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part eleven.

Part Eleven
“This is really getting rather tiresome.”

He gracefully helps her back to her feet before settling once again onto his throne. She’s too shaken to speak for a moment, but he rather politely gives her a few moments to gather her thoughts and regain her composure. When she next looks up, she catches him watching her with a glean of sympathy in his dark eyes.

“It’s the worst job in the world because no matter how hard you try, you’ll always disappoint and disillusion someone,” he says softly. “Omnipresence doesn’t exist. You’ll never be there for everyone all of the time, and they’ll never forgive you if you leave them for a second. They want you to be there for them always but not intrude; know everything about everything but not delve into their private affairs; and love them always but not expect to be loved in return.”

Her anger momentarily displaced, Aura replies, equally softly: “they don’t realise that gods are ordinary people too, except with a little more magic.”

“We have our own lives; we don’t exist to fix their problems,” Mallos agrees. “But they think we do, and they want us to be perfect all of the time.”

For a moment, as they stare into each other’s eyes – one set deep black, the other sharp blue – there’s a mutual sense of sympathy and understanding. Faced with such responsibility, it’s no wonder that the deities are less perfect than most ordinary people – the stress of having to perform the impossible, day after day, would get to anyone.

Then they break eye contact and the connection is shattered. Remembering the forest, Aura glares at the floor, seething with hatred. Mallos picks idly at his clothes, playing the role of a bored king. It’s he who speaks next, picking up the former conversation as if nothing ever happened.

“You’re very good at all this,” Mallos purrs, “explain the Mallos generation.”


“Spot on.”

“Even if one of the parents is divine, it isn’t normal for babies to be born with that high number of traits, powers and the like,” she says slowly, “it was you. You were trying to make them divine. It was a test to see whether or not Poppy was an anomaly, but it failed. Even with your best efforts you couldn’t produce another child with any form of divinity – so you had to revert back to your original plan, which is where Draco comes in. A love spell?”

“A stroke of luck, I’ll admit,” he shrugs, “It was almost too good to be true: he was male, completely besotted by my charms, selfish and an absolute idiot.”

“I spent a long time wondering why you took the roundabout route and got Draco to lead me to the Shrine, instead of just finding me yourself. There were two reasons; the first was to buy yourself more time in case any of your ‘experiments’ managed, by a miracle, to produce a child with divinity. The second was to turn Shaman on itself. With the aid of Hoof Prince, the rebellion posed an unexpected threat – you needed someone to make the fairies start doubting and fighting amongst themselves. Draco may not be the most intelligent fairy, but he isn’t evil – if you’d told him to kill me he would have refused. Instead, you offered him a reward if he brought me to you, and made him pregnant without his knowledge so that he would be forced to come and find you if he changed his mind when he met me. That’s why you needed a male fairy; a female would be able to just give birth any time, but a male depends on being around a divine fairy. He knew, deep down, what you were – by the time he managed to get his head on straight and think clearly, it was too late; he’d already discovered he was pregnant and he knew that you would show him no mercy unless he completed your mission. When Juniper and Lisette offered to help him, he didn’t know how to turn them down. That must have been a pleasant surprise for you.”

“It was, rather,” he agrees. “Even the newer fairies who didn’t support you would be able to relate to two helpless young women being tortured. To Shaman, it would seem that Draco had committed an unspeakable crime.”

“He was sixteen,” Aura’s voice shakes slightly with emotion, “sixteen years old, and you put him through a horrific ordeal in making him your little scapegoat. To top it all off, you made sure it was his hand which struck me down, so that at least some of the blame and hatred would be shifted to him.”

“He served his use very well – almost the whole of Shaman turned against him, and Twinge’s high opinion of him turned many away from joining with the rebellion. But he turned weak. He couldn’t complete his mission to rape a woman when I told him to, and when I pretended to be you and told him to kill me, he agreed to do it. I would have gotten rid of him once and for all if Poppy hadn’t intervened.”

“You couldn’t afford to upset Poppy – not with her being divine – and she’d have known if you’d tried to use any magic against her, so you had to sit tight and hope that she didn’t get too involved with Draco.” She smiles smugly, “it must have been a gutter when they got married.”

“Poppy has been an anomaly the whole time,” Mallos frowns, “I should have let Gwythr do away with her when she was born. Letting her live was my first big mistake.”

“Of course, you always intended to have me brought back to life – why go through all that trouble of setting things up just to bump me off? Being trapped in the Crystal Hall was doubtless never part of your intentions, but at the end of the day it didn’t matter, because you’d already set things up ready for my revival by collecting the ingredients and ensuring that there was at least one other divine being in Shaman. You also knew that once I was back, I would be unable to resist Poppy and would be forced to tell her that I was her mother. You wanted to unite us. You deliberately left a long time between releasing each curse so that we would have plenty of time to prepare for your coming; you wanted Poppy to transfer her divinity to me, where I would be able to control it fully because I am an Original, in order to supposedly protect Shaman better. Once again, however, Poppy behaved contrary to your expectations, and our little discussion actually turned her against me.

“Presumably, you must have had some kind of plan for subduing me had I actually obtained Poppy’s divinity, since even you are not so arrogant to believe that I could still love you after everything you’ve done.”

“Two on one,” Mallos shrugs, “I have Lauma to aid me. You only have yourself. It may take us a little time, but eventually we’d overpower you.”

“That’s why you needed a familiar – specifically, a pack animal familiar,” Aura rubs her eyes. “I always wondered. Of course, you transformed Lauma into a lioness while she was still young enough to actually become the animal, psychologically speaking, so provided you were always dominant over her she would always be loyal to you. There would be a temporary lapse of loyalty while you were stuck in prison, but if you were the strongest fairy in Shaman when you emerged, she would snap straight back to your side. Another life you destroyed in the pursuit of your selfish goals.

“So you have me; you have the world of Shaman; you have your own army with which to control it and you have a divine familiar who is completely loyal to you. I suppose the next thing you would have done would be to take out anyone who was still a threat or on whom you wanted revenge – Poppy, Draco, Adonis and Twinge being the prime people, I should imagine. You put one of your own supporters on the throne to take care of running Shaman temporarily, and then you turn your attention to the one thing it was all for.”

“I’m sorry,” he says softly, and she can actually see a touch of sincerity in his dark eyes. “I’m sorry you had to die for it to work. If that idiot Gwythr hadn’t bowed to public pressure, it would never have needed to happen.”

“I know.” Her voice is equally quiet, and her vivid blue eyes seem to have lost some of their intensity. “Because I was infertile. You tried to throw both me and Draco off scent by raping me and pretending to discover it loudly, but you always knew. It was always your plan to kill me, so that when you brought me back to life, I would be fertile again. It was your plan to have Poppy pass her divinity onto me so that the chance of our children inheriting would be one in five, rather than one in ten – but it doesn’t matter that she didn’t, because as long as you’re divine and we’re both Original fairies, the chance is still there.”

“A new race, don’t you see that?” He unfolds his arms, takes a step forward and seizes her by the shoulders, simultaneously reducing his height to match hers. “The master race. The Originals are dying out, Aura – there are probably ten of us left at the most. Ten! That’s less than half the number we started with. And while we’re fading away, the rest of fairykind are breeding like rabbits. Eventually numbers will overrun even magic. Gwythr is stupid for upholding the ban on Originals reproducing – if we don’t reproduce, we could die out.”

“That isn’t what this is about,” Aura clenches her teeth and stares him hard in the eye, “this isn’t about saving a dying race. This is about creating an army; you want to make divines – pure divines, made of pure stardust – the dominant fairy species and either exterminate or enslave everyone else.”

“They are impure!” He spins her round to stare out the front of the Shrine. “Contaminated! Look at them, Aura; they are our inferior. It’s time we took our rightful place in their rule and guide them along the correct path. Without us, they’re lost – they cannot hope to govern themselves, they’re too stupid and indecisive. They need us to rule them. They need the master race – the pure race – and you and I together, in this little world, have the means to provide them with that. When the other Originals see our success, the ban will be lifted and they will continue our work on Earth. With the master race they can rid the Earth of those tiresome humans and improve life for all fairies.”

“If you intend to carry out this insane scheme, I will block you at every turn.”

Mallos’ face hardens. He makes a move towards her just as a piercing shriek fills the air. The two deities clap their hands over their ears – several rocks fall down – the ground beneath them starts to shake – and, in the confusion, Aura’s feet are whipped out from underneath her, this time by something solid.

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

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