11. For Fairy Eyes Only
“Why didn’t you tell us that right away?” Soy asked as he stood up.
“You did not ask,” replied Tryt, still seated.
“I also didn’t ask to be flown here to hang out inside a cloud with a pointy-eared jerk. But here I am!” Soy shouted.
Tyrt stood up too, but as a fairy, it didn’t have the dramatic effect that he had intended.
“Soy, just calm down,” I said to him. "They’re trying to help us.”
“They’re the whole reason we’re in this mess,” Soy said gruffly. “How do we even know that we belong here?”
Soy had made a pretty good point. It seemed that Ream was only interested in us because Deli was, and she still hadn’t shown us any evidence that either Soy or I was the hero. For a moment, I thought that maybe everything was a mistake, and that we might be able to end this all and go home. The thought didn’t make me sad, but it didn’t make me happy either.
“I believe we can answer that,” said Deli from my shoulder.
As she hopped onto the table in front of Tryt, she spoke only to him. “It’s time to show them,” she asserted.
Tryt’s face told me that he wasn’t thrilled about the idea. He wore the same expression that I had when my mom insisted that I do my homework right when I got home. I knew that she was right, and that it wasn’t her fault she was right, but still… harumph.
Tryt raised one of his neon pink wings and motioned some fairies over, using it like an arm. Four fairies came flying in from the side of the courtyard opposite from where we entered. They were carrying a large, dark brown book.
These fairies had on medieval-looking armor made from the same glass as the chairs. The book they were carrying was thicker than a dictionary and wider. It was the kind of book that Soy would have openly protested if we had been assigned to read it for our class.*
It also seemed that the book was heavier than it looked, since the fairies were out of breath by the time they put it down on the table. Tryt shooed them away with his wing, and they disappeared straight up and out of the courtyard.
*Soy once proclaimed that making kids reading anything over one hundred pages was technically illegal, but he never found the documents to support it.
When the fairies left, Soy and I stood up at the same time to inspect. It was a dusty, rundown book. There were no words on the cover, but it was hard to say whether they had rubbed off, or were just never there at all. Along the center, a buckle with a lock ran horizontally across, made of the strange yellowish-gold that I now knew.
“Stonegold?” I asked.
“Yes,” said Tryt, “only a magic pen may write in the Book of Lore, but it does not hurt to be safe.”
“Why would anybody want to mess with the book?” asked Soy.
“The Book of Lore chronicles every fairytale throughout history. Changing them would change the fate of the world,” answered Tryt indignantly. Soy didn’t respond this time.
All four of us gathered closer, hovering over the book as Tryt held up his shiny pen. Without a word, he turned it over, placed the crown on top inside the stonegold lock and turned it. The buckle surrendered, opening up with a low hiss. I thought the pages smelled like pine trees, but didn’t say it out loud. Tryt began flipping through the book and it was hard to see the words. Whenever I did catch a glimpse, the writing started off hard to focus on, but then got more clear. The words were written in fancy, old looking letters.
Soy’s face was getting closer and closer to the pages by the second.
“It’s in English,” he said finally, “I thought it might be in fairy or elvish, or something weird like that.”
Tryt didn’t look up to acknowledge Soy, but it was obvious from his voice that he was agitated.
“It is not ‘in English’. The fairytales in the Book of Lore appear in the first language of whomever is reading it,” he said.
“That’s English,” said Soy, pointing at the book.
“Soy, to you it is in English, but to someone else it may be in French or German,” said Deli.
“If it was in French of German, I wouldn’t be able to read it,” Soy explained politely, “so that’s how I know it’s in English.”
Tryt let out an un-fairylike grunt and continued flipping through the pages while he spoke.
“The characters in these stories had their fates sealed by the outcomes written here. But Ream’s first fairytale is unique in its ending.”
“Ream was in a fairytale?” I asked with surprise. That seemed like a big deal to me.
“Yes," Tryt replied. "When a hero or heroine defeats a villain, their story and their fate are sealed within this book. All the rile of those defeated, all of their magic, is confined within the book so that they may never use it against the world again. And every villain inside the Book of Lore was defeated, save one."
“Ream,” I said gravely.
“Yes,” replied Deli, “instead of defeat, his tale ended with an escape. That is why he was able to hold onto his rile.”
“He was injured. Pierced with stonegold, to be exact,” Tryt said as he slowed his page turning. “And once stonegold pierces you, it may never be removed or covered. That is why Ream always has a piece of stonegold visible, regardless of his disguise."
“But nobody has explained yet why he’s after us,” said Soy. “We didn’t do anything to him!”
“You’re not a patient child, are you, Soy?” asked Tryt in a half-question.
“And you don’t own a bookmark,” rebutted Soy, not at all in the form of a question.
Tryt turned one last page, then covered it with his fairyhand, unleashing a slew of sparkles that shot out to conceal the center.
“This is your fairytale. And this is the reason that Ream is after you,” Tryt said, looking directly at me. “It may be the last fairytale ever written. All the fairytales that came before it, and all the creatures inside of them are at stake. Ream and the forces of rile are trying to change their fate.”
“But, why are you calling it mine?” I asked shyly.
Deli looked up at me.
“Because you are the hero,” she replied.
Tryt moved his hand, and the sparkles flew away. Written on the page in a thousand languages, but English to me, was the title: The Boy and The Flying Bed. And underneath it, there was a small drawing.
It was the same one I had been drawing when I noticed a frog staring at me from behind a window.