Petal by Armariel

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"There is too much iron in the world," Butternut grumbled.  "It's not fair.  I should like to know what you intend to do about it.  As Queen of the Fairies, you had really ought to do something, you know."

"I do something," Petal said barely repressing a smile.  "I stay away from iron whenever possible, and so should you."

"It's discriminatory," Butternut said in an exasperating tone, as he hunkered down on the mushroom seat below the morning-glory vine where she was perched in a purple flower listening to his petition.  "Can you not see that?  It's anti-Fairy.  Think of it.  Iron tools.  Hinges.  Pony shoes hung in windows to keep us out.  Big Big Folks wearing iron in battle so we cannot join in and help to defeat the forces of evil.  Why do you think the world is in such hideous shape as it is?  It is because of the iron.  Iron is slowly taking over the world.  Something should be done before it is too late!"

"Big folk would not have needed to hang pony-shoes in their windows if certain Fairies did not have a habit of sneaking in to play pranks upon the occupants," Petal pointed out softly.

"Not all Fairies are evil," he said loftily, although he knew perfectly well he had been one of the Fairies she was alluding to.  "Some are most benevolent.  It is unfair to punish all Fairies for what a few of them have done."

"So what do you think should be done?" Petal asked him with admirable patience.

"We must eliminate iron from the world, of course," he said, scarcely able to believe she couldn't figure this out for herself.  How had she gotten to be Queen, anyway?  Not for her wisdom, certainly.  Probably because of her beauty.  Those eyes, that could change color, and were looking silvery green at the moment.  That pearly skin, with the tiny crimson flower beneath the left eye.  Those rosebud lips.  And that hair, fire and flame caught in its ambery-copper flow.  And that delicate figure...

"You've a great deal of influence over Mortals, you know," he said after a full three seconds, remembering why he had requested this audience with her in the first place.  Perhaps he should propose... Then perhaps she would see why he would make a much more fitting mate for her than that Mortal husband of hers, or that other Big Person she had been so smitten with, who had ended up leaving her after (supposedly) saving the world.  "Perhaps you could persuade them to..."    

He had to stop and remember once more.  This was exasperating.

"Yes?" she said looking him intently in the eye.    

"To..." Drat it all.  She was doing this to him.  Glamouring him, trying to make him forget why he had come to her.  "Never mind.  I shall have to do it myself.  Already I have an idea."

"And that is...?" She lifted her eyebrows.

"I am not sure yet," he said stiffly.  "But I know I have one.  I am just not sure what it is yet."

She nodded, with her gentle smile.  "It is a start, I'm certain."

"You will see that," he told her, "when I have saved the world."

And with that, he disappeared from her view, and went off to brood and find out what his idea was.  But once alone, all he could really manage to think about was her eyes and her smile.


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