Well, Ariel’s snippet went over well! A bit of Puck’s story was requested, and so here you have it – when Puck first meets Leaf, a changeling human girl taken by Oberon the way we might adopt a stray kitten in order to spite Titania. This little scrap will probably end up being completely redone, but as it was fun to scribble out, I care not!
Honestly, what was this nonsense?
I ask you!
“Master,” I began, “would it not be wiser to have the changeling child accompanied by someone other than myself? You know full well of my penchant for mischief. Suppose something befalls her?”
“And what do you suppose could befall my charge?”
Oberon turns to face me, his sharp eyes at once punishing me for my request and probing to seek out the heart of it.
I continued on anyway. “She may fall into a pond and drown. Or Moth and Peaseblossom may braid her hair to the roots of an oak tree, and I would have to cut it all off to free her.”
“I can think,” said Oberon, “of worse fates.”
“I can’t,” I said.
“We will speak no more of it.” Turning away from me, Oberon waved his hand once. I was dismissed – moreover, if I did not dismiss myself, I would heavily regret it. Fighting some kind of response that would have no doubt landed me in some uncomfortably hot water, I left the king to himself.
It was not my fault if the king decided to be petty, I thought, pushing aside a splash of green leaves. You would think Titania’s besottment with her own changeling had been the day before, not –
How long had it been?
No matter. Quite a long time.
I cupped my hands around my mouth. “Cobweb!”
A small flash of light hovered near my left eye, so I had to turn and face him properly. “Any luck?”
“I spoke with Lady Luck a very long time ago,” I told him with a sigh.
He buzzed in a small circle; a dizzy, overlarge firefly. “Oh! Truly? What did she say?”
“She said ‘good-bye’.”
He folded his arms. “Oh. Well, then, the changeling is ready.”
“If you did anything strange to her hair, I am going to cut it off with a knife,” I told him, our noses nearly touching at the tip. “My blade may slip, and Oberon would blame you.”
He threw up his hands. “We left her alone!”
“I’m almost sorry,” I said, with another sigh.
“I am sorry.”
“We did name it, though.”
I narrowed my eyes and lifted my eyebrows. “You had permission?”
“Oh, yes.” He rubbed his hands together, a grin putting all his small, sharp teeth on grand display. “King doesn’t care about its name.”
“What is it, then?”
Twigs snapped and someone crashed through the shrubbery ahead of us. Moth, Peaseblossom and Mustardseed appeared first, tugging on the – unplaited, praise the Holy One – brown hair of the child Oberon had kidnapped on whim.
I crouched down in front of the creature. She watched me with wide eyes, almost as green as my own. She had taken my freckles, too.
Little upstart sprite.
“Leaf,” said Cobweb, hovering near my head. “We named it Leaf.”