Seth was eating breakfast when the front door to the Manor house burst open, and three teenage guys fell through. One satyr, one unicorn, and one… Demon Prince? Navarog?! Seth jumped to his feet and brandished his cereal spoon in front of him as a weapon. The demon prince, in the form of teenaged Gavin Rose, sprung up from the floor and put his hands in the air in surrender.
Bracken and Verl helped themselves off the floor and dusted their clothes off. Verl pulled out a comb from his pocket and combed back his hair then took out a packet of mints. "Mint?" He offered the Fairy Prince, Bracken, who then took one and popped it into his mouth.
"Where's Kendra?" He asked, crunching away on his mint, "Mm. Not half bad,"
"Minty freshness for minty, fresh breath!" Verl agreed, putting away the comb and mints.
"She's upstairs, probably primping or something…" Seth turned back to Gavin, "Hey, weren't you evil?"
"While I was reforming after being digested by that dragon, I had a long time to contemplate my alignment." Gavin shrugged and breathed a sigh, "I spent a year as poop… It wasn't fun."
"Doesn't sound like fun. But, hey! That's life." Seth reasoned and put a spoonful of coco crisps into his mouth.
The door banged open again and two familiar figures with goat legs clip-clopped in. "Hey, sorry to crash the party; but I smell…" Newel paused dramatically and threw his arm into the air, "A love quadrangle!"
Doren put his hand on his cheeks as if to say, 'Oh no!'.
Verl's eyes immediately went wide as he looked at the other satyrs, "Are you telling me there is competition for fair Kendra's hand?!"
Gavin tuned to the sweatered satyr, "You like her too? So do I!" Then he turned to the unicorn, "And also you?" then he turned to Seth, "Or is it you? Are you in love with your sister Seth?"
"Eeewwwww…That's sick…" Seth groaned, pinching his nose, "She smells like flowers and sunshine, totally girly!"
"Flowers and sunshine… I could use that in the poem I'm writing her…" Verl intoned, drumming his fingers on his chin perplexedly.
Bracken stepped into the conversation, "I don't know if you all know, but, Kendra promised to wait a while until we could be together."
"And why would you need to wait?" Doren asked, and then chuckled.
Newel interjected, "You just want to wait till she has boobs, am I right?" Bracken blushed light pink and mumbled something incoherent, while Newel continued, "'Course I'm right!"
He then clapped his hands together, "Alright men!... And horse-things with waffle cones on their heads! Today we shall set about the serious…"
Newel cleared his throat and glared at Seth. "The serious business of finding out who is right for Kendra. Let's have a contest!"
And so; Seth, Newel, and Doren decided the competitions, locations, and rules in the next few minutes then came back.
"Alright!" Seth said, list in hand, "First, we will have a Nacho eating contest; because only a true man can eat like a pig (according to Doren and Newel)…" The Satyrs nodded appreciatively and stuffed whole bags of potato chips in their mouths, bag and all. "So eat up, guys!"
The dining table was covered in bowls of cheese dip and corn chips, three chairs were set up at the table for each of the three contestants for (the fair) Kendra's heart. The whistle was blown and they all began, Verl and Gavin in the lead by quite a bit.
Until Warren walks in, sees the nachos, and eats all of them.
He belched and patted his stomach, "Ahh, good snack!"
Newel and Doran stared in awe at him, "Dude! We have never met a human who could pull that off!"
Warren grinned and left. Seth face-palmed, "Now we don't know who won!"
"Sure we do!" Newel said,
"It was Warren!" Doren finished.
"But he isn't even playing!" Verl argued, wiping cheese off his mouth.
Seth shrugged, "Who cares? It isn't like he could win the contest by winning one round."
By the end of the day the final scores were:
Football: Hugo (Duh.)
Ping-Pong: Warren (He decided to pop in again)
The total scores were: Warren (In the lead) with 2 points. Verl, Bracken, Gavin, and Hugo all tied for second.
No one knew quite how to resolve this, until at dinner time, Verl had a revolutionary idea. "Why don't we do contests on the things Kendra likes, and have her judge?"
Seth munched on a chicken wing, "But that would be boring…"
"We could have a contest on being romantic!" Verl excitedly told them, hoping to use his secret weapon against them if such a round were possible.
"CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!"Gavin roared, and raced to the door, threw it open and called to all his dragon subordinates.
Bracken sighed, "I guess it is a challenge now. A challenge I have no chance of winning…"
Seth studied his unicorn bro, "Why? You can make girls swoon just by existing… Just saying. No Homo, or whatever."
Bracken looked uncomfortable, "Every time I have ever gotten close enough to kiss a girl mother has always turned her into a fairy. Like; a miniscule one."
Seth's eyes got wide as he jumped up, threw open a window and gestured to all the fairies in the front yard, "So all of these ladies are your beeyotches?"
A fairy close by stuck her tongue out at Seth as he wiggled his eyebrows jokingly and said, "Hey, how ya doin'?" She flew away in a huff and Seth laughed.
"No, Seth. Not every fairy. Only about a hundred are past flings, crushes, girlfriends, and the occasional gay guy…"
Seth whirled round to confront Bracken, "Wait… are you a Bisexual Unicorn?"
"All unicorns are Bisexual…?" Bracken stated as if that was an already well-established fact.
"You know how there are some people who do not believe Bisexuals exist?" Bracken continued, baiting Seth to continue the conversation.
"Yeah? I guess," Seth said with a shrug.
"That denial is actually the Fairy Queen's magic protecting Unicorns from being discovered by your people."
"That is not the direction I saw this going in." Seth sighed, "Honestly, I don't get what's the big deal. As long as you don't have a crush on me, it's fine."
Bracken stepped forward rather dramatically and suddenly and also his shirt buttons came loose?
"But, Seth, I have always possessed feelings for you all along," Bracken said as he leaned down slightly to Seth's height with his lips puckered in a way that would suggest romantical smooching.
Which Seth wasn't having any of today, no thank you, and goodbye.
"I THOUGHT I KNEW YOU!" He screeched, trying to jog up the stairs backwards up to the attic room.
When he got there he opened the door, slammed it, used all the Midsummer's Eve locks and bolts then dove under the covers and put the pillow over his head.
"Seth, what are you doing?" Kendra's bossy voice could be heard from even under the soft, cushy pillow.
"Your unicorn tried to hit on me…" Seth muttered, still shaking.
"What?! He did!?"
The exclamation sounded rather odd, because instead of a disbelieving, scolding, or reprimanding tone, she had a breathless tone that suggested excitement. Seth sat up in bed and looked at his older sister.
She was drooling. It was horrifying.
So he hid back under the covers.
The next day…
Seth woke up… and remembered that he was still afraid of the unicorn with the kissing fever. So he layered on a bunch of clothes, grabbed all his weapons, double checked his emergency kit, then headed downstairs.
When he entered the Living room, he saw the impossible; Kendra eating coco crisps while watching cartoons on the TV.
He blinked, rubbed his eyes, and slapped himself.
She was still eating with her eyes glued to the screen.
"Hey…" He started, moving cautiously forward, "You're the stingbulb version of Kendra, right?"
She grunted as she continued to shove the cereal floating in chocolaty milk up to her face.
Their mom came out of the kitchen and waved a spatula, "She is just going though phase; it's part of growing up!"
Their dad came out of the kitchen and nudged his son in the side and chuckled, "Like the time when you used to play dress-up with Kendra, only you were the one wearing the dress-"
"Shut up!" Seth growled, and shoved his dad onto the couch next to Kendra. He stomped out of the room and opened the door, "I'm going to go for a walk, be r-"
A blast of air cut him off, as well as the sight of seeing a huge hot-air balloon floating down from the sky.
"KENDRA, MY LOVE!"
The girl in question came out onto the porch and squinted at the sky, "Is that Verl?"
Yes, yes it was.
And he was wearing a top hat.
And it looked snazzy.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING, VERL?!" Kendra yelled up at the Satyr.
"TAKING YOU ON THE BEST DATE OF YOUR LIFE, MY SWEET!"
He didn't get much farther than saying that, however. He had lost control of the balloon, and crashed it into the barn. Kendra went back inside, the parents went to go fuss at Verl, and Seth just marched into the woods after giving up trying to come up with a word to describe what he just saw.
As Seth trekked through the woods, he noticed a lot of roaring and eruptions of flame were coming from the house. Roars could be heard as well, along with, "KENDRA!" Gavin's screaming through a megaphone, "SAY I'm HOT!... OR I'll BURN down Fablehaven!"
The shadow charmer rolled his eyes and continued on his merry way, when suddenly-
Centaurs came out of nowhere and stopped Seth right where he was. "Where do you think you are going, human? You have stepped onto Centaur territory."
"I guess I got lost, er- see ya guys later!" he tried to make a run for it, but just got picked up by the most muscle-bound centaur, and chucked over its shoulder.
Crap. Was all Seth could think as the horse-man took him deeper into man-horse territory.
Seth had been hanging upside-down from a tree branch for three minutes and thirty-five seconds. He was dizzy from all the blood rushing to his head, and he needed to go pee.
The Centaurs were still conversing when suddenly-
*Le crash part 2*
Newel and Doren came through the bushes and waved something in the air; guns, big ones.
The Centaurs didn't know what guns were, so they weren't afraid to get closer and intimidate the satyrs.
Until Newel pulled the trigger… BANG!
One of the Centaurs frowned and wiped some pink paint off his chest.
"What is this?" The horse-thing asked.
"Have you never heard of Paintball guns?" Doren said as he waved his gun in the air again to get their attention.
Seth was about to say something when a hand clamped over his mouth.
Be very quiet… Bracken's voice echoed in his head. Newel and Doren are distracting them; we'll climb down and get away.
Seth felt his bonds being cut and Bracken's hands slowly pull him up into the tree. Once he was safe in the branches, he angrily thought back at Bracken, you didn't have to pull me up by my waist, did you?!
Bracken smiled serenely in response.
What is that supposed to mean?! Seth yelled from his mind to Bracken's.
You certainly are amusing, Seth Sorenson.
Seth didn't have time to even blush before Bracken swept Seth up in his arms and gracefully jumped out of the tree and started running. When they were a good distance away Seth realized he was clinging to Bracken and quickly protested to being carried like a princess.
Bracken set him down and let Seth take a breather. It was hot outside, it being the very beginning of fall and Seth wearing… a tank top, a t-shirt, underwear, shorts, pants, a sweatshirt, a random coat, socks (?), and tennis shoes. Why did I wear all this stuff in the first place?
Then Bracken came into his line of vision.
Oh. Yeah. Right. That.
Seth sighed and pulled off his coat and sweatshirt, opting to keep the pants and shorts on at the same time. "How did you know I as in trouble?" Seth asked.
Bracken smiled and pointed to Seth's pants, Seth panicked and though the unicorn was pointing to his… ur… thing.
"Your coin, the telepathy communication; you accidentally called out in panic and so I came."
Seth relaxed when he heard the explanation, and then realized that the coin wasn't in his pocket. Or in any of his pockets. "Liar! I don't have my coin on me!"
Bracken looked startled, "You don't? I thought you did, then how were you able to communicate mentally with me? Mind if I do a quick check?"
Seth glared and folded his arms over his chest, "If you can check from where you're standing, then yeah."
Bracken nodded then his voice filled Seth's mind, Seth, can you hear me?
Yeah. Seth thought back.
Now send me pictures and emotions,
Something that makes you happy.
Seth though hard about what made him happy, but nothing came. He was about to give up when he remembered:
Hugo picking him up and rumbling, "Seth. Keep Seth safe…"
Adventuring recklessly through the woods alone, thinking he could take on the world.
Watching the Saytrs have a gravy-drinking contest while his family sat all around him enjoying a feast.
Lena teaching him how to paint, Bracken helping him with controlling Valais, Seeing Maddox alive in the Dungeon.
Struggling to save his friends, and the rest afterward.
Bracken grinned as the memories passed. He stepped forward and ruffled Seth's hair, "You're a cool guy, Seth Sorenson."
Seth didn't push him away this time, and merely smiled up a bit at the slightly taller boy.
They grinned at each other for a second more and then Bracken suddenly grabbed Seth's hand. "That reminds me, I want to show you something."
Seth looked quizzical, "What is it? Does it explode?"
Bracken laughed and tugged the human forward, "You could say that."
When they arrived at the destination, Seth saw the giant hedge come into view and he wondered why Bracken wanted to bring him here.
They ducked through the hedge together and Bracken led him over to the Gazebo. He sat down on the steps pulling Seth to sit beside him. Bracken finally let go of Seth's hand and leaned back watching the sun set.
The sky was getting darker, making the horizon light up in fiery colors. Against the dark blue, almost black sky, the crimson clouds looked just like the flames of Valais when they reflected Seth's soul.
"I have lived a long time,"
Seth looked over at Bracken, who was speaking quietly, eyes still fixed on the sunset.
"And yet Humans still surprise me. But none have surprised me more than you, Seth."
Seth felt his face heat up, and his heart squeeze tightly, did he eat something that didn't agree with him earlier?
While Seth was waiting for his sandwich from lunch to come up and out, he heard Bracken say;
"A Shadow-charmer. I have met many before, but none so… pure as you. Valiant, brave, and humorous… Seth, you are unlike all others."
Seth shrugged, "Well, no human is alike."
"I have seen many of the same types of people over and over again during my long life. And believe me; there are humans that are exactly like all the others. The greedy, the wretched, the stoic, the brave. But none have made me want to socialize, to have fun. I have been attracted to those who are pure in the past, but you have another breed of purity altogether."
Seth breathed in deeply, trying to gather his thoughts. This wasn't magical fear, was it normal fear? No, he could overcome this… He could do this!
"I have the kind of purity that urges me to collect zombie hands, put firecrackers in the toilet, and horse around with centaurs. Because that, that is defiantly purity!" He joked. Kidding around and using sarcasm helped him calm his beating heart as it always did but something was different.
"And don't go confessing your love to me; save that stuff for Kendra, she obviously likes you. She probably wants to kiss you! You might want to watch out…"
Bracken put his head in his hands and rubbed his face and breathed out heavily, "Kendra's heart is blinding, but your heart is a fiery valor as strong as adamant. While Kendra may be bright and eclipse all others, you inspire others, give them something, make them stronger. I love that about you."
Seth's eyes widened, "You're joking." Was all he could say, hoping against all hope that this wasn't true. But some part of his heart told him that this wasn't something he should be afraid of.
Bracken took Seth's hand and put it over his heart, under the fabric of the shirt Seth could feel that the unicorn's heartbeat was pounding as fast as his. "I won't lie to you. Seth, believe me. I love you."
A deep red blush spread over his face and he recoiled quickly, his back thudding against the wood of the gazebo.
Suddenly Bracken's expression changed from tender emotion to a big grin, "So Seth, did I win at being romantic?"
Seth's jaw dropped, "That's what this is about?!" He furiously stood up, fell back down because he was weak in the knees, then stood back up, turned around, and stomped away.
Meanwhile hiding in the bushes on the island fairy sanctuary of the Fairy Queen…
Kendra removed the binoculars from her face and muttered to the Fairy Queen, "They didn't kiss. Seth has stomped off…"
The feelings of the Unicorn filled Kendra for a moment; frustration, longing, fangirling, then solid determination. Kendra, let us carry out plan F.
"Good idea." Kendra agreed and silently went back into the row boat to get to the other side.
Meanwhile with Seth and Bracken…
"You used me!" Seth seethed, smacking a tree branch out of his face; Bracken caught it before it hit his face.
"Seth, I'm sorry."
"Too late! I feel so stupid!"
"Go away! Stop following me, leave me alone!"
Bracken stopped in his tracks, looking at the back of the shadow charmer, considering his options. He really did like Seth, and he thought this competition was a good excuse to confess, he didn't mean to upset the boy.
Suddenly golden sparkles rained down on the two of them form the trees around them. Seth recognized the sparks to be fireworks, "What the-!"
A banner rolled out between two short trees, it read 'Congratulations on the Engagement!'
Bracken and Seth stood still and in similar bemusement until a net that had been strategically placed under the leaves scooped them both up and pushed them close together as it ascended into the trees.
"Well this is awkward…" Bracken muttered as he tried to move, but he couldn't Seth was on top of him, their limbs tangled.
Seth grunted and wiggled around, trying to get into a less embarrassing position. It didn't work.
The unicorn sighed and wrapped an arm around Seth's waist, "It's not going to help. Just be still while I cut the rope."
Seth made a slight gurgling noise in protest of Bracken's arm around him, but held still as Bracken pulled his sword out of nowhere and cut the ropes. They fell out of the net and towards the ground.
Seth didn't have time to think before he hit the ground- only he didn't. Instead of feeling the air rush out of his lungs as his back made contact with the ground, he instead felt Bracken's arms supporting him.
"Are you alright?" The unicorn asked, his blue eyes roving over Seth checking for injuries.
Seth pushed him away, "I'm fine."
Bracken grinned, "That's good."
Seth blushed slightly and turned away, "You Okay?"
Bracken smiled and nodded once, "Fine. But, I wonder who laid this trap… It had to be fairly recently…"
"Must've been Verl or Gavin; aimed at Kendra or something." Seth said, pointing to the banner.
Bracken nodded in agreement and took Seth's hand. "But I don't think this was pure coincidence you and I stumbled into this."
"Drop it, Bracken. That's just stupid." Seth looked down at their hands but didn't want to pull them apart.
"No, no it's not. You will hear me out." Bracken's commanding voice made Seth look up at him. Bracken put his hands on the sides of Seth's face and kissed his forehead, "I love you, Seth Sorenson. Believe me,"
"I can't." Seth breathed, staggering backwards, terrified.
"Then I'll swear on my honor as a Unicorn."
"Can Unicorns lie?" Seth asked, glaring at Bracken.
"Yes, it is very hard for us, but yes."
"Then how do I know you're not lying?"
Bracken's long, silvery hair fell in his eyes as he leaned down. "You can't."
And then he kissed him.
Meanwhile in the bushes…
Kendra stuffed a tissue up her nose to stop the nosebleed as she contacted the Fairy Queen via walkie-talkie: "They kissed!"
"Yessssss!" The walkie-talkie cheered.
Back to the two boys…
"Will you walk with me back to the pond?" Bracken asked.
Seth nodded and blushed, "Uh, yeah."
And Bracken and Seth held hands as they walked back to the pond.
Seth looked up from Warren's diary, "Holy cow… Holy COW."
He ran downstairs and barreled into Kendra, "Kendra! Look what Warren does in his spare time! He knows thinks I'm gay!"
Kendra rolled her eyes and took the diary from Seth, "Don't exaggerate, Seth. I'm sure it's…"
Her eyes fell on the last sentence: "And Bracken and Seth held hands as they walked back to the pond."
Holy cow. Holy COW.
Kendra (in blind fury), went to go find Warren. He was sitting on the couch talking to Tanu and Bracken.
"What is this?" She stated rhetorically as she shoved the book in Warren's face.
Warren squinted, "It's a spin-off of an original series by an independent author."
Tanu snorted, "So it's fanfiction."
"Pretty much, yeah." Warren concurred.
Seth huffed, "Is real life a story or something? Am I getting written about right now?! I mean, seriously Warren. Why did you even pair me with Bracken of all people?!"
Bracken's eyes widened, "What?"
"Why indeed?" Warren chuckled as he turned to grin at the camera.