My family home began to fade before my eyes to be replaced with a bright, white light. I blinked my eyes to attempt to readjust to my new setting. It was pointless because the light was quickly replaced by the interior of a tavern emerging into existence around me. I barely had time to look around whenever I heard a man yell at me.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” He screamed. “This is the third time this month! You wizards have to stop teleporting wherever the hell you want. Some of us are trying to run an honest business around here.”
He was a short man with a bit of a potbelly. He had short salt-and-pepper hair and pale skin. A bit of stubble was poking out of his face. Not entirely unappealing, if I’m being honest. Though his ears did startle me. They were so short, only just level with his eyes. Not only that but they were rounded. I had never seen anything like it. He wore dark clothing and an apron not unlike what I had seen my servants wear.
“And if you are not the most interesting man I had ever seen before,” I exclaimed at him.
“What? You are not going to come in here and just make fun of me. What is wrong with you?” He asked.
“I’m serious, those little ears, the two-toned hair, and the way your stomach puffs out at the front and sides. You’re lovely!” I explained
“Now I know you’re making fun of me. Wait, what did you say about my ears?” It was as though he had only just decided to look at me. I saw his eyes drift up to my face, and it twisted into an expression of absolute horror. “You’re an elf! You can’t be here!”
He moved towards the alicorn tentatively and tried to sho it out.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re saying. I mean, yes, I’m an elf, but why is that a problem?” I asked. I legitimately had no idea what he was talking about.
“Are you being serious right now? You people were all over Anglachel when I was a kid, and we all know that you were enslaving the tribes to the west. There was even talk that you people were using charm magic to take advantage of the civilized people in the city. Just because you all left doesn’t mean we’ve forgiven you.” He ranted.
“Seriously? Can’t we just let bygones be bygones? When you were a kid had to be, what, about 500 years ago?” I said, gauging his age based on the people his age I had met in the Fey Realm.
“What is wrong with you!?! That’s such an insane thing to say. I don’t even know if it’s offensive. I’m only forty years old. What kind of a person lives for 500 years?” He said.
When I tell you I was confused, that doesn’t even begin to describe it. What kind of a world had I teleported to? I know I’ve lived a sheltered life, but certianly not this sheltered.
“I’m afraid I don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about,” I concluded.
The man’s countenance shifted. He began to look confused as well.
“Are you trying to tell me that you’ve never met a human before?” He asked.
“I’m trying to tell you that I’ve never even heard that word before. What did you say? Humis?” I asked. Was he talking about a kind of animal?
“HU-MAN,” he pronounced exaggeratedly. “I’m talking about most of the people that live in this city.”
“Please, I’m not a child. Don’t talk to me like one. But I suppose, yes, you are the first of these human creatures I’ve met. That explains why you are so unique,” I reasoned.
“I assure you, I am painfully average,” he explained. “But you still can’t be here. Your people still aren’t exactly loved in these parts. Why are you here?”
“I’m looking for adventure,” I answered sincerely. “I’m running away from an arranged marriage.”
“That does sound bad,” he said. “I wish there was something I could do for you.”
“Maybe there is,” I said brightly. “Would you like to purchase this alicorn?”
“Is that what that unicorn with wings is called?” He asked.
“And you thought I was ridiculous for not knowing what humans were,” I laughed. He did not seem amused.
“I could take it off your hands,” he replied. “How about one gold?”
I didn’t know anything about the currency of this world, but I could tell when someone was trying to screw me over.
“No, thank you,” I said and nudged the alicorn forward with my heel.
He ran in front of me.
“Come on,” he said. “What about three gold?”
“I’m fine,” I continued. “You should get out of the way. You may think unicorns are nice, but alicorns can be straight-up vicious.”
I didn’t actually know if that was true, but it sounded good.
“Fine then, leave. See if I care,” He screamed at me. Suddenly he was upset that I wanted to leave. These humans must be fickle creatures.
The alicorn walked up to the door, and it was still closed. I didn’t know how to do this without getting down, but I didn’t want to face the tavern owner. I tried to nudge the alicorn forward again. It lowered its head, and a beam of magic shot out of its horn and disintegrated the door. Perhaps they were vicious.
The alicorn pushed onto the busy street and began to move into the crowd.
These stories serve as inspiration for the upcoming short story collection, Tyranny of the Fey. The collection will be released in Fall 2023. You can get a $1 preview now!