Disclaimer: I do not own The Winx Club.
"She's finally ready," a white haired man said, clutching a beautiful lily, "After twenty one years," the flower in his palm shriveled up at his deathly touch, "She is ready."
Turning his blood red eyes pointedly to the scarlet crystal ball placed carefully in a sharp cradle in front of his throne, the man muttered harshly, "Show me Flora."
Like ripples in water, the cloudy crystal ball slowly revealed a striking young woman. The man, who had a stoic look on his face until now, showed something akin to a smile on his face. His harsh features masked his happiness, but his heart was secretly leaping in a sick, twisted joy at the sight of this fairy.
The brunette in the crystal ball frowned disapprovingly at the extremely large purple dress she was wearing. Swallowed up in the sinking gown and desperately trying not to reveal anything should the dress suddenly slip off; she twirled her light brown hair in her hands anxiously. Her furrowed dark green eyes looked over her entire body worriedly.
"Stunning," the man said, grinning greedily as he watched her slink off the dress with ease. "She's beautiful."
The man allowed the remnants of the lily in his hand to crumble to the ground in dried up pieces. Before the petals could touch the ground, they vanished into thin air. Nothing but dust remained.
"Oh, damn," groaned a female voice from behind the white haired man's throne, "What the spell happened?"
Disappointed by the interruption, the man growled and turned away from the vision to look back into the darkness of his throne room. There, leaning against the crimson cave wall, stood Stormy. She ran her bony fingers through her curly hair and shook her head.
"It's like an ogre hit me over the head with a bat," she groaned, rubbing her temples.
"I am glad to see you're finally awake, Stormy," the white haired man said, rising to greet her. "And don't bother trying to leave."
"Wasn't gonna," she moaned, focusing her blurred vision on her host, "Wait—" Peering at his well built physique, eyes lingering on his chiseled chest, she asked groggily, "Who the heck are you?"
The man grinned, stepping away from his throne so she could get a better look at him.
"You may call me Decay," he said, bowing politely.
In a flash of red light, his chest was inches from her face. Stormy looked up from his black jacket, blinking in shock. Decay snatched her left hand and placed a kiss on it quickly.
Pale fingers lingering on her tan skin, he added, "It's a pleasure to meet you, my dear."
Watching his smile waver, Stormy eyed him carefully.
"You have got to be witching me," she laughed, ripping her hand away from his, shaking it in disgust and placing it on her hip. "Seriously?"
"Seriously," Decay stated confidently, his smile not quite reaching his eyes.
Quirking an eyebrow up, Stormy glanced over his broad shoulders. She peeked over once to the right, then to the left. Decay looked down at her curiously. Deciding that Stormy didn't find what she was looking for, she looked him straight in the eye once more.
"Where are my sisters?" she angrily asked, her free hand clenched tightly.
Decay, not one to ignore details, gently placed his ice-cold fingers around her shaking fist.
"They are still where I found you," Decay answered, "Trapped in a stony prison surrounded by ice."
Stormy tilted her head, anger now forgotten. Yanking her hand away from him once again, she folded her arms over her chest. Like a pouting child trying to figure out a hard mathematical question, the wheels in her head were turning.
"So why'd you break me out of the Omega Dimension?" Stormy asked suspiciously, walking away from him to look around his throne room, "You want something in return, don't you?" She eyed the ruby jewels tightly sealed in the walls around them. "I'm not going to be a part of whatever you've got in mind." Turning on her heel to glare at him, she added, "Just so you know."
Decay watched as her feet clicked against the damp ground. Stormy tilted her head upward to look at the sleeping bats on the ceiling. She chortled.
"Not much of a palace you've got here, huh?" she snorted, walking up the short stairway to his throne. Turning around to plop down in his seat, she stopped when she looked out to the main hall. "It's a dump."
Decay frowned as her laughter filled the empty throne room.
"Now, now," he said smoothly, "That's not very nice."
"Have you heard of witches before, lame-o?" Stormy cackled, shoving her curvaceous butt down on his throne, "We're not nice." She kicked her heels over the armrest and leaned back as she laughed. "You don't have subjects, you don't have servants, you don't have chairs for your guests—you don't have anything!"
"Then how about we redecorate?" Decay bit out, the temperature in the room dropping several degrees.
Stormy, still laughing, ignored his tone and paid for it dearly. With the snap of his fingers, the very throne his ungrateful guest was sitting in bent at will, wrapping around the unsuspecting witch at a rapid pace. Burgundy putty melded itself to her curves, forcing her arms to her sides.
Mouth sealed over with the morphing chair, her muffled shouts were quickly covered up.
"Now that I have your attention," Decay said calmly, walking over to his struggling visitor, "How about we talk this over like rational adults?"
"I love this one!" Stella squealed, as Flora tried on another one of the many dresses her personal attendant had whipped up for her.
"I don't know," she said slowly, looking down at all of the green frills and turning in the three-way mirror, "You don't think it's a bit…" she tugged on the bow on her hip and grimaced, "Much?"
"Way too much," Musa said decidedly, smoothing out her red, sparkling ball gown before taking a sip of tea.
"Ugh, you guys are no fun," Stella complained, folding her arms and sinking in her fluffy pink chair, her yellow gown puffing up in the process. "Am I the only one who likes to play dress up?"
"Well, you are the only one who's liked the past twenty dresses," Bloom said reasonably, crossing her legs and shifting uncomfortably in her own green chair.
"I'd hate to think of what your closet must be filled with," Musa muttered, placing her teacup back on the glass and ivy table laid out in front of the Winx.
"I'll have you know that my closets are filled with only the cutest and most fashionable dresses Magix has to offer!" Stella exclaimed, pointing her gold-gloved index finger at Musa.
"Closets?" Tecna laughed, stretching her legs out and standing, lifting her skirt up to reveal bright green heels as she walked around in a circle around Flora on the pedestal thoughtfully, "Most people only have one, Stella!"
Flora wearily eyed the bright pink dress she was wearing. They had spent hours in her walk in closet trying to decide what she could wear for her birthday ball, and they were coming up with absolutely nothing! This was no good. None of the dresses she had been given really spoke to Flora. She turned to face her girls, her face crestfallen and a frown on her pink lips.
Hesperia, Flora's personal attendant, frowned at Flora's disappointed face. Brushing her light green hair behind her ear, her eyes nervously flitted anxiously from Flora down the atrocious dress.
"I—I'm so sorry, Princess Flora," she stammered, blinking back tears. "I'll go get you another dress."
Flora turned on her heel and cupped her assistant's cheek tenderly. She smiled brightly.
"No, no," she said calmly, "You're doing just fine," she patted Hesperia on the hand and motioned for her to sit next to Bloom, "Why don't I do something with it?"
With the snap of her fingers, three pink tulip petals flew out of her index finger. Flittering around her body, on at a time, sparkling sashes of magic covered the dress. Feet rising off the ground, Flora turned mid-air.
"Ooh, I like where she's going with this!" Layla said excitedly, flipping her dark brown hair over her shoulder.
"Silk like rose, soft like leaves, make a dress that no one will believe!" Flora chanted.
As green and pink light shone over her, Flora embraced the magic. Feeling the fabric around her morph, she opened her eyes to see what the spell had done for her.
"Oh wow, Flora!" Roxy exclaimed, her eyes wide in shock, "You look—"
"Like a rock star!" Musa shouted, pumping her fist in the air.
"You really think so?" Flora asked, twirling in the mirror to eye her sparkling pink and green floral print dress. Having no sleeves and only a light green bust, Flora was most definitely accentuating her good looks. She turned to see her back wide open.
"You don't think it's too..." Flora trailed off, pulling at the slit up her leg. "...Revealing?"
"Are you kidding me?" Bloom asked, applauding her friend for her fashion taste, "Helia won't be able to take his eyes off you!"
Flora blushed and bit her lower lip, turning once more in her sleek dress before looking at her friends.
"Aw, thanks guys," she said, her cheeks turning a deep red, "I'm so glad you all could make it to the ceremony!"
"Duh!" Stella said, smoothing out her yellow and orange ball gown, fingers dancing over the sun patterns, "It's not every day you see your best friend have her own flower power party!"
"It's called a 'coming out party,' Stella," Tecna stated, folding her arms and plopping back down into her pink seat. Her purple skirt puffed out around her and she had to push it down in order to see her friends. "And you're absolutely right," she thumbed over her green sash, "It's not every day this happens!"
"It's just a formal way of stating she's available," Roxy said, rolling her eyes, "Do I really have to wear a ball gown for this?"
"Hello!" Stella complained, leaning over Musa to get at Roxy, "It's a fashion faux pa if you don't wear a gown!"
Musa threw Stella off of her and gave her a glare. "Watch the dress!"
"I don't know," Roxy said, pulling at her emerald green dress, "I feel a little ridiculous."
"You look great, Roxy," Bloom replied, smiling, "In fact, we all look fantastic! Come on girls, tonight is going to be a blast!"
"Ugh, I can't stand this!" Stormy grumbled, tugging at her fairy disguise, "Did we have to come? We've only been here five seconds and already I want to puke."
"Of course, my dear," Decay chuckled, leading onto the castle ground. "I couldn't show up without a date, now could I?" He leaned in close to her. "And do you really want to get tied up to my throne again?"
Stormy grinned and pulled his arm tighter to her chest. "Maybe…"
"And think of this as your debut appearance as the Winx's villainess once more," Decay said happily. "I'm sure they missed you."
She ceased her grumblings as they came to the castle gates. Looking up to the palace that dwelled in the trees, Stormy grinned. Ripping that castle to shreds would be the easiest thing she'd ever have to do.
"Halt," said the two castle guards standing by, "Invitation."
"Invitation?" Decay asked, looking offended, "I am death itself. I don't need an invitation."
With a wave of his hand, the guards quickly fell to their knees in pain. Stepping over their unconscious bodies, Stormy lifted her dark purple dress delicately.
"I like your style," she said, nodding at his handy work.
"Really?" Decay asked as they stepped over the guards' bodies, "Some say it's a bit old fashioned."
Waving her hand, Stormy hide the bodies behind the bushes. There was no need for them to get caught just yet.
"Well, you do need to learn how to clean up after yourself," Stormy said maliciously.
"Forgive me," Decay said as they walked through the enormous gates and into the royal garden, "I am, after all, only a man."
"A handsome man at that," Stormy said, her voice laced with desire as she eyed him.
Walking through a firefly lit path, Decay led her through the garden confidently. He held tightly onto Stormy, making sure not to carelessly brush any of the foliage with his fingers.
"You understand what you are meant to do tonight, right?" Decay muttered in her ear, walking over a small bridge that lead to a guard standing in front of the only transportation up to the palace.
"Distract," Stormy sighed impatiently. "I've got it." She looked into his red eyes and smirked. "But what exactly do you have against the Winx?"
Decay smiled politely at the guard and helped Stormy onto the giant leaflet before he hopped on himself.
"Going up?" the guard joked.
In a gust of wind, the leaflet was spun up into the air. Stormy, nervous and not used to this form of travel, clung to the side of the leaf. Decay laughed and watched the sparkling night sky. He inhaled the fresh air and knelt beside Stormy.
"You asked what I have against the Winx," he said, helping her back up on her feet as the leaf slid into the palace landing pad. "Nothing."
"Nothing," she repeated as he helped her off of the leaf and onto the marble. "You don't hate them?"
Servants bowing on either side of the doorway toward the main hall, Decay acknowledged them with a nod. As they opened the glass doors, music filled Stormy's and Decay's ears.
The announcer stood next to the door and bowed before them.
"Lord and Lady…?" he prompted.
"Devlin and Sparky of Decomporsi," Decay said, grinning.
"Lord Devlin and Lady Sparky of Decomporsi," the announcer said loudly.
As they entered the golden ballroom, Lady 'Sparky' glared at Lord 'Devlin.'
"What?" Decay asked innocently, guiding out underneath the chandelier, "I do like your spark."
"When do I get to bust out of this costume?" Stormy asked, tugging at her pink wig. "I'm sick of posing as a fairy already."
"Patience," Decay sighed before muttering, "Maybe I should have left you tied up in my throne…"
"Excuse me?" Stormy snapped.
"Come," Decay said, pulling her toward him, "Let's dance."
"You ready for this, Helia?" Sky asked, nudging his friend in the gut as they waited patiently for Princess Flora to make her grand entrance into the ballroom.
"I don't think my heart is ever ready when I see Flora," Helia said truthfully, "Especially now that her parents are throwing her this coming out party."
He eyed the large crowed of suitors and guests apprehensively, swallowing nervously.
"When Stella had hers, I thought I was going to bust a vessel," Brandon laughed, sipping his nectar drink and glancing up the light pink carpet stair case to see if the girls had come yet, "If you thought fending off guys was bad before, just wait and see after this party. It'll get ten times worse."
Helia groaned and Sky laughed.
"Hey look!" Timmy said excitedly, "There's Tecna!"
The booming voice of the announcer declared, "Presenting Lady Tecna of Zenith!"
Using one hand to hold her purple hem up out of the way of her path, Tecna descended the flowery staircase. Her green eyes searched the audience carefully. Finally setting her sights on Timmy, a knowing smile broke out on her face.
"Excuse me, gentlemen," he said, tugging at his cape nervously, "Tecna is waiting for me."
Walking through the crowd, Timmy couldn't tear his eyes away from his girlfriend. She thumbed through her sleek hair once and let her hand fall by her side. Well balanced and poised, she made her way to Timmy, waiting at the bottom of the staircase.
"May I be your escort for the evening?" he asked, looking up at her with his hazel eyes.
Brushing a stray orange hair from his face, Tecna nodded. "Of course, Timmy."
He guided her out of the way when the announcer called, "Presenting, Lady Musa of Melody."
Musa, lifting up her red dress determinedly and clutching the banister, made her way downward. She glanced over at the orchestra to the left and winked at the conductor. The conductor, seeing her wink, blushed a light pink but gave her a slight wave before going back to directing the waltz. She grinned and turned back to look at the marble floor only to find Riven standing at the base, his head tilted away stubbornly.
"Musa," Riven said, covering his mouth and cheeks with his hand, "You, uh, you look, uh—"
"You don't look too bad yourself, Riven," she replied, grinning widely as she ended her descent, "And why, yes, Riven. I would love to dance with you."
Riven opened his mouth to protest, but Musa was already guiding him to the dance floor. He rolled his eyes and shrugged, still brooding from being seen through.
"Presenting Princess Bloom of Sparks and Princess Roxy of Earth."
Roxy glanced toward Bloom who was politely waving at the crowd. Roxy, taking her lead, did the same and held on tightly to her hand when they began to walk toward the ballroom floor.
"Just remember," Bloom said, her smile plastered on her face, "You're not alone."
Roxy anxiously looked toward the edge of the dance floor, an array of single men crowded around the horderves. She smirked cheekily.
"I most certainly am not," she agreed, watching as Sky pushed through the crowd of men.
"Princesses," he said, bowing respectfully once he reached them, "May I guide you to the waiting area for Princess Flora of Lynphea?"
"Why, yes, yes, you may, King Sky of Eraklyon," Bloom giggled, taking his offered arm and Roxy taking his other.
"Presenting Princess Layla of Andros and Princess Stella of Solaria," the announcer proclaimed, his face turning red from yelling so much.
"Hello people of Lynphea!" Stella's voice echoed through the large ballroom, "Best friends of Princess Flora of Lynphea here to take away some of the harsh treatment the spotlight gives others!"
Layla laughed as she leapt onto the banister and slid down. Hiking up her skirt, and zooming down, she was at the bottom before the audience knew what hit them.
"I've always wanted to do that," she laughed, looking back up to Stella.
Stella stomped down the staircase angrily saying, "Layla, why you spotlight stealer!"
Applause met her ears and flashes of cameras met her eyes. All traces of anger vanished, Stella put on a plastic smile.
"Please, there's plenty of Stella to go around for everyone!" the fairy said, posing for the tabloids, twirling in her bright yellow dress.
"Stella!" Bloom growled, using her light blue-gloved hands to push her friend toward Brandon.
"Oh, Snookums!" she cried, leaping into his arms and kissing his cheek, "I've missed you so!"
"It's only been six hours," he laughed, his brown eyes twinkling with amusement.
"The longest six hours of my life!" she dramatized. "Let's promise never to do that again!"
Roxy was gagging in the background jokingly with Layla holding her stomach and her laughter.
"Layla?" a male voice asked.
She gasped and turned around, her light green dress swerving with her.
"Nabu!" she yelled taking his hands in her own and kissing him lightly on the cheek, "I thought you weren't coming!"
"Plans changed," Nabu explained, "I couldn't help wanting to see you tonight. I'm so glad I came now." He smiled approvingly at her appearance. "You're breathtaking."
Layla twirled in her light green dress for Nabu and then embraced him.
Roxy threw up her hands in the air and pointed toward the crowd.
"I'm gonna go mingle," she said, "I'll catch you all later."
But before she could make a step in the opposite direction, the trumpets sounded and all attention was to the top of the staircase.
"Announcing Princess Flora of Lynphea," the announcer called.
There, in all of her beauty, was Flora. Her bright green eyes batting under the candlelight and a hand held up to keep from being blinded by the flashing cameras. She smiled bashfully, taking a step downward, her pink slit opening to reveal her silky smooth legs. Her jeweled flower tiara sparkled as she moved, her hair swaying with the swing of her hips.
"She looks fantastic!" Musa cried.
Blushing, Flora descended the staircase toward her parents.
"Flora!" her father said proudly as he engulfed his daughter in a hug, "You are the most beautiful flower here!"
Miele, standing by, looked up at him with a look of contempt. He chuckled and picked her up.
"Be calm, little one," he said, kissing her atop her red head, "Your time to blossom will come eventually."
"Thank you father," Flora said, coming to the end of the stairs and letting her hand drop to her side, "But you really didn't have to throw such a gallant party."
"It's tradition," her mother said, kissing her on the cheek, "One we couldn't let our heir miss!"
"Well thank you," Flora cried, hugging her parents, "You guys are the best!"
"Pardon me," said a male voice from behind her, "But I would love to have this dance with Flora."
Turning around and expecting Helia, Flora locked eyes with a man she was unfamiliar with. His red eyes flashed and she felt her breath catch. He bowed letting his silky white hair show itself off. Politely, Flora smiled uneasily.
"May I?" he asked, taking her hand without need of an answer.
"Well, I, uh," Flora said as he swept her onto the dance floor.
She looked over to where the specialists were and gave Helia a panicked look. They both had agreed that he would be the one she would dance the night away with. Flora hadn't expected another man to come and whisk her away.
"You look simply ravishing tonight, Princess Flora," the man murmured in her ear, twirling her in front of a hushed ballroom.
"Why thank you," Flora said, looking away so she wouldn't have to be so close to him, "Thank you very much Lord…uh…um…."
"Devlin," he helped, dipping her down and bringing her back up, "Lord Devlin from Decomporsi."
"Decomporsi?" Flora repeated, wanting to pry her fingers away from the man who had stolen away her first dance as an official adult, "I'm afraid I've never heard of it."
"Such a shame, my princess," he sighed, taking a strand of her brown hair and twirling it with his index fingers, "It really is quite a beautiful place."
"I'm sure it is," Flora said cheerfully, eyeing Helia approach them on the floor, "Now, if you'll excuse me—"
Lord Devlin, noticing her shift of gaze, knew someone was coming. He lead her away from whoever it was that was approaching and skirted across the floor. With everyone starting to dance, swaying through the couplings was working toward his advantage. He eyed her rosy cheeks and pink lips with desire. Gripping her warm hand, he couldn't help but feel the electricity pumping throw his veins.
"Princess Flora," Lord Devlin said, dancing her closer and closer to the balcony, "Might I have a word with you in private?"
"Oh, Lord Devlin," Flora said uncomfortably, trying to pull away but finding his grip was too strong to break away from, "I am terribly sorry, but the guests expect me—"
"I wanted to talk to you about investing in Lynphea's floral restoration process throughout the planets," he said, knowing this was a passionate subject for the young fairy.
Flora looked over his shoulder to see Helia's concerned face watching her through the crowd. Heart fluttering, heat rushing to her cheeks, Flora knew what to do.
"Lord Devlin," she said politely, finally able to break away from his grasp, "Even as passionate as I am about restoring nature in other planets, I would appreciate one night without politics."
He blinked, surprised at her honesty and upfront personality. He had been told she was a shy fairy, easily susceptible to others' manipulation.
"So if you will excuse me, Lord Devlin," Flora said, curtsying and walking past him, "We will discuss this tomorrow."
He opened his mouth to protest, but Helia had finally caught up to Flora.
"Flora, are you all right, my love?" he asked, eyeing his girlfriend.
"Yes, of course, Helia," she said, smiling as she took his outstretched arm, "Lord Devlin and I were just parting our ways for the night."
Lord Devlin smiled and bowed. "Of course, your majesty." Decay glanced at Helia. "My apologies for stealing her."
"Good night then," Helia said kindly, leading Flora away. He stopped and glanced back at the white haired man, "And Lord Devlin," he looked up to meet Helia's blue eyes, "She was never yours to steal."