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September 2014

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Tsuritama

Happily Maybe After Part VII

Wow, part 7, guess I should strike that short story label and just make a book out of it ;P Anyway, this chapter is focused on the one and only Pax. Enjoy :)




~ Pax the Mighty ~




Once upon a time there lived a little pixie called Pax. Ever since Pax had come into the world, the other fairies were certain that she was meant to do great things. And as she grew older, it became apparent that they should be proven right.
However, there was only one small problem: Pax herself.
Unlike the other young pixies, Pax couldn’t care less about becoming a fairy godmother. All she was interested in was good food and copious amounts of alcohol. There were also complains from other fairies that Pax never seemed to know who they were – yes, even her parents, who she thought were just two random pixies sharing her house.
The pixie elders were worried. What were they to do with a pixie like that?
Years passed and then, all of a sudden, a solution presented itself: Faye, queen of one of the more obscure little kingdoms, requested the guidance of a fairy godmother for her youngest child. As everyone in the ten kingdoms knew, the queen was more than a little crazy, and rumours had it, her youngest child came after her. It was worth a try. And so the elders took their chance.
Before Pax could do so much as blink in response, they carted her off to the lonely little tower in which the queen’s daughter – who was really a son – was to spend his childhood until the day her (his) Prince Charming came to free her (him). (There wasn’t a single soul in all the ten kingdoms, who had even the slightest idea what Faye was thinking, but not only her husband, yes even her son in question humoured her happily, thus, no one objected.)
It was love at first sight. Finn was every bit the beauty his mother was, and had the same wicked personality – they seemed to have been made for each other (a fact no one argued against, underlined by the even more astonishing fact that Pax remembered the boy (including his name) perfectly from the first moment on). And so they spent many happy years in that little tower of theirs – or rather mostly outside, playing with Finn’s brothers and roaming the woods.
Until, one day, Finn’s “hero” arrived (Pax thought him wanting, but Finn genuinely liked him and he was amusing, so Pax grew rather fond of the homely young man). Together they left the tower and embarked on a journey full of adventures, a happy (infernal) little trio – and Buttercup the noble steed – to live happily ever after. Maybe.
The end.



“To be honest, your mother didn’t seem that crazy to me,” Bran said and took a deep draught from his beer.
Pax chuckled into her whiskey. “That’s because she was too busy planning your wedding,” she explained. “You’ve never been to one of her legendary parties.”
“Her parties?”
“Oi, Finn, don’t you still have one of her invitations?”
“I think I do.” Finn dived for his pack and started rummaging through it. As the minutes stretched, Pax noticed the confused look on Bran’s face. She smiled and signalled the bartender to bring her another two shot whiskey. Finn’s pack was her ingenious work and she was rather proud of it herself. It was always light to carry, but that’s because it was always empty. There was nothing in it apart from a portal – to Finn’s rooms at the tower. It took some exercise to navigate it, but Finn had learned quickly – as he always did, he was Pax’s work, too, after all, in a sense. At last, Finn reappeared, brandishing a card of heavy, expensive paper, engraved with gold letters.
“Here.” Bran took the card from him and read: “I hereby invite you and your imaginary friends to a lovely little get-together on… Imaginary friends?”
“Yes,” Finn said. “She says her imaginary friends would feel left out if there were only real people around.”
“And people actually go to her parties?”
“Of course, everyone knows they are the best in all the kingdoms, so they indulge her in her little eccentricities.”
“Except for Sleeping Pill,” Pax remarked.
Finn nodded. “The first time she was invited, she made the mistake of bringing her husband without getting an extra invitation for him. Ever since then my mother thinks he’s not real.”
“You’re pulling my leg,” Bran chided.
“Nope. Ask her next time, it’s all true.”
Bran still looked dubious, but he didn’t say any more about it. Pax slurped her whiskey, contentedly watching her boys as they chattered on about something or other. That’s how she had come to think of those two young men – as hers. In all her short life of barely 277 years, Pax had never believed it possible that she’d ever be so fond of anything other than booze. It still surprised her, and even more so, that it wasn’t just Finn. When had she begun to think so fondly of the bumpkin? Really, she couldn’t recall how that had happened, nor how in the world they had met in the first place, but it didn’t matter to her, Pax was never too bothered about the details. He was one of them, that was all that did matter.
“Excuse me,” a tiny voice came out of nowhere in particular, interrupting their merry chatter. “Excuse me, sirs?” Finn and Bran looked wildly about, trying to locate the source of the voice. Pax, having an advantage due to her considerable height and her excellent vantage point from where she sat on the table, spotted it almost at once. She coughed delicately and pointed at Finn’s glass. The prince picked it up and revealed a tiny figure standing behind it. The man was even smaller than Pax, diaphanous wings fluttered nervously, his hands fiddling with a gold circlet.
“Um… um… they said you might be able to help,” he piped anxiously.
“Who are they?” Bran wondered.
“Um… um… I don’t know, sorry.”
“Nevermind.” Finn waved the issue away. “You said you need help?”
“Um… yes. See… um… I’ve lost my wife.”
“You’ve lost your wife?”
“Yes. In the lawn out front.”
For a moment no one spoke, nor did they dare looking at each other in case they might burst out laughing. Obviously the little man was seriously agitated though. After a few uncertain moments, Bran cleared his throat.
“Okay, so you want us to help you find her? No problem. What’s your wife’s name?”
“Thumbelina,” the miniature man replied, brightening.
Finn and Bran stood up, Bran let the tiny man ho onto his outstretched hand, and turned to go.
“Pax, aren’t you coming?” Finn asked, looking back over his shoulder.
“Nah,” she answered. “You’ll only be out front. I’ll stay here an have a drink or thirty more.” She flashed Finn a huge grin and he chuckled.
“All right.”
When they were gone, Pax finished her whiskey, then Finn’s cider and finally Bran’s beer. Latter was better than she had thought. Pondering if she ought to order another pint of better yet the whole keg, she suddenly found herself in the company of three ugly goblins. The one on the right was cross-eyed, the one on the left hunchbacked, the one in the middle, though, looked unusually sharp for a goblin – and it was a female. Pax hadn’t known there were female goblins. It did spark her interest – mildly and only for a second.
She turned to call for the pretty blond barmaid, when the she-goblin snapped at her: “Where’s the Goblin Slayer?”
“The what?”
“The Goblin Slayer! Where is he?”
“How should I know. Have you misplaced him?”
“Oh, you think you’re funny, don’t you?”
“Do I? Well, my sense of humour is far superior after all.”
“We’ll see about that, bug. Grab her,” the female goblin commanded and turned to leave. A cold, rough hand closed around Pax. Cross-eye unceremoniously picked her up and stalked after the other two.
Pax looked back at the table. “My straw! It’s custom made!” she whined reproachfully.




Pax was sitting in the middle of a huge cage, legs folded under her, arms crossed in front of her chest, glowering at the trio of goblins.
“That drinking straw has cost me a fortune,” she hissed.
“What do I care about your stupid straw?” the she-goblin retorted.
“You better start caring then. Should I not get it back any time soon, I’ll make you regret the day you were born.”
The goblins took an involuntary step back, eyes bulging at the fierceness in Pax’s voice. She-goblin was the first to recover. She shook her head and cleared her throat, then said slowly and emphatically: “Tell us where the Goblin Slayer is.”
Pax answer was just as slow, less emphatic, but more like she was talking to a particularly daft child: “I have no idea, nor do I even know what a Goblin Slayer is.”
“Fine, have it your way. Sooner or later you’ll talk.” And with that She-goblin stalked off. Hunchback and Cross-eye remained behind, fidgeting uncomfortably.
“You!” Pax barked, irritated. “Get me a drink!”
“Wh-what?” Hunchback stammered.
“A drink! Whiskey, ale, whatever as long as it has a few spins in it. What are you waiting for?”
“Um… well, she said not to-“
“Oh, did she now? Whoever ‘she’ is, she obviously knows nothing about pixies. We run on that stuff. So unless you want me to burn down this ramshackle whatever it is, you’d better give me some booze.” To emphasise her words, Pax’s green eyes began to glow dangerously, electric blue sparks flitting across her spiked hair.
The goblins squeaked. In their haste to comply they bumped into each other a few times before they had themselves sorted out and each scrambled for another cupboard.



When Finn and Bran finally returned from their quest, clothes stained with grass and dirt, they found their table vacated.
“Where is she?” Bran asked, checking beneath the table just in case.
“I don’t know, that’s not like her, to just go wandering off – at least not when she’s in a tavern,” Finn replied, frowning.
“Not unless she has already drunken it empty, and it doesn’t look like she has.”
They made their way through to the barman to enquire after Pax, but the lanky man just shook his head.
“A pixie you say? Sorry, can’t help you. It’s been pretty busy and a pixies is very small…”
“She would have ordered immorally large quantities of alcohol,” Finn added.
“Hmm, no, sorry, can’t help you.”
Dejected, Finn took a look around the almost empty tavern. Something had happened, he just knew it. Pax would never leave him.
“Don’t worry,” Bran said, putting a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “I’m sure we’ll find her.”
“But how?”
At this very moment, the barmaid appeared beside them, holding a very thin, very long straw out to them. “You’re the ones who came here with a pixie, right? She forgot this.”
“Bran,” Finn gasped, reaching for the straw, “this is Pax’s magic drinking straw. She’d never ever leave it behind, if there’s one thing she doesn’t forget, it’s this. She had it custom made.”
“Say,” Bran turned to the barmaid, “did you see when and where she went?”
“Hmm, not long after you two went outside. She left with some goblins.”
“Goblins?”
“Yes, I’ve found that rather strange. What’s a pixie got to do with goblins? But they talked for a moment and then one of them took her and they left.”
“Took her? You mean to tell me they kidnapped her and you didn’t call for help at once?”
“Didn’t think anything of it. She didn’t seem scared or anything, just called for her drinking straw, but the goblin didn’t seem to hear her with all that noise.”
Oh, but you heard her, Bran thought wryly, but refrained from saying it out loud. Instead he asked: “Can you tell us which way they went?”
“Yes. They took the small deer track up into the woods. It’s just behind the tavern.”
They didn’t lose time. Equipped with lanterns bought from the landlord, they headed out into the woods.
“Don’t worry, Finn, we’ll find her.”
“Oh I’m more worried about those goblins,” Finn replied with a grin and the two young men burst out laughing.



The she-goblin had gone off somewhere, leaving Hunchback and Cross-eye to guard their prisoner. They sat facing the big, rusty cage in which they had locked Pax in, staring and gaping at her, while she emptied one glass after the other. It didn’t take her long and the six bottles of beer and two bottles of rum were gone.
Pax fluttered out of the empty glass, sat cross-legged down in front of it and stared back at the goblins, luminous eyes huge in her tiny face.
Minutes passed. The goblins began to fidget. At last, Squinty jumped to his feet as if stung in the arse by a hornet.
“What? What do you want?” he cried, a whine in his voice.
“What I want?” Pax asked incredulously. “How about more fuel? How about something to eat? What kind of service is this? Are you letting all your guests starve?”
“We’re not your hosts, you are not our guest. You are our hostage.”
“Oh, is that so? Wouldn’t you have to kidnap me or something to hold me hostage?”
“Well, we did.”
“HA! Ridiculous. Wimps like you couldn’t even kidnap me were I unconscious.”
“But we did. And it was really easy,” Hunchback sneered. Pax burst out laughing.
“What a delusional gremlin,” she cackled.
“I’m a goblin. And I’m not delusional.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Pax wiped tears from her eyes and took a deep breath. “So,” she said, serious again, “food. Drinks. Now!”
“But-“ the goblin’s protest died instantly, snuffed out by the electric spark coming off Pax and the dangerous glint in her eyes. With much clatter and banging, the two goblins scampered off once again, suddenly very eager to fulfil their guest’s wishes.



The she-goblin was not amused, when she returned and found Pax’s cage surrounded by a feast. Roast chicken, potatoes, sweet bread, gravy, apple pie, cinnamon rolls, steak and pudding were standing in easy reach of the pixie’s tiny hands. A tankard of fresh ale stood in the middle of the cage, a whole barrel just behind the roast chicken.
“What the hell is this?” She-goblin screeched.
“What’s it look like, missy?” Pax mumbled around a mouthful of potato. Hunchback and Cross-eye cowered miserably in their seats. “You can have one of the chicken’s wings. But only one.”
“It seems you still don’t understand your situation,” the female goblin fumed. “You are our hostage.” Pax chuckled, waving the comment nonchalantly away with a drumstick. “Where is the Goblin Slayer?” She-goblin angrily ripped the drumstick out of Pax’s hand. “Tell me, or you will get not a morsel more to eat. And no more alcohol.”
Pax blinked slowly at her. “I’d really like to help you, but I know no Guppy Mayor.”
“Goblin Slayer!”
“Ah, why didn’t you say so before?” The female goblins face brightened, a smile playing on her thin lips. “Don’t know that one either.”
“Argh!” the goblin snarled. “Tall and dark, rides a white destrier and is always in the company of his beautiful princess-fiancée and – a pixie!”
“Hmm…” Pax scratched her head, contemplating. “Nope, doesn’t ring a bell.”
The she-goblin threw her hands up, screamed something incomprehensible and stomped her foot angrily before dashing from the room and slamming the door.
“Got quite the temper, that one, eh?!” Pax commented and reached for a cinnamon roll.
It didn’t take long for the female goblin to come back, slamming the door behind her again for good measure, and firing at Pax: “Where’s the Goblin Slayer?”
“Dunno.”
“Where’s the Goblin Slayer?”
“Dunno.”
And so it went on for a long while. Once, Pax tricked the goblin into false hope, when she suddenly held her hand up and said: “Wait, I think… dunno.” She was rewarded with another furious outburst, more stomping and Squinty being kicked from his chair, then they resumed their game.
Eventually it occurred to Pax that the three goblins seemed awfully obsessed with this Goblin Slayer person, and that perhaps they were in fact members of some obscure cult and were trying to proselytise her. So when the female goblin asked again “Where is the Goblin Slayer?”, Pax replied: “Within ourselves?”
“Wh-what?”
“In our hearts? Or maybe, he’s the essence of all life?”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I don’t know, you tell me. You’re the crazy cult members.”
“Ha? Who said something about a cult?”
“You didn’t?”
“No.”
Pax shrugged, fluttered into her tankard and slurped the rest of her ale. She flew out again, took a look around, found all food eaten and all drink drunk. It seemed the evening was over.
“Well, fellow gremlins-“
“Goblins!”
“- it’s been a pleasure, but it’s time for me to return to my companions.”
“Companions?” the she-goblin immediately seized on the new information, hope sparkling in her beady eyes.
“Yup.” Pax nodded. “My baby Finn, Bollocks and the cow.”
Three goblins stared at her in confusion, before hastily putting their heads together.
“Did we get the wrong pixie?”
“Can’t be, she fits the description perfectly.”
“Yeah, but… a cow?”
“Did you see a cow at the tavern?”
“No. Did you?”
The rusty creak of the cage door opening ended their discussion. They looked up and found Pax floating in mid-air right in their midst.
“What are we conspiring?” she whispered.
“How did you get out?” Hunchback screeched and took a step back. Squinty even made a warding sign against evil with one hand.
“Through the door.”
“It was locked. I locked it. Here, I still got the key.”
“Pah, key.” Pax waved a hand dismissively. “Don’t need no key.”
“Do… do you mean…?”
“Pixie. Magic.” Pax rolled her eyes at the goblin. Just how thick could one single goblin be?
“But you didn’t do anything,” the she-goblin argued.
“What should I have done?”
“The usual. There were no sparkles.”
“That nonsense is just show for kids.”
“No song.”
“I’m not the singing type.”
“No magic words.”
“Magic words? What do you want me to say? Bibitti Babitti Boo?”
The room was instantly filled with the sound of three goblins screaming hysterically, and three loud pops. Amongst the suddenly rising smoke, three pairs of goblin eyes stared at Pax unbelievingly and wide with shock (honestly though, Pax couldn’t be sure Squinty was really looking at her). A second later, the goblins were gone, leaving nothing behind but clouds of smoke.
“Woah,” Pax sighed, awed by herself. “I should use magic words more often.”
Just then, the door to the hut flew open and Finn, followed closely by Bran, hurried inside. The two young men coughed and waved the lazy clouds of smoke aside.
“Pax?” Finn called.
“FINNY!” Pax cried and their eyes met across the room. For a moment the world seemed to stop and hold its breath. Joy like none other filled their hearts.
“Finny,” Pax whispered.
“Pax,” Finn replied equally softly. And then they were moving, crossing the miles that lay between them – and Bran rolled his eyes and sighed, exasperated. His friends seriously had a love for the dramatic.
Moving exaggeratedly slowly, it took them almost five minutes to cross the approximately three steps between them and fall into each other’s arms (as much as that is possible with someone of Pax’s considerable height).
“Finn, I’ve missed you so much,” Pax sniffled.
“I thought I’d never see you again,” Finn sobbed.
“Oh please, it’s been two hours!” Bran threw his hands up and shook his head, but suddenly found himself in the thrall of two luminous green orbs.
“Banzai,” Pax mumbled.
“What?”
“BANZAI!” And with that the pixie flew straight into his face, showering it with tiny, feather light kisses that made Bran laugh. Only then did he realise she had meant him – and for once, he didn’t correct her.
“So, what happened?” Finn asked eventually.
“I’m not really sure,” Pax replied. “There were those gremlins, and I think they wanted me to join their weirdo cult.” She shrugged and pulled a face. “Oh, but the food was good, the service though… Drinks were also kind of sparse.”
“Oh, that reminds me. Here.”
Finn pulled a very thin, long something out of his pocket and held it out for Pax to take. Her face lit with joy again when she saw what Finn held.
“My magic straw!” She snatched it from Finn’s hand, stroked it lovingly and rubbed her cheek against it. “Oh, you my magic straw, how I’ve missed you,” she crooned.
“Good to know we’re on the same level as some drinking straw, eh?!” Bran chuckled and Finn grinned back at him.
“Okay, let’s go drink!” Pax announced.
“From the looks of it,” Bran pointed at the cage surrounded by platters, bottles and even a whole barrel, “I’d say, you’ve had enough for one evening.”
“Please. I’m just getting started.”
Laughing, they left the hut and slowly made their way back to the tavern.
“Hey Pax,” Bran said. “What did happen to those goblins anyway?”
“Why, I defeated them with my nigh impossible magic prowess, of course!”
“I see.”
They had a good time walking down the deer track, joking and laughing, the moon glimmering through the trees and down the slope the lights of the tavern shone warmly and invitingly, welcoming them back. A warm, fuzzy feeling spread in Pax’s tiny heart as she sat on Finn’s shoulder and regarded her boys. Hers. Yes, that’s what they were: hers all alone, now and forever.
A contented smile tucked at the corners of the pixie’s lips.


End of Part VII

Comments

♥ Pax :D
 photo tumblr_minyvj1yBA1rshzuyo1_500_zpsfbbca10c.gif

Yeah, Pax - the crazy big sister of my muse ^^
Btw, why not make a book out of it, fairy tale retellings are all the rage now ;) My dash, for example, is currently raving about The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.
Hmmm, Lunar Chronicles... heard that name before.... might have to check it out.

Sooner or later I guess it'll end up a good book size ;D As long as I can come up with stupid things, I'll stick to it ^^ Let's see what'll happen ;)