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part nine.

Part Nine
“It’s terribly rude of you to just leave like that,” Mallos purrs. “Really. I expected better.”

She’s back in the Shrine – it must be Mallos who zapped her back here, since it’s doubtful that Penguin’s magic would work now that he’s no longer desperate for aid. In the time that she’s been gone, Mallos has managed to carve a throne out of the big rock he’d been sitting on earlier, and is now lounging on it. Aura’s surprised that he hasn’t also magicked himself up a crown, but then again, he doesn’t need the extra adornment – he looks so casually handsome that she feels her heart rate pick up a notch, despite the anger and hatred pulsing through her veins. To see her daughter in such a state, and to be confronted with the man responsible... it’s all she can do not to attack him with her bare hands. He knows it, too. There’s a little smile playing at the corner of his lips, and he’s watching her with a smug expression that dares her to do anything.

No. Violence is not the way. If she’s going to get out of here with the best chance of her own and Shaman’s survival, she’s going to have to play his game, his way.

Perhaps this reluctant conclusion shows on her face, because Mallos scratches his chin and enquires calmly, “I believe, before you so rudely vanished, that you were just about to tell me my grand master plan.”

What a piece of work.

“It began over a thousand years ago. You had your sights set on Shaman before it was even created.” She begins slowly, “you needed a female Original. One of lesser intelligence would be better, but you were arrogant so you went after the only one with any prestige: the First Fairy and the Chair of the Council of Originals1. For your plan to work, I had to fall in love with you – deeply, madly in love, beyond my rational senses. Charming me wasn’t enough, so you set into motion a series of events designed to drive me into your arms.

“The Star Chamber2 is watertight in its rules and regulations – for your plan to have any hope of success you needed an accomplice who could make sure that the Star Chamber would convict me of a crime I hadn’t committed and give me a punishment which you suggested. It didn’t take much to persuade Gwythr, the High Judge of the Star Chamber; you convinced him that you were in love with me and that his reward for helping you would be that would, in theory, become the next Chair of the Council. Between the two of you, you concocted and carried out the plan to use my DNA to impregnate a male fairy. You held him in secret for two years before you, Mallos, supposedly discovered and rescued the man, and brought him to the Star Chamber. You were the hero of the day by helping the man to give birth, and then you slipped him a poison to stop him from talking. Gwythr made sure that nobody looked into it too far and that the reason for the man’s death was put down to childbirth. From there it was easy; Gwythr checked the DNA of the child and confirmed it was mine, and I was sentenced before the Star Chamber to a punishment you had proposed: demotion from my position as Chair of the Council. However, you hadn’t realised how much public interest the case would provoke, and your plan backfired when Gwythr was forced to sterilise me with ancient magic at the demands of the jury.

“Then you were hit with another shock. By a one in a million chance, the child inherited divinity. This frightened Gwythr and he tried to do away with her, but you threatened to expose him and his corruption if he did. You tried to persuade him to let you take her in, but he refused and had the child locked up. When you found out that the little girl couldn’t control her divinity because only one of her parents was an Original, it confirmed to you what you needed to do.

“After that, it was a waiting game. You stayed in the shadows, waiting for me to become so enveloped in loneliness by my new status as a social outcast that I would turn to you. When I created Shaman, it was an unexpected bonus – we would have a world to ourselves where Gwythr and the other Originals could not bother us until it was too late. You let Shaman develop for a little while before making your grand entrance – and the biggest mistake I have ever seen any fairy make in my entire life.”

Mallos shifts slightly, and Aura smiles grimly. “In your arrogance, you believed that I was so desperate to see you that you didn’t bother checking the border for perimeters. The magic I put in place around Shaman wiped you of your divinity and reduced you to the status of a level one fairy. Your dream was almost destroyed then and there, but you came up with an ingenious scheme which would save it. First, you needed my divinity.

“It wasn’t hard to make me love you. I’d been alone for too long, and Caspian’s death shook me. You threw me a lifeline when I felt like I was sinking, and you used it to trick me out of my divinity. For your plan to have the best chances of success you needed us both to have divinity. The night before you would stole my magic, you went back to Earth and altered the locks on Poppy’s prison so that she would be able to escape. Then you returned here, took my magic, took my familiar away so that I would be alone once more and cast me out.

“Twinge was a stroke of genius.” Mallos inclines his head in acknowledgement of this compliment, and she continues. “No one would ever figure it out, and to everyone it would seem as if you had made a mistake, when in actuality you knew exactly what you were doing all along. You brought Twinge back for the purpose of her forming the rebellion, and then made little threats to people who allied with her or Adonis to make people believe that you hated what they were doing. The purpose of the rebellion was to make Shaman believe it didn’t need me – while they thought they were uniting against you, in actuality they were uniting against me. It was a win-win situation, because even if I got my senses back and helped to rally the rebellion, I was no threat to you without divinity and I would be doomed to fail, thus showing Shaman that I was a weak leader and that it didn’t need me. If it weren’t for the rip, and the members of Shaman uniting with the deities of Hoof Prince, you would probably have succeeded in that venture. The rip itself served many purposes; it allowed you to create the time paradox so you could go back and help yourself obtain my divinity and it gave Shaman another enemy to distract them... but you underestimated the people of Shaman and the horses of Hoof Prince when you believed that they wouldn’t be able to set aside their differences and unite together.”

Mallos leans forward keenly, as if about to question her or point out a flaw in her reasoning – just as her feet whip up from under her. Caught by surprise, Aura is unable to grab hold of something before an invisible current of air tugs her out of the cave and across Shaman.

1 The Council of Originals: formed in Ancient times and watched over by the Chair, the Council meets every hundred years or so on Earth to discuss the issues faced by fairykind and to write the laws of magic. It consists of all the Original fairies.
2The Star Chamber: a special court which tries members of the Council for crimes. It is presided over by the High Judge, who arguably has more power than the Chair of the Council.

    • day two -
      • part five -
      • part six. -
      • part seven. -
      • part eight. -
    • day one -
      • part one. -
      • part two. -
      • part three. -
      • part four. -

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