“So what does it take to become a Faerie Friend?”
“You must do a great act in service to a Faerie!”
The Angry Laughing Man nodded solemnly as he tightened some screws and replaced the cover of the lamp over the device he had installed, now with a new hole cut in the surface. Acorn leaned forward to stare at the shiny black eye of the lens looking through the hole.
“What counts as a great act of service?” The Angry Laughing Man asked as he put his tools away neatly into his box.
“What’s the camera for?” Acorn asked instead.
“Come back to my van and I’ll show you,” Angry Laughing Man answered, standing up with the tool box in one hand. The brownie still clung to the man’s shoulder, now much higher than it was before.
“Hmm. I think that is a bad idea,” Acorn replied.
Just then, a high pitched scream, no louder than a teakettle, pricked through the air. The Angry Laughing Man didn’t seemed to notice as he continued to head back towards his van. But Acorn knew that sound. They knew who was making it as well.
“Viola!” the little brownie cried, and skittered off the Angry Laughing Man’s shoulder, grabbing purchase on various points of clothing as they slid down to the street.
“Hey, hey! Where are you going?”
But the little brownie was gone without so much as a whisper.
The pounding of the pavement matched the pounding of Acorn’s little heart. The little one’s first fears proved to be true. Just as they were rounding the corner into the alley. There was the snake, all green and too long. It was glowing an unnatural color with small sparks leaping off of it’s back. Pieces of it’s skin had been torn away, revealing small bits of strange light inside it. There was even a piece of silvery bone flexing on the inside. Acorn thought they were going to throw up.
Already the snake had Viola in it’s mouth. It had reared up with it’s mouth wide open as it attempted to swallow the little fae whole, but she kept struggling and spitting Faerie dust in the snakes eyes, hampering the engorgement process.
Acorn didn’t know what to do. They thought for a moment about running back to the Angry Laughing Man for help, but by the time they did that, poor Viola would be swallowed up whole! Acorn had to think of something.
“Stop snake!” Acorn shouted. The creature seemed to her them because it turned a bit, to eye Acorn. Before they lost their nerve, Acorn ran straight at snake. And jumped. It took all of Acorn’s little might but it landed squarely on the spot right behind the snakes head. Immediately the little brownie fell over into a smelly bag of garbage. Desperately, the little Fae tried to get back to their feet, any moment the snake would come and try to eat them too, but it was impossible to find purchase against the slippery surface of the bag.
Then something grabbed Acorn’s ankle and the little brownie screamed and screamed.
“Stop it, Acorn! It’s me!” Viola cried. Spying Acorn’s lavender friend, the little brownie relaxed, letting themself be pulled free of the garbage bag. As soon as they were clear, Acorn wrapped their little arms around their most precious friend.
“I’m so glad you are safe!” Acorn declared.
“You did it Acorn! You did it!” Viola piped excited.
“You slayed the snake! Look!”
Sure enough, the snake laid dead on the ground, it’s one eye starring unblinking at the sky.
“You see! You’re a hero, Acorn!” Viola crowed, jumping up and down in a circle around the stunned brownie.
“I am…” Acorn truly was stunned, as they stared at their slain foe. “I’m a hero?”
“You are, you are! Acorn the Snakeslayer!” Viola declared. “I have to go tell everyone!” She tried to leap up into the air, but immediately fell back to the ground. “Ow!”
“Viola, are you alright?” Acorn hurried to help her to her feet.
“Ow, no.” The little Faerie spun around and grabbed the edge of her wing, holding it out. “That stupid snake tore my wing!”
“Are you two ok?” The Angry Laughing Man asked, as he knelt down next to Acorn. Viola squealed and hid herself behind Acorn, using her wing to conceal her face.
“Look Angry Laughing Man! I killed the snake!” Acorn declared, pointing.
“You sure did, Brave Little Warrior.” The Angry Laughing Man laid his hand on the back of the snake and then picked it up. More sparks popped out of it’s back and the whole thing’s body coiled and spasmed, which made both of the little Fae scream.
“It’s okay, it’s okay. It’s definitely dead…” The Angry Laughing Man said, turning the snakes form around using one hand. “Do you mind if I take it?”
“Why?” Acorn asked.
“There seems to be more to this snake than meets the eye.”
“Yes, yes, take it away. I never want to see it again!” Viola cried. Acorn shrugged and nodded. Snapping out a bag from his pocket, the Angry Laughing Man tucked the vile creature into it.
“Do you two need help inside?” he asked, slinging the bag over his shoulder.
“No way! I got this. I’m a warrior now!” Acorn declared proudly. “I am Acorn the Snakeslayer.”
The Angry Laughing Man laughed and turned with a wave back to his van.
As soon as he was gone, Acorn and Viola turned towards the back door of the bar just as Ms. Rune came out.
“There you two are. What’s all the noise back here? The others said they heard screaming?”
“I slayed the snake, Ms. Rune!” Acorn told her as she scooped the two little Fae up.
“You did? Where is it?” Ms. Rune asked, looking down at the dirty pavement.
“The Angry Laughing Man took it.”
“Who?” Before Acorn could answer, Ms. Rune noticed Viola. “Oh Viola! Your wing!”
“The snake tried to eat me!” Viola rubbed her eyes, starting to cry.
“Okay, okay, everyone inside,” Ms. Rune said, opening the back door as she carried the two little Fae inside. “Acorn, you are going to tell me everything from the beginning after I call Lady Trella about Viola’s wing.”