Stories on the edge of familiarity

Of Course There’s a Fairy Prank (a Hunter and Prey excerpt)

In celebration of the first draft reaching 50,000 words—I won NaNoWriMo! Although I haven’t finished writing the book yet… xD—here’s an excerpt (everything is subject to change, as this is a first draft):

Laehem hadn’t finished setting up by the time Adren arrived. She supposed that made sense; she had come there earlier than she’d meant to. Still, an extra person meant extra hands, and she put hers to work getting out the dishes and putting the food on the table while Laehem fiddled with the tea. He made his to exacting standards whenever he had the chance; it was a ritual he had told Adren once he found relaxing.

Adren finished before he did and sat down to wait.

“What kind of tea?” she asked.

“Juniper.” He peered at the teapot. “We have a large amount in the mound this year. Ah, which remindeth me we must needs change out the cabbages.”

“The cabbages?”

“In Nadin’s room.”

“You didn’t.” Ever the pranksters to outsiders, fairies in general had their tricks, and the fairies in Kloreng in specific enjoyed putting inexplicably large amounts of one particular kind of food in the quarters of their guests, and then switching it with other kinds of food just as mysteriously at random intervals.

“He hath had them a week; I consider that too long a time. Shall I put there juniper tea instead?”
Adren laughed. “No, no. Not the tea yet. How hath Kloreng fared in finding mushrooms this year?”

“Mushrooms?” Nodding to himself, Laehem brought the pot to the table and poured the tea.

“Imagine all the varieties he hath never known from his years in Watorej. Most humans consider not some of the mushrooms we enjoy to be edible.”

“Some aren’t edible, to them.”

“Then put them not into his pantry and watch him sweat over the rest.”

Laehem took a thoughtful sip of his tea. “It hath an art to it that replacing cabbages with tea hath not. I shall inquire after our stock of the strangest mushrooms to his eyes. It would not do to have too little in his store, or else the effect is lost.”

“Any mushrooms at the quantity you would place there would have great effect.” Adren began to serve herself and, after a touch more tea, Laehem did the same.

“Ah, aye, may wherefore would one rely on a cruder method when a more elegant one is possible? I take my responsibilities seriously, as you well know,” he said as they began to eat.


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