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Owen Tyme

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This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2024 Owen Tyme. All rights reserved.
Written by Owen Tyme.
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Seeing systemic injustice in the laws established by the Queen of the Fairies, may she reign forever, Sophorica breaks them to draw attention to their absurdity, literally painting New York City red. After all, if the only crime is to be caught and any offense can be forgiven simply by being sneaky, then the law itself can only be considered a cruel joke.

Her crime is expunged from history and the human race is none the wiser, but the Queen, may she reign forever, sentences Sophorica to perform one act of community service in the human realm for each human witness. This service takes the form of granting wishes to human children as their fairy godmother, until they’re happy.

However, the awful truth is that granting wishes rarely brings happiness, forcing Sophorica to learn as much as she can about her charges, that she might get them to wish for what they really need, rather than what they want.

Will Sophorica find a way to free herself from the twisted, unjust punishment wrought by the Queen, may she reign forever, successfully demonstrating the flaws in fairy law or will she be forever banished to the human world as a Fairy Godmother?

Community Service Fairy Godmother

Short of Tyme #3

A Fairy’s Day in Court

“Did you hear what she did?” The whisper carried through the cell door, clearly intentionally and in a cultured, snobbish, female voice.

Sophorica didn’t hear the response, but it must have been a negative, even though everyone already knew the answer.

“Oh! She made such a mess in the mortal world!” The snob went on.

Yep, they’re were talking about her. Everyone was. Now, they weren’t even trying to hide it anymore. No one could out-gossip a fairy, even if they tried for a thousand years. It was intentional snubbing to shame the accused over the greatest crime known to fey-kind.

Again, the other party in the conversation was too quiet to be heard.

“Oh, yes! I hear the queen, may she reign forever, is going to punish her severely.” The snob spoke with great delight.

Like the giggle of a twisted, corrupt angel, the snob guard outside the cell laughed.

As cells went, it wasn’t a bad one. The queen, may she reign forever, at least had taste. The couches were comfortable, beautifully decorated in blue and gold, plus there was plenty to eat, good wine to drink, the bed was one of the best Sophorica had ever slept on and the view from the wide-open window was breath-taking, allowing her to see a magnificent waterfall cascade over the homes of the river fey, carefully guided into flowing paths down the high, stone cliff.

It was almost, but not quite, like being free and that was the point: offering the condemned some of the greatest pleasures in life, subtly reminding them of all they were about to lose once their guilt was confirmed and proclaimed, by royal decree. She was tempted to fly out the open window, but knew the way the queen, may she reign forever, thought. It would be a fate worse than death and worse than the fate already in store for her.

In all the history of the fey-folk, Sophorica knew of only one case where the accused had won, despite all the contrived evidence the prosecutor brought before the queen, may she reign forever, to ensure a guilty verdict. The queen, may she reign forever, did not like losing and severely punished the prosecutor in place of the accused, for having lost the case.

Sophorica could hear the last dozen or so verdicts echo in her head: Off with his/her head!

The queen, may she reign forever, was very fond of that one lately.

Unfortunately, being magical creatures, a beheading wasn’t always lethal. She’d met a few Dullahan, forced to spend eternity carrying their heads under an arm wherever they went as a sign of punishment. They usually had their wings clipped, as well, forcing them to walk forever after.

Sophorica’s reverie was interrupted by a knock at the door. She quickly stood and looked at herself in the mirror, since it wouldn’t do to let her jailer think she was having an effect.

Sophorica was currently human in shape and size, with long, curled, golden hair. In deference to her high-born nature, she wore her ears long and pointed, to advertise to the lesser races the need to treat her with respect. Similarly, her long, insect-like wings were also visible, to remind them of who and what she was, each of them translucent and sparkling. She wore a figure-hugging, knee-length blue and gold dress, showing off the curvaceous feminine features her current form possessed. Her shoes were the slip-on kind, with high heels, matching the motif of her dress.

On a moment’s whim, she changed her eye color from green to blue, deciding it should match her dress. She also reduced the height of her shoes, just in case she got stuck with them as a result of the queen’s, may she reign forever, judgment.

Shape-shifting and magic to alter clothes were both a privilege, not a right, and could be taken away, so she made sure she was comfortable and looked good.

“You may enter.” Sophorica spoke, managing a haughty sneer, despite her imprisonment.

Jenessica, her jailer, entered the room and gave her the snobbish grin she always wore. She was dressed in an ankle-length, red dress, cut low in front, presumably to show off the cleavage she did not, in fact, possess. She also had long, brown hair and brown eyes.

“Oh, you! It’s time for your trial, princess!” The snob spoke the word like an insult, “I do, so look forward to hearing your fate!”

Jenessica was holding an elegantly thin, wooden wand in one hand, impatiently tapping her other hand with it. The need for an external device to enhance her powers, such as a wand, marked her as having weak magic. Her shape-shifting was quite temporary as a result, lasting no more than an hour at a time. Jenessica’s wings looked like those of a butterfly, with red, orange and yellow mixed together, red being the dominant color. The edges were outlined in black.

Sophorica nodded, giving her jailer the kind of look she reserved for something scraped off the bottom of her shoe, and stepped into the hall.

Behind her, Jenessica instructed, “To the left, princess.”

Again, the last word was spoken like the most vile of insults. Her jailer wasn’t overly fond of royalty, aside from the queen, may she reign forever, but that was probably just a matter of the collective curse of being subject to her rule.

Sophorica turned left and walked the hall, until instructed to turn again. After several more turns, she heard the sound of a great many voices in the distance. When the last turn was made, she found herself in a room so large, it wasn’t possible to have been contained in the building and had therefore just walked through an open portal. The effect was so seamless, Sophorica hadn’t even sensed it. Such was the incredible power of the queen, may she reign forever, that she could bend the rules of reality to her liking, at a whim.

Sophorica thought on the queen’s, may she reign forever, decree regarding proper respect. It really bothered her that she couldn’t even think about the queen, may she reign forever, without the insertion of that cursed phrase into the sentence!

The room appeared to have been constructed from a forest clearing, reality-warped into a solid structure, with all the accouterments for a proper trial. It held all of the fey court’s current nobles and the servants they went nowhere without. That had clearly been made possible by distorting space until there was enough room, giving the trees on the edge of the room a bizarre, twisted look, like an Escher-space made of trees, just beyond the barrier holding it all together as a room. With its distorted space, the queen, may she reign forever, had used the resultant time distortions to invite the nobles for the trial at the most convenient moment possible, as she’d always done. The overall effect was impressive. The primary purpose was just to stroke her massive ego, with the public demonstration of power being secondary.

Sophorica hated the queen, may she reign forever, but couldn’t help but be taken in by what she’d done. Every mistake she made was twisted until it became an advantage. She applied the same talent to politics, resulting in a reign of just under ten-thousand years! Her enemies became her allies or were never heard from again. There were persistent rumors that her worst enemies had been erased from history entirely, having never even been born!

She looked on the face of the queen, may she reign forever, who was dressed in a green and brown dress that including many embroidered, silk leaf-like flaps that fluttered in the air, making her appear almost like a living, walking, talking tree. She wore a glittering crown of gold with emeralds set in it, atop her head, where it contrasted the metallic, silver curls of her hair, which appeared to have been spun from actual silver!

“The accused may sit!” The queen, may she reign forever, commanded!

Sophorica resisted for the briefest fraction of a second and then, of their own accord, her legs betrayed her by obeying the command, marching her to the appropriate seat, where she sat, against her will. Stepping in the room, behind her, Jenessica took station at the edge of the room, as bailiff.

Sitting in a high seat formed by twisting the shape of a tree into a proper judge’s seat and desk, the queen, may she reign forever, looked down.

The queen, may she reign forever, began by reading the charges, “Sophorica, you stand accused of meddling in mortal affairs. According to the expert witness of dozens of balance-keepers, you literally painted the city of New York red! Is this true?”

Refusing the say the cursed phrase out loud, Sophorica stood and responded, “Yes, mother.”

There was a sudden intake of breath from all present! Sophorica was guilty of a massive breach of etiquette, publicly speaking to the queen in such a familiar way, and during a court proceeding, no less! It was, however, not actually a crime. Though, after the trial was over, she was certain it would be declared as one.

The queen, may she reign forever, raised her voice, reaching a level of volume just shy of pain, “Sophorica, as this is an official court proceeding, you will not refer to me as ‘mother’ or I will be forced to hold you in contempt of court. Today, that carries a punishment of death by mortality!”

‘Death by mortality’ referred to stripping a fey of their immortal nature, usually along with banishment to the mortal realm, to live as a human, or some lower creature, if the queen, may she reign forever, was in a foul enough mood.

“Yes, ma’am.” Sophorica nodded, knowing ‘ma’am’ was another studied insult, “May I request, then, that you refer to me by my title of ‘Princess’, rather than by name, due to the seriousness of this matter.”

“Very well, Princess.” The queen, may she reign forever, sounded quite angry, but was unable to refute the logic, “How do you defend your actions?”

Sophorica smiled like The Trickster himself, who she noted was sitting in the front row. She gave Coyote a nod, who smiled back, showing off his canines. He looked almost like a werewolf, covered head to toe in fur, resembling the animal that was named after him, aside from the fact he often walked on two legs.

She began, “In 1924, you did something very similar to the city in question, after getting extremely drunk. I was simply following your example. Having noted that I was inebriated, I took similar action.”

I am not on trial at this time, but you are!” The queen, may she reign forever, thundered, “However, I will note, for the court record, that the Princess did not restore time to an earlier point, to erase her actions. She did not maintain the balance of the mortal realm.”

Seeking to push the narrative toward the real crux of the issue, while still in the public’s eye, Sophorica explained, “Of course I didn’t! That would have defeated the meaning of what I was doing!”

“What, pray tell, was your purpose in such an obvious and open display of magic in the eyes of mortals?”

“To demonstrate the folly of our laws! The only crime is to be caught! If I’d painted the entire town red and gotten away without being spotted, it would be acceptable, but since I was caught, red-handed, so to speak, I’m on trial, here and now.”

The court began to murmur, loudly! It was loud enough that the queen, may she reign forever, shouted, “I will have silence in this court!”

Everyone closed their mouths, suddenly unable to speak. Sophorica smiled at Coyote, who winked back. The message was heard, loud and clear. It would be whispered about, for years to come, but not in the presence of the queen, may she reign forever. Never in her presence, if the speaker wanted to stay among the upright and breathing.

“Very well!” The queen, may she reign forever, began, “Since you clearly show no remorse for your actions and cannot defend them, Princess, you will be punished. I will erase your actions from the memory of all mortals and warp reality to remove the effects of your actions. Since you harmed the balance of the mortal realm, you will perform one act of community service to the mortal realm for every witness to your actions. According to the records provided by the balance-keepers, this will be 6,409 individuals.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Sophorica nodded and asked, “What form will my service take?”

The queen, may she reign forever, grinned evilly, speaking the words as the curse they were, “Fairy Godmother. The majority of your magical powers will be stripped for the duration, with the major exception being the ability to grant the wishes of the unhappy children of the mortal realm, that you may bring them happiness. You will serve each of your charges until they’re truly happy.”

Sophorica could see the intentional flaw in the queen’s, may she reign forever, logic. Granting wishes never made anyone happy. Usually, quite the opposite, the curse of Genies and Fairy God-Parents, everywhere. To complete the task, she would have to convince her charges to wish for what they needed, rather than what they wanted, a nearly impossible distinction, especially for children.

With the punishment pronounced, it was so. As her wings shrunk and faded away, Sophorica felt her powers change according to the queen’s, may she reign forever, command, knowing she might possibly never again use magic at her own will. The only power she retained control of was her natural, selective invisibility to mortals, a power the queen, may she reign forever, would never dare strip of any fairy, without first making them mortal, it being an essential part of keeping the balance of the mortal realm.

The queen, may she reign forever, continued, “You shall begin your service in the very city you have wronged, immediately.”

Sophorica’s dress fluttered in the wind as she fell through a portal!

First Charge

Sophorica found herself falling through the air, looking down at a city of millions, with tall, glass and concrete buildings, reaching up to the sky! The brilliant light of dawn left the city as a mixture of long shadows and brightly-lit buildings on the edge of the island of Manhattan.

Without a lot in the way of thought, she tried to slow her fall with her wings, only to be reminded of the harsh reality of her situation: she had no wings!

She relaxed and took a moment to think. The queen, may she reign forever, must have thought it amusing to drop her off in the mortal realm at ten-thousand feet. Were the consequences her fault, then? How could she be blamed if she made a crater?

Sophorica smiled and decided to make the most of it, to display her defiance to the queen, may she reign forever, by angling herself into the wind, to minimize resistance and maximize acceleration! She would show her disdain for her monarch, ah, at last, a way to avoid the cursed phrase, by leaving a huge mark in the pavement that would be difficult to explain to the rest of the court, for she knew they would be watching.

At five-thousand feet, Sophorica was falling with lethal velocity and a gleeful smile!

At four-thousand, she turned and looked back, to the sky, winking and making faces at the court, secure in her belief they could see her.

At three-thousand, she passed through a cloud and turned her attention back to the ground, angling herself for a busy street. She glanced to one side, taking in the view of Lady Liberty.

At somewhere under two-thousand, she passed below the height of the tallest building.

When she reached one-thousand she was surrounded by buildings, looking into a street filled with cars, zipping from place to place.

She closed her eyes and accepted her fate, knowing it would be painful, but what was pain, to an immortal? She spread her arms and legs wide, intending to leave a humanoid crater!

Seconds passed and just as she expected to slam into the ground at pavement-shattering velocity, the wind that had been howling in her ears ceased. She cautiously opened her eyes, finding herself floating about fifteen feet in the air, helpless, spinning as though trapped in a bubble of zero gravity. She struggled for a moment and ended up hanging upside-down, with her dress hanging down, in an embarrassing fashion.

As soon as her struggles left her in this undignified position, whatever held her in the air ceased and she dropped, hitting the pavement, head-first!

As Sophorica groaned and got to her feet, brushing dirt and grass off her skirt, she heard a small child giggle. With the instinct of a Fairy Godmother, she knew the voice of her charge and also knew she could never be invisible to her charge, unless they wished for it.

She looked to see the source of the voice, taking in the appearance of a small girl in dirty, green pants, with holes in the knees and a stained, white T-shirt with a cartoon kitten on it. She had brown hair, brown eyes and couldn’t have been more than five or six years old.

Sophorica was in some kind of large park, near a playground, filled with other children. She hadn’t remembered a park, having clearly aimed for a street. It must have been her monarch’s doing, spoiling her entrance to the mortal realm, while also placing her near her first charge.

Once again, she felt a little thrill at her discovery of a way to avoid the cursed phrase. Should she meet another fey during her stay in the mortal world, she would definitely have to share the discovery.

Sophorica walked over to her charge and knelt, saying, “I’m Sophorica. What’s your name?”

The girl looked into her eyes and asked in an overly-rapid voice, “Are-you-a-stranger? My-mom-said-I-shouldn’t-talk-to-strangers, but-my-brother-said-I-should-talk-to-every-stranger-and-play-in-the-street, too.”

“I’m not a stranger.” Sophorica smiled and shook her head, “I’m your Fairy Godmother.”

“What’s-a-Fairy-Godmother?” The child asked in the same rapid-fire fashion.

“Fairy Godmothers help children, like yourself,” Sophorica felt a compulsion to tell the whole truth, which she tried to resist, doing little more than damping her hair with sweat as she spoke in a miserable tone of voice, “by granting wishes.”

She’d been planning not to advertise that fact and wanted to, instead, guide her charge toward wishing for what she needed, rather than what she wanted.

The little girl’s eyes lit up, becoming like saucers, “Like a genie?”

Sophorica fought the compulsion, once more, but failed, speaking through clenched teeth, “Yes. Anything you want, just ask.”

So, she couldn’t lie when asked a direct question and worse, she was forced to speak the whole truth. Well, if that was the game, then she would have to think hard about the truth. Fey were well-known for their capricious ability to twist the truth until it stank like a lie.

As Sophorica opened her mouth, to give it a try, the little girl spoke the awful words, “I wish…”

Three hours later, after having granted every wish the child could think of, including, but not limited to: a candy bar, a hamburger, a bag of gummy bears and a new doll. Sophorica was tired and frustrated, because she couldn’t get a word in edgewise, interrupted by the child’s stream of greedy requests every time she tried to speak. She was grateful her charge wasn’t very imaginative, though, seeming content to ask for small things, like candy, greasy food and toys.

Sophorica muttered, mostly to herself, “I wish you’d listen to me, for just a moment.”

Surprised, the girl looked up at her from the grass of the park and asked, “Fairies make wishes, too?”

Having finally gained the kid’s attention for a moment, she nodded, “Yes, we do.”

“What do you wish for, then?” The little girl’s eyes were full of curiosity.

Smiling, Sophorica took the opportunity to speak a clear truth, “I wish you were happy.”

To her surprise, the girl started crying, great big tears that ran down her face and mingled with the snot that had just started pouring from her nose!

It took a while for her to comfort the girl enough to calm her down, but when she did, unhappy details poured out, in a torrent, “Mom and her boyfriend fight and hit each other! And George breaks all my toys! And I hate school! And I don’t have any friends! And…” she sniffed, “Daddy won’t come home!”

Sophorica considered, carefully. Among mortals, broken homes were often the cause of unhappiness and misery, but there were certain lines that shouldn’t be crossed, at least not if she could help it. She needed more information.

“Where’s your daddy?”

“New Jersey.” The girl wiped her tears away.

Good. He wasn’t dead. Sophorica wasn’t about to raise the dead if she had any say in the matter.

“Would it make you happy if he came home?”

The girl silently nodded.

Sophorica prodded, “You have to say the words…”

The girl nodded and spoke, “I wish Daddy would come home and we could be a family again!”

Sophorica waved her hand in the air and used her magic, producing a sparkly glow in the air, just as she’d done with every prior wish, even the ones she hadn’t wanted to grant.

Off in the not-so-distant land of New Jersey, a man working in a warehouse felt a pang in his heart, a longing to go home, to his wife and kids. He’d left them after discovering his wife cheating on him with another man, but in truth, leaving her hadn’t made him happy. In fact, it had been quite the opposite. He decided to forgive her, because he still loved her. They could work it out, he knew they could!

Off in an apartment building, near the park, a woman lay in bed, beside her lover, feeling unfulfilled. The relationship with him had been exciting, when it was a hidden thing, but now, in retrospect, it had been a massive mistake. She’d alienated her husband in the process and turned her home into a series of continuous arguments with her teenage son and the man she knew she didn’t love.

She longed to see her husband’s face. They weren’t yet divorced, so perhaps there was still a chance?

Hoping for a return to the way things used to be and certain the way things were was a foolish mistake, she got up and dressed, then she turned to the man in her bed, saying, “This isn’t working. I want you out of my house and I want my husband back.”


It turned into another physical altercation, but this time, she called the police. Almost as soon as her former lover was gone from the house, the phone rang.

When she picked it up and heard the voice of her husband, tears of joy filled her eyes!

Sophorica lowered her hand and the glow faded.

The girl looked around and pointed out, “Nothing happened!”

“That was a big wish,” Sophorica explained, “so it will take a little time, okay?”


Swaggering toward the small corner of the park where the girl had been left to her own devices, a teenage boy called out from the other side of a decorative bush, “Hey brat, where are you?”

The girl popped up and complained, “I’m not a brat! I have a name!”

The teen grumbled, “Fine, Susie, come on! It’s time to go home!”

Susie obediently stepped over to him, still holding her new doll, which he pulled from her protesting hands with superior strength, wrenched its head off and then tossed both pieces aside.

“What, you’re not gonna cry, this time?” The boy looked eager to see the sight.

Susie shrugged, in response. It obviously wasn’t the first time George had broken her toys.

Speaking as though disappointed, he demanded, “Come on, let’s go!”

Susie waved to Sophorica.

George asked, “Who are you waving at?”

“The nice lady!” She pointed at her Fairy Godmother.

He roughly grabbed Susie’s hand and ordered, “Forget your imaginary friend and come on!”

Walking quietly, so as not to disturb the situation, Sophorica followed. She didn’t care for the way George treated his sister, but without a wish, there was nothing she could do. Susie occasionally glanced at her in perplexity over the fact her brother couldn’t see her.

She protested and pointed again, with her free hand, “But she’s right there!”

“There’s no one there!” George groaned and pulled her along, walking too fast for his sister’s short legs, forcing her to run, to avoid being dragged.

One short walk/run later, they arrived at a run-down apartment building that was rather old, but still serviceable. After a ride in an elderly elevator, they entered an apartment.

George and Susie, both surprised, looked on the smiling face of their father, standing beside the crying form of their mother.

The children spoke at the same time, surprised by the unexpected change in their home, “Dad?”

The man rushed to his children and hugged them both, whispering through tears of joy, “I’m home and I’m never leaving again!”

When her father let go of her, Susie turned and looked at Sophorica, saying, “Thank you. I’m so happy!”

Not seeing the Fairy Godmother in the room, her father asked, “Who are you talking to?”

Sophorica felt her connection to the child fade and a sudden burst of magic was released, affecting only the girl. As Sophorica faded from Susie’s sight and memories, she turned back to her father and hugged him tight, crying and happy.

The new Fairy Godmother was pleased to have changed Susie’s life in a positive way. She hoped the parents would stay together, too. She’d given them a slight, magical nudge, but the feelings they were acting on were real.

She decided to embarrass her monarch by embracing her new role and even going that extra little bit further.

She quietly vowed, to herself, “I’ll be the best Fairy Godmother the mortal world had ever seen!”

With nothing left for her to do, she felt a bond form with a new charge and the magic, acting of its own accord, whisked her away in a burst of unseen sparkles.

The Queen of the Fairies ground her teeth together at the sight of her daughter, reuniting her charge’s family, displayed for all the court to see, via a large pool of standing water, in the hollow of a tree trunk, which she’d turned into an impromptu scrying device! Just a little over three hours! That was a new record! No other Fairy Godmother had ever helped a charge so quickly!

To her own embarrassment, the court was whispering and murmuring, already gossiping. Under normal circumstances, she would have beheaded them all for such an indiscretion, but in this situation, that would only make her look weak.

As fitting a ruler of the fey court who’d been in power since the dawn of human civilization, the queen was quite paranoid, imagining the court was already gossiping about her failure to mete out a fitting punishment on the princess.

With a mere thought, she warped reality so their words carried to her ears.

“-see that?” One of the nobles spoke, “The queen, may she reign forever, must be livid!

The noble’s wife surreptitiously glanced at the queen, “Look at her face! She looks like she’s about to explode!”

“Shh! She might hear you!”

The queen trembled with rage! How dare her own daughter make a mockery of her punishment! As she looked on the happy scene in the old apartment and heard the child say the words that released Sophorica from service, an idea occurred to the queen. She smiled a wicked smile.

She listened as Sophorica made her silly vow and her evil grin widened. If her daughter was content to be the best Fairy Godmother to ever live, then she needed a suitable challenge, a difficult child, with which to prove herself.

The queen started to laugh the wicked laugh she always used when plotting an unpleasant fate for others. Seeing the queen’s rapid adjustment from rage to full-bore sadistic laughter, the whispering and gossip of the court ceased.

Everyone watched, with baited breath, as the scene in the scrying pool changed.

Second Charge

Sophorica found herself in the park, once more, surrounded by children, unseen and unheard.

She knew she had a new charge, she could feel it in her heart, but she didn’t know who they were and there were numerous children to pick from. She closed her eyes and listened, hoping her Fairy Godmother instincts would kick in again when she heard their voice.

The general hubbub of children at play washed over her and she caught snippets of conversation about games, toys and various imaginary concepts, including a dragon.

Her brow creased as she heard a distant cry of pain, but knew it wasn’t her charge. As she listened to a child whimpering, she wished there was something she could do.

Then she heard the voice, knowing in her heart, it was the one, “Give me your money or I’ll break your arm!”

Her heart sunk about as low as it could go: she’d been assigned to a bully! Her imagination ran wild with the horrendous possibilities of being forced to torture other children with her magic!

Opening her eyes, she peered across the park, seeing a muscular teen holding a boy of ten years against the cinder block wall of the back side of the restrooms.

As she walked over, the younger boy produced a few dollars and handed them over, resulting in his release. The victim scurried away as fast as possible.

Her charge counted his money and then turned around, allowing Sophorica a proper view of him. He was no more than fifteen years old, with blond hair dyed blue in places and some slight evidence of a poorly-shaved chin, with a few long whiskers the razor missed. He wore a black T-shirt with the sleeves torn off and blue-jeans. As he pocketed the money, he looked up, a contrived look of pure innocence on his face.

“Hey, what’s with the ears?” He asked, “You going to a Star Trek convention or something?”

Sophorica answered plainly, “I’m a fairy.”

“Hey,” the boy shrugged, “it’s not my place to judge, lady.”

He started walking away.

She called out to him, “Are you happy?”

Jimmy paused, confused and upset. What kind of question was that to ask a stranger? Was anyone in the world happy? As far as he could tell, the world was a miserable place, full of miserable people, that all hated each other. How could anyone be happy?

His mom was a drunk, having turned to the bottle after his dad died. She barely earned enough to feed them both, but her booze clearly came first. He’d taken to bullying other kids, just to get enough food on the table. She never asked how he could afford the groceries he brought home, costing about twice the money she gave him.

He worked hard to be strong, so threats could get him the money he needed to survive, because actually breaking bones would just bring lots of trouble.

Every day, every hour, all Jimmy thought about was how to survive. How in the world could he ever be happy? Just being asked the question pissed him off! Other kids had it easier. Other kids had rich parents, that filled their pockets with money and gave them plenty to eat. Other kids had dads that provided, but his dad was dead and he couldn’t even remember him.

Why in the world had the gay lady asked him that? Why would she care?

Trembling with anger, the boy turned to Sophorica and shouted, “No, I’m not! Who in this miserable world is happy?”

“What would it take to make you happy?” She persisted.

Staring at her in shock, for a moment, he turned away, muttering, “Enough money to survive and a sober mom.”

Sophorica smiled and prompted, sweetly, “Is that a wish?”

“You’re dang right it is, now leave me alone!” He growled.

Hoping the wording was close enough, Sophorica waved her hand, producing a stream of sparkles.

Jimmy arrived home around noon. He was mildly bothered the gay lady seemed to have followed him home, but wasn’t overly worried. If it came to a fight, he’d win; she was practically a stick figure. If he had to, he’d call the cops and they would definitely get her to leave.

As he stepped in the house, his mother, dressed in her nightshirt, handed him a sealed envelope, addressed to him. For once, she was sober.

“Open it,” she requested, “I’m dying to find out what it says.”

He checked the return address, surprised to see it had come from a law office.

Opening it, he read the first few lines and asked, “Do I have an uncle, named James?”

She nodded, “You do. You were named after him and he’s your godfather, though I haven’t seen him in more than ten years.” She looked sad, “We had a big argument and then he stopped visiting.”

Jimmy nodded and gravely informed her, “Well, he died.”

His mother started to cry as he continued reading. He got to the end and stared at the last line, shocked by what he saw there.

He asked, “The last time you talked with James, what did you fight about?”

“My drinking habit. He wanted me to quit and…I didn’t want to.”

He handed her the letter, saying, “Is this enough reason?”

As she read, he sat at the kitchen table and thought it over. If his mom was sober for three months, he’d get a trust fund, giving him more than enough money to survive and even maybe fix up the house. She also had to stay sober, or the money would stop coming.

As she finished reading, she started crying and promised, “I’ll get clean.”

Working together, they went through the entire house and poured every last drop of booze down the drain. The coming weeks were incredibly rough on both of them, but Jimmy watched over her as she went through every stage of withdrawal. She got violently sick for a while, unable to keep anything down, not even water.

In one of the worst of moments, as his mom lay in bed, hallucinating, he spoke aloud, with concern, “I wish this were easier for you!”

There was an unexpected flash of light outside the bedroom window and his mom fell asleep. That was her turning point, where she started to slowly get better.

When she was well enough, Jimmy helped her go out, to AA meetings, where she talked things out with other alcoholics.

It turned into one of the hardest times in his life, balancing school and looking after his mom, but at the same time, he felt more hopeful than ever. It was strange the way the gay lady asked him what would make him happy and then it just started happening, as if by magic.

When the time came for them to meet with the lawyer, his mom presented her three months sobriety chip and the lawyer handed over the first check.

Jimmy was happy, for the first time he could remember. He knew he wouldn’t have to worry about survival anymore and his mom was sober.

When they got home, he told his mom how he felt, saying, “Thank you for doing this for me. I’m so happy you’re sober and we don’t have to worry about money anymore!”

As they hugged, there was a bright flash of light outside, which Jimmy promptly forgot all about, along with all his memories of the gay lady.

The queen was furious! The most difficult child she could come up with on short notice and Sophorica practically side-stepped it, making the child happy with only two wishes! It had taken three months, but that had been easy to fast-forward through, by manipulating the flow of time.

Once more, the court was whispering and the queen heard a suppressed snigger. He blood boiled with rage at the indignity of it! How dare they snigger at their queen!

She opened her mouth, to speak her nearly-favorite words, but with a moment’s pause, thought better of it. There were already too many Dullahan and it would make her appear weak, something she couldn’t afford. No, punishing the court wasn’t the right answer, even though it would have been satisfying.

She turned her attention to her daughter’s charge, hearing the boy speak the words releasing Sophorica.

This time, she would have to find the vilest of children, a true monster, without remorse or conscience, but…no. She couldn’t actually give her an impossible charge. She had to find the most broken child she could, but there always had to be a chance, no matter how small. Freezing time in the court, she stepped out, spending several weeks on research, only to return, as if nothing had happened.

Once again, her face became a mask of evil delight as she worked the minor magic that would take Sophorica to her next charge.

The view in the scrying pool refocused on the exterior of a prison, with an open-air yard surrounded by fences topped with barbed wire. Sophorica stood there and looked on the prison, a look of surprise on her face.

There was an outcry from a member of the court, namely Coyote, “My queen, may you reign forever, if I may be so bold, by all our laws, it has to be possible for Sophorica to complete her task without raising suspicion! If her charge is in that prison, then you must allow her the use of some of her powers, just to get close!”

The queen grumbled, seeing the logic of The Trickster’s words, so she asked, “And what did you have in mind?”

“Shape-shifting and simple illusions, to appear in human form, with appropriate props, that she may visit her charge.”

The queen spoke with reluctance, unable to refute his logic, “Very well. She may use her power to appear in human form and provide herself with appropriate glamours, to avoid raising suspicion.”

Third Charge

Sophorica looked on the prison. On one side, there were high fences, with barbed wire. On the other side, there was a parking lot for prison workers and visitors. The entrance was at the front, through which visitors might enter or a released prisoner might exit. Along the street was a bus stop and opposite the prison was an empty field, full of scrub brush.

She was somehow sure her charge was inside, which didn’t bode well. As she was considering how to determine which of the prisoners was her charge, a name trotted to the forefront of her mind: Leo Valdez Pena.

As she was considering how she might enter the prison, she felt two of her old powers unlock, slightly. She suddenly knew she could shape-shift, but sensed about the only thing she could do was make her ears look more human and perhaps adjust the length and style of her hair. She felt like simple glamours might be possible, as well. With a few tools with which to do her work, she formed a plan.

First, she hiked down the road about half a mile, in the direction of the closest city.

She closed her eyes and concentrated on her appearance. Her hair, which had been hanging as curls, straightened itself and formed into a tight braid, while her ears shortened and lost their points, making her look human.

Her dress turned gray and transformed into a smart-looking business skirt, white blouse and a matching, professional-looking suit coat. Her shoes remained the same shape, but changed in color, to match her new outfit. The changes to her clothes were just a glamour and would last only a few hours without concentration, similar to the limited shape-shifting of a wand-wielding fairy.

She took a moment to look down at herself, critically. She mostly looked the part, but she lacked a few small details.

Closing her eyes again, she focused on forming a pair of glasses in one hand, which she donned, making her look more intellectual. Then, she focused on forming a leather bag in her other hand, large enough to hold legal documents. She felt the weight of the heavy bag as it formed, full of paper and other suitable supplies.

Looking down at the bag through her new glasses, she reflected on the nature of glamours: solid imagination, real enough to touch, but which would melt away to nothing, sooner or later. Fairy gold was the stereotypical example humans had experienced in the past, the ‘reward’ given to humans that demanded riches from a captured fairy. Leprechauns were particularly prone to giving it out, to avoid giving away their real treasures.

Glancing both ways down the road, to make sure she was alone, she willed her invisibility to end and walked back toward the prison, where she entered.

Presenting a glamour that appeared to be a complicated legal document regarding her ‘new client’ and her need to see him immediately, she was ushered through a metal detector, while her bag was put through an X-ray machine and then briefly opened.

She was guided to a small room with painted cinder block walls furnished with a table and two chairs. She sat and waited for a time and then her charge, Leo, was brought in and placed opposite her, by the guards. He was cuffed to the table, but had enough freedom of movement to be able to hold a pen and sign a document, if required.

Leo’s head was shaved and he had the swarthy skin of a Latino. He was on the cusp of adulthood, probably seventeen. His arms and neck were covered in tattoos, which Sophorica guessed were gang-related. He wore the odd black and white stripes that were coming back into fashion for prison uniforms.

He eyed her critically and she was grateful her outfit wasn’t particularly revealing.

“Who’re you?” He asked, “They say you’re my lawyer, but I know I can’t afford you.”

In response, she removed a small business card from her bag and set it in front of him.

As he watched, in surprise, the text of the card changed from that of a plain, boring lawyer’s business card to read as follows:

Sophorica, your Fairy Godmother.

My job is to make you happy, by granting your wishes.

She stared in mild horror at the last part, having not intended it, but it was part of her curse. She couldn’t lie to him and had to tell the whole truth, but she was grateful she could at least communicate with him silently.

Leo smiled, “Chido! Nice magic trick, lady.”

Internally, she was very grateful he didn’t believe her. With any luck, his skepticism would prevent him from making any wishes.

Sophorica asked, with genuine concern, “Are you happy?”

He started to laugh, “I get caught selling drugs, tried as an adult, I’m thrown in prison with grown men and she asks me if I’m happy?” He started to cry, “Of course not, lady! I messed up, big time. I should have capped the pig that arrested me, instead of letting it happen.”

“And would killing him have made you happy?”

“Yeah, sure.” He didn’t look all that sure.


He shrugged, “It would have kept me out of this place.”

“Well, as your-” Sophorica tapped the card on the table, “would you tell me your story? I’d like to get to know you better, so I can find some way to help.”

He smiled, “I see no reason to argue with getting to know a beautiful woman,” his smile faded, “but I need to know: does this stay between us, like other lawyers? I mean, you’re a bit crazy, with that little magic trick, but do we have that attorney privilege thing?”

With the certainty she couldn’t break her word to a charge showing on her face, she vowed, “I give you my word, I’ll never repeat anything you share in confidence.”

Sighing, he began, “When I was six, my parents died in a car accident. With no one else to take care of me, my cousin, Gabriel, took me in. He didn’t work much, but he always had money. Turns out he was a drug dealer, working for the cartel.

“By the time I was eleven, he was paying me to deliver drugs, cause who would expect a kid to have drugs? His buyers liked the whole delivery service thing he had going and gave me big tips. One guy once gave me a hundred dollar bill as a tip, but he was high as a kite, in the middle of a big party with his friends, showing off. Gabriel always told me just by being there, I helped him bring home more cash.

“Two years later, I was working my own little corner of the neighborhood, always with one of his guys watching my back. They all treated me like a little brother and I felt like I had a big family. They always gave me a heads-up if the pigs were on the street.

“When I was fifteen, my cousin gave me a gun, to defend myself. I always kept it on me and I even threatened a guy with it once, when he gave me lip over the prices, but I never wanted to use it.

“Then, out of the blue, just a few months ago, a cop showed up and wouldn’t leave me alone. Turned out, the guy that was supposed to have my back was gone, off getting a drink. I argued with the pig for a bit and then, in the tussle, I dropped some of the product.

“The pig saw it and went for his gun, but I was faster. I put it right to his head,” Leo’s rough exterior faded and he started to cry, “but I couldn’t do it! If I’d just pulled that trigger, I’d still be free!”

“What did you do?” Sophorica prompted.

Leo finished, “I put it down and he arrested me. He was nice about it during the trial and spoke up for me, saying I seemed like a nice kid who’d just got in too deep. It didn’t help.”

She considered and asked, “What do you think would make you happy?”

He chuckled, “There you go again, talking about happiness, like it’s easy to find.”

“I’m just trying to help.” She tried again, “Most lawyers would only be concerned with defending you, but as your-” she tapped the business card again, “-my concerns run deeper than that. So, please tell me, what would make you happy?”

“Well,” Leo considered, “I guess a fresh start, somewhere new, with everything squared away with my cousin, so he won’t come looking for me.”

“Is that a wish, then?” She prompted.

“You’re crazy, you know that?” Leo laughed, “But sure, it’s a wish.”

Sophorica winked as she raised her hand and whispered, conspiratorially, “I’m not crazy.”

She waved her hand, producing sparkles in the air, much to the shock and surprise of her charge!

The queen screamed in rage, losing her temper! The Escher-space outside the room took on a more sinister appearance as the trees became darker and more gnarled, losing many of their leaves! The room darkened to the level of starlight, making every shadow appear like monsters as dry leaves started blowing on a chilly wind!

Nothing she did worked! Sophorica’s talent for her new job was maddening. The boy she’d been assigned to was practically a hardened criminal and within the hour, she had him making a wish for greater happiness! Oh, it would take months to grant, but the deed was already done!

The queen wracked her brain, looking for a solution, some way to halt her daughter’s relentless push for freedom.

As she calmed down, in deep thought, she heard the whispers, coming from every corner of the room, louder than ever! If things continued as they were, she would be finished as queen, through the actions of her upstart child! If she didn’t find some way to save face, she was certain the nobles would band together. It was the last measure, meant to ensure the ruling fairy stayed strong: she could be removed from the throne by a unanimous vote of no confidence from the nobles of the court.

Months passed and Leo’s actual lawyer managed to get him out of prison, on a technicality. Remembering the crazy fairy’s obsession with his happiness, he talked things out with his cousin and squared everything.

As a sort of apology for involving him in the family business, Gabriel gave him a fat roll of bills and wished him well, surprising him quite a bit. From all he’d heard, it was really rare for the cartel to let someone out, but sometimes, for family, it could be done.

Leo moved to a new city and got a job at a car wash, detailing cars.

After a month of working, while he was adding up a day worth of receipts for his boss, the crazy fairy showed up, her ears long and pointed, reminding him of Spock. She wore a blue dress with gold trim.

She smiled and asked, “Are you happy?”

“Yeah, I am.” He smiled back, “Thank you.”

“I’m glad I could help.”

There was a burst of light from her and she slowly faded from his sight. When he couldn’t see her anymore, he couldn’t remember her, either. He got back to work, unsure of why he’d stopped.

The Only Winning Move

Years passed in the blink of an eye as the queen manipulated the flow of time, watching Sophorica deal with charge after charge. She was disgusted by her daughter’s natural talent for being a lowly Fairy Godmother. Where most that were punished with the job were only interested in ending their servitude, she seemed genuinely interested in helping her charges, easily getting them to open up, simply by asking in a concerned tone, if they were happy.

The gossip in the background raised in volume and the queen hated them for it, but there was nothing she could do, not without making things worse. She wanted to kill them all, since they’d witnessed her shame. She wanted to silence them, but there was no way. Most of all, she wanted to see Sophorica fail.

She considered her options as she watched her daughter help a child to happiness in just a few minutes, flat, setting a new record! She had no choice. If she was to retain the throne, she had to take a risk. Sophorica had to fail and the only way the queen could think of to do it was to cheat.

From the perspective of the court, the queen briefly blurred and then she grinned, slightly. It wasn’t her classic, evil smile, but rather the smile of one who’d been disappointed multiple times and was now only hopeful, rather than sure.

In that same instant the queen blurred, Jenessica vanished.

The gossiping court’s volume went up this time, not down.

Sophorica found herself in the bedroom of a little girl with long, brown hair and brown eyes. She couldn’t have been more than eight years old. She wore a plastic tiara and a tiny, pink watch.

She sat at a small table, which had been set for a pretend tea party, with the guests being a few Barbie dolls, a stuffed toy pig that was dressed up as a pirate, including an eye patch, and a toy that looked like a fluffy white-furred humanoid cat wearing a pink dress. To one side of the short table was an open picture book, displaying the scene where Cinderella met her Fairy Godmother.

They looked into each other’s eyes and the girl smiled, immediately asking, “Are you my Fairy Godmother?”

“I am and-”

“Do you grant wishes?” The girl interrupted.

“I do, but-”

“I wish…”

Sophorica was finding her new charge exhausting. Based on the sheer volume of toys in the luxuriously large bedroom, the selfish brat clearly had rich parents that gave her everything, aside from their time, and still, she wished for everything under the sun, as though trying to fill the void with toys and snacks!

She knew what the girl needed: time with her parents, but as things were, she’d never get the child to ask for it. The only reason she knew the kid’s name was Jenny, was because the family butler came by to offer her lunch, speaking to her by name.

As soon as the meal was over and the butler left them alone, once more, the torrent of wishes continued!

The only breaks she got were when the child excused herself to go to the restroom, with startlingly frequency. Sophorica imagined she had some kind of health issue or a smaller than average bladder.

By the time the day was done and the girl got ready for bed, Sophorica was grateful, for her arm had gotten tired from waving new toys into existence all day.

The old butler came to tell her goodnight and read her a story, saying, “Regretfully, young miss, your parents could not be with you this evening. They wanted me to tell you they love you, however.”

When the old guy had left, turning the lights out, Jenny started to cry.

Sophorica started, “If you’d like-”

“I wish you’d shut up and leave me alone for the night!” Jenny ordered and covered her head with her pillow, still crying.

Unable to protest, Sophorica found herself marching out of the room, where she quietly opened and closed the door. She spent the night sleeping in an old chair tucked into the corner of the hallway of the luxurious mansion. She’d gotten used to sleeping when and where she could. At least she was indoors, for once. She normally slept in the back yards of her charges, since their homes were too small for her to avoid suspicion.

The second day with Jenny brought a fresh torrent of wishes, each more selfish than the last.

Sophorica tried many times to get a word in edgewise, only to be repeatedly interrupted by wishes and then she was eventually ordered, “I wish your mouth was glued shut!”

Sophorica watched her arm rise, against her will, to wave! Sparkles dropped to the floor, and the wish was granted! She breathed through her nostrils and continued to listen.

As the day wore on, she got depressed and when it was over, she was once more grateful. This time, she left the bedroom of her own accord. As she fell asleep in the chair, she felt trapped and beaten. There was nothing she could do.

The queen looked on, in delight, as day after day passed, with Sophorica making no progress with her new charge. It was a pleasant change of pace, seeing her daughter struggle so, as she was meant to!

The gossip of the court continued, but the queen was confident they were talking about her daughter, instead of their queen.

She was proud of herself and all it had taken was a bag full of lies, the help of a faithful servant, who just so happened to hate Sophprica, and a dollop of magic.

Sophorica was beginning to get curious about Jenny’s health issue. She went to the restroom nearly once an hour while she was awake! That couldn’t possibly be normal.

Purely out of concern for her charge, she surreptitiously followed Jenny to the restroom and pressed her ear to the door, hoping to get some clue as to what was going on, so she might help.

“No, no, no!” An adult woman spoke, inside the bathroom, “Now isn’t the time to argue! Our queen, may she reign forever, has given us a task! We must complete it!”

There was a pause, during which Sophorica realized she knew the voice, but couldn’t quite place it. It was definitely a fairy, though.

“Very well, then. I’ll give you a long rest after this is over. Will that do?”

That voice was so familiar, but who was it? It was driving her crazy.

“Good, then we have an agreement?”

She imagined her charge was quietly talking with the fairy, which didn’t make any sense and implied her monarch had taken an active hand, which was quite against the rules. Perhaps she’d promised the child a wish Sophorica wasn’t able to grant. Sophorica was powerful, but she had her limits, while her monarch seemed to have no limits.

“Good. Now do your part, because I have to go!”

There was a bright flash of light, spilling out around the edges of the door and the sound of a flushing toilet. Sophorica took it as her cue to run back to Jenny’s room.

When the girl returned, the stream of non-stop wishing continued. Sophorica endured it until the child headed for the bathroom again. Once more pressing her ear to the door, she listened.

The fairy spoke, “We need to find a way to make the spell last longer! She might get suspicious. Can you imagine what would happen if she started listening at the door?”

Who was it? The female fairy’s voice was so familiar, but it had been years since she’d heard the voice of another fairy.

“No, no, I’m sorry. I know you’re doing your best.”

She closed her eyes and tried to picture the face attached to the voice.

“Oh, you! You’re right, the princess is so stupid, she’ll never figure it out!”

The glue on Sophorica’s lips crumbled away, for the way the word ‘princess’ had been spoken caused her to remembered who it was and that gave her evidence enough to know her monarch had cheated, for the fairy in the restroom was Jenessica, her former jailer. Knowing the rules had been violated, Sophorica felt her power unfold to its full potential. Thinking of the name of the child, Jenny, it should have been obvious: Jenny and Jenessica were one and the same!

With a wave of her hand, the door to the restroom became like a one-way mirror, allowing her to see her former jailer standing in the room, alone, holding her wand up, as though having a conversation with it! She’d always wondered why she only heard one voice outside her cell and now, she knew. The fairy was so lonely, her wand had become her only friend and she was probably crazy. If Sophorica hadn’t been so angry, she might have pitied the woman.

With another wave of her hand, the spell she’d placed on the door ended and she vanished.

Another Fairy’s Day in Court

“Did you hear what she did?” The whisper carried through the cell door, clearly intentionally. It was a cultured, snobbish, female voice.

“Oh, yes.” Another fairy answered, “I was there. As you may recall, the monarch used a scrying pool to watch the entire thing! I just wish you could have been there!”

“Oh, you!” Jenessica laughed, “I was on Earth at the time, following orders.”

“Yeah, can’t blame you for that. It would have been ‘Off with her head!’ if you hadn’t done what she said.”

The two women giggled, together, as the queen did her best to ignore them. She hated being the subject of gossip, but with the vote of no confidence having ousted her from the throne, there was nothing she could do, other than wait. It had been a long month in confinement, though the food and wine were good, despite the recently-installed iron bars on the window.

Clearly, her former court thought she was a flight risk. If she’d been able to, she would have reality warped her way out of the situation, but even with her incredible power, defying the entire court was impossible. No, the cell was quite secure and the comforts of it were starting to really bother her, knowing she would soon be without them, for her status as a noble was sure to be stripped, if the new ruler even allowed her to live. After all, she’d been caught, with the entire court as witnesses, because she’d insisted her daughter’s punishment be a public spectacle.

There was a distant fanfare, sounding like the arrival of the royal procession! The court had finally selected a ruler and as the former queen, her trial would be the first order of business. She sighed, in frustration.

There was a polite rap at the door.

The former queen stepped up to the mirror and checked her outfit. She still looked every part the queen. She decided to go down with pride, to her final moment, if necessary.

Summoning her most imperious tone, she commanded, “Enter.”

Jenessica and her new partner, a river-fey with green hair, blue skin and black eyes, stepped into the room.

Jenessica spoke, “Oh, you! It’s time for your trial, queenie, may you rot forever!” The snob laughed, “I do, so look forward to hearing your fate!”

The former queen’s teeth ground together. Clearly, the court had overturned her decree regarding royal respect, freeing the worm of a jailer to insult her, right to her face!

She considered turning Jenessica into the maggot she was, but there was no point. The court would just undo it, quite quickly.

The former queen submitted and followed Jenessica’s orders, walking the halls, headed for the throne room. They entered, looking on the gold and silver supports under the glass-topped surfaces of the tables set aside for the court, while the new ruler was standing beside the throne on its raised dais, wearing a white dress, trimmed with gold, her red hair cascading down her back.

She didn’t recognize the fairy, but with the ability of nobles to change their shape, at will, she could be anyone. Until she spoke, she would never know who it was, for fey could always know each other by voice and word, even if their voice was different.

Jenessica led her into the room, to a seat set aside specifically for the accused.

When the new queen rapped for attention and everyone was seated, the prosecutor read a long list of charges, indicating every last thing the old queen had ever done on the throne that anyone might ever dare to disagree with, at the last ending with her manipulation of Sophorica’s service as a Fairy Godmother, with the intent of trapping her in the job.

The new queen remained silent.

Witnesses were called, who all eagerly testified, with the last being Jenessica, who supplied, “The former queen specifically instructed me to prevent Sophorica from completing her task as a Fairy Godmother. I knew it was wrong, of course, but when facing a tyrant with the power to have you killed, or worse, what more can you say than, ‘Yes, ma’am’?”

The new queen stood and finally spoke, “What do you have to say for yourself, my former queen, may you rot forever?”

The old queen finally knew the identity of the new queen: despite outward changes, she would always know the voice of her only daughter, Sophorica!

The old queen stood and explained, “All I did was for the best of the kingdom.”

Soophorica commanded, “Never, ever lie again, mother, now answer the question!”

She felt the power of the new queen, backed up by the court, infusing her mind and body, changing her, forever. Everyone in the court, aside from the former and new queens, cringed, for stripping a fey of the ability to lie had never been done before! It was unthinkable that anyone would!

Unable to lie, she started to cry, in visible pain as she spoke honestly, “I did it all for my own ego. I can’t defend my actions.” She hung her head in shame, her last veneer of pride shattered.

Sophorica considered for a time and spoke, “I pronounce you guilty of all charges.”

The old queen nodded, asking, through her tears, “What is to be my punishment?”

Her daughter smiled, slightly, “You’re to serve the children of the mortal world, as a Fairy Godmother, until you learn humility, or ten-thousand years have passed, whichever is greater. Your punishment is to begin immediately!”

With a yelp of surprise, the old queen fell through a portal and was gone.

May She Reign Forever

Coyote joined the new queen as she stepped down from the throne, saying, “Congratulations on a well-executed plan. How does it feel to be queen?”

Sophorica smiled, weakly, then touched the gold and emerald crown on her head, “It’s heavier than I expected. All I wanted was to shake things up a bit. I never intended to oust the queen from the throne and never wanted her job, but when the court is unanimous about a request, how can one argue?”

Coyote winked, “The best ruler is the reluctant one, rather than she who seeks power.”

She nodded and sighed, “True. I promise to rule with kindness, rather than an iron fist. I’ll sow peace, instead of fear.”

“Oh, this is going to be fun!” The Trickster grinned, “I had to be so careful under your mother’s rule, but with you in charge, what might I get away with? It will be infinitely more fun!”

Sophorica protested, “Hey, don’t stir up trouble already! I haven’t even settled in, yet.”

“No promises.” Coyote winked and walked away.

She chuckled at his brazen declaration, but in truth, she wasn’t worried. He was The Trickster, after all. Yes, he tended to sow chaos wherever he went, but it was always with purpose. He would teach her and keep her on her toes and, yes, it would be fun.

Coyote would be trouble, but she’d have to remember to take it with good humor, because he’d likely be quietly supporting her and manipulating the court, to her advantage, no matter how much trouble he was in at the moment.

It had been his idea to challenge the queen, after all, something he slyly offered up while she was drunk out of her skull on wine. She wondered if the idea really had been inspired by drink or if he’d gotten her drunk just to get her to follow his crazy plan. She knew she’d never know the answer, for he never explained himself and never stopped smiling, making him impossible to read.

Despite The Trickster’s mercurial nature, she trusted him and probably always would.