by Sauron Gorthaur
"I'm telling you, it won't work," Marianne said stiffly, her arms folded tightly across her chest, frowning at the goblin king standing several paces away at his table.
Bog's wings fluttered irritably. "You don't know that," he said, stubbornly examining the map laid out in front of him.
Marianne made a sound of frustration, lifting a hand to the heavens. "Oh right, I've just lived with fairies my whole life, so I'm sure I have no idea how they'll react."
Bog turned to glare at her, his dark brows creasing and his mouth curving down into a grumpy expression. "You're the one who suggested the idea of a treaty and of my folk interacting more with yours. You don't know it won't work until we try it. Or would you prefer we just give up on the whole thing right now?"
Heat rose in Marianne's cheeks, and her heart was beating faster than usual. Her wings itched unpleasantly. "That's not what I said. That's not even remotely what I said," she stated, waving her hand emphatically. "All I said is that the Midsummer Ball is not a good time to attempt our very first collaboration. There are fairy traditions upon traditions upon traditions surrounding the Midsummer Ball."
"There's blasted traditions upon traditions upon traditions with everything with you fairies!" Bog groused back. "If we use that as criteria, we're never going to get anywhere. It sounds to me like you don't want to try anymore, so why don't we just lay the idea to rest?"
"You are totally blowing this out of proportion!" Marianne retorted, her voice rising. "You know what I think, I think you're scared of trying to make this work!"
Bog turned fully towards her, anger flashing dark across his face now. His shoulder spurs rustled threateningly. "I am not scared!" he gritted. "But I'm most definitely beginning to think you are!"
Marianne threw her hands up in the air in exasperation. "Oh, I'm scared? I'm the one who suggested the idea about a collaboration in the first place!"
"Then why aren't you listening to anything I suggest about it?!"
"Because you're not listening to anything I'm trying to tell you about it!"
Bog stepped towards her, jabbing a clawed finger at her face. "I have listened. I have listened till I was blue in the face, and every time I make a bloody suggestion, you shoot it down. It's because I'm a goblin, isn't it? You probably think I'm an unsophisticated savage who's too stupid to understand your cultured traditions. That's what all you fairies think of us goblins, isn't it?"
Marianne refused to let him intimidate her. She flared her wings instead and stepped up even closer into his space, her cheeks burning with anger. "Oh sure, make it all about you! How typical! The minute anyone contradicts you or suggests an alternative to what you've already set your mind to, it turns into a personal attack against you. Well fine, almighty Bog King! If you're so much better than all of us fairies, why don't you go sit your almighty behind in your almighty throne and just forget that I mentioned anything at all, Your Majesty!"
His eyes flashed with rage. "You've got an awfully ugly attitude, Princess," he snarled, shoving his face uncomfortably close to hers and baring his fangs. "I'd watch myself, if I were you."
The anger and raw frustration inside Marianne had built to the breaking point. The next moment, she was roaring back into his face, the words flying out of her mouth with the deadly precision of a sword strike.
"Oh yeah? Well at least I'm not ugly on the outside too!"
Something deep inside her twinged with guilt the very second the words had escaped her lips, but she was so angry that she hardly had time to consider it. Bog reacted instantly, rearing back away from her, and the expression that flashed across his face was similar to what it might have been if she had punched him. Shocked agony registered in his eyes for a split second before his face twisted into something monstrous. His shoulder spurs flared ferociously, his wings hissing, and his eyes glistened with baleful rage and hurt. His lips curled back into a full bestial snarl. "Get. Out."
Marianne suddenly felt sick to her stomach, her anger draining away to dread as the sight of his transformation hit her like a blow to the gut. Oh skies, what had she just done?
"Bog?" she said, her voice wavering, the sick feeling swelling in her stomach.
He turned his back to her, but she could see him shaking. She tried to reach out towards him and touch his arm, but he whirled around and seized her wrist, his claws sharp and cruel against her skin. His eyes looked like they belonged to someone else.
"Get out," he repeated, his voice low and threatening. "Get out before I hurt you."
"Fine!" she spat back at him, wrenching her wrist out of his grasp. "Fine, I'm going!"
She reeled around, snapping her wings open in his face, and took off with a gust of swirling air. Every limb was trembling, her heart pounding a mad beat in her chest, her stomach flipping until she thought she would vomit in the middle of the castle floor. Tears of helpless rage and stinging pain flooded into her eyes, but she didn't dare wipe them away in case he was still watching and saw. She tore out of the castle and flew blindly back towards the Fairy Kingdom, a sensation in her chest as if her heart was being slowly ripped in two spreading through her like poison.
What had she done?