It had been months since Mulgarath had been destroyed, and all was calm at the Spiderwick mansion. The Grace family had finally settled down, and repairs on the house were coming along nicely. Everything was peaceful. And Jared Grace was bored out of his mind.

School had just started, and he hated his teachers (and classes, of course) and couldn't seem to find a break with his classmates. Sure, at least he wasn't pegged as a "geek" like Simon, and given grief about it, but at least Simon had other geek friends to hang out with. Who did Jared have? No one. Okay, he hung with some of the skater guys in homeroom, and the popular crowd had deemed him worthy to eat with at lunch, but they weren't "friends". All social interactions ceased the moment Jared exited the school campus.

Maybe it was because he had a bit of a temper, so no one stayed around him long. Or, maybe no one asked him to hang out after school because his temper, more often than not, managed to land him in detention. Or maybe people were just too creeped out by the old Spiderwick mansion to come stay at his house.

But all the different reasons didn't matter. Not really. The point was, it was a weekend, Jared was bored, and he had no friends.

"Hey, Mallory," he called out as she walked past his room, "where are you going, all dressed up like that?"

Mallory, Jared's older sister, stuck her head in the door long enough to say, "It's Friday night, you idiot, and I've got a date!"

Jared just hmphed, and blew the hair off of his forehead in response, as Mallory headed down the stairs, and out the front door.

"Maybe I need a haircut," he mumbled as he walked down the steps from his room to the kitchen. "Hey Mom," he called, "do you think I need a—"

"Not right now, honey," she said breathlessly as she raced through the room, grabbing her briefcase and keys on her way to the door. She paused at the threshold, kissed Jared on the top of the head, and said, "Honey, I have a meeting to go to, Mal's on her date, and your brother's at his 'nature club' thing. Can you be in charge until I get back?"

"Who'm I supposed to be in charge of? Thimbletack?!"

"There's a good dear, just…don't break anything 'til I come home, 'kay?" Helen said distractedly.

And then she was gone too, leaving a very bored, lonely, and angry Jared behind.




The small faerie cowered before the being in front of her.

"You try my patience! I am speaking plainly! I will ask once again, answer me now, sprite. Is this, or is it not, the territory of the ogre Mulgarath?"

The small pink sprite trembled, certain of its imminent doom.

"Oh, for the gods! I am not going to eat you, sprite! Just answer the question!"

"Really?" a small voice questioned.

"Really. What, did you think I was going to do with you? I simply had a question, approached you, the nearest faerie, and expected some sort of answer! It is not that hard!"

"Well, you are quite scary," the sprite said, in the soft, flowery way that sprite's do.

"Yes, well, moving on. I have no desire to—scratch that. I will not harm you. Given all the trouble you've given me, I'm afraid you've riled my temper."

The small faerie jumped, and squeaked, "This used to be Mulgarath's territory, but he is gone now, and no one rules here. Well, maybe the children with the book, but no—"

But at that very moment, the creature in front of the sprite sneezed, scaring the sprite into immediate flight, preventing further inquiry of Mulgarath, and a certain book.

"I suppose the next stop, if Mulgarath is no more, is to visit these children, and inquire what book they might have, to make a faerie think they may take the ogre's place."

With those parting words, the new creature continued its venture through the forest, a dark stain in a sea of green, just as Mallory was getting in her date's car, and Helen was driving off towards her meeting, leaving Jared home alone.