My underpants were on fire. Again. For the fifth time this week. And it’s all that firebug of a fairy, Gwen’s, fault. Not that she’s a real fairy, she’s actually part leprechaun, on her father’s side. Unfortunately, her mother passed on her fabled dusting gun just before she died, a weapon constructed from leaves and vines that shoots out fairy dust like a sudden downpour whenever the owner wishes it too. Which is why it’s so dangerous in Gwen’s hands, especially when you count the fact that she’s only 150 (approximately fifteen in human years) and decides to use it to punish anyone who annoys her…which usually ends up being me.
Anyway, back to my underwear being on fire. After I scared Gwen off by shouting at the top of my voice that I was going to tell Haroda, the matron of the Orphanage of Unknown Origin, what she had done to me, I scampered off into the weed ridden pond at the end of the garden and jumped in. There was a hiss from my shorts as the water quenched the flames, and luckily, being an ogre, my skin was only lightly scorched.
Ripples appeared by my ankles, along with a silvery light that steadily came closer. Then, with a sudden splash of algae and pond weed, Floe popped her head up from the water. She squinted, her aquatic eyes adjusting to the night air, and finally turned to me. ‘Oh, it’s you, Ragcuff. I thought for a moment that it was the gardener cleaning the pond a day early, though I admit he doesn’t usually do it in the evening.’ She stood up next to me, letting the water drip off her nightgown of woven reeds, and stretched her webbed fingers and toes. ‘What are you doing out here so late?’ she asked, frowning as she noticed my reddened skin and blackened shorts.
‘I, uh…I just wanted a bit of a stroll,’ I lied lamely.
‘So Gwen didn’t chase you at all? Or set your clothing on fire again?’
I sighed. ‘Alright, maybe she did. But she’s gone now, so it doesn’t matter.’
‘Rubbish. Of course it matters. You can’t keep letting that spiteful wretch bully you; it’ll only make things worse over time.’
‘But Haroda says she’ll grow out of it eventually,’ I said.
‘Eventually could mean years from now. What’s she going to do to you between now and then, huh? She’s dangerous, we all know it. We need to find a way to get that dust gun off of her,’ Floe argued.
‘How? Only someone with fairy blood can touch it, anyone else will just get wrapped up in its vines.’
Floe smiled. ‘Who says we have to touch it?’