Just through the rainbow,

From the world we know, lies

Fairytopia

Dahlia mixed the potions before her into their butter-cups, careful to pour the right amount of each coloured powder into them. She lined them up and examined them critically: garnet, bright blue (perhaps too dark?), and…she sighed. The yellow didn't look quite right, no matter how many times she tried. Frustrated, she pushed back a lock of cotton-candy pink hair, wiped stained hands on her skirt, and re-read the formula. If she were to prove her self worthy as Laverna's apprentice, it had to be perfect.

A gooey-faced Fungus poked his over-large nose into the room. "What are you doing here?" Dahlia asked impatiently. She never liked those toadies, always fawning over Madam and scraping around the castle as if it were their personal trash heap (which was where they belonged, in her opinion). Besides, who could tell them apart? They all looked, acted, and smelled alike—horrible. Even their names were the same—all Fungus, and none too bright, either.

Ignorning her tone, the minion gallumphed in, pointy ears wagging with superiority. "Queen Laverna wants to see you, Dahlia," he sang. Dahlia glared. "She's not queen yet. Laverna will only inherit when the Enchantress dies, or abdicates, and I can't imagine any of you sticking around that long."

Fungus glared back. "That's what you think. Laverna doesn't tell you everything, you know," and with that stinging remark he left. The green-clad dryad didn't trust Fungus, but his cockiness made her worried and a bit suspicious. She quickly cleaned up and flew to the throne room.

Anyone approaching Laverna's thone tred a carpet painted sickly-dark by an overcast sky through prismed windows. Armed Fungus guarded every pillar along the way. It was meant to inspire fear and awe, and it did, no matter how many times she walked it. Dahlia had heard that the Enchantress, Laverna's twin and current ruler of Fairytopia, was fond of pastels and soft-white lighting. If that were true, the twins couldn't be more polar. Laverna preferred to cloak everything in shadow, even covering her dresses with black sheer cobweb, claiming it added more depth to her colors.

Before the throne Dahlia dropped to one knee and bowed her head respectfully. Only then did she notice the stains on her dress and tights, and tried unsucessfully to hide them as she rose. In an almost motherly tone, Laverna spoke. "Ddaahlia. You'll exhaust my powder supply at this rate." The nearest Fungus chuckled. Dahlia said nothing, knowing her lady's temper could change in an instant. "The time has come for you to leave such childish things and devote yourself to my newest, grandest project."

Dahlia looked up quickly. Could it be? Would she finally be Laverna's second, trusted with the entire castle at her disposal? Laverna leaned closer and smiled sinisterly. "Yes, my dear. The time has come for me to rule Fairytopia! From the Flower Fields to the Majestic Mountains, all will bow to my will and fear my name!..." Dahlia knelt stunned, not even hearing the last of Laverna's terrible announcement. She struggled to her feet to regain her thoughts.

"But, but what about the Enchantress?"

Laverna cast her a condescending look. "Ha! My sister will never see it coming. Once she's gone, nothing can stand in my way." When this did not elicit the expected response, she turned to her apprentice crooningly. "Of course I couldn't do it without you. The union point will be fragile, and someone I trust has to guard it when the time comes."

"No," Dahlia breathed, eyes wide with realization. "I can't help you destroy the Queen! It would bring Fairytopia to chaos!"

"I AM YOUR QUEEN!" Dahlia collapsed in fear, only to see Laverna face to face as the dark fairy zoomed closer and waved her blackthorn staff. "Ddaahlia. Everything can be as you've always wanted…" Dahlia felt her will slip away, as she had seen in many happless creatures before her. Laverna filled her world: gossamer wings behind dark-streaked hair, beauty mark on flawless skin, dark eyeshadow around white-pupiled eyes. "…Everything will be just the way you've always wanted it…"

"Just the way I've always wanted it," echoed Dahlia in a trance.

"Yeees. Now, stay with me, and your future will be assured." She signalled the nearest Fungus to her side.

"The union point," He raised his battle-axe…

"Yeees. Darling Dahlia." …and aimed for the throat exposed against the crimson-hued stone.

"My future will be…" Slicing steel reflected the rainbow into her eyes, which widened suddenly as Dahlia realized the danger. She rolled to the right as the axe clanged behind her and narrowly missed her wing tips. Panicked, she shot upward, out of the Fungus' reach, but not out of Laverna's.

"KILL HER! She'll ruin everything!" Laverna roared, shooting beams of white-hot light at her apprentice while the slower Fungus switched to bows and arrows. Dahlia zipped this way and that, dodging while franticaly seeking an exit, but to no avail. The guards had blocked all doorways, even the small back door that lead to Laverna's private chambers. Dahlia sought momentary refuge behind a pillar, wishing with all her might she could fly through the walls.

Wait! She flew out from behind the pillar, making sure Fungus armed with clubs and spears could see her. She flew tantalizingly close, then quickly hovered back. Come on, come on! she thought. She couldn't do this forever. One Fungus finally lost patience and hurled his club at her. It missed the dryad, but smashed the window behind her. Dahlia winced as sharp shards grazed her arms and wings, but didn't hesitate. She flew through the narrow hole in the window, away from the Laverna's enraged screams, away from the Fungus' clumsy attempts to follow, and away from the only home she'd ever known.