Arranged and Deranged

She is despised. She is loved. There are no happy ever afters. Cover Artists: C.H.Potter

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1. Arranged and Deranged

 

Once upon a time, this time, though far, far away, there lives a human princess called Haeleia, who lives in a magical land named Ledge, where Fey and humans live together, though not in any harmony.

One day, Haeleia falls in love, but is forced to marry a snobbish, yet handsome human named Rolain.

She is despised.

And so there are no happy ever afters for her.


---


Fox runs, his bare feet slapping against the mud, compressing it as he races away from the so-called Danger Zone.

The Imperial City.

Technically, he isn't allowed there, even without his wings, but Fox doesn't care. He wanted to see Haeleia tonight.

Fox recalls their first meeting, when he was hidden in shadows, spying on her secretly for his 'family'.

Her hair was piled higher than a cream cake, her eyes almost too bright, piercing Fox's heart. That night was the first of Haeleia's Bindings.

The princess was mingling with her many adoring suitors, all with such boring similarities: Pale, sickly faces, puppy dog eyes, big lips, and short, dark hair. 

One, Fox noted, had abnormally large feet; another with a neck like a giraffe's. But Fox knew they were in no way special. Just silly humans who discriminated against anyone and everyone who was different.

Fox supposed they weren't really that despisable, looking back, but at the time he hated them for their privileges, for their luxurious clothes and shoes, and for what they could have that he wasn't allowed: Haeleia. 

The second he saw her, it was hard for Fox to concentrate on his task. And then, as the night drew to a close, Haeleia saw him. 

"Who are you?" she asked curiously, lips parting in a somewhat cute fashion.

"I'm Fox. I don't have to ask who you are; everyone knows you." Fox attempted a laugh, but Haeleia raised her eyebrows, seeing straight through his human facade. 

"You're one of the Fey, aren't you?" She narrowed her eyes to sapphire slots. "Why are you here?"

"I've seen pictures," Fox told her in an attempt to sound nonchalant. "You look beautiful," he blurted out, immediately regretting his words, cursing his tongue, then wondering if it had worked. 

"Thank you, Mr. Fox," Haeleia laughed.

"Just Fox," he muttered, curious as to why Haeleia gave him such a nickname.

"Okay, Just Fox. Why are you really here? You're an army spy, aren't you?" 

"Yes," Fox admitted, suddenly asking himself if Haeleia was secretly Fey , too. 

"That's cool." 

Trying to detect sarcasm, and failing, Fox turned away from their mutual silence. "I should go. They'll be worried about me."

"They?"

"My sister. And my love." A dark shadow fell across Fox's face.

"What about your parents?"

Fox was gone.


---

"Fleur!" Fox calls to the silent house. "Holly!" 

A tall, willowy Faery steps out of the shadows, pink dress stained by something indistinguishable. "Thank goodness you're back, Fox," she breathes embracing him. "She's taken a turn, and I really don't have any idea what to do. I wanted to go get berries to make her medicine, but then I wanted to be here if one of the humans came, so I could fight them. Holly's nowhere near well enough to take them on herself.

"Plus, that idiot brother of mine has gone and shed his wings, and I don't know why, because all Fey look stupid without them, and now he's told the palace he's a human, and, ugh. As if that wasn't enough, I think Holly's taken a fancy to the general's son, and she wants to fight and train with him, and she's just stupid! I hate this!"

In the back room, Holly tries to clear her throat. "I am still here," she rasps between coughs. "And I don't think it looks stupid for Fey not to have wings."

Guilt flashes across Fleur's pale face, and she whispers to Fox, "You handle her. I'll get the berries."

Silently, Fleur slips out the door, leaving Fox to kneel by Holly's bedside. "How you doing, Hols?" he enquires quietly.

"I'm tired. She hurt me. She - she screamed at me, and she hit me." Holly begins to sob, and Fox has to push down her shaking shoulders, pressing a finger to his lips.


"Calm down, little one," he chuckles. "Who hurt you?" 

Though his voice was calm, Fox wants the answer quickly, heart drumming. Holly's lips moved , but no sound comes out, spare for a shaky breath.

"Who was it, Holly?" Fox's forehead creases, brow furrowing. "Holly, who was it?"

The little Faery's wings flutters softly, as though she is trying to take flight, and her hand trembles as it fell to that of Fox. "Her. The tall Faery. The dark one. Briar."

Fox understands. "She's not real, Holly. You'll be okay. I promise. Fleur and I will look after you." 

Even as Fox says it, he knows it can't be true. He and Fleur are betrothed, yes, but he doesn't love her, not like that.

"No you won't," Holly says simply, as though reading his mind. "Where were you tonight? I know the Army kicked you out.  I'm not that stupid."

Indeed she isn't . Fox knows how clever his little sister is, and he knows he can't lie to her. "I was with the princess. The human."

"Haeleia?" Holly leaps out of Fox's grasp, standing up.

"Sit back down, Holly." Fox can see her knees shaking, as though they can't take her weight. "You'll hurt yourself." 

"Fine." Holly pouts as she sank to the mattress. "She's really pretty. I want her to be my big sister, if Fleur isn't."

Fox sighs. He knows Holly loves Fleur, and he is almost guilty that they can never be together. "I'm stupid, aren't I, Holly?" he laughs. "I mean, they'll kill me if they find out I'm in love with Haeleia."

Holly isn't listening, and turned back to her imaginary game. Fox sighs, shaking his head slowly, as though caught in a stream of thick whipped cream.

"I'm back!" Fleur declares after a few silent minutes of Fox staring at Holly, who begins to bat madly at the air. "There's visitors, too," she adds quietly to Fox, eyes wary. Fox understands. His heart pounds as he walks out to greet the humans.

Behind him, Fox can hear Fleur awakening Holly from her daze, and he gulps, looking into the black eyes of a human guard.

"Come with us, Faery," the tallest guard spits.


Fox stands before the king and queen, pleading into the eyes of their daughter, half hidden in shadow.

"I'm sorry," he mumbles to his feet, trying to pluck up his courage and fight for his cause, escape the chains he is bound in.

"Sorry for what?" The king's eyes swim with malice, as Fox trembles, afraid to look him in the eye.

"Sorry for -" Fox can't bring himself to utter the words; it is too painful. "Sorry for - sorry for your lateness." 

Before the words are even out of his mouth, Fey storm the palace, eyes rabid with the fire of millennia under a cruel reign. 

Ice and fire rage in every corner, laced with air and earth, as yet more and more of the Fey storm the building, hungering for only one thing: Revenge.

Haeleia is huddled in the back of an alcove, eyes wary as she flinches with fear at every mivement, whimpers trailing out of her mouth with every scream of death and anguish. 

Fox's eyes meet her, and he runs, hand reached out, shaking, though his eyes are sparkling with adoration.

Fleur's eyes slide away from Fox, as a human, his eyes fierce, jumps in front of her, pushing her over. Fleur cries out, "Fox!" but he doesn't hear, too preoccupied by Haeleia, who shakes uncontrollably. 

The human draws his sword, and his eyes narrow. "A female," he whispers. "Why are you here?"

She doesn't answer, breathless, instead using her eyes to search for safety. She can't see it.

As Fox scoops Haeleia up in his arms, he takes her to Holly, who she grasps hands with. He speaks to them both in anxious voice, and they run, breaking free.

When Fleur next sees Fox, he is crying in a small room that the human, Rolain, has taken her to, after the battle.

"Okay?" Her voice cracks as she stares at the door, where Rolain retreated from.

"No." Fox wipes his tears away, showing Fleur nothing but the back of his head.

"I know you don't love me." Still there comes no reaction.

They sit in fretful silence for a few minutes, until Tolain re-enters, this time flanked by two figures: Holly and Haeleia.

Fox runs, , flinging his strong arms around the girls, who hold him back closely in their warm embrace.

Rolain crosses to Fleur, and plants a kiss on her forehead. "It's okay," he whispers. "It'll all be okay. I know Haeleia will save your people. She is the only surviving monarch now, and if Fix loves her, so be it. She won't hurt you." They gaze into each other's eyes, and Fleur bites back tears. "I'll be here for you. Always."


Once upon a time, this time, though far, far away, there lives a human princess called Haeleia, who lives in a magical land named Ledge, where Fey and humans live together, though not in any harmony.

One day, Haeleia falls in love, and marries a gentle Faery named Fox.

She is loved.

And they all live happy ever after.

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