The White Rose of Fiorazzurro
Chapter 12 (or, “Secret Base”)
King Raza’qiel Gericaria Fae was the exact opposite of what the humans had expected from a faerie king. The first thing he had done was made sure they were comfortable in the huge entrance hall, all sitting in an alcove set up with cushions and places to sit. A servant had taken their shoes to a place for safekeeping. Then, he had insisted somebody bring them something to eat. “I am sure you have had a long day, and my daughter will probably want to leave for Fiorazzurro again at some point tonight instead of staying here.”
“If you forgive me,” Milaya quipped up, “why wouldn’t she want to stay here?”
They all turned, and Calimero had to bite his lip to keep from laughing. Daisy had returned to the room in full princess regalia, and he hadn’t anticipated Daisy to look this…girly. He surveyed her pink ruffles, the long simple dress she wore with the high collar, a pink tiara of flowers and magical gems set atop her head, which was still black and shortly cut.
“We will do something about that hair, I guarantee you,” they could hear Daisy’s mother call from the next room over.
“That’s why we’re not staying,” Daisy muttered. “Father, can we make this quick? I was hoping to be in and out before Mother knew I was home. She’s going to make me stay for a party. We don’t have that kind of time.”
The mention of time reminded Milaya of her own mission. “I agree. We need to focus on the task at hand and then move back to Fiorazzurro.”
Daisy bunched together the fabric on her dress and pulled it up, away from her ankles. “Papa, we’re here to ask about the Combination Elixir. I believe Calimero can make it, if given the right materials. Do you think it would be possible?”
The King pursed his lips together. “I’m not sure, sweetheart. The potion has not been made for hundreds, if not thousands of years. There is a lot of preparation that goes into one of those potions. But if anybody can make it, it’s a student of Master Rossini.”
“You heard I was a student of Master Rossini?” Calimero asked.
The King smiled at him. “You must understand that these woods talk to us faeries. Our way of life is different than yours, as are our ways of communication. As long as you stay quiet and listen, you can hear the voices as well. I will provide you with the scroll that lists the materials needed for the Combination Elixir, but I do not know when or how you will have time to make it. Daisy, my dearest, if you truly wish to start a revolution, you know you belong back in Fiorazzurro. We have elected to stay peaceful with the ruling class, which is why you have decided to go off on your own. We cannot stop you. We can only wish you the best and help you in any way that we can.”
“Your father does have a point, dear Margherita,” Daisy’s mother cooed from the other side of the long corridor. “I’m not going to busy myself with all of that fighting. I would much rather prefer having you home here, with us, but I suppose that’s not going to get us back into that castle.”
So what, Milaya thought to herself, they’re just going to use their daughter to get back into Fiorazzurro without trying anything themselves? How lazy. She bit her tongue, though, and did not say a word about it.
The king gave Calimero a gentle smile. “Boy, please come with me. The rest of you, please stay here. Tea and scones will be coming shortly.”
Calimero followed the king through the main hall, to the end, past the thrones. There were five long hallways, and the King walked through the second. Calimero followed down the dark hall, lit up with faerie beams and guarded by faerie men everywhere he walked. He wondered to himself just how much the Faerie King could trust a human like him.
“Please stay close,” the King told Calimero. “If I lose you, you will probably be lost to these woods forever. The hallways are extensive and special knowledge is needed to make your way through them.”
“I understand.” Calimero kept his eyes ahead, never wavering from the King’s brass crown.
“I bet you are wondering why I am singling you out, and why the Queen and I are not more involved in Daisy’s affairs. Are you?”
“I do wonder why you have singled me out thus far, but I figured it was only because I was once Master Rossini’s student. I assume the wind told you?”
“That it did. You know of some faerie lore?”
“Only the stories my madre would tell me growing up. She made magic, as well, but could never master it at the level I had it.”
“There are different levels of magic users, and all are needed. It is good to be in the world of magic, but it may be possibly as good to be in the realistic, grounded world as well. In addition, the Queen and I have other matters to attend to here in Gallathia. It is a very unpopular opinion to go to war, therefore, if Daisy leads a rebellion started by humans, the issue should resolve itself. Daisy, in that respect, can even be elected to become a new leader of Fiorazzurro. Instead of a proper princess or Queen, she could even become Prime Minister.”
“But…isn’t it your birthright, I guess, to be in charge of Fiorazzurro?”
“Sometimes destiny does things that we don’t like, and we don’t realize at the time that it’s actually the perfect way for the story to happen. We don’t realize that until the epilogue is being read.” The King turned right, and Calimero followed. “All you must do is stay true to the path that the world has chosen for you, whether that is of a magic user or otherwise. That is all the universe can ask of you. The faerie goddess Atlianora would be pleased that you are here, even though you are human. She brings favor to those who assist faeries in times of need, and Daisy is certainly in a time of need.”
Calimero thought back to how he was actually helping Milaya…and only helping Daisy by proxy. “Thank you.”
“She has never liked being cooped up in these long halls. We have let her run free for years. She remembers the days when we once ruled over the land, just a few short years ago. I bet you know that the government of Fiorazzurro used forgetting potions in their water system to make the general public forget all about us.”
Calimero stopped dead in his tracks. He hadn’t heard anything about that until now. “I…I thought I would have known if something like that had happened.”
“Then they did a damn good job of disguising it.” The King turned back to Calimero, and even though they were of equal height, Calimero suddenly found himself dwarfed by the man with more power. “You have to understand, Mr. Pineiro. That government is not all that it prescribes itself to be. They’ve been using dirty tricks ever since Cendrillon rose to office…tricks that not even us faeries can beat. Daisy has a tall order going against her. I hope you believe in her and her mission.”
Calimero thought instead of Milaya, how they only had a timeframe of less than two weeks to pull all of this off, how she was sure that everything would work out for the best no matter what. “I think we’ll be okay. I just have this feeling inside of me that it will be.” He had to — as the guardian of the world, chosen by Milaya, he didn’t have a choice.
The King nodded and continued to lead the way. They passed through a small room, then through an arch into a bigger room. The tree branches at this point were divided into several bookshelves, each one of them holding a grand storage of woven books and scrolls. Calimero noticed that there were beakers and bottles on some of the shelves as well. “Translation potions,” the King noted, and Calimero nodded. He had never made one before, but then again, it had never been called for on Fiorazzurro before.
He walked to a low shelf and picked up an intricately carved box, blue in color with yellow trim. “This box holds the Combination Elixir’s instructions. Since it is powerful, I ask that you not open this box until it is safely back in your laboratory. The scroll chooses the person who makes the elixir, and if you are hasty to have it created, then the contents will not reveal itself to you.”
Calimero nodded. “I will wait until I am home, and then I will need to know the ingredients.”
“Well, of course. It understands you are human. It knows you cannot read minds, and it is not like the wind can immediately tell you what all of the items needed are.” The King patted Calimero on the shoulder. “Good luck, wonderkid. You will need it.”
Calimero looked down at the box he was now holding. Oh, trust me, he thought to himself. I know it. A fancy potion that can choose whether or not it reveals its ingredient list to me and two weeks to make it, not to mention gather up a bunch of magic users, or else we’re all done for? He sighed. I hope Milaya is right.