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March 26, 2011 / milesandhisfavorites

Front Lines Chapter Three: I Take Fairy 101

Several hours later, we touched down so lightly, I could barely feel it.  “Well,” Burlida called from the controls.  “You awake?  We’re here!  Welcome to the Rainbow Garden!”  I walked out of the transport and was instantly amazed.  Spreading out for miles in every direction were rolling hills of green.  I could make out small patches of forest in the distance, and between the hills were lush, flower-filled meadows.  I immediately walked towards a meadow.  Burlida followed suit.  “Oh,” she realized.  “Want to see the fairies?”  I was awed.  “You have fairies here?”

“Yep.  Over four thousand different species are known to exist in the world, and three varieties are only known to live in the Rainbow Garden.  Let’s take a look, shall we?”  She led me over to a rose bush the size of a Hummer.  Suddenly, something appeared from right behind a petal.  It looked like a beautiful woman, with glistening black hair and startling green eyes.  She had amber skin that almost shined in the sunlight.  She was only about four inches tall, had cicada wings, and her limbs were long and slender, like they belonged on some sort of insect.  She didn’t have hands or feet, either.  “Is this,” I asked in wonder.  “A real fairy?”  Burlida looked hurt.  “Well, I’m a fairy,” she said, pouting.  “Granted, the Mimi is not a true fairy, but we belong to the same superfamily.  As a basic rule of fairy biology, all fairies shorter than two feet have wings.  All taller don’t, like Mimis and Scottish Imps.  But this… this is an extraordinary specimen.  This specific fairy is known as an Amber Stickfairy.  It also lives in an Asian Garden, but it’s still pretty rare.  Come on, let’s look for more!”

So we dashed to a grove of sunflowers that formed what looked like a primitive hut.  Inside, a group of fairies were dashing about.  They had yellow and black skin, bee wings, and hair that seemed to be woven from gold.  Burlida said that they were native only to the Rainbow Garden, called Common Beehummers.  There was a Nester Beehummer as well, but they were more like yellow jackets and lived on all of the Asian Gardens, not the Rainbow Garden.  Suddenly, I heard a loud slithering noise, like someone was right outside the sunflower hut.

I dashed out, followed by Burlida, who suddenly dropped to her knees and started humming.  In front of us was a giant creature.  It was at least two hundred feet long, and looked like an anaconda, except for his scales.  His scales were every possible color, every shade I could think of, and dozens more that I couldn’t, all in a completely random order.  “Rainbow Serpent,” Burlida yelled.  “I am your humble servant, I hear and obey, I am under your will.”  The Rainbow Serpent hissed and flicked his tongue, and Burlida got up, so I guessed the Rainbow Serpent had been appeased, or whatever.  The serpent then opened his mouth, and began to speak in an accent that sounded Australian, but I couldn’t place it.  “Very well, Burlida, you may get up,” he said.  “And how is our little mortal connection doing?”  I was a tad bit annoyed that he called me little, but this guy must have been a real deity, so I answered in a tone that wasn’t so sarcastic.  “Well, I’ve been interrogated by a guy named Quetz, tossed over the Nashville skyline by a slimy fish-man, and have fallen down a sinkhole.  How do you THINK I’m doing?”

“Touchy, touchy.”

“Geez, Mister Rainbow Serpent, I didn’t know you cared.”

“Sophia Grenfield, you’d be surprised at how much I care, no sarcasm intended.”

“Prove it.”

“Very well, then.  Burlida, take her to her quarters.”

Burlida nodded vigorously, then took my hand, and we started down an old dirt path that led into a forest.  But not before I gave the Rainbow Serpent a quick salute, just in case he had second thoughts about keeping me alive.

After several hours of walking through eucalyptus groves, we finally arrived at a giant stone mansion that could hold several hundred Mimis at the same time.  We walked inside, and I instantly fell in love with the place.  It had glossy, bentwood furniture, and multicolored glass Tiffany lamps on every table.  I heard a purring noise, and something pounced on me from underneath a banquet table.  It looked like a big tomcat, only it’s fur was a light green, and it seemed to be faintly glowing.  Burlida giggled.  “That’s Gip,” she said, trying to hide a smile.  “He’s a Gippsland Phantom Cat.  Hope you don’t mind, it’s just that I can’t be here all the time!”  I laughed along with her.  “That’s okay.  What sort of food does he need?”  Burlida just smiled.  “Phantom Cats don’t necessarily NEED food, but he can get out onto the Garden just fine.  He normally just hunts fairies.”  I was taken aback, but decided to let it be.

I grabbed a yellow leash from a nearby table and put it on Gip.  We walked in the Garden for a while, then returned to the house.  Someone was waiting for me when we got back.  Surprisingly enough, it was a boy.  I mean, a real, human, boy.  He was about my age, maybe a year older.  He was wearing a leather jacket and ripped jeans, both of which were littered with silver zippers and the like.  His hair was coal-black, long and scraggly, with the faintest hint of sideburns.  “Hey,” he said.  “The name’s Jacob.  I’m the new kid on the Garden.”

I had no idea that there was a second “mortal connection” in the care of the Keepers.  “You… you aren’t a monster, are you?”  Jacob chuckled to himself.  “If I were, you’d be dead by now.”  He took out a silver rectangle, about the size of a candy bar, with leather wrapped around part of it.  Jacob flicked his wrist, and suddenly the rectangle was topped by a foot-long dagger blade, twisted and scarred from previous fights.   “See,” he continued.  “By the way, nice Gippsland Phantom Cat.  I’d expect him to be about two.  Probably will outlive you by several millenia.”  I was really taken aback now.  “How… how do you know that?” 

“Family comes from a cryptozoological backround.  And those who aren’t cryptozoologists study mythology.  I’m pretty much an expert.”

“Been through anything before getting here?”

“The family was on a mission in the Congo.  Looking for the Kongomato.  Long story short, I got lost and was attacked by a tribe of Greenmen.”

“Greenwho?”

“Greenmen.  Plant-human monsters.  Then the Mimis found me, explained the whole scenario, and took me to a battle in the Big Apple.”

“You weren’t surprised?”

“Nope.  In the family’s history, we’ve discovered eight new species of primate, including a chimpanzee relative that’s surprisingly human-possibly an explanation for several Asian Bigfoot legends.  As well as that, we’ve discovered two new species of catfish, one of which is about the size of a minivan.”

“Wow.  What exactly happened in the NYC battle?”

“Tribe of Tikbalangs were trashing Wall Street.”

“Tikbalangs?”

“Phillipines horse-men.  They leveled a Dow Jones office before we subdued them.  And even then, you wouldn’t believe how much we had to do to cover it up.”

“I can imagine.”

Just then, a Will-o-the-wisp alarm slid down from the ceiling and started to wail.  Moments later, Burlida rushed in, gasping for breath.  “Oh,” she said, flustered.  “I see you’ve met Jacob, your new roomate.  Now suit up and get to the transport.  We’ve got trouble in the Bloodnick Garden.”  I ran into my room, which looked like something out of a medevial castle, complete with stained-glass windows.  In my closet, I found a set of leather armor, with a short-sleeved chain mail shirt to go on top.  I put it on, grabbed my Mimi staff, and rushed back downstairs.  Outside the house was a Mimi transport.  Burlida was wearing standard military camouflage, which looked rather odd on a paper-thin fairy, but I didn’t argue.

We climbed aboard the transport.  Inside were two wooden benches, mostly occupied by camouflage-clad Mimis carrying their flagpole weapons.  Me and Jacob sat side-by-side, next to two hulking Mimis who I recognized from the Nashville briefing.  Sure enough, Judge Fairy, dressed in medevial armor and carrying a sword as tall as he was, stepped in between the benches.  “Mimis of the military,” he said in a booming voice.  “You are onboard this transport for one reason, and one reason only: to defend the last mythical havens in the world.  Now, the Bloodnick Garden-”  Judge Fairy pulled down an old, yellowed map of the world from the ceiling of the transport.  “Is located near the Romanian border.”  He tapped his sword on Europe, where a small red circle had been drawn near what must have been Romania.

Judge Fairy continued.  “You may notice that your uniforms have reinforced neck guards.”  I checked my armor’s collar.  Sure enough, their was a ring of steel surrounding my jugular vein.  “That is for an obvious reason-the Bloodnick Garden got it’s name for a good reason, and I’m sure you can all figure out what it is.  That’s right-vampires.  Some of the smartest known magical creatures in the world live only, and I really mean only, in the Bloodnick Garden.  It’s a dangerous place, and it is not for CHILDREN.”  He looked at me and Jacob with a sadistic grin.  “Anyway, there has been a security breach.  We are being backed up by two other transports, but that is all.  Good luck men!  Drop!”  Suddenly, there was no floor, and we were plummeting into a forest.

Me and Jacob screamed, and tightly embraced.  Then we looked at each other funny, and let go.  Suddenly, I got an idea.  I shook my staff, and sure enough, the tiny Mimi statues on either end were quickly replaced by golden spear blades.  Two long chains that were attached to the blades sprung out, and flew down to the ground.  The chains suddenly tightened, and me and Jacob, who had grabbed onto the staff as well, were sliding down into the woods.  When we arrived, we took note of our surroundings.  All around us were black-needled evergreen trees, and nothing else.  That’s when Jacob’s eyes went really, really, wide.  “Sophia,” he whispered.  “Whatever you do, do not turn around.”

My mind took off like a rocket.  What was Jacob talking about?  Was it dangerous?  Did it have fangs of any type?  Before my common sense arrived, I turned around, very slowly.  Perched in a tall tree were seven monsters.  Each one was about three feet long, and looked sort of like a garter snake, with leathery black scales.  They also had small, sharp-looking horns jutting out to the sides above their eyes, and, unusual for a snake, had two short lizard legs at the front of their body.  Jacob screamed.  “Lindworms!”  The Lindworms hissed, and lunged for us.

We practically leaped out of our skin, and ran for a lake I could see in the distance.  The Lindworms followed suit, hissing and spitting yellow acid at us, which we narrowly missed.  Finally, we arrived at the shores.  The Lindworm pack froze, and ran into the woods, clearly running from something.  Me and Jacob dove into the murky water, and somehow found ourselves in a large underwater cave.  A single circle of water was in the center of the cave, and various amphibians were clinging to the stalactites and stalagmites.  “Where are-” I began, but Jacob clamped a hand over my mouth.  The pool began to fizzle and bubble, and then suddenly, it exploded.

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