Author Topic: Invasion from the 8th Realm: a story of fairies, witches, elves, and others....  (Read 9011 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

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...." 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.


"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."


"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.


"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...?"


"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.....

Offline Braceface2015

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I assume the fairies would have some access to the military, even if it is unofficial. The fairies have a form of intelligence gathering that matches or exceeds what the military has, so there is bound to be some cross-over of resources.

I'm sure that some of the witches in the military would be a part of at least one of the covens and would provide some form of contact for Serena. Even if it is low-level, it is still a way for her to gain access to higher levels of authority in the military.

Offline Braceface2015

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That last chapter should be 9.

Offline Sparky

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I assume the fairies would have some access to the military, even if it is unofficial. The fairies have a form of intelligence gathering that matches or exceeds what the military has, so there is bound to be some cross-over of resources.

I'm sure that some of the witches in the military would be a part of at least one of the covens and would provide some form of contact for Serena. Even if it is low-level, it is still a way for her to gain access to higher levels of authority in the military.

Yes, I think the fairies would be aware of the military, but with Serena being the only human / witch who seems to have the magic to make them visible, that rather restricts what the fairies can actually do. Apart from making them cups of tea and giving them cakes!!!

Witches in the military: for most of them, the fact they were a witch would be relatively irrelevant, as most witches in my story do no more than trivial magic. If they are any good at magic, and use that 'in the line of duty', then it's something they will NOT be able to talk about ('official secrets act' and all that!), although, yes, someone in a coven might be willing to say that a family member is in the army or whatever. But the likelihood is that would lead to a non-useful person. So I'm thinking she needs some way to find army witches.

One disadvantage Serena has is that she is not only young, but relatively inexperienced at dealing with 'people in positions of power'. Technically, she could easily teleport past any security into the Prime Minister's office, or similar... but would they be willing to talk to her? Probably not. She'd be taken by security pretty quickly, if she didn't teleport out too quickly. So starting right at the top would be rather difficult too...

We'll find out in the next episode what she does.... (it was the best I could come up with, and it's vaguely credible!)

Chapter # updated! (that'll teach me to cut'n'paste!)

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 10

Hereford was a long way away from home, but Serena needed to be there, because THAT is where the Special Air Services seem to be based.

Serena, Harper, Sarah and Samantha had spent some time talking about how they could find someone who could give them some 'suitable' training in fighting. They worked out that, if witches made up even 0.1% of the population, then there must be quite a few witches in the armed forces. They guessed that most of them would simply 'fit in', carrying out minimal magic, just like parents would when looking after their kids.

But there must also be a small number who take a normal skill set, and develop it: let's think gymnastics for example: we all do a little bit of it at school, but there are a few who compete at the local level. Then there are people like Harper, the elite, who show off their skills at the national and international level. The numbers of people can be counted on a few hands. But that's the sort of numbers they were thinking of in the forces. In the SAS (according to Wikipedia) a troop is 16 members: having a troop of all witches would make a LOT of sense, they would have some amazingly special skills, but skills which both they, and the military system would keep very quiet about. And even if they had it wrong, and there was no specific witch troop, there would definitely be witches somewhere within the SAS. And if not the SAS, then the Para's.

And the military must have known about witches for quite some time, so we're not talking about something recent. You might ask 'why would the military know about witches?'. Well, if Serena's headmistress was aware, then there's no question that the military would be aware.

So, they needed to somehow make contact with this team of elite witches. The question was how.

One thought was to try and find such people when they were not on base... so maybe down the local pub... bit let's be honest, that's not going to be THAT easy.

The other thought was to 'start at the top'. Harper did some deep searching online, and discovered that Brigadier General Smith had take over as Director of Special Forces in 2021. The question was where he was based, and lived. The SAS has their RHQ in Hereford, but they also have a presence in the Regent's Park Barracks, in London.

Sarah had booked them all an AirBnB in Hereford, which was only a couple of miles from the base in Credenhill. The plan was that Serena, and others as needed, would get closer to the site, to let Serena probe around, and find out where Brigadier General Smith had his office, and where he lived.

Luckily, around where the base was located, there was plenty of countryside, where they could legitimately be: that might let them do some training, but it was a place where Serena could sit, and probe into the base. She would need to be careful, because if there were, as they thought, highly skilled witches on the site, it's quite possible that some of them could be on some form of 'advanced guard duty', scanning for other witches. Serena's hope was that they would be scanning for ACTUAL witches, and not be able to detect a witch scanning into the base.

Google maps showed a lot of identical small buildings, which they assumed would be the actual barracks, the living quarters for the men, so the 'offices' would likely be in one of the larger buildings.

So, their cover story was that they were simply 4 friends who had decided to have a short break, and take the opportunity to visit some local countryside. The first place they visited was the SAS Cemetery, a rather nice place where it would not seem unreasonable for people to want to visit, and sit and contemplate. It was also conveniently close to the main entrance to the base.

So they all wandered around the cemetery, then went and sat on the grass, and drank the drinks they had brought with them. Serena was able to 'wander over' to the gatehouse, where luck was on her side: there were very simplified base maps there for visitors, to help them find where they needed to go, and the main office building were shown.

So Serena wandered over to the first one. Yes, it was indeed offices, but more for support staff, not for the higher ranking members of staff. Finally she found a building that fitted the bill a lot better. As she started to 'wander around' the building, she probed the people she passed, to see if any of them were witches. The problem was, of course, that a witch with any reasonable level of skill would detect a probe, so Serena had to make them incredibly fast and light. Yes, she found one witch in a small office, and having scanned her and realised that she was a witch, she decided to stay there a bit, and watch how she reacted - luckily there was no apparent reaction, which pleased Serena. As she continued to wander around the building, she noticed that there were a few armed personnel around, clearly guarding the place.... all of which made Serena believe she was vaguely in the right place.

"Serena, I think we need to get going soon" suggested Sarah.

"Can we manage another five minutes? I'm making some good progress.."

"I think five minutes will be ok...."

She went up a floor, where she found a couple of small meeting rooms, and then a much larger 'briefing' room: she felt that she was maybe in the right place. There were a few rather nice but small offices along the corridor, with people in them. A minute later she hit gold: a much larger office, with a fairly fancy desk on one side, plus a meeting table to the other... but noone there. She worked back, to find a small outside office, with a couple of clerical staff of some sort. She scanned them, in case they were witches, but they weren't. Then she had a quick look around at various bits of paperwork on the desk: one had Brigadier General Smith's name on it.

"Ok, I think I found his office, but he's not there at the moment. So, let's move on...."

"How you feeling there, Serena?" asked Samantha, as they got up to go back to the car.

"If you're asking if I could do with some of your magic, then yes please...". As they walked back to the car, Samantha took Serena's hand, and cast some recuperative magic on her.

"Find any witches?" asked Sarah.

"Just the one, a lady in an office. She didn't seem to be worried by my quick probe though. So, let's go to that Sugwas Pools park place, its not far from here: it has some nice paths and trees to the south, how about you take us there? Once we're there, I think I'll teleport over onto that small island and check it out, might be a bit quieter for us....."

"Good idea. So what your plan?"

"I'd like to probe around a bit more, see how many more witches I can find..."

Online TrainTrack

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Really good story, I like that it is not a story focused on only braces, but a whole lot of other things as well, along with a developing plot line. Also, how do you find time to write this much, especially with something like 3 stories going at once!?

Offline Sparky

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Being semi-retired gives me quite a bit of time. Before the words are written, I think the story concept through in spare minutes of the day... plenty of those. Plus, the story development has been happening over a period of several months.... Carol was started probably almost a year ago...big chunks got written there, then deleted, as the story was getting silly and the direction difficult.

The amount of braces in Carol will reduce massively now she has her new retainer...

Offline Braceface2015

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Writing takes time. Some of my stories were started years ago and I have worked on them off and on.

You have to make the time to write. Find a quiet place where you can work on your story and don't worry about writing a lot of pages. Even if all you do is write a few lines, you have still created something for your story.

Write about what interests you, not what you think everyone wants to read. Sparky and I have very different interests and it shows in what we write.

I prefer to use GoogleDocs when I write, while others use Microsoft Word. All of the popular programs have a spellchecker and I highly advise using it. Another good idea is to find someone to proofread each chapter for you. By the time I post a chapter, I have read it several times and still find things I missed later on.

Offline kelly-Marie

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When I used to write stories I had to write it as I thought of it then post it straight onto this site especially as I can't write by hand  I only have a tablet computer and have no idea how to do it any other way. Also I never had any training on how to use this or any other computer I'm not making excuses just stating fact. Sparky another way the fairy's could find the military people they are looking for is to take advantage of their Fi5 training and use it to gain access to the human Mi5/Ci5 organisations that could be helpful? Wish ide suggested it earlier but I've only just caught up with my reading

Offline Sparky

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.....Sparky another way the fairy's could find the military people they are looking for is to take advantage of their Fi5 training and use it to gain access to the human Mi5/Ci5 organisations that could be helpful?

Yes, I guess it could be quite easy for the fairies to find out stuff (but remember, in my fairies universe, adults generally can't see them, so can't interact with them). I'm sure they could easily hack the relevant computers if they wanted, but where would be the fun in that? We need some fun, some adventure....

No, I felt that finding a way into the military was something that Serena needed to do (although I'm sure she'll call on the fairies for a bit of help at some point!).

So, I guess you'd like another chapter, wouldn't you?.....

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 11

When they got to the park, Serena 'popped over' to the island, then came back to the others. "I think it would be advantageous if we all went over there: there's plenty of space, also plenty of cover, so we should be able to remain undisturbed".

Over on the island, Serena sat down and continued her probing, while the others used the opportunity to do some exercises, led by Harper. Like she had done earlier, Serena started to probe around the army site, but this time she decided to try the smaller buildings, where she found quite a few army guys. Outside one of the huts, she discovered a guy, and a very light probe indicated that he was a witch. She started probing a group of others nearby, to discover that they too were all witches.

She moved her attention inside the block, and could see another group, actively practising some magic. Yes, she had just hit gold: a group of army witches whose use of magic was well above the 'calming an upset child' level.

Knowing that they were all witches, Serena decided to continue very carefully - she didn't really want to be discovered yet, she needed time to work out what to do.

Over the next hour, Serena saw various other people come and go, interacting with the others, but probing for such a long time was very tiring.

"You ok, Serena?" asked Sarah when Serena had opened her eyes.

"Yeah, a bit tired, but it was well worth it." She explained what she had found out. "I think I need to stop for today, but I'd like to come back, tomorrow morning, learn more about their abilities, and who's in charge of them. From what I read, there should be 16 of them in the troop, plus a captain in charge of them... I'm sure whoever he reports to must be onsite too, and maybe that's who I need to talk to...."

"Ok, well let's go back to the house, then you can tell us more about what you've found out, and we can think about what to do."


Back at the house, Serena tells everyone else what she's learned, and they do a bit more research online, but don't really find anything of use, so decide to return the following morning.

As for Sarah, Samantha and Harper, they had spent the time doing some simple physical stuff: after 'warming up', they did some jogging and running, then used the trees: climbing them, and using then for pull-ups and things.

So, next morning they are back on the island, and Serena starts to probe again. They guys aren't in or near the hut, but she eventually finds them, working out in what might be simplistically called a 'gym'. She recognised a couple of the guys, and wanted to confirm what she believed, that they were all witches, so she lightly probed a few of them, to discover that yes, they were.

As she continued to watch them, she could detect that they were using some simple bits of magic, to help them do what they were doing. Another guy came in, and one of the others - one of the guys she had probed, went over to him and whispered something to him - unfortunately, it was sufficiently quiet that her probe was unable to hear what was said.

"I'll go have a word with the boss" he says.


There was a knock on the door.

"Come" replied Major Tom. The door opened, and Captain Hughes walking in, and closed the door behind him.

"Permission to speak openly and freely, sir?" he said

"Take a seat, and go on...."

Serena was still on the island and was still remotely eavesdropping. She had followed the Captain as he had walked across the site: this was her chance to find out who was next in the chain of command - and probably the person she actually needed to speak with.

"Some of the men have reported a strange feeling... a feeling of maybe being probed by an experienced witch from outside".

'Oh crap' thought Serena, 'I could have done with a bit more time to prepare for this....' She had to think on her feet....

"My apologies Major Tom, Captain Hughes, that would have been me.....". Serena was using magic to talk directly to their minds. She had worked out the captain's name when he spoke to the major's secretary, who was in the next office. The major's name was on his door. "By the way, just talk to me, I can hear you ok..." The two of them were silent for a moment, clearly very surprised at hearing Serena's voice in their heads.

"And you are? And what do you want?" asked Major Tom.

"To answer your second question, I need your help, or more specifically, I guess it would be your troop's help. As for who I am, I hasten to say I am not a threat to any of you. Have you read the 'witches' prophecy', the one written about 500 years ago?"

"It sounds familiar....." said the Major.

"Just a moment, let me send you a copy.....". Serena summoned a copy of two versions of the prophecy, and used more magic to send copies of them to the Major's desk. "Take a look on your desk, Major....".

The Major turned and looked at his desk, where he was slightly surprised to see two new pieces of paper. He spent a moment reading them, then passed them to Captain Hughes. "Yes, now I see it again, it does seem familiar..."

"I'm that young witch, named in the prophecy. I'm sure you appreciate that what I'm doing right now is probably classified as 'great skills and abilities'. And as you'll see, the prophecy says that I have to 'defeat the attacks of the darkness'... and that's where I need your help!"

The two army men looked at each other: this wasn't the way they had been trained to do things, but it was clear that this witch who had intruded was quite capable, but so far, was not posing any sort of threat.

"What sort of help do you mean?"

"Well, for a start, I'm actually quite young, so - not too surprisingly - I don't have any military training. Plus, whilst we have some rather amazing magical weapons available to us, we could really do with some training on how to use them. And I'm also hoping your troop of witches might be able to help in the fight... "

"Our troop of witches?" said Major Tom.

"Yeah, the group of guys that Captain Hughes leads. Come on, I've been watching them yesterday and today, I know they are all witches!"

"Shit, she's good!" said the captain to the major.

"Thanks for the complement!" said Serena. "So, yes, I could really do with your help to help defeat this 'dark threat'".

"So, you really want us to believe that this - 500 year old, you said, didn't you? - this prophecy is actually true?"

"Well, if you think about it, all the things up until the 'uniting the covens' bit have actually already come true... I mean, 'plague of the mask' is pretty clear!"

"Ok... and uniting the covens?"

"It's happening! Hundreds of witches from across the country are once again talking to each other, in a friendly way. So yes, still a long way to go, but it's happening..."

"So this supposed 'attack of the darkness'. You really believe that it is true?"

"Various covens have been able to provide 'resources', resources which specifically respond to me and my small team - and only to us. All apparently linking into bits of the prophecy. I'm talking not only information, but a substantial cache of advanced weapons."

"And I don't suppose you happen to know WHEN and WHERE this confrontation will take place?"

"Well, 'from unattributable intelligence obtained', it's definitely going to happen: we believe we know the place and the date... in just under 2 years time we believe."

"And you know this how?"

"I'm sorry Major, I can't give any further details right now, 'need to know' and all that." Serena was secretly amused that she was able to turn the tables on 'the authority figures' for a change! "Look, I'm rather nervous about what I'm doing at the moment. I'm probably breaking so many laws right now just talking to you, and I have no desires to get myself arrested...."

The Captain chuckled quite briefly. "Yes, I can understand you're probably a bit nervous. Can you at least tell us your name?"

"My name is Serena..."

"Hello Serena!" said Major Tom. "From what you have told me, I think we ought to meet with you, and talk a bit more...."

"I'd like that, I'm just a bit apprehensive. I mean, there's a soldier stationed outside your group of offices with what appears to be some sort of machine gun, and I can see that Captain Hughes also has a gun on him.... If you could promise me that I'd be safe, I could come there right now..."

"Yeah, might be a problem getting you through security at such short notice...."

"Sorry, I didn't explain myself too well there, did I? When I said 'come there', I was meaning I could teleport into your office."

"You must be very close to be able to do that...".

"Not at all, but my advanced magic skills let me teleport quite long distances."

"Ok, Serena, just give me a moment...". Serena heard him pick up the phone, and spoke to some sort of secretary: "I'm in an important meeting with Captain Hughes, no interruptions of ANY sort for the next 30 minutes, please!"

"Thank you Major, give me a moment..." said Serena. Serena was actually with her 'team' over on the island of the country park / lake: she told them what she was about to do.

"If I'm not back in 30 minutes... then.... to be honest, I have no idea who would be able to help!"

"Ghostbusters?" suggested Harper, smiling.

"Yeah, probably your best bet! Actually, get in touch with Elida if there's a problem."

"Good luck, Serena!"

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 12

Serena fitted her dark-metal jewellery, then held her hands up as if surrendering: she didn't want anyone to feel a need to point a gun at her. Then she had a word with her braces and Wanda, and teleported herself into Major Tom's office: it looked exactly as her scanning had indicated. She had specifically landed on the opposite side of the office from where the two SAS men were.

"Good morning Major, Captain. The only weapon I have is my wand, and she's hidden right now, for her own safety." The Major and Captain both looked at Serena: a tall slim 18 year old girl, gentle but bold makeup, piercings, long hair, jeans, t-shirt, and a denim jacket. The Captain went over and patted her down - Serena understood that they couldn't be too careful. 

Serena still felt very apprehensive and rather nervous, so had taken the precaution of preparing another teleportation spell, which would allow her to leave at a moment's notice.

The Major motioned for her to sit down and join them. "I have a feeling you should just start at the start, and tell us both what you know..."

Serena told her story: that, like in the prophecy, she was an only child. At 16 learnt that she was a witch. Found magic pretty easy to do. At 18 pledged to 'the light grey', which turned out to match the prophecy. She explained about the 'teeth of metal', how the braces were actually sentient, and provided a lot of protection from the dark magic that she was continuing to learn. "I have met my three companions, as per the prophecy, plus we have gained access to a large set of magical weapons that were being protected by a local coven..."

"When you say weapons, I'm guessing you mean old swords and shields and that sort of thing?" suggested the captain.

"Well, initially, yes, but we ran an upgrade spell: we now have some rather advanced stuff, some of which we haven't actually worked out yet..."

"What sort of things?"

"Laser rifles. Guns that can shoot around corners. That sort of thing..."

"You mean laser guided rifles?"

"No, I mean laser rifles, like you see in sci-fi films! The problem we have is that none of us have any military or weapons training: I was rather hoping you might be able to help us with some training."

"And what would we get out of this?"

"Well, if you don't mind, I think we will need your team to get involved, you know, in the fighting. Then, if things all work out, I don't see why you couldn't keep some of the rather nice magic weapons, weapons that noone else in the military has, or would be able to use for that matter."

There was a short pause. "So, this 'battle with evil', what do you know about it?"

"Well, as I said, we are pretty sure whe know where it will be, and that it will be in about 2 years time. And we have a good idea WHO it will be too."

"And who WILL it be?"

"This is the hard part to explain. Would you mind if I asked a fairy to join us?"

Captain Hughes started to laugh. "A fairy? You're joking?"

"No, I'm absolutely serious. There are 7 known realms, the human realm, where we are now. Then there's the Fairy realm, the Elven realm and 4 others. Am I ok to ask my friendly fairy to join us?"

"I guess so, if it helps to explain things" replied the Major, smiling. "Fairies indeed!" he muttered half under his breath.

"I hope you both like cream cake!" said Serena. The other two looked at her, as if she was a bit bonkers. "I wish Elida could bring us 3 slices of that lovely cream cake. And 3 cups of tea to go with it would be even better! And something for youself too."

A piece of paper appeared in mid-air, and fluttered to the ground: Serena picked it up. It simply said "Serena, please can you give me 3 or 4 minutes? Elida". She passed it over to the Major, who looked suitably bemused: he was still unsure what to actually believe. He knew what Captain Hughes and his men were capable of, and that pretty much covered everything that Serena had apprently done so far. Bits of paper with writing on falling from the air was something a 16 year old could do. Teleporting short distances was a bit harder, but the troop of witches used it regularly to their advantage. But if Serena was trying to perpetrate some sort of hoax, then why?

"Ok, so while we wait, let me tell you about the 'who'. We believe that we will be attacked by some sort of - and we assume magical - creatures from the 8th realm. There is little information about them, but the fairies and I have met with members of the other 5 realms, who realise that we all need to join together to fight them, with a variety of magic. Anyway, everyone has gone off to look in their old books to see what they can find out about that 8th realm. The big problem that I see is that as soon as anyone in the military discovers that we are 'being invaded', they'll go in mob-handed... but they'll have absolutely zero effect, apart from probably getting themselves killed. It's going to need magic to defeat a magical invasion, and a lot of it. That's part the reason I needed to find you guys. Not only can you guys help out, but Major, you need to try and persuade the military to stay well away!"

"This is starting to sound like a lot of sci-fi films..." commented Captain Hughes.

"Yep, it is. Hopefully you'll believe things a bit more when Elida gets here.". It was just then that three cups of tea, and three small plates with cake on appeared on the Major's desk.

"What the....?" said the rather suprised Major.

"Ah, she's made it... let me make her visible....". Serena called for Wanda, and ran the spell that allowed them all to see Elida: about 6 inches tall, with rather cute wings, Elida was wearing a t-shirt over a longer top, with jeans and trainers, and a short skirt on top of that. Her long ginger hair was tied back in a ponytail. Oh, and on her wrists she had some rather nice studded wrist straps. Her overall look made it clear that Elida was quite 'street-wise'.

"Major Tom, Captain Hughes, this is Elida. As she has explained it to me, she's as powerful a fairy as I am a witch, and she's one of the three fairies that runs FI5. If you hadn't worked it out yet, Elida, we're at an SAS site."

"Good morning gentlemen, nice to meet you both! By the way, do enjoy your elevenses... So, yes, I help to run FI5 - it's the fairy equivalent of your MI5. I've actually been on this site before, with some of our FAS troops, to watch what your guys do..."

"FAS?" interrupted the Major, still getting over the shock that fairies actually existed.

"'Fairy Air Services', of course. Modelled on you guys! So, what can I do to help, Serena?"

"I've just been explaining how we need their help to train us and to fight the 'invasion' from the 8th realm.... I think you should start by explaining the 7 realms to these gentlemen." suggested Serena.

"Ah, yes. So you humans exist in one of the realms, we fairies are in an adjacent realm... in fact, of all the realms, our two are the closest, and easiest to move between. The fact that we're in a different realm is the reason you can't normally see fairies. We fairies seem to exist to make your human lives a bit more pleasant, by granting your wishes - like the tea and cake there. Then there's the Elven Realm: elves are also magical, but the magic of each realm is substantially different. Then we have the Cyclops, the Leprechauns, the Goblins and the Centaurs," explained Elida. "all magical in their own ways."

"Oh, come on, you're kidding me... Leprechauns and Goblins?" said Captain Hughes.

"Yeah, and I'm clearly NOT a fairy, and you guys aren't witches!" said Elida, with a big smile.

"Point taken....". Major Tom was finally starting to believe that this was NOT a hoax: the magic needed to create the illusion of a fairy was well beyond their ability, and whilst an experienced witch might be able to do it, Serena was still rather young. Occam's Razor would therefore suggest that, strange though it might seem, this little creature WAS in fact a fairy

"Anyway, we've made contact with the other 5 realms, and they agree - in principle at least - that they ought to be working with us on this one. They realise that if your realm gets invaded, it's only a matter of time before the other realms are at risk. I assume Serena has explained that your traditional armies won't be able to do anything, it's gonna need a lot of strong magic, which I'm hoping Poppy and I will be able to help with - ah yes, maybe I should explain: Poppy and I are what is called 'Protector Fairies', we exist primarily to protect the 7 realms - yourselves included - from any untoward fairy magic. Put simply, we're the most powerful pair of fairies in the country. But we reckon we'll be able to help you all against this new magic threat too. Hey, you told them about the weapons you got? They are pretty cool!" said Elida enthusiastically.

The Major and Captain still appeared to be a bit in shock: this was the first time they had met a fairy, and this was the first they had heard about the other realms.

"Yes, briefly... I'm just not 100% sure about these guys yet..." said Serena.

"Hey, Serena, if you're worried about what they might do to the four of you, I can easily get a team of FAS guys to keep an eye on you, protect you from them..."

By now, the Major and Captain were both starting to take Serena far more seriously, and they had a quite useful conversation for the next ten or fifteen minutes.

"So, what next?" asked Major Tom.

"I'd be very interested in seeing some of the weapons that Serena says she has, and maybe try them out." suggested Captain Hughes. "It would certainly add a lot of credibility to her story."

"I'm ok with that," replied Serena. "especially if it means you'll take me more seriously. Would you like to do something this afternoon?"

"Why not?"

"Ok, well 16 of you would be far too many... how about 3 or 4 of you? And Elida, maybe your FAS guys could join us too? Keep an eye on things, plus report back to you what goes on."

"Where do you want us to go?" asked the Captain.

"Don't worry, I'll find you, and teleport you to where we need to go, it's not that far away. Whilst you won't NEED any weapons, I guess you'll feel happier if you have some!"

"And don't worry about our FAS guys, they'll find you!" said Elida.

"Major, Captain, thank you not only for your time, but for being so open minded about everything. Maybe after Captain Hughes sees the magical weapons we have, you'll both be more willing to believe everything I've told you. I/m sure we'll be talking again soon. Captain, see you after lunch." Serena looked at her phone. "One thirty sound ok?"

"13:30 will be fine...."

Offline Braceface2015

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You finally managed to get a mention of braces into your story.

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 13

Serena could see remotely that all 16 members of the troop were in their 'hut', 4 of them were clearly dressed up to be outside. They had left plenty of space for her to teleport to.

The four of them: so Serena, Sarah, Harper and Samantha had had some lunch, and were now back on the small island in the middle of the lake, just to the south of the SAS camp. (* this is actually all true: there's a small country park, Sugwas Pools, to the south of the SAS camp in Gloucestershire, with a lake and an island. Go look on Google maps!)

They had all summoned their magic armour, and a very small number of the traditional weapons. Serena specifically had her sword on her back, with her dagger on her belt to her left.

"Ok, guys, I'll be back shortly...". She used a spell to pick up the old steel engine block that she had found at a local scrapyard, and that she planned to take with her.

Serena re-probed, then teleported to where the SAS troop was: she was looking at 16 well built guys: she had no doubt that Captain Hughes had told them what had happened earlier on. "Good afternoon gentlemen!". She could see several of the men were smirking at her. "Please do not let my appearance deceive you, I am probably a lot more powerful than any of you could possibly imagine. That's why I brought this along..." she said, pointing to the metal engine block that was now on the floor in front of her.

Whilst she knew that she had gained a certain level of credibility with Captain Hughes, she had realised that she needed to gain a similar level of credibility with the other 16 witches, and she needed to do it fairly quickly. So she had thought up this little bit of 'theatre' as a simple demonstration of her abilities.

For a bit of fun, she used some magic that let her pick it up, as if it were no more than a cardboard replica, then dropped it the last couple of inches onto the floor: the 'thud' it made very clearly indicated that it was, indeed, heavy!

Serena then slowly removed her sword, offering it to Captain Hughes. "Captain, you won't damage the sword - please take a good swing at the engine block, to see what damage you can do! Go on, humour me..."

The captain took the sword and swung it hard onto the metal: there was a loud clank, and there was the tiniest of dents on the metal. The sword was, of course, undamaged.

"It's a magic sword, MY magic sword, so I control who can use it. Let me show you what it can REALLY do!". She took the sword from the captain, and without swinging it at all, used the sword's blade to cut through the engine block, as if she were cutting butter. The engine fell apart into two pieces. "I'd love to have a go on an armoured car some day!" said Serena. "But just a small demonstration of the sort of weapons we have available to us... even these old things are pretty capable!".

All 17 of the SAS guys were by now suitably impressed - it's amazing what a simple demonstration can achieve.

"Nice demonstration, Serena. These guys are looking forward to seeing the more modern stuff that you have". He introduced the three others that would be going with them. "Ok, so how do we get to where we're going?"

Serena held one of her arms out. "Just hold on to me....". With her other arm, she called up Wanda, and used her to teleport them over to the island. She could see one of the 4 guys was getting something out, clearly to work out where they were.

"Don't panic, I can tell you exactly where we are. You know the country park south of your site? Sugwas Pools. We're on the island in the middle of the lake, we've been doing a bit of practicing here... gives us a bit of privacy. I guess we need to introduce ourselves... as you know, I'm Serena. This is my teacher and mentor, Sarah. Harper here is a world-class gymnast, and is picking up a lot of powerful magic. Finally this is Samantha: not a fighter, but a healer... I'm sure you can appreciate how important that can be. Captain, I'm sure you will remember them from the prophecy I showed you earlier.". The army guys introduced themselves too.

"And I'm hoping the FAS guys are here too..."

"FAS?" asked one of the SAS team.

"Fairy Air Services.. so like you guys, just a bit smaller. Probably just as capable though!". Serena cast the spell to make them visible: they were a team of 6 fairies, looking pretty much like smaller version of the SAS guys, also wearing protective armour, but of course they had wings, and could fly. Whilst Captain Hughes had already met a fairy, the others hadn't, and they were quite surprised.

"Ok, guys, the rules for the afternoon are simple: we're all on the same side here, we need to learn from each other so we can work out what we can do to protect the human realm from this invasion... so please, no shooting each other! The weapons we have are quite a few miles away, but I can summon them as we need them. And, like my sword, they are all pretty useless unless one of us four - we 'own' everything so to speak - run a spell to let one of you use them. Let's start with this sword for example." Serena held the sword in her hand. "Captain Hughes, touch the sword's handle will you?". He put his hand on the sword, and Serena cast a spell. "Ok, you should be able to do what I did earlier...". He took the sword from Serena, and gently but easily cut through the metal engine block that Serena had brought back with them. "Try a rock or a tree, if you like...". Captain Hughes took a slice of a rock, and chopped up some old logs with little effort.

"Not bad for an ages old sword!" he commented.

"Ok, so I'm sure you'd like to see something a bit more up-to-date, how about some laser-rifles?".

Serena called up Wanda. "Visible please, Wanda...". "I guess I should introduce my wand: whilst you won't be able to hear her, she is actually sentient, and gives me good advice. So let me use Wanda to summon a couple of the laser rifles". Moments later, they were in her hands. "Now, when I say laser rifles, their ammo IS actually the laser, they are not just simple laser-guided rifles! Harper, want to give the guys a demo?".

She passed one of the rifles over to Harper, who took it, and fired it at a piece of rock some distance away... it exploded. "Who wants a try?" asked Serena. One of the guys came over to Serena. "Ok, hand on the gun, so it learns who you are". Serena cast the spell. "Ok, it's yours for about 30 minutes."

"Only 30 minutes?".

"Yeah, I need to be sure you won't just run off with it. I'm sure you could just teleport back to camp in 2 or 3 hops....."

"You said something about a gun that can shoot around corners?" said the Captain.

"Hold on... hey, don't suppose you brought some targets with you, did you?". Serena summoned one of the 'shoot around corners' guns, and 'allocated' it to one of the other members of the SAS team, who set up some targets, and tried it out. Being a magic gun, it shot silently, which was useful, as they didn't want to draw attention to themselves. One of the other guys tried it, but it didn't work until Serena 'allocated' it to him.

"Nice weapons," he agreed, "and I do like the safety mechanism!"

"Didn't you also say something about some fancy weapon you hadn't worked out yet?" asked the Captain.

"Ah, yes, THAT one. I think we're all interested to know exactly what that one does.... Let me get it!". Once again, she called up Wanda, and summoned the weapon. "So, there's this big bit here, and this helmet thing. When you put the helmet on, a display comes on, but we had no idea what it was about, or how to control it. Who wants to give it a try?"

"I think Jack's probably the best choice, he used to use this sort of stuff before he joined us". Serena 'allocated' the weapon to him for half an hour. He put the helmet on, and picked up the other bit.

"Oh, yeah, nice!" he exclaimed. "Hang on a moment...". He started making hand movements. "So where's the ammo for it then?" he asked. "You'll be looking for something about so big," he continued, making a size with his hands.

"Ah, so THAT's what those things were for... half a moment!". Another wave of Wanda and some magic words later, and a very small wooden crate appeared. "Something like this?". Serena opened the crate, revealing 4 small stubby rocket-like things.

"Yes, exactly like those, but only four of them?". Jack took one of them and slipped it into the weapon, then using his voice, his eye movements, and some motions of his hand the small 'rocket' looking device was launched, silently. Unlike most rockets which, once launched, tend to go in a gently arc towards the target, then explode, Jack was able to completely control this one. At one point he simply had it hovering about twenty or thirty feet above them. "Let's see what this baby can do. Not that far from the island that they were on was another very small island, and that's where he sent it: there was a gentle explosion. "I thought I'd better keep it on its lowest power setting. But this is so cool!"

He leaned over to pick up a second one, to find that there were STILL four of them in the box. "Where did that come from?" he asked Serena.

"Ah, yes, we've found that, when you use something, they seem to magically 'fill up again': we first noticed it when we were playing with a crossbow! Which means we get pretty much unlimited ammo!"

Offline Sparky

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I trust you all had a pleasant Christmas! I had family visiting, which is why I've not been writing or posting for the last week.

I'll apologise now for this next chapter, it's a bit of a filler...

Chapter 14

The afternoon session with the four SAS guys turned out to be a success at so many levels: they quickly realised that Serena's magic abilities were at a level far higher than theirs. In fact, she took the opportunity to teach them some new magic too. Plus they now believed what she had said about the magical weapons: in the SAS guys more experienced hands, they were pretty spectacular.

Serena left Captain Hughes with one of the laser rifles, with all four of them being 'registered' to use if for the next few weeks. It was hard for Serena to 'give away' even one of the weapons, but she realised that the goodwill it generated was well worth it.

The most important thing to come out of the afternoon was the credibility they now had with Major Tom and Captain Hughes.

Over the next few weeks, there were various meetings, at various levels, many of which Serena and the others were invited to.

And as a result of all that, they were invited to join some training sessions 'in certain out-of-the-way places': they were finally receiving the practical training that they desperately needed.


Serena was meeting with Sarah, Harper and Samantha.

"I've been thinking..." said Serena, "so far, our contacts with the other realms have been brief and informal, and things have worked fine with me going with Elida or Poppy. But things are starting to get 'real', and I think that we need someone, an 'ambassador' so to speak, to take on the job of meeting with the 'ambassadors' of the other six realms. They need to be someone who is good with people, especially people who are not actual people, if you see what I mean. Someone who is completely 'on side' with what we're trying to do. Someone who doesn't have their own 'power agenda'. Someone who is non-aggressive...."

"And why are you looking at me?" asked Samantha.

"Because I think you would do a great job! Sarah, Harper, what do you guys think?"

"You know, I think Samantha would do a great job! Whilst I can think of a few other people who might be able to do the job, they all fail on one criteria or another," said Sarah. "Besides, it would send quite a positive message to the other realms if one of us does it, that these meeting are likely to be very important."

"Yes, and Serena is so right about needing someone who is non-aggressive. I could see all sorts of issues arising if one of us three were to go," added Harper, "plus anyone else really not appreaciate what's happening, we'd be spending so much time explaining stuff."

"But I've never done anything like that before..." said Samantha.

"I understand. But Sarah has never done any fighting before, like we're doing now. And Harper never had the need to learn magic like she's been doing. And I've never lead an army to protect us from an invasion. But we've all been learning, and I think you'll quickly learn what needs to be done. Yes, I'm sure you'll struggle a bit to start with, but the simple fact that you are 'one of the four defined by prophecy' will give you a huge amount of credibility, and I have no doubt that the others from the other realms will completely accept you. Please, have a think about it. A very serious think...."

"You REALLY think I could do it?" asked Samantha.

"I have no doubts at all." said Serena.


A couple of weeks later, Samantha had her first meeting with creatures from the other realms. She wasn't alone, Serena went with her, plus Poppy went along with the fairy's new ambassador. Initially rather nervous, she settled in well: it was clear that what they were doing, and what they were wanting to achieve, was new to all of them.

The strangest thing was seeing Poppy at 'human size', a quirk of the way they had to travel between the realms... of course, in human terms, Poppy, like Elida, was normally a matter of about 6 inches tall.

Offline Sparky

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Ok, some action (no braces though :-) ) coming up...


Chapter 15

Serena was at home with her mum and dad, watching TV, when her phone rang.

"Serena, it's Captain John Hughes here."

"Oh hello... wasn't expecting to hear from you," replied Serena.

"No, sorry for interrupting your evening. We have a...... a 'situation'... a situation for which I think we could use your skills. I was hoping you might be willing to help us... maybe you could think of it as some 'real world training'..."

"Ok... so what's the problem?"

"Umm, you know who we are, so if I say it's not something we can discuss on an insecure mobile phone connection, I hope you'll understand."

"Ah, THAT sort of a situation!"

"Yes. Any chance you could join us, you know where to find us."

"I'm sure I could do that. Should I bring the others with me?"

"Let's just start with you, then we can decide what to do. That sound reasonable to you?"

"Sure, give me a few minutes. At this distance I don't want to jump straight into your place, so I'll probably stop off at the island in the country park first, bit more space if I get my positioning wrong. What's the weather like down there?"

Serena had no worries about jumping into a room with a load of burly SAS men in: she had been training with them all at various times, and a lot of trust had built up between them, in both directions.

"Absolutely bucketting down... you'll want your waterproof!"

"Ok, see you soon...."

Serena had a word with her parents: they still got a bit worried about Serena when she went off to do training - despite the fact that her only injuries so far had been very minor, and usually quickly healed by Samantha. The fact that Serena was going off on an evening, at short notice, worried them a little more than normal.

"Don't worry, I've got a team of big burly guys to help protect me...". Serena had never explicitly told her parents that she was training with the SAS, she had just called them 'a small team of experienced military guys'. Mind you, she hadn't told them about the cache of weapons that she had access to either: I think that if they had known about both of those, they would be having heart attacks. But so far, true to her word, despite sometimes coming home caked in mud or oil or whatever, she had always comeback safely.

Teleporting such a distance would need her to use some dark magic, which in turn meant that she needed to take the ring (made of the 'dark' metal) off her finger, and split it up and fit the rings to her lip and nose. Next, she called up her 'military outfit' (not quite sure how to describe it, but it was the clothes that they had all got as part of the cache of magic weapons), and put it on. Over the top, she wore the substantial waterproof jacket (given to her during one of their training session recently). She stood in the hallway, and relaxed, taking a few deep breaths. "Oh, Wanda, braces... going to need a bit of the darker stuff, we need to go to the island first of all, then from there, a much more accurate jump over to the SAS guys...". She had teleported to the island many times now, just not from this distance. But because the location was 'well tagged' on those many yellow-stickies she had filed in her mind, she could soon feel the place. Yes, it was definitely raining hard, so possibly muddy under foot.

A moment later she was there, the rain coming down hard on her head. She was within a foot or two of where she had intended (which over the diatance wasn't that bad), and was only an inch too high..

She took a few breaths to recover from the long teleport. Luckily the next one was easy by comparison. She probed over to where she expected the guys to be: captain Hughes was there by himself.

"You're right, it's wet out!" said Serena as she laned just in front of him. "So, where is everyone?"

"They're in a briefing room, but I thought it better for you to land away from 'prying eyes'. Put this on..." He handed Serena her site ID badge: they had long ago agreed that John would look after it for her, it wasn't the sort of thing you wanted to get lost out in public! But with the ID, Serena would be far less likely to be stopped. "Come on, let's go there....". They walked from the 'hut' where the guys effectively lived, over to the main building, and into a fairly large room. The 16 members of the troop were there, as well as Major Tom, plus a few others she didn't recognise.

"Thank you for coming Serena!" said Major Tom. "John, do you want to explain?"

"Sure. Ok, Serena, we have what we believe is a terrorist hostage situation, in Reading. There's a team from London there now, but from reports we believe that the terrorists have all angles covered, so trying to get in will be hard... well, for THEM it would be."

"You're thinking about us teleporting in?"

"Yes, but there's a few issues before we can do that. First of all, it's going to take us an hour to get there without your help. Second, we need to know what's in there, and we're aware that our probing skills aren't all that great. We need your help on both those. Plus we could do with any suggestions, you know your capabilities far better than any of us do!"

"How many people are we talking about?"

"We believe between 6 and 8 terrorists, and probably a dozen or more hostages. At the moment, the only presence visible to the terrorists are the Police, who are trying to buy a little time. Obviously they don't know about our guys being on site, but can probably guess that there would be some sort of military presence. I guess I should say: don't worry, we're not expecting you to be DIRECTLY involved. You'd be close by, but in a safe location. We need your skills to understand who is where, so we can get in, and do what we do best - the last thing we want is casualties. So, let me show you the building, and a rough building layout...".

The captain explained the layout, and where they believed everyone was.

"This may sound a bit presumptive, but I think we ought to get Elida or Poppy, and the FAS involved..." suggested Serena. "I mean they could go in and see EXACTLY what's what, without being seen. And do we know if any of the terrorists are witches?" Out the corner of her eye she could see that, of the faces she didn't recognise, several were looking a bit confused. "John, do those guys know... well, about the FAS and Elida or Poppy?"

"Nope. They know that we are witches, and that you're a much more powerful witch. But that's about it. You want to explain?"

"Ok..." Deep breath. "Gents, please have a VERY open mind. Elida and Poppy are both very powerful fairies. Yes, fairies DO exist, with the advantage that, generally, they arte not visible to us humans. The FAS is the 'Fairy Air Services', modelled on you guys, they've been training with us recently. I guess I'd better get in touch with them...". Serena smiled. "Boy, are you guys about to get a surprise! Ok, here goes: I wish I could speak to either Elida or Poppy like right now, this is pretty urgent, code red and all that stuff!". A small fairycake appeared on the table in front of Serena, which confused her, as a couple of months ago Elida and Poppy had worked out some fairy magic that allowed them to be visible to humans.

Serena ran her 'show fairies' spell, to find a fairy that she hadn't met before standing on the table in front of her. Needless to say, a few jaws were dropping on the other side of the room.

"Hi Serena, I'm Winnie. Elida and Poppy are both 'off duty' right now, we're trying to get in touch with them..."

"Hi Winnie, nice to meet you. Thanks for the quick response. This IS all pretty important. Hey, you in a position to get the FAS guys ready to help us?"

"Sorry, no, you'll need to speak to Elida or Poppy. Hang on.... ok.... she'll call you on your phone in a few seconds.... I'll hang around in case you need anything else!"

"Thanks Winnie!". Serena got her phone out, and had just turned it on when it rang. She answered it, putting it straight on speaker. "Hi... Elida?"

"No, it's Poppy. How can I help?"

"Hi Poppy! I'm with captain Hughes and his troop, and a few others. It seems there's a terrorist incident with hostages over in Reading, could do with your help, also the FAS team's."

"Ok, that sounds important enough to me, give me a couple of minutes to 'suit up' and I'll be with you. I assume you're out at their base?"

"Yes, but not in the normal place, we're in a briefing room not far away..."

"In that case, could you throw up a beacon, so I can easily find you?"

"Sure, see you in a moment."

"Um, I don't want to appear awkward," said one of the guys Serena didn't recognise, "but you just gave away sensitive details on an insecure line..."

"Don't worry," said Winnie, "the call didn't go over your mobile network; in fact it's probably far more secure than the 'secure lines' you guys use, we often listen in to your supposedly 'secure' calls!". Serena smiled: she loved it when someone, especially a fairy, could put a 'clever-dick person in an apparently high position' into their place!

"Ok, Wanda, can we do a beacon please? And you'd better make yourself visible".

"Sure can, on both of those! Want to ask Winnie if she can see it ok?"

"Yup, Poppy will be able to see that!" replied Winnie a few moments later.

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 16

Two minutes later, and Poppy joined them. Serena and captain Hughes explained the situation. "Ok, give me a few minutes to go and sort the FAS team out. Probably best we all go straight to Reading. You guys heading there too?"

"I guess so... John?".

"Yeah, I'm kinda hoping that Serena can give us a lift there, that going to be ok with you, Serena?"

"Sure, but I'm going to need Samantha. Ok, Poppy, why don't we meet you there. I don't suppose you can give us some fairy comms, can you?"

"Sure, hang on..." Poppy waved her - ok, rather smaller than Wanda - wand, and a set of earpieces appeared on the table, one for Serena, and another 1 for ech of the rest of the SAS troop, plus a couple of spares. Serena and John each grabbed one. "Can you hear me ok?" said John.

"Loud and clear" said Poppy. "See you on site shortly....".

Now, you're possibly wondering where Elida is in all this? Well, Poppy happened to know that Elida was having a rare romantic evening with Puck, her boyfriend, so had decided that she wouldn't disturb her unless it became essential. If she needed her, she knew that Elida could join her at almost a moments notice... such are the joys of being a fairy that can teleport!

"Ok, let me call Samantha.... and Wanda, can you prepare to do a long-distance summons?"

"Sure can, boss!"

"Hi, Samantha..." said Serena when Samantha answered the call. "Look, this is best described as a 'code red'... I'm with John, and we need your help like now. I'll explain more when you get here. Let your mum know, suit up, and I'll summon you here.... Oh, and bring a couple of the pills with you, will you?". Captain Hughes knew that Serena could use ecstacy to boost her dark magic abilities, he had seen her demonstrate it on one of their training missions.

"Ok, I'll leave the call open....". Serena could hear as Samantha spoke with her mum, then ran the magic needed to put her 'work clothes' on. "Ok, I'm ready!".

So, long distance summoning: it's dark magic, and if it's just one person then Serena can cope ok, but a 'boost' from Samantha helps a lot. But she knew that she was going to need to get her and Samantha both over to Reading, then summon the rest of the SAS troop - so 17 of them - over there, which would definitely need Samantha's skills to keep Serena going. While Serena was doing all this, captain Hughes explained to the others who Samantha was, and why Serena needed her help. He had seen the pair of them 'working together' on their training many times, and understood how important her abilities were to Serena.

When Samantha 'landed', she put her hand on Serena and instantly applied a simple 'recuperation' spell. Then Serena explained to Samantha what was going on. "Tell you what, can you give me a quarter of a pill now, I think it will make my work a bit easier tonight.". These were the same ecstasy tablets that they had managed to 'steal' from a drug dealer a while ago, in the previous story.

"So, I'm thinking that I'll start by taking John over to Reading: I'll need him to explain who I am to anyone who sees us. Then I'll summon you, Samantha, and you can 'recharge' me. After that, we can find a suitable 'landing pad', and I'll get the rest of John's team over". This was something they had done before when training up in the Welsh mountains, although the distances involved had been a lot shorter. "Then we can have a word with the FAS guys, and decide the details of what we're going to do."

"Sounds like a plan," said captain Hughes. He turned to his team: "Ok, everyone, grab a fairy earpiece. Jock, once we're there, can you liaise with the other team there, and get your group close enough to be able to teleport in: by the time we do that, we should know exactly what you'll expect, so landing accuracy won't be as important. The rest of you, stay with us."

"Hi Serena, it's Poppy!" said a voice in Serena's ear.

"Oh, hi, can hear you loud and clear!". It goes without saying that these earpieces were using magic to communicate: they were more advanced versions of the ones that Puck had designed for Elida and Lilly and the rest of the team when they were working on the 'Dark Fairy' case.

"So, we're onsite in Reading, found the site. We have a suitable location for you to land... want a beacon?"

"Please.... Ok, John, get yourself ready, transport is nearly ready to go.... Wanda, I'll need to do a long-distance teleport with a passenger, followed shortly after by a long distance summons for Samantha. Once Samantha does her stuff, I'll need to summons the other 16 guys.... We've done it before, just not such a long distance!"


"Braces, you ok with this?"

"We'll do our best!"

"Can't ask you to do more than that...."

Serena was still wearing her dark jewellery: she took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and concentrated. She had a map in her mind: she knew where they were, and she knew roughly where Reading was. (Ok, yes, it was quite a distance. But that's why she used the dark magic teleporting spells!) As she zoomed in, she could work out where in Reading she needed to be, and started to do a wide probe. Yup, there was the 'beacon' shining brightly. She homed in on it, and could see the fairies: they were in a suitably discrete courtyard... a good landing place. "Ok, Poppy, I can sense your beacon, with you in a moment!" Serena stood up, and held out her hand. "John, ready to go?".

While Serena had been preparing herself, he had grabbed everything he would need. Unlike his men, who would be carrying several weapons each, he just had a small pistol, a radio, and a few other small bits.

Serena felt a tiny bit dizzy when she landed: a long distance teleport with a passenger did that to her. She looked around to see the fairies waiting for them. Poppy explained to them both where they were.

"Ok, let me check in, then we can find out where we really need to be." He pulled out his small radio. "Captain Hughes, comms check?"

"Good evening sir, we were told to expect you. What can I do for you sir?"

"Need a small space for 2 of us to land indoors, without too many people around. Describe me a suitable place...".

"We're in the big red building, almost opposite the primary. Give me a moment, sir, I'll find a room....". Serena was listening in, and whilst she realised that they were at the back of the big red building, she needed to work out where he was.

"I think I have him, get him to lift his left hand and wave, will you?" asked Serena. This is a trick they had used before, and John relayed the message. "Got him...".

"Ready when you are, sir!". Serena teleported them both the short distance, and the fairies followed. John recognised who he had been talking to. "Follow me sir!". They were lead to a room where a small group of senior officers were talking: John recognised most of them.

"Good evening everyone, this is Serena. She's civvy, but treat her as one of us for the moment. She'll bring the others here in a moment. And THESE guys are fairies, of the military type, I think they will be able to give us some very useful information in a bit". It was clear from the way they were talking that they were fully aware of the 'special abilities' that captain Hughes' men had, and had heard about fairies, even if they had never seen them before.

"John, I need to bring Samantha here..."

"Sure. Guys, Serena's going to call her number 2 in.... go ahead, Serena!".

"Ready Wanda?". Serena said the words to summon Samantha, and as before, she cast some recuperation spells on Serena after she landed.

"Ok, where do we stand? How much time do we have?" asked captain Hughes.

"Things seem to be relatively stable for the moment, I'd say we have maybe 15 minutes before we need to worry. What we do need is some good intel on what's going on over there." On the table there was a map and a floorplan of the building, and one of the guys gave them as much detail as they knew."

Captain Hughes addressed the FAS guys: "Guys, want to get over there and take a look around?". He turned to the others in the room "don't worry, noone over there will see them, the only reason we can see them is because Poppy cast a special bit of magic."

"Sure can.... Poppy, you stay here for the moment...". The FAS team flew off.

"John, want me to do a probe, or get the men over here first?" asked Serena.

"I think knowing what's going on over there is probably more important, I can't imagine it's going to take you that long... I'll let them know that there will be a short delay."

"Ok....." Serena sat down and concentrated, sending her probing mind over the road, and into the building. All she knew was that there would be a whole load of people. Some of them would hopefully be easily identifiable as terrorists: they would be the ones with the guns she guessed. It was scary, given that this was a real live situation, but she felt safe, knowing that there were several solid walls between them and her.

"There's a lot of people over there..." said Serena. She knew she needed to try and describe who was where. "Ok, they seem to be in THAT room..." she said, pointing at the plans of the building. "Group of 'normies' over towards there...." she said, pointing  again. "Two guys with some sort of rifles looking out the windows at the front.... sorry, one each side....". She 'wandered' around the room, knowing that the FAS guys would be there in a moment too.

"Ok, we're in.." said a voice in her ear.

"Guys" said captain Hughes, "Serena's doing a sweep of the main room where most people seem to be, can you do a careful sweep of the rest of the building, we don't need any surprises...."

"Roger that..."

"One here, another here, they seem to be watching the hostages.... so that's four of them...." said Serena, once again pointing at the plans. As she spoke, someone else scribbled notes on the plan.

"We have another two in a room adjacent" said one of the FAS guys in their ears. "They're watching the back of the building..."

"Thanks for that! Serena, can you carefully check all the hostages, they could easily have a 'stooge' planted there, seen that sort of trick before....".

Serena started homing in on the group of hostages. "What am I looking for?"

"Hidden gun, ear comms, anything that doesn't seem quite right...."

"Hmm, one guy with a Bluetooth headset... why would he still have THAT in I wonder. Hmm, interesting, he has two phones. Shit, I think he's got a gun under his arm too!". She tried to describe where he was, and his clothes.

"Well spotted... keep going.."

"Want us to check him out" said one of the FAS team in their ears.

"Good idea, do it!" said captain Hughes.

Serena continued 'walking around' the room, but didn't see anything else that seemed out of place. "Not seeing anything else..."

"Serena" asked a voice in her ear, "THIS the guy you meant?".

Serena 'went over' to the guy she'd found with the gun, and could just about make out the fairy hovering in front of him, and waving. "If that's you waving then, yes, that's him...."

"Can you scan all the terrorists, see if any are witches? Go lightly, and stop immediately if you find one...". This was, of course, what Serena had done to captain Hughes' team, several months before. "No, they all seem normal. Let me scan the hostages..."

Serena started to scan the hostages. "John, I think we have a witch in the hostages, want me to make contact?"

"Not yet, I think we have enough intel from you for the moment - well done by the way! - I think we need to get the other guys here now.....". He lead her and Samantha out, and into the room where they were before. Serena sat down with a large space in front of her, then Samantha stood behind her, hands on her shoulders.

"Ok, Wanda, braces, let's get this done... I'll do a few summons in a row, then take a short break! Ready there, Samantha?"

"Yes... go on...".

"Oh, I'd better tell them what I'm about to do!" Serena reached out to one of the team over the fairy comms, asked him to warn everyone what was about to happen. Then she issued the first summoning spell, and the first member of the team arrived in front of her. The captain got him out of the way. She managed to summon five of them before needing a short break (and some healing / recuperation spells from Samantha), during which time captain Hughes gave them a brief update. Then another five, another short break, then four, then the final two.

"Serena, take as long as you need to recover, I'll sort these guys out!". Serena thought back to the first time she'd ever teleported over to Samantha's place, using light magic, and how exhausted she had felt. And how Samantha had helped her recover. Well, she felt a bit like that, but she was aware that the 'Ecstasy boost' had made her job a lot easier.

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 17

Captain Hughes returned a few minutes later. "Thanks for doing that, it would have been a long drive without you! So, Jock's part of the team team are getting themselves into a location from where they should be able to teleport in. You feeling better now? If so, let's go back, I have a feeling we could use your skills a bit more."

"Why don't I have a quiet word with that hostage that's a witch?" suggested Serena, as they walked back to the main incident room.

"Ok, so where are we at the moment?" asked captain Hughes.

"They are asking for some water to be sent in...." said one of the men.

"My FAS team are keeping an eye on things over there, they'll let us know if there's anything to worry about, but they say things are pretty calm for the moment," added Poppy.

"In that case, Serena has identified a hostage who's a witch, I think she should try and talk to her."

"She can do THAT?"

"Yes, worked well with Major Tom and myself..."

"In that case, do it, just make sure he or she doesn't give themselves away."

"Serena, go very gently, lot's of reassurance.... you'll be ok..."

"Poppy, could do with one of your men keeping a close eye on my witch target...."

"Claude, you in the main room?" asked Poppy.


"Speak to Serena..."

"Yes, Serena?"

"In the middle of the hostages, there's a lady with long hair, and a coat or cardigan that looks like it's orange or yellow...."

"Let me go over to her.... this lady? It's an orange cardigan by the way..." Serena probed, found the lady with a fairy in front of her.

"Yes, that's her, she seems to be a witch. Keep an eye on her, I'm going to talk to her, let me know if she does ANYTHING that might indicate that she's getting distracted."

"Sure will...."

Serena gently 'reached out' to the hostage that she'd felt earlier, the witch. "Hi there!" she said calmly and gently. "Don't panic. I'm Serena, and like you, I'm a witch. You can hear my voice only in your head, noone else can hear me. Just say hello to me in your head.... Whatever you do, don't say anything out loud!"

"Err.. like this?"

"Just like that. Ok, stay relaxed, don't do anything that might attract any attention to you... you gonna be ok?"

"Yes, I think so..."

"Ok, so first of all, who are you?"

"I'm Lizzy..."

"Hi there, Lizzy! Like I said, I'm Serena, I'm also a witch. I'm not far away from you, I'm with a large team who's working out how to end this situation, without anyone getting hurt. So hang on in there... ok?"

"Yeah, ok..."

"By the way, if I stop talking to you for a bit, it's because I need to tell someone else what I'm doing. I'm gonna do that now, but you can still 'think' to me, I'll still be listening."


"Claude.. how she doing?"

"I'd say she's doing really well, especially if you're talking to her. I assume she has no idea that I'm here?"

"No, and not planning on telling her." "John, her name is Lizzy, she seems pretty calm... In case you need to identify her, long hair, orange cardigan..."

"Good, continue..."

"Ok, Lizzy, just so you know, I'm a very powerful witch. I've been able to scan the room you are in, and can see where everyone is, so I can see there's 4 guys in the room right now with rifles, that right?"

"Yes, and I think there's 2 others, but they aren't here right now."

"Yes, I've seen them too, they are in an adjacent room, keeping an eye out at the back. So, let me repeat: at the moment, you are quite safe. But don't do anything that could hint that you're 'talking' with me, ok?  Now, a simple question: why are you in that building today?"

"I work here...."

"Ok, sounds reasonable! What about the others there?"

"Some of them work here, some are visitors."

"Anyone seem.. well, 'out of place' at all?". There was a short pause.

"Yeah, there's a strange guy in a blue stripe shirt... "

"The guy that's over to your left? The one that has a phone earpiece in his ear?"

"Yeah, that's him..."

"What's strange about him?"

"He's been strangely calm all the time."

"Ok, so how do the guys with the guns seem at the moment? Stressed? Relaxed?"

"They seem to be pretty relaxed right now, I guess they feel they're in control.."

"Ok, let's let them stay like that. Ok, I need to talk to people here. Relax, think to me if you need me.... "

"Ok... Serena ... thanks!"

"That's ok...." Serena told captain Hughes everything she knew. "So, what's the plan? Anything more I can do?"

"The main problem we have is that there's 7 targets in total, even if the team teleports in, there's a big risk someone would get shot, and we'd like to avoid that. Anything you might be able to do that could help?"

Serena thought for a bit. "I suppose I could just kill them..." suggested Serena "although seven of them might take a while!" Clearly the darkness of her recent magic was affecting her, and she suddenly realised that fact. "On second thoughts, maybe that's not such a good thing to do!"

"You ARE kidding me, right? You can't REALLY kill people at a distance?" said captain Hughes.

"Not kidding at all - I killed my grandfather remotely.... although it was more of a mercy killing: I just stopped his heart..."

"Shit, remind me never to upset you!" said captain Hughes. Serena smiled, and thought again.

"I could summon their weapons... would that help?"

"I guess it depends how quickly you could summon them?"

"Oh, wow, now you're asking. If you think it could seriously help, why don't I see what I'm capable of. Get some of your team into the room next door, and I'll give it a go. In the meantime... Claude, you there?"

"Yes, Serena..."

"Could you guys do a quick recce, work out exactly what weapons the terrorists have there? I was detecting rifles and handguns, but need to know the total, I'm thinking about summoning them.... the weapons, that is"

"We'll get onto it. Your lady has behaved quite normally by the way..."

"Oh, good, I've finished talking to her for now..."

Captain Hughes got 4 of his men, and they all went into the room next door.

"I'd prefer to do this bit with unloaded weapons, if that's ok with you? So what you guys got on you? I can see your rifles, and guns in their holsters, anything else of interest?"

The guys quickly described the other stuff they had about them. "Ok, I'll go for all your guns and the stun grenades.... I'll work my way from left to right, and put the stuff on the table here in front of me. John, can you stand opposite me, other side of the table, it might be easier to just pass stuff to you. Ready? Guys, take a suitable pose.... Actually, John, you come this side and I'll go over there, I'd like to do this without being able to see what I'm actually doing..."

Serena concentrated, scanning to locate the weapons that she was about to teleport. After warning Wanda and her braces, she lined up over a dozen copies of the same spell, one for each item. "Ok, let's do it... Samantha, start timing me....". Serena cast her first spell, a rifle appeared in her hand, she pretty much slammed it into the table. Then the next... and the next.... ". Last one...." said Serena as she passed the last stun grenade to captain Hughes. Samantha stopped the timer, then threw some recovery spells at Serena.

"How did I do, Samantha?"

"Nineteen seconds..."

"That's too long: with seven of them you'd be looking at 30 or 40 seconds, and they're going to realise something is going on..." said captain Hughes.

"I could take the rifles first..."

"That would help..."

"I have a suggestion," said Samantha, "Is there any way we could maybe stun them, freeze them? And when I say 'we', I mean you, of course""

"I can't but.... Poppy? you there?"


"Can you come through here a moment, please?" 2 seconds later and she was there.

"Poppy, do your guys know any magic that could somehow 'freeze' a human, stop them from moving? Would only need to be for maybe 30 or 40 seconds."

"I'm guessing you'd like to freeze them so you can take their weapons." said Poppy, looking at the table which was now covered in guns. "Yeah, I could do that easily, but not on seven of them without them realising. Let me have a word with the guys, see what they can do... Preston?"

"Yes, Poppy?"

"Do you guys know how to freeze or paralyse a human?"

"Yeah, could probably do it for about thirty seconds or so...."

"That's possibly long enough....thanks! Prepare yourselves to do it, will you?".

"So, what do you think, John? Get the FAS team to paralyse the 7 targets, I grab their weapons, rifles first, then the team can teleport in with close to no worries."

"It's a plan, but what things could go wrong?" asked captain Hughes.

"Well, I just proved that I can get the weapons, the slight extra distance is trivial. I guess there could be a live weapon..."

"That's ok, I can run a Fairytime spell each time you bring a weapon over, check things out..."


"I slow down time for a bit from your perspective, gives me time to check things out..."

"Nice one, like it!" said Serena.

"Are we sure the FAS guys can paralyse for long enough? Poppy, why don't you call your guys over, let them practice on these guys?" suggested captain Hughes.

While captain Hughes went to talk to the others, the FAS team came over to where Serena, Samantha and Poppy were. After the SAS guys had got all their weapons back, they tested the complete scenario: the FAS guys froze the SAS guys. Serena started to summon the weaons. Poppy did a Fairytime spell each time a weapon arrived. Samantha helped Serena to cope.

It turned out that the fairies could knock a human out for most of 45 seconds!

Captain Hughes returned with another, more senior officer. "We just tested the scenario" explained Serena, "worked a treat. These guys were out for most of 45 seconds. Tell you what though: Samantha, I think I need to take another quarter tablet..."

"Of course, there is one big problem with what we're planning on doing... we're going to have seven terrorists and a load of civies who will see what we're doing, and discover our guys abilities. Not so good..." said the senior officer.

"I could always just mind-wipe them all after we're done..." suggested Serena.

"Mind-wipe? You can wipe a person's mind?" commented the captain.

"Yeah. It's pretty shitty dark magic, not something I really like doing - other than simple demos - but in this case, I think it is well worth doing. Used it on the drug dealer we got these E's from, he had no idea we'd taken all his E's!" explained Serena, smiling.

Captain Hughes was seeing another side of Serena, a darker side that she'd not really shared with him before.

"How does it work? I mean, do you completely wipe their mind?"

"No, nothing as nasty as that. It's more like 'forget everything that's happened in the last 10 minutes...' or maybe just 30 seconds. Want a demonstration? I'll just wipe 15 seconds from your memory. That way you'll understand the way it works."

"Is it really safe? I mean, I don't want to forget the last few hours!"

"Don't worry, I've used it as a bit of a 'party trick' on a couple of occasions, never had a problem..."

"Ok, so what do you want me to do?"

"Get your phone out, then look at the clock. Call out the seconds...."

"Ah, ok.... so 16, 17 18 ........ 40, 41, 42..."

"Ok stop there. You'll forget the last 15 seconds...." Serena said the words of the spell. "What was the last time you remember?"

"Um, 25 ... shit, it's 50 seconds now.... I just have a complete blank after that."

"Do you know that you lost the time?"

"Sort of... vaguely... something doesn't feel quite right. Shit, that is so scary! But if you could do that to everyone over there, yeah, that could be VERY useful. We can do it when we're happy all seven targets are 'secure'".

"And we'd need to wipe the hostages too. In fact, they are the ones you don't want blabbing about what they see"

"Very true."

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 18

"Ok,so I'm thinking we ought to have TWO people running a timer, just in case something goes wrong with one: I don't want to be doing stuff by guesswork. Samantha, you could do one..."

"I'll get one of my guys to do the other. Ok, let's go and explain what's about to happen to everyone, see if they are happy."

They went back to the main room, and explained what they would be doing: everyone seemed to be very happy with the plan. Then they went back to the room they were in before: they needed the space to retrieve the weapons. A couple of the senior guys came through with them, to watch.

"Hey, Lizzy, you still there?" said Serena silently.

"Yeah... what's happening? The guys with the guns seem to be getting a bit impatient."

"Ok, first of all, stay relaxed. In the next few minutes, strange things are going to happen, things that you will probably understand, but noone else there will. I need a big favour from you: if anyone looks like they want to do something, get involved, even just standing up, I need you to TELL them to just 'sit down, keep out of it, let the soldiers do their job!' or something like that. Use an 'angry teacher' voice! Is that something you think you can do?"

"I can try!"

"Thanks, that's great! But no hints to anyone about what's about to happen, that's important! Ok, so watch and enjoy the show!" "Claude, how's Lizzy reacting?"

"She's looking amazingly calm, considering what you just told her."

"That's good." said captain Hughes. "Ok, Serena, are we ready to do this?".

"Give me a few moments, will you? Samantha, could do with one of your 'calm' spells, please!" As Samantha cast her calmness onto Serena, she could sense that Serena was feeling calm yet also very tense: she understood that she needed to be tense and alert to be able to do what she needed to do.

"Ok, Wanda? Braces?"

"We're ready!"

"John, is Jock's team ready?"

"Yes, they are!"

"You guys ready to disarm these weapons I'm about to bring in? I have no desire to be hit by a stray bullet!"

"Ready, Serena!"

"Poppy? Ready to do your FairyTime magic?"

"I'm ready!"

"Ok, start the timers...let's do this!" said Serena.

Serena loaded up multiple copies of the 'summon objects' spell, then reached her mind out to the small room at the back of the other building where the two targets were still keeping an eye out the back. Serena nodded.

"FAS team: stun the seven targets and confirm..." added captain Hughes.

"Two stunned at the back". "Two at the front...". "Three and four at the front". "Mr blue stripy shirt too... we are done, over to you, Serena!" said the various FAS guys.

"Ok, six rifles incoming.... one... two... three... four... five... six!". As they appeared in Serena's hands, Poppy 'did her thing' to check they weren't about to go off - not that anyone noticed, as the Fairytime spell made it happen in an instant! Serena quickly passed them over to the three SAS guys on the other side of the table, who took them to the side to ensure they were unloaded and made safe. They were quickly replaced by four other guys.

"Eight grenades incoming in pairs .... two... four... six... eight!" Again, as they arrived, she quickly passed them over, and Poppy checked them. Again, they moved out of the way, and another four guys moved in.

"You're doing well, Serena..." encouraged captain Hughes.

"Right, seven handguns incoming... one... two... three... four... five... six...". There was a pause. "Oh, SHIT!""

"What's wrong?"

"I think Mr blue stripy shirt has more than just a handgun!"

"What do you mean?"

"He's got something down his pants, and I don't mean his dangly bits - that's quite small by comparison! There's a wire going from it to one of the two phones in his pocket. Shit, why didn't I see that before!!"

"Take a breath, Serena!" said captain Hughes. "Ok, maybe you can bring just him over here? We'll deal with it here..". The idea of summoning a guy over who had both a gun and a lump of explosive down his pants was a very scary one, but she was definitely pumped up, and realised that, if they wanted it to all work, she would need to just do it.

"Yes, give me a few seconds to load up the summoning spell."

"Ok, wait till I say so. Mike, Hussein - sounds like we have a phone controlled explosive coming in, get ready!". Mike and Hussein were two of the SAS team in the room with them.

"I have an idea, just give me three seconds...." said Poppy very assertively. She disappeared, and re-appeared two seconds later, with Claude. "Ok, when stripy shirt gets here, I'll knock him out really hard, then run a 'Fairytime' - that will pause time as far as you're concerned. I can then put a sort of force-field around his dangly bits and the phone, which will contain any potential explosion, and Claude can carefully remove the explosives, wire and phone as-is, then I'll teleport us out of here, and find somewhere safe to put the bits."

"You sure that will work?"

"The 'Fairytime' most definitely will, and it will give us PLENTY of time to work out what to do! I can't think of anything better in the few seconds we have."

"Ok, let's do it. Jock, get your team ready to go in... Serena, do it..." said the captain.

Serena ran the summoning spell, and dropped Mr blue stripy shirt in the clear area in the middle of the room. When I say 'dropped', I mean he dropped maybe three inches onto the floor with quite a bump - I'm sure Serena did that on purpose! He started to 'wake up', so Poppy hit him with the strong spell to 'disable' him.

"All done!" said Poppy moments later.

"What do you mean?"

"I left Claude with the explosive out the back and well away from anyone: he's made the explosive safe. And Mr blue stripy shirt's gun is on the table. We're done!" Several of them looked over at My blue stripy shirt: his trousers were down around his knees, his underpants just above that, with his 'dangly bits' very visible! There was no sign of wires or explosives, nor of the gun under his armpit.

"Ok, Jock, you are a go! I repeat, GO!" called out captain Hughes.

The six terrorists in the building opposite had no idea what just hit them: each had a burly SAS man next to them, with a gun at their heads. "On the floor, legs and arms spread! Do it!!!!" shouted Jock. The terrorists, who by now were coming out of their 'stun', suddenly realised their guns were gone, and discovered themselves being hurled down onto the floor! "Spread I said!!". While six of the team stood over each of the terrorists, another three went around, and secured their arms and legs with zip ties.

One of the hostages started to get up for some unknown reason. "Stay down!" shouted Lizzy. "Let the soldiers do what they need to do! Wait for them to tell us what to do!" Serena was both listening on the comms and was probing, so knew what was happening. 'Well done, Lizzy!' thought Serena.

"Hey, Samantha, what's the timer showing?"

"Coming up to a minute and a half.."

"Oh, that's not bad at all!" Serena could hear the SAS team checking that everything was ok.

"Ok, we are clear over here!" said Jock over the fairy comms.

"Right, Serena, Samantha, shall we go over, sort out the mind-wipes?" said captain Hughes.

"Why don't I wipe Mr stripy blue shirt before we go?"

"Good idea...."

"Coming up to two minutes" said Samantha.

"Sod it, he can lose the last 5 minutes!". There was another word at the end of the sentence - it started with a 'B' and ended with a 'd', but Serena said that silently under her breath. She went over to him, and did the mind-wipe: a big smile came to her face. "That's what you get for screwing with me! Just be grateful I didn't chop off your tiny d***!!" she commented to the still unconscious body. She turned to John. "Ready to go? Want a lift?".

John and Samantha held onto Serena, and she took them over into an empty space. She took a look around: the six terrorists were being held over to one side (with guns still pointed at them, of course!), the hostages were on the other side of the room, well separated. Serena decided that she needed to have a few quick words to the hostages. "Hey, everyone, I'm Serena. Just want to let you know that you are all safe now. But please stay where you are for a few minutes, I'm sure someone will be wanting to take you all somewhere to have a few words with you about what happened here today." As she spoke, she made eye contact with Lizzy, and smiled.

"Nicely said, Serena. Ok, ready to 'process' the six targets?" asked John. Serena definitely like the word 'targets', it was so much less worrying than 'terrorists'! They walked over to the first target: like the others, he was sat against the wall, hands and legs tied together, a gag in his mouth, and a blindfold over his eyes: to Serena, he looked to no longer be any sort of threat to her, which made her feel so much better. Captain Hughes had already told Jock's team what Serena was about to do, so they were ready to move out of the way as needed (guns still pointed, of course!)

"How's the time, Samantha?"

"Just under 4 minutes..."

"Ok, I'll cook him them 5 minutes!". She walked along the row of targets, and wiped them all. "Ok, they are all done..."

"Thanks Serena. Jock, you can start moving them out.... Ok, hostages next..."

"Does anyone need to debrief them about the last few minutes first?"

"Probably not.... maybe you can have a quick word with your witch though, before you wipe her?". Serena went over to Lizzy, and took her a bit away from the other hostages.

"Hi Lizzy! Thanks for what you did. You managed to stay remarkably calm the whole time - yes, I was keeping an eye on you, mainly for your own safety. Quick question: what did you see after we last 'talked'?"

"Umm... well, they all seemed to stop moving... then their guns started disappearing. Ah, yes, then Mr stripy shirt completely disappeared. Then the big guys suddenly appeared.... Then you got here..."

"That sounds about right. Anything else?"

"Can't think of anything."

"That's fine, I wasn't expecting anything else. Ok, now I'll be honest with you, what you just saw me do to the targets over there was to wipe their minds of the last few minutes, we don't want them remembering what we just did. And I'm afraid I'm going to have to do the same on all of you guys too..."


"Yeah, I mean, what we just did isn't the sort of thing we'd like the general population to know about."

"Yeah, I can see that, makes sense. So who ARE these guys? SAS or something? And are you one of them?".

Serena was actually able to be quite honest with Lizzy, as she knew she'd be forgetting it all in a minute! "Yes, they are SAS, great bunch of guys, but no, I'm not actually with them, just helping out... tell you what, I'll explain a bit after I wipe your mind...."

While she was talking to Lizzy, a couple of the other SAS guys had lined up all the hostages, ready for Serena to 'do the wipe', then take them out for their debrief.

"6 minutes, 25 seconds..." confirmed Samantha. Serena wiped the hostages for 8 minutes, just to be safe. "Ok, everyone, don't worry, you are all absolutely safe now. The guys with the guns have been taken away. Please, can you go with these handsome gentlemen, they need to talk to you all, to understand what went on here today." John smiled at the concept that the SAS team were 'handsome gentlemen'!

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 19

Serena went over to Lizzy again. "Sorry about this, but I'll let you remember our earlier chat." Samantha held her phone in front of Serena so she could accurately see the time, and she cast an accurate mind-wipe spell on Lizzy. "You ok there, Lizzy?"

"Yeah, what just happened?"

"I'm Serena, we 'spoke' earlier on. I just had to wipe your memories of the last 5 minutes or so, didn't want you to remember the details about what happened. But you're safe now, and the guys with the guns are all gone."

"Oh, that's good. Thank you!"

"So, I promised I'd explain to you who I am. Let me start with a simple question: has your coven been reunited with the other covens yet?"

"Yes, we have."

"And have you heard about the prophecy?"

"Yes, the reuniting of the covens was all part of it, wasn't it?"

"That's right. So... I'm Serena, I'm actually the witch that the prophecy is all about. I had to reunite the covens, and now I just have to defeat a nasty dark invasion at some point in the future. So I've been doing some training with these army guys, and that's why I'm here tonight, although I'm not actually in the army myself. And this here is Samantha, she's the 'healer' in our team, and she's been doing a really great job keeping me going this evening...."

"Oh, wow! So nice to meet you both. And thanks for doing whatever you did tonight! I'm so relieved it's all over!"

"Yeah, me too! Hey, Lizzy, thanks for your help this evening, but now I need to leave you so you can be debriefed."


A little while later, captain Hughes called Serena, Samantha, and all the fairies into the room they had been using earlier. Mr Blue stripy shirt was long gone, and the bomb team had relieved Claude of the phone-controlled explosive device.

They were joined by the senior officer who had watched the operation earlier.

"First of all, I need to say a thank you to you all, especially you, Serena. Today we ended up with the best possible outcome: no injuries, no shots fired, all the 'targets' safely secured, and the hostages unharmed. I don't think we could have asked for better." said the senior officer. "I have no doubt that, without your rather different ways of doing things, there would have been several fatalities. Now, Captain Hughes suggested I should also specifically thank you, Samantha: whilst Serena was doing all the 'fancy stuff', I'm very aware she couldn't have done it without your help, so thank you!"

"Thank you." said Samantha, smiling widely: it wasn't often that 'the backroom team', which is effectively what she was, received official appreciation.

"It's too easy to forget that we work as a team, and you guys - Poppy, I'm including you and your FAS team too - all worked together very well. And Serena, you lead the team very well." said captain Hughes.

"Yeah, I kinda noticed you were letting me take the lead..."

"That was my choice, I wanted you to see how how well you coped leading us all. If there had been any problems, I would have stepped in, but I didn't need to. All of our hours of training together have been very worthwhile. I'd kinda been hoping something like this would happen, to give you all a chance to do something for real."

"As part of our appreciation," added the senior officer, "please expect to see a substantial payment in your bank account to cover your 'Professional Fees' for you and your team's work here this evening. You can also expect some large and important doors to be opened to you as a result of tonight."

Offline Sparky

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I thought I'd do something a little different for today's episode, I hope you enjoy it!


Chapter 20

Several weeks after the excitement of helping out at 'the Reading Incident', Samantha had had another meeting, as the ambassador for the witches and humans, with the other ambassadors from the other realms: this time she went by herself, along with the fairy ambassador. Whilst a little unsure of herself, she soon realised they were all feeling the same way. The fact that she was a member of 'Serena's team' had definitely been noticed by the other realms, and the meeting was very positive, with agreement to provide relevant assistance.

There was also reports of progress made of the previously requested research, with meetings planned so that the researchers could pass on the details.

But for the last couple of weeks, Samantha's life had been surprisingly quiet. Yes, she had some college work to do, but that was all now done, and she was alone in her room. She was currently in her bedroom, sat at her dressing table, and looking into the mirror. More specifically, she was looking at her teeth. Whilst Samantha's actual teeth were really good (she had no fillings) her teeth weren't perfectly straight. Don't get me wrong, they were not badly out of line... they were sufficiently ok that, as a teen, there was no way she would have qualified for braces on the NHS. And there was no way her parents could have afforded for her to get private braces, especially for such a minor 'defect'.


Elida went over to the kitchen area to get herself a coffee, when Faylinn arrived there too. "Hey, Elida, not seen you for a few days, nice to see you! I guess you've been busy apprenticing over at FI5?" said Faylinn, with a bit of a smile. Whilst, as far as most fairies were concerned, Elida was mainly a tooth fairy but was doing an apprenticeship over at FI5, Faylinn was one of a very small number that knew the real truth: far from being just an apprentice, she was actually helping to run the place!

Now, if you're trying to remember who Faylinn is, then she was the fairy that Elida worked together with, when they were fixing the 'trail of braces' left by 'The Dark Fairy' (and who we now know as Sebby!).

"Hey, Faylinn, how's things? Keeping busy?"

"Yeah, had a young kid this morning, braces, expanders, elastics and a facemask, he was not a happy boy. Lots of calming and soothing spells got used to relax him. Need to check in with him later, see how he's coping."

"Oh, yes, it's sad when kids need such extreme braces... but so much pretty shiny metal!"

"Yes, plenty of that! So what have you been up to recently then? Were you involved with that thing with the FAS the other week?"

"No, that was Poppy. I was having a lovely evening at home with Puck, and the first I heard of it was the next day when Poppy filled me in. Tell you what, Poppy is starting to give me a run for my money, she's getting really good, and self confident too. Luckily we get on really well, and our skills seem to complement each other really well. Tell you what though, I'm so glad I still get to do some work here, it's almost 'relaxing' to just be dealing with teeth and braces! Especially shiny metal brackets... I do hate it when they get ceramic brackets, or those new plastic 'aligners'... I mean, how can you call those aligners 'braces'? They don't even shine or sparkle!"

"Oh, definitely with you there! I mean, when they first started doing aligners, it was relatively easy to use a few 'nudge' spells to persuade them to use metal brackets, but it's getting a lot more difficult now..."

"Hmm, maybe we should just burn down the places where they make those horrible aligners?" suggested Elida.

"Nah, they'd just build more! I think we're just going to have to get used to the fact that more people are going to get treated with aligners. At least, the good news is that the total mumber of people getting orthodontic treatment has been going steadily up. Plus, with the problems caused by a lack of NHS dentists, we have plenty of people with other, non-braces, teeth problems to keep us busy!" said Faylinn.

Just then, Elida's tablet beeped. "Oh, looks like I'm needed, better go, see you around!"

"Yeah, we must have lunch together some time, have a proper catch-up." Elida was very pleased that, after the 'time loop' events, she had become friends with Faylinn.

'So, what's this call then?". She opened up the tablet to see who and what was needing her attention: she got a bit of a surprise to discover that her 'customer' was one 'Samantha Parsons', a very familiar name.


As Samantha looked at her teeth, some words inadvertantly crept out of her mouth: "I wish I had nice straight teeth...".

Of course, the magic of the fairy's wish scheduling system had predicted Samantha's wish in advance, and Elida was there to hear her say it. Whilst she would normally have made herself visible to Samantha, this time she stayed invisible, so she could take a look at Samantha's teeth. Yes, her actually teeth looked really nice, lovely and white (but not TOO white!), and while their positioning wasn't actually all that bad, there was definitely room for improvement.

Now, normally when someone made a wish like Samantha had just made, it would be up to the fairies to work out a way to fulfil the wish, without the human customer actually realising what was being done. However, Samantha knew about fairies, so Elida decided to take a rather different route.

"Hey there, Samantha!" she said gently, making herself visible, and flying into her line of sight. "You made a wish...."

"Did I?"

"Yeah, you wished you had nice straight teeth."

"I guess I did, didn't I? And of all people, YOU got the call?"

"Well, it's the way the wish scheduling system works: it remembers which fairies have interacted with a customer before, and allocates them again if they are available. So, you don't like your teeth then?"

"Well, I like them, I just wish they lined up a bit better."

"Whoah, there you go, another wish!" said Elida, giggling. "So, straight teeth: normally I'd have to do something to get you in to see an orthodontist, work out how to pay for it, and all that. But we can simplify things for you. So, the big question is: do you just want them straightening up, or do you REALLY want to have braces, and do things the more traditional way? If you just want them straight, I can do that for you now."

"You know, that's a very good question!" replied Samantha, looking in the mirror at her teeth again.

"I think braces would actually look nice on you" commented Elida. "Hey, want to try some? I mean, they'll be kinda like 'fake braces', they won't DO anything, but you could see what you'd look like."

Samantha thought for a bit. "Ok, yeah...."

Elida called up her wand, and cast a spell on Samantha: it wasn't often she could be quite so overt with braces - a normal human getting braces all of a sudden would get quite a big surprise, so it wasn't something she got to do very often. She put a simple set of medium-sized metal braces onto Samantha's teeth, with a suitable archwire, and dark blue ligatures. She felt a cetain excitement at being able to blatently give a human lively shiny metal braces, and realised that maybe this was how Sebby (aka The Dark Fairy) had felt when giving her victims braces. "First impressions?" she asked.

"Yeah, I kinda like the look.... you're right, they do look good, don't they!"

"Ok, so you like the idea of actually having your teeth straightened with braces?"

The more Samantha looked at the braces that Elida had put on her teeth, the more she liked them. She was also starting to have some rather nice 'feelings'. The idea of being a 'metal mouth' for a while was becoming quite appealing.

"Yes, I think I'd like that."

"Right, so the next question is whether you are interested in the experience of going to an orthodontist to actually GET the braces, or whether just getting the braces is good enough. I mean, if you just want the braces, I could probably get Faylinn to treat you."

Samantha thought about if for a moment: what did she actually WANT? She wanted to have straight teeth, and wanted the experience of having to wear braces. The thought of all the faffing around if she had to go to an orthodontist wasn't that interesting to be honest. "I think I just want the braces. So what options do I have?"

"Ok, there's plenty of options for the actual braces. But whilst I can show you what they look like, I haven't learned the skills needed to give you a proper braces treatment. I think we need to ask Faylinn to join us, she knows all about what needs to be done." Elida pulled out her phone, and was about to call Faylin, when she changed her mind. "Nah, let's have a bit of fun: Samantha, could you say 'I wish Faylinn was here to give me braces'"

Samantha smiled, letting Elida see the braces that were still on her teeth. "I wish Faylinn was here to give me braces". Seconds later Faylinn appeared. "Oh, hello there, you must be Faylinn, that's a lovely name and I DO like your outfit - it's nice to meet you!"

"She can actually SEE us?" asked a rather surprised Faylinn.

"Yeah, I made you visible to her as soon as you arrived. She knows all about us, we've been training together, along with some of the FAS guys. And I've probably just said far more to you than I should have said!"

Faylinn smiled. "So why am I here?"

"I could do with your help: Samantha here would like some braces"

"You're kidding? She wants braces? Can't you handle that?"

"I asked Samantha if she wanted to actually go to an orthodontist to get braces, and she wasn't that keen: she just want to have braces, to get her teeth straight. Now, Samantha knows about us fairies, and I'm thinking that YOU could give her braces to straighten her teeth, kinda like an ortho would... I'll put it through the system, plus we have three wishes now!"

Faylinn took a breath, and turned to Samantha. "Well, hello there, Samantha." Samantha looked back at Faylinn and smiled.

"Oh, yes, they DO look good on you! I'm guessing Elida put those on you so you could see what they look like?"

"Yeah, I did." said Elida. "I thought I'd leave you to go through all the options she has. I'm just gonna sit here, and enjoy the show!"

"Fine with me! This is going to be such fun! So, Samantha, you want to go through a 'real treatment' with braces, letting them slowly move your teeth into a better position?"

"Yes, I think I do"

"That's VERY ok with me, I'm sure that you know by now how much we fairies LOVE shiny things. And braces ARE nice and shiny!" said Faylinn. "Ok, so let me talk to you about the options you have: let's start with the size of the brackets: what you have on right now are quite typical for modern treatment. If you were to get treated privately, at a more expensive orthodontist's, then you'd probably have much smaller brackets, like these." She waved her wand, and the brackets became a lot smaller. "Much more discrete, but not the sort of thing we fairies like to suggest, just not enough shininess!"

Samantha looked at herself in the mirror. Faylinn was right, they did look a bit TOO small. "Nah, you're right, too small!"

"Ok, well, if you were getting NHS treatment, they would possibly look like this...". Again, Faylinn waved her wand, giving Samantha MUCH larger brackets. "We fairies do everything we can to encourage the NHS orthos to use these, for rather obvious reasons!".

Again, Samantha looked at her metal smile in the mirror. She knew that Serena had MUCH larger braces, full metal 'bands' that actually went all over her teeth, and she now realised that, in a strange way, she was a bit jealous of Serena's braces. These large brackets were giving her some rather nice feelings! And the molar bands looked good too!

"I get a feeling you like those, don't you?" suggested Faylinn. Samantha nodded.

"Ok, so large brackets. Any idea what colour ligs you would like?"


"Sorry, ligatures. The small rubber bands that hold the wire to the brackets. I could use wire, if you'd prefer that! At the moment you have dark blue ligs, but you can go lighter, or go for pretty much any colour. There's also silver and clear to choose from. And you can always ask me to change them at any time."

"Let's stay with these blue ones for the moment, they look pretty nice."

"Ok. Now, having looked at your teeth, I can say that I could treat you with the braces you have on your teeth right now. However...."


"However, if you're up for it, either now, or in the future, I could give you a few interesting 'additions'"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, one very obvious option would be either headgear or a facemask, you know what they are?"

"I remember a friend having a headgear at school, a few years ago."

"Like this?" asked Faylinn, waving her wand. Faylinn was rather ejoying this 'wish. it was so much more fun tha the majority of wishes that she handled.

Samantha looked into the mirror: she had a metal facebow between her lips, connected to a neck-strap. "Well, the bit at the front is the same, but she had straps over her head?"

"Ah, a high-pull.... like THIS?". Another wave of the wand.

"Yeah, that's the one!"

"Of course, if you had both at the same time, we'd call it a 'combi headgear'". Faylinn waved her wand again. As the extra strap appeared on Samantha's head, a slight tingle went down her spine... Samantha was rather enjoying the experience! "Maybe you'd like a second facebow?" Another wave of her wand, and things got reconfigured: the upper facebow was on the high-pull, the lower on the neck-strap. "Oh, yes!" exclaimed Faylinn, "those two shiny facebows look good, what do you think, Elida?"

"Oh, yes, very nice!" replied Elida "Lots of shiny metal!". Samantha was being strangely quiet. "You know, I reckon a facemask could suit her, I think she should try one...".

"Why not: Samantha, ready to see what a facemask is like?". Samantha nodded, at the same time holding her legs tightly together. Another wave of Faylinn's wand, and the headgear disappeared. She had added in a couple of thick extra metal wires onto her braces - onto the molar bands to be exact - with loops on the front, adjacent to her canines. From there elastics connected to the bar on the front of the facemask. The facemask she was wearing was the modern style with a thick bar down the middle, pads top & bottom for the forehead and chin, with the lateral bar in the middle for the elastics. "Of course, there's a couple of other types of facemasks you could have."

Once more, Samantha looked at herself in the mirror, and liked what she saw: the most confusing thing for her was trying to work out where the strange - yet very nice - feelings had come from.

"Tell you what, let's leave that facemask on you for the moment, as you DO seem to be enjoying it, and talk about other options. I guess we can start with expanders: you don't ACTUALLY need one, but you might want to experience an expander."

"I remember a boy at school had a lumpy removable one of those, he hated it!"

"Yeah, I've seen that they are hard to wear. But no, I'm thinking of one that made of metal, non-removable. Tell you what, let's give you both an upper and lower expander to try out! Ready?" Samantha took a big breath - she was just so glad all of this wasn't for real. Well, yes, it WAS for real, but if she asked Faylinn, she would take it all off her - well she hoped she would. Except...

She nodded her head: her tongue was moved out of the way, and she discovered that she now had metal wires just inside her lower teeth, with a big lump at the front, plus a big lump in the roof of her mouth, with wires from it going to her molar bands... oh, she now had two more molar bands.

"Oh, googneth, icth fiwwing my mowf!" said Samantha with a big lisp.

"Yes, it does, doesn't it. Here, use this small mirror to take a better look what I just put in your mouth. Samantha put the mirror into her mouth, then looked in the big mirror, all of which let her see what was in her mouth a lot better. She was getting those nice feelings again....

"Why don't you just go the whole way," suggested Elida, "and give her a tongue crib and a herbst too??!!"

Samantha wasn't quite sure what Elida was talking about, but she soon discovered a moment after Faylinn waved her wand again. Shit, her tongue was now caged in, and she couldn't waggle her jaw from side to side any more, something to do with the metal rods that had appeared at the sides of her braces. Not forgetting that she was still wearing the facemask! Samantha's breathing rate was becoming shallower and faster, and she held her legs even more toghtly together, trying to cover up the very nice feelings that she was having. She was really having trouble understanding WHY having these braces were making her feel the way she was, although she wasn't really complaining, they WERE rather nice feelings after all!

Finally, she managed to calm down, and her breathing returned to normal.

"You ok there, Samantha?" asked Faylinn.

"Yes, I think so" said Samantha. Well, that's what she TRIED to say: I'll leave you to imagine how it actually came out. But she DID have a big smile on her face!

"Ok, let's go back to the basics....". Once more, Faylin waved her wand, removing everything except for the 4 molar bands (2 on top, 2 on bottom) and the large metal brackets. "So, those are normal stainless steel brackets. I can think of two possible 'tweaks'. The first is what is called 'self-ligating brackets'. Some people think they are more comfortable, but it would mean that you wouldn't need the ligs... like this...". A wave of the wand later, and Samantha was sporting a set of very modern self-ligating brackets. Normally they would be a lot smaller, but Faylin had magicked up some special large versions.

Samantha looked in her mirror: for some reason they didn't 'look right'. Yes, they looked a bit odd without the small rubber ligatures on the brackets. "No, don't really fancy those..." she said.

"That's fine with us, we much prefer the normal ones, much more sparkly! Now, the OTHER possibility is to have the normal brackets, but gold plated. Want a look?"

"Oh, definitely!". Her brackets changed back to the more normal type, with the dark blue ligs on again, but this time they were golden. They DID look rather nice!

"Like the self-ligating ones, they WOULD normally be much smaller - after all, if you can afford gold plated braces, you'd not normally want them to be QUITE so obvious, would you? But I think they look so much nicer when they are bigger, don't you agree, Elida?"

"Oh yes, so much nicer and far more sparkly and shiny!"

"I think that's about it as far as fixed braces go - well ignoring lingual braces that is, but who wants to have braces that noone can see? How stupid! Of course, I could treat you with removable braces, with springs in them...."

"You know," said Samantha, admiring her smile in the mirror, "I do rather like these braces!"

"Actually, I just thought of something you've missed, Faylinn: a removable bite plate!" suggested Elida.

"Oh, yes, silly me! Although I have a feeling that Samantha won't like it. No reason we couldn't try it though....". Faylin waved her wand, and suddenly Samantha could feel a big lump of plastic appear at the front of her mouth, at the top. She ran her tongue over it: it felt strangely nice.

"You know, it thort feelths nithe" said Samantha. "Ith it re... we... wrrwwremovable?"

"That one is, although I could give you a fixed one?"

"How do I wrrwwremove it?"

"Clips that go just above your rear molars. Tell you what, look in the mirror, and I'll show you how to get it out." As Samantha looked in the mirror, Faylin used her magic to slowly pull out the clasps enough to go over Samantha's brackets, then pulled gently down: the bite plate fell into Samantha's mouth, and she was able to remove it.

"You know, I don't think I'd want to wear this all the time, but it could be fun to wear it, like when I'm in bed."

"Yes, that would be ok, if you'd like that."

"So, how long will it take for my teeth to move into place with these braces?"

"For you, any time between 1 day and 5 years! And you can change your treatment length any time you like. How long would you like to have them? I mean, normal treatment for your teeth would probably be something like 9 months, they really aren't all that bad. But don't forget, you'll have to wear retainers afterwards! Ok, only joking about that bit, you don't HAVE to have retainers, if you don't want them: the magic will hold your teeth perfectly in the right place."

"Nine months seems fine to me! And I guess we can talk about retainers nearer the time?".

Samantha sat looking at her teeth and lovely braces in the mirror. Next to her were two small fairies, also having a good look....

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 21

"So, how's it going, being an ambassador then?" Serena asked Samantha.

"Yeah, it's a lot easier than I thought it would be, probably helped by the fact that almost everyone else is inexperienced too. It's a bit weird talking with elves and cylops and goblins though."

Serena had actually been talking with Samantha for most of five minutes when she realised something was different about her. She watched Samantha's mouth carefully. Yes, no doubt about it, she had braces.

"Hey, Samantha... so when did you get the braces then?"

"Ah, yes... my braces... I got them last night."

"Last night? I wasn't aware there was an 'all night orthodontist' around here!"

"Yeah, it was  ore of a 'home call service'." Serena was being abit slow today. "From Faylinn and Elida Orthodontic Services!"

"Ah, so they're fakes then?"

"No, absolutely not. I actually need my teeth fixing, and I was looking in the mirror last night, and it seems I said something with the word 'wish' in it. Next thing I know is that Elida was there!"

"Oh, I bet Elida enjoyed THAT!"

"Oh, we both did. She put some braces on me, so I could have a look..."

"And something tells me that you actually LIKED the look.... so where does Faylinn come into this?"

"Well, whilst Elida could 'give me braces', it seems Faylinn is more experienced at actual treatments, so Faylinn is being my ortho, giving me braces that will slowly sort out my teeth. She's good, she showed me all sorts of options..."

"And something tells me that, while she did that, Elida just looked on?" said Serena with a smirk.

"You clearly know Elida far too well, Serena!"

"I probably do. But I have a LOT of time for her and Poppy too, they are both very capable fairies, but also have no problems enjoying themselves with a bit of fun at the same time. The only thing you have to watch with the fairies is that they really DO like anything that's shiny and sparkly! So, how the braces feeling? Any soreness?"

"Oh, come on Serena, I'm a healer, I never have to suffer pain!!"

"Sorry, yes, that was a stupid comment!"

"Hey, Serena, did you ever get the money the army guy promised?"

"Oh, yes, it arrived yesterday. Quite a substantial sum too! I think we four need to sit down together, and work out how we want to use it. It'll cover any expenses for a while, and then some..."

"When you say 'substantial', HOW substantial?"

"Put it this way, there's a comfortable 5 figures, and that's NOT including the pence..."

"Oh, THAT substantial!" said Samantha after she realised what Serena had just said. "But why so much?"

"I guess when you consider the cost of what COULD have happened without our help, it's quite small in comparison. I'm also thinking that certain people have realised that, if we don't manage to stop the 'invasion' when it actually happens, then even a couple of million would be no more than a pee in a bucket. They need us as much as we need them. And by comparison, we're cheap."

"When you put it like that, yes....

"Yeah, so the pressure of us needing to get a job is pretty much gone now. We can concentrate on our magic and stuff...".

They sat quietly for a moment.

"You know, I never PROPERLY thanked you for what you did the other night: you just kept on doing exactly what I needed, and exactly when I needed it. All our training is starting to pay off." commented Serena.

Samantha had a big smile on her face (one full of metal of course): while she knew that what she did was important, and was appreciated, it did feel good when someone actually SAID it!

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Chapter 22

Time skips forward a bit here, by several months.

It is clear that 'one of those doors' as mentioned a couple of chapters ago, has been opened for them. As a brief explanation, the "Chiefs of Staff Committee" is the small group of military big-wigs that basically run the military in the UK: everyone else reports to them.

Kinda Like Lilly, Tats and Elida over in the fairy realm, I guess!


"Good morning, gentlemen, thank you all for your time." The audience was the Chief of the Defence Staff, and the other 5 members of the Chiefs of Staff Committee... in other words, the top 6 UK military guys. The man talking was Brigadier General Smith, head man of the SAS.

As well as the 7 men already mentioned, Major Tom and Captain Hughes were also present at the front of the room. In addition, there were 4 other chairs at the front, currently empty. In addition, a non-descript army member stood by the door, holding a loaded semi-automatic weapon.

"The briefing you are about to receive may seem rather 'far fetched', but I can assure you that it is 100% authentic, and something we need to take 100% seriously. I'm now going to hand over to Captain Hughes, 22 SAS."
"Thank you sir. We have recently become aware of a rather serious and major military event that will occur sometime in about 15 months time, in the south of the country. It will be in the form of a 'magical invasion', which we actually need to ask our traditional miltary forces to completely ignore." There were 6 very confused high-ranking officers listening to this.

"I need to invite 4 special visitors to join us: for the benefit of the lieutenant by the door, the four visitors HAVE been invited, so please do NOT shoot them! Serena, when you're ready..."

10 seconds later, Serena, Harper, Sarah and Samantha all suddenly appeared at the front of the room. Rather than being in their normal clothes, they had decided that the 4 outfits that had come with all their weaponry would probably make a much better impression.

"Sorry for the delay, I screwed up the teleportation spell first time around!". The 6 big-wigs were visibly shocked at what they had just seen.

"You'd better put these on...." said Captain Hughes, passing them all 'visitor' badges with photos on.

While the other three sat down, Serena remained standing and addressed the audience.

"Good morning sirs, my name is Serena, and I am a rather powerful witch. What you just saw there was a teleportation spell, a way to get from where we were, to here, a distance of about a mile: I felt that if I just walked in through the door, you might have problems appreciating that magic actually exists. And as you can see, it most definitely does! Although I'm sure you must have already been briefed about Captain Hughes' troop of witches.".

Five minutes ago, Serena had felt distinctly nervous: it not often that a 19 year old girl gets to address the top 6 military guys in the UK. But, of course, help was to hand: Samantha ran a couple of calming spells on Serena, so when she had started to speak, she had not felt at all nervous.

"Let me introduce my friends: Sarah is my mentor, Harper is now a very able fighter, and Samantha is an impressive healer. I am here today to deliver a very important message, but before we get there, I think I need to explain a bit about the history of witches in England, who I actually am, and why I am here today."

Major Tom had explained that she needed to be authoritive, and simply present facts. As long as she did so, she could expect to not be interrupted, until she asked for feedback.

Serena explained how, in the middle ages - so over 500 years ago - witches were actually quite common, providing back then the sort of services that doctors do now: helping with hurting arms and legs, reducing headaches, and that sort of thing. Some of the witches were more able - just like many trades today - and could carry out stronger magic. And whilst there were a few 'bad witches', the vast majority practiced good magic.

"Then, about 500 years ago, people started to get scared of witches, and that's when many witches got burned at the stake, or drowned. The number of witches was clearly reduced, and those left tended to keep quiet about their abilities, lest they were also killed by the mob. The many covens who had previously interacted with each other became isolated. And around this time, just before the 'troubles', a prophecy was made. Of course, back then, it was passed down verbally - few people could write - and that is why each coven appears to have a slightly different prophecy," explained Serena.

"Gentlemen" interrupted Captain Hughes, "If you take a look at your briefing packs, then items 3a through 3d are copies of four of those prophecies. I'll let Serena explain further."

"So, yes, whilst different, the message is very similar in all the prophecies I've seen. The first - so 3a - comes from my own coven. But if you look at 3b instead, you should be able to see that the first part pretty much describes things from our very recent history. You'll note there's a bit there about "the plague of the mask", which I think describes the recent Covid issues rather well. Before I go any further though, I think I need to tell you a bit about myself..." Serena paused for a moment.

"Up until I was 16, I was like you: I knew nothing of witches and magic: our coven was what we would call a 'closed coven', whereby under-16's were simply not told anything about witches or magic. On my 16th birthday, my parents told me that I was, like them, a witch, and that I would be able to learn to do magic. Good magic, of course. So what sort of thing do I mean? A child falls over in the playground, hurting themselves, so a good witch parent might cast a calming spell, or a simple healing spell. For most people, my parents included, that's about as far as it goes.". A short pause for breath.

"In fact, I picked up magic very quickly: to me it was really obvious and simple. Then, on my 18th birthday, I was expected to make a pledge in front of the members of my coven. A pledge to the light, of course. But for some unknown reason, I wasn't able to do that. There was no way I could pledge to the darkness, so I instead pledged to the 'light grey', which upset most of my coven! Luckily one of our elders had recently read the prophecy - specifically the one that's item 3a - which seemed to describe me rather well. If you've wanting to know about that 'mouth of metal', then you may have noticed that I have orthodontic braces: if you were to look closely, you would see that the braces are quite extreme, meaning that I do indeed have a 'mouth of metal'. You'll see that the prophecies all go on to say that I will re-unite the covens of the land, which is something that I am doing at the moment. It goes on to say that I will go on to 'defeat the attacks of the darkness', and if you turn to item 3c, and look at the same part in that version, you'll see that I will have 2 others by my side - Sarah and Harper here - and a third one who does not fight: that is Samantha, a powerful witch, with the skills of healing and calming."

Once again, Serena paused for a moment.

"So you are saying that you are the four named in this supposed prophecy?" asked one of the big-wigs.

"First of all, there's no 'supposed': these are examples of many very old documents which  seem to describe events of the last couple of decades very accurately, plus clearly describe the the four of us - if you'd like to waste time, I could describe many more things which back up our 'claim'".

Once again, Captain Hughes stepped up to the front. "Gentlemen, I can assure you that my troop have all seen evidence to back up Serena's claims. Plus, as you already know, we are all witches too".

While Captain Hughes was talking, for some reason Serena felt she should lightly scan the 6 military bigwigs: she got a bit of a shock to discover that one of them was actually a witch.

"Excuse me, the gentleman who is third from my left.." Serena pointed to who she meant. "Who are you, please sir?". The man introduced himself as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, Major General Disorder.

"Major General, let me put this simply: would you please like to tell the rest of us the 'special skills' that you have? Or maybe you would prefer me to tell everyone?".

The room went silent, with eyes looking first at Serena, then at the Major General.

"Major General?" prompted Serena silently, speaking directly into the Major General's mind.

"Um, yes... Ok, so I AM actually a witch myself, although I never use any magical powers... But how did you know?"

"Thank you, sir, for confirming that. How did I know? Did I mention that I am a witch who pledged to the 'light grey'? Which means that I am able to use certain dark magic spells,  including the ability to scan people to see if they are witches. By our reckoning, there's maybe several hundred witches within the armed forces, although the vast majority - like you - don't use their skills. Some, like the members of Captain Hughes' SAS troop, actually use the limited amount of magic they are able to do. But Major General, can you confirm what I've been saying?"

"Well, I'm not actually familiar with the prophecies that you mention, although I have heard of its existence. Your description of the history, what most witches do, and the pledging are all quite accurate."

"Thank you very much, sir, for your honesty: it will hopefully make the rest of my job here today a lot easier. So, on to the next bit of those prophecies. The bit about having to fight and defeat some sort of dark threat: that's the real reson for us being here today."

With the 'outing' of Major General Disorder, Serena's job had just become a lot simpler. The next bit should be interesting though...

"We recently received some very credible intelligence from one of the other six realms about that dark threat, and how it could affect all of the seven realms." Serena was looking at 7 very confused high-ranking military officers.

"Oh, sorry, I forgot to explain about the realms, didn't I? So, we humans are not alone, there are 6 other realms, invisible to most of you: the fairies, the Elves, the Cyclops, the Leprechauns, the Goblins, and finally the Centaurs." There were still 6 very confused faces looking at Serena.

"Well, assuming they found us all ok, there should be a couple of fairies here with us, in this room. In fact, I am hoping they've been here all the time. Wanda, visible to all please!". The seven faces were starting to expect strange things to happen, so Wanda's appearance wasn't so big a surprise. Serena cast the spell, and the two small fairies became visible: they were actually both sat cross-legged on the table in front of the 7 military big-wigs. Jaws dropped as they saw the small creatures.

"Let me introduce two very important fairies: Elida and Poppy. They are both very powerful fairies, in the same way that I am a very powerful witch. Elida helps to run FI5, the fairy equivalent of MI5. Elida, maybe you can explain a bit more about the realms?"

"I certainly can, Serena. Good morning everyone. So yes, you guys are all part of the human realm. We fairies have our own realm, although it is very close to the human realm. And as you may or may not know, we fairies exist to help humans, and grant their wishes, using magic: for example, by training, I'm a tooth fairy, and I help kids with anything to do with teeth, including braces. The other five realms are, as Serena said, the Elves, Cyclops, Leprechauns, Goblins, and Centaurs... We all live in our own magical realms, but there is an uneasy peace between us, so we all tend to stay in our own realms, although we have recently needed to visit all of the other realms. Does that make some sort of sense?" asked Elida. Several heads nodded.

Now, you may be thinking 'hey you just dropped a load of weird shit on these military guys, and you REALLY expect us to believe they are ok with it?'. The reallity is that, if anyone is going to give a briefing to these guys, then you can GUARANTEE that whatever is in that briefing will be 100% true and correct. You wouldn't have got anywhere near these guys if your information was dodgy!

"I got to know Serena a little while ago, almost by chance," continued Elida. "She told us about the prophecy, and I promised that we fairies would help, if we could. So, I'm a bit of a special fairy..." and she explained how she and Poppy were 'Protectors'. "Anyway, some time ago, Poppy and I were in our Royal Library, when Poppy found a book, hiding in a dusty corner. When we eventually persuaded the book to open, we found a message written to us, by name, from our future selves - yeah, don't ask, it's far too complicated! The message was written in such a way as to not directly give details - we think that the universe probably wouldn't like that, in case the timeline got screwed up, I'm sure you've all seen those time films. However, the message cryptically told us to expect an invasion from an eighth realm. It hinted at a location, and it hinted at a time: just under 2 years time from back then. It also hinted that the invasion would involve magic. And I think that's where I need to pass back to Serena...".

"Any questions so far?" asked Serena.

"Yes," said one of the 7 big-wigs. "How credible is that information really? I mean, messages from the future..."

"Major General Disorder, you are a witch, and aware of magical stuff, maybe you'd like to comment?" said Serena.

"Well, it may all sound far-fetched, but you might be surprised what can actually be done with magic. I mean, these 4 ladies all magically teleported in at the start of the meeting; and who thought that fairies actually existed? I think there must be a high level of credibility placed on any information we are presented with here today."

"Thank you, sir. We too believe it is highly credible: parts of the message specifically related to me. So this is where we get to the most important part of our presentation today. As Elida said, the invasion will be a magical one. And what really worries us is that when it happens, the army, the air force, and maybe even the navy, will want to get involved - would I be right in saying that?" asked Serena.

"I think that we would see any invasion, of any sort, to be a threat to the country, and we would therefore respond suitably." replied one of the big-wigs.

"And the problem is that anything conventional you guys could do would have absolutely no effect. Zero. Zilch. You could probably drop a tactical nuclear missile on the site, and all you'd do is contaminate half the country, but you'd have not killed off the invaders, and probably not injured them either. How do I put this gentlemen? When the invasion happens, as we are sure it will, you need to leave it to us. Us witches, and the fairies, and all the others from the other realms. We can do magic. And I have no doubt that we WILL defeat the invasion."

"Sirs, if I might interject for a moment." said Major Tom. "Captain Hughes' men have seen many of the weapons that have been 'made available' to Serena, and have used many of them: they are magical and they are very powerful. Serena, too, is highly skilled at magic, the men have seen her in action. These two fairies here can do some powerful magic as well... it's a different sort of magic from us witches, and I'm guessing that will apply to members of the other realms too. We have also seen the original 'message from the future', and can vouch for it's existence. Yes, it is written very carefully, but both Serena and Elida have explained the reasoning behind it. We believe that there will indeed be an invasion from another realm, in around 15 months time, and that it will be done with powerful magic, by magical creatures. Our 'normal' forces really need to stay out of things, and just leave it to us, otherwise there will be a huge number of needless casualties. In this case, we magic users are 'the professionals': leave it to us." 

"Also," added Elida, "the prophecies that you have seen copies of clearly indicate that Serena WILL succeed in defeating this dark threat. Serena.... not human armies! If you can believe the rest of the prophecies, then you must believe that bit as well. And yes, I am in no doubt that Serena will indeed become Queen of all the witches, thus completing the prophecy... although I know that the idea of her becoming queen is an incredibly scary one to her right now."

"Gentlemen, I believe that is the end of the formal presentation," said Major Tom, "but I'm sure you have questions..."

"Yes, I think we do. Why don't you all come and join us at the table here?" suggested Major General Disorder.

As they sat down, Serena asked "I don't suppose there's the possibility of a cup of coffee is there?"

"My pleasure!" said Elida, magicking up drinks, cakes and biscuits for all present.

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 23

So where are we?

The meeting with the Chiefs of Staff had gone very well: after several further meetings with them, some of which included members of the other realms, Serena felt that they had their support, and was much happier that the military would indeed leave things to them.

The 'team of 4' have been working on and off with the SAS witch troop, joining them on many more training exercises. The 4 'human weapons from Ireland' have also been joining them, and after a while, members from the other realms started visiting the human realm, and joined in the training too. As, of course, did Elida, Poppy, Annabelle, and a load of the FAS guys. Annabelle's abilities have come along in leaps and bounds, and she has thoroughly enjoyed working with the FAS and other 'people'.

The purpose of all the training was many-fold: getting Serena's team fit and up to speed to be useful; improving the SAS troop's magic abilities; letting the members of the other realms become familiar with the human environment, and see how effective their magic would be; and letting the many different teams discover how they could best work together.

Serena picked up the skills she needed amazingly well. Harper's gymnastic abilities were pushed hard, and combined with some interesting magic, making her a very proficient fighter. Sarah, whilst maybe not as 'flamboyant' as Harper, was finding that her magic and fighting skills were also improving well. They had spent a lot of time practising using their magic weapons, and had become quite familiar with them, as had the SAS guys.

Even Samantha got involved: if she was to be able to provide healing, she'd need to be wherever the healing was needed, so needed to be fit and able to protect herself - and her skills were certainly needed a few times during the training.

The four witches had also been trying out a lot more 'power of 4' magic, and were starting to understand the sort of things they could do with it.

Even more importantly, as time passed, Serena was feeling very much more confident, both in herself and those around her, and soon found that everyone, human and non-human alike, was very willing to accept her as their ultimate leader.

No pressure then....

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 24

So, it's a couple of days before Serena's 21st birthday. If you remember, they interpreted the message from the future to mean that the invasion would happen on her birthday... give or take a couple of days. In the same way that they interpreted the location as being 'somewhere near' the old fairy castle (the place important to Sebby), which was at the back of a farm, not far from Runesdale.

So the reality was that a large area adjacent to Runesdale had been made 'off-limits' to the public, 'due to a large military training exercise' that was 'scheduled for a few weeks'. And as far as the more normal military forces were concerned, they had put out a story of a 'special, restricted, military exercise' happening, with certain new 'classified weapons', so all forces should simply keep well away!

All throughout the area was a mix of trained creatures - witches and fairies included - all watching and waiting for something to happen. And that included Serena, Harper and Sarah too: they took their turns in watching and waiting. Not only did Serena want to show that she was very willing to 'lead from the front', to be honest, her team's magic was probably much stronger than most others, so being 'out there' made a lot of sense.

So, they just sat and watched and waited. And chatted. Some of the fairies would come around every so often, providing drinks and treats for them. But it was boring. They were spread out quite thinly, to cover the large area of potential attack. Once they knew the actual 'where' then everyone would be able to come together into a smaller area, to do the actual fighting.

Of course, they knew absolutely NOTHING about what these invaders would look like, how many there would be, nor what magical abilities they would have. Which is why so many creatures from the many realms were involved: surely SOME of their magic would work against the invaders.

Puck and his tech team in the fairy realm had excelled themselves, managing to magic up a HUGE number of the highly clever comms devices, based on the ones that Serena and the SAS team used at the terrorist incident: everyone wore one, and they only needed to think about who they wanted to talk to, and it happened.

In a place they believed to be 'safer', they had set up tents for the 'soldiers' to sleep in, plus large mess tents where they could eat, and others could hold meetings. Needless to say, the catering was handled by an elite team of the highly-trained catering fairies, meaning that the food was second to none. It is often said that an army marches on it's stomach, and these fairies were going to make sure there would be nothing preventing that marching!

Serena and the other 3 witches in her team, along with representatives of the other 6 realms were in a tent, just waiting.... The four witches from Ireland, and several fairies like Annabelle, were still all out 'in the field' with the many others, watching and waiting.

"Ohhhh..." said Serena exhaling a large breath. "This waiting is horrible. I wish something would actually happen! At least then we'll know what we're up against!"

"Be careful what you wish for..." said Poppy. "Don't worry, I'll ignore that one for now!"

"So, any guesses what these eighth-realmers will look like?" asked Sarah.

"Well, if I think about the many mythical creatures...." said Elida.

"What, you mean like fairies and cyclops then?" said Harper with a big smile.

"Yeah, like us lot... so what we missing? Vampires? .... Dragons? .... Trolls? .... Mermaids? Although I guess mermaids would probably go for a sea invasion, wouldn't they?" continued Elida.

"What about six-feet-tall magical hedgehogs?" suggested one of the Goblins, letting his imagination go wild.

"Maybe they are some sort of giraffes?" added a Centaur. "Magical Killer Giraffes....".

"Dragons would be fun, as long as they didn't breath too much fire!" commented a Cyclop.

"What about giant killer wasps?" suggested a Leprechauns. "That would be really nasty!"

"Maybe it's a load of zombies... you know, the walking dead sort of thing..." suggested Captain Hughes.

"Would zombies actually be magical?" asked Poppy.

"I guess they could be..." replied Samantha, gently smiling, and showing off her silver smile.

Yes, they were getting pretty bored, waiting for something to happen.


It was the day before Serena's 21st birthday.

Today was even MORE boring....

Offline Sparky

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Still waiting to see if the "Carol" story will be renewed by the TV network, so in the meantime, let's carry on with Serena's story. It's Serena's birthday, so the invasion MUST be soon! Well, assuming they interpreted the message from the future correctly...


Chapter 25

"Happy Birthday, Serena!" said a whole load of people as she walked into the room. Serena - well, more her friends - had decided that Serena needed a break from waiting at the 'battlefield', and should spend at least part of the day back home. So she had slept at her partent's house last night, and when she came down for breakfast, everyone was there: Samantha, Harper, Sarah, Poppy, Elida, and not forgetting her mum, dad and grandma.

Now, you're possibly thinking: 'but what if something should happen out on the battlefield?' Well, there was enough magic in that room that, with very little effort, they would soon know if anything happened, and it wouldn't take them long to change into their battle-gear, and go there. But, this morning, everyone felt that Serena deserved a bit of 'Serena time'!

Everyone went over to the table where there was a lovely breakfast laid out: Serena had no doubt that it had been done by her fairy friends, Elida and Poppy.

"Guys, thanks for this, it's lovely" said Serena.

"Only the best for our future queen" said Sarah.

"I am still having trouble getting my head around that, probably very soon, our daughter be our queen!" said her mum.

"Don't worry, mum, you're not the only one!". After breakfast, they went into the living room, where there was a small pile of presents waiting for Serena.

"Oooh, thank you..." said Serena. "I wonder what you got me?"

"We decided that you were old enough that we would all get you slightly 'silly' presents. So, here, this is from your dad and me...". Her mum passed over a brightly wrapped package, about 40 to 50 centimetres long, 25 wide, and 10 thick. Serena unwrapped it to reveal the brush part of a broom, but as she removed the last piece of wrapping paper, the broom's handle suddenly grew from the end.

Serena smiled. "Neat packaging, I always wondered how you would wrap a broom. Thanks mum, dad..."

"Well, it's time you had your own magic broom.... now you can help keep the decking clean! Plus, it's also about time you had your own transport!". Yes, the one thing that Serena never had was her own broom, and as a powerful witch, well, heck, she needed one!

Samantha passed over a smaller package. Serena opened it to find a couple of tooth brushes, toothpaste, flossing tools, a retainer box and a few other braces-related bits, which made Serena laugh. "I thought you could do with a set of bits for your braces!" said Samantha very jokingly.

"Thank you, Samantha, very nice!". Serena appreciated the humour.

"Happy birthday Serena!" said Harper, passing her present over. It wasn't all that big, and felt quite soft and squishy. She unwrapped it, to see a knitted object, about 45 cm long, and maybe 3 cm wide. Serena looked at it, rather confused.

"Erm, what exactly IS it?" she asked.

"It's a wand warmer, to keep Wanda warm in the winter!" explained Harper. Serena smiled: she liked getting these silly presents!

"Oh, yes, I like it... hey Wanda.... want to try it on?"

Wanda appeared. "Oh, very nice, I always fancied one of those!"

Sarah passed over a rather larger present: it was clearly something in a box. "They're very slightly practical, but mainly silly...". Serena unwrapped the box, then opened it.

"Roller skates? Yellow roller skates??!!" she said smiling. "Where's the practicality in those?"

"Well, it'll help you get places quicker! Go on, try them on....". Serena took off her slippers, and put them on: as a younger child she used to have some of those clip-on roller skates, and got quite good at skating with them, but that HAD been a few years ago.

They fitted perfectly, and felt very comfortable. "Very sexy!" commented Harper.

"Here, open mine.." said Poppy. Serena opened a present that clearly contained several items: a cup, a bag of coffee, and an 'Aeropress' coffee maker. "It's slightly practical, it's in case one of us can't get to you when you need a coffee!" joked Poppy: she knew that, if Serena EVER wished for a coffee, then one of the many fairies would be only too happy to get her one!

"Mine's in a similar vein..." said Elida. Serena unwapped it to find a box of 'make your own chocolate cake' mix. "In case we can't get to you with the cake....".

Serena was laughing: "Guys, these are lovely fun presents, thank you all so much! Looks like there's one to go, I'm guessing it's from you, Grandma?"

"Yes, although I'm sorry to say it's a rather more serious present, but... well, open it, and I'll explain.

Serena picked it up: it felt quite heavy for its size: she unwrapped it to find a very old book. The front simply said 'spells for a special grand-daughter'.

"It was my grandmother's, and her grandmother's before her, and I've been looking after it for... well, quite a long time. It's your's now... well, until YOUR grand-daughter turns twenty-one!"

Serena opened it: it was clearly very old, but had been both well used, and well looked after. She spent a few moments turning the pages, to discover it contained all sorts of information, including recipes, and there were many illustrations.

"It's beautiful, Grandma, thank you! So, I'm guessing it skipped mum then?"

"Oh, I think she got her own version, given to her by my mother, many years ago."

After the hard work of the last year or so, and the stress of the last few days - just waiting for something to happen - this was a very welcome break.

Serena's phone rang: it was Captain Hughes. She answered the phone with a certain amount of trepidation.

"John, is there a problem?"

"Not at all, it's just that the guys all said I should ring you and wish you a happy birthday from us all!". Serena relaxed, and smiled.

"Thank you, and tell the guys thank you too!"


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 26

"Hey, Samantha, want to come with me?" suggested Serena. They were back out at the farm near Runesdale, and Serena was about to relieve one of the others who was watching for the signs of an invasion.

They found themselves somewhere to sit, where they could also keep an eye open. "Hey, I was just thinking about the silly present you gave me: how you getting on with your braces 'treatment'?"

"Yeah, I'm liking it! The brackets annoyed my cheeks to start with, but a couple of simple healing spells soon fixed that... I mean, no point in being abl to do magic if you can't use it on yourself! But it's kinda nice to be different from the majority of people, and have a bit of a silver smile. I still cant stop running my tongue over the brackets, it's a strangely nice feeling!"

"So, still just the metal brackets?"

"Yeah, thought it best to keep it simple. Once all 'this' is over, I might ask Faylinn to give me some expanders for a while: she briefly gave me some to try out the day she started my treatment, and they felt.... well, 'interesting'"

"I bet they gave you a lisp!"

"Oh, of course they did, but it felt strangely nice. But whatever I get, I can't imagine they'll ever be quite as extreme as yours! So, how you getting on with your braces then?"

"Oh, they are still very friendly, we sometimes talk when I'm going to sleep."

"No, silly, I mean how do they feel?"

"To be honest, I really don't notice them. The metal of the bands is continuing to merge into my teeth, the brackets feel lovely and smooth, and all the other bits... well, they just aren't an issue."

"You think you'll ever get rid of them?"

"Apart from the fact that I'm not sure if I COULD, it's a bit like asking me if I could get rid of my arm or my leg. They are PART of me now. Come on, let's have a quick look at your braces..."

Samantha smiled, letting Serena see the lovely silver brackets on her teeth. Suddenly her smile got wider. "Something tells me there's probably a fairy hovering just behind me... so who is it? I'll guess at Elida!"

"And in that case you'd be right!" said Elida. "I mean, Poppy's not a tooth fairy, is she? Although that doesn't stop her liking skiny things!"

"It could have been Faylinn...."

"Yes, but pretty unlikely. Anyway, hello again! I don't suppose there's any action is there?"

"No, of course not!"

"In that case, whilst we're talking about braces, it's probably time I gave yours a quick once-over, check they, and your teeth, are all ok!"

"You just want a look at my shiny metal mouth, don't you.... be honest..."

"Well..... yes, there IS that too..."

"Go on," said Serena, "take a look... and I bet Samantha would like a look too... hey, braces, you have a visitor!"

"Hello Elida!" said Serena's braces as Elida touched them.

"Hello gorgeous, how's things?"

"Well Therena DID forget to uthe the cleaning thpell earlier, after she had her birthday cake...". (if you remember, Serena doesn't have a lisp, but her braces do...)

"Oooh, you snitch!" replied Serena. Elida had a good looke around Serena's mouth: yes, the bands were merging with her teeth, and the brackets almost looked like they were slowly 'melting' too. The metal plate in the top of her mouth still looked to fit well, but she did spot something not quite right with the herbst, over to the left.

Elida reached in to touch it, where the problem seemed to be. "Ouch!" said Serena's braces.

"Sorry, did that hurt?"

"Not tho much hurt ath feelth a bit thore."

"Yeah, it's not quite looking right. You going to be able to cope with a bit of pain for a few seconds, while I have a go at fixing it?"

"Yeah, I'm sure we can... but do remember that we're all made of a rather thpecial magic."

"Oh, don't worry, I wouldn't forget that. Would you mind if I got Serena to remove her lip-bumpers, it might help, and may also reduce any pain for you guys."

"Go ahead, that'th fine with uth!"

"Hey, Serena! I need to sort out a small problem on your braces, can you take your lip-bumpers out for a minute or two?"

"Sure...". Serena invited her lip-bumpers to come out, and they gently 'ejected' themselves from the tubes, and into her hands.

"Thank you. Now, if you can give me a bit of space in your right cheek, I need to temporarily remove your right herbst." Elida used some special magic to undo the two screws holding the herbst in place, then took it out and had a careful look at it. "Ah, right, I can see the issue: I suspect you may have been hit on your cheek at some point..."

"Yeah, very possible, some of the training did get a bit rough at times. Is it going to be a problem?"

"No, not at all, just need the right combination of spells....". Elida waved her wand, and said the spells. "There, as good as new. Tell you what, the person who made these is quite a craftsman, they are really quite beautiful! Right, let's get it back into place." A bit more magic refitted the screws, and Serena refitted her lip-bumpers - which she did by simply throwing them towards her mouth - they actually fiteed themselves bac into the headgear holes on her molar bands.

"How does THAT feel?" Elida asked Serena's braces.

"Oh, thank you, that DOETH feel better!"

"It is my pleasure: now, next time, don't put up with it, just get Serena to get me to sort it out for you, that's one of the many things I'm here for! Anything else I can do for you while I'm here?"

"No, I think we're all ok now. Thankth again!"

Elida hovered there for a moment, with a smile on her face. "They're nice, your braces, aren't they? I'm thinking about their personality.... "

"Yes, it feels good to be surrounded by good friends. Apart from Samantha and you, there's my braces, Wanda and Glimmer, and a load of others too.... I think I'd struggle without any one of you guys!"


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 27

Nothing happened on her birthday (in terms of an invasion!!), nor the day after, and Serena was starting to worry.

"Hey, Serena, you there?" said a voice in Serena's ear: she was, of course, wearing one of the highly clever 'fairy comms' things in her ear: all you had to do was to think of who you needed to talk to, and they would instantly hear you.

"Yeah, who's that?"

"Sorry, it's Jock here...."

"Oh, hi Jock! What can I do for you?"

"Can you come over to where I am, I get a feeling I can sort-of see / feel something not too far away, but I'm not sure, and I'm sure you'll be able to probe it a lot better."

"Sure, roughly where are you?" Jock described his rough location, and Serena probed. "Wave your right arm can you? Ah, ok, I can see you, with you in a few seconds...."

"What's up?" asked Sarah.

"Jock thinks he can feel something, wants me to take a look. I wish one of the fairy team was here, right now....". Serena thought the last bit very specifically.

"Yes, Serena.. you called?" said a little fairy suddenly appearing next to Serena.

"Thanks Poppy! We need to go look at something, take my hand....". Over the last several months, the core team of four witches, plus the fairies (especially Poppy and Elida) had bonded very well, and had got to the stage where there was pretty much an implicit trust between them. If someone asked someone else to do something, they would - generally - do it without question. Thus Poppy had no problems in taking Serena's hand, as requested. A second later, they were standing next to Jock.

"Over there..." said Jock, pointing some distance away. "I didn't want to leave here to look, as this is a very good hiding place..."

Serena probed: "Yeah, definitely something there, not sure what though. Poppy, want to come with me and take a closer look?".

Once more Serena and Poppy teleported. They didn't go right to the 'disturbance' but about 15 metres away, and over to the side, then Serena cast a 'silence shield' and an 'invisibility shield' around them. They were actually in part of the woods, giving everyone good cover. As they looked, they could see a sort of 'shimmering', which is the sort of thing you'd get in a sci-fi movie to indicate some sort of 'rift' or 'portal'.

"Sarah, Harper, Samantha, John, and Elida if you're around: need you here right now, confirm when you are ready to be summoned. This is NOT any sort of practice, this is REAL..." As the voices confirmed they were ready, Serena summoned them.

As they all watched the 'rift', a group of three... well, three 'dark black clouds' is probably a fair description... came through the rift.  2 to 3 metres tall, a metre or two wide, and sort of very black and pulsing / whooshing around. The team also felt a sort of 'depressed' and 'negative' feeling from them.

"Holy crap!" whispered Harper, "this is the proverbial 'IT'!! The actual invasion. But what the heck ARE they? And are you getting these bad vibes too?"

The figures moved silently through the rift, and into the woods. As far as they knew, they were checking out a realm who had no idea they were coming, so they were probably quite relaxed as they came into the human realm.

For the moment, despite being close to the three invaders, our team weren't worried, as their shield would protect them from detection.

"Would you two like to go and take a look at our three 'beings'?" Serena asked Poppy and Elida. "But if there's any hint that they can detect you, get out quick... Otherwise, don't do anything that might antagonise them though! I'd like them to think there's noone else around here for the moment."

The three 'beings' were apparently having a bit of a look around.

"John, what they doing?"

"Well, if it was me, I'd send 2 or 3 guys through, and just have a quick look around, make myself happy that the place was quiet, with no surprises..."

"Yeah. makes sense... in that case.... Broadcast to ALL... Broadcast to ALL... please note that we are in the woods, a rift seems to have opened and a small scouting party has come through. If you are ANYWHERE nearby, then stop doing what you're doing, don't move, and stay silent. I want them to think there's noone here!"

Serena closed her eyes, probing instead to see what the invaders were doing, and the positions of the two fairies.

"I don't think they can see us..." said a voice in her ear.

"I'm right in front of one of them," said Poppy, "and he's completely oblivious to my presence. Let me try something... Hmm, interesting..."

"What did Poppy just do?"

"She tried to kick the cloud, but it seems to be just that... cloud. But I think they may have felt something, they just stopped a moment. No, it's ok, I think they are just looking around...."

"Want to try some simple fairy magic on them, like we practised?"

"Sure..." replied Elida. "No effect, let me try something else.... no, that didn't work either. But they seem to have stopped for the moment, I have a feeling they're just doing a bit of a recce...."

"In that case, we just sit and wait. Hey, can you two maybe get some pictures?"

"Ahead of you!" said Poppy, "I'm videoing them!"

"Girls... can you see or hear ANYTHING in those black clouds? Any idea what they are?"

"Well, there's a bit of a buzzing and whooshing sound, but that's all. Hang on, they are moving... I think they might be going back to the rift.... We'll follow them..."

"Ok, John, I'm going to take us two closer to that rift, I want to watch them as they go through the rift again, if that's what they do. I'll keep a full invisibility and silence shield around us....". Serena took them to no more than 5 metres from the side of the rift, and made them invisible and silent again. They didn't have to wait long before the invading 'clouds' went back through the rift, and the rift closed. They waited there a bit longer.

"Thoughts John? Tell our team..."

"Like Elida said, probably a quick recce, to see what they would expect to find in this realm. And I think they didn't spot any of us, so they think this will be a 'safe place' for them to come through. I suspect they'll be talking with their commanders or whatever to decide what to do next. I'd expect another, much larger, team to come through a bit later on... "

"Thanks, sounds sensible. Anyone else any thoughts? Poppy, you've been the closest to them... anything to say?"

"Not really, they were 'cloudy', although I didn't get in that far, so there could be something more solid inside. But a definite feel of 'negative energy' about them"

"And no obvious sound?"

"No, but if I were them, I'd probably do what you do, and use silence bubbles."

"Hey, Glimmer, I assume eighth realm magic can do things like silence bubbles?"

"Yes, indeed, also sonic illusions." 

They waited there for another 15 minutes, but nothing happened, so they rejoined the others.

"Can 'Forward Team A' please come to my location? You too, Jock." said Serena over the comms.

They had organised three 'Forward Teams', to be able to provide 24 hour cover: they were the most experienced 'fighters' from the seven realms, made up of 6 members, including one of the SAS team.

"Oh, hi girls!" Serena said to the fairies who were with her again.

"Want to see the video?" asked Poppy, showing her small tablet to Serena.

"Oh, excellent, make sure everyone gets to see that will you... Oh hi, Jock! When the Forward Team gets here, can you try and describe the 'feelings' you were getting when the rift first opened?"

The Forward Teams had organised themselves such that they each contained members who could teleport them all where needed, although it maybe took several seconds to cast the needed magic.

"Ok, guys, looks like you are up for the first session. Jock is the one who sensed the rift opening, so I'll leave him to describe what he felt. The rift opened up roughly where we are now, although it doesn't seem to have left any traces. They came through and went a short distance that way, so you might want to look for any traces. But, as we've discussed, the rift may or may not happen in the same place next time, but I suspect it will happen fairly near: they have seen this place, and that it is pretty secluded, plus they seemed unaware that we are here.... If I was in their shoes, I'd want to come through here again... Oh, and they definitely can't see fairies, which is good news."

"So, just watching for the moment?" asked one of the team.

"Yes, I think so. And don't be scared to do a full broadcast call if you think it's needed. I think we need to go back and report what we've seen."

"Broadcast to ALL... Broadcast to ALL... you can stand down now. Please make yourselves aware of the location of this rift, and make sure you stay well away for the moment: if they come through again, I want them to think they are alone. Advanced team, please stay on high alert, you might be needed at very short notice. Oh, Poppy got some video of the invaders, try and take a look, so you know what to expect. Thanks everyone!"


The rest of the day was quiet, as was the night...


Offline Braceface2015

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The ghost in the machine is watching.

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 28

"Serena, red alert!" said the voice in their ears early the following day. "We are seeing a large number of invaders coming through the rift. They look just like the previous ones in that video, and I'll guess at about 20 of them so far, and more still coming through. The rift is in exactly the same place."

"In that case: Advanced team, we have another Red Alert: a large contingent of invaders has been seen, same location as yesterday. You all know what to do!" Then "John, where are you?"

"I'm already on my way to join the forward team..."

"Ok, Elida's team: can you do the same as yesterday? My team: lets get there. Sarah, can you get an invisibility / silence shield ready for us all?"

Serena probed, and took them just next to John, and Sarah made them silent and invisible. Serena looked around: there was something like 50 of the invaders, currently waiting in two large groups.

"John, what do you think?"

"If I were them, I'd get the team through, make sure everyone was safe, then start sending out small groups. I'm guessing they can do probing, so everyone needs to be very careful for now."

"Ok, advanced team, load up both defensive and offensive magic, just like we've done before in practice. Don't do anything yet, wait for instructions from any of my team...". Followed by "This is a broadcast to everyone: Code Red, this is NOT a drill! I can confirm  that the invasion has just started. I repeat, Code Red, the invasion has started! Get yourselves ready for an instant deployment: don't do anything yet until the Advanced Team has had a chance to do something, but make sure you know where the invaders are..."

So, how was Serena feeling right now? Thankful that, at last, something was happening. Grateful that she was surrounded by a lot of able 'people'. And scared shitless!

They had discussed several strategies for this moment. One was a 'wait and see', another was the 'make a premptive attack on the invaders'. Serena was currently liking the second option.

"Fairies, do you have anything to report yet?"

"No, I still believe they are unaware that we - us fairies that is - are here" reported Elida.

"Any idea if they are aware of the rest of us?"

"Hard to say, but I don't think so..."

"Ok, thanks Elida.... John, I say we go for it, you ok with that?". Over the period that Serena had been training with John and his team, John had seen Serena's abilities improve well, and mature. He felt very happy that, whatever happened, Serena was quite capable to taking very good command decisions.

"Ok, with me." he replied.

"Fairies, get up and out the way, but remain our eyes, we're going to attack. Poppy, if you can video them, would be good to see how they react"

"Already doing that... ok, we're clear!"

"Advanced team, attack at will...". There was a sudden barage of magic thrown at the invaders: they now knew that Serena and her extended team were there, and waiting for them, but, as expected they were ready. For the next five minutes, as they had practiced on many occasions, the advanced team kept doing magic attacks, and the SAS guys were trying out some of the simpler magic weapons. Unsurprisingly, the invaders did fight back in some sort of defense. Initially they used various "traditional" weapons: things that shot arrows, things that shot bullets: of course, our team used magic to easily stop those projectiles. So, very quickly, the invaders started using magic.

After the five minutes, the attack stopped, just as planned.

Opening her comms to everyone relevant, Serena asked "Elida, what can you tell us?"

"Most of the magic did nothing. Some did, and that laser gun looks like it might have injured one of them, the 'black cloud' is now flat on the ground, others in a ring around, clearly protecting it, and one cloud apparently doing something to him. Hang on, a group of them seems to be heading back to the rift with the injured one..."

"Thanks... anyone on OUR side get injured?". There was no response, which made Serena feel a bit happier. "ok, anyone got any feedback?"

"Annabelle here, I was trying to see how all the magic was interacting with them, I think that 'cloud' they have is some sort of clever defensive armour, hiding whatever they are inside. I could see them being 'hit' as the magic got to them.  The laser rifles were going into the clouds... I'm thinking we maybe just got lucky with one of the shots. Oh, hang on, I think they are all retreating.... coming your way!"

With the invaders unable to see the fairies, it meant that the fairies became a very useful way to see close-up what the invaders were doing.

"Thanks for that, Annabelle. Yes, you're right, they are all going back through the rift.... ". Two or three minutes later and the invaders had gone, and the rift was closed again. As before, they waited, just in case.

Serena did another broadcast message: "Ok, everyone, you can stand down for the moment, they seem to have all returned to their own realm, and closed the rift. Advanced team: stay where you are, and be ready at a moment's notice. Forward team: get the next team down here to replace you, we need to debrief you. The rest of you, be ready in case we need you next time. Thank you, everyone!"

"I think we need to meet at the command tent, and have a debrief" said Serena.


Back at the command tent, the 'Generals' (for want of a better term...) watched the new footage that Poppy had taken.

"Yes, I think you're right, Annabelle... the clouds aren't the actual 'creatures' from the eighth realm, but a very clever magic armour protection system. I could imagine that, if we hadn't been there, they would have gone out and found the normal humans, who would have been pretty scared by their appearance" said one of the Goblins.

"What I'm seeing there" said a Leprechaun, "is that not only was that our laser rifle getting through, one or two of the bits of our magic were too...."

"Well, I don't think they were expecting us, were they? I can occasionally see the flashes of gunshot coming out of their 'clouds', but it took them a couple of minutes before they moved from using traditional weapons, to using magic." said one of the Cyclops.

"So, John, what do you think they are doing right now?" asked Serena.

"Well, I agree, I don't tkink they were expecting to be attacked like that: the way they came through was the way I would 'land' if I felt confident that, at least for a while, I'd be safe. Now they KNOW we're waiting for them, and they are likely to come through next time 'magic ablaze'. I suspect that they will also be trying to understand the magic we used, so they are better prepared. So for the moment, I think we need to hold back on using our strong magic. Don't let them learn too much from us."

For the next 30 to 40 minutes, the command team had a very positive discussion, analysing what they had seen, and working out what to do next.

"Ok then. Sounds like we need to leave the advanced team in place for the moment, but get ready to get some replacements there a bit later on, to give them a rest. John, your team are the only ones with 'permission' to use our magic weapons, so make sure you keep your guys well rested." said Serena. Now that she was getting used to 'being in charge', she felt much more confident in herself, and in her decisions.

The talking continued for a bit longer.

"Next time around, Sarah and Harper, I'd like you to be with me, and we can try some of our magic against them, and Samantha, you'll need to be 'on call' if needed."

"Sure. You planning on doing any 'tablet-assisted' magic yet?"

"No, not yet, but I'm going to try some of the simpler darker stuff, see what that does. Elida, your team have been excellent at 'being our eyes and ears', I'm thinking that maybe you'd like to get a few more of your guys ready to do the same."

"No problems with that. Ok, anyone need a cuppa?"

"Oh, great idea: I wish the fairy caterers could organise suitable drinks for us. I assume they've already been looking after the Advanced and Forward teams out there..."

"Of course!" replied Tats.


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 29

It was mid afternoon when the next 'wave' of invaders came out of the rift throwing magic all around them: about 30 'people' in all. They had clearly realised that the traditional weapons were of little use, so they had probably got their better magic users together for this invasion attempt.

Of course, the teams from 'realms 1 to 7' were ready - not just the 'advance' team, but everyone - and threw back as much magic as they got. Unlike the previous day, the attacks lasted for maybe 30 minutes at a time, before they retreated back through the rift, then came back out again a couple of hours later. Strangely, apart from a couple of invaders briefly coming through after dusk, then returning less than a minute later, they hadn't tried anything during the night.

Serena had also tried some of her slightly darker magic, but that didn't seem to be particularly effective: clearly the invader's 'cloud armour' was quite effective.

The following morning saw a small group of invaders come through the rift: strangely they came out without using any offensive magic. They had brought some equipment with them, including some sorts of tents, which they set up right next to the rift. When the fairies went to look, they discovered that the invaders had put up an opaque 'force field', meaning they couldn't get very close, and couldn't see what they were up to.

"Hmm, let's have a word with Glimmer and Wanda, shall we?"

"Good morning, Serena!" said Glimmer as he came out of his scabbard, and floated in the air in front of Serena, Elida and Poppy.

"As gorgeous as ever...." said Wanda quietly.

Serena explained what the eighth-realmers had done, and asked Glimmer if he was aware of any magic - possibly eighth realm magic - they could use to penetrate the 'protective shield'. After a bit more discussion, he made a suggestion. "... but I don't think it would work for you, you're a bit big, but Elida or Poppy might be able to 'squeeze in'.

"Would the 'power of four' make it any easier?" asked Serena.

"Excellent suggestion," replied Glimmer, "and yes, it probably would..."

Serena called the other three members of the team to join them, and explained the issue. "So, I'm thinking we four get as close as we dare, using our own 'shields', then try the spell, and see if Elida and Poppy can get in."

"May I make an observation?" said Wanda. "It may be that you are only able to open their protection shield for a moment, meaning that whoever goes in is likely to be stuck inside until you can open it again... so maybe only ONE of you should try to go in..."

"Thank you, Wanda, very good observation." The four of them cast the spell, and Poppy was indeed able to get in. Even better news is that the fairy comms system seemed to be able to get through the magic eighth realm shielding. 

"To be honest, there's not much in here. A couple of bits of kit which I'll guess at being radios or similar, with wires that seem to be going back through the rift. There's a couple of 'clouds' in here... oh, hang on, I think I just saw an arm.... hairy fingers..... "

"Thanks Poppy, let us know anything else you think is relevant, and let us know if you need to get out quickly."

"Hey, Serena," said Elida, "it looks like their protection shield just got bigger...."

About an hour later, the small team of 'clouds' went back through the rift. It didn't stay quiet for long: a matter of minutes later a whole load of the 'clouds' started to come through the rift, between 50 and 100 of them. Some of them were in the tent, the others started to spread out..."

"And it's time for today's Red Alert!" said Serena. "I repeat, Red Alert! A large number of eighth-realm 'clouds' are coming through the rift: attack at will...." said Serena. For the next couple of hours, there was a lot of magic flying around, and the SAS guys even used many of the magical weapons. The attacking army mad a very small amount of progress: rather than being in the immediate vicinity of the rift, they had spread out, by maybe up to a hundred metres.

Whilst Poppy stayed in the opaque protection shield for about an hour, there was very little actually going on, so the 4 witches used their power-of-four to open a small hole again, to let Poppy out.

The 'fighting' went on and off over the next few hours.... the invaders might make some progress forwards, but then later had to pull back again, so overall their progress was small and slow. As dark approached, it pretty much stopped, apart from a few small skirmishes: with 'our' teams keeping a close watch through the night.

Over the following two or three days, there was again, periods of fighting, then periods of quiet. Given the small amount of actual progress, one did start to question why the invaders actually kept going: they were clearly very determined.

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 30

The 'fight' has by now been going on for 4 days. Lot's of to-ing and fro-ing, but our team has managed to use their magic to stop the invaders from the 8th realm from actually invading, limiting them to a small area in the woods, in the farm on the outskirts of Runesvale.

Most of the fighting happens during the day, with very minor skirmishes at night. 

A large marquee has been (magically, of course) set up, with suitable stocks of beer etc, for the members of the 7 realms to meet in and relax in as and when. It is lunchtime, and Serena is sitting talking with a couple of the cyclops, talking about what has been going on during the day, when Elida, Poppy and Annabelle arrive.

They all sat and chatted for a while, then decided it was time for some food: with lots of magical creatures around from the seven realms, a couple of large tables were magicked up, and covered with a variety of food from the seven realms. It may sound a bit over-the-top, but it is often said that an army marches on it's stomach: they variety of powerful creatures had spent the morning stopping the invaders from making any progress, they just needed to do a bit more, to actually quench the invasion, and close the rift between the realms.

Of course, you might be asking why our guys hadn't tried to attack and go across into the 8th realm, but the invaders were guarding the rift very carefully.

"I'm getting fed up of this!" said Serena to her team. "I'm sure there must be SOMETHING we can do, there must be some sort of dark magic I can use to permanently close down that rift between us and the 8th realm. I mean, it was clearly created by magic, so magic ought to be able to shut it down! You know, there's one place I've not really looked, and that's the books in the study over at The Coven of the Unseen Moon, maybe there's something there? I mean, mwe found some VERY useful books there that first time we visited!"

"No harm in checking it out" suggested Sarah.

"Hey, Poppy..."


"Elida says you have special skills with books.... does that include our sort of books?"

"As in Human books? No idea, I've only worked with fairy books, but no reason I couldn't give it a try.."

"You busy this evening?"

"Nope, but sounds like I'm gonna come with you and do some book searching... Could be interesting!"

"Ok, so when we've finished here, lets go over there."


Serena called Mr Simpkin, one of the elders of The Coven of the Unseen Moon: it was his house that she had gone to, and discovered the amazingly useful (and very cleverly hidden) set of books that had been specially written for them. He said that she was very welcome to come over to look at the other old books in their study.

"Ok, Poppy, ready to go?"

"Yes, where we going, and I'll just run up my magic?" replied Poppy. Yes, not only had Poppy managed to learn how to teleport - just like Elida could - she had also worked out the extra spells needed to allow them to get into places like the offices and the palace, where there were magic-dampening spells.

"It's ok, just take my hand, I'll give you a lift there..." said Serena.

Unlike the library at Mrs Johnson's house, which was very much a traditional library, with many shelves of books, and plenty of space for several people to sit, the books at the Simpkin's house were in a study, a much smaller room: one wall was covered in shelves, with many of the books there. Others were piled on the floor.

"So, Poppy, do have a look around, see if you can talk to the books..."

"Ok, no promises though..."

"Don't worry, I'm not expecting miracles, but anything you can do is better then me just searching the books by myself." Serena sat down in the chair at the desk, and concentrated on the many books: she had done this several times with the books at Mrs Johnson's.

"Hmm, don't seem to be able to actually 'talk' to the books, but I'm getting some sort of 'vibes' from them. So what we looking for?"

"To be honest, I have no idea. Old magic? Dark Magic? Very strong magic? Something that's not quite as 'mainstream'?"

While Serena had closed her eyes and was using her skills to scan the books, Poppy was flying along the shelves, touching the books one by one, to see what feelings she was getting. Serena had spotted that Poppy had started at the top shelf, so she specifically started at the bottom. By the time she got up to the middle shelf (which was most of an hour later), she could feel that a small number of the books had been pulled out from the shelf a little - she guessed that Poppy had done this, to highlight them - which was something Serena had done to a couple of the books she had found. One of the books highlighted by Poppy felt to be noticeably older than the others.

Finally, Serena opened her eyes: Poppy was lying on the desk, and had apparently fallen asleep. Serena used summoning spells to bring the highlighted books over to the desk, putting them down quietly so as not to wake Poppy. Serena looked at the first of the books: whilst it had some interesting magic ideas in it, there was nothing of real interest. As she put it back down on the table, Poppy woke up.

"Hey there!" said Serena softly, "feeling better for the quick nap?". Poppy knew that this wasn't a dig from Serena, just a simple question.

"Yeah, give me a moment will you, but sometimes just a few minutes is enough to reset your brain. So, looked at the books yet?"

"Just this one, and nothing there."

"Oh, ok... hey, looks like YOU could do with a break too, fancy a cuppa?"

"Oh, yes please. But no cakes, although a couple of ginger biscuits would be nice. And do have one yourself!"

Serena took a sip from her tea cup... oh yes, that was nice! She leant over, and pulled the older book from the pile, and opened it. Poppy flew up onto Serena's shoulder, so she could read it too: she loved old books. "I see you spotted this book too," said Serena, "any particular reason?"

"Not really, I just love old books, and sometimes old books have information in that you least expect...".

The sat there, drinking their teas, eating the rather tangy ginger biscuits, and slowly looking through the old book. The book was full of old stories, better described as 'historical stories', and Serena knew that sometimes these old stories were very much based on real history.

"What you giggling at?" asked Serena.

"Oh, that bit at the bottom of the right hand page...."

"Not got there yet." She quickly read ahead to the bit Poppy had meant. "A Stone of all Magic? Yeah, could do with one of those right now!" The story was about a magic stone, which contained all of the magic from all of the realms, and how it was lost. Then found by a nasty wizard, who used it to do bad things, but was finally thwarted by a witch and a fairy working together. "Hey, Wanda, this ringing any bells with you?"

"Good evening, mistress! Oh, yes, THAT old story, I remember hearing that story when I was a young wand. Definitely what you could do with right now!"

"Think there's any basis for it being real?"

"It's so hard to tell. If it is, then what happened to it? I mean, magic seems to have been working ok for as long as I can remember."

"Ahem!" said a voice behind them. They all turned to see an elf standing by the door. "I'm sorry for interrupting, my name is Davros, I'm rather hoping that you are the mighty Serena?"

"I am....". Serena was getting used to such descriptions, especially from the creatures from the other realms.

"I'm one of the elves who has been searching our old libraries for you, and I found something. It seems very minor, but for some reason it just strangely felt like it's something I should tell you straight away. I don't suppose you read elvish do you?"

"No, I don't. Poppy?"

"No, me neither..."

"Ok, let me try and translate it for you. This is one of those 'historical story books', where the stories are supposed to be based on actual history, but you do sometimes wonder. It's a story about an elf who found a strange looking stone. He showed to his master, who realised that it was a magical stone, and while he used it initially to do good things, he started doing bad things, in order to become richer and more powerful. The elf met a fairy one day, and together they managed to steal the stone from the nasty elf master."

"You are KIDDING me?" said Serena. "We've just been reading an amazingly similar story here. I don't suppose your story tells what happened to the stone, does it?"

"Yes, it says that the elf and the fairy hid the stone in plain sight for all to see, but for no one to realise quite how important it was."

It was then that yet another creature magically appeared in the room, a cyclops. Now, we might think of cyclops as being quite tall, maybe 6 or 7 feet tall, but this guy was about 4 feet tall!

"Mistress Serena?" he asked.


The cyclops went down on one knee. "It is my honour to meet you! My name is Titan: I have been searching our libraries for information that might help our combined armies beat this invasion from the eighth realm. Tonight I came across something that seems to be so inconsequential, yet I felt utterly compelled to come here to tell you about it."

"Ok. I don't suppose it's a story about a witch and a fairy, or maybe an elf and a fairy, who find some sort of magical stone?"

"Well... in a way... yes....."

"In that case, do tell us more, it sounds like it could be vaguely relevant..."

"So, this is supposedly a true story about a young girl cyclops, who finds a stone. When she picks it up, it starts to glow gently, and she finds that the stone allows her to do magic. But she becomes greedy, and a good fairy spots her using the stone, and realises that this magic stone is far too powerful for any single cyclop to use, so smashes it, splitting it into 4 pieces, which stops it being magical any more."

"Thank you, Titan. Davos here has also been searching the elven libraries, and was compelled to come here with an amazingly similar story, and just before he arrived, Poppy and I found a book, also with a similar story, about a magical stone."

"Did someone say magical stone?" said a beautiful Irish voice. They all looked over to the desk, where a Leprechaun was standing not that far from Poppy... in fact, he was only an inch or two taller than Poppy.

"Hello there, do introduce yourself!" invited Serena.

"My name is Wee Willy, and I'm very much hoping I'm in the right place, and that one of you is Serena." he said in his lovely Irish lilt.

"That's me! Welcome, Wee Willy, what can I do for you?"

"I think it's more what I can do for you. I've been searching our libraries for any leprechaun magic that might be able to help you and the armies fight and defeat the current invasion in your realm, and I came across something: it's nothing more than a children's story, but something strange told me that this was more important that it seemed, and that I should come and find you, to tell you."

"Something tells me that what you are about to say will involve a magic stone, and a nasty leprechaun who uses the stone to do bad things?"

"Not really. This is a historical story, supposedly true, but who really knows? It is a story of four young leprechaun friends. During their school holidays, they go on an adventure, to try and find that pot of gold, you know, the one at the end of the rainbow. Needless to say, they don't find it, but on the way, each of them finds a plain, yet still pretty, stone. When they stop, they are all surprised that each of them had picked up a small yet pretty stone. They think nothing of it, and throw the stones back on the ground: as the 4 stones get close to each other, they start glowing, and turn into a pot of gold!"

"I'm getting the feeling that these stories are, somehow, all related to each other, as well as relevant to me, and what I am trying to do."

Everyone in the room was currently looking at the desk, where Wee Willy and Poppy were. "Serena, I think you need to turn around and look behind you...." said Poppy.


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 31

Serena turned around, to find a short creature standing behind her: about 3 feet tall, green, and with a very 'punk' look, it was definitely a goblin! "Hello there! If you're looking for Serena, then that's me!". Serena had by now worked out that she was getting visits from creatures from the other realms... and in the back of her mind, she now had but one thought: where the HELL would a centaur manage to squeeze in?"

"Mighty Serena, it is an honour to actually meet you, I am Ponk!"

"Ponk, that is a lovely name, welcome to our rather packed gathering. I'm guessing that you have been searching your old libraries, and have come across a story that you felt compelled to come and share with me? Just like all these guys!"

"Yeah, sort of." Her attitude, and the way she spoke, made her sound very much like a teenager. "Me mam and dad forced me to go to the library with them tonight, as they couldn't get a baby sitter for me. So, while they searched the library, they said I should find a book, and sit and read it. I guessed I could probably manage one small book, and I found this....". She showed the book to Serena. "It's a teen adventure book, about a young and rather rough goblin who finds a pretty stone, and makes pretend that it's a magical stone, but not too surprisingly, nothing happens. When he gets home, he shows it to his sister: she's a much nicer goblin, a bit of a 'goody two shoes', wouldn't harm a flea. When she touches the stone, it glows, and a while later whilst playing with it finds that she is able to do simple magic. But only good magic. When she actually tries some bad magic, it backfires on her. To be honest, it's a bit boring, but I got this strange feeling that the story was very important. When I showed it to me mam and dad, they got exactly the same feelings: they suggested that, as I was the one who had found it, then I could be the one to bring it to you. To be honest, I think they were both a bit embarassed, I mean how can a kid's story be so important?"

Serena was smiling. "Well, you were absolutely right to come here, I think is it strangely VERY important..." Serena explained how the other creatures there had all come with similar stories. "What amazes me is how all of these stories have suddenly appeared at the same time: it's as if the universe set this all up for us. So far, we have representatives in here from six of the seven realms, we've had five stories so far, I'm just wondering where....".

There was a knock at the door, and then Mrs Simpkin came in. "Oh, where did you all come from? Anyway, pardon me for intruding, but there's someone at the front door asking for you. Well, when I say someone, he's more of a horse....". At that, Serena just burst out laughing!

"Nicely on time, our centaur has arrived! It's going to be a bit of a squeeze in here, I guess we'd better all go and meet him out the front."

"You're welcome to use the back garden!" suggested Mrs Simpkin, "probably a bit more private"

"Tell you what, Serena, you go out the front to meet him, I'll go set up a tent and chairs and lights around the back..." suggested Poppy.

Serena went to the front door, where she met the centaur: the hair on both his head and his body looked yellowish. "Hi there, I'm Serena, and you have an important urge to meet with me, and tell me about a story? Am I right?". The centaur had a book in his left hoof.

"Yes, how did you know?" replied the very handsome centaur.

"Come on round the back, and meet the others. So, what's your name?"

"I am Xanthippus, a scholar and librarian."

As they got around to the back garden, they could see the others waiting in a large tent, all brightly lit. In the middle was a table, and chairs around the side. Poppy had done well in the short time she had: everyone already had a drink in front of them. Poppy flew over to Serena and Xanthippos, taking a good look at Xanthippos.

"Hello there gorgeous! I'm Poppy... would you care for a drink? I'm guessing at wine?"

"That would be lovely, thank you, Poppy!".

Serena went and sat at the table. "Erm, I'd offer you a seat but....."

"Don't worry, I'm used to standing."

"So, this evening, while I was searching in the small library here, members of the other realms started to 'appear', each with news of a book they had found. let me introduce everyone." With the introductions done, she continued: "So, you are from the last realm to join us, and I would be very interested to hear your story. You say you are a scholar and a librarian?"

"Yes, and as requested, I was searching our library, to find something useful, when I found a book that seems to be both a history book and a story book, and when I started to read it, I felt an amazingly strong compulsion, that this was something strangely important, and something that was relevant to you. I mean, it makes little sense to me..."

"Go on, do give us a quick summary of the story."

"It is the story of a brave young girl centaur. She was an orphan, and was adopted by a centaur family. Whilst her step-parents loved her, the other children weren't so nice to her. She loved to pretend to be a brave centaur warrior, running around, wielding her toy sword, a sword that used to belong to one of the other children. It was an old toy sword, there used to be a toy jewel in the handle, but that had fallen off long ago. Then one day, she spotted something on the ground: it was the lost jewel from the toy sword. As she put the jewel back into the sword, it made the sword glow. In fact, whenever she then picked up the sword, it would glow for her, and her alone. It made her feel so powerful and able to face her problems in life..."

"Ok, that is DEFINITELY not random, there's something going on here. Wanda, I think I need your help! By the way, Xanthippos, thank you so much for coming to me with that story, I think it is much more important than you could ever have imagined... Oh, Elida, what you doing here?"

Elida had just appeared, and was on the table, along with Wee Willy (the leprechaun) and Poppy.

"Well, I went back to the dark archive, to take a look at a pile of books that Poppy had pulled out of the library..."

Serena smiled, showing off her lovely metal-covered teeth. "I think I know where this is going, mind if I have a guess?"

"Yeah, why not?"

"Ok, it's a story about a pretty fairy - or maybe it's a boy fairy? - who finds a stone. He discovers that it's a magic stone, and is able to do magic from all 7 realms? Am I I close? And whilst it seems a bit random, you just felt that you HAD to share the story with me?"

"You are SO close, how did you know?"

"Why do you think these guys are here?" And Serena retold the 6 other stories. "So, how does your story end?"

"So, it's a pretty girl fairy, and she finds that she can do any good magic, not any bad magic, and it helps her to defeat a bad fairy - which all sounds strangely close to home for me!" said Elida

"Yeah, except you didn't need a stone to help you. Mind you, we can only do fairy magic." added Poppy.

"Wanda?". Once more Wanda appeared, and showed herself to everyone.

"Yes, your majesty! Sorry, mistress Serena, I'm just getting excited...."

"I assume you've been listening to what all of our visitors from the other six realms have been telling us?"

"Yes I have. Would you like me to summarise what I think I learned?"

"Please do!"

"So, there seems to be a magic stone, which contains all of the magic of all the realms. It's a relatively plain stone, and was split into 4 pieces to protect it, then the 4 pieces were hidden in plain sight. The 4 stones need to be put together once more, then it can be put into a sword, and can be used to cast good magic from any of the seven realms, as long as a nice person does it, and it's for good...."

"I think we're all thinking the same here, aren't we?" said Poppy. "This is no coincidence. Serena, where's your sword?"

"Half a moment...." Serena summoned her sword.

"Put it down on the table, will you?" asked Poppy, who then flew around it. "Look at the guard - there's shapes engraved into it, and one seems to be slightly inset."

"Oh, yes, so it is, I'd never spotted that, I just thought it was some sort of decoration. Ok, I'll go with this for the moment.... so where's the 4 bits of the stone?"

"Well, 'hidden in plain sight' somewhere!" said Poppy. She looked around. "For example, it could be in the locket around your neck." Suddenly the penny dropped for Poppy. "Serena, where did you get that locket?"

"It was a present from my grandma..."

"Any idea where she got it from?"

"Probably her grandma. You got to admit, whilst it looks a bit plain, it is rather pretty, isn't it?". Suddenly Serena realised what it actually was. "Oh... My.... Gawd! This is one of the four pieces of that magic stone, isn't it? Wanda?"

"Erm, I guess it could be, let me have a closer look...". Like Serena, Wanda had seen that locket many times, and thought nothing of it. Serena placed Wanda's tip onto the stone. "Hmm, not 100% sure. But if it is, I know where the other bits will be..."

"Yeah? Where?" asked Serena.

"Oh come on Serena, 'power of four' and all that?" said Wanda. "Can you think of any old, plain yet pretty jewellery the others have?"

"Well, Harper wears an old ring...". Serena picked up her phone, and started by calling Harper. "Harper, get yourself ready to be summoned...". A few moments Serena summoned her.

"Erm, what's going on, Serena?" asked Harper.

"I'll explain in a moment, once I've summoned Sarah and Samantha," which is what she did.

"Ok, ladies, do take a seat. I need to tell you a story... well SEVEN stories to be precise".


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 32

"Ok, so we're looking for 4 small stones, all hidden in plain sight?" asked Harper.

"Yep. So, Sarah, I see you wearing that brooch quite a lot, where did it come from? I mean, it must mean something special if you like wearing it?"

"My grandma gave it to me, before she died. It's simple, but I like it".

"Can you remove it, and put it onto the table please. Harper, do tell me about your ring..."

"Yes, it was given to me by my lovely grandma, it's been in the family for years.... On the table?"

"Please. Samantha, your bracelet?"

"It's nice, isn't it? It too is a family heirloom..." She removed it, and put it onto the table.

"Grandma gave me this when I was little," said Serena, holding her locket. "She made me promise to wear it, but also look after it, as if my life depended on it. I don't think she quite realised how true that was!" Serena removed her locket, holding it in her hand, and picking up the other 3 items. Yes, the shapes on the stones looked like they MIGHT match.

"Four plain stones, hidden in plain sight for generations, and somehow they got to us four. Here. Tonight. And seven stories about the four stones. Here. Tonight. The universe has clearly done a LOT of work to make this happen!" A shiver went down Serena's spine as she held the four items of jewellery in her hands. She held them closely together: nothing happened. She tried holding them next to the indentation in the sword: still nothing happened. She put all them back down on the table again.

"Ok, Wanda, how do we combine them again?"

"Well, they ARE magic stones, so you probably need to use some magic."

"Got anything specific in mind? I don't remember any 'combine 4 stones into one again' spells."

"What about the power of four? That's pretty strong magic, and I'm sure it will work out what needs to be done!"

"Ok, ladies, wands out!"

"Oh, hello Wanda... hello Ethel!"

"Hey, Madge, Yin and Yan!"

"Ok, ladies... yes, you four, please quieten down, you can catch up later, we have important work to do here." The other three wands spotted the four bits of jewellery.

"It's something to do with those, isn't it?"

"Yes, " replied Serena, "we need to remove the stones from the 4 bits of jewellery, recombine them into a single stone, and put it into my sword... any suggestions?" The 4 wands talked magic for about 30 seconds.

"The consensus is that we each need to pick up the stone related to us, then use the power of all 4 of us to recombine it and drop it into the sword." explained Wanda. When she put her mind to it, Wanda could be quite amazing. "So, point us to our bits of jewellery, and put your other hands together... ". With spectacular sparks, and zig-zags of electricity flowing in the air (and that was just between the 4 witches!), the wands removed the stones from the jewellery. Then they moved their wands together: more sparks, and bright lights, and a huge amount from the special effects budget just blown away, and the stone once again became one.

"Over to my sword..." said Serena. They moved their wands in unison, and placed the stone into the sword. As it embedded itself into the slight recess, the sword glowed very brightly, then dimmed down (but still remained gently glowing). The job all done, all the sparks and so on coming from the wands stopped.

"I believe our job is done," said Wanda.

"I think you need to pick up the sword, Serena!" said Elida.

"That's easy for you to say, you're not the one picking it up!"

"Half a second... Samantha... calming spell?". Samantha went over to Serena again, and cast a calming spell. "That feel better? You ready now?"

"Yes, thanks for that.... here goes!" Serena reached out, and nervously put her hand on the sword. As she touched its handle, it started to pulsate, and Serena herself was momentarily encased in a strange purple glow.

"Oh my goodness!!!! I can feel the magic... all the magic of all the realms!!! It's strangely amazing, yet it feels good, it feels.... RIGHT! And now I understand WHY they are trying to invade from the eighth realm: they want this stone!!!! Well they CAN'T HAVE IT!!! It belongs here, in our seven realms. Hey, Wanda, you ok?"

"Yes, I'm fine. Hey, touch me onto the sword, let me have a word with that GORGEOUS hulk....". As Wanda touched the sword, there was a very pretty light dance between them.

"Hello, Serena, my name is 'Glimmer', I have waited a long time for this day!" said a very sexy male voice, coming from the sword. "I believe you need my help? I now contain 'The Stone of all Magic', the sum total of all the magic of the ten realms, which you may use for the purposes of good - which includes the defeat of evil. But I warn you, use me for anything evil, then that evil will come back at you ten-fold or more."

"Hello Glimmer, it's nice to meet you! Erm, did you just say TEN realms?"

"Yes! How many did you think there were?"

"Well, our 7 realms, plus the eighth that we're fighting... You're telling me that there's actually another TWO?"

"As I said, my stone contains the magic of all ten realms, and I can also be used to move easily and quickly between the realms..."

"I have a feeling that might be rather helpful... So, if we're trying to sort out an invasion from what we call the eighth realm, I'll now be able to use their own magic against them?"

"Indeed you will!"

"Ok... and, umm, is it just me that can use you?"

"Until now, in someone else's hands, I have been just an ordinary sword, but you have been able to allow them to use my abilities. With the 'Stone of all Magic', it's pretty much the same: if you allow someone to use me, then they can also access the  magic within me.... as long as they also have a pure mind and good intent. But heaven help anyone who is NOT of pure mind or has bad intentions that tries to use me!".

"Thank you Glimmer! You seem to have arrived at just the right time. Are you going to be safe in my scabbard?"

"Sounds like a pretty normal, safe and comfortable place for a sword to be..."

Now, normally Serena would use a tiny bit of simple magic, so that she could kinda throw her sword up in the air, and it would nicely drop into her scabbard, which she kept comfortably strapped to her back. So that's what she did tonight: however, it seems that Glimmer can be a bit of a show-off at times: a double loop and a triple spin later, and Glimmer landed perfectly into the scabbard!

The group talked together for some time: they were all happy to have contributed to something so amazing, and there was no doubt that tonight would be a night talked about for a long time. And so would tomorrow.

"I think we all need to rest, then early tomorrow, we'll finish this invasion, once and for all!" said Serena.


About 7am the next day Serena  turned up at the 'operations' tent. Whilst a certain amount of fighting had already started again outside, the 'generals' of the 7 realms were in the 'operations' tent planning what they could try next.

"Good morning everyone! I'm sure by now you may have heard the news: it looks like my sword has become super-charged with the magic of the ten realms..."

"TEN realms did you say?"

"Yes, Glimmer was quite clear about that! So, I'll be honest, I didn't ACTUALLY get a lot of sleep last night, I was 'playing with my new toy', finding out what magic I can do with him, plus reading a few books. I can confidently say that that I'm going to sort things out today, once and for all!. My plan, if you all agree, is to use my 'team', plus Elida and Poppy, I want to be ready for pretty much anything..."

"Serena," said one of the 'generals', "we have absolute trust in you: the prophecy says that it is YOU that will sort this out. Go with our blessing, and do what you believe needs to be done!"

"Thank you! I need to talk with the fairy team, and my team, but the rest of you probably want to listen in too.... I don't suppose there's any coffee left is there?"

One of the generals brought Serena a coffee, and the fairies and witches all sat down: the only 'person' missing was Poppy. Around them were people like Captain Hughes, and the senior members from the other 5 realms.

"So, let me introduce Glimmer to you:" She held out her hand, and cast a simple spell. Glimmer rose out of Serena's scabbard, gently came over her head, and landed softly in her hands, at which point it started to glow once more. "Glimmer, good morning!"

"Good morning, Mighty Serena!"

"And I think we 4 should all have our wands visibly out, they may need to get involved with what we do today, so need to know what's going on. So, good morning Wanda!".

Wanda appeared, and yawned loudly. "Oh, it's FAR to early to start work! Just dip me in your coffee for a moment, will you?"

"So, I'm planning on shutting down that rift, and stopping those invaders once and for all. My plan is simple, but I believe it's going to need a combination of magic from Glimmer along with some dark witch magic, which I hope Glimmer is ok with me using?"

"Oh, you're ok if you use your OWN dark magic, just not anyone else's, unless you want it coming back at you!" replied Glimmer.

"Excellent. So I'm seeing two things that *I* need to do, and one that's going to be up to the fairy team. What I do is likely to hit me hard, so Lilly, I need you to find your best couple of fairies who can do recuperation spells, and get them here to help - I may need them later."

"No problems!" said Lilly.

"And Samantha, can you ask your mum to join you as well? I have a feeling I'm gonna need a lot of help."

"Ok..." replied Samantha.

"So, you said TWO things you need to do, you've only mentioned one so far." said Harper.

"Yes. So, before I actually close the rift, I'm going to give the invaders a few minutes warning to get back to their own realm: not only is that the decent thing to do, but we don't REALLY want to have to deal with a load of them stuck in our realms as prisoners. But THAT doesn't REALLY fix the problem. The eighth realm will STILL be wanting to attack us! Now, if they are anything like most of the other realms, they will have a king - or someone similar - who calls the shots. And history shows that whilst kings get power hungry, there's also a load of people, some very close to the king, who actually oppose what they are doing. I'm going to make their king wish that he'd never met me. I'm going to humiliate him so much that he'll be scared to return to his realm! Oh, I'll be letting them all hear what I do as well, give them all some encouragement to 'do what is right'!"

"Sounds like you're planning on using some nasty magic there..." said Samantha.

"Well, yes.... and I'm going to need a 'tablet-assist'.. in fact, I was planning on taking a couple of tablets, make sure I REALLY have the POWER I need. Now, Tats, you need to get Sebby, and take her to see the old palace, it's going to be her last chance..."

"What do you mean?" asked Tats.

"Well, we all thought that it was sheer coincidence that the invasion happened here, but it turns out that your old Fairy Palace has been some sort of beacon that the invaders have used, plus it created a bit of a 'weak spot' between realms. So I'm afraid that your old Palace needs to be destroyed. Flattened. Blasted out of existence, and stripped of all its magic: Elida, I'm hoping that you and Poppy will be able to do that?"

"Give us an hour to check up on the magic we'll need, I'm sure it can't be THAT hard. Where IS Poppy by the way?"

"I told her to get some rest after last night, so she's fresh and can help you. As for the rest of you, you guys all need to keep these invaders occupied, but don't let them know that something is going on. I need to go out and do a bit of a recce, work out where to do the magic from: Captain Hughes, I'd appreciate your thoughts on that."

"Are we going to need the 'power of four' for this?" asked Harper?

"I'm thinking not, but it would be good to have you nearby, just in case we need to."

"You sure you're going to be safe doing this? I mean, I don't want you.... killing yourself..." said Sarah, sounding slightly worried.

"Sarah, have faith in the prophecy: it hasn't been wrong so far! It clearly says I'm gonna defeat these creatures, and if this doesn't work, then I'm clearly going to need to remain alive to try something else!"

They discussed a few more details.

"Ok" said Serena looking at her watch. "Elida, go get Poppy and start working out the magic you'll need to pulverise your old palace - you know, I'm so sorry you're gonna have to do that, I know it will hit Sebby hard. Tats, sounds like you have about an hour or so to spend with Sebby and the Palace. How about we all meet back here at.. 09:00? That ok for everyone?"

As with any sort of counter-offensive, making sure everything is in place is essential, which is why Serena wasn't rushing into things too quickly. Samantha came and had a chat with Serena.

"Two ecstasy tabs? You sure you can cope?"

"I hope so. I spoke with Wanda, and my braces, and we all came to the same conclusion: the magic I'm going to be doing simply HAS to work. Wanda has seen me a few times now when I've done magic with just one tablet, and we both think I should do the two, just to be on the safe side. That's why I need you and your mum, and the fairies there: I don't expect to be in a very good state afterwards, I'm probably gonna need help from the lot of you!"


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 33

They all met again at 09:00, except Elida and Poppy weren't there. Lilly called them, to see what they were doing.

"Seems like our protectors need another 10 to 15 minutes: they say that they have pretty much what they need, just need a couple more small bits of magic, which they are in the middle of finalising" explained Lilly. "And I have 3 fairies on standby for you, best girls we have for doing recouperation spells!"

"Thanks Lilly." Serena looked around the room, at the other 'creatures' from the other realms. "You guys really ok with what I'm planning?"

"Serena," said one of the Leprechauns, "you have led us well so far, I have no reason not to trust you and your instincts! And the prophecies for that matter! I'm sure I speak for us all here when I say that....". There were many calls of agreement.

"Thanks for your support, it means a lot! Ah, hi there, Poppy, you guys ready?"

"Sorry for the delay, but we now believe we will be able to do what's needed!"

"Excellent! Lilly, tell Tats and Sebby to leave the old Palace will you, I'm guessing they'll need to be well out the way when these two do what's needed. So, I went out with a couple of you, and I've worked out that I need to be about HERE..." - Serena pointed to a large-scale map of the area - "that way I'll have a good view of what's going on, and be close enough to do my magic, yet be slightly out of the action. As I said, I'm planning to give our invaders a chance to get themselves home before I close the rift, and the actual magic to close the rift will take about a minute to cast. We all ready?"

"YES!" was the unananimous response.

"Ok, let's go kick some 8th realm ass!".


Serena was positioned a distance from and to the side of the rift, on a slight mound, with her sword - Glimmer - in her hand. 'Our guys' were still fighting the invaders using magic to stop them, whilst the invaders were also using their magic to try to invade. Nearby - so close enough to get to her when needed - was her 'support team': Samantha and her mum, the three recouperation fairies, along with Elida, Poppy, Captain Hughes, Sarah and Harper. She had taken the two ecstasy tabs on the way there, and could feel them gently kicking in: she could feel her dark magic powers increasing inside her.

"Ok, braces, do the best you can, but I know once I start doing the really nasty stuff, you won't cope: that's fine, anything you can do for me will be appreciated!"

"Good luck, Serena, we'll do our best!" replied her braces.

"Glimmer? You ready to help when I need access your other-realm magic?"

"Sure am!"


"Go kick ass, Serena!" she replied.

Serena cast her first spell, a sort of 'public address' spell, so she could talk to everyone... by 'everyone' I mean not just everyone in the viscinity of the farm, I also mean EVERYONE in the 8th realm. Yes, powerful magic! "Ok everyone, listen up, and listen very carefully. This is a message to you dark smokey-cloudy guys trying to invade this realm: by now you should be very aware that you are not welcome here! I suggest you all stop fighting, and go back home, where you belong!" There were jeers from the invaders.

"I'm giving you all fair warning: in five minutes this rift, this portal, whatever you want to call it... in five minutes I'm going to close this rift for good. If you remain trapped here in our realm, then you will be surely killed! Don't say you haven't been warned! And don't think this is an idle threat, I've been doing a lot of magic homework last night!"

Serena could see that a lot of the fighting had actually stopped: whilst the invading creatures weren't yet actually retreating, they were clearly thinking over what she had said.

"Ok, so I'm guessing that you have a king who has organised this pointless invasion: he is clearly a fool, and should have known better. I'm going to summon him, and tell him so to his face, while the rest of you all watch and listen!" Serena cast a special combinesd human-realm and 8th-realm summoning spell, a much stronger one than what she normally used: this spell needed to work through the magic portal / rift, and it HAD to work. Moments later, a dark cloudy creature appeared before her, the cloud constantly shifting.

"Oh, stop moving all the time, will you!" and she cast another 8th realm spell: the moving slowed right down.

"Glimmer, need your help on this one: I'm guessing that there's actually some real creature in there, but using magic to make that strange cloud to make them seem a lot nastier than they are. Can you point me to a helpful spell so I can see the real king?"

Glimmer glowed brightly, making a shining aura appear around Serena. Yes, she saw the spell she needed, and cast it.

"Thank you, Glimmer!"

The dark cloud around the king dissipated, leaving a rather old and, to be brutally honest, scruffy werewolf creature standing in front of her: they were right in thinking that the cloud was just a form of magic armour.

"Identify yourself!" said Serena brusquely.

"I am King Conri, King of the Werewolf realm! Who are YOU?" he said proudly.

"I'm probably your worst nightmare right now! My name is Serena. So, why are you attacking MY realm? It's not because of THIS, is it?". She walked over to King Conri, and showed him Glimmer, more specifically she showed him the Stone of all Magic embedded in it. When he saw it, his eyes lit up!. "Yes, I thought as much... in that case, here, take it, do what you will....". Serena held Glimmer carefully by his blade, and offered the handle to King Conri, knowing full well what was about to happen.... also knowing that the king himself had no idea.

The werewolf king grabbed the handle of the sword, and Serena stood back... and THAT is where the fun started! First of all, a red glow started at the king's wrist, travelled down his arm, and started to enclose his whole body. A look of horror came on the kings face, as he realised that he had, somehow been tricked. He body started to convulse, and he screamed out in pain. "No! No!" he screamed as the glow started to get brighter.

"Come back to me, please, Glimmer, I think he understands that the stone is not meant for him!...". The king released his grip on the sword, and Glimmer flew gently back into Serena's hand, and the king returned to normal. "So close for you... yet... so far! You see, to be able to use this 'Stone of all Magic' in this sword, your intentions must be good, and your heart must be clear of any malice. Sorry, you just failed on both of those! So what a waste of effort, invading MY realm, to try and get something that you would NEVER, EVER have been able to use!"

Serena stood for a moment, looking at King Conri. It was clear the king was getting quite old, and had seen better days.

"You say you are a werewolf, yet you look like more a scruffy, flea-bitten, partly balding old DOG to me!" said Serena, who by now had cast a 'containment' spell, stopping him from doing anything untoward. "I've seen better looking toilet brushes! How is someone like you even WORTHY to lead these creatures? They deserve FAR better than you! To be honest, after what you have done here - or should I say 'what you have had your army TRY to do' - I'm not even sure you deserve to live!". And with that, started to swing Glimmer towards the king, ready to simply cut off his head. Yes, the dark magic was strong within Serena.

By now, out of the corner of her eye, Serena could see that she now had the attention of all the other invading creatures, and many of them had already turned, and were taking her advice, and running back towards the rift.

Serena swung Glimmer.... and stopped him just as he touched the hairs on the king's neck. Serena's goodness had just pushed through the darkness, and made her see sense.

"No.... death would be far too good for you! I think I'll just send you back, and let your 'loyal' subjects deal with you in whatever way they feel fit... enough of them have seen how weak you really are, especially compared to me!"

The king snarled at Serena, letting her see his teeth.

"Oh, for goodness sake! Those teeth are just disgusting! If only there were a tooth fairy around that could do something about them....".

"Oh yeah, they really look absolutely terrible, don't they? And LOOK at that over-jet!" replied Elida a few moments later, after she had flown over to join Serena. "May I?"

"Oh, by all means, be my guest!"

So, whilst the 'king' was from the 8th realm, he was currently in the human realm, meaning that any fairy magic would work on him just fine. Moments later, the king was sporting an extreme set of metal braces: full bands, a herbst, tongue crib, upper and lower expanders, and probably a few other bits too! With his teeth now covered in lovely shiny metal, and multi-coloured ligatures, they looked a LOT nicer!

By this time Poppy had joined them. "There's something missing...." said Poppy, scratching her head. "Ah, I know!". She waved her fairy wand, and gave him a facebow and pink headgear. "Still not enough!". Another wave gave the king a second facebow, as well as a very cute matching pink fluffy tutu. "Oh, yes, so much better!". The look on the king's face was just priceless, and Serena DID wonder whether he could use a diaper right now!

"Yeah, but you STILL missed something!" said Annabelle. She had been down fighting with the others, but had seen what they were doing, and had come up to join the others. "Would you mind, Serena?"

"The more we can humilate him, the happier I'll be!" replied Serena, smiling widely, and guessing what was about to happen. It was clear that her mood was still being affected by her use of dark magic.

To be honest, the sight of a shaggy old werewolf king wearing braces, pink headgear, a pink tutu, and bright yellow rollerskates was more than enough to start Serena's team laughing at him.

"You don't look so much like a powerful king now, do you? Now go, and don't you, or anyone else from your realm for that matter, EVER try to invade MY realm again - or any of the other realms for that matter - unless you want to deal with ME again!". Serena picked up the king using some very simple magic, threw him up in the air like a rag doll, and sent him back to where he had come from!

Serena was feeling GOOD. The drugs were not only making the dark magic so easy to do, they made her feel rather good. And the light magic from the eighth realm she had learned from Glimmer was coming in useful too.

"Right, you ugly lot, you have just under a minute left to get out of here: by now you should have no doubt that I will do what I say I can do.... so GO! And make sure you sort things out in your realm, I'll be visiting you all tomorrow to check up on you!!!". Just for good measure, she threw over a few bolts of lightning, to give the invaders a bit of extra incentive to want to leave as quickly as possible.

With her blood now pumping hard through her body, and the drugs now at their full effect, she started to cast the spell to close the rift: it was made of of several parts, a mix of dark and other-realm magic that was all needed to actually close the rift.

Everyone watched as Serena did her magic: not only was Serena a powerful (but good) witch, she made sure to put on a bit of a show. A strange shimmering started up around the rift, and as Serena continued casting the set of spells, the rift did indeed start closing. Finally, Serena cast the last part of the spell, and the rift finally closed. The effort caused Serena to feel very dizzy, and her legs felt very weak.

"Elida, Poppy, you know what you have to do!". The two fairies teleported off to do their magic. "Any of the invaders left? asked Serena weakly. "If so, DON'T kill them! And Samantha..." said Serena, sounding as if she were drunk, "... I think I need your hel.......".

Which is when Serena finally collapsed on the ground in a heap. Samantha, her mum and the three fairies, who had been discussing what they needed to do, all surrounded Serena, and did what they did best.


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 34

Finally Serena opened her eyes: she'd been 'out' for about 30 minutes. From Serena's perspective, wherever she was, it was slightly spinning and slightly floating. After a minute or two, she managed to sit up with a little help.

"Your Majesty! How are you feeling?" It was Wanda, who had just popped up in her hand.

"I've felt better!" replied Serena. She looked around her. She was in a tent, surrounded by members of the seven realms.

Captain Hughes came over to her, with his troop of 16 SAS members: they all went down on one knee in front of her. "Your Majesty, we unconditionally pledge our allegiance to you! Long Live Queen Serena!" he said.

"Long Live Queen Serena!" echoed everyone else there.

"Hey, Serena..." asked Wanda. "You gonna be ok with being Queen of all witches?"

Serena smiled. "Yeah, I think I am."

Next to come over to her were Elida and Poppy. "Well, Serena, that was some impressive magic you did earlier on! Nice one! And the king DID end up looking rather cute!". That made Serena smile: yes, the King did look rather 'bright and colourful' when she had sent him back!

"The Old Fairy Palace?" asked Serena.

"Completely destroyed!" replied Poppy.

"Well, done! Any survivors from the other realm?" asked Serena of noone in particular.

"There's just one," replied Harper. "he's being looked after by the centaurs right now, and is being surprisingly cooperative: I think you need to talk to him when you've sorted yourself out."

Once again, Samantha and her mum put their hands on Serena, and did their own special healing magic, which helped her feel a lot better.

"So, it's finally all over then?" said Serena, starting to smile. "I actually managed to fulfil the prophecy!"

"Yes, it is, and yes, you have!" said Elida. "And I have someone here who wants to meet you again..."

Serena, turned and smiled. "Your majesty!" she said.

"Your majesty!" said Queen Tinkerbell (she's queen of the fairies!). "Don't worry, you'll soon get used to it! But I think we all need a little celebration: Elida, Poppy, girls: you know what to do!".

Moments later, tables were appearing, on which there was tea. And sandwiches. And disgustingly nice but fattening cream cakes. And jam doughnuts. Not to forget the fairy cakes!

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Chapter 35

Serena walked into the tent where the centaurs were 'looking after' their 8th-realm werewolf captive: so, it seemed that the werewolves had simply used magic to create a form of magic 'armour', that made themselves appear 'dark and nebulous'. Not only would it help protect them, it would also intimidate their enemies. With her were representatives of the other 6 realms: it had been agreed that Serena would do all the talking.

The captive werewolf was much as you'd imagine a werewolf to be, and certainly far better looking than the old king. Unlike a normal wolf, but as you'd expect from an intelligent creature able to do magic, he stood on 2 legs and was still wearing the leather (well, it was leather LOOKING!) light armour, but he was currently in a set of shackles restraining his wrists and ankles, and which inevitably stopped him from doing any sort of magic.

"Good afternoon," she said, "I am Serena, apparently I'm the new Queen of the witches of this realm. Who are you?"

"I'm Eric.. it's nice to meet you.... your majesty!" said Eric, bowing. "You know, you should have just cut off the old guy's head, he deserved it! Mind you, I can't imagine he's still King, you completely humiliated him in front of a lot of wolves!"

"Sounds like you aren't a big supporter?"

"Hell no! We all told him he should come in peace, but oh no, he wouldn't listen! He wanted to prove that he was the 'biggest baddest king'. He wanted the mythical 'Stone of all Magic', which old stories said was hidden in plain sight in your realm. So he got an army together, and worked out how to open that rift..."

"Oh... so why were you fighting then?"

"Self preservation!"

"What do you mean?"

"I wasn't particularly in the King's good books, so I was given a simple choice: be killed, or fight for him - and probably get killed fighting. I decided to take my chance, and it looks like it paid off."

"So what now?" asked Serena. "I'm guessing that we'll probably want to keep you here. Well, when I say 'here' I mean one of our seven realms."

"Well, none of them can be any worse than our land has been recently. Although I think things are about to get a lot better over there, after what you did earlier on."

Serena talked with Eric for a while: she was very impressed with how pleasant Eric was, and what he was saying.

"Hang on a moment, I could do with a quick chat with Wanda..." She went into a corner, and spoke with her wand: in times like this, she knew she could count on Wanda to provide her with good counsel.

Back with Eric, Serena asked Glimmer to come from the scabbard on her back and in to her hand. "I think you'll be able to hold Glimmer, want to give it a go?" She held Glimmer out for Eric to take. Eric wasn't TOO sure if he should take the sword, but he did. Nothing happened to him, like it had to the king, and he started to understand what the Stone of all Magic was about.

"This is far too important for me to hold it, let alone use it... please, take it back!" the fact that Eric was unaffected by the stone, and also didn't want to use it, told Serena a lot about Eric's character.

"Yes, I actually agree with you on that, and I'm not planning on keeping it for too long myself. Anyway, I have an idea," said Serena, "although I'll need these guys to agree with it: how would you like to be the ambassador for the 8th realm, your realm?"

"Oh, I'd be honoured and delighted to, your majesty!" replied Eric without a moment's hesitation.

"In that case, I think you need to start talking to the other ambassadors from the other seven realms: I'm planning on visiting your realm tomorrow."

"Oh, I'd like to see THAT! I watched you today, and you ain't gonna let any of our guys get the better of you, are you?"

"No, I'm not. And I'm thinking that it might be helpful to have you on my team tomorrow. Eric, it's been very nice to meet you, I'm sure we will talk again soon!"

"Your majesty, that would be nice!"

Serena left with the others, and they had a quick meeting.

"I feel very good about Eric, so does Wanda, and clearly so does Glimmer," said Serena, "I feel we can trust him... what do the rest of you think?". The general consensus was good.

"Right, in that case, as long as you're all happy, I'm going to go visit the 8th realm tomorrow with my 'team', and take Eric with us: he will know 'the lie of the land' and who we need to talk to. I guess we should also be making contact with the other two realms too, at some point?"


That evening there was a LOT of celebrating. Much ale - and other alcoholic drinks from the seven realms - was drunk. Many tales of adventure were exchanged. If nothing else, this 'invasion from the 8th realm' had massively helped to reunite the 7 realms: they were talking to each other, ambassadors were meeting, information being shared, and so on. Not only had Serena managed to reunite the many covens of the land, she had kick-started the improved inter-realm relationships. The biggest thing that had impressed them all was that Serena wasn't an arm-chair leader, she was involved, and as her last big act had shown, she was quite willing - and able - to 'do the dirty work' herself!

So, back to the drinking: one great thing about being able to do magic was that you never got a hangover. Drunk, yes! (to be honest, why drink if you don't get drunk?) But hangovers, no!

Serena and Harper grabbed several pitchers of Elven ale, and took them both to the centaurs guarding Eric, and Eric himself: they stayed for a while and drunk some with Eric. It turned out that Eric was a bastard son of the old king, which possibly explained some of his feelings towards the king. Eric explained that the king had 3 proper sons: the two eldest were the king's 'right hand men', supporting his invasion, whilst the third was a lot 'calmer', and had argued against the invasion. The king himself was a very old, and very proud man.

"I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow, to see what's happened there. I can see three possible outcomes: first, the king is still in charge - which I think is actually pretty unlikley. Second, the king is somehow dead, and his eldest son is in charge - probably the most likely. Then the third option - rather unlikely, but possible if enough people got together and have overthrown the king and his two eldest sons - is that his youngest son is in power. My question to you: what you gonna do if it's one of the first two?"

"Good question! Who am I to impose MY will and my feelings on another realm? So many empires have done that through history, and in pretty much all cases, it's come back to bite them. I guess I'm hoping you'll be able to help us, and advise us... and your own people? What's your take on the popular opinion?"

"Probably like people in your realm: a load 'for', a load 'against', and even more in the middle, either not caring, or persuaded by the sweetest talker...".

As they talked, Serena could see that Eric was looking at her mouth.

"Serena, can I ask you a question: your teeth, they look different from Harper's, and the other creatures from the other realms, they look like they are metal..."

Serena smiled: she'd had her braces so long now that they were very much 'part of her' (in more ways than one). "I guess to answer that, I need to tell you a bit of a story.... a story that started about 500 years ago...". Serena explained about the isolation of the many covens, about the prophecy, about her upbringing, and her pledging, and discovering that SHE was THE ONE as described in the prophecy.

"So, I had some braces - albeit made of a strange metal...."

"Braces? What are they?"

Again, Serena smiled: of course, there was no reason to think that ANY other realm used braces to straighten teeth. "When people's teeth are crooked, and either their teeth don't work together very well, or more likely just don't look quite 'perfect', then they get braces on their teeth: these use various methods to move their teeth into a better position. Works better on children, as their jaws are sill malleable and still growing."

"Ok, so your teeth were crooked?"

"Yes, they were. And I started off with very normal braces, just made from the strange metal. But a clever witch discovered that, if I had some rather extreme braces, with lots of metal, I would gain extra protection when I did dark magic - magic like I had to use today. The metal comes from a very special and very old chain, and I have enough metal in my mouth now that they are actually sentient. And it's not just what you see on my teeth, I have metal across the roof of my mouth, and on the sides between the top and bottom. When they were installed, they moulded themselves to my teeth, and I believe that, by now, they have started to 'merge' with my teeth and my body. So, yes, a bit of a long story, but yeah, for all intents and purposes, I now have metal teeth.

"I'm surprised they don't make you talk strangely. Do they hurt? Feel strange? I'll be honest, they actually look pretty good, plus they ARE a bit intimidating!"

"The braces themselves have 'absorbed' my speech difficulties. And no, they feel completely normal to me now." They continued chatting for a while. "Anyway, Eric, it's been great drinking with you, we should go back to the others: rest well, I'll see you in the morning!"

"Thank you, Serena and Harper: for a prisoner, you've made me feel very welcome! You rest too, and yes, I'm looking forward to tomorrow!"


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 36

It was the 'day after'. The day after the invasion was stopped. The day after a lot of beer and ale was drunk. And the day after Serena became Queen of all the Witches. Before, she'd felt she wasn't really worthy of becoming a queen, but she had grown so much, had so much more faith in herself, and she now actually felt quite ok with being Queen of all the Witches of Britain. Well, almost....

Serena's team had assembled. 4 witches: Serena, Sarah, Samantha and Harper. 2 fairies: Elida and Poppy. And one werewolf: Eric. Of the team, there was no doubt that after Serena, Elida and Poppy were the most powerful and capable, magically. Eric had promised that he would be no threat to the team, so no longer had any anti-magic devices attached to him. Besides, he knew full well that Serena could probably just kill him with a wave of a little finger if she wanted to. And he wanted to know what was going on in his realm as much as anyone else.

"So, going over to the 8th realm it seems isn't actually all that hard, no harder than going to the other 7 realms. Just different words in the spells, that's all. We all ready? If so, then hold onto me....". With Glimmer in her hand, and all looking smart and 'meaning business' in their lightweight leather armour (had to make sure they sent out the right message to everyone they met!), Serena cast the spell.

One problem is knowing where you will 'land' when you go to another realm. In the 7 known realms, there were 'standard places' where you would go between the realms, meaning you knew where you would land, and people in the other realms would expect to see strange looking creatures arriving there. Plus, the mappring between realms wasn't always 'linear': in some places, if you were just 10 metres from where you should be, you could end up MILES away over on the other realm.

Serena had specifically chosen to NOT go to the location of the rift, but was quite a distance from there: she didn't REALLY want to bump into any of the werewolf soldiers, in case they were still around. Today, when they landed in the eighth realm, they landed in a grassy clearing, in some woods.

"Any idea where we are?" Serena asked Eric.

"Sorry, no idea...."

"Hey Glimmer, going to need to use some 8th realm magic today, so can you point me to some 'probing' spells, so I can 'feel' what's around?". Serena spent a few minutes probing the area. "Ok, I can feel a few small 'villages' around, the closest is a couple of miles THAT way. Hmmm... Wanda, am I going to be able to teleport here?"

"No use asking me, I'm new here too..."

"Ok. Glimmer?"

"Much of your magic will work here, although you probably want to keep to the 'light' magic..."

"Fair comment. Ok, all hold hands... Elida, Poppy, feel free to sit on my shoulders if you prefer!". Serena concentrated, and they landed in a quiet part close to the middle of the village. The village looked very much like a small village might in any of the other 7 realms: houses, streets and so on.

Again Serena probed. "I'm seeing a load of people not far away, in that direction. Eric, maybe you can lead us?"

"Sure..." he replied. They walked for a couple of minutes, ended up going down an alley, and into what seemed to be a 'market square', with a small number of stalls, and a few shops. And quite a few werewolves going about their daily lives.

"We'll do some 'feelgood' spells, so they don't panic when they see us" suggested Elida.

"Good idea, I can do that too" said Samantha.

Eric went over to one of the stalls, and spoke to the owner, then went back to them. "So, I don't have a lot of detail but: I know where we are now; the old king is dead; but I'm not sure who's in charge now. This wolf tells me that there seems to be a general feeling of calm though, which sounds hopeful."

"So, maybe we just need to go to the palace, see what's going on, go and say 'hello' to the new King? Is the palace far?"

"Yes, I think you're probably right. It's about 25 clicks away, are we going to be able to teleport that far in one go?"

Wanda popped up again. "You could try your 'power of four, that should make it pretty easy...".

With everyone holding on once more, the four of them used their wands together: moments later they were just outside the main gate of the King's Palace.

"You guys wait here, I'll go and have a word with the guards, see what's going on..." suggested Eric. All of Serena's feelings about Eric seems to have been spot on: he was very much a team player, and he was currently part of Serena's team.

"Hey, Eric, mate! Never expected to see you again, word was that you'd been captured just before that powerful witch woman closed the rift!" said one of the guards.

"Hey, Jimmy! Nice to see you too. So what's been going on? Who's in charge now? I hear the old man is dead..."

"Yeah, it seems when he got sent back he felt a bit of a... well, I guess the word 'dickhead' is probably as good a word as anything, and apparently he took his own life. Princes Tarquin and Alfonce didn't know quite what to do, so Prince Richard and a few friends threw them both into the cells, and he's running the place for now. Boy, is he going to be surprised to see you!"

"What happened to the army?" asked Eric.

"Well, it seems that they were unable to open that rift thing again, so they've all gone back to barracks. Besides, without the king's direction, they've really got nothing to do. So who's this lot you're with then? They don't seem to be very hairy, so I'm guessing they must be from that other realm?"

"Yeah, that's right. I'm not really quite sure how to describe them. The one in the middle is Serena, she's now the Queen of the Witches of the realm we invaded, she's the one that made King Conri look like a 'dickhead', you don't want to mess with her! Mind you, having said that, she's a very fair person. The others are her 'team'."

"Who's those tiny ones, with wings?"

"Apparently they are 'fairies', come from yet another realm.

"How many bloomin' realms ARE there?"

"Ten apparently! Anyway, we've all come to find out what's going on here... I'm rather hoping we'll be ok to go meet the new king, I wouldn't want to see Serena having to force her way in!"

"Nah, go on in, we all know who you are...."

"Thanks, Jimmy!". Eric went back to the others. "Very good news, it seems that the best option happened, and Prince Richard is currently in charge of things. Let's go on in."

As they walked further in to the palace, the wolves seemed to recognise Eric, and with some simple magical help from her team, they seemed inclined to let them continue without any questions.

"Ok, guys, this is the throne room, not entirely sure what we'll find in here, but there's only one way to find out. I suggest you might like to go in first, Serena, what with being queen and all that..."

Eric opened the door for her, and with her head held high, Serena walked into the room. It was quite a big and fancy room, as ypu might expect in a palace. At the far end was a pair of fancy looking thrones, both empty at the moment. There was a group of about a dozen wolves talking to the side. As she walked in, all eyes turned to Serena.

"Good morning, I am Serena, from the human realm, where I am Queen of the Witches," she said proudly. "As I promised yesterday after I made a fool of your king, King Conri, I have come to see for myself what is happening in your realm!"

One of the wolves left the group, came over to Serena, and went down on his knee in front of her. "Queen Serena! I am Prince Richard, I am forever indebted to you for what you did yesterday. I can but only apologise for my father's stupidity!" As he was speaking, Eric came over to him.

"Hey, Richard, it's ok, you can get up....". The Prince looked over at Eric.

"Eric!! This is amazing, you are alive! I assumed that when you didn't make it back that they would have killed you?"

"Just the opposite: whilst Queen Serena is very capable and powerful, she is also very wise, and not at all evil... more than I could ever say about Conri. She not only treated me with respect, and shared ale with me last night, but she has asked me to be an ambassador for our realm. So what's happened here?"

"Please come on in, and let me tell you....".

After Eric had introduced Serena's 'team', Prince Richard explained that Serena's voice had been clearly heard across their whole realm yesterday: "That was some very powerful magic you did there!". 

So, yesterday, the King had been close to the rift (on the 8th realm side) in a sort-of tent, talking with a large group of wolf soldiers, preparing to possibly go through the rift, when he suddently disappeared, summoned by Serena. When she returned him a few minutes later, the group that was in the tent saw him, and simply started laughing at the king, shouting and jeering at him. The king had got up, taken a short sword from one of the wolves in the room, and had taken his own life.

News quickly got back to the palace, and when Richard's two brothers had returned, some of Richard's close friends simply took the two brothers down to the cells and locked them up... and when he, Richard, had come in, they asked him to take charge.

"I mean, I'm the third son, I never thought I'd have to do this. I'm out of my depth, WAAAAY out of my depth!"

"Know the feeling, Richard, been there, done that! Got the matching t-shirt too!" said Serena. "But I can tell you that that probably makes you the best person to become the new king of this realm! I hope you're a quick learner?"

"Umm, well....."

"Good, you'll be ok! So, I assume your brothers are still in the cells then? Have you spoken to them yet?" asked Serena.

"Yes, they are, and no I haven't..."

"Hmmm, you stay here, Richard, can you get someone to take me and Sarah here down to see your brothers?"


"So, you are Tarquin and Alfonce? I am Serena, Queen of the Witches, of the human realm your father tried to invade..." The two of them looked a bit apprehensive.

"I... I... I recognise your voice, you're the one that humiliated my father in front of his army, and the one who closed the magic rift! How on earth did you do that?"

"Mainly with good magic and a clean heart.. and a bit of dark magic thrown in for good measure! You father was after THIS, I believe?" Serena summoned Glimmer into her hand, and she showed them the stone. "This is my sword, and it is currently the resting place for the 'Stone of all Magic'. This is what your father invaded my realm for. I'm sorry, but NOBODY invades MY realm! It was a waste of time as it turned out: the problem is that, to be able to use the magic in this stone, you must have a good heart, and good intentions, and you father had neither.... I actually gave it to your father, but he didn't seem to get on quite so well with it! Think either of you could cope with it? You're very welcome to give it a try!". Neither of the two accepted Serena's offer, quite sensibly.

As Serena spoke with them, the two princes became more and more in awe of Serena: she spoke a lot of sense.

"So, what are you going to do with us all now then?" asked Tarquin.

"A lot depends on you two, I guess. For a start, there's no way I can let either of you rule this realm... So that leaves your brother Richard. He has little idea what to do, but I suspect he will make a far better King than either of you could EVER do. But I think he needs your help. Are you two willing to accept your younger brother as your king? And work with him as his advisors - although I'd strongly suggest that any advice you give him should NOT include invading other realms again! So?"
The two princes hung their heads in shame. "Yes, I understand... and yes, I can accept him as my king." replied Alphonce.

"So can I..." replied Tarquin.

"Ok, in that case... Wanda?".

"Your Majesty?"

"Can I have those two wristbands please?". Two thin but sturdy metal wristbands appeared in Serena's hands, and she clipped them onto the wolves. "You, and any other wolves, will be unable to remove these: they will prevent you both from doing any magic." Next Serena cast a spell to open the cell doors.

"Are you willing to come with me, and pledge yourselves to your brother? And ask him to be your king?". They nodded. "Ok then, let's go!".

Now, you're probably thinking 'Hey, what about the guards? Why don't they stop her?'. The answer is simple: one of the many 8th-realm spells she remembered putting onto one of those many yellow stickies in her mind, was a 'you can trust me' sort of spell, which she had cast when she had first walked in.

"Your two brothers have something to say to you, Richard..." said Serena as they returned to the throne room. The two brothers went on their knees in front of their younger brother.

"Richard, we both renounce any claims that we may have to the throne, and we feel that YOU should be our king. We both pledge to support you in any way that we can. And we are very sorry for what we have done, helping our father to dirty the reputation of this realm...."

"They are both wearing wristbands that prevent them from doing any magic, so you don't need to worry about that." explained Serena. "I have no doubt you can do this: if I did it, so can you! Samantha, a few words from you maybe?".

"Good morning, your majesty, I am Samantha, and I'm the inter-realm ambassador from the human realm. With you as the king of this realm, I would like to invite you, with Eric as your ambassador, to join our seven realms to meet in a spirit of friendship and co-operation. I hope you can accept this offer."

"So, up to you, Richard... What do the rest of you say?" asked Eric. There was a cheer from the group of other wolves.

"I say: may King Richard be our new king, and may we all prosper under his new rule!!" shouted one of the other wolves.

"So?" asked Serena.

"I guess I don't REALLY have much of a choice, do I?"

"Probably not!". Serena went in front of the new king, and kneeled. "Your majesty, King Richard, it a pleasure to meet you!". All the wolves in the room also kneeled: "Long live King Richard!"

Eric stood up again, and went over to the new king. "Congratulations, mate, we couldn't have a better king. I'm here if you need me. I hope you're ok with me being our ambassador"

"Couldn't want for anyone better! Thank you, Eric. And thank you Serena, and the rest of you. The next time we come to your realm, we promise to come in peace.


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 37

Several days later......

"Hi guys, how are you two?" Serena asked Elida and Poppy.

"We're stuck, at a bit of a dead end!" said Poppy.

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, sorry, yeah, with finding the time magic, to send those two books back in time. We've been looking everywhere, and still can't find anything that even HINTS at time magic."

"Ok, not good. Hmm.. I wonder....."


"Glimmer? Can you come here please?" requested Serena politely. Glimmer returned from where he was hiding (probably in the walls of Serena's house).

"Your majesty? How can I be of service to you?"

"Well, I'm actually hoping you can help Elida and Poppy."

"Are they both of a good heart and of good intentions?"

"I can't think of any other fairies that could better fit that description."

"In that case, they may safely use me...."

"Thank you Glimmer. Go on ladies, touch him, hold him..."

"You sure? Are we gonna be safe?"

"If Glimmer says so, then I think you'll be just fine." replied Serena with a smile.

Poppy and Elida both touched Glimmer, and both of them were encased in a soft pink glow. "Indeed, you two are very worthy, how can I help you?"

"We're looking for some magic... fairy magic... that relates to time travel"

"For you two?"

"No, for us to send two very brave books back in time...."

"Hmm, let's see... ok, have a look at this bit.....". In their minds, the two fairies could now see a whole load of magic, all relating to time travel.

"No way! It can't be THAT simple?"

"Seems like it is. I'd advise you both to be VERY careful how you use it, you don't want to be upsetting the time-line do you?"

"Oh, don't worry, we've seen plenty of episodes of 'The Flash' so we've seen what can happen! We just need to send the two books back in time, nothing more than that... Thank you, Glimmer!"

"My pleasure, ladies!".


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 38

Serena received a call from Captain Hughes.

"You remember you said it would be interesting to meet HRH himself, our new King? Well, it seems that he has been informed about what happened, and wants to meet you. So expect a phone call...."

"Hmm, you know, if I'm going to see the King, then I think I should be taking the Kings and whoever from the other seven realms, King Richard from the 8th realm included. I think that would send a much better message, in both directions." said Serena.

"Yes, I can see where you're coming from, and that makes a LOT of sense. However, I think you should just meet him by yourself the first time around. Help him understand the realities of magic and the ten realms: to be honest, I suspect he might be more open to such ideas than his predecessor! If you can do that, I have a feeling he might be quite willing to meet the others."


Serena met with Captain Hughes a short distance from the palace. For a variety of reasons, it was felt that his being with Serena might add an extra level of 'credibility' to her meeting with the King and Queen.

Captain hughes was dressed in his formal military uniform, and Serena was dressed in a new uniform that Poppy and Elida had 'magiced up': based very much on the 'magic armour' that Serena had worn in battle, but far more graceful. This was a tight-fitting black 'cat suit', actually made from something as strong as a combination of kevlar and carbon fibre, yet as elegant and comfortable as cotton or silk. Like her 'battle suit', it had areas of padding and so on, that made it look quite impressive - and very suitable for the Queen of the Witches to wear.  It went from her neck to her feet and wrists. On the front they had embroidered a pair of roses, one red, one white. On her back was, of course, Glimmer, in his scabbard.

"Serena, while I appreciate how important Glimmer is, I don't think you're going to get in to the palace, even less get anywhere near the King with him on your back..."

"Good point. Glimmer, I hope you understand, but please, can you go find somewhere to wait quietly for me: I'm sure there must be plenty of places over at the palace that you can hide. I will summon you when I need you." Glimmer gently disappeared from view, clearly finding somewhere to wait: this was something that he had done on many occasions before. "So, you say you've met him before?"

"Yeah, a few years ago, he presented me with some of these.." he said, pointing the the medals he wore proudly on his chest. Not sure if he'll remember though. So, how you feeling?"

"Strangely nervous, I mean, it's not every day you get to meet a King!"

"What are you talking about? You met King Richard, King of the Werewolf real, and then there's King Ruven, king of the Elves... not to mention...."

"Yeah, yeah, but they aren't MY King. I'm about to meet the King of the Human Realm, the King of England... well, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland too, I guess. But i's a kinda big thing!"

"Don't worry... keep remembering that you're a Queen now, and you'll be ok."

"About that... I confess that I still feel like a bit of a fraud..."

"You are Queen of the Witches, as defined not only by prophecy, but also by your actions, and the support of all the other witches. Have faith in yourself!". Despite all that had gone on, she still found it very hard to accept that she, little and insignificant Serena Muffin, was actually now a Queen. "The best leaders are often those who do not consider themselves to be worthy: sound like anyone you know?". That comment made Serena smile. "Come on, time to go."

The two of them walked together to the palace, where they presented their IDs, and their letter of invitation, and after a LOT of security checks, they were taken through to a small, but very ornate, room. They had been given their instructions: bow or curtsy to their majesties; first time, call them 'Your Majesty', after that, use 'sir'.. or 'ma'am' for the Queen; do not interrupt them; and that sort of thing...

While they waited, Serena silently summoned Glimmer, who quietly re-appeared in his scabbard, on Serena's back. The 'security person' in the room with them thought he saw something out the corner of his eye, but didn't see anything obvious.

"Relax!" said the captain, noticing that Serena still seemed to be rather tense.

Several minutes later, the King and Queen entered the room, followed by some sort of assistant: the 'security person' left.

"Good morning!" said the King.

Serena briefly went down on one knee, and bowed. "Your Majesties!" she said, then stood up again. The captain had just stood at attention, and saluted, as you might expect of a serving military officer.

"Good morning sir, ma'am. I'm Captain Hughes, Special Services, this is Serena Muffin, Queen of all Witches of Britain." The King smiled, came forward, and shook both of their hands, as did the Queen.

"I have heard a strange and interesting story about you, Miss Muffin. The story is, and that seems to be backed up by what the Captain just said, that you are a witch, and a powerful one at that, and that you can do actual magic. I am finding it hard to believe, it goes against everything I have ever been taught."

"And I can understand that, sir, most non-witches find it is a big step to accept that magic exists. I believe that maybe a demonstration is in order?"

"Please, go ahead."

"First of all, it is quite important that we are not disturbed for the next few minutes, so I will be placing what is probably best described as a 'protection field' around this room." She turned to the 'assistant': "Your phone and any other radio devices will continue to work, but noone will be able to enter or leave this room." Serena summoned Wanda, asking her to make herself visible to the five of them. In itself, that got the King's attention. She used Wanda to create the protection field. 

"You will notice that, on my back, I have a sword: I'm sure you appreciate that I wouldn't have been allowed in this room if I had a sword on my back. That is because I didn't have the sword on me when I arrived, I summoned him when we got here."


"Yes sir. His name is Glimmer, and I know that he would like to talk to you. I know that you know how to receive a sword, so please hold your hands out ready....". The King held his hands out, palm up, and well apart. "Glimmer, when you're ready...". Serena specifically kept her hands to her sides as Glimmer rose slowly and gracefully out of the scabbard on Serena's back, did a gentle flip, and slowly landed in the King's hands. As he landed, he glowed.

"Your majesty, it is an honour to meet you! I am Glimmer, the sword that holds all the magic of the ten realms. I can sense that you are honourable, trustworthy, and have good intentions, so please take me by my handle." As requested, the King closed his hand around Glimmer's handle, and as he did so, Glimmer's glow extended briefly around the King. If the King had been surprised by what he had just seen, then it was nothing compared to the strangely long, yet also instantaneous and silent conversation he then had with Glimmer.

"I see! Things make a lot more sense now, Glimmer... oh, it feels so strange talking to a sword. Glimmer, may I pass you to the Queen, so she may also learn what you told me?"

"If she is aso a person of honour, trust and good intentions, then certainly you may!". He passed Glimmer to the Queen, who took him, and experienced what the King had, then Glimmer gently returned to his scabbard.

"So, in the briefing I was given, I was told that you are the person named in a very old prophecy, one that said that you would be a very skilled young witch, and I'm starting to see that now. Please, tell us more about this prophecy, and your part in it."

Serena explained about her pledging to the light grey. About her braces, her magic braces, her sentient magic braces - which have now become another part of her - that protect her from the effects of any dark magic she needs to use. That she has the ability to use both light and dark magic. And how she met Glimmer, her trusted sword.

"Three other very capable witches are also part of my team: Sarah and Harper fought alongside me, the third, Samantha, is a great healer." explained Serena. "The 'attack of the darkness' was an attempted invasion from the 8th realm, and that's how I met Captain Hughes: his SAS team are also witches, and they helped to train us, in preparation for that invasion."

"And you did defeat that invasion, I believe?"

"We did, yes..."

"Serena plays her role down rather a lot" interjected Captain Hughes. "She not only single-handedly sent the invaders back into their own ream, sealing the 'rift' behind them, she also managed to completely humiliate the King of that realm, who had dared to invade us: he took his own life as a result."

The King briefly looked rather uncomfortable.

"And the prophecy declared that you would therefore become Queen of all witches?"

"Yes, sir, it does, and that sentiment is supported by all of the witches in Britain. However, Serena still finds it  very hard to accept that she is worthy of that role."

The King went over to Serena, and took her hands in his. "Serena, I fully understand that becoming a King or Queen is a big step - I know that feeling all too well myself - but it sounds to me that you are very worthy of that role, so you should embrace it, accept it. If I had a crown here, I would crown you as Queen of the witches myself!"

"Would you really, sir?" asked Serena.

"I would indeed..." he replied.

"Maybe we could borrow one of your crowns, sir?"

"I would like nothing better, but it's not something I could arrange in 5 minutes!"

"Yes, but would you let ME get it for you?" asked Serena.

"Trust me," said the captain, "she can...."

"May I have your permission? Please? It'll only be for a few minutes, and I'll leave them a note telling them where it is....".

The King smiled, and then laughed. "Well, at the end of the day, it IS MY crown, so why not....".

Serena used Wanda to locate and then summon the St Edward Crown from the Tower of London ( In it's place, she left a note:

'I hope you don't mind me borrowing this, I promise to return it in no more than 10 minutes. Love Serena. PS: I'm with the King at the Palace!'

(It goes without saying that all hell broke loose at the Tower when the sensors detected that the crown had gone. Several rather dumbfounded guards saw the note, but didn't quite understand it: the Tower went into instant lockdown, and onto red alert!)

"Oh, my goodness!" exclaimed Serena, who was now holding the crown - the very crown that had recently been used for the King's coronation - in her hands. it was both very beautiful, and yet surprisingly heavy! "I bet Poppy and Elida would LOVE to see this..."

Two small fairies suddenly appeared, and realising where they were, and who was there, instantly ran a 'make me visible' spell. They both went to the King, and curtsied. "Your majesty, how nice to see you again - although you never actually saw us last time. I am Elida, this is Poppy, we are two 'protector fairies', and we bring you greetings from the Fairy Realm!". They then flew over to the crown. "Oh, my, isn't it so beautiful: we were there, in the Abbey, when you were being crowned, and it looked even better then!"

"You were at the Abbey?" asked Serena.

"Of course. Look, there was just SO MANY lovely shiny things there, how could we NOT be there!!! So, Serena, why DO you have this rather important crown in your hands? They're going to miss it you know!"

"Oh, it's ok, I left them a note...."

"Yeah, as if THAT'S going to help. So?"

"The King has offered to crown me as Queen of the witches."

"But we already did that, didn't we?" asked Poppy

"Sort of. But not with a proper crown!".

"Excuse me, ladies. Perhaps I might take the crown?..." suggested the King. "Come over here, Serena, and sit down."

For a change, Serena did exactly as she was told, and sat down. The Queen came over, and stood next to the King, while their 'assistant' looked on, feeling very perplexed at everything that had happened in the last few minutes.

As Captain Hughes, Poppy and Elida watched, the King put the crown onto Serena's head. "As King and Queen of Great Britain - and a few other places too - we declare that Serena Muffin shall henceforth be known as 'Queen Serena of the Witches of Britain'"

Serena smiled, and a great calmness came over her. "The crown... it's a bit big for me, maybe I can make it a bit smaller, so it fits me better?" she suggested.

"Don't even THINK of doing anything to that crown!" said the captain, "apart from putting it back where it belongs!"


With the nice crown back where it belonged, at the Tower of London, the guards there seemed to calm down. As promised, it had been returned within 10 minutes, along with a second note, that simply said:

"I'm sorry if I caused you any problems, but it IS a lovely crown, isn't it? Love Serena xxx PS: I'm still with the King!"

A very much calmer Serena spoke to the King. She, along with Elida and Poppy, had just explained to the King and Queen about the multiple realms.

"We were hoping that you might be willing to hold some sort of reception for all of the Kings and so on from the other 7 realms. Whilst they have all met many witches now, they haven't properly met any non-witches, so humans like you. The eight realms have got a lot closer as a result of all needing to work together recently, but I think an invitation from you would go a long way to .. how do I put it? To 'solidify' that closeness?"

"Yes, I understand, and yes, I think you are right. Clearly there will be some practical issues to address, like how everyone gets here, and the security and all that. I don't think the world out there is really ready to learn about Elves and so on: they will probably struggle with the concept of witches!"

"That need not be a problem, sir. They will not need to appear to anyone other than the small number of staff needed within the room. I will be responsible - with a little help from the captain and his small team - for the security and safety of not only you, but all the other guests. And the catering will be carried out by the fairies."

"Yes, your majesties, our catering team will be delighted to help out!" said Elida.

"And I will personally make sure that the guests all arrive safely, but without being seen by any of the palace staff."

The King looked over at Captain Hughes. "Don't worry sir, Serena can do everything she promises!"

"In that case, all we need is a suitable room, and a time and date: leave that with me!" replied the King.

They talked a bit more, and the King looked as if he was about ready to leave.

"Sir, before you go, one more thing..." said Serena.

"Yes, Serena, what's that?" replied the King.

"Well, I'm not quite sure how to say it, without possibly offending you..."

The King took a deep breath, then exhaled. "Something tells me that you'll say it, however I feel... so go on...."

"Well, sir, your teeth..."

"My teeth?"

"Yes, sir, your teeth. Whilst your top teeth don't look quite so bad, your bottom teeth, well, they ARE a bit of a mess. And the only reason I mention this is that Elida here, well, she's a tooth fairy, and I'm thinking that she would be very willing to help you with your problem..."


Offline Sparky

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Chapter 39

Several weeks later....

Captain Hughes and his entire platoon of 16 SAS men arrived at a back entrance of the palace, and after showing ID, they were taken to the room where the King would be meeting with Serena, and members of the other realms. It had taken a lot of work to coordinate so many important people to come along today: Serena had personally visited them all, and persuaded them of the importance of such a visit. Not only would the kings / top representatives come along, each would be attended / protected by a small number of their own key trained men and women. Thus the room they were in was quite large.

Captain Hughes called the palace security team that were to be responsible for the event to a short meeting.

"You will see things today that you will not understand... don't worry about it. I can guarantee that there will NOT be any security issues here today: the person you will meet shortly will make sure of that."

Whilst Serena would be officially 'flying in' in a little while to formally meet the King, and then 'bring in' the other guests, she had suggested that should should 'put in an appearance' earlier, to make it clear to the palace staff that she, personally, would be guaranteeing the safety of all present there.

"Ok, first of all, I need to lock all the doors..." explained the Captain.

"You want us to lock the doors?" asked one of the palace security team.

"No, don't worry, I'll do it." He quietly uttered one of the many spells that Serena had taught him. Any doors that were open closed quietly, and were locked with a magic spell. "Now, remember that, like us, you guys are covered by so many regulations that mean you can not disclose anything that you see today, including the next few things that will happen. Besides, noone would ever believe you anyway! Do any of you carry concealed weapons?" asked the captain.

"You really think we're going to tell you that?" said one of them.

"Jock, would you care to do the honours?"

"Yes sir!" Jock cast another of the many spells that Serena had shown them, and a pile of guns appeared on the floor.

"As I said, security in here is guaranteed, we can't afford one of you to accidentally screw things up. Ok, Serena, ready when you are!". Serena had been waiting not that far from the palace, somewhere public but secluded, meaning that she could use normal, light, magic for her last 'jump'.

Moments later, and to the palace security staff's great surprise, Serena magically appeared in front of them. She was dressed in the new 'royal combat outfit' that Elida and Poppy had made for her, and that she had worn when first meeting the King. On her back was, of course, Glimmer, in his scabbard.

"I told you to expect strange things: this is Queen Serena of the Witches of Britain, as crowned by the King himself: she is probably the most powerful and capable witch alive in the country right now. Good afternoon Serena!"

"Good afternoon Captain. Hi there, Jock, nice to see you again! Hello everyone. Yes, I'm Serena, and I am personally guaranteeing the safety of the King and Queen today, as well as the many vistors that will be arriving later on."

"Other visitors?" asked one of the palace team "I don't remember seeing anyone else on the visitor list for today."

"Oh, yes, there will a be a load of those, a mix of royalty and their guards. I suggest that you guys need to get up to speed very quickly on what is about to happen. I hope you are all quick learners. Here goes.... We humans live on the planet in the 'human realm', but there's actually 9 other realms here too. Today we will be welcoming visitors from seven of those realms."

"Other realms? What do you mean?"

"The other seven realms are: the Fairies, the Elves, Cyclops, Leprechauns, Goblins, Centaurs and finaly the Werewolves" explained Serena.

A couple of the palace staff started giggling. "You're playing with us?"

"No, I'm deadly serious. I'm assuming none of you have ever had a wish fulfilled by a fairy, have you?"

"Fairies, oh come on!"

"Hey, Elida, you here?" asked Serena.

"Of course I am, Your Majesty!" she replied, casting a spell to make herself visible to the humans. "Good to see you again, Serena! You too, Captain!". The palace staff were clearly shocked and surprised.

"And you too, Elida. Elida is a very powerful and capable fairy, as I am a capable witch. Although, of course, you guys probably don't realise quite what I'm capable off. Hey, Elida, got any ideas what I can do to demonstrate my abilities?"

"Want it to be serious or fun? If you fancy some fun, you could turn them all into clowns."

"Hmm, interesting idea! Wanda, fancy a bit of fun? And be visible please."

"Did someone say 'fun'?" asked Wanda. Serena waved Wanda, and said the required words, and the place security staff instantly had silly makeup on and were wearing clown's clothes. "Just a simple demonstration of what I can do with almost no effort. I could have just as easily encased you in stone up to your necks... Do I have your attention now?". She waved Wanda again, giving them their old clothes back. "As Captain Hughes had said, I will personally guarantee the safety of all those who will be present in this room, their majesties the King and Queen included."

"I think they maybe need another demonstration of your abilities...." suggested Captain Hughes.

"Old truck engine again?" suggested Serena.

"Why not?".

"Ok, so this here is the metal bit of a big truck engine" said Serena, after quickly finding a scrap yard, and summoning it. "And THIS is my sword, Glimmer!" Glimmer rose gently and gracefully from his scabbard, and dropped into Serena's outstretched hand. "Sword... strong metal engine... which do you think will win?"

"Oh, definitely Glimmer!" said Elida excitedly.

"I think you might be right. Glimmer, if you would, please?" Serena lowered Glimmer gently onto the metal engine block, and effortlessly cut it into two. "Maybe one of you wants to inspect the engine, be sure it's real? Try picking it up perhaps?" One of the palace security team walked over quite cockily, and tried to lift the heavy engine block, and failed. Serena said a quick spell, then leaned over and picked it up with ease, then summoned the pieces away again.

"Ok, what you have just seen is several displays of my magic, and I can guarantee you that I was just playing there. So, when I say that I can provide protection, I really mean it. John, how are we for time?"

"Oh, plenty of time, about forty minutes."

Serena looked at the pile of guns on the floor, then waved her wand: the ammunition from the guns appeared in a separate pile. "Ok, gents, please take your guns back - but leave the ammo - I'm sure it will make you feel better having them, even though they would be useless to you - even loaded - if anything were to happen! Which door will his majesty come through? And which door do you need access to?"

"That one over there... and this one here."

"Ok, John, if you can unlock them both. I suggest you all take a comfort break if you need one: don't do anything stupid, and please do NOT tell anyone about anything that you have just seen: you will each be accompanied by one of these guys..." Serena waved her wand, to let the palace security guards see the FAS fairy squad, then made them invisible again. "Whilst not quite as able as Elida, I wouldn't try anything, they're just as capable as these guys are..." she said, pointing at the SAS team. "Then, when you're ready, maybe you can tell his majesty's team that we are on schedule for our meeting".

Before leaving, Serena cast a whole collection of protection spells on the room: there was no way that she would allow ANYTHING to happen that afternoon, there was just too much at stake.


The King's trusted and close team were all aware that strange things would happen today: Serena and Elida had both previously met with them, and 'explained things', in a not dis-similar way to what she had done today, although it HAD included cups of tea and nice cakes rather than clown's clothing.

When the King and Queen entered the room some 40 minutes later with two other members of their staff, the palace security team were descretely spread around the room: the SAS team were neatly lined up at the front, with Captain Hughes at the front, waiting. Serena wasn't there yet, she was with Samantha, Sarah and Harper.

"Your Majesties!" said the captain, saluting, as were all the other men.

"Good afternoon, Captain Hughes, good to meet you again!"

"Yes sir! Are you ready to meet your guests, sir?" he asked the King.

"I am indeed. Do continue!". The King and Queen had been carefully briefed, and having previously seen what Serena was capable of, were both unlikely to be too confused about what would be going on today. The SAS team took a step back and to the side, while the captain cast a spell to lock the door they had come through

The various teams from the other realms had already been teleported to suitable 'safe places', and were waiting quietly nearby. Serena, Harper, Sarah and Samantha were also nearby, waiting. Like Serena, they too were dressed in outfits similar to, but far more graceful than, their lightweight magic armour: like Serena, they all wore their swords on their backs for today's important occasion.

Serena had been listening in on the comms, as well as probing the palace room. "On our way!" she said over the comms.

Serena and her team appeared in front of (but at a suitable distance from) the King and Queen, and all four of them went down on one knee and bowed. Serena alone then stood up, and smiled. "Good afternoon, your Majesties! As you know, I am Serena, Queen of all the Witches of Great Britain, it is my honour to meet you again! May I please introduce Sarah, my teacher and mentor, Harper, a strong and able fighter, and Samantha, a very capable healer. These are the three ladies described in the prophecy that I talked about last time." As she introduced each of them, they too stood up.

The King walked over to them. "It is good to meet you again, Queen Serena" he said, taking her hand and gently shaking it. "You seem to be far more confident in your new role today."

"Please, just 'Serena'. And yes, I am. Your majesty, whilst we all stand here with swords on our backs, I assure you that we are here in peace. Not only that, I personally guarantee your protection today."

"Thank you, I have full trust in you, Serena." Serena stood aside letting Sarah, Harper and Samantha meet and shake hands with the King and Queen.

"As you know know, we humans live in but one of the ten realms. We are currently unsure who or what is in two of the other realms, Glimmer only told me about them recently, but today I will introduce those who live in the other seven realms. First of all, let me re-introduce my wand, her name is Wanda." Wanda appeared in Serena's hand.

"You met Elida and Poppy, two very capable fairies, on my last visit: today they have escorted their Queen, her majesty Queen Tinkerbell." Serena used Wanda to cast a 'make the fairies visible' spell, making the three of them visible: they hovered in the air in front of the King and Queen. It was very obvious from the way she was dressed which of the three was Queen Tinkerbell.

The Fairy Queen curtsied. "Your Majesties, it is a pleasure to meet you!".

"No, Queen Tinkerbell, the pleasure is ours. Welcome to our palace." They all spoke briefly.

"If you are ready sir," said Serena, "I will invite the next guests.."

"Go ahead, please."

Captain Hughes said a few words into his fairy comms, then Serena Summoned the Elven team: the Elven King and Queen had 2 foot-soldiers with them, and all were dressed in the finest of Elven clothes.

"May I present the King and Queen of the Elven realm, his majesty King Ruven and Queen Pyria...". The foot solders stood aside, and the Eleven King and Queen approached their human counterparts, shaking hands.

Over the next 15 to 20 minutes, Serena summoned the Kings, Queens and equivalents from the other realms. Last to arrive was Eric, the werewolf, and his king.

"Finally, I would like to introduce King Richard, of the Werewolf realm. He has been a King for about as long as I have been a Queen: it was his late father who unsuccessfully attempted to invade our realm."

King Richard knelt solemnly in front of the King and Queen (the human ones, that is!). Your majesty, I humbly apologise for my father's actions, I hope you can forgive his stupidity."

"I understand what happened, and know that you are a far better man than your father: your apology is accepted. Please, stand up."

Everyone talked for a while, then Serena asked loudly: "Excuse me everyone, would you mind making a space in the middle for the tables?"

A large team of fairies (from the Fairy Catering Corp, of course) appeared, helped to guide everyone out of the way, then magicked up tables with the finest table cloths on them, beautiful plates and cutlery, and suitable chairs for everyone. A few more waves of their fairy wands, and the table was full of teapots, cups, plates and cutlery, and the most amazing range of scones, cakes, and other things suitable for afternoon tea. I'm sure there will have been some cucumber sandwiches in there somewhere...

The many Kings and Queens all sat down, to enjoy the meal -  the accompanying soldiers, guards etc sat at their own table, adjacent.

Serena stood and looked around: first of all she looked at the palace security team, all of whom were in awe of what was happening. They could see that each realm had brought it own - magically capable, of course - small security team, but they had not tried to interfere in any way. Then she admired the more amazing sight around her: not only had she managed to re-unite all the covens of the land, it looked like she was well on her way to uniting the eight known realms too.

So, only two more to go then!

Offline Sparky

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Chapter 40

A month or so later....

"Holy Sh*t, what was THAT?" asked Serena as she and her team landed back in the human realm, a mere minute or two after arriving in the 9th realm.

"I don't know," said Harper, "but I'm rather glad we didn't stay any longer to find out!"

Something had clearly happened over in the 9th realm... and something that sounds like it was not quite what they expected....


So, what IS it that they saw over in the 9th realm that's so scary? And what waits for them in the 10th realm?

To find out THAT, you'll have to wait for the next 2 stories about Serena and her team, visiting the other 2 realms.


Offline Sparky

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I'll be posting the final part to this story tomorrow. Well, when I say 'final', I mean final chapter in THIS story. Whilst I have no ideas lined up yet, I'm sure the witches and fairies will want another story at some point!

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Chapter 41

So, the stories about their visits to the 9th and 10th realms will probably never be written, but I did write the following, to 'wrap up' this story. It happens a little while after the story above......


"Oh, I wish that Poppy and Elida could drop by. A cuppa would also be nice, and how about some of those jammy cream biscuits to go with it?"

"Hey, Serena, nice to see you again. Call for anything in particular, or just want a natter?"

"Both actually. The work bit is that I need your help: I need you to find me 4 capable but very junior fairies to do something for me, individually. I don't want them to know each other, even better if they don't know too much about me, apart from that I'm a witch. So you probably want to choose them from your different offices: I can go to them to tell them what I need: have wand, will travel."

"I'm sure we can do that for you: you sure a junior fairy will be able to do what you want?". Poppy and Elida both knew Serena well enough to not even ask what it was she needed doing.

"I'm certain of it: I already checked out your fairy magic, it's pretty straight-forward stuff."

"In that case, consider it done. Nice choice of biscuits by the way...."


"I wish to meet a young fairy to do a simple job for me...." said Serena. Poppy had already set up the system so that Serena's wishes would be allocated to the chosen fairies. The database also popped up a note for the chosen fairy: 'take a cup of white tea, no sugar, and your choice of fresh cream cake. Take some for yourself too!'.

Thus, moments later, a fresh hot cup of tea and a plate with a lovely bit of creamy chocolate cream cake appeared on the picnic bench where Serena was sitting. Serena was at the other end of the country, well away from home, and sitting alone in a park.

"Ah, thank you..." said Serena, casting the 'show all fairies' spell. "So, I'm Serena, what's your name? By the way, I like the shoes...."

"You can see me?"

"Of course. Don't panic, I'm a witch, and know the relevant spells to let me see you."

"Ummm, right, ok." said the young and rather nervous young fairy. "Oh, I'm Joy by the way."

"Well, hello there, Joy..." Serena made Wanda appear, and make herself visible to the young fairy, and waved her: a small, fairy-sized table and chair appeared. Joy put her cake and cup of tea on it.

"Excuse me for asking, but..... your teeth. Are those some sort of strange braces?" asked Joy.

Serena smiled. "Sounds like you are a tooth fairy..."

"Yes, I am, I love teeth and think braces are amazing, but I do loads of other stuff too!"

"Well, yes, these are braces, but very special braces. Made by a very capable witch, from a very special metal. They help to protect me from the effects of doing dark magic."

"Y... Y.... You're a dark witch?" asked Joy rather nervously.

"No, not at all. For reasons that are far too complicated to explain, whilst I didn't actually pledge to the light, I pledged to 'the light grey', meaning that I can use dark magic for good purposes. Would you like to say hello to my braces?"

"Say hello to them?

"Yes, they are sentient." Joy looked to be very unconvinced.

"Just fly over here, and touch them.... don't worry, I'm not wanting to hurt you."

A rather nervous fairy flew over to Serena's mouth. Serena smiled, letting Joy take a closer look. "Wow, there's a LOT of shiny metal in your mouth... not just on your teeth, but in the top, and down the bottom too. And you have herbsts and lip-bumpers! How on earth do do manage to talk with all THAT lot in your mouth? And without a lisp too?"

"As I said, these are very special braces. Go on, touch them, say hello to them...". Joy reached out her hand, and touched her braces.

"Hello there, Joy, it'th nithe to meet you!".

"Oh, my, they ARE talking to me. Erm, hello there braces! You look lovely and shiny!"

"Thank you, it'th tho nithe to be paid thuch a compliment, ethpecially from a tooth fairy!"

Joy was smiling: she'd never heard anything about sentient braces before, but these braces were so cute, and spoke... and even more than that, they spoke with a lisp! "So, how come you have a lisp?" she asked them.

"It'th all to do with our magic, and taking away Therena's lithp. It'th tho much more important that Therena can talk clearly, tho we take on her lithp!"

"I bet a few of my 'customers' wish THEIR braces could take away their lisps too! Well, it's so nice to meet you guys!"

"And it'th nithe to meet you too, Joy. Tho, we believe that Therena has a thpecial job for you to do.... pleathe lithten to Therena very carefully, and do as she athkth."

"I will...." replied Joy, taking her hand from Serena's mouth, then flying back to where she was before. "Those are cool braces you have there...."

"So yes, I have a special job for you to do, but you must promise - and I'll make it part of my wish - that you must NEVER tell anyone, including me, the details of what you do. Do you understand?"

"Yes... it sounds like you want me to do something a bit difficult?"

"No, it's actually very simple: First of all, let me give you this...". She passed a small piece of stone over to Joy - it was one of the four parts of the 'Stone of all Magic'. "It's neither plain nor over-fancy, and is just the right sort of thing to go into a piece of jewellery. I want you to make a very elegant and pretty piece of jewellery for this stone, the sort of thing that someone would want to treasure, and pass on to their children or grand-children."

"What sort of jewellery should I make?"

"Your choice: for example, it could be a locket, a brooch, a ring or maybe even a bracelet, but it could easily be something else. As I said, your choice, and I don't want to know what you do."

"Ok, so what do I do when I've made it? I mean, making it should be pretty simple for even me to do."

"I want you to travel to ANY of the known realms - again, completely your choice - and give the item of jewellery to a new-born child. You should leave a note, saying that it's a gift from the fairies, and that they should treasure it for their whole life, passing it on to their children or grand-children, and it will bring them luck. You'd better also make it clear that if they sell it or give it away outside of their family, then it will bring them very bad luck: it really needs to be kept within that family."

"And you're sure you don't want to know the details of what I do?"

"100% sure. Plus you must never tell anyone else either - I guess one possibility would be to cast a fairy 'forget' spell on yourself."

"I can do that?"

"Yes, you can... I'm sure you'll find it if you look in your library, it's not a difficult spell to learn. So, you understand what you need to do?"

"I need to make a lovely bit of jewellery with this stone in it, and give it to a new born in any realm, not forgetting to leave a note. And not tell anyone what I've done."

"That's right, and that last bit is VERY important! So, let's drink our tea shall we? Nice cake, by the way, thank you!"


Serena repeated this with 3 other fairies, in other parts of the country, explaining what they needed to do, and making them promise to keep what they did a secret.

Serena knew that it was FAR too dangerous to keep the 'Stone of all Magic' alive and in one piece. It had served its purpose, and she KNEW that wherever the 4 pieces of stone ended up, if the universe ever needed it to be used again, then the universe would make the 4 people, or their descendants, somehow meet together to use it.

After all, that's what had happened a few months ago. Or was it about 21 years ago?