Sharon’s note: Final Part. I love clever solutions, where knowing the rules better than the enemy does saves the hero. I saw it first in fairy tales, and I fell in love. I try to use it as a device whenever possible. It’s one of those things that will always make me happy, and we need all the happiness we can get. Remember to do something that makes you happy. It’s too easy to let all the negativity swallow you. Warning: Author think’s she’s being clever.
This was so bad. My voice shook as I asked, “And what if I did?”
“If you did, I would feel compelled to take you away with me. Making a new gate from this side will take a considerable expenditure of energy. I want repayment for my effort.” He took another step forward. I tried to match it, but my shoulder hit the wall.
I couldn’t dodge his question forever, that would be rude, and rudeness was punishable. If I said yes, he’d steal me away to Fairie, and a human abducted had no rights . . . wait. Loopholes. The fae were all about loopholes.
The only I had on me of any value was my phone. It was a new model that I’d paid far too much for, and I ran my life from that little machine. I plucked it from my pocket and held it out to the fae. He raised an eyebrow in confusion.
“Conell, I ask for hospitality and offer you this gift. It is an object very dear to me, and I hope it brings you great joy.” The entire time I was speaking I was chanting in my head, please work, please work.
“You’re asking me to take you?” He scoffed. I had to go so carefully here. Wording was important.
“I offer you a gift as I ask to be received as a guest in your house.” The look of utter shock on the fae’s face was as gratifying as it was unnerving. For the first time he looked at me with real consideration.
“You’re clever, aren’t you?”
I shrugged. “I’d like to think so.”
“The woman who lived here before was clever. Did you know her?”
I raised my chin proudly. “She was my grandmother.”
He snorted, and it was such an undignified sound that it was almost startling.
“Well that figures. The clever ones are always more trouble than they are worth. I reject your gift and will not take you with me, even if you did destroy my gate. Meddlesome witch of a woman.” He sighed. “You aren’t going to be living here too, are you?”
I thought of Nana, who had spent all her life tending her garden. She grew lavender and daisies, because they were wonderful for protection. She’d stood sentinel, telling the stories and knocking down fairie gates. If I didn’t do it, who would?
For the first time since the fae arrived, I smiled. “Yes. Yes I am.”