In the vast, deep forest of Sunnydale… long have I served as the guardian's guardian spirit. I am known as The Great Watcher Giles.
The children of the woods live here. All have a spirit guide in the form of a small fairy who leads them as much as they can.
However, there is one girl who does not have a spirit guide.
She dreams often of the horrors of the Hellmouth, but there is one dream in particular that haunts her often: she always stands before a great mansion made of stone. It is always raining, and she is always full of great apprehension. A girl on a white horse runs by. She watches the horse go and turns back to the castle to find herself face to face with a man clearly full of darkness and hate. He finds a way to disable her, and then she awakes.
I find these dreams very disturbing, though I have heard of them only through Angel, the spirit guide meant for this girl. I find myself calling for him now. "Angel? Angel, where art thou? Come hither."
The fairy appears promptly and glows appreciatively. "Oh Angel the fairy, listen to my words, the words of The Great Watcher Giles. Dost thou sense it, the climate of evil descending on this realm? Malevolent forces even now are mustering to attack our land of Sunnydale. For so long, Sunnydale forest, the source of life, has stood as a barrier deterring outsiders and maintaining the order of the world…
"But before this tremendous evil, even my power is as nothing.
"It seems the time has come for the Girl Without a Fairy to begin her journey; the youth whose destiny is to lead Sunnydale to the path of justice and truth.
"Angel, go now! Find our young friend and guide her to me. I do not have much time left. Fly, Angel, fly! The fate of the forest… nay, the world… depends upon thee."
"Hello, Buffy! Wake up!" The girl before Angel stirs in her sleep but does not rouse. Angel sighs. "The fate of the world depends on a lazy teen, huh? We're screwed. Buffy, get the hell up. The Great Watcher Giles wants to see you."
To this, the girl opened her eyes and stared at the fairy above her. "The Great Watcher Giles? That guy who talks like he's from the seventeenth century that Harmony's always guarding?"
"That's the one."
Buffy frowned. "Why?"
The fairy hesitated and glowed extra-bright. "I'll let him tell you. But you know Harmony won't let you pass unless you have some things."
Buffy sat up and stared at the fairy. "I'm sorry, have we met?"
Angel sighed as only a fairy can. "I'm Angel the fairy. I'm your fairy now. Now, come on. Let's get going. I've wasted enough time already greeting the forestfolk and running into that freaking fence outside your house."
The girl rubbed her eyes and sat up. "Alright, 'Angel'." She beckoned to the door. "Lead the way. Tell me what I have to get." The two of them walked out the door.
Buffy stood on her balcony for a second. A forestfolk named Xander came running up to Buffy's house and stopped short when he saw her. "Yahoo! Hi, Buffy!" he shouted, and waved.
Buffy grinned and walked down to greet him. "Yahoo, huh?"
Xander grinned back and shrugged. "Yeah. Thought I'd try something new in the greeting realm. I see you finally have a fairy. What's its name?"
"His name is Angel," she said proudly.
Xander frowned. "His name is Angel? What kind of a girly name is Angel?"
"Hey!" shouted Angel.
Buffy pushed Xander lightly. He went staggering backwards despite Buffy's intentions. "You better have respect for my fairy, Xander. Now I'm finally cool." She frowned. "Besides, he ran into the fence. Gotta give a guy some sympathy for that."
Xander laughed. "I've run into that fence so many times, and I've never gotten any Buffy sympathy."
"Look, I hate to break up the party here, but we have a Watcher to talk to, and a lot of things to do before we get there."
Xander glared at the fairy. "Fine, party pooper." He smiled at Buffy. "Good luck. See you later."
Buffy walked away and regarded her fairy with evil eyes. "Okay, Mr. Grump. What do I need?"
"The Dagger of Angel."
Buffy stared at her fairy. "You're making that up."
"Not really. The Great Watcher Giles named it. He's a big fan of mine so he named some dagger after me."
Buffy blinked. "That's weird, you know that? That's really freaking weird."
The fairy moved up ever so slightly and Buffy took it as a shurg. "It's a living. Anyway, go over there. There's a small hole in the wall that no one else seems to be noticing. Crawl through it. Beware of the giant rolling ball; just wait until it's on the other side of the square it rolls around forever without any real force being exerted on it."
Buffy did as he said and noticed that he was right. "Isn't that against the laws of physics?"
"Absolutely. Ignore it. Walk around the circle until you see a little crevasse with a treasure chest. The dagger's in there. Then go back to town."
"Aren't you coming?"
"Sure I am. I just like to say things all at once, and then when I have something to say I'll say 'Hey!' really loudly and talk a whole bunch more. Other than that, you can pretty much ignore me."
"Cool," Buffy said, approaching the treasure chest. She frowned. "Is that why you said 'hey' when Xander was insulting you?"
The fairy moved ever so slightly side to side. "No, that was me protesting to the insult. But I guess that was a little confusing, wasn't it?"
"Just a little," Buffy said. She opened the chest and the dagger leapt up above her head. She tried to reach for it, but it just hovered there barely above her reach and rotated. She realized that Angel was talking.
"You found The Dagger of Angel! Equip it, and watch your worries get slashed away by this formidable blade. Small but strong, it'll be helpful for any forestfolk. You know you can trust The Dagger of Angel, simply because of its snazzy name."
Finally the blade blinked away, and Buffy felt a small weight on her back. She realized the dagger was attached by a nice leather sash around her shoulder. She pulled it out of its holder and slashed at some of the plants that were around. They got cut off instantly. The blade shimmered ever so slightly. "Cool."
"You'll have plenty of opportunity to test it out later, but for now the Watcher Giles is waiting. We have to hurry. Do you have any money?"
Buffy shook her head. "I had a job lined up for today, but I guess that's out."
"No worries. We'll just rob from other people."
Buffy glanced at her fairy as she avoiding the rolling ball. "Okay, now I know you're joking."
There was a pause. Finally: "Not really."
"Don't complain, we're doing a favour for humanity here. You'll be forgiven. You only need enough to buy a shield."
Buffy sighed and emerged back into the quaint town, jogging lightly over to the store. A neighbour was perched atop and greeted her as she entered.
"I need a shield," she told the shopkeeper.
"40 rupees," he said mechanically. Buffy gaped and left the store.
"40 fucking rupees for a shield? Who does he think he's kidding?" she muttered to herself. Angel chuckled but didn't say anything. She ducked into house after house to steal their savings, ran through bushes and even found some money hidden beneath rocks. Finally she had enough. She went back into the store and bought the shoddy wooden shield.
The second the transaction was complete, the shield appeared once again above her head, rotating and remaining just out of her reach. Angel commentated: "You found this basic shield!" Buffy was about to correct him that she'd bought it, not found it, but then realized that she stole all the money and decided maybe it was best not to speak at all. Angel continued: "Any forestfolk can use this against the oddest of foes! Block swords, funny rocks, and even creatures who simply throw themselves at you and try to throw you off! Keep in mind that it is still wooden, and it will not work on fire." The shield disappeared and reappeared on her back.
"Okay, now that's just weird," she muttered to her fairy, and left the store without acknowledging the shopkeepers. She wandered over to where she knew The Great Watcher Giles was hiding and regarded Harmony coolly.
"Where do you think you're going?"
"Great Watcher Giles sent for me," she said matter-of-factly.
Harmony scoffed. "Yeah, right! Like anyone would send for a no-fairy loser like…" she blinked as Angel threw himself at her face. "What? Buzz off! Go find your own forestfolk to annoy!"
Buffy grinned. "Angel, back down." The fairy floated reluctantly back to Buffy.
Harmony was frowning. "Okay, so you have a fairy. Big deal. You were still the last one to get one. Besides, you still can't get through without being properly equipped with…" Buffy turned and gestured to the dagger and shield on her back. "What?! That is so not fair! Why do you get the Dagger of Angel?"
Buffy frowned. "So you really weren't kidding," she muttered to Angel, who grinned somehow.
"Fine! Fine, go through. If you want to meet your doom, go right ahead. I'm not going to stop you," Harmony said, putting her hand on her hips and standing at the side of the entrance, regarding Buffy with hatred or possibly envy.
Buffy grinned at her fairy at the two of them walked (or floated) through the small passageway. Buffy encountered some Watchers-in-Training on the way and quickly slew them with her new dagger, getting hit a couple of times but not having a problem. Finally she walked into a great clearing and Angel flew up to the man standing there… "Great Watcher Giles… I'm back!" he chirped.
"Oh… Angel… thou hast returned… Buffy, welcome. Listen carefully to what I, the Great Watcher Giles, am about to tell thee… Thy slumber these past nights must have been restless and full of nightmares.
"As the servants of evil gain strength, a vile climate pervades the land and causes nightmares to those sensitive to it… Verily thou has felt it. Buffy, the time has come to test thy courage.
"I have been cursed. I need you to break the curse with your wisdom and courage. Dost thou have the courage to undertake this task?"
"Uh… I guess. It's all going kinda quick since I just woke up about half an hour ago with a fairy, but sure. Why not?"
"Then enter, brave Buffy, and thou too, Angel… Angel, thou must aid Buffy. Buffy, listen well to his words of wisdom."
Buffy looked sideways at Angel, who moved slightly up and down. Buffy took that as a nod and walked toward the man. He stared at her intently and she shortly found herself in a glorious land that seemed oddly like the inside of a tree.