The fairy hunt

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The day of the Quest, Ferry felt weird. He should have been anxious and worried. Instead, he was struck by a surprising calm. He hadn't slept in two days, that was true. He tried several times, at his father's insistence, but sleep refused to come. Truth be told, he was afraid. The plan was simple and should have worked. But the secrets surrounding the town and the fairy-hunting were old and deep. And the feeling of something big waiting to happen was getting ever overwhelming.

But he knew that if he showed the slightest trace of fear, all the confidence his friends had gained in the last few days would be gone. His father had even gotten a car to transport the fairies into the woods. Ferry didn'tt know how to interpret his gesture. On the one hand, he was glad Peter had agreed to help them without asking questions and without mumbling as he usually did. On the other hand, Ferry was angry with him and everyone in town who had known about the horrors of Pride Mansion for so long, and had done nothing to stop them, out of cowardice or indifference. But most of all, he was angry with Lavender and Parsley for refusing to help him even now, when they knew about the hunt.

Ben and his parents, Matilda and hers, as well as his father, were now in his mother's kitchen setting the final details. Everyone knew their role. Each had received a map of the Pride domain and the maze. His and Matilda's father would immobilize the cellar's guards. Ferry, Matilda, and Ben would take the fairies out of the cellar and escort them to the car his  father had borrowed from a friend in the Big City. He would take them to the forest, to the gate between the worlds which was still open. Everyone hoped the fairies in Tenalach would find out about Saraid's deal with the people and release the human prisoners. And among them, Bianca, Ben's sister.

Now, Ferry was watching everyone fidgeting and trying to look optimistic. Everyone was looking for his approval. Ferry tried to look as confident as possible.

"Meet you at dusk at the entrance to the Pride domain," he told them. "I have to stop by Lavender's. I forgot my gloves there and I need them," he said before the others said goodbye.

When everyone left, and the door closed behind them, Ferry felt his worries become even more opressive. He lyed on the couch and stared blankly. He couldn't think of anything. A knock on the door woke him from the apathy he was falling into. He got up and opened the door. It was Matilda.

"Matt, did you forget something?" he asked her.

But the girl didn't answer. She passed by him and went inside. Ferry followed, observing her. "Did something happen?"

Her forehead was frowning and her lips trembled. She sat down on the couch where he had stood a few moments ago. Ferry sat down beside her.

"Matt, what is it?" he softly asked.

She finally looked at him and two tears glistened in her eyes. "I'm so scared, Ferry ..." she whispered and a tear slid down her cheek.

Ferry forced himself to smile. "Don't be afraid, Matt ... It'll be fine. We'll all be fine. You'll see ..."

But she slowly shook her head. "What if it won't? There are so many things we don't know that can hurt us ..."

"You don't have to think like that ..." he said, avoiding looking at her so as not to guess the fear in his heart. But she knew him better than that.

"I know you're afraid too, Ferry ..." she said and turned to him. Their eyes finally met.They looked at each other without saying anything as the space between them grew smaller. When he felt her breath on his cheek, she rose abruptly and started for the door. Ferry had to run after her.

He caught up with her before she went out the door. She looked at his hand which was holding her wrist as if he didn't want to let her go. Ferry let go of the grip. He knew he didn't need any more distractions at the time. But she din't leave. She reached out and stroked his face, barely touching it. Ferry felt her warm fingers on his forehead, then on his cheek and lips as if touched by summer raindrops falling from the clear sky. He closed his eyes and pressed her hand to his face, stroking against her warm touch. He pressed her hand even harder on his cheek as if he wanted that touch that made his whole body shiver to remain impregnated in his skin forever. He felt her hand slip slightly from his. When he opened her eyes, she was no longer there. And Ferry sweared to himself he would get out of this trial alive just to feel her touch again ...

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