The last battle at the castle left me with a new perspective on my magical limit. I couldn't blink large creatures or block large objects with my shields, but doing too much would damage my magic. I nearly broke it last time I was in a battle, and knew not to repeat that mistake.
Prince Philip invited Aurora and Maleficent to the castle for a dinner, and Aurora had me come with them. I was half human after all, and would be a useful intermediary if needed. To cross the river to the other side, Maleficent grew a large bridge of roots for us to cross on. The humans on the other side were frightened, holding pitchforks and running, or trying to frighten us off. We walked into the castle, led by two guards. When no one was looking, I'd blink off for a few seconds, then back before they could notice I was gone. It was a large castle with an even larger garden, and overlooked an ocean on one side and the Moors on another.
We arrived in the dining area and were met by Prince Philip and the king and queen. There was some talk, then we sat down to eat. The first problem was the forks, which were iron. Maleficent couldn't use them. I did a quick sketch in the air of blue light, and handed her a new one of magic. The second problem was the food, which was bird. I knew this wasn't a coincidence, and sensed something was going on.
In my past as a con artist, I had been very good at reading people and situations. I had fallen out of practice, but tried my best now. The king was slightly embarrassed at his mistake with the fork, the Prince trying to make small talk, the queen had a faint smile which read trouble to me. I ignored the talk for the most part, trying to enjoy the meal when something caught my attention. Maleficent was holding a cat in midair, surrounded by her green light.
"Control you animals, or I will, " she said.
"Is that a threat?" asked the queen.
My left hand inched towards a knife on my belt. A short while later, Maleficent stood up, green light all around her, definitely angry. I had been thrown out of my chair when the green light had appeared, and stood up to see Aurora, Philip and the king and queen standing on the other side of the table, cowering in fear. Diaval was next to Maleficent, across from me.
My ears were buzzing from the magic all around me, and couldn't hear what Maleficent said before she flew out the window, breaking the stained glass. I blinked over to the window frame, looking out. Diaval was flying towards the Moors as a raven, and Maleficent was almost over the river. I stepped back from the edge, heard Aurora yell, "Tom, no!", and threw myself out the window. I had no idea if I would be able to do it when I threw myself out the window, but was about to find out. I blinked in midair, headed towards Maleficent. I found out pretty quickly that when I blinked I lost all momentum I had before, which was helpful.
I was halfway to Maleficent when I heard a twang of a crossbow, and saw Maleficent stop and fall into the river. I blinked over as fast as I could, but knew I couldn't survive the river. Green light floated to the surface. I followed it, and found Maleficent. I blinked over and choked on the water. I quickly blinked back onto land, spitting out water. When I turned around, maleficent had gone over the falls. I blinked over and down, right above the water before diving in. The water was choppy and murky near the falls, making it hard to see. I blinked up for a breath, then dove back down.
Finally, I found her. Out at sea, resting at the bottom. I started blinking over, but something started coming out of the clouds, headed towards where she was. I stopped where I was, treading water. I couldn't see what it was as it headed down, but it hit the water and stayed for a few moments, then burst out of the water and ascended into the clouds, carrying Maleficent. Before it disappeared from view, I saw that it looked like her. Another fey. I started blinking after it, following it up. Once I got above the clouds, I found it and noted the direction. I doubted it would change course while hidden from the ground, so I just needed to find it's direction and would be able to follow it even if I fell behind.
It was a tiring journey, but I followed the fey all the way to its destination, an island in the ocean with a massive underground complex. I waited for it to enter first, not wanting to get caught while this tired. Once I was alone, I found a crevice to rest in and regain my strength. Once I was rested, I went into the tunnel the fey had gone through. I looked through each offshoot, which seemed to go on forever. Finally, I found the room where Maleficent was. I missed it the first time because the corridor curved before it emerged into the room. Her top half was wrapped in a white cloth, probably where the projectile had impacted. I stayed nearby, watching over her from the shadows.
She woke up about thirty minutes later, looking around before she saw me. "What happened?"
"You flew out the window to the Moors, but over the river you got shot by a crossbow. I was following you and saw you fall. I couldn't get you before you went over the falls, and then I lost you. Something came out of the clouds, landed in the water, and carried you up a few moments later. I followed you here, an island in the middle of the ocean. It seems to be inhabited by other fey like you. "
She got up, wincing in pain. She walked down the corridor to the central shaft, looking both ways. I followed her, staying nearby. There might not be a fey nearby to save her next time she fell. After some consideration, she dropped down, using her wings to slow her descent. I blinked after her, staying just behind. She landed in the shadows of a room where other fey seemed to be having a meeting. One was holding a small iron sphere, probably what had been impaled in Maleficent. He was talking about war on the humans, and how they had forced the fey into hiding here.
He turned and saw us, and anger flashed across his face. "You brought a human here?" he asked one of the others present.
"He must've followed me. I never saw him, " one of them replied.
The one who had been talking walked over to us. Blue light began to flow faintly between my fingers. In an instant, he swung, I drew my knives, and Maleficent struck. He was thrown across the room by a burst of green light, landing in a heap. I looked at the others, which after a moment, flew down another shaft in the room. The one who had brought Maleficent approached.
"Come with me, and I will show you who we really are. "
They both dove down the second chute, leaving me alone in the room. After a moment, I decided to follow them. The passageway was windy, but emerged into an immense underground cavern. I didn't have much time to enjoy the view, but was able to blink from the ground instead of in midair. I followed them through different biomes, which would've been impossible under normal circumstances, but magic made it work. I caught up to them in a desert canyon, where younger fey were learning to fly. I blinked over to them, out of breath from the constant blinking.
The fey next to Maleficent didn't seem to like me. "I'm Tom. I live in the Moors with Maleficent, " I said and held out my hand. He ignored it.
"Humans are not allowed here. "
"If I see any, I'll tell them. I'm actually only half human. "
"Stay at your own risk then. I can assure you, Maleficent is safe here. "
I hesitated. Maleficent nodded, and I started blinking back to the Moors. It was a long journey, I had to stop before leaving the island, but I arrived at the Moors a few hours before nightfall. I met there with Diaval, who was stuck in human form after Maleficent was shot. Once I had rested some, I blinked over to find Aurora in the castle. I didn't find her right away, but managed to avoid detection until I found her room.
"Aurora, it's me, Tom, " I said from outside the door.
It opened and I ducked inside. "Tom, thank goodness you're alright. What happened to Maleficent?" she asked.
"She got shot over the river. Fell into the ocean. She's safe now though, hidden far away from harm. "
"Shot by who? Safe where? In the Moors?"
"Don't know, can't tell you, and no. "
"What do you mean you can't tell me?"
I paused. "I can't, not without putting you in danger. "
"Is Maleficent okay at least?"
"She's all good, flying around again already. "
"Thanks for dropping by. Try and figure out who did this. Do you want to stay in the castle for the night?"
"No thanks. I think I'll return to Maleficent after dark. " I blinked out to a high spot of the castle. The sun was setting, and I didn't have much time left. I scanned the castle for towers with crossbows, noting all their locations. I blinked over to each one, looked through the crossbows, and then moved onto the next. None pointed to where Maleficent was when she had been shot, which meant it had been moved. I then compared distances to the broken window, which left me with two positions. One was almost right next to the room where we ate, but required a roundabout route to arrive at it. The second was closer to the river, but you could easily get there in a straight line. I looked closely at them both, then found a small sack in the one closer to the river. I opened it, and inside were iron spheres like the one Maleficent had been shot by. The other tower had no sack in it.
I knew where she had been shot from, and what with, but didn't know who did it, or who ordered it. It was almost dark, so I began to blink back to the ocean island. When I arrived, it took me thirty minutes to find Maleficent, who was at what seemed to be a party. I blinked nearby and sat down next to her. "Aurora's safe in the castle, " I said quietly. She nodded slightly. Some of the younger fey came over to me, asking if I did magic. I said I did, and showed them a few tricks. Not the magical kind, just a few sleight of hand routines from my old life as a con artist.
A few minutes later, another young fey brought Maleficent a tree branch. She accepted and a few leaves sprouted off of it. A few moments later, the branch withered and the leaves died. She stood up to leave, and I followed. "What's wrong?" I asked.
"Humans. In the Moors. "
I nodded. "I'll be there in twenty minutes, max. " I blinked away, across the landscapes and biomes, up the tunnels, resting briefly at the top. Continuing all the way over the ocean, arriving at the Moors tired. I stopped a passing faerie and asked where the humans were. They pointed farther down the way, a blink and a half away. I rested a few moments, then blinked over. I saw about twenty soldiers setting an ambush for Maleficent. The field that used to be covered in tomb blooms was gone, with only a few remaining. The humans had come and taken what they wanted, destroying a piece of the Moors.
I heard Maleficent circle overhead, and knew I had to do something. I blinked behind a soldier, covered his mouth, and then blinked over the river. I separated from him, then blinked back to the field. Once I got my bearings, I realised I had been a bit off with the return blink. I was right under where Maleficent had landed, and my sudden appearance had caused the soldiers to switch their aim to me.
I blinked away right as they fired, causing them to impact either the tree or other soldiers. They reloaded and a fey flew out of the tree and began attacking the humans. Just a moment later, the remaining soldiers fired a second volley at Maleficent. I didn't realise what happened until after it happened. Another fey, the one that saved Maleficent, blocked the iron with his own body. Me and the other fey took out the soldiers. Once they were all gone, I stayed to defend the Moors while the others went back to the island to try and save the fey. Honestly, though? I just didn't want to make the trip to and from the island again.
I stood watch that night, blinking up and down the river bank, watching for anyone trying to cross. In the morning, I was tired but trying to stay alert. Before I went to sleep, I decided to update Aurora on the raid last night. I blinked to the hallway outside her door, but ducked behind a corner when I saw someone there. When they left, I walked over and knocked. "It's Tom. I have bad news. " The door opened and I stepped inside. Aurora was holding a tomb bloom. "Where did you get that?" I asked, referring to the flower.
"Philip said his mother gave it to him. But that doesn't make any sense, she's never been in the Moors. "
The truth hit me hard, and I knew I should've seen it before. "That's who it is. She ordered the attack on Maleficent, and sent soldiers into the Moors to take tomb blooms and attempt to kill her again. It's not safe here. For you, for me, for Maleficent, or for anyone from the Moors. You gotta come back to the Moors. " Before I could blink us back, there was an announcement from a large megaphone. It invited all Moors creatures to the wedding in three days, pretty much demanding they be present. "Oh no, that's how she's going to do it. They'll all be in one place, and she'll kill them all. " My mind raced, but the lack of sleep clouded my thoughts. "Aurora, try to stall the wedding, I'll figure out something. "
"I'll try, but I don't think I'll be able to stall more than a few hours. "
"I'll take whatever I can get. " I blinked back to the Moors, then back to my tree. I needed rest before I tried anything else. After a few hours of rest, I rounded up some of the Moors creatures. "The queen is not who you think she is. She ordered an attack on Maleficent, which nearly killed her. She was also in charge of a raid last night, which also almost cast Maleficent her life. The soldiers also harvested the tomb blooms in the field, for what purpose I do not know. We cannot go to this wedding. It puts you all at the same place at the same time. We must confront the queen and end this before it ends us. "
The Moors creatures listened to me, but failed to comprehend what I was meaning. Some of the replies were, 'Tomb blooms are pretty. Maybe they were for decoration at the wedding, ' or, 'we can space ourselves out so we're not all together, ' and, 'everyone makes mistakes sometime. If I saw somebody flying towards me I might shoot them, '.
I sighed and blinked outside Aurora's room. Two guards stationed there were surprised when I appeared out of thin air, so I was forced to slice them both. They wouldn't remember me when they came around in a few hours. The doors opened before I knocked, and I ducked inside.
"You killed the guards?" asked Aurora.
"No not dead, just asleep for a few hours." I sheathed my knives "You know I don't kill. Anyways, I have bad news. "
"The Moors creatures don't believe that they're in danger if they go to the wedding. I can't stop them by force either, there's too many and they might turn on me. "
"We'll have to deal with it when it comes. Get some rest so you'll be ready for anything. "
I nodded and blinked away to the Moors.