AN: Ughhh, this is me, Kitty, and this is my first submission of fanfic to this account. And lemme tell ya, it's been years since I've written fanfiction, so please, if you have any concrit, give it to me. I'm only proud of this these in some places, but I had to get it out of my heeeeead! xD Also, I should mention my headcannon can get cracky, sometimes, such as Fairies being extremely small as babies and one characters hair being a different color. But that later is due to something that... curses them, per se. [/spoiler lid is on the pot, man]
Moving on, this is my Christmas gift for my irl bff and the other person I share this account with, Hime! I reeeeally hope you like this, girlie, 'cause I got stuck a lot on it, but talking it over briefly with you helped a lot, 'cause I forget some details here and there.
Regardless, enjoy, everyone! And Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Disclaimer: Odin Sphere and its characters belong to Vanillaware and Atlus, respectively. I own nothing and am making no profit for this, just sheer joy with a spattering of nervous fretting.
Rhythmically, footsteps trudged through the forest. Heavy breathing mingled with the soft clanking of armor and the swinging of a lantern in hand. Every so often, the owner of these things would glance about the area-whether for fellow kinsman or an unspoken enemy-as he stopped a moment to catch his breath. This continued for several minutes until he happened upon three fairies. One he recognized as the Queen's child, Mercedes, with golden hair and young wings that she was free to fly with. The other two were easily guards, judging by the fact one already had her bow out and a arrow nocked in preparation. Doubtless, she had heard his approach.
"A soldier?" Mercedes inquired.
"From the border," confirmed the one that seemed ready to shoot him between the eyes. After a moment, she put her weapon away and addressed the fairy soldier. "What troubles you, friend?"
He didn't hesitant for a moment. "I've come to report to the Queen. The Dwarves have refused the proposal for peace, and what's worse, they accuse us of kidnapping one of their own."
A frown appears on the face of the fairy that stands by Mercedes. "Have they any proof?"
"Likely not. Merely the suspicion that comes from too much squinting at gems in the dark," answered her comrade, but the fellow guard gave her a glare at her words. Tsk. "Pardon my tongue, friend." she apologized swiftly, before turning back to the soldier. " I'll escort you to Her Majesty. Indra," she didn't even look up as she addressed the other fairy. "You'll take Princess Mercedes back to the palace."
A nod, and then a glance back to where Mercedes was. Or rather, should've been. She gave a small sound of shock that the other two couldn't help but notice. "She's gone, Urvi."
"Don't just stand there. Find her, and quickly." There was an secret Or it'll be our heads heard only between the two.
Mercedes had a problem.
Of course, she knew the reason why this problem came to be. Born to privilege entailed certain things, especially when peace and becoming allies were concerned. Though, she didn't see any reason why they should negotiate for friendship with Dwarves, whom were happiest amongst their mountains and fistfuls of jewels; while the Fairies prospered with their natural fortress and life-giving Phozons. The two races couldn't be any different. As such, things had been a little trying for all. Especially since there were rumors of the Dwarves and their ways of creating weapons and their uses. Which brought the issue back to her aforementioned problem.
Guards. Accompanying her, to be precise.
They weren't bad Fairies by any standards. Dutiful to their Queen and heir, to be sure. But, well… She was young, and wanted a day to herself, free to choose what she wished. And it was something she hoped her mother understood. After all, she had been young once, too.
Turning around a corner, she blinked curiously as she came face-to-face with what appeared to be another young Fairy. Brown eyes stared back at ruby-reds for a long moment, before the soft sound of someone approaching reached their ears. The sound wasn't what she would've hoped to hear; that of a dress rustling and strong wings beating that belonged to her mother. Instead, it was a slow and calm padding of shoes on marble. Without thinking, Mercedes reached for the boy's hand and pulled him along after her back down the way she originally came, save for an unexpected turn or two. At length, they reached an area outside the palace when she at last let go of him, and he jerked his hand away in the same instant.
"Oh. Sorry," she said, with a nervous laugh.
"Why did you drag me out here?" He let his hand fall to his side, and glared.
"Well." A moment of hesitation before jumping in. "I was looking for my mother, when I ran into you. And I probably would've ignored you, but someone was coming-"
"That was probably my father," he said, somehow sliding in a answer in between all the talking.
"Regardless," she waved it off and continued. "I'm, uh, not exactly supposed to be out on my own, so that's why I dragged you along with me. You would've probably told your father you had seen me."
He gave her a blank look, almost as if to say he wouldn't have cared either way. And sighed. "Where are we?"
She glanced around as he had before, and it took her only a moment to answer: "The forest."
"We're lost, then."
"Not at all," she replied, shaking her head. "We're not far from the palace, and the nursery is nearby, too." When she said 'nursery', he gave her another of those blank yet questioning looks. It caused her brow to quirk a little. "You know, the nursery." Nothing. "Where you were born?" The last sentence came out as more of a question than a statement, seeing as, well... A Fairy that didn't know the forest like the back of their hand was a strange concept to her.
He shook his head. "I wasn't born there."
And things became stranger still. "What? But how? You're a Fairy just like me, no?" With that, she moved towards him and then around behind him, intent on proving something, gliding gently with her wings. Though he tried to move away at first, she quickly grabbed a bit of his shirt and pulled up the back. She stared at the smooth flesh before her. No wings. Quickly, she pulled the white material back down and he moved away from her.
"You keep doing that."
"Sorry, but… it's so strange." There wasn't even any sign of wings forming, so he certainly wasn't a late bloomer. And he didn't seem familiar with the place. "You aren't a Fairy, right? And aside from the Unicorn Knights, I haven't met many of the other races. So, what are you exactly?"
The boy almost seemed used to this question. "…Human."
"Oh." She tilted her head to the side, as if a different angle would show her something different. "You don't look that much different from me, though." It was true. His hair was spun gold, like hers, and he was only just a bit shorter than her (though perhaps that was because she was hovering off the ground still).
He shrugged, not knowing what to say to that exactly. His answer had been given, after all. "If you don't mind, I'd like to get back. My father'll be wondering where I am," he glanced behind him, as if he expected the father in question to appear at any moment.
Mercedes, however, wasn't accepting that so easily. She frowned. "Oh, but I dragged you all the way out here. You have to let me show you something to make up for it!" And she was reaching for him once more.
It was too late. She had him in her grasp and wasn't letting go as she whisked him away.
The leaves of a bush were parted carefully as Mercedes and the boy stepped through. The Phozons that were present near the capital seemed like a spare fireflies compared to this place, where thousands of the glimmering lights were gathered together. Above the trees, lighting the way, or floating along by their feet, like some odd species of bug or small mammal. Tentatively, the boy reached out to touch one that came right by his ear and his hand went through it, before apparently being pushed off by an invisible wind. He stared at his hand, wondering perhaps if there would be some sort of imprint from such a thing. But there wasn't.
He looked up from his hand and to Mercedes, about to ask where they were again, when she silenced him with a small shake of her head and pointed towards something in front of them.
Phozons were coming together on colorful mushroom, blurring into themselves and others into a condensed orb of mauve light. It stayed there for a moment, warm looking and inviting, before it took a different shape. It shake and the form became smaller and smaller until it looked something like a small bug.
After a moment of lying curled up on the fungus, the bug sat up straight and stretched itself. Then, with shaky legs, it stood up and tried to walk a little. A stumble or two later, it seemed to haven't gotten the gist of it and grinned to itself. Suddenly, another like it peeked over one side of the mushroom and then crawled up to greet it.
"This is the nursery," came Mercedes' voice at long last, barely above a whisper. "Where new Fairies are born and stay until they're big enough to leave." She stepped over a stray rock and walked over to the two. The newborn tilted its head curiously, while its new companion walked into Mercedes' open palm with the air of one familiar with such occurrences of the Queenling coming here. After a short moment, the new born came, too.
The boy observed the entire scene in silence, since it all seemed so surreal. All the colors and sounds and smells. Everything was like a fever induced dream he would wake up from and perhaps leave forgotten in the back of his mind. "They're so small," he said, simply. The little ones barely peeked over the height of Mercedes' thumb.
She laughed, truly and with a light air. "Well, of course. Weren't you small once, too?" As the question came, one of two on her arm waved at the boy, pleased to see a new face.
"I suppose," he relented, waving back a little at the figure in her hand. "But I don't think ever in that way."
Must be a human thing, she thought, as one of the small Fairies tugged at her thumb gently and pointed in front of her. "Ha, I think she likes you," she teased, holding her open palm to him. The small child was without knowledge of class, race or the prejudice that grew like fruit when the two came together.
He hesitated, but at last held out his hand, too, and the Fairy skipped lightly over the small gap between their hands and took a hold of his thumb. Gently, he lifted the Fairy up closer to his face in wonder. It grinned at him, all sunny disposition even in a forest where trees hid the sun itself.
Surprisingly, he smiled back at it. Small, yes, but a smile nonetheless.
"Doesn't look like this was a bad idea, after all, huh?" She was just as surprised by his expression, and not very good at hiding it with her wide eyes. Nor in her tone.
"I think you should thank me, then."
Seemingly, he remained deaf to the request (or was it an order?) as he placed the Fairy back on the ground, where it scampered off to somewhere unknown. The newborn saw this and immediately gestured to be put down so it could follow after. Mercedes sighed. "Then how about your name? It's not often a human gets to see the nursery, so."
"I thought this was you showing me something as an apology for dragging me halfway 'cross the forest," he was quick to retort. She faltered for a moment, glancing sideways as if a better argument was carved on a nearby tree or rock.
"Fine, you win," she said, not without a huff. "C'mon, it's getting late, so we better get back." Starting to fly off a bit, forgetful momentarily of her companion's lack of wings, stopped as she heard a name.
"That's my name."
Honestly, it came out of the blue. She blinked a bit, then placed a hand on her chin in contemplation. "Oswald…" she turned it over on her tongue and in her head, testing it out. Welding and attaching it to the boy at last. "It's a nice name," she said, shrugging of a familiar air to the name. "Mine is Mercedes."
Unlike her, he didn't try out the name. Or at least, not out loud. He simply said "I see" and nodded, accepting it quickly. Almost as if he suspected it all along.
If he had anything else to say, he never would find the time for it, as at that moment a large Fairy with a bow and arrows came forth. "There you are, Princess!" A sigh of relief escaped her lungs. "I was worried a minute there, when you took off so suddenly," she paused, noticing Oswald and giving him a once-over. "Friend of yours?"
Mercedes nodded numbly. "Yes, and… I'm sorry, I wanted to show him this place, so-"
"Your secret is safe with me, for now. But now, we've got to get back, so if you would?" A nod for them to follow, and the guard was off, glancing back once to back sure they weren't left behind.
"I guess we should go, then." Oswald nodded at her words and went ahead first, and she after.
Their meeting was once of chance. Of mistake yet no ill fortune, at least between the two of them. After it, a brief war broke out between the Fairies and the Dwarves. In the end, the fair race won on grounds of a misunderstanding and the Dwarves offered their services to them as an apology. They were always a creative race, not allowing themselves to be forever digging and placing gems on crowns and other royal things. They carved stories into wood, captured and placed the stars on ceilings and mined life itself.
One such famous Dwarf was one that worked best in the latter of those mentioned. His name was Brom, and in all his life of creating weapons so beautiful to a warrior, he would never create such a weapon as the Belderiver. It would be held by many users in its long life, taking all to the death they gave so freely with it. All but one.
In wielding the Belderiver, it was as if Oswald was consumed in flames. His hair turned to bleached bone and his eyes were like hot, round discs of metal. And so would remain that way for years to come, until…
As for Mercedes, she failed to see him again very often after that day. Especially once he gained a hold of the blade, and the prejudice of humans became something different. Fear, anger, hate. All condensed and thrown at the Shadow Knight.
But still, for one brief moment they would have an afternoon to themselves.
As all children should.