I love you. He said I love you to me. He… "Brooklyn…"
"I get it you don't feel the same way. Same old story." I grip his shoulder so that he will turn back around and face me with what I had to say to him.
"Brooklyn. I love you too." Oh my god! Oh my god! My face is on fire!
"Finally. I thought we'd all be dead by the time you came to admit it Brooklyn. Not much on hints are you big guy?" The puck is back and yet another reason for me to blush. He leaned against the air as if it were a wall as he looked down at us from his high spot in the air. Brooklyn gave him an angry pierce of his eyes. "Calm down my reptile like friends. If you are starting to get jealous over the memory of the kiss shared between I and your love interest, keep in mind that was the plan all along."
"Plan for what? To give me a reason to knock you into last week?" I move his side pleading with him silently not to make a scene of any kind. All of us have had enough trouble with magical beings.
"Calm down Brooklyn. Don't turn the color of your skin. As I am an honest Puck, once more shall I restore amends. Subtle hints have I placed around you and her to seek what is but well known as hidden love. But those led to nowhere and I had to go to the direct method. One I do not love for the most part as it is not the one that offers the option of great fun. Still it got the job done. A kiss shared by both I and Ilaria, allowed you to stop and think on what she is to you. You thought and thought on it confused on if the feelings were justly so. They are and now you have confessed. Too bad that it has arrived so late when she will be forced to leave. Especially now that the girl who has been in love with you since the beginning now knows that you love her." How did he know? I haven't said anything to anyone about how I feel about Brooklyn and it wasn't like I advertised those feelings. What am I saying it's Puck, he has better luck finding out secrets than paparazzi magazines. Wouldn't surprise me if he started them.
"Not if I have anything to say about it." Brooklyn turned to me taking my hands into his firm but gentle. "We can run. If we keep going then he can never find us."
"I don't think it would work." I said sadly to him. "Oberon will never give up on looking for me and he will not be so merciful to anyone who tries to stop him. I don't want to see him hurt you even if that means I have to hurt you by going with him. Besides what about your clan they need you with them. You are Goliath's second in command. I can't be the one that has you choose between me and your clan." I put a hand gently on his cheek as he pulls me close to him wrapping his wings around my frame. Puck chose smartly to not say anything but let us be till the ticking feeling of time told us that we had to leave and inform the others.
Tenderly he held me in bridal pose and we flew across the sky to the clock tower were the others were. Bronx was the first to greet us with a leap he reached us at touch down. He dashed back and forth urging us to follow which we did into the living area. Hudson was not watching TV but was talking with Angela. Broadway and Lexington were playing a video game. It was Goliath and Elisa who were the ones that broke the ice.
"You were gone for some time Brooklyn. Trouble with the storm?" Goliath asked with a sense of baiting. Elisa took up the reel.
"We expected both of you back a while ago. Did something happen while you were heading here?" We didn't say anything. Unsure of how to say any of this to them. "Is something wrong?"
"If there is something bothering the two of you telling us is a wise move. Brooklyn? Ilaria?" I was the one who broke first.
"Oberon came back to Xanatos's tonight." That grabbed the others attention. Some started to voice concern over the agreement reached before. Others were quick to anger, still there were those who wished to remain silent and hear what else there was to known about our encounter.
"What reason did he give for coming back? I assumed that our agreement was binding by his own law about Xanatos's son." Goliath stroked his chin in thought as he spoke.
"It wasn't about Xanatos's son. Oberon came back looking for someone who he claimed was of his own blood." Brooklyn sneered at the last part before going on. "He just can't leave well enough alone." Before anyone could ask about what he was talking about I dove in.
"Oberon thinks that because I can do magic that I am one of his blood. I have less than twenty four hours till he comes back to…take me to Avalon." The news sinks in and Lexington is the first to voice something.
"He can't do that!"
"No way. He is off base. Ilaria is no more a child of Oberon than I am." Broadway pointed to himself for emphasis.
"Can he really do that?" Angela asked her father. Goliath shook his head before speaking.
"He can do so, but it does not mean that he should do so."
"I promised that I would go with him."
"Why did you promise something like that?" Hudson asked me. He sounded a bit hurt when he had said it and I get the sense that the others were feeling the same way as well.
"He was ready to take me to Avalon without a second thought as to who I would be leaving behind. I asked him for the twenty four hours of time. I wanted to all of you to know what happened. I also wanted time to spend with you."
"It's not fair!" Brooklyn shouted as his fists made contact with the metal of the clock's mechanical parts. This surprised the others about why he would act in such a way. "He shouldn't be allowed to take her! She belongs here! This is her home! With us! With…with me. She belongs with me." He didn't shout the last part instead he declared it. His eyes settled on me as he said it. Despite the circumstances I felt myself smiling and blushing at him and he returned it. The girls were the first to notice. Hiby spoke for the first time that night.
"Ohhhh! A most interesting development in our midst." She swung from the rafters above into the air and then morphed into a parrot that took roost upon Goliath's shoulder.
"I…I…I have no idea what to say on this." Elisa's head was swimming with this and that trying to fit things together like a puzzle piece. Angela became the most vocal. Her hands clasped themselves in delight over the realization and shared her thoughts with the rest of us.
"I think that it is wonderful. I should have foreseen the two of you as potential mates." Boom the bomb was dropped on the realization of the others and at that time two more showed up to the party. It was Juniper and Matt. Matt had his mouth hanging open. Juniper was rubbing her forehead like she was trying to turn back time with her mind. Everyone else not so sure, but Hudson was attempting speech.
"I am truly happy for the two of you." Angela said hugging the two of us. "But it is sad Oberon will separate the two of you."
"And the rest of us." Lexington said with his big sad eyes. I hug him.
"I hate the thought of leaving all of you. But if I don't who knows what Oberon will do." No one had a minor example of what he could do. From the experience with Oberon in the past we knew however noble the effort the less it could do. But a thought occurred to Juniper while rubbing her forehead. A thought that made her stop any movement she had.
"How could I have been so absent minded?"
"What is it, June?" Matt asked taking hold of her shoulders. She turned around to him grasping his arms as she went on.
"There is a loophole a very good loophole! Puck!"
"Puck?" Matt asked with the voices of Lexington, Broadway and Angela.
"Aye, that trickster is the answer." Hudson added.
"Of course. Oberon has Puck bound to teach Alexander magic. If Oberon wants to take Ilaria to Avalon to teach her, then we can point out Puck could just take another student."
"We're assuming that is the reason that Oberon has come to look for Ilaria, but I have a feeling that it is not the case. Ilaria, can you tell us exactly what Oberon said to you?" Goliath asked. Hiby imitated him with her parrot form.
"He said that he found out about someone who was part of his blood being under the radar and that he had come to collect them." I relay to him.
"That doesn't really give us any indication that he is concerned with your magic lessons. Perhaps we can contact him and convince him that you are not of his blood. But how do we come into contact with him?"
"Puck. You mentioned him before don't you think that he can get into contact with him?" Hiby suggested. Just like that Puck appeared.
"My ears were burning. What were talking about besides me of course? Come out with it we haven't got all night."
"Can you contact Oberon; we wish to speak with him."
"Goliath I have heard of some far-fetched things in my years, but getting me in exile to contact Big Daddy Oberon? Now why would he even consider coming here if I call him?"
"Please Puck. We hope to reason with him and see that he allows Ilaria to stay here with us." The floating immortal did not make merry as other times would have allowed, but instead he was serious and already forming the spell.
"For those who are searched for. And for others who are found. Come forth lord Oberon as you are honored bound." The light came as an orb spinning about before settling on the ground. It took form and grew larger and took shape. The shape of the king of the fair folk.
"There had better be good reason that you have summoned us. If memory serves you are banished from our fair isle. Have you come to beg us already to leave this world?" Oberon asked his nose in the air.
"Not quite lord Oberon. It seems that some people would like to talk with you." Oberon looked to find the gargoyles and me (now separate from Brooklyn). He knew full well what they were going to attempt.
"Why do I bother to offer time if all that is done with it is to come at war with me."
"We do not wish to wage battle against you, but talk with you." Goliath clarified.
"Fine you may have your time to speak. But don't expect much else." Oberon stated. His eyes remained focused on me to show that should something go wrong then well you could probably guess the rest. "After all there is little else we can offer you."
"Lord Oberon we believe that perhaps you are mistaken with Ilaria being one of your blood. She was on Avalon when the powers came forth. It is quite possible that just exposure is the root of her powers and not blood relation to you. Another concern is what her blood is made of. She is gorgon. Already they have powers it stands to reason that others may have developed over the generations before her."
"We can see a point, but at the same time we see another reason for her to come with us. If what you said about her powers forming while on the isle of Avalon then it proves that she is more than doubt ridden one of my blood. Avalon is connected with my children, my wife and myself. It stands to reason that when her powers formed they did so because the island found her. I feel more than convinced to take her to her true home."
"Her true home is here!" Juniper rose to face the white haired man. "She is not someone you can take away just because you have some bird brained idea that she is related to you."
"And just who might you be?" he asked not really interested in what she had to say but would do so out of his status of nurture.
"Juniper Cornwall. Ilaria's right and proper guardian." She said and waited for him to respond.
"Since the death of her parents it is my duty to raise and care for her. Not you lord Oberon."
"You dare to tell me what is and isn't my duty, mortal? Still we thank you for caring for her and raising her well enough. You shall be rewarded and relieved from your duties."
"You don't have that kind of power pal." She said more than angry that he was brushing her off like that.
"How dare you, you wench! I have powers your feeble mind can never comprehend and still you dare to tell me what powers you think I have!" A flick of his wrist sent her flying into the wall. Well it would have had Matt not moved to absorb the impact. I too tried to reach her but felt something lift me from the ground. It was Oberon he used his power to move towards him. "Goodbye to all of you."
Faces of shock and anger mixed with worry and fear were the last images I saw of my friends and love. The next I saw was a castle foyer.
"Welcome to your new home Ilaria."
"Take me back! We had a deal twenty four hours of time spent to say goodbye to my friends and family."
"We granted you time to say goodbye and you did."
"I was supposed to have twenty four hours and you know it." He ignored me and called out in a bellowing voice for the princess Katherine. She came in wondering what he had called her for, but then her jaw dropped in surprise at seeing me.
"Ilaria? What are you doing her lass?"
"Ilaria is our newest resident. Please show her to an empty bedchamber and have her get some rest for the night. I must speak with my queen and the others." No surprise he disappeared.
"Your highness, if you don't mind could you let me go see the Magus's grave before taking me to my prison cell?"
"Sorry Ilaria, best not to get on lord Oberon's bad side tonight."
"I'm already there."
"No arguments. Instead tell me what it is that you are doing here?" The princess led the way and followed after up the stairs.
"Oberon showed up when I was babysitting or watching over Xanatos's son Alexander. First thought that popped through my head when he showed up was that he was going back on his word and was going to take Alexander away. He didn't instead he said he was looking for someone of his blood that had escaped the Gathering. He went nosing about. I used some of my new found magic ability and then he comes to the ridiculous conclusion that I must be one of his blood. He was going to give me twenty four hours' time to say goodbye and such. But that went out the door when we summoned him to talk about why he was wrong about me being of his blood. He got into a prissy fit and brought me here way before my time was up. Oh and get this not before trying to send my friend and basically sister into the wall. I tell you the more I get to know this guy the less I seem to like him."
"I admit he is a bit hard to work with at times, but give it time. He will come to realize that you are not one of his own and then he shall return you back to the gargoyles and your family. For now…" We stop outside a door that she opens to what is my temporary room. "You should get some rest. Staying up this late is not good for a growing young lady. Good night and pleasant dreams."
"Good night princess." I say before closing the door. I hear her footsteps walk away from the door and then I check the handle. It wasn't locked, not that it would do much good. If I even managed to get out of the castle without anyone noticing there was no guarantee that I could get off the island. Not like there was a ship waiting to take me home. There isn't really a use for the beings of this island to have a boat really. If there was one I could take it and end up in Japan again. Or I hope not Norway. The cold really bothers me.
In the end I climb into the bed and drift into a state of sleep. I awoke I think after five hours of sleep. The sun was up and there was no sign of anyone there to explain what else was to happen since I am here now. So I climb out the bed and make up my mind to see the Magus. I still remember the way to the place that had once been the cave of the sleeping king. Now the resting place of the Magus. Before entering I pick some flowers to lay I respect to him. I look on at his form still encased in flesh. He looked like he was sleeping and that in a way made me feel a little less sad. It also is a little less sad to know that others still remember him. Fresh flowers had already been laid.
"I had a feeling you would be here." It was Titania. "Imagine you only knew him a short while and yet you act as if you had known him for years."
"It's funny how some bounds form like that." I say laying the flowers I had picked next to the others.
"I do have a reason for coming here."
"Let me guess. Because you didn't find me in my room you have come to collect me for some meeting that Oberon has set up."
"Not exactly. Though my husband would like to set up something of that style. It is not Oberon who has called for a meeting, but Grandmother and the Lady. They say it concerns you heavily." Grandmother I remember. She was a sweet old lady, but who was this Lady? Better to just go and follow her. Maybe something good will come out of it.
Brooklyn POV (shortly after Ilaria's abduction)
"He took her! He took her and I did nothing!"
"None of us could do anything." Reasoned Lexington.
"It doesn't matter what everyone else could do! I should have done something! I practically let him take her."
"Stop beating yourself up about it." Broadway said.
"Easy for you to say, you don't love her."
"I love her! Just not in the romantic sense."
"We all care about her, lad. And we all want to see her home with us. But fighting and blaming ourselves isn't going to do anything for us or her." Hudson said while he helped Matt and Juniper with the aid of Angela. Elisa and Goliath were going over ideas. But it was Hibby that found a solution of sorts.
"Yes, little parrot." Hibby changed back into her human form both delighting and exciting the merry prankster. "Oh my apologies then. To what name do you belong."
"Hibiscus, friend of Ilaria. I have a feeling that you are not telling us something."
"Right on the dot I am afraid. Something that very well will change everything you may have known about your dear friend."
"What are you talking about?" I ask him. He disappears into the air thus irking me to new point. Just who did this guy think he is? Houdini? At least that guy bothers to reappear.
"What I have to tell all of you cannot be told at this time and place. Seek me tomorrow night at the old familiar haunt. All of you know the place the time of course is something to consider. Perhaps it should be right when you wake. So take care in this stake and keep in mind that change is near and you shall know of it when you come to hear the tale I have to tell." Can't he just say things straight out. And what is wrong with telling us right now? I get my answer with the rising sun.
I follow the queen Titania back to the castle and into the foyer. I was prepared for seeing Grandmother, meeting this Lady and hell even Oberon again. Because who else was I going to see. Apparently it was going to be every single child of Oberon that there was. I recognized quite a number of them from the adventures I had with Elisa and Goliath. Some of them I was pretty sure that they weren't happy to see me. The Banshee for one, but she couldn't really voice her anger this time since she had her mouth covered. And of course the three backup singers and who could forget Anansi. But one of them was staring at me oddly when he saw me. It was Raven from Canada. He was staring at me intently like he was thinking out some big joke to pull on me. When I caught his stare he gave a smirk in my direction. Before he turned around and disappeared in the wave of the crowd. We stop in front of the three who had the meeting come together. Grandmother smiled at me in that sweet old lady way. I greet her first.
"Child it is good to see you again." Before she gives me a hug. "I had heard you have had quite a number of adventures perhaps you can tell them to me later."
"I would be glad to."
"Hello Ilaria. I am the Lady of the Lake." She was beautiful. Pale like moonlight and just as mystic. Is it weird that I thought that she would have blue hair, since she is named the Lady of the lake? "It was so long ago when I had last seen you."
"We've met? I think remembered meeting a child of Oberon. Unless you were in disguise or something. Was that the case?" I ask her. She smiles and with fluid motions shakes her head no.
"When I had last seen you I was as I appear to you now. Same in form and manner of dress. But you would not have been able to recognize me. You were quite small when I last saw you with your father." I think I know how she was able to meet me as she first said.
"Oh I get it. You as the Lady of the Lake are able to travel in bodies of water, right? Because my Dad and I did spend a lot and I do mean a lot of time around water. You saw us. Am I right?" Again she shook her head. "Then how is it that you met me?"
"We." She indicated to Grandmother. "Have something to tell you. All of you." She looked around to all those who were inside the foyer. "It may be quite hard to hear for some. Specifically you Ilaria. What we have to tell you. Is the truth about your past."