CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FORTY
“But …?” Nelson started.
“We have told your friends — Ava in particular — that you have taken ill,” Edie said. “That won’t stop O’Malley from sniffing around — he can smell magic and knows a lie — but Mari and O’Malley are great friends. You will stay here for a while until an accord is made or those who threaten you are no longer living.”
“Rest now,” Edie said. “We’ll be in touch.”
“Would you like me to sharpen your sword?” Nelson asked. “In return for taking care of me and Blane and the rest?”
Edie gave Nelson a long look.
“Can he really do that?” Mari asked.
“He is a weapons master by birth,” Edie said.
“I was sharpening blades when I was a child,” Nelson said. “Your sword needs real attention from someone who knows how to care for it.”
With a nod, Edie gave the sword to Nelson. She smiled at Mari and then disappeared.
“Can you really do that?” Mari asked. “Make a sword sharp again?”
“Do you have one?” Nelson asked.
“Your family made a blade for me,” Mari said. “A thousand or so human years ago. It’s a named blade …”
“The Fairy Princess,” Nelson said. His voice held a touch of awe. “The blade is only myth. Legend. It’s not on my father’s list because he doesn’t believe it exists.”
“It was a bride’s gift from someone,” Mari said. “He died after giving it to me. Killed by Shiva. And rightly so, I might add, although it infuriated my mother.”
“It would be my honor to work on that blade,” Nelson said.
Nelson dropped his head in real reverence. Mari shrugged and looked at him.
“You look exhausted,” Mari said. He looked up at her.“Why don’t you sleep for a while? All we have to do now is wait.”
Nelson looked at Mari for a long moment.
“How is it that you cook?” Nelson asked. “Your brother told us that no fairy can make food.”
“We can’t make it with magic, that’s for sure,” Mari said.
“But you can?” Nelson asked.
“I’ve been going to Chef’s school,” Mari said. “My best friend is Sissy Delgado. I was complaining that I love food but I can’t make it. She told me that if I wanted to know how to do something I should go and learn how. So I did.”
“It’s actually pretty fun,” Mari said. “So while it’s true that we fairies cannot make food with magic, it is also true that no one ever bothered to teach us how to cook.”
“Will you teach the others?” Nelson asked.
“Maybe,” Mari said with a shrug. “I managed to get myself banished.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Nelson said.
“I’m not,” Mari said. “I spent many hundreds of years stuck in the Queendom waiting for my mother to trade me to someone for something she wanted. Now, I’m on my own. I have a good man. He had plenty of money so I have lots of clothes and shoes and … I’m learning a trade. I have real friends. It’s pretty great, really. I’m happier than I’ve been in all of my long life.”
Nodding, Nelson stifled a yawn.
“Go on,” Mari said. “When you wake, I’ll make you some breakfast.”
Nodding to Mari, he went into his bedroom. Taking off his clothing, he realized that he still smelled like sex. He took a shower. More than a little intimidated by the fairies, he got in bed, if only to hide. He fell into a deep sleep.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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