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Fairyspells: 3rd Chapter

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Chapter 3! Read Chapter 2 here if you missed it. Thanks for reading – I’d love to hear what you think of the story so far!



Fairyspells (The Pizza Shop Chronicles #3)

Chapter 3: Alastair


Leaving the kitchen, I found Jodath—my bald-headed, ex-pizza chef advisor—and we both went to find Wiclon pacing in my study.

“Carrot?” I offered, resuming my usual seat on top of the desk and biting into the apple.

“No, not hungry,” the fairy said.

“How about telling us what got you so worked up then,” Jodath said, taking the carrot and planting himself in the chair behind my desk.

Wiclon sighed, running his hands through his hair—the same gesture I was used to seeing when he couldn’t figure out a line of his latest poem. He paced back and forth a few times before going to the window like he wanted to jump out.

“Prince Iliuden has returned!” he blurted, turning around and throwing his hands up melodramatically. “And he claims the fairy throne.” Wiclon then sank down into the chair by the door. “He even has the Bërulynth Star to prove his identity.”

Both Jodath and I paused, apple and carrot inches from out mouths.

“But… that’s impossible…” Jodath said slowly, lowering the carrot as one might be forced to lower a dagger. The action strengthened his resolve. “No one has seen or heard from Iliuden since El gave him the Bërulynth Star. It’s been—“

“Thirty years. I know!” Wiclon said. “That was our prime argument to get Alastair on the throne. The eldest fairy princes were killed with the king and the princess, leaving only her son alive—since the other brother clearly wasn’t coming back! They should’ve made him sign a waiver or something if you ask me—all right towards the throne are forfeit and all that if said party doesn’t come back within a reasonable amount of time.”

“They expected Yulin to inherit,” I said quietly, staring off into space. “No one was prepared for a goblin horde to slaughter the whole family.”

“No one was prepared for you either,” Wiclon said. “Most of them still resent an elf on the fairy throne. That’s where our real trouble lies. We’ve kept Iliuden’s return as secret as possible, but if word gets out, I’m afraid more than two hundred fairy lords are comfortable with blaming the goblins on you again—grounds enough for a violent removal from the throne and possible war depending on Iliuden’s actions. And I don’t trust him.”

“Though either way, I have already been removed by his return. There’s nothing to be done.” I took a bite out of my apple, chewing slowly. It was an unfortunately soft apple, but pleasantly sweet with a mellow, autumny flavor. Just right for this season and not for any other.

“But you can’t just give up like that,” Wiclon said imploringly. “You’ve been king for what—eight years now? The best king we’ve ever had and you’re just going to step down?”

“What else can I do? I don’t mind ruling, but I only took the job because I had to in the first place.”

“Maybe Iliuden would be willing to step down,” Jodath suggested.

“I’m afraid not,” Wiclon said. “He’s almost as pig-headed as his father. And he demands to speak to Alastair within a fortnight—or he’ll announce his return to the fairies. That could only lead to civil war at this point.”

“Well, you can tell him I’m quite willing to speak to him. He can come whenever he likes.”

“Uh, that’s the other thing.” Wiclon grimaced. “He insistes that, as a matter of ettiquette, the younger king comes to meet the elder.”

“Alastair’s been king longer,” Jodath said. “Nine years for the elves, eight for the fairies.”

Wiclon sighed. “And Iliuden is one-hundred-ninty-seven. According to him, that’s senior no matter how long Alastair’s been king.”

“It certainly is,” Jodath snorted. “Too senior to be taking a throne that’s already in capable hands.”

Wiclon glared at him. “I’m nearly two hundred myself. Not exactly dottering.”

Jodath laughed. “I know. Eighty-five this year and I’m still a child even by fairy standards. But thirty years in the human world ages you fast—if coffee doesn’t keep Syldar young, he’s probably using a cane by now and lost all his hair.”

I shook my head, not liking to think of Great-Uncle Syldar—a high school principal in Kentucky—with wrinkles like a human, or bald like Jodath. He’d been so youthful last time I saw him, even at seventy-something-or-other. Besides, the topic of my estranged uncle Iliuden taking the fairy throne seemed slightly more important. “Are you sure we can’t get him to come here?” I asked.

“Syldar?” Jodath asked. “He told us last time he had a home there and wanted to stay.”

“I meant Iliuden.” Though I liked the idea of Syldar coming back very much. “The baby’s christening is in a week, and I have to be here for that. I can’t meet Iliuden before then unless he comes here.”

“I suppose we could send a message and try to explain things better,” Wiclon said. “But it would take nearly a week to get there—and the fortnight would be over by the time we got his answer.”

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could just text him?” Jodath chimed in sarcastically.

“L-O-L,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Good idea for emergencies, but I don’t care for that technology.” Nor movies, nor blenders, vacuum cleaners, nor anything else electronic that Uncle Chris’s cousin Julie had tried to get me interested in—electricity and elves would always be enemies as far as I could see. We didn’t even show up correctly on camera—just a weird blur.

Wiclon shook his head, not understanding the reference. Most everyone in this world didn’t. “All I know is that you have to talk to him, he refused to come here last time we suggested it, and he’ll only wait until the quarter moon before openly challenging you.”

“Couldn’t we just get rid of him?” Jodath asked, snapping a bite of his carrot. “I mean, who all even knows he’s here?”

“Me, Radgar, Ornith, and a few guards and servants,” was the answer. Wiclon frowned. “None of them are on Iliuden’s side that I know, but I don’t think Ornith and Radgar would approve of getting rid of him. Besides, short of killing him, I don’t think we could—like I said, he takes after his father.”

“Well, I take after mine,” I said. “And Iliuden was friends with my father. We should get along fine as kings. But I still can’t leave here until after the christening.” My apple was reduced to a core now and the meeting hadn’t gotten anywhere besides stealing away my perfect morning.

Certainly, I would meet Iliuden as soon as I could. That much I was obligated to do, but I was also obligated to be here for my family.

The first thing I did was have another apple. Then I sent a messenger to the fairy castle with an invitation to the christening and an apology for not being able to meet my uncle as soon as he wanted—even though I wasn’t really sorry.

Looking back, I’m still not sorry.

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