The Little Pea: Part One
Dawn crawled across Faerieland in a burst of golden radiance. The sunlight spread its tendrils across the land, unfurling over the grassy meadows, and quiet woodland. It ignited all in vibrant color. The plants, which folded themselves inward each dusk, rose from their beds and stretched their stems, the blossoms yawning from beneath a light dusting of dew. Already the soft coos of the Faerie Naleaps could be heard from the bows of the branches, chirping their greetings to the new day.
In the south most part of Faerie country - a small stone castle could be seen against the swell of waves and sand - setback on the ledge of the ocean cliffs overlooking the breathing tides of the sea. They always said that perhaps it was from the salty mist did that particular magic first come from. For nowhere else in all the realms were the peas under such an enchantment. The caretaker had passed long ago, leaving the place abandoned. It had laid untouched til the earth claimed it back - vines arching their twisted braids through the seems of the estate, pulling at the old river-stones til the building had been reduced to ruin. It was a place of sacred magic. Even the Earth Faeries were at loss to fully comprehend its extent. For on these luscious limbs of ivy grew the strangest of pods, and when they matured, birthed round emerald peas larger than one's fist.
Each spring as the peas aged, the Earth Faeries would have a great festival to harvest them and dine from their exquisite fruit. It was nearing this day when a young faerie by the name of Celestia happened to be tending to their progress, pruning them and cutting back hindering weeds so that they may grow full and big for the upcoming week. She was inexperienced - an apprentice of a well-known gardener who specialized in cultivating Aurora Lilies. But all gardeners took part in the festival each year, and as an apprentice Celestia had been expected to as well, especially when her employer had fallen ill, leaving her with more responsibility than she thought she could handle. It was all taken rather seriously after all, and she was still quite a novice.
It happened when she was picking the dried leaves from the ripened peas. Celestia was extremely careful not to miss even one. The Earth Faeries were very patient with their work, understanding it took much time and mastery to tend to their plants each day. As she neared the last bit of the expanse on the front wall, Celestia noticed a rather small pod that seemed to have dried out almost entirely. Oh bother - she thought to herself - the last thing I need is for them to blame me for being careless with their water! But as her hands wrapped around it she noticed very quickly that something was entirely wrong. The pod had frayed, as if something had stretched from the inside, trying to get out. Curiosity got the better of her, and Celestia found herself pulling at the seems to see if something had tried to eat the fruit inside. As the last of the shell was pulled back, she nearly dropped it entirely. Two little eyes opened from the little fruit, its body shiny and round as the ripest of the peas. It hadn't spoiled or been made into someone's lunch. Some way, some how - it had gained animation!
She examined it closer, and the little pea gave a grinning smile. It was smaller than all the other pods, it shouldn't have been ready to burst. But it had, or at least the pea had. Celestia was at a loss to explain. As she realized how unfathomable this occurrence really was, it came to her that perhaps this would be a great discovery after all. The Earth Faeries certainly had not seen the likes of this before. If she were to discover it perhaps Celestia would gain fame and prominence amongst them. The pea freed itself and jumped down from her hands - Celestia ignoring it while she daydreamed of all the things that perhaps would come from this. Living peas were not unheard of, though rare they may be. But a regular pea which became living? It was very strange.
Looking down, she realized the fruit was flighty and leaped to follow it as the pea bounced along the edge of the wall, toward the back of the castle. "Wait! Stop!" Celestia yelled, though her cries were ignored entirely by the little pea. It wasn't until they were in plain view of the ocean that it plopped down, gaze transfixed on the horizon. The Faerie, slightly flustered from running, stood behind it in awe of the sight. "Why are you running?"
With a wave of its little hand the pea gestured to the breaking dawn, and then sighed dreamily. Celestia understood. Though she had seen many a sunrise here before, it was surely breathtaking.
"We must figure out what we are to do with you, certainly we can't just let you wander about, there are many dangers even in this part of the world."
The pea looked up at her and trilled lightly with its tongue. It got up, bouncing over to the nearest vine to touch it gently. From where the tiny hand grasped radiated a viridescent energy throughout the vine, the leaves around her perked up, holding themselves even fuller than before. It was as if the pea could funnel life into the very stalks of the ivy to give it a luminous vivid glow. This astounded Celestia greatly, and already her mind began to fathom all the new possibilities from this development.
Perhaps this pea was entangled with the plant it came from in some way. If it could improve upon their harvest this year, the Earth Faeries would surely be even more thankful to Celestia than for making the discovery in the first place. Maybe even give her fields of her own to study new plant crosses in. Celestia had, after all, always dreamed of being the very best with the crop. This prospect made her very glad, she scooped up the pea in her arms and sat it on one of the ledges of the castle. It looked at her happily.
"You like this place, don't you?"
The pea gurgled gladly; Celestia took it as an agreement.
"Maybe you can help me tend to your home? The peas are much in need of attention. At night, when no one is here to watch them, maybe you could inspire them to grow bigger and fuller!"
The pea trilled again merrily causing Celestia to beam.
"But be forewarned! The other faeries, er -" She paused, thinking of how to get the pea to keep its discretion. "They might not understand what you're trying to do. It's very important that no one should see you but me. We are friends after all, right?"
Though Celestia was sure the pea had no concept of friendship, it seemed content enough with her presence and trilled in acceptance once more.
"Excellent!" Celestia clasped her hands together before picking up the pea to rest on her shoulder.
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
For the next three days the pea did just as her faerie friend had said. She would tuck herself into the curtain of vines each day, hidden under their twisting stems. At night when the last of the faeries had left she would venture out to walk amongst the plants, fueling their growth and energy. She could hear the faeries' talk about how much better the crop was this year than previous years. Pleased with this progress, she was encouraged to focus nearly all her time on it, glad to have something to do.
Celestia came by during the days for a few hours, during which time the little pea would follow her around the ruins, helping her friend merrily. One day, when Celestia had been given the very last shift of the evening, they sat beside the wall together, overlooking the ocean and munched on some bread.
"Thanks for all your help!" Celestia praised her new friend. "The faeries commended me today, said they notice when I leave how wonderful the garden looks. I really couldn't have done it without you. You've been a true friend."
The pea trilled lightly in its throat, chewing on a rather large crumb. It wiggled its feet in delight. Celestia laughed at this. She was growing rather fond of her newest companion. She thought perhaps some rethinking was in order. The crops would be harvested soon, and the garden abandoned until the following year. She would have to figure out what to do with the pea then. She knew she should tell the faeries the magic in the garden was not her own, but all the attention she was just beginning to receive made her rethink it.
Celestia stood, scooping up the pea to sit upon the ledge. "Now, I'll be back tomorrow. Remember, harvest is only in two days, so we must do extra well in the meantime."
The pea nodded as if she understood. The faerie, with a large smile, gave a wave of her hand and wandered off back toward the path to the city. The pea watched her go in the setting sunlight, eyes trailing the paths of lightmites as they flitted against the forest trees.
The night was quiet, she enjoyed being alone in the silence. As the last of the color drained from the sky, cloaking all in a hazy midnight of cool twilight, the little pea pushed herself from the ledge to walk amongst the old stones. This was all she wanted - the comfort of her beautiful home, and the friendship of her faerie who visited so often. It was paradise. The pea began to feed the plants at their roots, lowering her little hand to meet the earth - channeling life and health deep into the ground.
She had nearly finished the entire western wall of the castle, when she heard ruckus coming from around the bend. Thinking one of the faerie gardeners had returned late, the pea squished herself into a small crack in the wall, hiding quietly in the shadows. The footsteps preceded the intruders, they noisily clambered their way around, talking in rough whispers, until finally - "I don't think there's anyone here, stop your hissing."
The pea could see their feet first, or lack thereof. The first of them appeared to be a Faerie Hissi, the second being one of the earth faeries the pea had seen nearly two days ago - she, like Celestia, was also an apprentice, though she seemed to be reprimanded quite a lot by the other gardeners.
"Well, I don't like it, Sarara," the Hissi spat, slithering closer to where the pea crouched hidden. "We should have waited until tomorrow, what if they should return tonight to find us here? Tomorrow there will be many more preparations for them to occupy themselves with."
"Silence, Belthom," the faerie Sarara said. The pea peeked from her little cubby to watch Sarara raise her wand, muttering a spell beneath it. As she did the vines shrunk inwards against themselves. The pea had to frantically race through the inside of the castle to avoid the massive avalanche of fauna. It collapsed on itself - heaving, and shrinking, and winding into itself in a large sphere. The pods went with the tendrils, safely tucked away in the middle. The faerie was stealing the harvest!
With a gasp the pea managed to get through to the other side, looking into the ruins to watch Sarara levitate the now coconut sized entangle of plants. The pea felt tears in her eyes - in mere few seconds the faerie had taken everything she held dear. Her home was gone, and Celestia would be devastated when she found out.
To be continued...