Fable Page 31

“Remember what I said about technology not working on the Fae world? Man-made things can’t transfer over there. We don’t know why—it just can’t. It’s a rule, a law of some sort that can’t be changed. And just like that rule, another one always seems to surface in regards to stories.”

She waved her hand over the sheet music, and the notes and lines began to merge and dance across the white paper. She began to play the piano, and the lines and notes formed a story. The more she played, the more the picture continued.

“With every tale throughout time, there are rules. A hero is given an impossible task.” A knight appeared made of the notes on the white paper, sword in hand, bowing before a king. Then the drawing changed into the knight traveling through a dangerous forest alone.

“One that he is sure to fail, but along the way help comes from the most unexpected source.” The knight helped three creatures, and they offered him a boon. “When the hero reaches an insurmountable obstacle, he forgets that he has allies who will come to help him. One by one the creatures in the story help the knight overcome his obstacles and traps, and he reaches his goal. And wins the princess’s hand in marriage.” She stopped playing, and the moving pictures turned back into plain sheet music. “Mina, we are not your only allies, and the Story, as you very well know, is not your only adversary. If the quests were easy, then the curse would have been broken long ago.”

“But how do I know that this is even a quest?”

“Because it’s the loophole of all Fae tales. Whenever you, the hero, get stuck, something or someone will magically aid you on your quest. That you can be sure to count on. The ending of the tale is still very much in your hands, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you already have the answer and you just don’t know it. Don’t forget that the Fae prince is very much a servant of the Fae book. So they all have rules to follow.”

Mina sighed in frustration. “So you’re saying a furry woodland creature is going to come and help me?”

“Mina, all Fae are attracted to you. Help will come to you if it hasn’t already.”

She was about to tell her teacher about the mysterious phoenix feather gifted to her when the second bell rang. Mina looked up to see the next class filing in and pulling out music stands and opening violin cases. Constance’s next class had arrived.

“Oh, I, uh. I’m late,” Mina said sheepishly.

Constance pulled out a pink pad of paper and quickly wrote an excused tardy on her note, and handed it to Mina. “As much as I loved having you drop in today, try not to make a habit of skipping classes. Your education is extremely important.”

“As important as my other job,” Mina hinted.

Constance frowned. “No…yes. Oh, that’s not the point. Get going.”

Mina left and headed to her next class, which was gym. Oh, why couldn’t she have skipped this period instead? Then again, it would have been a lot harder to pretend to play a stringed instrument than it was to slink into choir class. Since she had the pass, she took her sweet time heading to the gym, but came to a sudden halt when she turned the corner and saw him standing, staring at the school’s trophy case. It was Temple.

His back was stiff. He wore a long gray suit jacket trimmed with gold buttons, and gray lambskin gloves.

“A lot of trophies. Too bad they’re just pieces of plastic. Not worth anything. Unlike my prized collection.” He turned to look at her and squinted his eyes in study. “You’ve been straying from your goal, and I’ve become impatient.”

Mina spoke evenly. “They say that patience is a virtue.”

“So is self-control, and I feel that mine may be slipping where your brother is concerned.” He opened his coat and pulled out a small glass globe. He held it out in front of her, and she could see Charlie inside a gold cage, just like her dream. “I have heard some disturbing news. It seems my youngest brother has disappeared. You wouldn’t have anything to do with that, would you?”

“Maybe he went on a spur-of-the-moment vacation.”

“Maybe I have decided to change my mind about what I want. If you can’t get the Fable, the Fae-plane book, then I want the Grimoire.”

“No, you can’t have it!”

“No one tells me what I can and cannot have,” he hissed, and raised his fist and smashed it through the trophy case. The glass shattered and rained to the ground in pieces. He shook his hand and put it back down by his side. He had lost control and was on the verge of trying to regain it. Temple closed his eyes, and smoothed his vest and jacket back into place. “Be glad that I’m gracious enough to spare yours until our bargain is done. You have until tomorrow at midnight to give me one of the books, or your brother will die and you will take his place in my gilded cage. Don’t disappoint me again.”

He turned and strolled down the hall, his boots making a hollow clicking noise. Mina stared at the shattered trophy case and Temple’s retreating figure, and felt her heart race. She needed to leave before someone came to investigate the disturbance. But something on the ground caught her eye; she stooped down and picked up something he had missed: a shard of gold-tinted glass with a single drop of Temple’s blood on it. He must have unknowingly cut himself on the shard of glass, turning it gold.

A door opened, and she could hear the sound of feet quickly approaching. Mina slipped the shard into her jacket pocket and ducked around the corner just before Principal Hame appeared and yelled, “What in the blazes happened to the trophy case?”

Chapter 18

She was out of options and desperate. Mina sneaked off to her locker and began to work on the combination. Of course, since she was in a hurry, her fingers wouldn’t cooperate with her, and it took her three tries to get the correct combination before she heard the audible click and the locker opened. It was just around the corner from the trophy case, and she knew if she didn’t get moving she would get in big trouble for skipping class. And she didn’t think that saving the world from Fae was an acceptable excuse. In fact, she would probably end up in the school counselor’s office if she tried that excuse.

The commotion was getting louder as more teachers came to investigate Principal Hame’s verbal tirade against delinquents that destroy school property. And how he would find them and they would be expelled.

Come on, she mentally berated herself, and desperately dug around in her backpack for it. Her fingers brushed something warm, and she snatched it out of her bag and slammed her locker door a little too loud.

“Did you hear that? It’s probably our delinquent now.” His voice got louder, and Mina could hear his footsteps drawing closer to her.

She clutched the golden phoenix feather close to her breast and tried the doorknob to the nearest classroom. Luckily, it was unlocked and currently devoid of students. It took her a moment to adjust to where she was because all of the shades had been closed against the heat of the sun. She moved forward away from the door and bumped into the familiar lab table. It was the biology lab. This room always gave her the willies, as she couldn’t help but remember what had happened the last time she was in this room. The creepy specimens in the lab’s glass cases had come alive. She moved to the corner of the room and crouched down behind a tall file cabinet. Would they look in the darkened classroom?

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