Chapter Four: How the Other Spirits Found Out
Trixie Eden couldn't have been more surprised when the Easter Bunny leapt out of his rabbit hole and into her domain. The spirit of spring had been sitting on a smooth boulder in the forest, happily humming to herself as she wove daisies into a flower wreath. She pulled the stem of one blossom through the loop made by another and tied it off.
A line of flowers was standing in front of her eagerly, each of them anxious to be added to the wreath. Their petals and faces were the head, their stems were the bodies, their leaves were arms, and short, thin roots acted as legs. One daisy hopped up and down excitedly when Trixie reached down and picked it up without taking her pale, jade green eyes off of her masterpiece.
Soft sunlight streamed through the thin canopies of the trees around her, giving the spirit light to do her work. A thin mist floated through the forest all the time, making it seem beautiful in the day light and eerie at night.
"Hmm… one more," Trixie mused thoughtfully after estimating how many more flowers she would need in order to finish the ring.
Upon hearing this, all the flowers went into frenzy, emphasizing themselves by jumping up and down. Others tried to get her attention by letting loose puffs of pollen. While another group of daisies were attempting to leap up onto Trixie's boulder but were quite unsuccessful.
Trixie picked the flower that was nearest to her, and the other daisies all sank in disappointment. "Don't worry," the spirit told them with a smile. "I'll be making thousands of these wreaths when March comes. You'll all get your chance, I promise." she then turned back to her craft and began to weave the last flower into the laurel.
Suddenly, a giant hole opened in the ground before her, swallowing a dozen of the flowers standing nearby. Then, a Pooka jumped out with the fallen blossoms on his head, making it look like he was wearing a crown.
The flowers scattered in fear as Bunnymund lifted himself out of the hole and dusted off his fur.
Trixie blinked at him curiously. It's been a long while since her distant cousin came to visit; almost sixty years, actually. She slid off of her boulder and quickly smoothed out the wrinkles at the skirt of her white skate dress before speaking to Bunnymund. "Why are you here?"
She grimaced as her words came out harsher than she had expected. Trixie didn't socialize much, and therefore she had a hard time talking to anyone besides the flowers and animals that live in her forest.
"It's good to see you too," Bunnymund replied sarcastically, crossing his arms over his chest. He must have caught the small amount of hostility in Trixie's voice.
The spirit of spring winced in shame that she had hurt the Pooka. She bowed her head before looking back at the rabbit who was a good seven inches taller than her. "I'm sorry, Bunny, I really am. It's been a very long time, and I didn't mean to sound unfriendly. I'm just surprised that you're here all of a sudden." She sighed and grinned apologetically. "It's good to see you, Bunny."
Trixie must have sounded sincere enough as Bunnymund relaxed and even smiled a little. He looked around at the trees, new grass, flowers, and animals that inhabited the spirit of spring's domain. "This place hasn't really changed much, has it?"
"I like it the way it is," Trixie replied simply, fidgeting with the wreath of daisies she had finished. "You know I don't like change, Bunnymund, and neither does my flowers." She gestured in the direction of an ancient oak tree behind which large groups of periwinkle were hiding, watching Trixie and Bunny's exchange.
"How are Tooth and Sandy?" the spring spirit said to the Easter Bunny, trying her best to be polite. After attempting to observe the manners of humans, Trixie had learned that asking about a visitor's family usually leaves a good impression. "Are… are they doing alright? I heard that North – "
"Don't embarrass yourself, Trixie," Bunny interrupted smoothly while inspecting his paws. "I know bloody well you couldn't care less about the other Guardians. So quit acting like you do. We both know you're just trying to make conversation, but don't make to conversation about something you don't want to talk about. You'll only be torturing yourself."
There was a long silence while the spring spirit grimaced at her social awkwardness. She always did her best to take whatever advice Bunnymund was willing to give her about interacting with beings besides plants and animals. Yes, it was true that Trixie really didn't care how the Guardians were doing. She was only striving to be cordial around people, a goal that she had been working toward for over two hundred years. Sadly, she couldn't say that she had made any real progress.
"Just why are you here, may I ask?" Trixie finally asked. This was a topic that she did want to talk about. "If you only want to visit for no direct reason, I know you would have come a long time ago. So tell me, dear cousin, why have you come to my realm at this time?"
Bunnymund hesitated for a split second but recovered very quickly. He purposely hopped onto the boulder that Trixie had been sitting on before. "There's something you ought to know, Trixie…" he began with the spirit of spring gazing at him expectantly. "It might come across as a shock to you."
"And why is that?" Trixie responded immediately.
Bunny decided to get straight to the point, not paying attention to the fact that he sounded very severe. He explained about the prophecy North had seen at the Workshop and about how the other Guardians are already starting to make preparations to keep Jack safe from the Event.
"But Scarlet and Augustus," Trixie said with worry. "They don't know about this. We have to tell them!"
Bunnymund shook his head and grabbed the spirit's arm to keep her from wisping away. "No, no, no, no, no. Are you nuts? We don't want them to know. If they find out, they'll bloody declare war on us! It's better if they don't know anything about the Event. That makes them an easier target, and your chances of living would be higher."
Trixie scowled at him in sheer horror. "How care you say that, Bunny? To keep this from Augustus and Scarlet is the most unjust thing I have ever heard." She ignored the bewildered expression that crossed the Easter Bunny's face. "It's like cheating. All the spirits should have an equal chance of living through this Event. It would be unfair and completely barbaric to leave Scarlet and Augustus while I go into hiding to save myself."
"'Fair'?!" the Easter Bunny demanded. "At a time like this, you're still thinking about playing 'fair'?! Are you bloody insane?"
"I know Scarlet and Augustus would do the same for me," Trixie replied defiantly.
"Of course they will," Bunny muttered sarcastically as he jumped down from his boulder and began to pace back and forth over the soft grass. "You know bloody well they won't give you a second thought, Trixie! Especially not that Augustus; he'll be out to get Jack. This is summer's chance to show that he's better than winter, and Augustus won't let it slip away. Listen to me, Trixie," he grabbed the spirit's feminine shoulders.
"I know you're all about peace and serenity and trust and all that. But I'm telling you, Trix, if you want to live, you have to look out for yourself. You're lucky I ditched Jack to come and help you – "
Trixie's eyes widened, "You ditched a fellow Guardian to help me instead?!"
"That's not the point!" Bunny was getting hysterical. He hastily resumed his pacing, "Not telling Scarlet and Augustus about the Event doesn't count as cheating. Quit kidding yourself, Trixie, if it were the other way around with the spirits of summer and autumn knowing the prophecy and us being the clueless ones, we both know that they'll choose not to tell us. Because they use their survival instincts!
"To survive the Event, you have to increase the possibility that the other spirits would be caught off guard and easily taken down by whatever the disaster will be. And what better way to do that than to keep this information to ourselves? You want to live, don't you?"
"Of course I do!" Trixie snapped with mild irritation. "But… maybe we can form an alliance or…"
Bunny sighed and face-palmed, "Scarlet Sycamore cannot be trusted, let's just make that clear. Augustus might be decent enough to have as an ally, but he's going after Jack. And if you ally yourself with summer, I won't have any blooming chance of convincing the Guardians to help you, too."
The spirit of spring wanted to argue, but she knew that Bunnymund was right in every way. She could hope that summer and autumn would play fair, but she couldn't be absolutely sure. She met Augustus a few times, and he seemed like a good bloke; very gentlemanlike, quite serious, a bit stoic, and also very handsome. But his first target would be Jack Frost of winter who is a friend of Bunny's (sort of), so that can't be an option. Trixie had also met Scarlet a couple of times. The spirit of autumn wasn't the easiest to get along with; had a fiery temper, reckless personality, and a very war-like demeanor. She would make a very valuable ally, but one cannot put their trust in Scarlet; she has been known to be quite deceitful and cunning.
And as for Jack Frost, Trixie had not met him yet. However, she knew that Mother Earth did not choose him, so Trixie had always imagined him to be lesser than herself, Augustus, and Scarlet. Perhaps a short, scrawny little elf of some sort with a pointy face, white hair, and silver eyes?
The spring spirit suppressed a giggle at this image of Jack Frost. She turned to Bunnymund, who was still pacing over the grass and starting to trample it brown. "Excuse me?" Trixie called to her cousin. "Will you stop pacing like that? You're killing my poor grass!"
Bunny stood still for a moment before looking down and realizing that he had worn away a strip of green from the earth. "Er… sorry," he stepped away from the dead grass and sat back down on the boulder again.
"You're right, Bunny," Trixie said, sitting down beside him. "I don't know for sure how Scarlet and Augustus would react, but it's best to be safe and keep this prophecy between the two of us." She gave the rabbit a bright smile. "And thank you, dear cousin." She placed her flower wreath on top of Bunnymund's head.
Bunny's eyes widened when he felt the wreath in between his ears. He quickly shook it off, but Trixie picked it up and placed it there again, laughing a laugh that sounded like tinkling bells. "Keep it on, Bunny," the spring spirit giggled. "You look adorable wearing it." She waved a hand at the wreath, and it sat itself to the top of the Pooka's head, sticking there as if glued in place.
"What the bloody – what is this?! Trixie!" Bunny tried to pull the flowers off, but they stayed stuck to the top of his furry head. "I came all the way out here to warn you about the Event and this is my reward? Get this bloody thing off of me!"
Trixie only sat by and laughed along with her flowers at the struggling Easter Bunny wearing a crown of daisies. None of the inhabitants of the forest noticed a large, black crow taking flight from one of the highest branches of the tallest tree.
The bird had been perched in the tree all morning and had had a perfect view of Trixie and Bunnymund's conversation. It gave the forest a cold, empty look before soaring out of the canopies made by thousands of leaves and flying south.
Scarlet Sycamore had long awaited her crow's arrival. She sat in a throne made of hardened amber in her tent made of giant orange, red, and yellow leaves and absentmindedly picked at her nails. Leaning down to look at the armrests of her fancy chair, she saw a dead dragonfly, forever trapped in the dried tree sap. The autumn spirit was tracing the shape of the bug when a black crow swooped into the tent from the large opening flap.
The bird landed on the back of Scarlet's throne and made cawing sounds as if to speak to her.
After a long moment of listening to the crow's ugly cries, the autumn spirit narrowed her piecing brown eyes at it. "Are you sure you heard that right, my pet?" When the crow nodded eagerly, Scarlet gripped the edges of her armrests to the point in which her knuckles turned white.
The crow immediately tried fly away, probably afraid that its mistress's temper would be taken out on it.
"Get back here!" Scarlet barked at it before it could make a quick escape. As the bird cowered in fright, Scarlet spoke to herself, "I knew, one of these days, Trixie would know something I don't. She's related to one of the Guardians, and Man in Moon tells the Guardians everything. It's good that I had you go to spring's forest, isn't it?" she turned to her terrified crow.
The crow swallowed and nodded helpfully.
"Poor, poor Trixie Eden…" Scarlet went on, talking to herself more than the bird. "She really should have told me herself. We could have been great friends, pity. Since she decided to keep this valuable piece of information to herself, I'm afraid that I cannot hope to earn trust. And she can no longer earn mine, either. It's sad, really."
Although her voice was calm and soft, the crow knew that Scarlet was furious about the situation.
"Life would have been easier for both of us, Trixie and I, if she would have just offered the information to me herself," Scarlet went on. "But no, I had to send a spy to her forest to get the evidence that I wanted. Well," a wicked smile graced her lips. "The joke's on her from now on. I think I'll alert dear, sweet Augustus for her."
When the spirit of autumn turned to it, the black crow twitched with fear and gulped audibly.
Scarlet's sharp smile slowly melted into a better natured one as she picked up a random leaf from the ground around her, laid it on her lap, and pointed her right index finger at it. She took a deep breath and began moving her finger as if writing with it.
The crow looked over the spirit's shoulder and saw that the pigment of the autumn leaf had been sucked away and reinserted in the form of tangerine colored ink, spelling out words for Scarlet's letter to Augustus.
The red haired spirit looked over her leaf letter before shoving it at her bird. "Take this to Augustus, now."
Shakily clutching the leaf in its beak, the crow took flight once again.
Scarlet watched it disappear through the opening flap of the tent and followed the shadow it casted on the roof of the pavilion of autumn leaves until it, too, vanished from sight. The autumn spirit then picked up another leaf from the ground and twirled it expertly in her hands for a few seconds before flinging it with divine accuracy at an innocent moth that flew by.
The leaf had turned hard and sharp around the edges before impaling the moth through the abdomen, instantly killing it, and pinning the dead body to a nearby wall.
Scarlet smiled with satisfaction when she saw that she still had the knife-throwing talent even after not practicing for so many years.
West from Scarlet's realm was the home of Augustus Phoenix. It sat on a beach of bronze sand and was so shiny and gold that one would find it almost impossible to look at directly. The sun light from above reflected wonderfully off of the palace, making it blindingly bright.
Scarlet's messenger crow entered through one of the windows of the fortress and waddled around the corridors and halls before finding the receiver in a room deep within the palace. The place was very, very hot indeed. The crow simply dropping the leaf onto Augustus's head before hastily soaring away, desperate to leave the castle that felt like an oven.
Augustus stopped what he was doing when the maple leaf fell in his face. With one look at the red and orange writing on a pure white leaf, he could tell who it was from. In no hurry, he unfolded it and began to read.
You won't believe this! Trixie has turned on us. She heard that a Disaster Event would kill three of the four seasons, and she didn't even bother to tell us. She intends to leave the two of us at the mercy of this Event while she and her Guardians friends find sanctuary.
I know how much you've loathed Jack Frost, dear Augustus, and now is your chance to strike at him! Or, even better, if you are the one to survive the Event, it will prove that you are superior to him. I will be happy to assist you, of course. The Event is coming. We must prepare.
This is NOT a prank.
-Scarlet Scorpio Sycamore
Frankly, Augustus found it hard to believe that Trixie would do such a thing. He tossed the leaf away and it burst into flames from the extreme temperature in the room. But, he knew for a fact that Trixie was related to E. Aster Bunnymund, one of the Guardians.
And if Trixie has gone to the side of the Guardians… the summer spirit thought. Then she is my enemy from that point on. Anyone who fraternizes Jack Frost is no friend of mine. I do not trust Scarlet, but she is all I have for an ally.
Without any further hesitation, Augustus stormed out of his chambers and into the sunlight. His radiant gold eyes were not bothered by ultraviolet rays as he stared directly at the sun. He reached his hand out and grabbed a ball of light.
He held the sphere of sunlight close to his mouth as if telling it a secret. After taking a few minutes of whispering to the sphere, Augustus released it into the air.
The little ball of glowing yellow bobbed up and down like a balloon in the direction of the autumn spirit's domain, carrying the summer spirit's reply to her letter.
A/N: There you have it! Thanks so much for the kind reviews (more of them would make me even happier, and happy writers mean fast ones)! I'm so sorry that this chapter was rather late. I've been working on other projects. But thanks for baring with me ^_^;
And a review would be very much appreciated! Bye!