The new trees almost look like the old ones. But they’re still empty.
Loxy says we’re going to have to get some flowers to make our furniture, for now, the earth fairies are letting us borrow some of their things.
Beetle’s the last to leave us.
“I hope your sister will come back. I think that would make your family happy.”
“No. We have rules. She wouldn’t be allowed to live here; she’s been exposed to the outside.” I say sternly, convincing myself of this as well as him.
He tilts his head to the side. “But, all of you have been outside for weeks.”
“We aren’t allowed to cross the river to the evil fairies lair. That’s where she went.”
“Oh… I’m sorry, then.” He bows and springs into the air, waving before he rushes away. I watch him for a while before spreading my own newly healed wings.
I flutter up to my tree and through the window to my room. But I wasn’t expecting someone to be standing in it.
“What are you doing here?” I ask her.
Faylinn shifts her gaze from the high ceiling to me crawling through the opening. Her lavender hair’s shorter, just past her shoulder.
There are several small scars on her face and up her arms, and her clothes are ripped in a few places.
She seems shocked by my arrival, apparently, the fire fairies didn’t think we’d be returning so soon.
“Is your wing better now? I guess it has been in a while.” Her voice was curious, as if it was perfectly normal for her to be here. As if she has never gone away.
My wings fold against my back, hiding from her. “You shouldn’t be here.”
“I shouldn’t have left; I wasn’t thinking. Help me, Fidget.” Her eyes are wide and pleating. Behind her begging, she’s so confident that I’ll help her get away with what she’s done.
But I can’t do that.
“Sorry, sis,” Her confidence falls. “But I won’t be able to help you. Not after everything that happened.”
I push past her to get to the empty space where the kitchen would be. Just as I expected, Loxy’s cross-legged in the center of the room. I throw myself down next to her.
Her eyes snap open to focus on me. “What’s the matter with you?”
I follow Loxy back to my room. The other girls watch us walk through the hall but I shake my head at them. They don’t need to know what’s going on.
Faylinn is still in the same spot she was earlier. She’s looking out the window longingly. For what, I don’t know. I still don’t really know why she left in the first place.
And there’s no reason for me to believe that she returned out of the goodness of her heart.
“You need to leave.” Loxy makes firm eye contact when she speaks.
Faylinn nods. “I don’t know why I expected anything different.” A cruel smirk comes over her face and she bows mockingly. “Whatever the chief says, right Fidget?"
She steps up onto the ledge of the window. Her large, pale wings unfurl and lift her weight into the air. Before she flies away she turns to me one last time.
“If you want to know what she’s been keeping from you, you can still come with me.”
In response, I close the window behind her.