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Prologue

Hello children.  I have come again to visit you for a short time, yet my hope was not to visit so soon.  You see, since that very happy end to that horrible, horrible day many seasons ago, something very bad has happened.  The world that I created with love is hurting.  Darkness is covering the love.   Understand that this hurts my heart.  Again, I did not want to come so soon with this very, very sad news and story, but I felt that I must.

Remember, when I left you last time I asked for all to live with the love I put in your hearts and in peace with one another. You will need every bit of such love and peace for the story I am about to tell.  I warn you before you read further, the creature has returned.  This time it is much stronger.  Besides the darkness, the creature has shielded my children from the harvest for many a season. 

If no one can find a way to defeat the creature, then my human children will have no choice to leave and face a very, very hard life without the love of my fairy children.  If they stay, they will certainly perish from hunger.  That would be very, very sad.  If my human children do leave, they will also take their love away from my fairy children.   That will leave the fairy kingdom suffering under the dark rule of the creature.

You might be wondering how this could be?  Certainly, with all the love between the humans and fairies the creature can easily be defeated.  I wish that were so, but the creature is very, very, very strong this time.  I will tell you more about this in just a little while.  For now just know that the creature put up a barrier of darkness so strong that it has kept my children away from such foods as the long red sticks of carrots and heads of green, leafy lettuce.  That is not all.  Just as worse, my children cannot reach the juicy ears of corn hanging from the stalks.  In fact, the barrier of darkness has cut off all of the succulent and nourishing fruits and vegetables in the mellow meadows for my children to eat and live strong and healthy lives.

Sadly enough, there is more suffering.  The sea is empty.  The creature’s darkness is to blame.  All through the dreary day, the gray and gloomy clouds block the sunshine, and without the sunshine the food that the fish eat has disappeared.

To make things worse, the blue pixie crystals and the yellow pixie dust lost just about all powers.  Except for allowing some fairies to fly to and come back with reports of the creature’s barrier and allowing fairies to glide about and to hover in the chamber where Queen Lilly lays while suffering, they are of no use.

It is even worse than that.  The world I created was beautiful.  Not so anymore.  The running rivers, sweet streams and plentiful pools of cool and crisp rainwater are no more.  Once plentiful plants now perish under the gray, gloomy clouds.  Petals of purple petunias fall and lay atop the once rich and brown soil.  Yellow, red and blue wild flowers that once bathed in sunshine now fade in the gloom of the creature’s darkness.  Even the groves of mighty maple trees that provided sweet syrup are in a sorry state.

Forests are failing too.  Strong and mighty pine, oak, cedar, elm and fruit trees of all kinds suffer in the dark and gloomy days.  The creature’s darkness and its barrier and shield has left the world I created in a horrible, horrible way.

This is how strong the creature has become.  The love in the world I created is not enough to defeat the creature this time.

Now, first I must tell you that the darkness began long after the lovely little Lilly, who is not so little anymore, was crowned queen by the wishes of my human and fairy children.  Second, I must tell you that she just may be responsible for the return of the creature: For the creature to return so strong had to have help.

You must be thinking that cannot be.  She is loved by human and fairy children.  They made her queen after all.  I will answer your concerns in time, but for now let me tell you a bit more about the crowning of Queen Lilly.

Like her best and precious friend Foster, she learned to speak and understand the language of fairies.  In time, with her encouragement, all fairies learned the language of the humans and all humans the language of the fairies.  The entire kingdom was happy with that.  They wanted her as queen, but there is much more to it than that.

You see my children, Lilly was crowned queen because she is so kind and loved so very, very much.  Yes she is.  No, she was not crowned queen because the elders were bad rulers, far from it.  The elders were good rulers.   They began to rule after that horrible, horrible day.

The human and fairy children believed that a group of the old and wise could recognize and stop the creature if it once again came as a human king or queen seeking to destroy all my children once again. The elders performed well, however, I must tell you that it was much more than being kind and loved that had the children crown Lilly as there queen, much more.

Besides being so kind, my children felt that Lovely Lilly should be queen because of her friend.  That friend, her most faithful and finest friend, is my finder fairy Foster.  They became best of friends the first time they met. 

Remember, the lovely little Lilly, very little then, needed Foster to arrive so the whole fairy kingdom could be dug up from the underground prison.  I brought Foster into the world because of Lilly’s innocence and loving nature.  All the children knew he would help her rule the world just right.  After all, I made them friends that share one heart and mind.

Now, since Lilly and Foster were the best of friends, my fairy children decided she would not only be the queen of the humans, but would be their queen of the fairies too.  King Midir and Queen Findabhair was happy with the decision: For they too had worked so hard keeping their eyes open for the return of the creature on the fairy kingdom’s behalf, that they became so tired and were ready to give up their crowns.

So my children, there were so many very, very good reasons that lovely little Lilly, not so little anymore, became queen.

Are you still wondering who helped the creature return to the world?  Do you want to know if Queen Lovely Lilly, or any other human or fairy for that matter, helped the creature spread its barrier, shield of darkness, and kept them away from the succulent and nourishing fruits and vegetables?

I have chosen not to answer those questions or any other question for now.  I will not answer not because I do not care about my children or you; I do very much.  I choose not to answer because while I am disappointed and sad that I had to visit you once again so soon with this story because of the choices of my children, I have faith that my children will do right in the end.

Do not be mad at me.  I know you deserve the answers.  After all, although you are just a visitor to the world I created for my fairy and human children your loving heart might just be needed to help defeat the creature as well.

Again, do not be mad at me.  While it may seem cruel of me to allow my children to do the impossible, defeating the creature, I do have my reasons.  Because of the creature’s power this time, however, it is in my heart to give them a little help.  I will send one of my children with a message for Queen Lovely Lilly.

With faith, the message and the love and peace in your heart just might be enough to defeat the creature.

Foster Fails a Friend

Foster hovered just above the nose of Queen Lovely Lilly.  He stared at the tears trickling off the corners of her closed eyes and dripping onto a plush pillow.  He wondered why his best and dearest friend suffered so.   All she could do was lay in bed while moaning, groaning and whispering the same words for many a season.  At some point Foster had hoped the light from the love that surrounded her would penetrate the dreary darkness and bring back the love and joy sparkling from an innocent heart, but it did not.

“Oh what have I done?” she whispered time after time.

In truth, with the dark and gloomy clouds in between the sunny sky and the rich and brown soil, Foster now and then thought that his most dearest of friends was under the influence of the creature.  Even worse, Foster dared considered that his lovely little Lilly, not so little anymore, could just be the creature itself. 

He knew, however, that could never be the truth: For Lilly had too innocent of a heart, a heart they shared.  The two were a match made in heaven.

Even so, while Foster now and then had thought such bad thoughts about Queen Lovely Lilly, he truly believed she was just suffering from an unknown illness.  A lot of fairies and humans, however, thought differently.

After all, Queen Lovely Lilly became ill at the same time the gray and gloomy clouds brought darkness into the world.  That same day the barrier of darkness cut off the harvest from the children and fear entered the world the creator made so perfectly.  Not long after, human and fairy children suffered so much at the thought of never enjoying the succulent and nourishing fruits and vegetables in the mellow meadow.

Even worse, there had been many whisperings from unknown voices.  Foster had heard many of these whispering while in the chamber of Queen Lilly’s lovely little house.  The same house where her mother Lilith and father Lawrence once shared with their precious daughter after that horrible, horrible day.

“The creature has control of her,” a voice would whisper.

“She is the creature,” another voice would whisper in response.

“The last time the creature came as a human king.”

“Yes, but this time it has come as a queen.”

“We must send it away.”

“Yes, then all the darkness will go away too.”

Foster could understand how they felt.  True, he acknowledged, darkness arrived in the world while the lovely little Lilly, not so little anymore, became ill.  He also was well aware that the fruits, vegetables and nuts in the very village that the human and fairy children lived, the land close to the sea, had begun to fail on that day too.

Also on that day, the gray and gloomy clouds blocked the sunshine warming the sea, and slowly took away the plentiful plankton that fed the mini minnows that fed the fat and fresh fish.  Soon after, there was simply nothing left to harvest from the once plentiful sea.  The children could not even wade or swim in the water because it was so very, very cold.

Foster often thought about why they could feel such bad, bad feelings.  Then again, he knew he did not have to think too hard about it.  It was his friend’s decisions that probably helped bring in the darkness: For Queen Lovely Lilly made some bad choices.  Foster, therefore, could not deny their feelings.  As he searched out the reason he went along with her decisions however, Foster found himself just as guilty as Queen Lovely Lilly.

After all, he looked at the kingdom and reasoned it was better than ever.  The abundance of fat, fresh fish, the juiciest and sweetest fruits, the most nutritious nuts, and tastiest vegetables made all the children very, very happy.  Soon after, something else began to trouble Foster.

Not only did he feel guilty, a truth was growing stronger and stronger every day, made his guilty feelings worse.

Foster realized that while he stayed silent when Queen Lovely Lilly decided that the fairies and humans should live together again, he simply should have spoken out when she had allowed more playtime.

While it was true that everything in the world, the world made by the creator, was going so well, there was a time for work and a time for play.  Work produced abundant harvests of so much food season after season.  A lot of the succulent and nourishing fruits, vegetables, and nuts were returned to the rich and brown soil to make the next season’s harvest even better.

The use of the pixie dust made everything even better.  It was as if the food was growing all by itself.  Queen Lilly thought that since everything was so, so perfect that all the children should enjoy more and more playtime.  Foster just went along with the wishes of his best and dearest friend.   

Now, as he stared down at Queen Lovely Lilly suffering so, Foster knew that more playtime led to less work time, and less work time led to the abandonment of work forever and ever.  It did not surprise him one bit when this truth turned into reality, yet that was just part of the truth troubling Foster.

Queen Lovely Lilly had also decided to store food in barns built by Loxie.  At first, Foster thought the decision made sense.  There was so much food, what harm could come from putting some away just in case some horrible, horrible thing happened in the kingdom.  Then Foster realized that such storage went against the wishes of the creator but for some reason he could not go against the wishes of his dear friend and queen.  The other part of the truth sent ache in his heart, the heart he shared with Queen Lovely Lilly.

Sure enough, he witnessed what he believed was the creator’s response to the decision to store food.

The pixie dust, used to restore the human’s land near the sea after that horrible, horrible day, lost its power to grow fruits, vegetables and nourishing nuts.

Now, with the fairies and humans sharing the same land, the barrier shielding the children from the bountiful harvests, Foster knew something very, very bad would happen.

Foster knew it was a matter of time before starvation took hold of the humans.  The food in storage was nearly out.  While he knew that the fairies could survive easily on meager scraps, the humans could not.  If the darkness did not go away and the barrier blocking the harvest did not come down, the humans would flee.  If they stayed, it would be a matter of time before they perished from starvation.  Foster also understood that if they did leave they would be forced to find food and shelter in unknown and cold, cold lands.  Worse, if the humans left Foster knew they would take their love with them and would leave the fairies very, very sad.

Foster could no longer blame Queen Lovely Lilly for the darkness: For he saw himself as a horrible, horrible friend and a child that went against the faith of his father.

“Shame on you,” a voice said.

Foster turned around to see if Leena, Loxie, or Solange had spoken to him but figured they could not speak because of the sadness they were suffering.  He then looked to Cambria who was hovering just above and behind his three friends.

“Did you say something?”

“Hush,” Cambria responded as she placed a finger to her lips, “our queen is suffering.”

“A finder fairy, really,” the voice scoffed.  “You certainly found lots of trouble didn’t you.”

“But I did not mean any harm.  The creature must have made me do it.”

“Excuses, excuses, excuses.”

Tears came streaming out of Foster’s eyes.  The tears ran down the cheeks and splashed down on the chin of his best and dearest friend.

“I am so sorry,” cried Foster.

“How disappointing.  You, all of the children made some very, very bad choices that have made even more horrible, horrible seasons.”

“Please, I beg for forgiveness.  I will do anything to make up for bringing in the darkness.”

“Come to the forest of the mighty oaks,” a voice said.

“I can’t,” cried Foster.  “I cannot get past the barrier.”

“Come to the forest of the mighty oaks,” the voice said again.

“I’m afraid, so very afraid,” he responded.

“Come to the forest of the mighty oaks.”

All of a sudden, a surge of energy entered Foster’s body and mind.  The tears stopped.  The eyes dried up.  A smile came to the face.

“I will obey,” answered Foster.

He flew off in a flash.  Just as he entered the doorway to Queen Lovely Lilly’s house, he turned back and saw Cambria waving goodbye.

Lost Leena

Leena's wings flapped slowly.  She slowly dipped below Loxie and Solange.  A steady flow of tears from closed eyes had drowned the reality that she was about to hit the ground.  Her thoughts were on Queen Lovely Lilly.

Waves of her queen's suffering made Leena's stomach sour with sadness and heart heavy with hopelessness.  A strong storm of sorrow hit her with the thought that Lilly might never stop suffering.  Worse yet, a tornado of terror battered her thoughts with the truth that love and peace might never return to the land.

Suddenly, as if the strong storm had passed, she felt a slight tingling in her wings.

"Leena," a voice called.

She opened her eyes.  For just a moment, a feeling of hope flashed inside her mind.

"Leena," the voice shouted.

"Oh no," she screamed as the ground was coming at her fast.

"Leena," the voice shouted again.  "Flap your wings."

She began to flap furiously.  In a matter of seconds, the free fall stopped just before crashing onto the ground.  Leena then looked up at the feet of Loxie and Solange.  Just behind and above them was the face of Cambria looking down on her.

"Be careful," said Cambia as Leena came to a stop and hovered between Loxie and Solange.  "We really have to be careful with the pixie dust.  Remember, it is almost gone."

"Thank you," Leena said with a smile.  As suddenly as the flash of hope came, hopelessness came back.

"What have I done?" Queen Lovely Lilly whispered then moaned.

Leena just could not understand why Queen Lilly suffered so.  She wondered if her queen felt responsible for the darkness.  That Lilly felt so guilty that her words were a confession of whatever bad thing she thought she had done.  Leena, when it came to the truth, could not really believe that the queen could do anything so horrible as to cause the darkness.  The tears started to flow.  Sobbing began.

"What if it is true?" Leena whispered.

After all, she thought, every time the queen moaned and groaned one could hear the love had gone.  Every time the queen whispered the same words, one knew the kingdom was in serious trouble.  No one could penetrate the strong shield blocking the harvest.

She did not believe, as reported by fairies and humans, that fear was probably the main reason that kept both fairy and human away from the fields of succulent and nourishing fruits and vegetables.  No, it cannot be true, but what if it is? Leena thought.

While the thoughts went back and forth in Leena's mind, she wondered why Queen Lovely Lilly ever agreed to storing all the extra food.  All of it needed to go back to the meadow’s rich and brown soil.  After all she figured, even the wet and wiggly worms in the soggy soil need nourishment from fruits and vegetables.

Worse, why did Queen Lovely Lilly agree to give more and more playtime until no one worked at all?  Could this be the work of the creature or is Queen Lovely Lilly the creature?  Whatever the answer, it did nothing to lift the darkness from the land and the barrier from the harvest.

Then the thoughts going back and forth in Leena's mind came to a stop.  The thought of guilt pointed right at her. It spoke and spoke loudly that the blame for the darkness and barrier could not fall on the innocent heart of Lilly.  In fact, as Leena could clearly feel, she looked at her own heart and realized she was responsible.

She had heard the whisperings of many.

"Just how did she avoid being captured by the nets on that horrible, horrible day?" a voice asked.

"Yes," a voice responded, "how could she have done that?"

"She took Solange to that oak tree and left her all alone."

"She did.  She then she took Loxie there and had Loxie enclose her in a hole where she could not escape."

"Then she took off to who knows where and hid."

"I wonder why she flew away."

"She is working with the creature.  She must be."

"No, she is the creature."

"Yes, she must be.  Solange did die.  No fairy had died before or after."

Remembering such bad words brought even more heartache to an aching heart.

She wondered what kind of friend she could have been to Lovely Lilly by keeping silent.  After all, King Midir objected to Queen Findabhair’s command that humans and fairies live together.  Having done so out of his love for her and the kingdom, the creature became mad.   It fled the queen’s mind then disappeared from the kingdom.  Leena realized if she were a real friend, she should have spoken out of love.

Then Leena saw more truth that it was her that led to the darkness.  After all, she was a wind fairy and knew that there was plenty of work to do every season.  Who would bring in the cool breezes on a hot, summer day?  How could the trees find rest in the winter if there was no gusty wind to remove their leaves in the autumn?  How could any plant find rest in the dark and cold winter without the chilly chill of whirling wind blanketing them in a cover of snow?  What are white, puffy clouds good for if they have no air to move them around the canvas of a blue sky?

If that were not enough to point to guilt, Leena considered why she stayed silent when Queen Lovely Lilly had Loxie build the barns.  As a wind fairy, she had a bird eye’s view of the endless rows of plants and trees with succulent and nourishing fruits and vegetables growing on them season after season.  The need for storing any food had no purpose, yet she did not say a word.

Leena, as much as she wanted to deny it, knew the truth as to why her friend suffered so.  She looked down at Queen Lovely Lilly and realized it was because of her.

The whisperings were right.  Although, with the help of Cambria and Loxie, she rescued Solange from the nets on that horrible, horrible day, but then abandoned her.  By doing so, she sealed Solange’s fate: The first fairy ever to die.

Leena was certain that was the reason for all the darkness, the barrier cutting off the harvest.  The creature never left the world because of that.  It just waited for the right time to show up.

"Shame on you," a voice whispered.

"What?" responded Leena.  "Who said that?"

"You knew all along that the queen and Foster were behaving very badly and yet you did nothing."

She looked to Loxie then to Solange but both had their heads bowed and were softly sobbing.  Leena then looked up to Cambria.

"Did you say something?"

“Hush,” Cambria said while bringing a finger to her lips.  “Our queen is suffering."

"Shame on you," the voice whispered.  "You did not tell your friends they were doing wrong.  Shame on you."

"But Lilly is the queen and Foster is her best and dearest friend.  They are much better.  They would not have liked it if I had said something."

"Excuses, excuses, excuses," the voice responded.

A fresh flow of tears streamed out of Leena's eyes and crashed onto the ground below.

"Please do not be mad at me," she cried.  "I am so sorry.  Please forgive me."

"Really," the voice scoffed.  "It is hard to forgive someone who has behaved so badly."

“Come to the forest of the mighty oaks,” a voice said.

"The forest of the mighty oaks?" Leena asked.

“Come to the forest of the mighty oaks,” the voice said again.

Suddenly, Leena felt a sense of happiness and hope entering her thoughts.  Her wings began to flap furiously and a smile came to the face.

“Come to the forest of the mighty oaks.”

Leena looked at Loxie to one side, Solange on her other side and then looked at all the fairies with their heads down.

She obeyed the voice and flew to the doorway to the house.   As she neared the door Leena turned back to see Cambria waving goodbye.

Loxie Longs for Love

Loxie’s loving heart hurt for Queen Lovely Lilly.  Just like his friends Foster, Leena, Solange and Cambria he just could not leave the chamber of the queen.  Her suffering just made no sense.  There was simply nothing she could do so bad out of the innocence of her heart.

His very, very hurting heart was not just the result of Queen Lovely Lilly's suffering.  The fear brought on by the shield of darkness keeping all away from the mellow meadows also brought heartache.  Cut off from the fields of succulent and nourishing fruits and vegetables, all the human children might soon perish from starvation.  Even worse, it was the thought that the whole world was about to fall apart.  That the whole world would be in darkness forever and ever.

Loxie wondered if Queen Lovely Lilly’s decision to have the humans and fairies live with each other brought back the darkness.  After all, as a master tinker he knew when it came to work one must work.  Fairies had their work and humans had theirs.

Fairies mostly worked in the spring planting the seeds and in the summer harvesting the succulent fruits and vegetables.  Humans mostly worked clearing the fields for the planting and taking the harvest to the village of the fairies and to their village close to the sea.

A human and fairy rarely crossed paths while working, and rarely crossed paths while living in their own village.  Loxie knew this, yet he did not speak a word.

Loxie also had questioned himself if it was wrong for Queen Lovely Lilly to allow more playtime, but did not speak his feelings.  After all, he figured, long before she was crowned queen she and Foster would sneak off and play together from time to time.  There was certainly no harm in that.  They were the best of friends and loved each other very much.  Besides, he knew it was not his place to instruct the queen on how she should carry out her royal duties.

"Oh what have I done?" moaned Queen Lilly.

Loxie opened his eyes and wiped the tears away.  He looked down on her hoping she might say something other than those same words she repeatedly spoke, but no other words came out.  He then looked to the left where Solange hovered quietly.  Her head was down and tears flowed from her eyes.

"Oh Solange," Loxie said, “all is hopeless."

Solange did not say a word.

Loxie turned his attention back to Queen Lovely Lilly.  He had also questioned himself if it was wrong for her to use the pixie dust to help grow the abundant harvests such as juicy oranges, crisp apples, plump plumbs, and perfect peaches, yet he stayed silent.  After all, the creator gave the fairies hands.  The creator also provided much help.

There were many an animal to lend a hand.  Fluffy baby bunnies and many mice with their wispy whiskers worked with their friends. The creator also provided wet wiggly worms, lovely ladybugs, buzzing bees and a host of other friends to help with the planting and harvesting. Again, Loxie felt it was not his place to either instruct Queen Lovely Lilly on her royal duties or question such decisions.

Then again, as a master tinker, Loxie felt he could be the cause of the darkness and the barrier.  As a friend, he found himself guilty for not speaking to his friend about her poor choices.  This judgement, he could not deny.

Being a master tinker, Loxie built and repaired for a reason.  If a wooden wheel from a cart carrying any crop happened to break, then either a replacement wheel needed building or the broken one repaired.  To Loxie, his tinker mind knew this.  This was true for anything in need by both human and fairy children.

It was that simple. If someone needed a tool then the tool needed making or repaired.

When Queen Lovely Lilly came to Loxie and asked him to build storage barns, his tinker mind thought all sorts of thoughts.  Build a storage barn; use a storage barn.  If he did build the storage barns and filled them, then who would eat the food?  After all, there was so much succulent and nourishing fruits and vegetables from each harvest that some was for feeding the wet, wiggly worms and the rich, brown soil.

"Oh no," cried Loxie.  "What have I done?"

All the whisperings he had heard after Queen Lovely Lilly began to suffer started to make sense to Loxie.

"She has barns built to let the food rot," a voice whispered.

"Only the creature itself would do something so bad like that," a voice responded.

"Does she think she can do much more that the creator?"

"She certainly must."

"And just think, the creature has taken her over and the darkness will never go away."

"Oh we are left hopeless."

Loxie opened his eyes.  The tears dried up.  He then looked down at Queen Lovely Lilly and knew she was neither his queen, lovely or Lilly anymore.

"Shame on you," a voice shouted.

Loxie looked to Solange but she hovered in silence.  He then looked up to Cambria hovering behind him and Solange.

"Did you shout that?"

"Hush," Cambria said while bringing a finger to her lips.  "Our queen is suffering."

"Master tinker, huh," the voice scoffed.   "Your tinkering has really tinkered up a mess this time."

"I was just obeying the command of Queen Lovely Lilly."

"Excuses, excuses, excuses."

"I could not disobey my queen."

"You have behaved very, very bad Loxie."

"Please forgive me.  I am so very, very sorry."

Loxie bowed his head.  Fresh tears came streaming out of his eyes.

"Oh what have I done?" he sobbed.

"Come to the forest of the mighty oaks," a voice said.

"The forest of the mighty oaks," cried Loxie.  "Why?"

"Come to the forest of the mighty oaks," the voice said again.

All of a sudden, Loxie felt excitement run through his mind.  The tears stopped.  His wings furiously flapped.  He flew off towards the door of the chamber.

Loxie looked back and saw Cambria waving goodbye.

Solange's Suspicions

Solange, as still as a rock, wings as quiet as a hummingbird’s, and eyes as dry as a summer day,  looked down at Queen Lovely Lilly.  Just like Foster, Leena, Loxie and Cambria she too would not leave the queen’s chamber.   Having the light of love in her heart, however, she was not in the chamber out of sadness.  No, Solange prayed and hoped with so much love that her dear queen would awaken soon.

“We love you Queen Lovely Lilly.  Come back to us,” she softly whispered.

At first, Solange was not alone in hope.  Foster, Leena, and Loxie also had hope.  Her words of love to them and to all of the fairies crowding the chamber not to lose faith in the queen were clear and loud.  She even spoke loudly the same words of hope at the human children just outside the chamber.  As time slowly passed, however, she could see that all the children stopped listening.

Not so soon after Queen Lovely Lilly started to suffer, it seemed as if every fairy and human child became lost in hopelessness.  The hopelessness led to questions.

More and more through the past three seasons, Solange would question not why the queen suffered so, but how.  After all, Queen Lovely Lilly had a heart of pure innocence, and nothing so horrible could come out of something so good.  Besides, she knew Foster shared that heart and he too could commit no crime to bring about such suffering.  Yet, from the beginning of the queen’s suffering Solange could not ignore the hints as to how the suffering could be.

The hints did not always come from a voice of a fairy or human child.   Mostly the hints came from sad faces, trembling hands, moaning and groaning, constant crying of so many, many sad children, and the sound of so many tears hitting the cold, hard ground. Such sights and sounds filled the chamber at all times of the day and night.  Such sights pointed to the something so very horrible, but what had Queen Lovely Lilly done that was so very, very bad?

Finally, as she hovered with hope still in her heart, Solange had to admit what was causing the queen’s suffering.  The lack of love.

“Oh what have I done?” Queen Lovely Lilly cried.

Hearing that once again, Solange would not allow her love and hope to go away.

“Oh my queen you have done no bad thing,” she whispered.  “We have failed you.  I still love you so very, very much my queen and dear friend.  Please come back to us.”

Solange now knew that the lack love that saved the kingdom from the creature after that horrible, horrible day was absent from the hearts of just about every child. She very well knew that hopelessness, loss of faith in the queen, and the loss of faith in each other was the harvest from seeds planted in week hearts.

The weak hearts came from voices over the past three seasons.  The voices, now and then, spoke very, very badly about the queen and others.

“Lovely Lilly had us all fooled,” a voice would say.

“She certainly did,” another voice responded.

“And just look at her friends pretending to be sad.”

“They are of the creature that is for sure.”

“Will we ever see the end to our suffering?”

“Not as long as Queen Lovely Lilly is still alive.”

Although such very, very bad judgements made Solange very, very mad, she would not respond.  After all, no matter how untrue such words were she knew that they could not speak the true feelings of the human and fairy children whom she loved.

“Lies.  All just lies,” Solange suddenly shouted.  “Where are you?  Show yourself now.”

It did not answer.

Solange looked to the fairies and humans surrounding the queen.

“Oh no,” she cried.  “Even I have been tricked.”

At that very moment, she realized love had been present all this time.  If not, she thought, they would not be here.  She then turned to her friends Foster, Leena, and Loxie but they were gone.  Even Cambria was not hovering behind and above her.

“Oh what I have done?” Queen Lovely Lilly cried.

“Oh my dear and precious friend, please stop.  You have done nothing wrong.  Please Lovely Lilly, please wake up.”

Solange looked at the suffering in her face, heard the moaning and groaning came from misery speaking from the heart.

Without warning, Solange flapped her wings furiously then buzzed about the chamber in a flying frenzy.

“Enough of this creature.  Release us from your wickedness.  Leave this kingdom now.”

“Shame on you,” a voice answered.

“Shame on me,” cried Solange.  “Am I not the only one who is here fighting for love, fighting for my queen and the kingdom?  Am I not the only one who knows the queen suffers needlessly, we all suffer needlessly because of the creature?”

“That may be certainly true, but yes, shame on you,” the voice answered.

“Who are you?” Solange demanded.

“Who am I?  Who are you?”

“I am Solange.  That is who I am.”

“Are you blind?  Do you hover there claiming to have love in your heart when so many are suffering?”

“I do have heart in my heart,” Solange angrily responded.

Solange flew circles about the chamber seeking out the face to the voice that dare question her love.

“You tell Queen Lovely Lilly to wake up but you will not wake up.  Open up your heart and see what I see, feel what I feel.  Or do you not remember your suffering?”

Solange continued to fly furiously around the chamber looking for the face to the voice.

“Face me creature and I will show you the love inside my heart.”

“No Solange,” the voice roared.  “Search out your heart now for that love.”

Like hitting a wall Loxie had cleverly built with solid stones, Solange stopped in mid-air.  Tears welled up in her eyes.

“Do you remember?” the voice calmly asked.  “Have you woken precious child?”

“I do.  I have,” she softly said.

“Then why are you still here?  You know where you must go.”

Thoughts of the loneliness and fear Solange faced in the prison that had been the hole in the oak tree brought back the suffering of a broken heart, her life that had perished.

Now Solange realized that she truly had been asleep, that she had forgotten how the creator sent Foster to the rescue.

“I am so sorry,” Solange cried.  “Please, I ask for forgiveness.”

“If you are looking for forgiveness do not look to me: For I am not the ones you have hurt.”

“But I cannot face them.”

“Solange, you are late for the harvest.  Come to the mellow meadows,” a voice announced.

She froze in fear just hearing about the mellow meadows.

“Remember, fear cannot come out of a loving heart,” a voice whispered.

“Where is our help?” yet a different voice cried.

“Solange, you are late for the harvest.”

Solange spun in the air.  She did not know the many voices.  Faster she spun not knowing what to do.  She spun even faster knowing one had to be the voice of the creature.  It was all too much.  She pressed the palms of her hands over her ears.  Tears gushed out of closed eyes. 

“Why did she do this to us?”

“Where is our hope?”

“Stop it,” Solange screamed.  “This is too much.  There are too many voices.  I am too afraid,”

“Solange, you are late for the harvest.  Come now.”

Without warning, hands grabbed her shoulders and the spinning stopped.  Eyes opened.  There was no one in front of her.  She looked around and could not see one trembling hand or sad face. She removed her hands from the ears. The sounds of sobbing, sniffling, moaning and groaning were gone.  The tears stopped.

Even more astonishing to Solange was the fear of knowing what she had to do and where she had to go had gone away.

With renewed strength, Solange flew out of the chamber.  With eyes fixed on the barrier of darkness far off into the distance, she smiled then took off to the mellow meadows.

Foster the Foe

Foster hovered before the barrier.  Whatever or whoever gave him the strength to obey the voice to come to the forest of the mighty oaks had gone away.  He simply could not stop shaking while he stared at the darkness on the other side.  The newfound fear grew worse as his finger could not poke its way through the shield.

"Hello.  I am here but cannot pass through to the forest of the mighty oaks."

Inching away backwards from the barrier, Foster wondered if being there was a good idea.  While he had stayed at the side of his best and dearest friend, he had asked many a fairy and human to go and test the shield's strength.  Always, to his disspointment, their reports were very, very sad.  No matter what, no one could pass through.  Worse, as all reported, even if anyone of them could shear fear would not let them pass.

"Foster," a voice called out.

"Yes, I am here."

As he inched away further from the darkness, his wings even began to tremble with fear.  Without warning something tapped his shoulder.

"Help," Foster shrieked.

In an instant, frantically flapping wings sent him crashing into the barrier.

"Its me," the voice shouted while grabbing a foot.

Foster, gasped for air then quickly turned.

“It’s me.  Leena.”

"Whew," Foster declared.  “You scared me.”

"What are you doing here?"

"I heard a voice telling me to come to the forest of the mighty oaks.  I wasn’t afraid at first but now I am."

"Me too.”

Foster watched Leena float to the barrier.  She too poked a finger at it without any success.  He then could see her wings shake as she inched away from the barrier.

“Oh Foster, it is very, very dark in there.  I think we should go."

"Yes.  I think we should go too.”

He could see Leena’s body shaking while she slowly turned around.   He did not have to ask her what was wrong since he again began to shake just as bad.   Just as he turned away from the barrier, a thought came to his mind.  

 “Leena, why would someone call us to the forest if we can’t pass the barrier?”

“I don’t know, but I’m starting to think it was the creature who called.”

Although he thought Leena might be right, he wondered how the fear went away after the voice called out to him.  After all, what good could the creature do since it is so very, very bad?

“Come on Foster,” begged Leena, “let’s get out of here.”

Foster did not budge.  He started to think about Solange.  From what he had found out, Leena had taken her to an oak tree in the forest of the mighty oaks on that very, very horrible day.   It is where Loxie came and built her a protective barrier to keep her safe from any harm.  As the one and only finder fairy, that oak tree was also the place where he found her lying lifeless in a pool of her own tears.

“Foster,” cried Leena, “please let’s go.”

Foster heard his friend’s plea but did not budge.

"Hey," a voice shouted out.

“Help,” both Foster and Leena shrieked.

"It's just me," said Loxie as he flew to the barrier.

“You scared me.”

“Me too,” said Leena.

"What are you doing here?" asked Foster.

"I heard a voice telling me to come here, but now I don’t think it was a good idea."

“You were not afraid?” asked Leena.

“Not at first, but now I am.  It is very, very dark in there.”

Foster looked at Loxie shaking just as much as Leena.  Now he was puzzled.  Why would someone call out to each of them to the forest of the mighty oaks if it were a scary place?  An idea popped into his head.

"Leena, Loxie, come closer.  Leena and I couldn't pass the barrier but maybe the three of us can do it together."

Foster pressed the tip of his finger into the barrier.  Leena and Loxie did as well.

"Push," Foster shouted.

The three grunted and pressed hard into the barrier but the barrier could not be broken.

“Why can’t we get through?” wondered Foster.

He figured the voice had to be that of the creator: For he obeyed without fear.  Further, considered Foster, who else would call out when the kingdom was near to breaking apart.  All the human childrens' lives were in peril and the fairies faced a very dark and lonely future.

Leena and Loxie lowered their heads.

Foster once again looked into the darkness.  Now a sense of hopelessness was taking hold of his thoughts too.

"Hello," a voice screamed.  "Oh my, finally I am saved."

Foster’s eyes popped open.  He looked through the barrier and saw a silouette of a figure running toward him.

"Hello, hello," the figure excitedly called out.

The figure crashed into the barrier and fell backwards.

In an instant Foster dropped onto the grimy ground.

“Are you hurt?”

“No,” the figure answered.

Foster noticed the wings of the fairy that stood just on the other side of the barrier.  He looked into her eyes but did not know who she was.

In an instant, her eyes welled up with tears.

Seeing Foster talking with a figure on the other side of the barrier, Loxie and Leena landed next to him.

"Who are you?" asked Leena.

"Don’t you remember?  I am Aine.  I am a wind fairy just like you?"

Foster looked and wondered if Leena was focusing in on anything that was familiar about Aine, but a nodding head indicated there was nothing.

"Aine?" Loxie spoke up.  "I do not remember you."

"Oh Loxie.  How could you and Leena have forgotten me?”

Foster watched as Loxie stepped closer to the barrier.  He could see that he was looking at her very, very closely yet a seemingly look of puzzlement came to his face.  Then he watched as Leena too came close to the barrier and stared at Aine with the same look of puzzlement.

“I have been away for so long, for thousands and thousands of seasons, but I still remember you Loxie and Leena.  I did not forget about you, how could you forget about me?”

Foster heard the sniffling and saw the tears that dripped from Aine’s eyes.

 “I finally made my way back home,” she cried, “and my heart fluttered so when I saw the three of you hovering in the air.  I've waited so long since the horrible, horrible day to find love again."

“How horrible it must have been for you,” said Foster as tears welled up in his eyes.

“Who are you?” asked Aine.

“Oh, this is Foster,” Leena answered.   “He is the only finder fairy.  Father brought him into the world to find the lost fairies from that horrible, horrible day.  Loxie and I were two of the lost fairies Foster found.”

“I am so sorry if I don’t remember,” said Loxie.

“Me too,” said Leena.

“It has to be the creature that is making you forget,” said Aine.

"Wait," said Foster.  "Did you escape from the creature's nets that day?"

"Yes, yes I did."

"Foster, I thought you found all the lost Fairies," Loxie said.  "It was me, Leena, and Solange."

"No," Aine cried.  “The creature never left.  You forgot about me because the creature made you forget.  How else could I know your names but you not mine?  Oh Foster, why did you not find me.”

“I…I don’t know.”

“Without the pixie dust to give power to my wings,” cried Aine, “I was forced to run, walk and crawl on my hands and knees on the grimy ground to get here.  For thousands of seasons I have made my way through all the pesty pests trying to hurt me.  Hosts of hawks hunted me.  Ravenous ravens tried to roast me.  Sneaky snakes sought to swallow me.  Oh how horrible, horrible it was."

Foster looked to the ground and was bewildered.  He knew his father had brought him into the world as a finder fairy, and he was sure that he found everyone that was lost.  Clearly, with Aine so deeply, deeply hurt that no one remembers her, he now knows he failed.  Her aching heart spoke loud.

"Was it you that called us Aine?" asked Loxie.

"Call you?  I do not understand."

"Someone called us here," said Leena.  "Well, to the forest of the mighty oaks that is."

"Oh rejoice," cried Aine.  "Don't you see, the creator called out to you to come and meet me.  Yes, he knew that you could not pass through the barrier but knew I would find my way here just as the three of you arrived."

"But why don't I remember?" asked Foster.

"I told you, it's the work of the creature.  You see, it just didn't leave Queen Findabhair, it stayed around in the world just waiting, waiting to attack again."

"Well, the darkness started when Lilly became ill,” said Foster.

Foster turned and stepped away from the barrier.  He could now see that it was the work of the creature, but the creature did not attack for anything his best and dearest had done, no.  No, he knew for sure that the creature attacked because of what he had done.

“I went along with her wish for more playtime.  Worse, I not only failed Lovely Lilly but failed Father too.  I failed to find all the lost fairies like Father wanted me to do.”

"No Foster, it is not you that made the creature came back,” replied Leena.  "I did after all leave Solange all alone and she died."

"No,” cried Loxie.  "I built all those storage barns.  It was because of me."

"We are all responsible,” Foster cried.  “It just waited for the right time to trap us.”

"But our creator has helped us just in time Foster.  Can't you see.  The creator is helping us at the very last moment," Aine proclaimed.

"How?"

"The creator is leading us to the creature."

"Who is the creature?" asked Leena.

"Not who, but in whom," announced Aine.  "Lovely Lilly."

"No," cried Foster.  “That cannot be true.”

"Impossible," Leena stated.

"That cannot be," Loxie strongly uttered.

"But it's true.  Don't you see.  Look what is happening.  All this is the result of the decisions made by the queen.  That allowed the creature to take control of her and make her ill, bring in the dark and gloomy clouds, and to put up the barrier that has brought the kindom to its end."

"No.  I do not believe it.  Not my best and dearest friend."

"Yes.  To get rid of the creature we have to...we have to give her this."

Foster looked at the glass bottle Aine held in her hand.

"What is it?"

"It will make her sleep.  She will never wake up.  This is the only way.  If someone had thought about doing this when the creature was in Queen Findabhair, then we would not have to do this now.”

Foster lowered his head.  He thought long about what Aine had just said.

"You are right.  It is the only way."

"You want to kill the queen?" cried Leena.

"That is not the way of the fairies," Loxie proclaimed.

"It must be done,” said Foster.

“What?” Leena responded as she began to cry hysterically.

“You cannot do this,” stated Loxie.  He then began to sob uncontrollably.

“Neither one of us can pass through the barrier,” Foster calmly said.

“Have faith in Creator.  We will press our hands on the barrier at the same time.”

Foster did as she said.  Their hands met.  Foster pulled her through.

"Now, you must carry me.  I do not have pixie dust for flying."

"Better yet Aine," responded Foster, "I carry around just a little bit of pixie dust for emergancies.

“Good," she said while her wings began to flap.  "Now, before you put the elixir on her lip Foster, there is something you need to tell her.  It is something that will help her as she goes into the eternal sleep.”

Solange Sees the Light

Without a care in the world, Solange rocketed toward the darkness ahead.  The barrier, described as a very, very dark and scary shield, would not stand in the way.  The harvest was most important.

As Solange neared the barrier, she was puzzled. The reports from the bravest fairies and humans sent by Foster to examine the shield had to be wrong.  It is hardly anything, she thought.  With eyes wide open, she saw the barrier as just a curtain of fine silk spun by spindly spiders. To her surprise, light suddenly cut through the curtain of darkness.

Solange could not believe what she was seeing.  The beautiful sight brought a smile as big as the crescent moon on a warm summer night to her face. Her eyes sparkled like the twinkling stars on a frosty fall evening.    

“Oh my.”

As Solange came even closer, she noticed a path of purple petunias that paved the way to the mellow meadows.  There, the sight of succulent and nourishing fruits and vegetables filled the fields.

Passing through the shield, she noticed the green forests of strong and mighty pine, oak, cedar, and elm trees that stretched high into the crystal blue sky in the distance.  Yellow, red, blue, and violet wildflowers dotted the green, grassy pastures.

“Am I dreaming?” Solange wondered. 

Hovering just about the path of purple petunias, she looked at the crowns of the tallest trees and realized that the darkness was just a mean trick.  The fear reported by the fairies and humans was fake.  The barrier, thought to be as strong as a sturdy stallion, turned out to be as gentle as a baby bunny.

“The reports were wrong.”

As Solange’s thoughts were lost in the lovely land, she did not notice the many fairies flying toward her.

“What is going on?” Solange wondered.

“Look,” a fairy shouted, “it is she we have been waiting for.”

“The finest garden fairy there is,” proclaimed another.

Solange just hovered in the air with mouth agape and eyes popped open wide.  She knew who the fairies were in an instant, but wondered why they were so happy.

Back in the queen’s chamber, when the faceless voice spoke of her shameful behavior, she awoke and realized that the creator had not stopped sending newborn fairies into the world.  Not having Queen Lovely Lilly there to welcome them into the kingdom, they should have been very sad and heart broken, yet none were.  All were very, very happy.  Doubt crept into her thoughts.

Maybe they were followers of the creature.  After all, she figured, what could come out of darkness except dark fairies and humans.

“Hello,” a fairy said as he came to Solange.

“Come with us,” another said.  “You must meet the human.”

“He is so nice and wise.”

Solange smiled.  Two fairies came to her side.  They each took a hold of an arm and guided her over the path of purple petunias.

Up ahead Solange spotted a figure, a young figure.  He was sitting on a big rock in the middle of a mellow meadow spotted with patches of purple petunias.

“Fairies, meet your queen,” the young human announced.

Solange looked at his soft smile and sparkling eyes.  She pulled her arms away from the fairies and slowed until she was still in the air.

“No,” she responded while bowing ever so humbly.  “I am Solange, a simple garden fairy.”

“Stand up Solange.  I am but a simple human.”

Fairies giggled all at once.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“Just a traveler.”

A scowl appeared on Solange’s face.  Eyes squinted at the figure.  She could not be sure, but the young human could be one of the creature’s lords from that very, very horrible day.  From Cambria’s story, the human lords were with the creature when it captured them with nets and placed in an underground prison.

“No, no,” laughed the young human.  “I know what you must be thinking, but you are wrong.  I am here to protect the fairies.”

“Protect,” Solange said with a hint of suspicion.

“Yes Solange.  You see, one day I was just walking along when I came across a shield of darkness.  I thought that it was strange because it was a bright, sunny day.  Well, figuring something had to be wrong, I just walked through the shield and to my surprise it was very, very dark and a bit scary to tell you the truth.”

“Then the reports were right after all,” whispered Solange.

“As I walked along,” the young human continued, “I came across this big rock in the middle of this field and decided to sit down.  Then, the most wonderful thing I ever saw happened.  The sun suddenly shined.  Then I saw I was sitting in this mellow meadow with the most delicious looking food I have ever seen.  Well, I was very hungry and started to eat and eat as many apples and apricots, peaches and pears, blueberries and bananas, peanuts and pecans, corn and cucumbers as I could.  Then I drank the best ever cool and crisp rainwater flowing in a slow stream.  After eating, my belly was so full that I became very, very tired.  I then stretched out on this lush green grass in this mellow meadow and fell asleep.”

“Wow,” Solange stated, “you must have been very, very hungry.”

“I was.”

“Wait.  What does that have to do with protecting the fairies?”

“Well, when I woke up I heard a voice say ‘stay here.’”

“Really,” Solange scoffed while placing hands on hips.

“Next thing I knew all these fairies came out of nowhere and started to fly around me.  The voice then said, ‘You will rest here and protect the fairies.’ Weird, but for some reason I had this strong feeling to obey so I stayed here.”

All of a sudden, tears filled Solange’s eyes.  Ache filled her heart.  Now she knew for sure that the creature and its darkness came back to the kingdom because everyone had forgotten about the newborn fairies.

“They must have felt all alone and so very, very scared,” Solange sobbed.  “They must have felt so abandoned.”

The young human rose up from the rock.  His smile vanished.  The sparkle left his eyes.

“They indeed were.  Just like you Solange, they suffered so very, very much.”

“Did they all come to you?”

“I think so.  The voice did not say anything to me after the fairies came to me.  Besides, I really don’t know anything about fairies.”

“Oh we behaved so badly.”

The young human walked past Solange.  He stared at the mighty forests surrounding the mellow meadows.

“Strange, really.  All I ever knew of fairies came from what little knowledge some elder knew about them. Then, after the voice commanded me to stay, I knew all about them in a matter of seconds.  Sort of weird how that could happen, but it did.”

“Why would Father keep bringing fairies into the world if there was no one, no Queen Lovely Lilly, to meet and introduce them to life?”

“I don’t know.  All I know is they started to take care of the things around them.  I really do not understand how they knew to do it, but each decided on their own to become a sky, winter, summer, tinker, fall, spring, fire, air, wind, light, water, animal, thunder, lightning, and all sorts of other fairies.  Curious enough, they all were able to fly without pixie dust.”

“Oh how horrible for them to have lived in darkness for so many seasons.”

“Darkness,” the young human laughed.  “Do not feel bad.  You see, and I hope you do also, that they might have lived with darkness in the kingdom for a short time, but they lived with light and love in their hearts.  Anyway, as I have told you, once I was told to stay, all the darkness went away.”

“But I saw…other fairies and humans reported the darkness to Foster.”

“Ah.  I understand now.  Solange, you and all the others were in the darkness because you left the place that is in the light."

“You mean the place where Creator lives?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

Solange smiled brightly while looking up at the crystal blue sky.  The tiny piece of icy doubt that remained in her heart melted away.

“Is it over?  Is the darkness, the creature gone?”

“Not exactly.”

“But the newborn fairies are safe now.  They will come and join the kingdom.”

“Solange, before the darkness and the creature go away forever and ever, there is something you must tell Queen Lovely Lilly.”

“What is it?”

“It is a very important message.  You must deliver it to her.  Once she hears it and obeys, then the darkness and the creature will go away.”

The young human came up and whispered in her ear.

“Yes, of course.  I understand.  I will tell the queen.”

“Good.  Now return to the queen and do so in a hurry.”

With many fairies following, Solange flew fast over the mellow meadows and toward the village.  Just as she came to the spot where the barrier once stood, she came to a quick stop and hovered in the air.

“Who are you?” she asked a fairy who suddenly appeared.

“Who I am is not important.  Come closer, I have something to tell you.”

“Really,” whispered Solange as the fairy whispered in her ear.

“Now Solange, deliver this message to Queen Lovely Lilly.”

Immediately Solange took off toward the village with the newborn fairies following close behind. 

Leena Loses Love

Leena sobbed the whole way back to Queen Lovely Lilly’s chamber.  She always believed that Foster did not have a mean bone in his body, but he had her fooled: For he agreed to poison the queen just to get rid of the creature.

Through teary eyes, she watched Foster as he flew ahead of her and Loxie.  Aine was at his side.  She hoped and prayed that he would change his mind and spare the life of Queen Lovely Lilly. 

Leena then looked at Aine.  The tears started streaming out of her eyes.   Just how horrible it must have been.  Having been alone herself for thousands of seasons, she understood very well such loneliness and suffering Aine must have gone through.

Leena was well aware that Loxie too knew misery.  Although he had a purpose, something to keep his mind off the loneliness, he suffered nonetheless.  Rebuilding the home of the fairies kept him busy, but he told her that at times his heart ached so much from loneliness.

Nearing the village, the tears just poured out of her eyes.  Thinking of Solange, Leena knew that Solange suffered even more.  Her innocence simply could not take the thousands of seasons of suffering.  With a steady supply of sadness feeding the suffering, she perished.  If not for the mercy of the creator, Solange may have slept forever.  Then a bad thought came to mind.

“No,” cried Leena.

For just a moment, she had considered what Foster was about to do was the right thing to do.  After all, she thought, the creature had made Aine suffer for much longer and even blocked Foster from rescuing her. Her way to rid the creature almost made sense.

Could there be another way? Leena considered as they approached the house of Queen Lovely Lilly.  Maybe if the humans and fairies come together and yell at the creature to leave, it will leave.

“No,” she cried.  “It is useless.”

Without a word, Foster stopped.

Leena wiped away her tears then asked, “What is wrong?  Why did you stop?”

“Yes Foster, tell us what is wrong?” said Loxie.

For a second a sliver of hope entered her thoughts.  She wondered if Creator had answered her prayers.  Maybe Foster had changed his mind.

“Foster wants a moment to be alone,” answered Aine.  “He wants to say goodbye to Lovely Lilly.”

“Oh my dear friend and queen,” Loxie cried out, “we will miss you so.”

Aine inched her way to him and took hold of his hands.  Tears started dripping from her eyes.

“I did not know her Loxie, but I will miss her too.”

Leena hovered helplessly above Foster knowing there was nothing she could do.  She looked down at him as he knelt on the grimy ground then began to cry.

Her attention turned quickly to Aine as she guided Loxie into the queen’s house and into the chamber.  After taking one last look at Foster, she entered the house.

Thinking about what was about to happen, the sadness overpowered Leena.  The tears stopped.  Her mind became numb to the horrible, horrible thing that was about to happen.  All she could do was to glide over to the spot where Loxie was hovering.  It was the spot where she, Loxie, Solange and Cambria had hovered since the day Queen Lovely Lilly became ill, the day the darkness fell upon the kingdom.

“We have found a way to end the darkness,” said Foster as he entered the chamber.

 Sounds of joy erupted in the queen’s chamber.

Leena hovered silently with her eyes looking down at the cold, grimy ground.

Aine hovered just above the lips of Lovely Lilly.  Foster flew over to her.

Leena looked down on the two.  Still numb with sadness, she knew even if she wanted  to drop down and knock the bottle of poison out of Foster’s hand, she just couldn’t.  At the same time, she felt the need to be there for Queen Lovely Lilly’s last moment of life.  She wanted to let her know just how horrible it was for her to die because everyone, fairies and humans, had lost the love in their hearts.

Leena slowly dropped down to one of the queen’s ears.

“Go ahead Foster,” she heard Aine say.

Foster slowly dropped down onto Queen Lovely Lilly’s chin.

Without a tear in his eye or a shake in his hands, she watched as Foster opened the bottle of poison.  He stepped up to Lilly’s lower lip.

“Oh my dear and precious friend, my lovely little Lilly, Aine wants you to know that this is the only way.  She knows that even you would do this to yourself just to make the creature go away forever and ever.”

Leena watched Foster as he poured the poison on her lower lip.

“I love you my queen and my friend,” Leena whispered in her ear.  She then looked up and said, “Please forgive us creator.”

While looking up she saw Loxie sobbing loudly.

Aine landed next to Foster.

“Now,” she said, “I know this is a very, very sad day, but it is something that had to be done.”

It appeared to Leena as if Foster was numb with sadness.  He just stood over the lower lip of Lovely Lilly with the empty bottle still in his hand.

“Listen Foster, I have lived such a horrible, horrible life, yet I still have a heart full of love.  I, more than anyone else, knows the trickery of the creature and can promise you I will never allow it to come back and destroy this kingdom.  I ask that you allow me to be your next queen.”

Foster did not respond.

“And as your new queen I will make changes.  First, playtime ends.  It has too.  Just know that is how and why the creature took over Lilly.  Each of us have jobs and each of us must do those jobs.  All fairies must work very, very hard.  Second, the humans must go away forever and ever.”

Leena gasped.  Foster’s head popped up and locked eyes with Aine.

“Remember, isn’t it obvious that through them the creature comes into the world.  The first time it came as a human king and this second time as Lovely Lilly.  They no longer can be trusted.”

“But they will suffer without us,” responded Foster.  “We too will suffer without them.   For the work they do is very hard for us.”

“Please Foster, I told you I know the trickery of the creature.   You just have to listen to me and go along with it.  If you do, then I promise you the creature will never, ever come back.

Leena felt the numbness of sadness start to go away.  Her heart and mind began to tingle with such strong feelings.

“Okay,” Foster finally answered.  “I will not object to you becoming queen.”

“Queen?” Leena stated loudly.  She glided slowly over to Aine and Foster.  “You want to be queen?”

“I…do,” answered Aine while taking a step back.

“There is no love left.  Do you see that?  I would think the first thing you would want to do is restore the love to this kingdom.  All you offer us is a promise that the creature will never return.”

“Please,” pleaded Foster, “you are being very mean to Aine.”

“And you Foster.  You just put to sleep your most precious and dearest friend.  Shouldn’t you have fought for her, fought the creature with love?”

“I….”

“That’s enough,” Loxie said while looking down on the three.  “Please Leena; Aine did the only thing she could to get rid of the creature.”

“Oh what have I done?” Foster suddenly cried.

“Yes, what have you done?” responded Leena.  “If the creature is gone, then why is the darkness still here Foster?  Why hasn’t the love returned?”

“Please Leena; do not be mad at me.  I know the love will return.  I just know it.”

Leena looked at Foster and just could not believe he had fallen under the power of the creature.  Never did she think that a fairy could be so mad as to wish for the very worse for another fairy, yet she wished the worse for Foster.

“And just think Father brought into this world as the one and only finder fairy.  He brought you into this world because of the innocence of Lilly.  Well finder fairy, may our father have mercy on you because you just put to sleep the most innocent and loving soul that has ever been.”

A Fairy of Hope

Solange soared high into the sky only to come diving back down.  She turned and twisted through rays of sunlight, flipped and flopped onto fluffy white clouds, giggled and gazed at the sight of mellow meadows and mighty forests below.

Just the thought of telling all her friends that the seasons of darkness were about to be over sent Solange faster and faster toward the village.

Sky and summer, fall and fire, water and wind, and all other fairies followed just as fast: For they too had much joy and love in their hearts.

Solange reached the village.  Soaring towards the door of Queen Lovely Lilly's house, she was surprised to see no fairies or humans outside enjoying the warm and sunny summer day.  What could be wrong now, she thought.

Gliding past the humans just outside the queen's chamber, she gasped at the sight of sad faces and sounds of sobbing coming from the fairies.  Not one of them looked up as the host of newborn fairies came in with love and joy.

She approached Queen Lovely Lilly.  There, standing on the queen's chin, she saw Leena with her hands covering half of her lost looking face.  Foster, whose quivering lips made it look like he was afraid was silent and stood at the queen's lower lip.  Then she noticed another fairy, but did not recognize her.  She was silent and stood right behind Foster.

"What has happened?"

"Oh Solange," answered Loxie from above, "Queen Lovely Lilly is dead."

"Dead.  How can this be?"

"The creature was in Queen Lovely Lilly.  To get rid of the creature forever and ever, Foster poisoned her, and now she is dead."

"No," cried Solange.  "The creature was not in her.  The darkness, the creature did not come back into the world because of her, but because of us."

Tears gushed out of her eyes.  Her face turned pale as an ache hurt her heart."

But I have a message for her," said Solange in between sobs and sniffs.

She dropped down to the ear of Queen Lovely Lilly.

"Oh my dear friend and queen, you cannot be dead.  You see, you must do one thing for the creature to go away.  A kind, young man told me so.  So you cannot be dead.  You have to go to a field in the mellow meadows.  The kind, young human will be there.  He told me to tell you that you must come alone and face what you have done to cause the darkness.”

Solange looked for quivering lips, fluttering eyelashes, any sign that Queen Lovely Lilly was still alive and heard her words.  There was no such sign, yet Solange still had hope that she would wake up.

"Also, a very, very, kind fairy I met along the way told me the same thing, but that you will be so afraid that you will not want to go.  Listen my queen, she told me to tell you that while you think you will be alone, you will not.  Do you understand Lovely Lilly?  Oh my friend, don't you see that you cannot be dead."

Queen Lovely Lilly kept still and silent.

Without any sign of a storm, a whirling wind unexpectedly came into the chamber.  With the wind came beams of bright light lighting up Queen Lovely Lilly.

All the fairies sad faces suddenly had expressions of hope.  A fairy, the most kind and loving fairy anyone had ever met, came in flying circles within the chamber.

Solange was surprised to see the fairy.  She was the one that told her of the message to give to the queen.  She did not expect her to make an appearance in the chamber.

"Who is that?" a fairy asked.

"Is that the creator?" another fairy wondered.

The fairy, not just with a kind heart of pure love, but the look of pure beauty, landed next to Foster, Leena, and Aine.

She stepped up to Leena.

"Shame on you.  To think your friend Foster could be so cruel."

She then stepped up to Foster.

"Shame on you.  You have hurt your friends for withholding the truth from them."

"But I just...."

"Excuses, excuses, excuses.  Don't you think this might be a good time to reveal what you have done?"

"Oh what have I done?" moaned Queen Lovely Lilly.

Foster smiled the leaned forward.

"My best and dearest, precious friend, you know I could never harm you."

"What is going on?" asked Leena.

Foster threw her a smile and a wink then turned and faced Aine.

"Aine, you must have suffered so much for so many, many seasons.  Oh how very, very sad."

"I did."

"Could you tell me one thing?  If you fled from the creature's nets on that horrible, horrible day, then how could you know about the creature entering Queen Findabhair long after it ran away?"

"I...I don't understand."

"That happened after I came into the world thousands of seasons after that horrible, horrible day. That happened when you were lost, away from the village.  How could you know that?"

"You told me."

"No."

Aine slowly flew backwards, away from Foster.

“Wait.  Where are you going?”

“I don’t understand.  Why are you being mean to me?  Oh Foster,” she cried with tears coming from her eyes, “I hurt for so many seasons.  Please stop hurting me.”

Leena looked to Foster then smiled.  All of a sudden, she realized what was happening.  The trickster has been tricked.

“Tell me Aine; how did you know about the creature entering Queen Findabhair?”

“I…you told….”

“No,” said Leena.  “No one told you that.”

“They are right Aine,” agreed Loxie.  “Not one of us told you that.”

Just then, a black and shadowy figure came flying out of Aine.

"Oh no," cried the fairy that came in with the whirling wind and bright beams of light.  “You are not getting away that easy."

The black, shadowy figure stopped.

The fairy held out her hand.

"Come here."

The shadowy figure obeyed.

"Why must you behave so very, very badly all the time?  Really, these past three seasons whispering untrue things about Foster, Leena, Loxie, Solange, and Lovely Little.  You think you are so clever.  Well shame on you.”

The fairy smiled as bright as the sun.  With the power of the windiest wind fairy, she blew on the shadowy figure standing in the palm of her hand.  It shattered into little itsy bitsy pieces and vanished.

 "Where am I?" asked the fairy known as Aine.

"You are just fine."

“Who am I?”

The kind fairy flew over to her.

“Do not worry about that right now precious, newborn fairy.  Who you are and what your job will be as a fairy will be decided by Queen Lovely Lilly.”

“She does not remember?” asked Foster as he flew toward the innocent fairy.

“She would have, but Creator has shown mercy.  Her memory of what has happened to her is no more.”

"Oh no," cried Solange, "are all the other newborn fairies working for the creature?"

"No.  Father kept them safe all this time.  The creature has done no harm to them."

The kind fairy then stepped on the bridge of Queen Lovely Lilly's nose.  She stood there and looked down at closed eyes.

"Shame on you Queen Lovely Lilly.  Now stop this nonsense.  You know what you have done and you must face the consequences."

Lilly opened her eyes.   She yawned then stretched her arms and legs out wide.

The kind fairy and Leena went flying into the air.

A sound of joy erupted in the chamber.  Humans came rushing in.

Foster flew up to his most dear and precious friend and hovered over her.

“I have missed you so much Lovely Lilly.  My heart just wasn’t the same without you.”

Queen Lovely Lilly smiled and reached out her hands, but before she could say a thing, the kind fairy came along Foster and looked down at the queen.

“There will be time to say what you want to say later Lilly.  Now, you know what you have to do.  I know you are afraid, but it must be done.”

Lilly Saved by the Light

Even though it was a warm summer day, Queen Lovely Lilly shook and trembled.  Her heart beat fast.  Wily weeds covered the path leading to the mellow meadows.  Their hurtful way were in sharp, sticky thorns. Beyond the wily weeds, she could not help thinking that something very, very bad was going to happen if she took one more step.  After all, the blame for the darkness, the barrier, fell on her.  Why?  Lilly did not know.

Lilly thought of the things she might have done that allowed the creature to come back into the world.  Was it because of my very best friend Foster?  Should we not have played so much?  Should I have not chosen to let every human and fairy play instead of work?

“Maybe,” Lilly said aloud, “but I did that out of my love for Foster and every other fairy and human.  No, it cannot be because of that.”

I wonder, she thought, should I have not allowed all my fairy friends to come live in the village of my human friends?

“Maybe,” Lilly answered aloud, “but they all learned each other’s language; surely a sign from Creator that it was okay.”

Could it have been the barns? Lilly considered.

“I can’t see why, really.” she responded.  “One should save up for rainy days.  Surely, our father could understand that.”

Just up ahead was a field with the big rock in the middle of a mellow meadow.  All around were patches of purple petunias among the long blades of green grass.  The very, very pretty sight did nothing to make her feel safe.

Still afraid, Lilly walked into the field of the mellow meadows.  A blurry image came into view.  Her old eyes spotted a figure sitting on the big rock.  Coming even closer, she could make out a very, very mad expression on the face of a young human.

“Oh my, what did I do?”

"Lilly," a voice called.

She stared at the young human waving arms back and forth high above the head.

"A very kind fairy told me to come here.  I am here to find out what I have done to create such darkness and to face the consequences, but I truly do not remember what I have done."

Shaking so very, very much, Lilly stepped closer to the young figure.  His eyes were very, very kind and his smile was very, very warm.  She was confused.  After all, she thought, if I had done something so horrible, then why was the young human so nice?

"Ah," he uttered, "Lovely Little Lilly.  Not so little anymore.  As queen, not so much an innocent heart.  Yes, you have done something so very, very bad."

"Will you please tell me what I have done?"

“Rather than I telling you, you tell me why?"

"Please my young friend, please tell me.  I just do not remember."

"Look into the sky Queen Lovely Lilly.  Tell me what you see."

Queen Lovely Lilly looked at the white, puffy clouds under the bright blue sky but did not understand what she was seeing.  Then, something caught her eye.

"Oh no," she cried.  Tears welled up in her eyes.  “Oh what a horrible, horrible queen I have been.”

A host of hawks flew high in the sky.  Not one of them would approach.

Lilly then looked around and saw no bright butterflies, lovely ladybugs, buzzing bees, fat fruit flies, and wet wiggly worms.  Not one silly sparrow, blue jay, red Robbin, yellow canary, white dove, or any blackbird was in the field of the mellow meadow.  She then realized the very, very horrible thing she had done.

There were no cottontail and fluffy baby bunnies, mice with wispy whiskers, goofy gophers, and sturdy stallions.  Many, many other friends that helped with the planting and harvest were also missing.

Even sneaky snakes, ravenous ravens, pesky gnats, icky insects, wily weeds, and all other pests pestering the field of purple petunias were not around.

"Yes Queen Lovely Lilly, you have hurt them so very, very badly.”

"I did not mean to."

"Who did you think planted all the seeds in spring and harvested the succulent and nourishing fruits and vegetables in summer while you allowed every human and fairy to abandon their work to play all the time?  Did you think to invite them to live among you humans and the fairies?  What was their reward for providing so much food for you to store in barns?  Do you know how very, very lonely they are?  Do you know how very, very hurt and sad they are?"

Queen Lovely Lilly sobbed loudly.  Her old legs became wobbly and sent her crashing to the ground.

“Yes,” she cried, “it is all true.  I must be punished for making them so very, very lonely and hurt.”

“Yes you must and you will,” the young human said.  “It is by the permission of the creator that I take from you the crown that has made you queen.  Also, you are banished from this kingdom.  You will live out the rest of your life alone and hurt just as you have done to all your friends these past seasons.”

Lilly, shaking and sobbing, struggled to stand.   Standing, she started to walk in the direction the mighty forest of oaks.

"Wait young human," a voice called out.  "What do you mean by 'to live among you humans?'  Are you not a human?"

Lilly stopped and looked around.  Foster was hovering right behind her.

“Do not worry my most precious and loved friend.  All will be well.”

"And when I was here before," Solange said as she came to a stop, "why did I not see all my friends?  I am a garden fairy and love them so very, very much.  They know that and would have come out to greet me."

"You," cried the newborn fairy once known as Aine, "why did you leave me in the very cold, cold world?  Why did you not bring me into the light and the warmth?  Why did you fill my head with lies?"

"Answer," Leena commanded.

"Yes, answer," said Loxie.

"Do not blame me for this," the young human answered.  "I am not the one who hurt all of your friends."

"Do they fear you?” asked Foster.  “Is that the reason all our friends do not show themselves?”

"Fear me?  Why, I am just a traveler.  I was told to stay here.  Surely you cannot blame me."

"Told," Foster responded.  "And who exactly told you?"

"Enough of this," the young man answered.

"Look," said Solange, "the kindness in his eyes has turned to cruelty and the warmth of his smile is now very, very cold."

"Yes they are," Leena responded.

"Why look my friends," announced Lilly, "why if it isn't the human king of old.  I might have been very little and young then, but I do remember you."

"I am not him," screamed the young human.

Foster, Leena, and Loxie flew toward the young human.

"Leave creature," they shouted together.

The creature, as fast as it could, ran from the mellow meadow and disappeared into the forest of mighty oaks.

“Hooray,” shouted all.

“I am so sorry my friend and queen,” said Leena as she flew up to Lilly. “For I thought that you might have been the creature.  Will you please forgive me?”

“Forgive you my dear friend.  You did no wrong.   It was me that behaved so very, very badly.  I ask for your forgiveness.”

Leena then flew back to Foster.  Feeling so very, very ashamed, she lowered her head while hovering before him.

“Please forgive me my friend for wishing the most horrible, horrible things to happen to you.  I thought for sure you did kill the queen with the poison.”

"What do you think I was doing when I wanted a moment to myself before entering the chamber?  Although my tears may have been salty, I don’t think it did any harm to my Lilly.  You have done nothing wrong my friend.”

Queen Lovely Lilly looked all around.  Sadness returned to her heart.

Solange noticed her sad expression and flew further out in the field with patches of purple petunias.  She was puzzled.  How the creature was able to live within the newborn fairy known as Aine while still appearing as the young human was a mystery.   However, the shadowy figure and the young human were now gone.  The darkness was no more, yet Queen Lovely Lilly was still sad. 

Solange looked around at the field of purple petunias, the forests of tall and mighty trees surrounding the mellow meadows, and suddenly realized something was missing.

"Of course.  Enough now,” Solange announced, but not a single friend stirred.

“If only Cambria, the finest animal fairy there is, was here.  Oh well, let me try.  Now as your friend, I ever so kindly ask you to come out and face the queen.  She, we all are, so very, very sorry for what we have done.”

“Yes friends,” a voice said.  “Come out.”

Solange turned around and there was the kind fairy.  Her eyes sparkled like diamonds and her smile was as warm as the summer day.

All of a sudden, friends and foes appeared.  Buzzing bees, bright butterflies, wiggly worms, silly sparrows, lazy ladybugs, goofy gophers, and sneaky snakes came out of the forest surrounding the mellow meadow.   Fat fruit flies, icky insects, sturdy stallions, pesky gnats, host of hawks, and ravenous ravens revealed themselves.   Cottontail rabbit, white fluffy baby bunnies, mice with wispy whiskers, spindly spiders, red Robbins, blue jays, yellow canaries, white doves, blackbirds, blue birds and every other animal, bird and insect both big and small crowded the field with patches of purple petunias in the mellow meadow.

Foster, Leena, Loxie, and the newborn fairy once called Aine flew over to Queen Lovely Lilly.

“Oh my dearest friends,” said the queen, “while it was the creature that kept us apart, it was me that let the creature back into the world.  It was because of me that you were hurt and so very, very lonely.  Please forgive me.”

All the animals, birds, and insects answered by happily chirping, buzzing, squeaking, and sounding out with such joy that it instantly brought a smile to the queen’s face.

“Well, it looks like everything if just fine again,” the kind fairy said.  “So, I must be going now.”

“Where to?” asked Foster.

“To the other side of the clouds.”

“The other side of the clouds?”

“Yes, to the other side where no matter what, the sun and moon always shine and the stars always twinkle.”

“Oh please stay,” Solange pleaded.

“Do not worry my friends.  I am sure if you ever find yourselves in trouble again, the creator will send me back to you.  In the meantime, live with the love he has put in your hearts and in peace with one another.  Goodbye.”

In the blink of an eye, the kind fairy vanished.

Solange turned to her friends and was very, very puzzled.

“Foster, Loxie, Leena, and the newborn fairy were here, but where did you come from Cambria?”

“Hush,” she said, “our queen is happy.”

Solange’s eyes popped open wide.  Her chin dropped.  Before she could say a word, Cambria threw her a wink and a smile.

“Hush,” she said as she brought a finger to her mouth, “this is our little secret for now.  In time, you will forget.”

Solange quickly covered her mouth to stop a giggle from coming out.

“All my friends,” announced Queen Lovely Lilly, “let us all go back to village and celebrate.”

“No,” said Foster.  “Why don’t we stay here and celebrate Lilly.  Our friends have grown the most delicious fruits, vegetables and nuts.  We will all eat together.”

“Oh what a wonderful idea Foster.  Let us do that.  Leena, would you please go to the village and tell every fairy and human friend that there is a feast waiting for them in the mellow meadows.”

“It will be my pleasure my friend and queen,” Leena said.  She then flew fast to the village.

“Well Lilly, the love has certainly returned to the kingdom,” Foster whispered in Lilly’s ear.

“This time my most dear and precious friend, we will keep that love alive.”

With that, every fairy, human, animal, bird, and insect came together under the white, puffy clouds beneath the bright blue sky and ate, danced, and sang on the warm, summer day.

Imprint

Text: James Gerard Burch
Images: Right to used purchased from Cisek Ciesielski@fotolia.com
Cover: James Gerard Burch
Editing/Proofreading: James Gerard Burch
Publication Date: 05-26-2018

All Rights Reserved

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