Episode 6 Chapter 3

“Where’s Oboe?!” Thistle banged his tiny arms on the kitchen table. “You said she’d be here!”

Theodore frowned at the fresh ink smudge on the report he was writing. The first thing he’d done after returning home was send a messenger bird to Thistle to let him know Oboe was okay. Before sunrise, the sylph had stormed the office, demanding to see her.

“All I said was she’s safe,” Theodore said. “We should give her time to process everything. It’s been a very traumatic week. She’ll come back when she’s ready.”

Thistle climbed onto the table. “If I find out you’re lying to me I’ll make you dream nothing but nightmares the rest of your life!”

Theodore folded his letter into an envelope and sealed it. “She’s fine. Trust me. Just be patient. You can go home, I’ll tell her to visit you.”

“But there’s a chance she’s coming?” Thistle said.

“It’s possible.”

Grumbling, the old bug sat on a stack of books and waited. As grouchy as Thistle was, Theodore was grateful for the distraction. His mind was restless, swimming with thoughts about what he’d seen in the Circle. He was anxious to see Oboe again, but needed to trust her promise to come back. On top of that, there was the matter of the item he brought back with him.

“Thistle… Do you know anything about magic swords?”

He let out a snort. “Don’t insult me, human. Any sylph with half an education has studied alteration magic.” He grimaced. “Even if we can’t all make a living at it.”

Theodore went to the broom closet and retrieved his father’s broken sword. He set it down on the table in front of Thistle. “Can you tell me anything about this?”

It was like the air was sucked from the room. Thistle stared at the blade, all eyes stuck open. There was no smart remark, just a fearful silence.

“Are you okay?” Theodore said.

“This spell…” Thistle said. “It’s wrong. Dangerous.” His antennae twitched. “Hungry.”

Theodore hoped for more information than that. “Is it unsafe for you to examine?”

The sylph sneered at him. “I know what I’m doing! Just give me a moment.”

He hesitated, but reached out. He pulled away the moment he touched it, gasping, scrambling away and falling off the table onto the floor. “Get rid of it!” He said “Destroy it! Melt it down! It’s bane! Fey bane!!”

“What?” Theodore said.

“It’s a weapon to kill fairies, to tear our magic out! Why are you just standing there?! Cover it up!!”

Unsure of what to do, Theodore searched for something to cover the sword with. He found some canvas cloth in the cellar and wrapped it around the sword with rope. Only after this was done did Thistle work up the courage to get near it again.

 “Why do you have this? Where did it come from?”

“I found it in the Fairy Circle while looking for Oboe,” Theodore said.

“What?? Are you joking?! What was it doing there?”

 “…It was stabbed through the chest of a nymph,” Theodore said, wondering how dangerous this information was. “He said he was trapped like that for years.”

Thistle looked horrified. “That doesn’t make sense. A scratch from this thing should be fatal. Poisonous. Just being near it hurts. There has to be other spells on it too.”

“You aren’t sure?” Theodore said.

“Oh, I’m SORRY!” Thistle curled his upper lip. “Was that not helpful enough? How about you stick your hand in some boiling water and tell me what temperature it is! I’m not touching that thing again!”

Theodore weighed the sword in his hand, staring at his family’s crest on the pommel. “Could a fairy use this against another?”

Thistle folded his arms. “Not likely. The user would get weaker every moment they held onto it. Bad for a serious fight. No. I’d wager it was made for a human to use, and that’s a political scandal waiting to happen. Your old kings swore magic like this would never be woven again. Not that the word of a human is worth much. Still, you’d have to be a real sicko to use this thing on someone.”

The sword felt heavy. Theodore tightened his fist around it, growing angry. What was his father thinking, bringing this into the Fairy Circle? Was he trying to start a war? “I need to get to the bottom of this,” Theodore said. The University would be able to tell him more. They had the equipment to dissect the spell properly.

“Good,” Thistle said. “I hope you put the creep in their place.”

Theodore would’ve liked nothing more, but it was too late. Lance was long dead. The whole kingdom remembered the man as a hero, but this sword was proof of something Theodore knew all along. His father was a killer. Lance had broken the treaties and used illegal magic to harm a nymph but no one knew. It was an insult to an alliance as old as Laien itself. Theodore needed to do something. There needed to be some semblance of justice. It fell on him to find the truth.

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