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  • Kelly J Massey

Short Story Part 8

Dawn drifted into the canyon bringing a gentle light to my closed eyes. I blinked before stretching out along the length of my bedroll. Startling a little at the realization of how close Nimbus slept to me. I glanced at his peaceful face and decided not to bother him as I came around. I would make a fire for us and lay out our breakfast, hopefully without waking him.

I gathered more tinder for the fire as Nimbus had already prepped our firewood for the morning. Amid the beautiful green of the canyon came the reminder that any plant who tried to stray far from the water wouldn’t survive. It was these brave souls that would surrender to the fire and once I gathered enough, I returned and smiled at the still-sleeping fae. It wouldn’t take long to prep everything now.

“Princess!” a loud voice echoed through the canyon. I flinched and Nimbus sat straight up. “Priiiincesss!”

My brow furrowed. “Is that really Cyrus?” I wondered aloud.

“Was Cyrus always loud?” Nimbus sat up and rubbed his head. He sounded annoyed which was not what I was going for this morning. “At least we have a fire. Did he spot the fire?”

“I haven’t noticed anyone else in the canyon this morning.”

“Princess!” Cyrus came puffing over to our camp, blabbering as he came. “I heard you went through the forbidden forest and I just couldn’t believe it. I set out to make sure you didn’t run across one of those foul fae.”

“Foul?” Nimbus asked.

“The fae treat me well and still take care of me even as we speak.” The energy from Nimbus softened a bit and I could feel his eyes on me.

“Yeah right, they can’t even be bothered with us humans since we started colonizing and building superior kingdoms.”

“Eliminating perfectly good forest to build a kingdom is wasteful and not superior in any way,” Nimbus replied as he leaned back on his arms.

“Ha! You sound just like one of them fae,” Cyrus challenged as he looked at Nimbus. His face turned gray.

“He is one of them, Cyrus. And he’s looked after me since finding me in the forest. You can go back to whatever it was you were doing before hearing about me from Freya.”

“Well, I, but—surely I can’t leave you in the hands of a fae?”

I sighed, feeling frustrated by the whole situation. My quiet morning had been ruined and now to have to engage a xenophobic lord from my own kingdom made me feel hot. Any more of this and I would end up regretting anything I said.

Nimbus took to his feet and drew his sword. “If you don’t trust me, why don’t you duel me? The strongest will escort Kezia on her journey.”

I held my breath. I had yet to see Nimbus fence or even use his sword on anyone, he seemed almost too peaceful to draw the weapon and I couldn’t imagine having to spend another minute listening to Cyrus. He had been awful back at home. What if Nimbus loses?

“No, no. It seems like you have it handled.” Cyrus backed away shaking his hands as though meant no trouble. “Kezia, best of luck in your journey.” He turned and jogged away.

I sighed again as a I sat down. “I’m sorry about that. Cyrus was always loud and obnoxious back at home too. I had no idea he’d find me out here.”

Nimbus smiled. “Nothing to fear since a fae is still taking care of you.” I glanced his way and he winked at me. I fought the flush from rising to my face. “Anyway, it looks like you’re taking care of us this morning. Let’s have some breakfast and be on our way.”

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