Child of the Drenched: Intrigue in Faerieland - Part Three
A few minutes before six, Mara walked down into the hotel lounge to wait for Howl. Jacques was sitting there reading a newspaper. It took her a moment to realize it was him. He was wearing smart trousers, a blue short sleeved dress shirt, a tie, and his hair was combed neatly. He looked up at her and grinned.
"Dear Fyora, you are a girl," Jacques said in a tone as if he had doubted it. "I had almost forgotten."
Mara glared down at her sky blue colored dress. She came over to sit next to him and punched his arm.
"Oh, come on, Mara, I was teasing. You know I could never forget that," he said with a nice smile.
She started to smile back when he continued, "After all, you punch like one."
Mara threw him her darkest glare and turned away. He sat next to her and went on reading the paper while Mara devised punishments for him in her mind. After a few minutes of sitting in silence a flower moved in front of her eyes. She looked over at Jacques.
"Bet you've never seen this one before," Jacques said, still reading his paper.
She took the blossom. It had orange petals on the bottom and blue on the top, there were yellow hues in there too. She sniffed it and smiled at the sweet fragrance.
"It's called a Star of Paradise flower; they are pretty common here," Jacques told her as he took it and tucked in to her hair, "and it matches your dress, which matches your eyes."
Mara hated him at the moment because she could no longer be angry with him. She laughed it away and said, "You're lucky I'm so forgiving or you might be sleeping on a water bed tonight."
"Where is the change? Our beds are often damp from the ocean," Jacques countered.
Mara stuck her tongue out at him and then Howl walked in.
"Uncle Howl!" she called merrily as she got up.
Howl beamed at her, looking proud. "You look even more like your mother in that dress."
Mara smiled and a little sadness crept into his eyes; he must have been thinking about the past. Mara came over to him and Jacques folded his paper and got up. Howl shook his head as if to clear it and said, "Come, you two, let me show you the best little café in all of Faerieland."
That evening was a pleasant one, filled with stories about Mara's family. The more the time they spent with Howl, the more his imposing façade dropped, until he finally admitted that he had gotten himself turned Darigan to get his students to pay attention. He looked meaner than he was and no one dared to ignore him. Mara and Jacques laughed heartily at the stories that had been made up and were widely believed about him.
They parted ways at the hotel and Mara went to her room. She decided to go to bed right away, but sleep would not come. She tossed and turned until one in the morning when she finally gave up and got up. She put on her dressing gown and turned on the lights. Her room had a balcony, all the forward facing rooms did, and she so went out and sat down on a chair and wished she could hear the ocean.
A knock came at her door. She went and unlocked it, opening it a crack. Jacques stood there with two dishes of ice cream. He was dressed in his normal clothes again.
"Are you going to let me in? The ice cream is melting," Jacques asked.
She opened the door and let him in. She followed him out onto the balcony where he sat down and handed her a dish of ice cream. It was toffee ice cream, her favorite. She smiled at him and sat down and began to eat.
"How are you?" Jacques asked after a moment.
"You seem to know since you appeared at the right moment with ice cream," Mara replied.
"No, I didn't mean homesick. I meant handling the Uncle Howl thing. I can't imagine it is easy hearing his stories about your family," Jacques said after another spoonful of his ice cream.
"It really doesn't bother me. I don't remember them so I don't miss them. But, I'm happy to see the way Uncle Howl lights up when I smile at him. He's obviously been through a lot," Mara replied as she looked out over Faerie City. "I don't remember him and nothing he says brings back any memories, but I know I must have loved him dearly. I love him again already, I'm glad we came."
"So then." His voice became teasing. "Shall I be looking into finding you a Water Faerie to apprentice under?"
Mara scooped up the last spoonful of ice cream and flung it at him. He avoided the slushie projectile and they both laughed when they heard it splat on a neighbor's balcony. They chatted for a few more minutes before Jacques returned to his own room. Mara pulled her legs up under her chin and wrapped her tail around herself. The night was warm, though it was mid autumn, and on the street below her people still moved about. Faerie City seemed to be one of those places that never slept.
Mara went back inside and got into bed. She focused on the memory of the sensation of waves gently rocking the ship. She could always feel the movement of the water, even on the stillest night; it was always calling to her. Finally she fell asleep.
The next morning Mara woke before the sun and then realized she didn't need to. She wasn't on the Black Pawkeet with chores to do. She lay in bed and felt guilty as she thought of her crewmates already working. She got up and sat down on the end of the bed and practiced her magic.
Jacques had told her he intended to sleep in and he would see her at breakfast at eight in the hotel's dining room. So, at eight, she made her way into the dining room and saw him sitting at a table reading the newspaper, again dressed like a regular tourist. She came over and sat down across the table.
"Say a word about the dress and I will make your coffee attack you," Mara warned.
The waiter came up to the table and Jacques said from behind his newspaper, "Coffee for both us."
The waiter walked off and Jacques said, "Isn't it funny?"
"Isn't what funny?" Mara asked.
"We are, of course. We're pirates; the mention of the Black Pawkeet is a subject of terror. Yet, we're sitting here like civilized people, you're wearing a dress and I'm reading the newspaper and we're drinking coffee. It is too funny," Jacques said, still behind the paper.
"You have an eccentric sense of humor, Jacques," Mara replied.
Their coffee arrived and they ordered their breakfast. After they finished, they got their coats and headed to the Royal Academy of Faerieland to visit Howl. He had promised them a tour of school that day. They walked along slowly and took in all the sights.
"Remember the first time we went sightseeing together?" Mara asked playfully.
"Yes, I seemed to remember it ended in me dragging you back to the ship, all but kicking and screaming, to find your parents," Jacques recalled.
"Your memory is faulty, I agreed to it," Mara replied.
"If you say so," Jacques replied indifferently.
Mara made a face at him and then laughed. They soon found themselves in front of the academy. It was clear something unusual was going on today. Mara started forward, but Jacques caught her arm. He saw the Fire Faerie they had spoken to yesterday and went over to her.
"Excuse me, what is going on?" Jacques asked.
"You won't believe it, old Howl is being arrested!" she cried in amazement.
Before Jacques could stop her Mara broke away and raced forward, pushing past the guards on the steps and running inside. Jacques managed to slip by them too, he was fast and nimble and they were clumsy. Mara was running through the halls as fast as could and refusing to stop, even though Jacques was calling for her.
He caught up to her outside of Howl's office. Tower guards were searching the room and Howl stood there in chains. Brynn stood in the hall and looked at them wearily, "I thought I ordered them not to let anyone through."
"What's going on here?" Mara demanded.
"Delia, it's okay, this is just a misunderstanding," Howl said with a weak smile.
Jacques took hold of Mara's arm and held it tight so she couldn't escape him again. Hanso walked out of the room. "Only books in there, sweetheart. Who are our friends here? A Kyrii, I just love Kyrii."
"Don't start, Hanso. Who are you two and why are you here?" Brynn demanded.
"Just acquaintances, no one really," Howl answered quickly.
"I'm Howl's niece and I demand to know what is going on here!" Mara cried.
Brynn frowned. "I'm sorry to tell you that your uncle is under arrest for stealing Queen Fyora's staff."
To be continued...