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Nov 21, 2018 2:44 AM
A human finds the fairy realm and signs up to be a fay's pet.
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"Hmm, that sounds handy," Mab muses, then catches up with the question and blushes slightly. "Um. Probably I didn't have to do all of it, but I let a drop of blood fall on one of the mushrooms and then I stood in the middle of it and closed my eyes and turned in a circle three times, counter - uh, this way," they say, drawing a circle with their finger in the air after realizing the fay probably doesn't know what a clock is. "What should I call you?"

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"Puck," the fay says and grins.

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Mab snorts out a surprised laugh. "Fair enough. Do you know how far we have left to walk?"

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"Three more steps," the fay says, "good luck."

They leap into the trees and vanish. 

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At least 'Puck' picked a fitting name.

Mab walks forward and pulls aside the bough of a tree blocking their path, not really sure what they're expecting to see.

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A road appears under their feet. It looks like hardened water. It flows over the forest floor, encasing grass and fallen leaves and a particularly colorful beetle. The top is perfectly smooth and flat and has enough friction that Mab is in no danger of slipping.

It leads to the court, half a mile away, surrounded by open meadow.

Tall, twisting buildings shine in the sunlight. Some silver, some so dark as to be almost black, some clear as crystal. They look too delicate to support their own weight, but they stand easily though not independently. Each building is linked to the others, through more twists of bright metal, gently swaying bridges, large walkways, or small intertwining branches. You could walk from one end of the city to the other without ever touching the ground. 

The tallest building stands in the center of the court and is linked by at least one shining tendril to every other structure in the court. Its exterior is braided and brilliant, dozens of strands of colored metal intertwining with something liquid and gleaming that shines like captured moonlight, even in the bright sun.

Halfway to the court, a figure kneels on the path. 

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The road might have enough friction, but Mab's too busy staring at everything other than what's directly in front of them. They slow down to take in the sight, open-mouthed and wide-eyed, marveling at the impossible architecture.

They almost don't see the kneeling person, so caught up with amazement, but when they do they pick up their pace again. "Hello?" they call, when they get near enough to be heard, and then on a second thought, "Do you need help?"

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He looks at Mab and smiles, before returning his eyes to the ground. His hands are folded behind him. His back is perfectly straight.

He is also beautiful and clearly not human. 

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They blink. "Uh. Can you talk? Are you okay?"

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He shakes his head, then nods, smiling at Mab again. 

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"Well, um." It feels weird to just leave him there, but if he says he's fine....

"Can you point to a library, or somewhere I can learn things?"

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He looks amused.

He shakes his head again. 

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"Because you're unable to? Or because there isn't one?"

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He bites his lip. He doesn't laugh, but it looks like he wants to. 

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"Okay, thanks, good talk," they snark at him. "If I keep going down this road, will I find someone who either knows what a library is or can tell me that they don't?"

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He nods, still almost laughing.

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They roll their eyes good-naturedly and wave over their shoulder at the fay as they start trotting down the road again. When they reach the closest building, they look it over, then shrug and knock on the part of it in front of them that kind of looks like it might be a door.

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Up close, the individual fay are visible. There are dozens of them, sitting on the edges of buildings, walking the pathways on the ground and above it, and flying. When the fay fly, their wings are visible. Some are the wings of a bird or a dragonfly or other beings Mab has never seen, but all of their wings seem almost insubstantial. They blur into the air at the edges and vanish moments after the fay alights on solid ground. 

The path splits here, winding between the buildings. It is deeper too, so Mab is not looking down on grass preserved beneath a thin layer, but at a deep well of crystal that fades into darkness beneath Mab's feet. 

No one answers the door, but if Mab checks, they will find it opens easily. 

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An ancestral part of Mab's brain quails at what it thinks is thin air over a deep chasm, and they try not to look down too much after that. Not that that's hard; they're so busy staring at the fay around them that they almost don't notice the lack of an answer. They figure it might be rude to wander around in someone's house, so they wave at one of the nearby fay instead. "Hello? Sorry, um, I'm kind of lost-"

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The fay glides down and lands next to Mab, scarlet wings fading out of existence. 

"You," she says, "are a mortal."

She sounds delighted, but not in a way that's reassuring.

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"Um, yeah," says Mab, "which seems kind of unfortunate considering that you're not, but I got the short stick I guess, uh-" They're rambling, and they cut themselves off. "I kind of don't know what I'm doing here, I was wondering if you could point me to a library or someone willing to answer questions? I met a guy sitting on the road to here but he can't talk, or something." Can I learn to fly, can I turn into a fairy, can I learn magic, please please please, their id chants, but they don't voice it. Even the fay would probably find that a little much.

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"Finch? Yes. He can't talk right now, not for another, oh, four days I think it is. As for you, mortal, you are in this court entirely without our lord's permission. A situation I would suggest rectifying, fast."

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"No one will tell me where she is!" Mab blurts out, frustrated, then realizes about a beat too late how terrible of a response that is. Oops.

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"Oh, mortal, surely you can figure it out?"

The fay reaches out and takes Mab's chin in her hand, then turns Mab's face towards the central tower. 

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Mab gives her a flat look, annoyed at being condescended to. "Great, thanks," they say without nearly as much gratitude as the phrase warrants, then turn sharply and start walking to the building without another word.

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