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Author Topic: Invasion from the 8th Realm: a story of fairies, witches, elves, and others....  (Read 11475 times)

Offline Sparky

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So, if you remember my "Serena" story, Serena is a teenage witch, featured in a prophecy. Her life should be pretty straight-forward: unite the covens of England, defeat some undefined evil, and become queen. And, unsurprisingly, along the way, Serena got to meet the fairies, or more specifically, one special fairy, Elida (who has had HER own story!)

This story will be a follow-on from those two stories, the story of how Serena, with help from a lot of others, will defeat the undefined evil threat.

I'm going to write this story a bit differently from other stories I've done: instead of being one long story, it will be slightly smaller bits of story, linked together with a much simpler descriptive narrative (which means the story might (a) actually get written; (b) and written before Easter!)

So, when we last saw Serena, she had met her final companion, Harper, and along with Sarah and Samantha, had managed to discover the huge set of weapons that had been made for them, and got them upgraded. And when we last saw Elida, she had managed to get herself and Sparkle out of their time-loop by inventing fairy teleportation, discovered that she was a very important fairy, discovered that she, Lilly and Tats were destined to take over running FI5, and she had managed to work out how to remove Sparkle's and Lilly's braces.

The new story will start several months on: Lilly, Tats and Elida have been running things at FI5 for about 6 months now.... and Sebby is doing part-time tooth fairy work, and she is thoroughly enjoying it, alongside her working on the history of the old fairy castle, as well as occasionally helping Elida, because she is a great researcher.

We'll catch up with Serena a bit later on.

Offline Sparky

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Being a crossover story, there's a lot of different characters throughout the story, so I thought it might be useful to keep a list: I'll try to remember update the list when I add new characters.

I'll also include a sort of glossary, to explain other bits too..

So, let's start with characters from Elida's story:

Elida - 'protector' fairy, very powerful. Runs FI5 with Lilly and Tats. A tooth fairy by trade. Unable to do 'naughty' magic. Probably still just in her teens.
Poppy - a second protector fairy
Lilly - the hero from the "Dark Fairy" story. Runs FI5. She's was the "Work Experience Girl" in the earlier fairy stories, and is actually the daughter of Sparkle etc's boss. Not actually THAT much older than Elida
Tats - a low-level princess, is a "Buildings, Castles and Palace" Fairy. Runs FI5. Similar age to Lilly.
Zia - Also a protector fairy, used to run FI5 with Sir Donald and Lady Caroline, all now retired.
Sparkle - A tooth fairy, good friends of Elida and Magic. She & Elida got caught in the "Time Loop".
Sebby - A teen fairy (and princess) from 100 years ago, aka "The Dark Fairy", but now a tooth fairy, and trying hard to understand the modern world. Great researcher.
Puck - Elida's boyfriend, works in the FI5 research & development labs.
Michael - Elida's 'handler', works at FI5. Very trustworthy, used to work with Lilly & Tats.
Annabelle - A bit of a 'kick-ass' fairy. Helping Elida / Poppy with their physical training


FI5 - the organisation that 'runs' the fairy realm, based in concept on MI5.
FAS - "Fairy Air Service": group of elite fighting fairies, modeled on SAS.
The Dark Archive - a highly restricted library, contains very old books, and books of dark magic. Elida can access it via a 'portal' in her FI5 office.
The Royal Archive - another archive, under the Royal Palace


And now people and things from Serena's story:

Serena Muffin- very powerful witch, only known witch in recent time to NOT pledge to the light, instead pledging to the 'Light Grey'. Has a mouthful of extreme braces, made of a magical metal, that protects her when she does dark magic. At the start of the story, she's still only 18.
Wanda - Serena's talking wand, gives Serena a lot of good advice.
Sarah Davis -  Serena's teacher and mentor. Her wand is Ethel.
Harper Collins - the last of 'the four' to be discovered, world class gymnast. Her wand is Yin and Yan. In her early 20s
Samantha - a powerful healing witch, and good friend of Serena's. Her wand is Madge. Same sort of age as Serena.
Aodh, Berach, Ciara and Deirbhile - four capable witches from Southern Ireland, their prophecy states they will help Serena and the others in their fight.

Coven of the Light - Serena's and Sarah's coven
Pinetree Coven - responsible for Serena's braces, and their cache of weapons
Coven of Love and Tranquillity - Samantha's coven
Coven of the Unseen Moon - used to keep themselves to themselves, but had some very important information hidden away for the 'team of four'.
Lakes Coven - Harper's coven


SAS:
Captain John Hughes - SAS
Major Tom - SAS
Chiefs of Staff Committee:[\i]
Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, Major General Disorder (a witch)



Offline Sparky

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Chapter 1

"Hi there, Michael!"

"Oh, hello, Elida! Nice to see you... not seen you much since... well, since Lilly and Tats moved out to their new offices." Michael knew Elida not as who she realy was - in other words, a powerful protector fairy, who helped to run FI5 - but more as a younger fairy who happened to be friends with Lilly and Tats, mainly as a result of her work on the 'Dark Fairy' case last year' He saw her as a cheerful fairy doing some sort of 'special training' with FI5.

"Yeah, actually, that raises a quick question: since Lilly and Tats have taken over from Sir Donald and Lady Charlotte, how's everyone feeling... how are you feeling about the way things are being run now?"

"I think most of us are fine with things. Yeah, there's been some changes, mostly for the good I think. One thing that helped was Lilly and Tats actually explaining what they were doing and why, made us feel we were still part of things."

"Oh, right, better than I had feared then. Hey, you in the middle of anything important right now?"

"No, nothing that won't take more than ten seconds to save...."

"Ok, in that case, can you do that, then I was hoping you would come with me, should only take ten minutes.

A minute later they had gone up a floor, and were walking along the corridor. "Umm, where we going, this is the managemant area..."

"That's right, we're popping in to see Lilly. Not a problem I hope?"

"No... just wondering what's going on, that's all."

"Don't worry, nothing bad. Here we are. Without knocking, Elida opened the door, and took Michael inside.

"Hey, Michael, nice to see you. Here, take a seat, Elida needs to have a word with you."

"Oh? I thought it would be you wanting a word. Go on then, Elida." said Michael as he sat down.

"Ok, so the reason for bringing you here to say what I'm about to say, is that if I had taken you somewhere else, you'd probably not have believed me. Having Lilly here should add some credibility. First of all, what you are about to hear is NOT for general consumption, please keep it confidential. And especially NOT for outside ears. When you hear what I'm about to say, I think you'll understand. You ok with that?"

"Yeah sure, pretty much SOP.."

"Ok, then let me dive in at the deep end. As far as you're concerned, FI5 is run by Lilly and Tats, yeah?"

"Well, yeah, everyone knows that..."

"Except it's not actually true, there's three of us, Lilly, Tats and me." Michael looked at Lilly.

"Oh, you can believe everything that Elida is telling you," confirmed Lilly

"Maybe I should have started by explaining exactly who - or what - I am. I am a 'Protector Fairy', which means two basic things: first of all, my job is to protect humans and fairies from any fairy who 'crosses the line between good and bad'. To do that, my magic abilities exceed those of every other fairy I know... well except for Zia that is, she's a 'protector' as well. The second thing is that it means I can't do any 'bad magic' myself. I've tried, and it just doesn't work."

"So, when you say 'bad, you mean fairies like Sebby. When she was 'the dark fairy' I mean."

"Yeah, that's right. Whilst it was Lilly and Tats who actually 'took down' Sebby, Zia was waiting outside, along with an FAS team, to take over if things hadn't gone right."

"You mean you're more powerful than Lilly?". Lilly was quite ok with Michael's familiarity, as they actually used to work together.

"Well, apart from the incident down the 'Golden Cup', we've never actually tested it, but as long as Lilly believes I am, then things will be ok!". Lilly and Elida both smiled. This was a conversation the two of them had had over drinks several times, but neither of them actually wanted to put things to the test, so Lilly agreed to accept that Elida was probably quite able to put her in her place, if need be.

"Ok, I can see why you need to keep this quiet, by why ARE you telling me?"

"I have a new job for you."

"A new job? You mean instead of what I'm doing?"

"No, it's going to be more an 'as and when' sort of job, so you'll keep doing some of what you're doing now - which will be good cover for you too. I need someone to do some digging for me, as well as act as my 'handler'." Michael had a confused look on his face. "First of all, I need to do my job as a Protector, so I'd like you to try and be aware as possible of any fairies 'overstepping the line', and let me know instantly. Then I can get there and sort things out."

"How you planning on doing that? I mean, by the time you've flown there, things will probably be all over. Unless you've somehow worked out how to teleport, that is..." Michael thought he was being clever, because - as far as he knew - noone could actually teleport. Of course we know different.

"I CAN actually teleport!" replied Elida.

Michael's jaw dropped. He looked over at Lilly. "She's kidding, right?"

"Nope. I told you, you can believe everything that Elida tells you. Takes 15 concurrent spells to teleport, so she tells me."

"So you can.... and do 15.... wow!" said Michael, very impressed.

"I'll give you a demo sometime. The only limitation, which I'm still working on, is I can't yet teleport within our magic-proteced buildings. So, yeah, once you tell me there's an issue, I can potentially be on site within seconds. And while I'm doing it, I'll need you as my 'voice in my ear', feeding me relevant information. Interested?"

"Yeah, sounds like it could be... I was about to say 'fun', but you know what I mean."

"Ok. So the other part of the job would be similar. I'm on the lookout for fairies - boys or girls - who are.... hmm, how do I describe this to you? Fairies who are very capable, but not in the traditional sense. So, I'm not looking simply for high achievers, who do well at school. No, they will go on and do well at university. I'm looking for the fairy that's maybe bored at school and disrupts classes, simply because they are bored: they are good at magic, and they already know what the teachers are trying to teach them. Fairies that maybe go out and annoy people and fairies, again because they're bored. Making sense?"

"Yeah, I think so. But how do I find them?"

"I hear you're pretty good at digging out information, so just get digging. Still interested in helping me?"

"Yeah, I think so! Sounds like it will be a bit of a challenge..."

"And do you like challenges?"

"Yes, I do..."

"Great. Ok, so I guess you'll need to work out any extra kit that you'll need. Maybe need to give you a 'quiet place' you can go to when you're 'on active duty'... actually, no reason you couldn't just use my office when you need to.."

"You have an office here?"

"Yeh, of course. I'll show you. I could do with a better earpiece, I'll have a word with Puck. Not sure if we should just use the phone, or use a dedicated radio system... leave that one with me, I know the dev team has some nice stuff, we used some of it when we were chasing the Dark Fairy.... "

"When do I start?"

"Is now soon enough? Come on, I'll show you my office."

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 2

Elida was in her 'normal' (tooth fairy) office, having a quick chat with Sparkle: since the 'Time Loop incident' they had become really good friends. Her phone rang. "Sorry Sparkle, it's Michael, I'd better take it". Sparkle knew all about Elida's work at FI5, and about Michael: she was on the small list of fairies who actually knew what she was, and what she was capable of.

"Yes Michael?"

"I think we have an incident that could do with your 'skills'!" he explained.

"Ok, get yourself into my office, and give me a minute to grab my coat and get outside." As she ran off, she left the call with Michael open, but put the phone into her pocket, and took her earpiece out, slipping it into her ear. "Can you still hear me ok?" she asked.

"Loud and clear, and I'm already in your office."

"Oh, nicely done! So where am I going then?"

"To the quaint town of 'Dingly Dell' apparently."

"I've heard of it, but not quite sure where it is... let me take a look as I go outside". Elida conjoured up her tablet(*), brought up the 'fairy maps' app, and voice-searched for Dingly Dell. "Ah, right, ok. Any idea where specifically?"

"Not 100% sure yet, let me see what I can find."

"Ok, I'll head to the town centre, see what I can feel: I can often 'feel' when something untoward is going on... ok, phone might go off for a moment while I teleport...". Elida was now outside, so she flew up into the air: she had worked out that teleporting whilst in the air made the 'landing' a lot simpler, not needing to be quite as exact in tems of 'height above ground'. She took a breath, and said the sequence of 17 spells to let her teleport. (yes, it's 15 to actually teleport, the other two are to probe ahead and check she's not about to appear in a building. Or a bird. "Right I'm here, pretty much over the middle of the town...."

"Head to the North East..."

"Ok...". Elida turned and started to fly to the North East, at the same time trying to 'feel' for any bad magic going on. "I think I'm sensing something....". It didn't take long for her to find where things were happening, and it didn't need any special magical skills... she could hear an angry fairy shouting out: "I'm SO fed up of kids like you, take take take, never thinking about anyone else! Well take THIS then....". The scene was actually quite amusing: in a quiet corner of the park was a tallish and beefy-looking young teen, he looked like the sort that caused trouble wherever he went, and he was currently being beaten up by a much smaller (as in 6 inches tall smaller), but very angry - and invisible to him of course - fairy!

"I got her... don't suppose you have a name do you?"

"Half a second.... I think it's Annabelle."

"Thanks" replied Elida. "Ok, Annabelle, that's enough!" she called out to Annabelle.

"No it's not, he's a right pain in the butt, and deserves every bit of this!" She landed another strong kick, this time between the kid's legs. Elida winced, and she guessed the kid probably did too.

"I said STOP, Annabelle - I assume that's your name," shouted Elida, who then threw a spell at Annabelle, that knocked her backwards, and away from the kid. "you've definitely gone too far, so STOP!"

"And who the f*** are YOU to tell me to stop?"

"Possibly your worst nightmare, if you don't back down!"

"Oh, sod that..." she said. It was clear that she had managed to make herself very angry with this kid. She and got back up, and started to go back towards the kid. Once again, Elida threw a spell at Annabelle, but she retaliated.

"I think I've got a feisty one here..." said Elida to the voice in her ear.

"Yeah, notes here seem to indicate that she has a bit of a reputation for getting angry."

Elida and Annabelle got closer to each other, and Annabelle tried to land one onto Elida. Of course, this was exactly the sort of thing Elida had been doing training for. It was an interesting sight: little Elida, not a particularly tall fairy, dressed in teen clothes, and Annabelle, noticeably taller and 'beefier'. Of course, we know what Elida is actually capable of... 'good things come in small packages' and that sort of thing...

"Oh, come on, Annabelle, that's pathetic!" said Elida, making her spin backwards, head over heels. Annabelle quickly recovered, and ran at Elida, throwing a spell that made Elida's feet catch fire - which she was NOT expecting. Elida quickly put out the flames, and threw Annabelle up in the air. She recovered well, and popping out her wings, she started to 'dive bomb' on Elida, fist out in front of her.

Elida avoided the blow, and pushed her away. Once more, she came at Elida, trying to punch her in the face. Again, Elida avided her blows, and managed to grab Annabelle's wrists, and pulled them together. With a quick nod, Elida cast a spell, causing a pair of pink fluffy handcuffs to appear on Annabelle's wrists. The handcuffs connected to a delicate yet strong small chain, the other end of which was connected to a very much more comfortable pink strap on Elida's wrist.

In retaliation, Annabelle tried to cast a spell to do something to Elida, but nothing happened.

"What the F***?"

"Magic dampening handcuffs - they're based on the rather more spectacular 'magic dampening chains and manacles' spell, but a bit more discrete don't you think? And a bit more comfortable on the wrists too. Come on, let's have a timeout, fly with me up into that tree, and we can chat!" said Elida in such a way that it wasn't so much a request as a command. After a bit of persuasion, Elida got Annabelle to fly up into the tree, and they sat together on a branch.

"What can you tell me about her?" Elida asked Michael.

"She's 18, was at 'Fairy High', where she got in a lot of trouble because of her anger issues. Currently a trainee doing general fairy duties, couple of reprimands. But as far as her abilities go, all indications are that she's well above average."

"Thanks..." said Elida

"Who you talking to?" asked Annabelle, who was starting to calm down a bit.

"Oh, just a voice in my ear! So, come on, calm down, talk to me.... what's bugging you?"

"Well, YOU are, right now..."

"APART from me, I mean. Look, we aren't going anywhere till we've sorted things out, so just accept that! Hey, fancy a coffee? I could do with one...." Annabelle was smart, and quickly realised that she was probably in big trouble, and for once was in a situation that she had no control over. And a drink right now would be rather nice.

"Don't suppose I can have a hot chocolate can I?"

"Sure, of course you can." A quick wave of a wand later, and they both had drinks. Elida let Annabelle have some of her drink, in an effort to let her calm down a bit.

"So who ARE you?" asked Annabelle. "Some of the magic you used on me was pretty advanced stuff."

"Yeah, let's just say for the moment that I'm a pretty powerful fairy, and I'm here to protect humans and fairies from angry fairies like you. Maybe if things go well, I'll tell you a bit more about myself, but for now, let's talk about you. The voice in my ear told me that you've been in trouble a few times now. I'm guessing anger problems?". Elida was talking gently and nicely to Annabelle, helping her to calm down. The calming spell that Elida had mixed into Annabelle's drink was also helping.

"Yeah, I get a bit wound up, I guess."

"And take it out on others. My voice says you're actually quite good at magic... so what's going on? Come on, I'd like to try and help you, if I can". Annabelle sighed.

"My grandpa gave me one of his old spell books when I was young. We used to read it together, and practice the magic together, it was such fun doing exciting magic." Another deep breath. "But at school it was so boring. Doing stuff I'd already learnt, but not allowed to do any of the other stuff grandpa had taught me. And now, at work, it's just simple boring stuff, like pain-killing spells for kids who have hurt themselves. Sometimes we get lucky, and a very young kid who still believes in us makes a wish. Then there's selfish brats like him down there... they have discovered for a second time that they can make wishes, but it's just 'me me me', and they deserve to be shown a lesson! But most of the time it's so mundane. I feel like a sportsman with lots of ability, but who's not allowed to do any sport to get rid of the pent-up energy inside them. Does that make sense?"

By now Annabelle had calmed right down. The combination of the magic calming of the drink, plus the mere act of explaining her issues had made her feel a bit better.

"Yup, makes a lot of sense. And I'm thinking I might be able to do something to help you. Look, if I take these things off you, you gonna behave yourself, and not go flying off. I mean, if you do, I can easily bring you back...."

A very calm Annabelle replied: "Yeah, I'm ok now....". Elida removed the magic-dampening cuffs. "Thanks, that feels better. I must admit, I do like your style... I'd never have thought of magical fluffy pink handcuffs! So, you reckoned that you might be able to help me?"

"Yes, but before I do that, I think I need to explain who I am. And to do that, I need you to cast a spell on yourself, so you can't tell anyone else."

"Cast a spell on myself?"

"Yeah, seems fairer like that: that way you won't be worried that I might be doing something nasty to you. Let me show you the spell." Elida called up her protector's book, opened it on page 27, and showed the spell to Annabelle, who read it. "I get a feeling that you actually understand the spell?" said Elida.

"Yeah, it's clever, I can see that I can only ever use it on myself."

"That's right. So, you say the spell, then I'll specify what it is you can't tell people about. Then you say the second bit to confirm it... so there's no real way I can trick you."

"I do like magic like that, it's very fair. Ok, yeah, let's do it...". Annabelle read the first part of the spell out loud, Elida defined it as 'anything she told Annabelle in the next ten minutes', and Annabelle said the second bit.

"Ok, so my name is Elida. I'm a special fairy, called a 'Protector Fairy'," and she went on to describe what that was all about.

"So, how do I fit into all that then?"

"Well, whilst I'm pretty powerful, I'm still learning a lot of magic, but like you, I have a problem actually trying the magic out. Sometimes I get to try some of it out with some of the FAS guys, as part of their ongoing training, but I was wondering if you'd be interested in becoming a sort of 'sparring partner'? Kinda like we did earlier, but more so. I think I could definitely help you get rid of some of your frustrations and anger. Plus I could actually teach you some new magic too." What Elida left out was that she hoped that, if she was any good, she might be able to help in the future 'war against darkness' as described by Serena's witch prophecy.

A small smile appeared on Annabelle's face. "You for real?"

"Of course. Although you'll need to promise to stop beating up young kids and old ladies, or other fairies for that matter. Interested?"

"Yeah, but why all the secrecy?"

"Well if everyone knew who I really was, I'd get fairies like you constantly wanting to pick fights with me, just to see how good I was. I'd much prefer have a quieter life, and let everyone just think that most of the time I'm just a young tooth fairy, still learning her trade, but maybe also doing some sort of related apprenticeship at FI5."

"Ok, I can see a certain sense in that. So how we gonna do this?"

"To be honest, I've not really thought it through that far. Maybe meeting up once a week for a 'special training session', or something like that: I can have a word with your boss and make it all official."

"Thanks!" said a by now smiling Annabelle. "I guess I ought to be getting back to the office. Shi*t, I bet my boss has heard about what I was doing to that kid: I'm gonna be in big trouble again, aren't I?"

"Hmm, maybe I can help with that.... You still with me, Michael?"

"Sure am. Nice job there by the way, good win-win solution. What do you need?"

"Who's Annabelle's boss, tell me about her as we fly back to her office."


Elida walked with Annabelle into her office. They had hardly walked in when a voice boomed out "Annabelle! In my office! Now!".

"I'm assuming that's Mrs Cozytoze? Don't worry, I'll have a word with her..." Elida let Annabelle go to her desk, while she walked into Mrs Cozytoze's office, quietly closing the door behind her.

"Who on earth are YOU?" she asked Elida rather abruptly, "I need to have a word with Annabelle..."

"Yes, about that... My name is Elida.." She pulled out one of her three security passes. Yes, Elida had three different passes. One identified her as a trainee tooth fairy, with a low security level. A second one identified her as 'Joint Head of FI5', with an 'access all areas' security level. The third one, the one that she showed Mrs Cozytoze, identified her as a non-descript 'FI5 operative', with a well above average security level. "I work with FI5. I need to talk with you about Annabelle," said Elida.

Mrs Cozytoze was a bit surprised that a young fairy like Elida (especially given the youthful way she was dressed) could be such a trusted FI5 operative, but her ID pass was quite clear.

"I guess you'd better sit down. You know what Annabelle was doing earlier?"

"Yes, indeed. I was there, and it was me who stopped what was going on. We've actually been keeping an eye on Annabelle for a while now," lied Elida, "and as a result I had a chat with her. Whilst I can't give any details of what we talked about, I think I can promise that you won't get any more issues like that with Annabelle. In addition, we have asked Annabelle to do some special work for FI5, you'll get notification of when we'll be needing her." Talking like that wasn't something Elida did very often, but it WAS fun to pretend that she was a 'we', backed by the 'mighty FI5', plus it also made FI5 sound far more important that it actually was! It also tended to stop the other person from asking any awkward questions.

For her part, Mrs Cozytoze couldn't really complain: Elida massively out-ranked her, even as just an 'FI5 operative'!

(* the ability for fairies to do magic in official buildings is a bit fuzzy: whilst most seems to be suppressed, things related to work, like 'pulling up your tablet', was ok. It's amazing what crazy rules you can have in a silly fairy story, isn't it!)


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 3

Over the next few weeks, Michael alerted Elida to another couple of incidents. One of them was quite minor, so Elida just looked on with a smile, although she did have a quiet word with the fairy afterwards, just to remind her that she shouldn't REALLY be doing stuff like that. But that she probably only did what a load of other fairies really wanted to do!


The second incident was a bit nastier, which led Elida to having stern words with the male fairy concerned. Unlike Annabelle, this boy's background was quite different, so he was not 'made an offer'.


As far as Annabelle goes, Elida had already had several 'training sessions' with her, and both of them had enjoyed their sessions: Elida had a chance to try out some of the new magic she had learnt, and Annabelle had really enjoyed the physical workout, plus picked up some new magic from Elida. At the third session, she brought Sebby along too.


"So, you asked me to look for 'strange things'.. I think I might have one for you." Michael had actually managed to catch Elida on an occasion when she was in her office at FI5.

"Go on..."

"Her name is Poppy, she's in the last year of school. From all reports, she's a pretty bright student, but she often has anger issues, and is prone to throwing tantrums in the class room. There's also some hints here of her being the target of some minor bullying. Think she fits your criteria?"

"Interesting! Maybe, maybe not, and I guess there's only one way to find out for sure. Do me a favour will you? Give the school a call, let the headmistress know I'm coming, and that I'll be wanting to see this Poppy. If they ask, give no details or hints, keep us sounding like the mysterious organisation that we're not!". Her last comment made Michael smile.


"Good afternoon, I'm Elida, I have an appointment with Mrs Lambchops, your headmistress" said Elida. She had just arrived at the school, and was talking to the receptionist.

"Of course. May I see your ID please?" Elida passed over her 'FI5 operative' ID, which suitably impressed the receptionist. After having it passed back to her, she clipped it to herself so everyone could see who she was - schools do like that sort of thing. "Let me just check she's free - I believe she is". She made a quick call. "Mrs Lambchops is expecting you, and can see you now... so down this corridor to the left, third door. It says 'Headmistress' on the door!"

"Thank you!" said Elida pleasantly.

Elida politely knocked on the door.... no need to needlessly wind up this Mrs Lampchops.

"Come in". Elida opened the door and went in... the room looked like a couple of other headmaster's / headmistress' offices Elida had seen: relatively bland, a couple of 'important pictures on the wall, that sort of thing. As she saw Elida, the headmistress was a bit surprised, she assumed that Elida would be not only older, but dressed more like an adult fairy, rather than one of her students.

"Good afternoon, Mrs Lambchops, I'm Elida, I work with FI5...".

"Yes, I was told to expect you, do take a seat. What can I do for you?"

"It's about one of your final year students, Poppy."

"Ah, yes, Poppy. A strange one is our Poppy... amazingly bright, annoyingly disruptive, and prone to emotional outbursts. Also seems to get picked on by some of the girls."

"Has she always been like that?"

"No, up till a couple of years ago, she was a model student, top of the class in both theoretical and practical magic. I get a bit of a feeling that part of her problem is that she's a bit TOO bright, and school is maybe 'holding her back'. That could explain the disruption, but we haven't really worked out what causes her upsets. So why is FI5 interested in her?"

Elida liked what she heard... this was indeed the sort of fairy she was looking for. Plus, the headmistress believed it was an FI5 thing, rather than Elida's own search.

"We've been keeping an eye open for non-conventionally bright fairies, fairies that are not the sort to want to go on to university. In fact, left alone, many of them could end up doing not so good things. We have certain 'openings' available for fairies like Poppy, assuming she is actually suitable."

"Really? I mean, that would be really good for her, I'm sure she can do better than she is now!"

"I was hoping I might be able to have a word with her," suggested Elida.

"Of course." The headmistress' eyes looked up at the clock. "If you can wait 5 minutes, it will be break time. While you wait, would you like to see her school record?"

"Oh, yes please, that would be very helpful. If you can bring it up on your screen, I'll take a copy. By 'take a copy' the headmistress assumed she'd take some pictures, but she inderestimated the tech that FI5 was working on. Puck had recently given her a tablet with an early copy of FairOS 57 (*see note below), and it had some very neat new features, one of which allowed Elida to cast a simple spell to copy the actual file from the headmistress' computer to her own tablet. Mere moments later, Elida was looking at Poppy's school record on her tablet... it was interesting reading, and Elida was getting good feelings about her.

"It's almost time, if we go now, we should catch them as they leave their classroom. I just checked, Poppy should be in room 7." The headmistress led them out of her room, and along the corridor. "You're welcome to use this room here on the left, to have a word with Poppy" she commented on the way.

The bell rang just as they got to room 7, so the headmistress opened the door, and went inside with Elida. The class teacher dismissed the girls, and Mrs Lambchops took that as a prompt to call out "Poppy, can we have a word, please?". Many heads turned, and assumed that, yet again, Poppy was in trouble!

As Poppy came over, she had a look of fear on her face, clearly wondering what she was in trouble for THIS time.

"Yes, Mrs Lambchops?" said a slightly dejected sounding girl. As Elida looked at her, she could see a lot of herself in her. She was a similar height, and had a similarly shaped body. She also had similar clothes to Elida, but that was more that Elida was dressed a bit like a student, meaning Poppy's attire was actually more 'normal' for her!

"Poppy, this is Elida, she's asked to have a word with you: I'll leave her to fill in all the details. Elida, you know where I am if you need me again, nice to meet you!"

Poppy's face brightened up when she realised that she wasn't actually being 'summoned' by Mrs Lambchops at all, but instead this 'Elida' wanted to talk to her. I mean, someone dressed like THAT can't be that bad, can they?

"Hello Poppy, I'm Elida, nice to meet you! Let's go have a chat, shall we?". Mrs Lambchops had already gone, so Elida led Poppy back to the room that Mrs Lambchops had pointed out. They both went inside, and before they even closed the door, Elida had looked around the bare and uninviting room, and said "Hmm, maybe not! Let's go and find somewhere nicer, away from the school, shall we? I assume you have a locker, so why don't you dump your school books off, grab your coat and phone and other bits..." Elida followed Poppy to where her locker was: as they walked, Elida was strongly reminded about HER days at school. Her main thought was along the lines of 'I'm glad I'm not at school any more!'

"So, where do you fancy going for a chat. I'd like us to be alone, so maybe on top of one of the tall buildings in town? Or out in a field in the country?" Elida wanted Poppy to be relaxed: she wasn't there to tell Poppy off in any way, she wanted to find out more about Poppy, see if she could be useful to the team back at FI5, whilst making life more interesting for Poppy at the same time.

"I wonder if anyone is playing tennis at the tennis courts at the sports centre? That's always a nice place to sit and relax!" suggested Poppy.

"Sounds good to me, lead the way!" On the way there, Elida spoke to Michael. "Hey, I think I'll be ok now, thanks for your help. I'll call if I need anything!". It didn't take long for the two of them to reach the tennis courts. The day was quite nice, so they went onto the roof of the adjacent pavilion. With a wave of her wand, Elida magicked up a pair of deckchairs and a table. With another wave there were a couple of long soft drinks on the table. "Take a seat!"

Having got away from school, and now seeing what Elida had just magicked up, Poppy was feeling pretty relaxed.

"So, what's this all about then? I mean, if it's a telling-off, then it looks like it could be the nicest telling off I've ever had!"

"Nothing like that at all. I guess I should tell you who I am: you know I'm Elida, but I work part-time for FI5. We've been keeping an eye out for fairies like you, that are apparently good at magic, but are having some sort of 'issue' with school. So I was sent here to talk to you. So, I'd just like to find out more about you. How good you REALLY are at magic. Why you play up in class, and why you seem to occasionally get bullied. Maybe I can start by letting you take a look at this...". Elida magicked up her tablet once more, and passed it to Poppy.

"My school record? Am I even supposed to be reading this?"

"Why not, it's all about you. Take your time, see what the teachers say about you...". Her school report was, well historically anyway, very complimentary about Poppy. In the last couple of years, it had become clear that, whilst her schoolwork remained good, her behaviour had gone downhill.

As Poppy read her school record, she sipped on her drink. "Ok," said Elida about 10 minutes later, when Poppy had finished reading: "The way I see it is that things were fine with you at school till what? 3 years ago? You were top of the class in theoretical magic, practical magic, innovative magic, and a few other subjects. Then things went downhill for some reason... and I'm guessing that's when the bullying started too? Clearly something happened, and I have a feeling much of it wasn't really your fault."

Poppy was silent.

"Look, Poppy, I'm not here to judge, I'm here to understand, and maybe even help you, make your life a bit more pleasant and interesting. So tell me your story..."

"Ok... so I'm Poppy, I turned 18 a couple of weeks ago. Mum's a general fairy, dad's a tech fairy. I have a younger brother and sister, they are both at school too. I seem to be the 'bright one' of us three. Even as a young fairy, I enjoyed doing magic, mum used to show me all sort of silly things, encouraged me, help me understand what magic I was allowed to do, and how to be careful not to do any stupid or bad magic, that might hurt someone. At school, I used to LOVE doing magic, I was really good at it, it kinda made sense to me, in the way that it didn't to most of the fairies. They needed to do loads of practice to get their magic right, I just seemed to be able to do it without even trying. That was until..."

"Until?"

"Until...." Poppy paused, clearly think how to explain it. "Until I discovered I sometimes just couldn't do magic."

"Ok, I can imagine that must have been quite frustrating. When did that start?"

"I'd started to get friendly with a different group of fairies at school. And of course, you know what teen fairies are like, we got up to silly things. And that's when I found that THEY could do certain magic, but I couldn't. I mean, I could do the magic normally, just not when we were messing around."

"Would 'messing around' maybe include doing magic for slightly.... 'naughty' reasons?".
Poppy went a bit pink: clearly she was embarrassed. "Look, I know it's very hard to admit that you've been using magic for things that aren't 100% good. It's like human kids, going off together and hiding behind their school bike shed, to share a cigarette at lunchtime. But I need to know, if I'm to help you."

"Yes... we were..."

"What sort of things?"

"Oh, burning the grass. Setting fire to daddy long legs. Tripping up human kids." Elida smiled. "What's so funny?"

"I remember fairies at my school doing that sort of thing too! Ok, let's try something... just do as I ask, and don't worry if you can't do it...". Elida magicked up a bit of paper, and made it flutter down in front of them. "Set fire to the paper for me" asked Elida.

"Easy peasy!" said Poppy, throwing a very simply fire spell at it, turning into ash.

"Ok, now set fire to this...". Elida magicked up a rather pretty butterfly. Poppy tried doing the same spell, and it didn't work. She tried it again, and again it didn't work.

"I told you, I cant! I can't do it!" shouted Poppy angrily.

"It's ok, calm down. I did say you might not be able to do it, I just wanted to see. Ok, let's park that for the moment, let's get a bit more positive for a moment: I'd like to see how good you are at more normal magic. Take some deep breaths, and relax!"

"Ok, so what do you want me to do?" asked Poppy after taking several deep breaths, and feeling better for it.

"Well, let's make it simple, but a bit of fun. Magic me up a paper sparrow, and make it fly..."

"Oh, that's easy!". Poppy thought a few seconds, working out what she would need to do, then created the paper bird. Another spell made it fly.

"Nicely done! Ok, keep it flying, and at the same time make another one -  make it out of red paper this time - and make it fly too. Mind you, I want it to fly separately from the first one."

Once again, Poppy magicked up a second bird, made of red paper, and made it fly too.

"How about a third one - and how about this one is made out of some sort of golden foil?"

It was clear to Elida that Poppy was really needing to concentrate, to keep the two existing paper birds flying, whilst making the third, then getting it to fly too.

"I'm impressed! Think you can do a fourth? Go on, give it a go!". Elida was wanting to see how much simultaneous magic Poppy could manage. Most young fairies could managed maybe 3 or 4 spells at most. Elida used to manage about 6 or 7, but of course, as a result of the 'Time Loop incident', could now manage well over the 15 she needed to teleport.

Poppy started to magic up the fourth bird, but lost concentration for a moment, and the 3 flying birds started to fall. "Ooops!" she shouted, and quickly took control of them again. It took her longer to make the 4th paper bird, as she was needing to also used magic to keep the other 3 birds flying. It would have been easy if she could make them all fly the same, but she realised what Elida was wanting. Without being asked, she started to make a 5th bird, but it needed more concentration and magic than she could manage, and the 4 birds fell down.

"Sorry..."

"No, don't be sorry, that was quite impressive. Most fairies would max out at 2 birds.. so how many spells were you using there? I'm guessing about 8 or 9..."

"Yeah, I think it was 8."

"That's well above average!"

"So, how many can you do?"

"Oh, 17 or so..."
 
"No way! Wow, that's cool!".

Elida was silent for a moment, thinking to herself. Poppy's abilities, and lack of abilities were worryingly familiar. Very familiar. But she couldn't be, could she? I mean, it's a 'once in a generation thing', isn't it? That's what Zia had said.

Poppy noticed that Elida was deep in thought. "What is it?" she asked.

"I actually have an idea what your 'problem' might be. I mean, I can't really believe it's possible, but..... well, there's only one way to find out..."

"What you on about?" asked Poppy.

"Poppy, I need you to stay here and wait for me, please. I just need to go and get something, I'll be maybe five minutes, ten at most. In the meantime, just relax, and watch the tennis, and have another drink...."

"Is everything ok?"

"Don't worry. This may seem a bit strange, but it's probably very ok! I'll be back shortly!". Elida flew up in the air, then ran her teleportation spell, suddenly disappearing from Poppy's view. Back at FI5 HQ, Elida dashed into the building, using her card to get through the security barrier. Up to her office. Then down into the Dark Archive. Where she had left her 'Protector's Book'.

It was a VERY special book. First of all, it could only be opened by a Protector Fairy - so Zia and Elida. Second, once opened, unless the Protector allowed it, the pages looked like they were covered in kiddies scribblings. But to a protector, it contained the shared knowledge of a very large number of Protector Fairies, written over quite a long period. Elida remembered the first time she saw it: Zia had made her search for the book, then open it. She also remembered how the book added her name to the list of Protectors as she watched.

So, if Poppy was indeed another Protector Fairy, then this book would prove it. But if she was, then why?

She took the book with her, left the FI5 building, then teleported back to where Poppy was waiting.

"Erm, what just happened? I mean one moment you were here, then you disappeared. Then now you're back again..."

"Yeah... teleportation spell, that's what I use the 17 spells to do!"

"Oh, wow! I never heard of anyone teleporting before."

"That's because I'm the only fairy that can do it. I'll explain later, first there's something much more important we need to do." Elida sat down, and pulled out the 'Protector's Book', and passed it to Poppy.

"What's this?"

"Open it and find out.".

Poppy opened the book without any special effort, revealing a very simple, yet also very ornate, front page to the right, but to the left was a long list of names. At the top, it simply said 'This book belongs to...'. At the bottom of the long list of names, it had Elida's name.

Elida put her hand onto the book. "Put your hand onto the book too....". As Poppy also touched the book, she saw new writing appear underneath Elida's name: 'it also belongs to Poppy'.

"What's going on?" asked Poppy. "Why did my name get added to the bottom of the list?"

"Because, as well as having belonged to Zia, and me, it now also belongs to you. It seems that you, like me, are a 'Protector Fairy'. Go on, have a look at the book..." Poppy turned the page, and was amazed at how beautiful it was.

"It contains things that a Protector needs to know about... see the different handwriting, that's because it has been added to by the different Protectors, over many hundreds of years." Poppy continued to turn the pages of the book, enthralled by it, but at the same time starting to wonder exactly what a 'Protector Fairy' is.

"So, you're probably wondering, the same as I was the first time I saw this book, what a 'Protector Fairy' is..." Elida slowly told Poppy all about why Protector Fairies existed. "You'll be very happy to hear that you're not the only one that can't do bad magic, I can't either. And as you've worked out, like you, I'm pretty good at doing magic. Hang on a moment, I just need to call Michael."

"Who's Michael?"

"Oh, he's my 'handler' back at FI5." Elida pulled out her phone, and called Michael.

"Hey, you still with Poppy?"

"Yes, that's actually why I'm calling. Can you call Poppy's school, tell them she won't be back till tomorrow at the earliest. I'm sure you can come up with something, maybe we've asked her back for an interview or something, which won't be far from the truth."

"Oh, what's going on then?"

"Need-to-know for the moment I'm afraid, but I suspect I'll need to explain it to you soon!"

"Ok, I'll call the school for you then!"

"Thanks Michael!". She turned back to Poppy, who was looking at the Protector's Book.

"Hey, I just found the teleporting spell, but it looks like it's not complete."

"That's because it's still a 'work in progress'."

"What? You mean YOU are writing it? So... you invented the magic to teleport?"

"Yup. Took about 3weeks of almost non-stop work. I'll tell you about THAT sometime too."

"Hey, shouldn't I be going back to school at some point?"

"Do you want to? What you got?"

"Umm, I think it's maths. We're looking at equations for motion and friction."

"Sounds absolutely riveting!" said Elida, very sarcastically. "To be honest, I think that sort of stuff is well beneath your abilities. No, I think you deserve to take the rest of today off school, we have far more important things to do. Hey, do you even want to go back to school?"

"Ummm..." said Poppy, rather shocked.

"Just think about it. In the meantime, I wonder if Zia is free."

"Who's Zia?"

"Another protector fairy. My predecessor, but she's retired now. Let me call her." Elida called Zia. "Zia, hi, Elida here <pause> Hey, are you free? <pause> Yeah, now. <pause> Well, there's someone I think you need to meet. <pause> Her name is Poppy, and I'll explain all when I get there. <pause> Oh, just give us a couple of minutes...<pause> Ok, see you soon!"

"Right, let's tidy up, and get going." Elida waved her hand, and the chairs, table, drinks and paper birds all disappeared. "Ok, hold on to the book, and take my hand. Oh, I suggest you take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds, the first time can be a disorientating."

"Uh?"

"Just take the deep breath!". As Poppy took her deep breath, Elida ran up the 18 spells: the normal 17 for teleporting, and the extra one to take a 'passenger'.

(in the original story, I said it took 15 spells to teleport: that was correct. But back then Elida was teleporting 'blind', so the extra 2 spells are for Elida to check where she's about to land.)


(* FairOS, the phone / tablet operating system developed by the fairies, is the basis of what we mere humans now know of as Android and Linux. This explains one of the reasons that fairies can hack into phones so easily... there's still a couple of back doors in there that the fairies included in the kernel, before making it available to Linus Torvalds and Andy Rubin)

Offline kelly-Marie

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Good story I wish something like that could of happened to me when I was at school would of been the perfect excuse to not go back

Offline Sparky

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Good story I wish something like that could of happened to me when I was at school would of been the perfect excuse to not go back

Hehe! Shame it's 100% just a story :-( And by the way, Kellie-Marie, fairies don't ACTUALLY exist, sorry.....  8)

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 4


"Woah! What just happened? Everything just disappeared, and now we're in front of a house. And I feel a little dizzy."

"Your first teleport! This is Zia's place, we're about 20 miles from where we were."

"Wow... that is just so cool!".

Elida want to the door, and knocked on it. It was opened by Zia, an old, but still very elegant lady. "Come on in, Elida. And you must be Poppy. I'm Zia, nice to meet you!" They went through to the lounge. "Do sit down. Tea or coffee?"

"Tea for me, please. Poppy?"

"Oh, tea please!". Zia waved her hands, and a tray appeared, with 3 cups of tea, and a plate with fairy cakes on it.

"So, what's so important that you needed to come over so urgently?"

"Poppy, can you pass the book over to Zia?" asked Elida. She did so. "Just open it, and read the first page....". Zia's opened the book at the first page: her jaw dropped as she read the last line. "So, it seems that Poppy here is a Protector Fairy, just like us. The thing I don't understand is that I thought you said we were 'once in a generation' fairies." said Elida.

"Well, I thought we were! That's what I was always told. I mean, why would we NEED another Protector?"

"Maybe Mother Nature is trying to tell us something?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, the only thing I can think of is that we are going to need the skills of two, or maybe even three, Protectors for some reason. Maybe it's something to do with Serena's prophecy." There was silence for several seconds.

"Yes, I guess that's a possibility..."

Zia, Elida and Poppy talked about Protector things for a while, drinking their tea, and eating fairy cakes as they did so.

"So what if I don't want to BE a Protector Fairy?" asked Poppy. Zia and Elida both smiled.

"I don't think we actually GET the option. It's kinda like being a girl fairy rather than a boy fairy, that's just what we are!" Elida pulled out her phone, and checked the time. "It's lunchtime. Poppy, why don't I take you over to over to FI5, we can grab some lunch before the canteen closes, then I can introduce you to Lilly and Tats."

"Yes, probably a good idea," said Zia.

"Who's Lilly? And Tats?"

"The three of us run FI5.".

This time, it was Poppy's jaw that dropped. "You're kidding..." <a bit of a pause> "You're not kidding, are you? I thought you said you just 'worked for' FI5."

"As far as most fairies are concerned, I'm still a trainee tooth fairy, but also doing some sort of apprenticeship at FI5. And, as far as they are concerned, FI5 is run by Lilly and Tats. It was the same when Zia was with FI5, before she retired: Donald and Charlotte ran it, and Zia was the silent third person in the team. We're there to make sure that no one, Lilly and Tats included, oversteps the line."

"Something tells me that my life is about to change, bigtime! I mean, when you walked into the classroom earlier with Mrs Lambchops, I had no idea this was going to happen!"

"I will admit, neither did I. I was assuming you'd be someone like Annabelle: she's a very capable fairy who's now working for me part-time. But I think you get the full-time position! So, want some lunch then?"

"Elida, thank you for coming over." said Zia. "Poppy, I have no doubt we'll meet again soon: if you'd like to talk, just get in touch with me!"


Elida teleported the two of them to FI5: this time she did it while they were flying, as she now prefers to do. The two of them landed in front of the building. "Welcome to FI5!" said Elida. "Ah, got your ID pass with you?" she asked.

"Yes, it's in my bag, hang on a moment.... ah, here it is!" She passed it to Elida, who took a look at it, then created a duplicate, ran a spell on it to increase Poppy's security level, then passed them both back to Poppy.

"That's your original one, use that for your normal day-to-day stuff. The other one is for when you're here, as an FI5 member, I've given you a suitable security clearance. Once you get settled in, I'll increase it. Eventually I'll do you a third pass, on the top clearance level like me." Elida led her into reception.

"Ah, hello Gloria, I'd like you to meet Poppy: she's just joined us, and you'll probably be seeing her around a bit. Poppy, can you show Gloria your new pass, please?" Gloria was the fairy currently on reception. She took Poppy's pass and checked it.

"Ah, right, good afternoon, Poppy, nice to meet you. Do go on in...."

The two of them went through to the FI5 canteen: the food there was actually quite good. While they ate their lunch, Elida called Michael.

"Hello Michael!"

"Hi there, Elida. How did the morning go?"

"Not quite the way I expected it to, but nevertheless very well. Do you know if Lilly and Tats are back from lunch yet?"

"I think they are, why do you ask?"

"In that case, can you tell, and I mean TELL, not ask, tell them both to be in my office in.... make it 15 minutes time. And can you organise coffee for four in my office too, big big please?"

"Anything for you, Elida! Bye...". Over the short period that Michael and Elida had worked together, they had created a a good friendly working relationship, each appreciating the others abilities.

"Hey, the food here's pretty good! Sure beats what we get at school!"

"Yeah, they do a pretty good job. Fancy a pudding?"

"Don't suppose they do ice cream, do they?"

"Yes, they do..."

On the way up to her office, she dropped in to see Michael. "Oh, hi there! Who's this then?"

"This, Michael, is Poppy. Poppy, meet Michael. He's my 'handler' for when I go out on days like today."

"Poppy... as in...?"

"Yes, as in Poppy from this morning. I suspect you'll be seeing her a bit more, so thought I'd introduce you."

"Hi Poppy, nice to actually meet you!" said Michael.

"I'll explain more later, but I think Poppy and I need to get up to my office."

"Yes, I told Lilly and Tats, I don't think they liked being 'told' though!"

"Don't worry, they'll be fine. I bet they are both wondering why though.... come on, Poppy!"

They had just got to Elida's office, and sat down, when the door opened, and Lilly and Tats both walked in. "So, what's so important that we were TOLD to come to see you?" asked Lilly.

"And a good afternoon to you too, Lilly.... Tats..."

"Sorry, Elida. So what's so urgent?"

"I'd just like you to meet Poppy. Poppy, this is Lilly and Tats."

"Hello Poppy!" said both Lilly and Tats. "So, what makes meeting Poppy such an important thing then?" asked Lilly.

"It seems that Poppy is a Protector Fairy, like me!". It took a few moments for what Elida just said to register for both Lilly and Tats.

"A Protector Fairy? But I thought that...." said Tats.

"... that it's a once in a generation thing? Yes, that what Zia told me, some time ago now..."

"And you're absolutely certain?".

Elida opened the Protector Book, ran an 'allow others to read' spell (which meant creating an 'allow magic' bubble first), then passed it over to Tats. "As far as I know, the book doesn't lie..."

"Oh, right. In that case, I guess we should be saying 'welcome to the team': I'm assuming that, given who she is, and that you invited us to meet her, that you told her who we are? And that you're part of the team? So, how long since you found this all out, Poppy?"

"Must be all of two hours, maybe three.... I'm still a bit in shock, to be honest!"

"Yeah, I bet you are. I can still vividly remember the day that Elida dropped the bombshell on us that she was a Protector, and that we three were going to take over running this place!" said Tats. "So, Poppy, what do you do? Or maybe I should be asking what DID you do, before finding out you were a Protector?"

"I'm still at school," replied Poppy.

"Oh... right!" Tats turned to Elida. "So, you planning on pulling her out of school, or what?"

"That's a good question, and I'm not sure. Maybe, in the short term at least, she should remain at school. I haven't told her parents anything yet either, that's something else I need to work out. Poppy, what do YOU think?"

"I think it's probably better if I stay at school for the moment, don't you think? From what you and Zia were saying earlier, I don't think I want to be announcing to the world that I'm a Protector Fairy, do I? And if I suddenly leave and come here, fairies are going to start asking questions. But how DO I explain.. well, 'things'?"

"I think I need to give you some intensive coaching, and teach you a handful of very useful spells, to help you avoid needing to answer awkward questions. You're right, I guess it's probably better if very few fairies know exactly what you are."

"What about mum and dad? What do I tell them?"

"I think I'd better come back with you tonight, and tell them a suitable story too. You can't tell them the truth yet, if at all - you can't risk them telling anyone else. I mean, my mum still thinks I'm still just a tooth fairy! If only she knew..."

"And school?"

"I'll have a word with Mrs Lambchops tomorrow, she was actually quite pleasant and helpful this morning. I'll spin her some story that we're giving you some special training, to develop your 'special skills', one or two days a week. That sound ok to you? Of course, you won't be able to tell any of the kids or teachers anything either... I think we need to work on a good 'story' for you this afternoon. Plus I can teach you a useful spell to stop you accidentally saying something you shouldn't."

"Well, it sounds like you have things in hand, Elida. Poppy, great to meet you, I'm sure we'll be seeing one another soon..." said Lilly, getting up to leave.

"Before you go: I think I should give Poppy 'Full Permission'. You ok with that?"

"'Full Permission'? What do you mean?"

"Full permission to take suitable action if she sees anyone 'crossing that line'. You guys included."

"She ready for it, do you think?"

"Maybe not today, but I don't think it will be long."

"In that case, yes, do it! Tats, you ok with that?"

"Absolutely. That's why we need Protectors! Poppy, great to meet you!"


And THAT is how Fairykind ended up with TWO Protectors - three if you also include Zia.


Offline kelly-Marie

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I forgot to say earlier live the name  you gave the teacher Mrs Lambchops reminds me we used to call my boss something chops but it wasn't lamb  definatley ruder than that if you get my drift

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 5


Its 2 weeks later. 2 weeks since Poppy discovered she was a Protector, like Elida. As far as most fairies are concerned - Poppy's parents included - Poppy is going on a special 2-days-a-week training course at FI5, helping to develop her undefined 'special skills', in preparation for joining FI5 on a permanent basis when she leaves school.

Elida has been coaching Poppy on how to answer those 'awkward questions', as well as give her help in dealing with the other kids at school... this is where Elida's young age comes in useful! Poppy is already feeling a LOT more relaxed at school, no longer as frustrated as she used to be: Elida had also suggested she turn things around, and use her skills to help the other kids with their magic. The teachers aren't complaining either, as it makes their jobs easier! As far as the 'bullies' went, Elida taught Poppy some fun magic she could use against them, that didn't QUITE 'cross that line'.

Elida had also spent some time with Poppy, explaining that they did a lot of 'secret stuff' at FI5 that they couldn't talk about to anyone, even within FI5, and got her to sign one of those documents where she had to sign her life away.


Today is an 'FI5 day' for Poppy. Like Elida when she first started visiting FI5 - back in her time loop - Poppy still doesn't know her way around, so she called Elida to tell her she was there, and that she was waiting in reception.

"Good morning Poppy! Come on up to my office, I want to tell you about something, and then show it to you, I think you'll find it interesting. Just remember that, like so many other things, you can't say anything about it - especially this one." Poppy took her up to the 'main' floor, where lots of the general staff worked, Michael included.

"Let's grab a coffee, then go see Michael," suggested Elida.

"Good morning Michael!" said Elida.

"Good morning Elida!" replied Michael, "and Poppy too!"

"Grab your coffee, and join us in my office...". The three of them walked up a floor to Elida's office, and sat down.

"So, you've met Poppy, but what you DON'T know is why she's actually here.." Elida spent a few minutes explaining that Poppy was also a Protector, and would be working at FI5 part-time until she left school. "All 'need to know' don't forget. Anyway, I'm suspecting that at some point I'll be asking you to act as 'handler' for Poppy too. You ok with that?"

"Yeah, sure."

"Ok, that's all I wanted to tell you, just wanted to keep you up to date!". Michael left the office.

"You know," said Elida when Michael had left, "I think of this as 'my' office, but I'm thinking maybe it should be 'our' office? There's plenty of space for you to have your own desk in here, and no reason you can't leave stuff here if you want."

"Are you sure?" asked Poppy.

"Look, Poppy, you really need to understand how important you are - I know, it takes a bit of time for it to sink in, it took quite a while for me to understand too. In terms of magic ability, we outrank everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - in this building. In terms of trust, I'm up the top, and you're going to be following soon. Yes, I appreciate that most people here don't realise who and what we are, but as long as WE understand..."

"I guess when you put it like that..."

"So, today I'd like to introduce you to the Dark Archive. It's something that very few fairies actually know about. Apart from Lilly, Tats, me, and now you, only a handful of others are aware of it's existence. Oh, the Queen, along with her daughter and grand daughter know, of course, and so does Sebby."

"Ok, but what is it?"

"Well, it's a library. There's three sorts of libraries. There's the ones we have under most offices: the one at head office is quite a big one, the regional offices have smaller ones. They are for any working fairy to look up anything related to the day to day magic that fairies do. Next we have the 'Dark Archive', it's full of older, darker and more dangerous magic books - as I said, it's a place that few people are aware of, for good reason. Finally there's the 'Royal Archive': even fewer people know about that one. I managed to guess that it must exist, noone told me, and I've been there once."

"Oh, great, I like books, I wonder if these books will talk to me?"

"What do you mean, 'talk to you'?"

"Some old books talk to me. You never talked to an old book?"

"Well, I talk to the books in the archive, and they respond, but I've never had one actually talk back to me!"

"Oh, ok, maybe it's just me then. So, back to these archives... I'm guessing the 'Royal Archive' is at the Palace? So where's the 'Dark Archive' then?"

"Funnily enough, it turns out that it actually underneath the Palace too, next to the 'Royal Archive', but that's not how we normally get to it. There's two remote portals we can use to get to it. The first is in what appears to be a completely normal cupboard in Lilly's Mum's office, over at head office, where I often work. The other is in that cupboard there.." Elida pointed at the cupboard in the corner of the office. "Go on, take a look!"

Poppy walked over to the cupboard, and opened the door, and looked inside. "Umm, don't wish to worry you, but it just looks like a cupboard, with some stuff in it." She closed the door again.

"Yup, well camoflaged, isn't it? Let me teach you a spell... this is NOT something you should ever tell anyone else, by the way." Elida told Poppy the spell. Like Elida, she was a quick learner.

"Go on, give it a go, then look again." Poppy cast the spell, then opened the door.

"Right... stairs!"

"Light switch is on the right....". They both went down the stairs, and into the recently redecorated lobby of the Dark Archive. "I've been doing a bit of work, trying to modernise the place a bit. Actually, you might be able to help me with the next bit, I need to knock the two rooms together and extend the place. So, over there is the 'History' room, lots of old books with old fairy and human history in them. That one is the loo. The third door here is the the 'Older Magic' room, and finally, this is the 'Dangerous and Dark Magic' room."

"We gonna be ok down here?"

"Don't worry, the 'Dangerous and Dark' books are only dangerous to normal fairies, they can't hurt us. So, this out here is a book that contains spells for normal fairies to use, to search the books. Personally, I just ask them, it's easier! Come on, let me introduce you to the 'Old Magic' books. She opened the door, and turned on the recently installed modern lights.

"Good morning books, and how are we today?" asked Elida. Today they seemed to be extra excited, many of them bouncing up and down on the shelves.

"Woah!" called out Poppy. "Quieten down a bit will you!"

"What do you mean?" asked Elida.

"You can't hear them? They're all shouting out, they're rather loud!"

"Ok books, settle down. There's someone here I'd like you all to meet: this is Poppy, and like me, she's a Protector."

"Hi books!" said Poppy. "Thanks for quietening down. Well it sounds like some of these books can definitely talk!"

"Well, ask one out, and have a chat...."

"Ask one out?"

"Yeah, let me show you. Umm. I seem to remember there's a book here that has something about Protectors back in history. Want to come on over and sit down on the desk?" A large, but not all that thick, old book came over, and set itself onto the desk.

"Oh, nice. So well behaved too!"

"They are if you're nice to them..." Poppy sat down at the desk, and touched the book. "Hi there. So you know something about us protectors then?"

"Yes, there's a few pages about protectors, starting on page 59, want me to show you?" said the book to Poppy. Of course, Elida heard nothing.

"Yes please..." The book opened, and as Poppy read the words, she once again touched the book. "Something tells me it's been a while since anyone had been able to talk to you."

"Elida talks to us a lot, she's nice, but unfortunately she can't hear us. But she seems to know how to communicate with us in other ways, in the way she asks us for things"

"Is the book talking to you then?" asked Elida.

"Oh, yes. I get the feeling these guys like you, and respect you. Hopefully I can persuade them to respect me too."

"If you are as good to us as Elida is, then you'll quickly gain our respect," answered the book.

"Oh, thank you. Ok, well, I think I need to read you again on another visit. Umm, why don't you go back to your shelf for now?"

"It has been a pleasure meeting you, Poppy!", and with that it gently closed itself, and went back to it's shelf. Poppy stood up, and walked over to the shelves. She put her hands on the books, and gently ran it along the many books on the shelf. "Hi guys, nice to meet you all! Never seen so many gorgeous books before. Oh, hello beautiful, who are you then?" Poppy's hand was on the spine of a short but fat book, with a very ornately inscribed spine.

"I contain magic that relates to all sorts of plants. Would you like me to show you?"

"Oh, yes please! I guess I should ask you to come out and over to the desk..." The book did as requested.

Today's session was to let Poppy learn about the Archive, meet the many books, and work out how to search them... which she seemed to be doing amazingly well by herself, so Elida just watched in awe as Poppy talked to the books, or more specifically, she listened to the books as they talked back to her. Ignoring 'naughty' magic, it wsn't often that someone else could do something that Elida couldn't, but today was clearly one of those days, but she didn't mind.

Elida let Poppy talk to a few more of the books, as well as wander around all the shelves, seeing what they contained. Poppy had a massive smile on her face.

"I hate to drag you away, but you should meet the books next door too."

"Ah, yes, 'Dangerous and Dark Magic', didn't you say?"

"Yes. They're actually not ALL that different from these guys, but there are a few distinctly BAD books in there... they're the ones with locks on, to protect the normal fairies, but they seems to be ok with me, hopefully they'll be ok with you too."

They left the 'Old Magic', turning off the lights, and closing the door. The lighting in the 'Dangerous and Dark Magic' room was a bit dimmer, Elida still needed to upgrade it, but had decided she'd probably wait till she re-organised and extended the place.

Once more, it seems the books were being a bit loud, but they quietened down when requested. Elida introduced Poppy, who took a look around, and stopped at one specific book that Elida knew sometimes mis-behaved.

"What do you want?" asked the book in a nasty and gruff voice, as Poppy touched it.

"Oh, come on! Do you REALLY think a voice like that is actually going to scare me?" said Poppy.

"Oh, alright then!" replied the book in a more normal voice. "I was just trying to keep up my reputation!".

"You have a reputation? In here?" Poppy giggled, and she could hear a couple of book giggle too. "Look books, it's really nice to meet you all! I get the feeling we'll all get on well together!"

"Well, if you're as nice to us as Elida is, I'm sure we will!" replied one of the other books.


"So," said Elida, "I have spent a lot of time down here, learning all sorts of magic. Including those six weeks I was in the time loop. It's a great resource for us Protectors, and I suspect you'll be wanting to spend time down here too, which is NOT a problem. By the way, if you need any help, do ask Sebby, she's a great researcher, and enjoys being down here too. But remember that she's a normal fairy, so a second person needs to be with her at all time."

"Yeah, ok. But you're right, this is a lovely place. You said you want to do some work on the place?"

"That's right. I was thinking about knocking the two rooms together, and extending the place back that way a bit, let the books have a bit more space. Also put in some more comfortable shelves for the books, these don't look especially comfortable. Upgrade the lighting too. Oh, I was wondering whether to add in a 'magic window' let them get a bit of natural light in, and let them look outside."

"So what's the problem?"

"Magic dampening spells. It's extra strong in here, for good reason. I mean, I can create a medium sized 'allow magic' bubble, but nowhere near big enough to do what's needed. There's a couple of books that I've borrowed from the 'Royal Archive', that explain how the magic was done, but they are pretty heavy going. I hid them in the 'History' room to keep them safe. Why don't you take a look at them sometime, maybe you'll be able to understand them better."

"I can give it a try. Hey, is it ok to bring drinks down here?"

"As long as we're careful, yes. Want one now?"

"Oooh, yes please!"

"Ok, I'll create a bubble, you do the drinks - coffee for me, please". Elida created the bubble, and Poppy magicked up the drinks. "Biscuits?"

"Sorry, forgot those.." The two of them sat down, and sipped their drinks.

"Hey, Elida, thanks for everything you're doing for me - it's hard work for me, but it's way more interesting that what we do at school. I just wish I could tell someone what I'm doing, it's hard to not say anything sometimes."

"Well, you can always use the spell on page 27 of 'our' book if you need to."

"Oh, can I do the whole spell on myself?"

"Yup, it can be useful sometimes - I've done it on myself a couple of times!"

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 6


About three or four months have passed since our two Protectors were first in the Dark Archive together. Poppy has spent quite a bit of time down in the archive, talking to the books, as well as learning a whole load of new magic. Last week, after a LOT of practicing, she finally managed to put the requisite 17 spells together, and was able to teleport, which thrilled both her and Elida. So now, Poppy is finishing off the description of what to do to teleport in the 'Protectors Book', that Elida started, but hadn't quite got around to finishing.

Elida has also introduced her to Annabelle, and they've done a few 'sparring sessions' now with all three of them. She has also introduced Poppy to Sebby, and they too have got on well, helped by the fact that they are of similar age (give or take a century!) In fact, Poppy has been fitting in really well. Her next big step is in a couple of weeks, when she finally leaves school, and joins FI5 full-time.

"I think it's time you met Princess Rosemary!" said Elida. "Besides, I need to show you, and Sebby, the 'Royal Archive'. Hey, why don't I just ask the Queen if we can go have tea with her, so I can introduce you to them all?

"You can just call the Queen and ask to have tea with her?"

"Not quite. Officially I would need to go through channels, and it might take weeks. Unofficially, I can speak to Princess Rosemary, and I'm sure she can fix it. So, want to meet the Queen?"

"OMG! Yes, of course I do! So what's she like?"

"The Queen? Queen Tinkerbell is a lovely old lady, and whilst quite a traditionalist in many ways, she's not scared to use technology. Let me call Rosemary..."

Elida picked up her phone, and made the call... "Hello? Rosemary?"

"Elida? Lovely to hear from you! What can I do for you?"

"A couple of things actually. First of all, there's someone I need to introduce to you and the Queen, she's a new 'Protector Fairy', like me. And I would also like to show her, and Sebby, the Royal Archive. Any chance you can twist your mothers arm, get an invite for us all for afternoon tea, then we could pop down to the Archive afterwards."

"I'm sure she'd love to meet her - what's her name?"

"She's Poppy, and she's a little younger than me. Hey, why don't you ask your mum to invite Celeste along too?"

"Excellent idea! I'll let you know when it's arranged.

"Thanks, Rosemary!" and she ended the call.

"You just called Princess Rosemary, 'Rosemary'?"

"Yeah. She actually appreciates it, she said that she gets so fed up with being called 'your royal highness' and 'Princess Rosemary' all the time. I guess it's like Tats..."

"Yeah, but Tats ain't the next queen..."

"Fair comment."

"So, what do I need to know when meeting royalty then?" asked Poppy.

"Well, given who we are, I think it's a lot easier for us. I just try and be generally nice. We call the Queen 'Your Majesty', and Rosemary is 'Your Royal Highness', but I suspect she'll quickly tell you to just call her 'Rosemary'. Rosemary is the same sort of age as your mum and dad, and the Queen is getting her to take on various tasks, so she'll be coming down to the Royal Archive with us."

"And Celeste - I assume that's Princess Celeste?"

"Yup, next in line after her mum. She's our sort of age, I think you'll like her!"

----

Elida and Poppy had teleported to the front door of the palace. They had arranged that Sebby would meet them there.

"Hiya!" said Sebby. "So, we're off to have tea with my many times over great grand-niece?" she added with a bit of a smile. Poppy looked a bit confused, then worked it out.

"Ah, yes, of course! I keep forgetting that you were actually born so long ago!"

So let's remind ourselves: Princess Sebille - training as a tooth fairy about 100 years ago - was caught in the old, mostly destroyed, palace, presumed dead. However, other fairies had put her into a long sleep. When she woke up, she felt very angry with the world, which had destroyed the Palace, and thus became 'the Dark Fairy', doing nasty things to many human's teeth. It was all caused by being in the destroyed Palace: he (the palace, that is) was rather upset too. After removing Princess Sebille from the Palace (who subsequently had the truth explained, and also calmed down) she lost her darkness, and is now pretty much a normal fairy.

So yes, Sebby is theoretically about a hundred and twenty years old, but is actually only a little older than Poppy. Probably because of her age, she has managed to 'fit it' amazingly well with modern fairy society. as well as picking up modern technology really quickly.... and whilst she probably could have 'pulled rank' and just been a 'lazy royal' and done very little, she actually enjoyed working. She was a Tooth Fairy much of the time, but she did get one perk, and that was being allowed to have a bit of time to do research work. Partly that was to understand the history surrounding the old - and now destroyed - Palace, where she was found. But also, it let her help Elida and others, as it turns out she's a bit of a dab hand at finding stuff down in the Archive. Sebby now had her own small apartment in the Palace, and got on well with the staff too.

"Come on, Rosemary should be expecting us!" said Sebby. She took them up to the rather bigger apartment that Princess Rosemary and her family lived in, and rang the bell. The door opened moments later. "You guys ready for tea with Tinkers?" asked Sebby.

Poppy looked at Elida, and whispered "Tinkers?".

"Yes, Tinkers and I seem to have a bit of a strange relationship: theoretically I'm loads older than she is, but at the same time I'm not. When we first met, and bearing in mind that I was a Queen's daughter, we just agreed to just be totally informal with each other." explained Sebby.

The five of them walked to the Queen's apartment, where a PA was waiting for them. "You can go straight in, she's expecting you!"

"Good afternoon, grandma!" said Celeste, running over and hugging the Queen.

"Oh, hello dear, nice to see you. And you too, Sebby and Elida. And I'm guessing this must be Poppy... do come over and let me see you..."

"Your majesty!" said Poppy, making a simple curtsey.

"Good afternoon, your majesty!" said Elida. "I thought that, with Poppy also being a 'Protector', like me, you really ought to meet her."

"Oh, yes, indeed! Well, take a seat everyone, I'm sure the tea and cakes will be here soon." She turned to Poppy: "So, Poppy, how are you enjoying being a 'Protector'?". Elida had told her that, whilst she was actually talking to the Queen, to be her normal self, just be respectful like you would with any older fairy.

"It's definitely interesting! I'm still at school, so only really doing my Protector stuff a couple of days a week, but Elida had been helping me."

"Are you planning on leaving school soon?"

"Yes, the year ends in a few weeks time, then I'll be a full-time Protector!"

"What's been the best bit so far then?" asked the Queen.

"Oh, the books, they are amazing, and they seem to enjoy talking to me too.."

With the ice most definitely broken, and the tea and cakes arriving soon afterwards, they all had a great time talking with the Queen - and the Queen enjoyed having a nice group of people to spend some time with.

"So, Rosemary tells me you're going down to the Royal Archive again..." said the Queen.

"Yes, there's some interesting books there that I think Sebby will enjoy reading, plus I'd like Poppy to have a chat with the books: I'm still a bit stuck on understanding the magic dampening used in the official buildings."

"Ah, yes, I remember you explaining that last time. ..."



Offline Sparky

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Chapter 7

The five fairies went together down to the Royal Archive: Elida and Poppy, Princesses Rosemary and Celeste, and Sebby. As before, Elida had expected that they would need to spend maybe 15 minutes persuading the palace that they were 'worthy' to enter the archive, and got a very pleasant surprise when they got to the main door of the archive.

"Welcome back, Princess Rosemary and Elida! I recognise you both, as well as your three guests, so please come straight in... I see you have brought a new Protector with you! Welcome!". It was the voice of the Royal Palace speaking, and since her last visit, Tats had introduced Elida to the Palace, and they had chatted. The door to the Archive opened without any fuss.

Whilst Poppy had been into The Dark Archive several times now, this was her first visit to the Royal Archive. Today's visit had several purposes: first of all, Elida wanted to show Princess Celeste (the young princess, next in line to be Fairy Queen after her mum, Rosemary) and Sebby what was down there. When she had told Sebby about the old historical books down there relating to the Old Palace, she had asked Elida to take her to have a look, which was the second reason. And, of course, she needed to let Poppy see what was down there too.

Elida created cast some light spells, nicely lighting up the place. "We're in no particular rush, so do take a look around, and while you do that, I'll open the door to the Dark Archive, and bring those books back." - she had already explained to the others how she had found the Dark Archive's location on their earlier visit. With the door open, Elida went and got the books that she had previously borrowed, and returned them to the Royal Archive.

Poppy was fascinated by the many old books, and had a quick chat with a few of them, when suddenly the small book she had been looking at accidentally fell from her hands and onto the floor. She leaned over to retrieve it, and saw to her left, well hidden in the corner under the lowest shelf, another book. She went down on her knees, picked up the book she had dropped, then carefully retrieved the hidden book.

"I wonder what you're doing down there, hidden away?" asked Poppy as she walked with it over to the desk. She put her original book down, and concentrated on this other book, clearly a very old, medium-sized book. "How odd, it's not speaking to me, and it feel's like it's... well... nervous!". She tried to open the book, to see what it was, but it wouldn't let her.

"It's ok, lovely book, there's nothing to be worried about..." said Poppy to the book, trying to reassure it.

"A nervous book?" asked Elida.

"Yeah, she not talking to me, she's kinda shaking nervously, and won't let me open her!" explained Poppy, "And I'm getting a definite feeling of worry from her...". Elida joined Poppy, and also felt the book - as Poppy had said, it felt nervous.

"Never had to deal with a 'nervous book' before! Let me go see if anyone in our Archive has any good spells that might help." Elida walked into the Dark Archive. "Ok, books, got a bit of a strange one for you today: need a spell or two to calm down a rather nervous book in the Royal Archive. Can anyone help?"

Instantly one small book flew off the shelf, and rather than going to the desk, where Elida would be able to open it and read it, it went to the door and waited.

"Something tells me you're very eager to help... well, come on then!", and she led the book into the Royal Archive, where Poppy was still holding the nervous book in her hands. The small book from the Dark Archive went and gently sat right on top of the nervous book that was in Poppy's hands.

Poppy smiled. "This new book is trying to calm down the other one. Ah... she just told it that we are the two protectors, and that she thinks their job is finally done." Poppy addressed the two books: "Yes, I'm Poppy, one of the 'Protectors', and that over there is Elida, she's also a 'Protector'."

Instantly the nervous book seemed to relax. The two books lifted from Poppy's hands, and went to the desk, where they both sat there, next to each other. Poppy put her hands onto the two books.

"I get feeling that these books know each other, they are helping each other for some reason..."

Elida went to the other side of the desk, and put her hands on the two books too. "Well, you two, you have our attention, let's see what this is about: would you care to open up for us?".

The larger book opened up, revealing the title page: 'Spells for the modern fairy'... where modern was probably at least 100 years old. It then turned the page, where it revealed some hand-written text:

'Elida and Poppy:

Please tell the future Queen Serena that we would be delighted to attend her coronation in just over 2 years time: we also look forward to meeting the members from the other five supportive realms again. I'm sure that Sebby can help the future queen decide the place and the time for the important occasion.

Love to you both: E & P'

Elida read it, then re-read it, this time out loud. A huge smile came to her face. "That is just BRILLIANT! We are geniuses!!". Poppy just stood there, not understanding.

"Ah, I've not really told you about Serena, have I?" said Elida.

"Queen Serena? Who is Queen Serena?" asked Poppy.

"Only the most powerful witch of the human realm" said Sebby, walking over to see what the excitement was all about. She read the text in the book. "Well, I understand part of it, but I think you need to explain to the others, and fill in the gaps for me though!"

"Ok, yes! Let me tell you all about Serena - in fact, we'll need to tell her the news later, so you can all meet her. So, Serena is an 18 year old witch - must be almost 19 by now - who lives in the human realm. Now, when witches reach the age of 18, they have to 'pledge to the light'... except Serena wasn't able to pledge to the light, instead pledging to 'the light grey'. This was foretold by a 500 year old prophecy, that listed various things that have already happened, but culminated in the fact that a young witch would pledge to neither the light nor the dark. She would go on to re-unite the covens of the land, fight some undefined evil, and then would become Queen of all the witches of the human realm. So, back in the 1500's, when the prophecy was written, witches were hunted as being evil, causing the covens to split up, and generally hide themselves away, so Serena has quite a job on her hands...."

"Ok, that makes certain sense, but what's that message in the book all about then?" asked Poppy.

"Well, I reckon it's a message from the future... from our future selves." explained Elida.

"What???" asked a very confused Poppy.

"Yes, the future. Look, it's definitely my writing, and 'E & P' is clearly us, and I don't remember having written this yet, so that leaves just the one option... well, assuming we rule out the multi-verse theory. I have read stories.... no, not so much stories as 'inferences' that time magic is possible, but, as I'm sure you've seen in so many films, you have to be very careful not to change the timeline, nor cause a paradox... so any information sent back in time must appear to be as vague as possible. Plus anything you do needs to be amazingly discrete, and only found by who you want to find it"

"Yeah, it's definitely vague...." said Poppy.

"And that is why it is so brilliant! But to me, and hopefully Sebby and Serena, it contains a lot of detail. Ok, let me explain. The simple fact that we are even talking about 'Serena's Coronation' - not that I imagine there would be an actual coronation - implies that Serena manages to defeat the unknown evil, and that this will all happen sometime in the next 2 years."

"Oh, yeah, THAT is clever... do go on.... what's that bit about the realms?"

"Well, we all know there's seven realms: us, the humans, the Elves, the Cyclops, the Leprechauns, the Goblins, and finally the Centaurs... so why does it say 'the other five *supportive* realms'? Well, five plus us and the human realm makes the 7 known realms. The '*supportive* realms'..  That hints to me that the 'evil forces' that Serena will need to fight could well be coming from an eighth 'non-supportive realm', otherwise why would I have even mentioned the 7 realms?"

"Ok, makes sense. But how could we be sure that it would be US that found the book?"

"Well, because we DID just find it, nobody else did, and we'll know that in the future! So looks to me like the invasion will be sometime in the next couple of years, probably in almost 2 years time. It also hints that she's gonna need the backing of us and the other five realms to succeed."

"Ok... all starting to make sense now," said Poppy, "but what's that last bit about? Why does Sebby need to get involved in choosing the place and time for the coronation? Especially if there won't actually BE one?"

"Because I don't think that 'the important occasion' refers to a coronation at all. I think it refers to an actual 'invasion date': I think the time and place are related to both Sebby and Serena"

"Well, if you were to ask me for a place that's relevant to me, I can only think of one, and that's the old Palace, over at Runesdale. Can't think of a relevant date though, other than when the old Palace got destroyed."

"I think you're related to the place, Serena is related to the date."

"What makes you say that?"

"Normally, you'd say 'the time and the place' wouldn't you? But I wrote them the other way around, 'the place and the time'..."

"Yes, that all makes sense. Tell you what, Elida, you really ARE brilliant!" Poppy smiled as she now understood how such a vague message contained so much detailed information.

"No, poppy, WE are brilliant: I have no doubt that you were as responsible for this as I was. Will be.... whatever!"

"So, we two sent these two books back to today, so we would find them? But why in here, rather than the Dark Archive?" asked Poppy.

"To answer your second question first: the Dark Archive is just too busy, if we had sent this book there - probably a much easier option - it would very likely have been found by now, so the Royal Archive is a much more sensible location for it. But how to get it in here? This place is locked down so tightly there is no way we could have magicked it into here - I told you how last time it took us 20 minutes to get in. So there's only one way the book could have got here - it took the long way around!"

"The long way?"

"This place was built almost 100 years ago, after the old palace was destroyed - Sebby can tell you ALL about that! I think we would have sent it back to just after the old palace was destroyed, told it to hide in the rubble with all the other books destined for the Royal Archive, let it be brought here with all the other books, then hide itself in the darkest corner until we found it again. Same for the other book, but telling it to head for the Dark Archive."

"So why TWO books?"

"Well, you saw how scared this lovely book was! I'm not surprised: she's been hiding away for most of a century, trying very hard to not be found, then someone - you - found her. Do you REALLY expect her to recognise you after a hundred years? And we will KNOW - in the future - what happened today, so I'm guessing we sent her 'sister' back to be able to 'reassure' her, but we sent her to the Dark Archive: apart from the fact that she has also had an extra 100 years added to her life, there's nothing particularly special about her, she could hide in almost plain sight, until a protector came in, asking for help with 'a nervous book'. That's a pretty specific trigger! As I said, we are geniuses!".

"Just one question though," asked Sebby. "Does that mean there are second copies of these books somewhere in the library?"

"It probably does, and I think we need to make sure they stay well apart from each other, Temporal Paradoxes and all that stuff. So, Poppy, you stay here with these two books, I'll  find the other two original copies. Ok, so books here in the Royal Archive, I'm looking for a second copy of 'Spells for the modern fairy'... are you in here? Don't come here, just stay where you are and 'poke your nose out'. No? What about 'Fairy love spells'? No? Ok, I'm guessing they are probably both in the Dark Archive: let me go and have a word with them."

Elida went back to the Dark Archive. "Hi books, looking for copies of 'Spells for the modern fairy' and 'Fairy love spells', please come over to the desk...". Two books, one larger, one smaller, and identical to the other two books (but looking about 100 years newer), came from the far back corner of the archive and sat on the desk. "Thank you, books. I can't say too much right now, but I need you two to stay safely in here for the moment, do NOT try to go next door, even though you may feel a desire, or even a need, to do so... it's for your own safety. At some point in the future, I'll come here with Poppy and ask for you both again, in the meantime, I want all the other books to be good to you, and protect you. Understood everyone? Thank you! You can go back to your shelves when you're ready." With that, Elida returned to the Royal Archive.

"Ok, you two amazing books!" said Elida to the two books that had spent 100 years longer sitting around than all the other books, "I need you both to stay in here in the Royal Archive - away from the Dark Archive - but there's no longer any need for either of you to hide. The rest of you, treat these two books like heroes, like royalty, what they have just done by waiting for an extra 100 years has been quite spectacular! You two, feel very proud of what you have done...." said Elida to the books.

"I guess we need to have a word with Serena at some point, don't we?" suggested Sebby.

"Yep, but I'm not seeing a great rush: let's spend some time in here and do what we came here for."


-----------

"So, I'm guessing that, when we need to send those books back in time, it should be fairly easy as we'll know what to do?" asked Poppy later on.

"In principle yes, but for one minor detail..." replied Elida.

"Oh, what's that then?"

"Well, I sure don't know any time-magic... do you?"

"Ah, yes, good point! So, tell me more about Serena. I mean, how DO you actually talk with her? I thought adult humans can't see us..."

"True, but Serena is no normal human, she's an amazingly powerful witch... kinda like us, but over in the human world, although she can do some quite dark magic if she needs to." Elida explained to Poppy how she had originally met, and how they became friends.


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 8


Elida was in her FI5 office, reading a few official documents, Poppy was 'downstairs' in the Dark Archive.

"Ahem!" said a voice that Elida recognised as being Poppy. She looked up from what she was doing, and looked at Poppy, who had a MASSIVE smile on her face.

"Poppy, I thought you were down in the Archive?"

"I was..."

"But I didn't hear you come back up the stairs..."

"That's because I didn't use them..." replied Poppy, still with that massive smile on her face.

"What, you mean you just teleported up here?"

"Yup. I finally worked out the extra spells to get around the magic dampening spells in the building!"

"Poppy, that is amazing! Abso-bloomin-lutey amazing! You have just earned a bonus amount of extra respect from me! I will admit that I had been struggling with those books."

"It's not that hard, once you make sense of everything. It's actually only another three spells, one to let you do the 'probe ahead', the other two to get the magic dampening spells to 'back off' at each end."

"Oh, nice... tell you what, these documents can wait, I think you need to teach me what I need to do!"

For Poppy, this was a watershed day: it was the first time that she had worked out some fairy magic that Elida hadn't, and it massively boosted her confidence that she was indeed quite worthy of being a Protector. In fact, the effect for Elida was similar: this was the day she started to think more of Poppy as being her equal, rather than being 'the trainee'.

-----

"Hi Lilly!". Lilly looked up from what she was reading.

"Oh, hi Elida... Poppy..." replied Lilly. "When did you come in? Never heard you..."

"That's because we didn't!" replied Elida.

"Uh?"

"We teleported here from our office." Lilly stopped an thought for a few seconds. "Umm, I thought you couldn't teleport in the official buildings?"

"Well, we can now!"

"You finally worked it out?"

"No, I've been struggling for a while to work it out. Poppy worked it out!"

"Well, what can I say? Well done, Poppy! Nice one!"

"Yes, I was rather impressed myself! Which leads me on to something else..."

"Which is?"

"I'd like Poppy to officially be recognised as my deputy here at FI5. Several times now she's shown she's pretty much as able as me."

"I'm very happy with that. You told Tats yet?"

"No... half a moment...". Elida did a new style of probe, the sort than now let her see inside the magic-restricted building. "She's in her office, let's go see her now!"

Lilly started to walk to the door.

"No, not like that. Hold Poppy's hand...". Elida and Poppy both said the spell to probe then teleport to Tats' office. Tats was standing up, a cup of coffee on her hand, when the three of them arrived in her office, a matter of about 3 feet from her. Luckily she didn't have any coffee in her mouth, but she DID managed to drop her cup, which still had a bit of coffee in it!

"What the f***??!!" said Tats, who was very surprised. "Sh*t, you guys have worked out how to do it indoors, haven't you?"

Poppy smiled very proudly. "Poppy did!" said Elida.

"Well, well done Poppy! I know Elida's been struggling with it for a while!".

"Absolutely!" echoed Lilly. "So, Elida has suggested that Poppy should officially be her deputy... I think she's probably ready to do that, what do you think?"

"Yeah, I'm ok with that... Sounds like Poppy is fast becoming an important member of FI5!"


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 9


Serena was relaxing in her bedroom, when she saw something happen in the corner of her eye. A plate, with a few crumbs on, had just appeared on her bedside table. Serena smiled.

"I wish that plate had a lovely piece of.... no, hang on, I'm getting a bit fed up with that lovely cream cake. I mean it's nice, but you can get too much of a good thing! How about a couple of those lovely custard filled doughnuts with icing on top? Oh, and how about a cup of tea to go with it? And thank you, Elida....".

Serena summoned Wanda, and cast the spell that would make Elida visible to her. She got a bit of a surprise: there was a whole group of fairies there.

"Hello Serena, nice to see you again. Sorry to come mob-handed, but I have important news, and you need to meet these guys!"

"Well, hello everyone! Make yourselves comfortable. Let me magic up a knife so I can share the doughnuts with you. I guess you all know who *I* am, so Elida, who's all your friends?"

"Well, you should remember Sebby, she came with me last time..."

"Ah, yes, hi there Sebby, nice to see you again!"

"Ok, so you remember I told you how I work with two other fairies to run FI5? Well, this is them, Lilly and Tats, they are both my friends and colleagues."

"Hello there, Lilly, hello there, Tats!".

"This here is Princess Rosemary, she's next in line to the throne..."

"Your royal highness, a pleasure to meet you!"

"And finally, this is Poppy: like me, she is a 'protector fairy'."

"Hello Poppy. Umm, I thought you once told me that you guys were 'once in a generation' fairies?"

"Yeah, seems that the universe decided that the difficult times coming up could do with two of us!"

"Oh... difficult times?"

"Yes, we have important news. Hey, mind if I use your printer?"

"Sure, go ahead, although it doesn't do wifi..."

"And you think THAT will stop me using it?" said Elida, printing out a sheet of paper: a transcript of what was written in the front of the 'Spells for the modern fairy' book. Once it had printed, Serena grabbed it, and read it.

"Interesting, but I'm not sure I fully understand it...". said Serena.

"So, yesterday, we found this written in the front of an old book: a book that we're 99.9% sure our future selves had sent back in time for us to find. To help reduce any sort of time paradox, we were clearly very careful what we wrote..." and she went on to explain what she thought it meant.

"Hmm, sounds to me like it might be helpful if I got Samantha, Sarah and Harper here, they need to hear this too!"

"Good idea, and while you do that, we can tuck in to the doughnuts. Hey, I'm gonna need another wish, for the extra teas and cakes..."

Serena phoned her three companions, then used one of her slightly darker-than-light spells to summon them over to her room. As they arrived, one by one, Serena introduced them.

And as they each arrived, they were each rather surprised to see a group of six fairies sitting in small chairs, drinking tea and eating small bits of the doughnuts. In addition, Elida had magicked up more teas and doughnuts for the 3 extra witches.

"Ok, guys, this is Elida, you've heard me mention her before. Maybe it's simpler if I hand over to her."

"Hello there, Samantha, Sarah and Harper, thanks for coming over at short notice!" She went on to introduce the other 5 fairies, and to briefly explain that she and Poppy were especially powerful fairies, rather like Serena was a special witch. "So, when Serena and I met last time, she explained all about the prophecy to me, it was definitely something we needed to be aware of. Anyway, yesterday, when we went to our Royal Archive, Poppy found a book. In the front of the book was a message, which sounds very much like our future selves sent back to us...". Serena passed them copies of the message that Elida had printed out.

"So, let me explain our thinking: that first bit says to me that we wrote it after the 'dark threat' has been defeated, and that it's all going to happen in a couple of years time: although to be honest, I can't for a minute imagine Serena actually having a coronation! The fact that the other five realms are deemed to be supportive - which I would expect them to be - says to me that the dark invasion is probably going to come from an eighth realm..."

"Excuse me for interrupting, but 5 realms? 8th realm?"

"Ah, sorry, yes, I guess I need to explain: there are 7 known realms..." Elida explained about the known 7 realms, and the unknown 8th realm. "So the last bit: we believe the time and place is nothing to do with a coronation, it's to do with the invasion. Sebby has a substantial attachment to a fairy location near the town of Runesdale, so we're thinking that's where it's going to happen. Just need Serena to work out when... but it's in about 2 years!"

"You know, Elida, I'm impressed at so many levels." said Harper. "For a start, I never really believed that you guys were real. But being able to send something back 2 years in time, that's pretty cool!"

"Actually, for reasons I won't go in to, we believe that we actually sent the book we wrote the message in back about 100 years, to wait for us to find it."

"That is even MORE amazing, how on earth did you do that?"

"We have no idea, we've not found any time magic - yet. But clearly we'll work it out... in fact, knowing that we CAN do it should make it easier to work out how. So, Serena, what's special to you that's going to happen in a couple of years time?"

"Hmm, no idea... I guess I need to have a think!"

"Well, yes, there's no great urgency, we do have 2 years. But it means that we know that we have 2 years to prepare ourselves for this invasion."

"We? I thought I was the one the prophecy says has to defeat them?" said Serena

"Something tells me that you're going to need a bit of help, magic help." explained Elida. "We've made a few very unofficial 'calls' to contacts in the other realms, they all think they will want  to get involved: their thinking is that if this invasion were to succeed, then it would be likely that their realms would be at risk next. So, our next step is to brief our 'diplomats' to open up channels with those realms, so at some point we're going to have to meet with them, discuss the practical stuff."

Serena took a deep breath. "Talk about 'in at the deep end'! I'm no diplomat..."

"Don't worry, you'll be ok, and we'll be there too. So, according to your prophecy, you have to reunite your covens - how's that going? Will it be done in 2 years"

"It's actually going very well... in fact, the whole thing has got so big now that I've delegated most of the work to a team of trustworthy witches."

"Oh, that's good. You said you were going to do something about getting some training, for the cache of weapons you found?"

"I'm thinking that we need to find some suitable army people who can train us, and now we know roughly when it will happen, it's going to concentrate my mind a bit, make me actually do something."

"Well, there must be a load of witches in your armed forces, and it wouldn't surprise me if they got a few of them together as some sort of 'special operations team'... but I guess I'll need to leave that to you. Shout if you think we can help."

"Thanks, Elida. So, do you know anything about this eighth realm yet?"

"Not yet, but we're hoping someone in one of the other realms might have some relevant information: as soon as we know anything, we'll let you know." said Elida

"So, this date in a couple of years time...." asked Sebby. "Any ideas?"

"Hmm, can't think of anything.... unless...?"

"Unless?"

"Well, I'm nineteen in a couple of week's time, so in two years time I'll be 21..."

"That sounds like a reasonably significant date to me. Yes, I know it's supposed to be 18, but unless you can think of some other suitable date...? Elida?"

"I think you're probably right: anything I'd be thinking of when we wrote the message would need to be simple and obvious, even if it was a few days out. Probably just as accurate at the location being related to the old Fairy Palace at Runesdale. Nice one, we have an approximate location, and an approximate date, I'm feeling much happier about things."

"So, lots to do" said Sarah, "but at least we now know we have 2 years to get ready!"


Offline Sparky

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The next bit of the story is about Serena...


So, Serena has met her companions, and has got all her weapons etc, plus 4 extra members of the team she wasn't expecting.

And she's now discovered that it seems that the "Dark Threat" as defined by the prophecy will happen in 2 years time. From a magical 8th realm.

In the meantime, she needs to continue reuniting the covens, but beyond that, she now needs to prepare herself and her team to be able to fight the 'Dark Threat'... and I think they could do with some serious military-style training.

So, how would she go about doing that? I'm thinking in this story that witches are probably about 0.1% of the population (the city where I live is about 50,000, so a coven of around 50 would seem reasonable), so that would give about 200 witches in the British military. Would they actually USE their witching skills: knowing the military, if they had wind of witches (and they've had plenty of time to find out about them!) then I would almost ASSUME that there is a team of witches, like the SAS / Seals / Paratroop regiment in the military. Of course, their mere existence would be kept highly secret.

But THEY are the people that Serena would need to find, both to GET trained, but maybe to also get THEM better trained in magic to help 'fight the dark threat'. There is no doubt that traditional weapons would be of no use, magic MUST be used.

So how WOULD Serena find this team? She knows noone within the military. Should she start at the top? That could be quite difficult. So how?

That's what the next bit of the story is about.....