Tainted Enchantment

Seventeen year old Sophie has just enrolled herself into a magical boarding school for fairies, a creature no one at her age believes, and doesn't know it. But whilst struggling with the distance from her boyfriend Drake and family, she unravels the truth about her real father and why people are out to kill her. In the end, who can Sophie trust? The boyfriend that has come to rescue her? Her best friend? Her roommate? Or the fey father she never knew she was related to? Which one is out to kill one of the most powerful fairies in history? Will the surprise she discovers send her into waves of depression? Follow the journey as Sophie learns who to keep close, and who not to keep close.

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21. Chapter Twenty-One

"There is nothing relevant in these books." I slammed the heavy and dusty werewolf encyclopedia on top of his fairy one and placed my clenched fits above my hips. "We've been here for two hours and I don't relate to any of these. Maybe I'm nothing. Maybe I'm a fallen angel or a reincarnated spider or something!"

     Ryder looked up at me and just grinned. His eyebrow was cocked as he slowly closed his book and clapped his hand. He took one last sip of his fizzy soda and the last drops and ice cubes made an awful sucking noises as he lunged for the finish line of his drink.

     "I think it's time for something more practical. Come with me, I have something to show you."

     "What is it?" I asked, feeling a zing in my hand when he touched it.  It felt cool and hard, but strong with confidence.  As though he was used to being obeyed, which he probably was.  He was a prince after all.

     "You'll see," he said, smiling as he led me like an unwilling child.  It wasn't that I was unwilling, though.  I was tired from all the research we had been doing all morning.  Hopefully he was leading me to a place to sleep.

     Of course, that wasn't where he led me to.  We left the library (thank goodness) and started walking for a bit until we were in an alleyway between two school buildings.  It was out off the sunlight and out of the walkways.

     I couldn't help cracking a joke, a bemused expression on my face.  "Why are we here?  Is it so that you can show me a magic trick that you've kept a secret from everyone else?"

     Ryder grinned at that.  "Ha-ha.  Very funny, Sophie.  Yes, I did bring you here to show you a magic trick, but it's not a secret.  Watch the wall carefully."

     He pulled out a pocket knife that managed to somehow gleam in the shadows.  I gasped and took a step  back.  The amused look was now on his face.  "Sophie, do you really think I would hurt you?  It's all part of the magic.  Watch carefully." 

     The knife was brought up to his finger tip, where a small pool of blood formed.  He put the knife away and held his hand out, where a tendril of shadow seemed to reach out from the wall and waited.  Some of the blood dropped onto the shadow, which seemed to make it quiver, actually quiver with delight, before recoiling back into the shadows.  Then Ryder was moving the shadows with arm motions, making them dance and form various shapes.  Animals, people, I watched the shadows dance with amazement.  After several minutes passed, the shadows were brought together as though they were magnetic.  Ryder put his hand into it, as though actually going through the wall, and when he pulled it back out, there was a single pink tulip.

     My favorite flower.  How did he know?  I took it cautiously, as though it was disappear into dust the second it was taken from his hand.  While the possibility was totally there, it didn't happen. 

     Ryder turned to face me, a shy smile on his face now.  "Well?  What do you think?"

     "That was so cool," I stated, pulling the tulip close to me.  "How did you do that?"

     He raised his eyebrow at me.  "With magic?"  It was answered in a duh kind of way.

     I shook my head, face flushing with embarrassment.  "That's not what I meant.  What I meant to say is, what are you?  I mean, from that conversation with Markis at the stables, I know you're a prince, but prince of what, exactly?"

     He put his hands on my shoulder and I found his dark eyes burning into mine.  "I think you know, Sophie.  Try and guess."

     "Umm... you're the prince of witches?"

     He stared at me, the edge of his lip twitching, before bursting into a fit of laughter.  I swear, he was laughing so hard that he could've been crying with it.  I turned away, not sure I could face him with more embarrassment on my face.

     "No, Sophie, it's okay," he was trying to calm his laughter down now, but I could still hear it in his voice, still felt him shaking with it when he put a hand on my shoulder.  "I guess someone who didn't grow up knowing this stuff would guess that I'm a fairy prince, huh?"

     I looked at him sharply, my eyebrows raised.  "You're a fairy?"

     He nodded and bowed his head.  "Ryder Mason, Prince of the Dark at your service."

     I shook my head.  "Aren't fairies supposed to be tiny little creatures with wings?"

     The amused expression returned back to his face.  "Is that how humans picture us?  No wonder we blend in so well."  A moment passed where neither of us said anything and he broke it by asking, "Are you afraid, Sophie?"

     There was no stopping the bewildered expression that flew across my face as I turned to face him.  "Why would I be afraid of you, Ryder?"

     "Well... most people at this school are.  They're all afraid of what I can do, as though I'll hurt them... they all think I'm dangerous.  Most of them try to avoid me," his voice was small and he looked like a lost, hurt child as he admitted it.

     My arms circled around his shoulders as I got on my tip toes, trying to comfort him.  "They don't realize that that's not who you are, Ryder," my voice was fierce.  "They don't know this side of you, the side that you've shown me.  You're so full of kindness.  All those people know you as Ryder, Prince of Darkness.  But me?  I know you as Ryder Mason, the guy that actually made me feel welcome."

     He was probably shocked by what I said, because it took a moment before he actually returned my hug.  "Thanks, Sophie."

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