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Anna and Stella sighed as they trudged (or rather, flew) through Attelby Forest. Stella flew over bushes and under branches, darting here and there, as she waited for Anna to catch up.
“Really, could changelings ever get any slower? You seem slower than the slowest turtle with a broken leg!” Stella laughed as Anna tripped over a stick that was jutting out over the path.
“Hey, it’s not easy having to walk and walk your legs off, and just because I’m tired, doesn’t mean I’m SLOOOW! If you had to walk all day, you’d be tired too!” Said Anna.
“So why don’t you fly? If you just changed into a bat or something, you can fly instead of walking!”
“And be killed by a Lastraelite?” Anna said seriously.
Stella looked at Anna in shock. “There are Lastraelites HERE? I thought they only lived in the dark realm where souls die! If they’re coming here, Attelby forest, it would be dead and black with chaos and fire! Besides they would’ve killed us already! Just for being here!” Stella screamed hysterically.
Anna laughed and said “I was just joking! Besides, then I’ll have tired ARMS too if I flew! No thank you! I think I’d rather have tired legs.”
“So… why don’t you try changing into a fairy? Or a dragon? They have legs and arms AND wings, so your arms wouldn’t be tired!” Stella said enthusiastically.
“I can’t! If I change into something magical, then I’ll remain in that form forever! I think I’d rather walk, and would you stop pestering me!” Anna said as she stormed off into the distance; her hair changing from the usual mouse-brown to fiery red to match her mood.
Stella’s wings shimmered and shone as she flew over to sit on Anna’s shoulder. Waiting and waiting for Anna to say something, she grew impatient and began fiddling with her spider silk dress.
“Well, really, if we’re ever going to get to Finyacara, you better hurry up!” Stella noted.
“Sure… we’ll get there, eventually…” Anna whispered, daring to believe that they would get to the magical fairy city, across two deserts and several forests.
Anna the shape shifter was NOT looking forward to the trip! However, Stella the fairy was excited enough for the both of them. She chattered constantly while riding on Anna’s shoulder.
“I really do hope we get there before the Midsummer Festival begins! So we won’t miss the Moon-Cakes! Anna, the Moon-Cakes are soo good, you’ve got to try them!”
Anna just nodded and kept walking, thinking about how and why they needed to get to Finyacara.
Well of course, we have to get Stella back to her home. Also to really question my powers, and to ask the Queen of the Fairies, WHO AM I?
“HELLOOO! WAKE UP! EARTH TO ANNA!” Stella tapped on Anna’s head while yelling in her ear.
Anna blinked and shook her head, sending her brown curls bouncing. Her thoughts were abruptly ended. Her mood changed in a snap to try to cover up what she’d been thinking. After all, I don’t want Stella to know about my questions about my family…
“I’m really tired of walking! Why don’t you walk and I’ll ride on YOUR shoulder? What’s small enough to ride on your shoulder? A bug? NO! Hey how about a Hummingbird? Yeah that’s it!” Anna exclaimed as she thought aloud. Stella flew off Anna’s shoulder and hovered nearby.
I never get used to seeing that tall brown-haired girl changing into something beautiful! Stella thought as she witnessed Anna morphing into a small greenish purple hummingbird. Her nose grew longer and longer but at the same time smaller. Her arms/wings shrunk, while her long legs appeared as if they were suddenly were sucked into her body. Her toes changed black, as black as her long curved beak, but her eyes still remained ocean blue. Suddenly, as quickly as it began, it was over. There was now a chirping miniscule Bee Hummingbird darting in and out of the bushes, looking for nectar.
“Well what are you waiting for? Let’s go!” a faint buzzy sound emitted from the long, curved beak.
Stella flew after the miniscule bird that was Anna, losing her in the background until the hummingbird buzzed “Over here slowpoke!” and Stella resumed the chase. After a while, Anna grew tired and flew slower. Stella soon caught up and caught her.
“I’m soooo….tired…” Anna the hummingbird, by the light of the moon yawned (which was VERY strange to see) and changed into a snow-white ermine, which was her favorite sleeping form. Anna climbed up a tree, selected a branch and curled up. Stella flew up and snuggled with Anna the ermine. It was hard to tell which was Anna and which was Stella since both were snow white.
While they were sleeping, they had a shared dream. They dreamt of flying ever so fast that it looks as if the ground was being pulled from beneath them. They flew over deserts and forests and gradually they slowed as they ducked into the forest. They approached a clearing. It felt as if they were actually there. Suddenly they both woke up.
They found themselves exactly where their dreams left them.
“Ahhh, I forgot how beautiful Finyacara was. Can you believe that this is my home?”
“No! I can’t believe that we’re actually in the Fairy City, Finyacara, where the Fairy Queen, Rosabell lives!” Anna exclaimed as she spun around laughing giddily with her arms out- stretched before collapsing in a laughing heap on the ground.
“Um, are you ok? You seem hysterical! Are you really THAT delighted to be here? When I asked you to take me here because I was zapped into your town, Mikala, you didn’t seem so enthusiastic! Did you switch brains with someone?” Stella asked confused.
“Well, yes, I agree that I wasn’t very excited to come, but on the way, I sorta thought about it and NOW I’m excited!” Anna replied.
Strangely, they both heard a tinkling of musical bells. Then a light voice seemed to say “Welcome Anna Lailoken and Stella of the Flowers. Welcome to my home and yours, Finyacara.”
Their eyes searched and then they suddenly saw a pink-skinned fairy dressed in rose petals and a silver crown with red rubies inlaid. Her hair, red as blood spilling on a red flower, was braided into a delicate sculpture of a rose. Anna and Stella’s eyes were entranced by the glowing, red, figure.
“Now are you going to say something or not?” Rosabell said mirthfully while fluttering her red-veined wings.
“H-h-hello Queen Rosabell of the Fairies. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Stella stammered while hovering nearby Anna’s shoulder.
“Yes, it is a pleasure to meet you, Rosabell of the Fairies.” Anna echoed, now firmly anchored in Human Form so as not to drift off and accidentally change.
“Well it’s a pleasure to meet you too, Why don’t we talk for a while, Anna, while Stella goes and visits with her family?”
Stella nodded and flew off into the depths of the forest, clearly taking the hint. Anna was now alone with Queen Rosabell.
“Why don’t we go into the Garden, so we’ll be more comfortable? Come on, it’s this way, Anna.”
They walked/flew towards a massive garden filled with all sorts of flowers, plants and trees. It was so big that if Anna sat on the top of the tallest tree, she wouldn’t be able to see the other end. They went over to a tree with branches and roots shaped like a table and chairs. Anna and the Queen sat down.
“So, I know your head is filled up with questions about yourself, your parents and where you came from. Am I right?”
“How did you know? I have never said my thoughts aloud! Not even once! Are you some kind of mind-reader?”
Rosabell laughed out loud and shook her head, “No! I can tell your thoughts by your behavior, your body language and your facial expressions. And I can only sense your strongest feelings, like when Stella went to visit her family; your topmost feelings were jealousy and longing. I wouldn’t call that mind-reading.”
Anna nodded, and shifted closer to the queen. “So what can you tell me about my family?”
“Well for starters, your mother was one of the ancient Changelingas, one of the oldest orders of changelings, so that explains your abilities to change. Your father, was one of the, well, how do I say this? I think he was one of the Lastraelites.”
Anna just sat in shock. “What...but…the Lastraelites are evil…he couldn’t… possibly… be…one of them...”
“He is, and so are you I’m very sorry to say. Thankfully, your mother’s side is more stronger than your father’s. But fortunately for you, that means you can change into fairies, elves, dragons, and sea-soakers. Try it!”
Anna swallowed hard and concentrated on being a fairy. Slowly she grew smaller until she was only a foot tall. Large iridescent wings sprung from her shoulder blades and long blue hair sprung from her scalp. When the transformation was complete, she looked even more royal than the queen! A dress of blue flowers floated around her ankles. Her wings shimmered blue, and her skin slowly turned bluish white.
“Wow! I’m a fairy!” Was all Anna could say as she flitted around the tree. When she returned, she set her slanted ocean blue eyes on the queen and said “Are you sure I’ll still be able to change?”
“Well, of course, now try to change into a dragon!” the queen said eagerly, “I haven’t seen a dragon for so long…”
“Well, ok…” Suddenly the small blue floating fairy grew and grew and grew to an immense size. Blue scales encased the fairy and she became lizard-like. Giant blue wings were folded against the Anna the dragon’s back. The dragon roared and took off. Anna flew around the Garden, which seemed so small compared to when she was a fairy. She landed and changed back into Anna the human.
“WOW! I didn’t know I could change into magical beings… I thought that once you changed into one, you had to remain it forever…”
“Well technically that’s true, but since you have elven blood you can change into magical creatures. Well, do you have any other questions?”
“Well, no… Was my father really a Lastraelite?”
“Yes but he was odd. He wasn’t obsessed about darkness or killing. He was happy. A very nice Lastraelite, if I do say so myself.”
“You knew him? I thought Lastraelites kept to themselves.” Anna asked.
“I knew him when, long ago, your father, dressed in yellow, came to this very city, asking for help. At first I thought him an elf until I saw the upturned corners on his dark blue, almost black, eyes. Now, of course I was suspicious, ‘What was a Lastraelite doing here?’ I began to question him, asking why he was here and things like that. Turns out he was here for the exact same reason you were. Your identity.”
“So what was my father’s identity?” Anna asked curiously.
“His identity was, strange. He was Prince of the Lastraelites but, his Father and Mother were unknown. He WAS a Lastraelite but not fully. He was half elf, and a quarter Water Nymph, as for the other quarter, that was Lastraelite. His father, your grandfather, was half Lastraelite, and half Elf. His mother, was half Water Nymph and half elf. So you are half Changeling, a quarter elf, an eighth Lastraelite and an eighth Water Nymph.”
Anna and Rosabell sat in silence before the queen spoke up. “So does that answer your question?”
“Yes it does, thank you.” Anna stood up and walked out of the Garden. She changed into a fairy to be more inconspicuous. She flew around, asking fairies where Stella’s house was before she got zapped to Anna’s town, Mikala, and they started on their adventure to Finyacara.
At last she finally found Stella’s house. It was on the edge of the town, surrounded by the Garden. When she arrived, she found Stella and her family sitting around a purple fire.
“Hello, who are you? Who do you want to talk to?” Stella said warmly.
“Stella! Don’t you recognize me? It’s me Anna!”
“Anna? But you’re a fairy! Changelings can’t change into fairies or magical creatures!” Stella exclaimed as she flew forward, to Anna.
“Guess what, they can! Or at least, only me. Queen Rosabell said my father was a Lastraelite, but a good one! So my elven blood broadens my changeling abilities!”
Stella just floated in shock, not unlike Anna, a few hours ago. “ That’s… SO…AWESOME!” Stella screamed while hugging Anna. “So I guess you’re finished what you’ve come for. So I guess… this is…. goodbye…” Stella said on a lower, sadder note.
“No way! I’m staying here with you Stella! You’re my best friend!”
“You’re not gonna leave? That’s wonderful! You can share my room and we’ll become like sisters! Wow I’ve never had a sister before!” Stella babbled in excitement, still hugging Anna.
Anna looked around and took in the feeling and look of what was around her. She looked at the small white cottage, the small white parents, and the big world around them. Did she really want to stay here? Yes, yes she did. She belonged here, where she didn’t feel different or strange. She belonged. Anna looked straight into Stella’s eyes and said…
“Yes, we’ll be…sisters"
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