Qloey meeting her fairy goddessmother
My arm burned from pulling the bow string at the archery range all day. Even worse, the pain soared up my to my shoulders and across my back, causing a stinging sensation.
A target was set up near the pond, alongside the palace, which I lived in. Several trees hovered close enough to shade me from the baking sun. It was midsummer and I loved being outdoors, but the humidity today was unbearable.
I risked a glance behind me, toward my cousins who played dolls together on the porch of the palace steps, laughing and giggling. Their parents cordially chatted away without a care in the world. My heart became desperate to join them, to have their affection, and truly enjoy myself right now, but my parents were strict and my archery instructor even more so. Every day, the instructor, Fleur, drilled me to the ground, not letting me quit until my I perfected my daily lesson, depriving me of having fun with the other children.
“You are shrugging your shoulders again!” Fleur piped in a sordid tone. She always pulled her jet black hair back behind a Moonstone hood, so tight that it pulled the skin on her forehead back and made her look angry. She never smiled, never laughed, and never failed to criticize when I made a mistake. And I never failed to detest her.
“Can I go play now?”
“Not until you master these skills! Are you even trying?”
“How much longer will it take to master it?” I asked.
“At your pace, many, many years to come.”
My shoulders slumped, but it only caused them to burn more. Every movement resulted in a thousand needles pricking my arms.
“Don’t slump. It’s not proper etiquette either. Haven’t you learned anything!” She turned my body so I was in the proper position to aim at the target again. “Try again. And you better get bullseye three times in a row.”
When I first started my archery lessons, “a requirement to my education” as my mother had said, I thought it was fun couldn’t wait to get back to my lessons. But as the weeks wore on, and I had to endure this woman’s high-pitched, shrill voice, and tedious training sessions, the fun began to wane. Two years later and I began to loath the sport. Perhaps if she was a better teacher…
I pulled the bow string back one more time to aim, but my arms started shaking. The arrow released, slammed into the bottom of the target, and bounced off. Not enough force to penetrate.
“Well…no playing for you—”
“No!” I threw the bow on the ground.
“That is not how a princess behaves.”
“I’m done being a princess!”
She started to criticize my behavior, but I wouldn’t tolerate this anymore, because I was running away. No more princess life for me. No more archery ever again!
Quickly, I jolted into the trees lining our lawn.
“Your Majesty, where are you going?” She tried to run after me, but her big heavy black skirts held her back. She always wore black. Someone told me it was because her husband died, but it still didn’t make sense why her colors were so bland. I preferred purple, yellow, or green. Something vibrant and happy.
“Come back,” she hollered.
My legs took me as fast as they could into the berry forests with the palace guards hot on my heels; calling me back.
Several forested areas surrounded my home in little pockets of trees amidst the rolling hills where my horseback riding lessons took place. The city of Velazia, which my family ruled over, lay south of the palace and was walled in, but my parents said I wasn’t allowed to travel there. My duties laid in wait at the palace. But now that I wasn’t a princess anymore. I was free to play as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted. Perhaps I can go to the city and explore, and find friends who liked to play with dolls too! The plan was sounding better the further from the palace I ran.
Velazia would have to find a new princess to replace me.
My little legs took me down a dirt path, but the guards were gaining on me and something had to be done to lose them. There were several small bushes to my right, barely large enough for me to fit through. The guards would have to unsheathe their swords and thwack it, or traverse the long way around the bushes, in order to follow me, so I quickly jutted through them, cutting my arms on twigs and thorns along the way. One of my puffy princess sleeves snagged on a branch and tore a hole in the side. A worthy sacrifice for the freedom I was about to acquire.
Fatigue was starting to wear me down, as I was severely out of breath. After running around a small hill, and out of the soldier’s view, I hid behind some lavender bushes. This way, when the guards finally reached me, I’d blend in with my purple dress.
Soon enough, the guards came around the hill, calling out my name, but I lay quiet and sniggered to myself. They were looking in the wrong direction!
A few minutes later, the soldiers moved further away, but it wasn’t safe for me to leave my hiding spot yet; not until they gave up the chase and returned to the palace. Therefore I became more comfortable as I sat in the dirt and sniffed an occasional flower.
There were yellow and orange flowers among the tall lavender stems, but I wasn’t sure what type they were. My nose sniffed a few and I tried to decide which smelled best. This large yellow flower right in front of me was decidedly my favorite.
Right after I thought that, the small, soft petals began to glow. Either that or I ran too fast and was delirious. But no, I didn’t feel light headed, a little bit hungry for lunch perhaps.
I pressed my nose closer to admire the glittering light now rising above the pollen in the center. Firecrackers of yellow light began to lift high into the air and took the shape of a human body.
Human body? No. It cannot be.
Two wings formed on it’s back and I began to think it was a butterfly. But it wasn’t. In the next moment, a small human appeared in the full flesh.
It was a fairy.
The fairy had translucent, yellow, dragonfly wings, a sunflower hat slanting off the side of her head, yellow stockings, shoes made out of yellow leaves, and a yellow flower pedal dress just like the flower I had just observed.
“Why hello Your Majesty, Princess Qloey,” she said in a small, squeaky voice. “It’s an honor to finally meet the crown princess of the Velazian Empire.”
I plopped down on my bum in shock and rubbed my eyes a few times. Each time I opened them, she was still there, fluttering in front of my face. I’d seen many fairies before… but none who had materialized out of thin air like that. She truly looked like a human, just smaller, and with wings. Sometimes fairies had rough brown skin, like the bark of a tree, and had branches as arms, or their skin was made of green leaves, however, this fairy before me now had human flesh, just like me.
Her wings fluttered so fast in front of me, I could feel a small breeze on my face. It tickled a little. Most importantly, she gave me a feeling of great felicity and delight.
“How do you know my name?” I asked with a chuckle.
“Oh, I know a lot about you, past, present, and future. Including the hardships you’re going through, and the hardships you’re giving those poor soldiers who are going to be scolded once your mother finds out you ran away.”
“Oh.” I couldn’t find anything to say. Instead, I suddenly felt a great desire to help these soldiers, somehow, so they won’t get scolded.
“I’m running away. My mommy will find out eventually,” I said after a moments pause.
The little fairy laughed. She fluttered close to my face to get a closer look at me, then jolted toward a flower, then to a rock, never stopping in one place for longer than five seconds; yet always looking at me. Sparkles of yellow fairy dust left a trail behind her. After a few moments, she returned to fluttering in front of my face again.
How did she move backwards so fast? I would trip and fall if I did that.
“You can’t run away,” she said. “You have a big destiny before you. This empire desperately needs you. Plus, where will you go? What food will you eat?”
I thought about that for a moment but had no response. I didn’t know where I’d go or even where food came from. The servants always brought it to me, but I didn’t know how to cook or where they bought it. Her response ignited many questions in my mind, the biggest one being, “What do you mean by ‘a big destiny’?”
She pressed a tiny finger to her lip as if concentrating hard. “Many people will need you in your future, to help set things right, to mend differences, to put a stop to the harm that’ll come if you’re not there. I’m not allowed to tell you the specifics and only know what the oracles foresaw. I can only say that you must return home. Plus, if you don’t, these poor soldiers are going to get scolded by your parents for your actions.”
There that feeling was again, a deep desire to protect them so my mother wouldn’t be angry with them. What is that feeling called? I didn’t know.
“Who are you?”
“Oh dear!” she exclaimed. “I skipped the entire introductions. How improper of me.” She giggled, and I followed suit. It was hard not to feel happy around her. Her aura radiated joyfulness unlike any I had experienced before. “Let me start from the beginning. I’m Sunflower Sunshine-Shinybeams, your fairy goddessmother. Pleased to be acquainted with you, Your Majesty.” She curtsied.
While I was sitting on my legs to stay low enough that the guards wouldn’t see me, I still managed to pull my chiffon skirt to the side and pretend to curtsy to her as well.
“Pleased to meet you too, but what is a fairy goddessmother?”
“We’re quite different from ordinary fairies, who tend to flowers and help make the grass greener. As your fairy goddessmother, I’ve been entrusted to watch over you and grant you one wish in your lifetime. And now you have the gift of compassion.”
“Wait, I didn’t wish for compassion. And what is compassion anyway?”
“Compassion…” she hummed. “It’s a very powerful gift that you’ll be needing in your future.”
“But what is it?”
“Tell me princess, when you get into trouble with your mom and dad, does it feel good or bad?”
It was an obvious answer. “I feel bad. And sad. I don’t like being in trouble.”
“Right, you don’t. And these soldiers don’t like being in trouble either, because then they’ll feel bad. Compassion is when you care for these soldiers and go out of your way so they won’t get into trouble. But if you don’t return home soon, your mom and dad are going to be upset and the soldiers will be scolded.”
“But that’s not fair!” I suddenly felt a strong emotion in my chest wanting to right this wrong, but didn’t quite know what to call that feeling either. “They didn’t do anything wrong. They shouldn’t get into trouble.”
“Ah, see, that is compassion you’re feeling. Oh, I knew…just knew compassion would be perfect for you!” She tittered. “You’re already feeling it.”
“But…”—something wasn’t adding up. “When did you give me this gift? I didn’t see you wave your wand. I thought all fairies had wands.”
She released a series of chuckles, causing me to light up in delight at the beautiful sound.
“Oh, look!” She said and I turned to see the guards heading back my way. “They’re ready to find you. Why don’t you use that compassion and help them by returning before your mother finds out they lost you. If you do, none of them will get into trouble.”
She was right, I should be kind to these soldiers and come out of hiding. I watched as some traced their way back toward my the location where I was hiding. When I turned back to look at Sunflower, she had disappeared.
“Wait, Sunflower! Where’d you go?”
The wind swirled around me with her infections laughter. “I’ll find you again soon, that is, if you invite me into the palace.” And then her voice faded away.
“Princess Qloey!” the soldiers hollered as they scanned the forest.
Still, Sunflower had evaded my questions. And it didn’t make sense that she granted me my wish… which wasn’t really my wish… I’d rather wish to be a master archer, so I didn’t have to have lessons anymore, or wish to play all day. Either way, the soldiers were getting closer, so I popped my head up.
“I’m here!” I said and dashed back to the palace as fast as I could. The guards chased after me, causing me to chuckle all the way back. I bounded up the porch steps two at a time, almost tripping on my skirts, then ran up another flight of steps, and down a hallway. Only three guards continued to follow me as I ran into the library.
“Your Majesty,” one guard panted as she ran into the library to find me casually strolling about.
Good. They wouldn’t be in trouble now.
The stood guard and watched me like a hawk. I strummed my fingers along the bookcases until I found a dictionary and opened it up.
“K-o-m-p-a-s-h-o-n,” I spelled out and tried to find the word in order to read more about what it meant, but it wasn’t there. I walked up to the disgruntled guard and stared straight up at the tall man. He crossed his arms and glared down at me. “Sir Guard, sorry for making you run around everywhere. I hope you don’t get into trouble.”
“Sir Guard, sir… I have a question. How do you spell compassion?”
“C!” I exclaimed, interrupting him and looked back through the dictionary in the “c” section, and there was my word.
Compassion: an emotional response and desire to protect someone from emotional distress or harm.
Compassion didn’t sound like a superpower. Unless I had the power to save people from getting into trouble from my mommy. Or better yet, it would protect me from getting scolded again.
“Tee, hee, hee,” I sniggered to myself with the guards watching me. I slammed the book shut, causing the closest guard to jump, and went on my merry way, skipping and humming down the hallway in an attempt to learn everything I could about this new superpower. I would try it out on everyone I saw.
Two maids walked down the hallway to my left. I wiggled my fingers at them like a wizard casting a spell.
“I give thee compassion,” I said, then laughed.
The two gave each other confused looks.
Continuing on my merry way, with a skip in my step, I planned on “compassioning everyone” today.