- The Names Are Drawn -
I went to the Blue River Courthouse the next night and filled out the form for the games. My name went in, but nothing felt different yet. One night ago, I wouldn't have entered if you had payed me. Now I was desperate for my name to be picked.
Zedd kept sending me letters that would keep appearing on the window sill of my room. He didn't know where I was; most Emensians use a simple sending spell to send messages to each other. I've heard about something called e-mail that Humans have, but it's not something we use. Technology and magic don't work well together, so everything is still done the same way it was before electricity was a thing in the Human World. Except woman have plenty of rights.
All of my belongings arrived at the tavern a few days later. Nash had sent my stuff to me after I had sent him a message asking him to. I didn't tell him where I was. The sending spell had found me. He must have known I was still in town since the spell was easy. The further away you are from the person you're trying to send something to, the harder it is. and the spell can't cross worlds, so I couldn't send anything to Humans. Not that I know any.
A fortnight after I had arrived at the tavern, I sat across the bar counter from Mellie, the bartender, deep in conversation.
"The names will be in the paper tomorrow," she said excitedly, "And the Participants' Ball will be held at the palace in one week. There's a rumor going around that the King and Queen from Crystal Palace are coming along with the King and Queen from Casper Stone. That's almost all the royal families."
So The Fae and The Fair were coming. That was pretty exciting. The Queen's sister was the Queen of the Faeries. Our King was a Pixie, but his wife was Fae. She wasn't so bad for one of them.
"Do you think you'll get picked?" Mellie asked me, sliding a glass down the counter to a waiting customer.
I shrugged. "I don't really know. Only one girl from Blueberry is going. I'm one of thousands of entries. The odds are against me. I do hope I get picked though."
"I do too. Some people deserve glory. From all I've seen of you this past fortnight, no one deserves to win more than you. You didn't want to do the games at first. If circumstances hadn't changed, your name wouldn't even be in the drawing. Those who don't seek glory are the ones who should get it, not those power hungry scamps you see running things in the Human World," Mellie told me.
Mellie left to go serve someone else. I helped myself to some cream cheese. For some reason, cream cheese always made me feel better. At that time, it was calming my nerves. I wanted to get picked for the games so badly, it was hard to believe I nearly turned them down. This was my one shot and I was gonna take it. To win or to lose. To live or to die. No second chances would be coming. My name just had to get picked.
The next evening was complete chaos in the streets. Everybody was out trying to get a copy of the Blue River Gazette. We all wanted to know the names so badly, that the poor newsboys got ambushed trying to make their deliveries.
I was already waiting at the tavern door when the newsboy came up. He handed me the paper in exchange for two Krillas, the money in Emensia. There were one coin pieces, five coin pieces, ten coin pieces, and twenty coin pieces for big transactions.
Naturally, the games were front page news. The pictures of the ten chosen contenders bordered the article, but I didn't look at them. I had to see the names.
AVILA MOSS & BLAZE STONE
MEDINA CANTRELL & CAMDEN FLORES
VILLA BARRERA & GLENN FLYNN
SAGE BLACKBURN & ADONIS AVERY
My breath caught in my throat as I looked at the last two names, the ones from blueberry. And then I stopped breathing altogether.
TRACE NORTON & JAYDEN WARE
I just stared at the paper, not fully comprehending what I had just read. Trace Norton. That's my name isn't it? I'm going to the games?
Mellie came up behind me and took the paper out of my hands. She scanned it quickly and her face broke into a huge grin.
"Trace, you did it! They picked you! You're going to the games!"
The party started a few minutes later and didn't stop for three nights and three days back to back. I, Trace Norton, was going to be in the Parfait Games. I, Trace Norton, had beaten the odds.
The only thing that could've made it better was if my family had been around to celebrate too.