen remained. I was about to slip off when he grabbed my arm.
"You're leaving," he stated. I didn't reply. I just waited. "It's for good this time, isn't it?" he continued.
"Almost certainly, only in dire circumstances will I come back," I answered softly. Owen sighed.
"Goodbye then, Zuri," he said.
"Bye, Owen," I replied and he let go of my arm. I was about to leave the Pixie World when Owen called out.
"Happy 11th birthday, by the way!"