Perhaps it was the flowers which had attracted her attentions, ones that her reclusive xenophobic kin feared to so much as look upon. She could guess why. The giants that lived in this area were much more terrifying than the humans who scared fae kind already something terrible.
But Ilya was curious to a fault, often to the point where finding out about something took precedence over fear or common sense.
A winged ball of blue light flitted from flower to lovely flower, drinking in the scents and giving them a little bit of her magic. She had to say that Bergen's royal gardens were almost as pretty as the ones she knew back home.
It was boing with Meg gone. The Kaufners were gone on a year-long voyage around the country. Sometimes, Gabriel got short messages or drawings from her with leaves or flowers pressed for him. But while she was off exploring exciting new places, he was stuck in Bergen doing tutoring.
It was a hot afternoon, but the ten year old loved nature far too much to retreat indoors. The young prince slowly meandered through the palace gardens, trying to avoid his governess' gaze and think of something as fun to do as climbing the Alps (like Meg.)
The sunlight softened the blue fairy astronomical amounts, even to the extent of lowering her own glow, revealing a porcelain skinned, willowy figured girl dressed in a gossamer gown of white. Light blue hair like spun opals was gathered in two braids, sharp ears knifing through. Ilya's soft amethyst eyes reflected the nature around herself. The sound of loud footsteps made her jump. A human? She needed to hide quickly! But as she shifted to move, rose blossom she'd been sitting on bended oddly and she lost her footing, letting out a squeak. Willing her wings to beat but quickly found the delicate things had collided with something sharp nearby. She hadn't the time to check for she felt a terrible tearing pain in her wing. Ilya let out a panicked cry as she clung to a rose stem, thankfully having avoided catching any of the thorns with her hands.
Gabriel raced towards the blue glow. He had always felt a connection to the supernatural world, but he had yet to encounter any fae first-hand. His little hands parted the leaves and he gasped in wide-eyed wonder. It was a fairy! Finally!
"I knew it!" He breathed, his big blue-green eyes staring. "They don't believe me. I've always wanted to meet a fairy... Oh, you're hurt!" The freckled youth outstretched a hand.
"Don't be afraid, little fairy. I'm a nice human." He used a comforting voice, like the one mommy used when she fixed up his boo-boos. He wrapped his hand around her waist and gently tugged her from the rose stem. He stayed mostly in the tall plants to stay out of sight. His palm wasn't very roomy for her, but she was no longer clinging for dear life.
Ilya knew she'd probably just landed herself into an even worse situation but at this point, she wanted to at least catch her breath before she got pulverized. Her ribcage expanded and contracted, sleek white fabric like spun sugar laying against it. She chanced opening her eyes to find her savior and located a pair of gentle eyes regarding her with boyish excitement and kindness as well. None the less, she shivered a bit.
"...Wait." Her nose twitched a moment before her own eyes went wide. "You're like me but you're not."
She tried to move her wing but it hurt too much and she whimpered.
"Huh?" Gabriel gave her a confusion expression. He leaned in closer to look at her wing with her. It was beautiful, and he was itching to have a longer time to study it, but she was hurting.
"Don't worry, I'll fix you." He smiled brightly and cupped her close. He started to rush back towards the palace, but stopped short. "Delilah." he hissed. The governess was reading a book in the sun, periodically glancing up to check on him.
She looked up from the page when she heard the prince's shuffling footsteps.
"Going in so soon?" She raised an eyebrow at him.
"I want to surprise mommy with flowers." He explained quickly. The bouquet of blossoms in his arms did seem to prove that.
"I'm sure she'll love them." The tucked a strand of her salt-and-pepper hair behind her ear and continued reading.
"She'll believe almost anything." Gabriel bragged, letting out a sigh of relief when he was in his own spacious bedroom. He let the flowers drop and rushed around to gather a pillow to put her on, and the basket of medical supplies he knew was in his bathroom pantry.
Ilya took a moment whilst the boy was out of the room to gather her barings and take a look at her wings. The sight made her stomach turn and twist grotesquely. A large torn section sat on the upper left section of her gauzy wing. Her lip quivered. How was she supposed to fly like this? Even if the boy managed to patch her up, she'd need time before things healed enough for herto be able to fly again.
Objects clattered against the wicker basket as Gabriel hurried back to the bed. He sat down cross-legged in front of the pillow and dug through the supplies. He pulled out a needle, followed by a tied-off bundle of dissolvable thread.
"I've never really done stitches before, but I've watched the servants do it a couple times." He was truthfully, a little nervous that he might hurt her worse. But if it went awful, he supposed he could show her to Mother.
He stuck out his tongue as he struggled to thread the needle. It was tricky, but with silence and perseverance, he managed to get it through the eye of the needle.
"Oh!" He carefully set it aside and unscrewed the cap of a dark blue glass bottle. "I'm supposed to put this on first. Almost forgot. I think it helps stuff stop hurting." He showed her the pale green paste on his finger, then reached behind her to rub it around the tear.
"It's okay..." He tried to soothe her, but he knew it hurt.
Ilya hissed through severely gritted teeth and felt her eyes burn. Whatever was being applied to her wound hurt and smelled awful. She fisted her hands into her dress tightly until they hurt from the strain of distraction. At this point she figured this child had proven he genuinely wanted to assist her rather than harm. He was being very careful, that much could be seen plainly.
"Ow...What is this stuff? It smells like troll dung..."
"Cap-sah-pul-lee-nah pain-relieving balm." He sounded out the complex script written on the label. Stowing it away, he set the basket aside and picked up the needle.
He hesitated a moment, taking in her ethereally purple eyes, locked on his. "Just hold still, please." He offered her a smile, then leaned down.
His small hand held her waist-down still while a slightly shaky hand brought the needle too to her wing.
The first penetration was the hardest. He felt her stiffen, but nothing violent. He continued weaving the needle in and out of the gauzy wing until the gash was sewed up completely. The stitches were a little cross-crossed, and not nearly as efficient as a professional's hand. But it would do.
Gabriel tossed the tools back into the basket and leaned over her in concern.
"That... Didn't hurt did it?"
The little fairy lamented the loss of flawless wings. For a time, she'd fancied them to be on rival with the beauty of sapphires but now, they were blemished--and by her own doing, no less. Ilya did not begrudge the boy his valiancy. Turning her head and craning her neck to look up at the russet haired boy she gave him an encouraging smile in spite of the tinge of pain still stinging her eyes
"Yes, it hurt but sometimes things need to hurt when they are being fixed."
She inspected her wing further then rose to her feet to give a polite bow at the waist
"Thank you for your help, kind one."
Gabriel was tickled pink by the fact that he had gained a fairy's good graces.
"No problem." He said casually, laying down on his stomach in front of her. He sighed, almost reverently. "Your eyes are purple." He realized with a smile. "That's so cool!"
A thought struck him. "What's your name? Mine's Gabriel."
Honestly, Ilya was not very used to people thinking that her eyes were odd or anything. Where she lived, one would be considered terribly plain with violet eyes. She lived amoungst other flower fairies so it made sense that her perception of normalcy in regards to appearance was skewed by human and giant standards.
"Ilya." She smiled and sat with her legs to the side. The fact that she had given out even a little of her name showed some degree of trust. To know a fairy's full name was to have complete control over them.
"And you have pretty eyes too."
"My mom says they're just like my daddy's." he rested his head in folded arms. Something about the fairy made him more calm than all the warm milk in the world. Like a wafting ocean breeze on a summer's day.
"Do you think you'll be able to fly again?"
"Very generous of him to share his eyes with you, Gabriel."
At his inquiry, her smile faded a bit and she remorsefully took in the poor state of her injured wing. Ilya clasped her hands in her lap
"Perhaps. Give things time and I may very well fly again. Tell me, though..."
She tilted her head to the side a fraction, brows furrowed
"How is it that even though you smell like a fairy, you're ears are round and you look like a human?"
The boy did not seem like a changeling in the slightest.
His eyes lit up.
"I smell like a fairy?" He exclaimed excitedly, then lowered his voice. "I think I've got a little fairy blood in me. My great great great grandfather or somebody married a fairy..." He paused, noticing the intent way he was being studied. "Is...is that weird?"
Though the intensity in her eyes faded, Ilya continued to ponder just why she felt so much magical affinity in a boy this young, let alone someone with such diluted fair folk blood. She smiled and shook her head.
"Not odd in the slightest. It makes you unique."
He relaxed noticeably. Footsteps passing close outside his door made him freeze, but they passed.
"Iyla, can I... Uhm, may I touch your hand? I-I've just never seen a fairy before and you're so pretty- and..." He trailed off and looked away, turning redder than a radish and looking rather like he wanted to kick himself for opening his mouth.
This child was rather adorable, considering he was rather large by her standards. Ilya exntended a skinny hand towards the boy trustingly.
"You may. It is very curteous that you ask to touch a lady as well." She commended.
Gabriel propped himself up with one arm and extended the other to take her hand. His big blue eyes lit up with sparks when he gazed at the tiny hand lying atop his palm. He could feel each individual finger. So small, delicate, and yet just as real and fleshy as his own. Was this what dad felt when he picked mommy up all the time?
The fae woman glowed faintly, her curiousity at the boy's awed reaction apparent. Yet somehow this was not something she imagined being an entirely new concept for the look in his eyes was something of comprehension rather than discovery. She eyed his hand curiously as well.
Gabriel's eyes reflected Iyla's faint glow. He felt a connection with her. Like a buzzing inside that just said this was right.
"You can stay with me until your wing heals." He offered. "I can keep you hidden from the others... And I can show you where all the fun is around this place." He grinned mischievously, revealing three gaps where he had lost his baby teeth already.
"You are forever in my debt, young Gabriel."
The fairy smiled and bowed her head. A fairy's vow was never to be taken lightly, least of all in situations of this magnitude.
Though Iyla could never have expected as much, the beginnings of a strong friendship had been born in the most unlikely of ways.
The pristine beauty of a quiet spring day in the sprawling city of Bergen was marred by the rapid clomping of hooves of cobblestone. The rider dismounted with impressive agility- before the creature had come to complete stop. It was neatly tied off to a tree in moments. The steed bore the grooming and breeding of a palace horse, but curiously lacked the usually saddle and saddlebags.
A strapping young man with a strong jaw and russet locks peered around the corner of the blacksmith's shop. Spotting his target across the bustling street, his bright eyes lit up. Not far behind him was a small orb of blue light. If one looked closely enough, they would see the tiny feminine figure hovering by his right ear. The man seemed to instantly sense her presence. He turned to share with her a grin of the most devious proportion before returning his eyes to the street.
"Mum's gonna have my hide for this." He murmured, sounding rather proud.
A fatigued huff left the blue fairy who, whilst used to Gabe's antics did not look forward to dealing with him post lecture.
"Yes, she is and I will have no part in attempting to save your guilty hide from her wrath." She landed on his shoulder and folded her arms. "Or your fathers', for that matter."
The prince chuckled.
"It's just harmless magic..." He pulled out a metal tube from inside his vest and dipped it in a vial of a shimmering amber solution. "Art, even."'
He whispered a spell and held up the metallic straw to his shoulder for Iyla to lazily blow on. Her natural potency of fae magic combined with his diluted inheritance carried the amber mixture on the the breeze to its intended target: a campaign poster for a rallying politician for representative. The substance took new form as it hit the poster with a splat: a fanciful mustache and goatee now muddled the image. It hardened, becoming near impossible to remove.
Gabriel laughed triumphantly. "Yes!"
A few onlookers got a good chuckle but some huffed and shook their heads. Iyla had to admit that this was a pretty funny prank but it had Gabriel written all overit. His mother and father would probably kill him for this.
A gypsy girl in the crowd let out a laugh and spun out.
"I'd know that brand of trickery anywhere, your highness."
With her hair pulled up into a high ponytail and the remains of acrylic paints staining her fingers, the woman crossed her arms over a well developed chest, a genetic gift from her mother.
"Pen is going to have your sorry butt for this if you do it any larger scale...Though that's half the fun."
"I dunno, Cora, I think a mural might be in order..." Gabe grinned.
Seeing as his cover was blown, he strode out a always to face the woman. "It's nice, isn't it? My best one yet." he blew a kiss up at the glittering graffiti.
"Not a complete travesty. Could be better, I'd say."
She yawned feigning disinterest.
"Surely you can do better than simple posters?"
Iyla pinched the bridge of her nose. She could see this was not ending well.
"Give me a wall, and I'll paint you a masterpiece." Gabe cross his arms across his chest. Bluffing continued to get him into escalated situations, but he always found his way to the top. "It'll be fine." He murmured to the fairy on his shoulder, sensing a vaguely stressed vibe from her.
"Oh yes, because having you confined to your chambers all day long is the very best thing and is entirely 'fine'."
Iyla rolled her eyes and retorted, sorely tempted to charm him into something less capable of trickery.
Cora let out another one of her signature laughs and gestured to a large expanse of building wall in very plain sight.
"Go ahead. I've gotta see this."
Gabriel strutted past her to face the wall. A gaggle of onlookers recognized him and began to gather at a distance.
"I'm not in trouble until I get caught." He smirked, breathing I for he tube and willing a new pattern to emerge on the brick wall. He had only gotten two letters in when a clamoring of hooves and the sound if people making way for the cluster of horses made him turn around.
"Prince Gabriel." The palace guards looked like they had very little patience left. "We are to escort you to the palace immediately."
His face fell. "Crap."
A snicker left a certain gypsy woman who let out a 'busteeeeed' before vanishing back into the crowd. With her job done, Cora returned to the group she danced with, performing swiveled movements of undulating hips and elegant arches of the back and wrists.
A small fairy girl was left to go on about how she'd told him so. Iyla was very unimpressed and made very much certain that she scolded the prince's ear off.
"Yeah, yeah..." Gabe muttered. He shrugged his shoulder so that Iyla had to focus on keeping her balance rather than chastising him.
"Alright guys, I'll come quietly." He held up his hands and laughed tensely. He made a break for his horse, but a pair of stallions were quick to block his path.
"So you guys do learn." He slumped in submission and climbed onto the empty horse waiting for him. He was not looking forward to the lecture awaiting him.
The fairy let out a small cry and made a foul face at the prince, giving his hair a sharp yank in retaliation.
"You're on your own." She sniffed then took off from his shoulder, reduced to a blue blur of glow and wings.