We had been traveling day and night only to come to the Forest of Endless Night. Twisted dead branches hung in the way, knotty roots lined the ground. Dead grass swayed in the violent wind. Lottie whined in fear, her head snuggling into my bosoms. Viktor grumbled as the horses refused to go into the woods. A chilly breeze caused Little Lottie to shiver violently, my hands taking off my scarlet velvet cloak to drape it around her shoulders. My mind wandered, a sharp psst jerking me out of my trance. My new black leather corset dress felt warm enough for me to survive, the leather cracking every time I moved. My black silk feather cap hung off of my large side bun.
“Can you bring the light back to this place?” A squeaky female voice inquired with a sense of urgency in her voice in my head. “You have the magic parts in you to get the machine up and running.” A sharp pain ran through my shoulder, a little green creature sitting on my shoulder. Red hair flowed down to her feet, a dress made out of leaves making her look really adorable. Golden eyes gazed into mine, tiny hands touching my face. Her golden wings were dim in the cloudy darkness above us.
“Okay.” I gulped, placing her in my palm. “Where is the machine?” She shrugged, pulling out the world’s smallest map. She pointed to the center of the map, my eyes squinting to see what she was seeing. Pulling out the smallest magnifying glass, the blurry spot came into view. The words Fae Portus popped out at me, the horses were still going nuts.
“My name is Oakley, the former spirit of the woods.” She introduced herself, bowing in my presence. “I sense a horrible death in your future, or is it that someone wants you really bad.” Golden dust landed on Lottie’s nose, a cute sneeze exploding from her button nose. Vitktor touched my shoulder, making me jump out of my skin, his eyes falling on Oakley. Oakley waved to him and hugged his finger.
“Little Viktor, it seems we have met again.” She cheered, more fairy dust covering his lap. “Gizmo did this years ago, and now she can reverse it. Can’t you Mina. Leave the horses here, they will not enter in until there is light. We can go on foot.” A sharp whistle erupted from her lips, sparkling balls of light surrounded the wagon. Lottie gasped in wonder, a tiny fairy landing on her finger. Childish giggles tumbled from her lips, the fairies examining the golden locket around her neck.
“Are the warthog demons still in there?” Viktor inquired quietly, running his hand through his hair. “Are they still evil?” Oakley’s face fell, a childish pout forming on her lips. Concern flashed in my eyes, my thumbs twiddling.
“Who are the warthogs?” I stammered, feeling slightly frightened. “I need to know the story.” Shame darkened her golden eyes, a sad smile on her tiny face. Placing my palm out, she sat in the center. Smoothing out her dress, she snapped her finger. The world melted away to a time most distant in the past.
A friendly looking warthog demon with a red Mohawk sat across from a chubby red headed fairy with a golden branch crown. Annoyed glances passed between them, no words being found. Yellow aged paper sat between them, the warthog demon ripping it up. Something was off about him, a red stone glowed in his chest. A loud buzzing noise rang in my ears, the whirring machine behind them shutting down. A plague of decay swept across the land, everything blackening around them. The leaves floated off the trees, the green fading to a dry brown. The luscious green grass dried up to a pale yellow, flowers curling into black stems. The color drained out of the forest, everything going black and white.
Cold sweat dripped down my forehead, Oakley playing with my stray hairs. Her wings created a soft breeze on my face, tears streaming down her face. Patting her tiny head, my fingers placed her on my shoulder. The leaves crunched underneath my worn boots, Lottie hanging off of Viktor’s back, her mouth chattering away in his ear. He rolled his eyes, his brown top hat sitting on her head. Snorting echoed around us, a tiny warthog demon coming out of the woods. Cuts covered his arms, his tusks barely grown. His kind brown eyes gazed into mine, his black hoofs were overgrown.
“I ran away from the king.” He sobbed, trying to hide his injuries. “He is not okay.” Oakley floated down, kissing his forehead. Golden light blinded us, the cuts sealing and his hoofs looking perfect. Grateful tears flooded from his eyes, a childish grin dancing across his face.
“I know where the machine is.” He promised, wincing at his words. “The problem is that it is in the middle of my king’s castle. We are starving, and need help. A golden gem in his chest is poisoning his mind.” Nodding, we followed him to a looming stone castle with vines climbing the walls. Armored warthogs marched across the roof line, spears shimmered in the light. A gray bearded fairy popped up next to me, his rusty crown falling off his head. His red robes were dusty, and lackluster compared to my vision before.
“I am King Orion, the king of the forest fairies.” He introduced himself, bowing to me. “We can distract the guards, just shove your hand in the hole. It should power the whole thing up, then you need to remove the blood ruby from his chest.” Grumbling to myself, my eyebrows furrowed.
“You make it sound simple.” I retorted sarcastically, feeling for my sword. “Fine, but I would not like to die or anything.” Nodding in my direction, thousands of lights floated towards the guards. Their swords swung around, our boots pounding against the cobblestone bridge. No one noticed us go in, the little demon boy guiding us down mazes of hallways to two large red wooden doors. He shoved the doors open, a large warthog king with a red Mohawk sat in a decrepit throne. His black robes cascaded over the rough handles of the throne.
“If it isn’t the machine that I need to run the machine.” He snorted, struggling to stand to his feet. “Orion, you are still alive. Good to see you again.” He charged at us, his yellow tusk nearly hitting Lottie. She jumped to my left, hiding in a compartment. Snorts and grunts tumbled from the king’s greasy lips, his tusk stuck in the stone wall. The machine whirred to life, my body being dragged into the hole. The castle quaked, a blue light exploding around us. A giant tree grew up from the ground, the rock rumbling beneath me. Thick roots gripped the ground, my eyes telling Viktor to get everyone out. He swept up Lottie, dashing her through the halls. Oakley led the way for them, leaving me with the Warthog King. A hissing noise set me free, my hand aching ever so lightly. Rolling my wrist around, I raised my sword. His red eyes widened, lightning striking him down. Black robes flew around a black haired man with green lizard eyes. A cold breeze tossed the dust around, his red snakeskin boots clopping down.
“My Mina.” An icy man’s voice tumbled from his lips, his long red nails tapping against his black dragon staff. “I am Gizmo, the most powerful wizard in the world.” Nodding, my hand wrapped around the ruby in the king’s chest. Gizmo shouted, my robotic hand crushing the blood ruby. The King leapt to his feet, charging at Gizmo. With a wave of his hand, he tossed him to the side.
“Who are you?” I queried, watching his every move. “I have no clue who you are.” He chuckled to himself, tapping his staff on the rubble. A shock ran through me, my gears malfunctioning. My body twitched, my mouth saying the words Goddess of Light, grant me your powers. A bright blue light illuminated the remains, my body able to move again. Blue symbols lined my arms, my cannon firing up. The beam nearly struck Gizmo, his body disappearing in a puff of smoke. The symbols faded, my body collapsing in a heap. Exhaustion took over my eyes, the warthog king offering me a green liquid. The sludge slid down my throat, a sudden burst of energy bursting through me. My red eyes glowed ocean blue, a dainty lady in blue floating down.
“You have brought back the light.” She announced with a kind smile on her face. “I will grant you the abilities to use my gift. I give you the light, do you accept the responsibility to bring light to the world.” A lump formed in my throat, my hand resting on her glowing palms. Her white hair floated around her, blue roses holding her hair up in a bun. Blue silk flowed over her petite body, soft balls of light hovering over her.
“I promise to do all that you ask.” I answered firmly, a circle of symbols glowing on the top of my hand. She kissed my forehead, and drifted back up the sky. Rainbow birds landed on my shoulder, flying me out of the rubble into a lush green field. Creatures hopped around, birds chirped in the flowering trees. Viktor ran up to me, spinning me around. Lottie ran around the field playing with the fairies, his eyes falling on the new symbol on my hand.
“You met the Lady of the Light?” He questioned with a worried look. “You do know she can take you to the light anytime she wants.” Horror gripped my body, regret washing through me. Then a feeling of pride grew in me, my hands wrapping around his.
“This is the magic that makes my machinery work.” I explained, wrapping my hands around his neck. “I promise to be careful with it. I promise to erase the darkness of Gizmo’s night with my new gift.” Nuzzling my head into his chest, he patted my head.
“I know you will.” He mused, lifting my chin with his finger. “I love you, you crazy girl, and I promise to be by your side.” Two beams of light shot down from the sky, the two kings laughing together. Their clothes and everything was as vibrant as the world around them.
“We must thank you for bringing us into the light, I am King Tusk.” He commented, bowing before me. “I bow down to the new Priestess of the Light. There are many more lands that need you to spread the light. You are welcome anytime you want. Do you want to take my son Boran with you, and Oakley over here? They will prove to be great assets for you.” Bowing to him, I smiled warmly.
“Sure why not.” I uttered as our wagon pulled up next to us. “We will bring them home, I promise.” Everyone waved as our horses trotted forward, our party of three growing to five.