“I’ll save you some time,” said the faun, pulling the top of the book down so Wendy could see him. “Eventually the words run out.”
Wendy blinked then raised her book again. “Thank you, Aelixindre,” she said, “But this isn’t for a book report or anything. I want to read this one.”
The faun furrowed his bushy brow, “You? Reading a book for fun? Are you sure they didn’t feed you something at that school? That place always did feel a bit culty to me.”
“I’m sure,” Wendy said, turning the page. “It’s actually quite interesting.”
“Interesting?” he asked, playing with one of the curls in his hair. “More interesting than the time we tricked the Gnome King into letting us run his kingdom for a day and then freed all the under-clans from his rule?”
“Yup,” said Wendy.
“And what about when we attended the summer ball at the River Palace and mermen took the whole place hostage?”
The faun crossed his arms. “Even more interesting than the time we stole that witch’s brew and–”
“Yes, yes, and yes, Aelixindre,” Wendy said, putting the book down. “It’s more interesting than anything you and I have ever done, okay?” She watched him with stern eyes, waiting for a response.
Instead of giving her one, the faun leapt up and plucked one of the low-hanging apples from the tree Wendy had taken shade beneath. He took a bite, then with a full mouth sputtered, “I wus jussh asshhking.”
Wendy rolled her eyes and brought the book closer to her face than before. Aelixindre crawled up to where the tree’s branches met in a crook overlooking the girl’s shoulder and, after a few more obnoxious chomps at his apple, sighed loudly. “Alright, if this book of yours is so interesting, why don’t you tell me what it’s about?”
“You wouldn’t understand,” Wendy scoffed. “It’s a story about a human boy with human problems.”
The faun laughed, blowing bits of the fruit from his mouth in a way that used to make Wendy giggle until she was halfway to wetting herself. “And you think I can’t appreciate human problems? I’ll remind you that I sung many a human song when I played in the court of King Conroy, and many of them tug at my heart strings to this day.” He dragged his nimble fingers across his bare chest, playing a lyre that wasn’t there.
Wendy slammed the the book shut and pressed at her temples. Turning back toward the faun, she shouted, “You know, just because I came here doesn’t mean that I wanted to see you.”
The faun stopped chewing. “What?”
“It’s just–,” she paused, the words not coming easy. “You always want to go off on these wild adventures and sometime–well, sometimes I just don’t.” She turned away from Aelixindre and a silence nestled in between them.
“You’re telling me that the girl that stole Lady Godwyn’s chalice from the Sacred Keep doesn’t want to go on another adventure?” the faun asked, forcing a meek laugh.
Wendy didn’t answer.
“The girl who revived the Eastern Forest in a single afternoon?”
“You’re saying that the girl who fought the Moon Queen and became the greatest princess the Night Sky has ever seen would rather sit here and read some scribbles on a page than go exploring?” The faun shouted this time, leaping down from his perch and landing just in front of where Wendy was seated beneath the old, gnarled oak.
But she didn’t answer, she didn’t even blink. It was as if, though he was standing right in front of her, she was looking straight through him.
Aelixindre gasped, something cold and frozen suddenly sprouting inside him. He looked down and saw that a small hole had opened in the center of his chest. And each time Wendy turned the page, it grew larger and larger.
Originally posted as a response to a prompt by /u/wizardwaffle on reddit.com