The Cloud Fortress (part 1)

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The road to the Cloud Fortress seemed to never end. This time, they were heading to a place that had always been between myth and reality, hidden and protected from the enemy's eye, unknown and secluded, even for the fairy world.

Ferry did not know much about the Cloud Fortress except that the Amalgham Army and its followers were hiding there. The place was a secret even when it was in the human world and not many times, Ferry was equally puzzled when he wanted to know more about it. And each time, his friends were evasive or even stubborn when he asked too many questions.

Now that he finally had the chance to meet, or even to live in, his impatience became even bigger.

They had left the wooded lands for some time, and now they were traveling to the outskirts of vast lands, ruled by grain fields that had not yet borne fruit. Their time had not yet come (as Rosemary explained) because in Akna the grains were gnawing when the Long Day came, and that would come after a long time because now they were beginning to move quickly to the Long Night.

Ferry looked at the sky, from time to time. The halo surrounding the white star had passed the bright half, and with each point of light it lost, everything around it became less bright as if the light was being easily but surely driven away to far distances.

Every now and then, in the endless fields, a red dot could be seen here and there, advancing slowly. Humans.

"Why do people have to wear red?" he asked Ragh who was riding slowly beside him.

"To know their place in this world," Ragh replied, looking ahead.

"Okay, but why red?" Ferry insisted.

"Because red represents them. It's the color of their blood. "

Ferry swallowed the knot in his throat. He couldn't say another word. He watched Matilda ride with Finn in front of him, on the horse guided by Sage. He was so happy that she had decided to come. But now he wasn't as sure as before.

He heard the others coming close. Oona had taken off her boots and was now walking barefoot beside her mare, which followed her without needing to be held by the halter or fearing that she would run away. Parsley and Rosemary were the last, laughing and talking as if the whole world were theirs. Thyme was leading the way, as usual.

"How do people get here?" he decided to continue the conversation with Ragh, who seemed willing to answer all his questions. "I mean, in Tenalach, people were eventually forgetting their old lives and become fairies. Why doesn't the same happen here? "

This time, Ragh seemed to think before answering. "Well,  humans are not always kind. In their world, they might think they have grown, and their tools have become stronger, and their settlements become bigger... But their growth has reached our world. And it's hurting it."

Ferry frowned. Ragh had not answered his question. "And how do they get here?" he continued.

"Well, some of them catch a glimpse of our world. And when that happens, we can't let them go... We can't let the secrets of our world be found out by them. No matter how much they have, they always want more. Greed is their nature. They would invade our world and destroy it."

"What about the others? The ones that don't accidentally see your world?"

Ragh hesitated. "The others... The others are allured here."

"Allured? How?"

"Have you ever heard of the saying covered by forest?" Oona interfered; she had been paying close attention to the discussion all this time.

Ferry shook his head no.

"Well," Oona continued in the same light tone as if she were talking about the color of her dress, "in Tenalach, we used to lure people into the woods. And when they reached our land, they could not find their way back, not even those who knew the forest like the back of their palm. Because we play with their minds, we annoy and confuse them until they think they have lost their minds. And the forest they once knew so well turns into their enemy, covering them completely. Then, it was easy to bring them into our world, "she chuckled.

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