Voice of the Fairies
Birch looked at her as if she’d gone crazy. “You can’t be serious.”
“Oh, she is,” Spring said, arms folded.
“I am,” Winter confirmed. “I can’t leave here knowing these birds are living like this.”
“You do realise that there are probably lots of birds all over the world kept by humans like this,”Spring pointed out.
“Well, then, when I find them, I will free them,” she said. She was not going to be put off this idea.
Birch sighed. “Don’t you think there are more important things? Like finding the summer and autumn fairies and making spring arrive.”
“Yes. That is important. But it won’t take long to free the birds.”
“And taking them with us, helping them to survive? You don’t think that will slow us down?”
“Not really no.” She hadn’t really thought about it, but she wasn’t going to admit that to Birch. Or Spring.
“You really haven’t thought this through, have you?” Birch asked.
He knew her too well. “I have. I know what I’m going to do, and you aren’t going to stop me.” She was getting annoyed now. Why couldn’t he see that this mattered?
Flame appeared from nowhere, and landed on the branch between her and Birch. “What’s going on?” he asked. “The Queen’s waiting to show us the book.”
Of course. She had forgotten about that. And the idea still scared her.
“That’s what I came out here to tell you,” Birch said. “That we’re going to see the book, if you want to come along.”
She could tell by his tone that he thought she should. “I don’t know,” she looked across at the birds who were watching her curiously, “maybe I should stay here and free them.”
“Can’t it even wait to see something so important to our mission?” Birch asked. He looked like he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
Winter frowned. “What’s happened to you? You used to help me with things like this. Now all you’re bothered about is the stupid mission.”
“It’s not stupid!” he shouted.
Flame raised his eyebrows. “Okay, not sure what’s going on. But I’m fairly sure you,” he pointed at Birch, “need to calm down and not shout at Winter, and you, “ he pointed to
Winter, “need to come and look at the book.”
She didn’t want to. “Do I really need to?”
“I think you do,” Spring said from behind her. “The voice of the fairies is in that book. The old fairies. It’s something you won’t get the chance to see again.”
Winter’s heart sank. She flitted over to the front of the cage, and said to the birds, “Don’t worry. I’m going to go with my friends for a while, but I will come back and free you. I promise.”
Some looked unsure. But Pim spoke up in her favour. “I believe you will,” he said. “Thank you, my new fairy friend.”
She smiled at him. “I will come back. Thank you for believing me.”
“You have a good heart,” he said. “I can see it. So go do what you need to do. We’ll be ready when you get back.”
“Thank you,” she said again, feeling a blush colouring her cheeks, “I’ll have a plan when I get back too.”
Pim nodded his head, then she flew back to the branch. “Okay,” she said to Flame, deciding that she was too angry with Birch to speak to him. “Let’s go and look at this book.”
They all took off from the branch. As Winter flew back across the garden to the shed and the fairies’ home behind it, she glanced back at the birds’ cage, and silently promise them again. She hated the thought of them being caged up a moment longer than necessary.
The Queen was waiting for them in the centre of the cavernous hall. “Are you ready?” she asked.
Tango and Indian were waiting with her. “Are you all right?” Tango asked Winter, looking worried.
Winter nodded. “I am. I just needed some space for a while.” She tried her best reassuring smile. “Let’s go and look at this book then.”
The Queen nodded, and started to lead them to the left, where a small door opened into an even smaller tunnel.
It was only wide enough for one fairy to walk through at once, and the ceiling so low that even Winter had to bow her head.
Poor Flame, the tallest of them all, was nearly bent double.
It eventually opened out into another room, dark until the Queen stepped into it. Then lights started to dance, just like in the main cavern.
The largest light hovered in the centre of the room, drawing Winter’s eye to it the moment she entered.
“This,” said the Queen, gesturing with one arm to the book, “is the Book of the Fairies.”