You managed to take a quick survey of the room while the Egyptian faeries bowed reverently towards their queen. Zhu Rong was busy stroking his long mustache regally between his thumb and index fingers. Beside him Jian Di was watching you like a worried mother. Her small dark chestnut eyes were bouncing up and down as she silently surveyed you from your matted hair to your blood soaked ripped up dress. Her red lips were pressed into a hard line as the concern on her face deepened. You turned your focus to the opposite side of The Courts because you were afraid she might be able to read the pain and fatigue on your face. You instantly wished you hadn't averted your face from her because it brought your eyes up to Oya's. Her large doe eyes were glassy with held back tears as she tried to hold back her grief. Deng had one of his long mahogany arms wound around her sunken shoulders. His fingers were busy rubbing her arms consolingly and his gaze was trained solely on her. They seemed to be inside their own world at that moment and it made you turn your head down to the floor in embarrassment. It was too private a moment for you to watch any longer.
"Now that everyone has finally come to their senses let us move on with this little charade shall we?" the Egyptian faerie woman stated wih a dismissive wave of her hand. She wore the force of her strong personality like other women wore perfume. Imperiousness and authority radiated from her every bronzed copper pore. Her shoulders were pulled away from the rest of her svelte but voluptuous body and her swan like neck was held high and proud. Miss manners would have fainted over her impeccable posture. Her skin gave the appearance of being warm to the touch, but her expression was as cold and unyielding as steel. She had a broad square shaped face with high cheekbones that were so sharp they looked like they could cut diamonds. They led down to full rounded and plump plum colored lips that sat above a small square cut jaw. She held her slim aristocratic nose in the air as her large almond shaped hazel eyes looked down at you underneath a heavy layer of elongated wing tipped eyeliner.
You had a feeling Cleopatra herself would have been intimidated by this woman had they ever met. She wore a tall obsidian cap crown a top her head that hid any hair she might have. It was decorated with a shining gold diadem band that encircled the middle portion of the crown and ended like bow ribbons at the back. A golden cobra sat poised to strike as the center piece of her elongated headdress. Her neck was adorned with a wide gold patterned collar that fell in a semi-circle across her slim shoulders. It covered the top half of her straight full length simple black dress made of thin linen. A wide golden belt was cinched right underneath her ample bust, adding a smooth curved silhouette to her body. The belt had a long golden sash that traveled down the center of her body and stopped at her knees in a square cut. Matching thick golden bands encircled her toned triceps and wrists. A sheer cloth draped down from her back to the thick wrist bands creating a delicate looking cape of sorts. "We've wasted too much time on this trial already and we need to get someone in here to clean this place up soon," her husky voice rang out across the court as she shot you an accusatory glare as if the broken glass walls and the blood pooling across the marbled floor were all entirelyyour fault. Her plum painted lips curled up on one side in a blatant sneer. Her eyes narrowed and she looked down at you as if she were looking at a particularly nasty bug who had just crawled into her living room and was now asking to join her for afternoon tea. Your weak limbs protested as you forced yourself to mirror her perfect posture. Ishtar's words rang in your ears and you repeated them silently like a mantra to beat back the waves of searing pain shooting through you. "Don't show them any weakness, they will destroy you if you do. Stand tall and firm and don't ever take your eyes off of them! "Brothers and sisters why are we wasting our time with this? Our Inanna has already pointed out perfectly that there is no reason we should risk all of our lives for this girl's boyfriend and his merry band of misfits. She appears before us threatening a war with Hook without so much as providing a single shred of evidence to prove his intentions of such an event. She herself has admitted she has never even met the man! All of her little conspiracy theories are just that... baseless theories. A product of a fevered imagination from a lovesick human girl. Need I remind you all of what happened the last time we had one of those here in Neverland?" She paused poignantly while raising her thin arched brows at each and every member of The Courts. You didn't know what she was alluding to, but the rest of the Courts seemed to understand her loud and clear. The lovely red headed pixie woman's brow furrowed as if Maibe's point was cause for a new deep consideration she hadn't thought of before.
You were trying to grasp what Maibe had meant by another lovesick human girl having been in Neverland before, but the pain made your thoughts slow and sluggish. Any energy you had was being used just to hold yourself up. You were feeling somewhat woozy and only half present as the Egyptian faerie continued her speech. "Therefore there is nothing to convince me that Hook has any sort of designs on us or Pixie Hollow for that matter. As for Peter and The Lost Boys... who are they to us? They're just a rowdy group of bumbling boys who run around Neverland as if they own the place. What have they ever done for us? Have they ever showed us or our ways any signs of respect? The twin brothers even dared to come to our Courts not long ago and demand we heal this girl for them or else Peter may seek revenge! If anything they've blatantly threatened us where as we've heard no such demands or menace from Hook. Tinkerbell may be content to serve them and their every whim, but are the rest of us to do the same as well? Because that's what it sounds like this human girl is asking of us now."
She paused as she let all of her words sink in and it had the desired effect. A very slight fluttering of wings from various members of the Courts were now filling the once hushed room. A triumphant smile curved her plush lips as she stole a glance at you from the corner of her heavily made up eyes. If you had had the strength you would have given her a nasty face of your own, but it was hard enough just to keep steady on your feet at the moment. Fatigue and nausea had settled into every fiber of your being and even blinking became a difficult task. You wished you could think of anything to say back at her, but you had nothing. She was absolutely right as to you only having your speculations about Hook. As for the Lost Boys and Peter's past history with the pixies you had no idea about any of it. You really hadn't thought this mad adventure through, but there was no turning back now. You had already told the Queen she could kill you if you passed out, and they warned you before you began that's exactly what they would do if they rejected your proposal. You should have been scared out of your mind but you were so past that now. All the continued stress of the past few days on top of the pain and blood loss were now making you somewhat hysterical. Part of you was only focused on your body's agony while the other half of you wanted to burst out laughing bitterly at the hopelessness of your current situation. You couldn't stop yourself from smiling at the thought that Selene, Helios, and Kwoth had actually went to so much trouble to save your life just so you could turn around and lose it again...and they didn't even like you! Your brain was on the tipping point of a complete mental breakdown and you couldn't force yourself to care. You knew death was a possibility when you came here and everything in Neverland seemed intent on destroying you. But you ran away from all of those cruel realities just like you ran away from them in your own world back home only this time they had managed to finally catch up to you. You couldn't help but think of the irony of it all. You came away to Neverland so you'd never have to grow up or face real life responsibilities, yet here you were possibly on the verge of dying and carrying the weight of actual people's lives on your shoulders.
Maibe kept talking and as she did her large circular gold earrings dangled from her ears and swung back and forth with every shake of her head. You were having trouble concentrating on anything other than her shining earrings. Her voice disappeared into a muffled background noise as you started to have tunnel vision. You didn't really care what she was saying because you could tell that her eyes were spoiling for a fight and invisible waves of disgust were oozing out of her every word and look. She only ceased speaking when her husband stood up and started his case of why you were such a pathetic little weenie. Well maybe he didn't actually call you that, but you weren't exactly listening to him either. You got a sentence or two here and there along the lines of, "She has the nerve to stand before us like a harbinger of our own doom if we do not comply with her wishes," and "Are we really going to stoop so low as to be brow-beaten by a human child?"
His words and tone were so ugly that you decided to conserve your energy by not listening to him and instead focus on his handsome face. He spit words like a venomous cobra but his face was even more dangerous with it's mesmerizing allure. He had one of those faces that could never be called pretty because he was far too dark and handsome for that. He was like a beautiful nightmare with his gleaming tan khaki colored skin, well muscled sleek body, and of course a face that would make an incubus die of jealousy. It was angular, with a broad smooth forehead that led to sharp downward slanted eyebrows that sat above pale glassy green hooded eyes. His pillowy soft lips held a natural shade of pale pink and were surrounded by a close clipped beard and mustache. The coarse dark hair on his face made him look untamed and positively rougish. Unlike his other half he wore no crown, leaving his lightly curling ebony locks to form a short unkempt curtain around his slightly pointed and softly curved jaw. It made him look provocative and unpredictable. Even the overly apparent look of loathing and disdain on his face was made gorgeous. He held that devastating bad boy look that made almost all women lose their better judgement. As his smokey voice was probably droning on about how stupid you were, you moved from studying his face to his outfit. Much like his wife Maibe he had a large golden circular collar draped around his neck and broad shoulders. It rested atop an intricate gold armor chest plate. It was forged to look like large eagles wings criss crossing over his hard chest. It stopped a few inches short of his waist where a thick cut golden belt hugged his body and led out to a tiled triangular shape in the middle. It was made all the more prominent by the simple black linen skirt her wore underneath that went down to his knees. His only other adornments were black leather cuffs on both his arms that ran from wrist to elbow and short golden sandals. In his left hand he held a long black staff with silver accents in the shape of two serpents twisting upwards and swallowing a golden orb at the top.
He was as captivating as a snake charmer and you found you couldn't tear your eyes off of him. Suddenly a slight hard nudge accompanied by a quick electric zap to the middle of your back where your shoulder blades met made you jolt forward. You turned to see it was Kwoth who had jabbed and shocked you. His sharp edged face was a grim hard mask and his eyes were like burning coals. "He's trying to use his dust to enchant and stupefy you," he growled beneath his breath to where only you could hear. You shook your head in confusion. How could he be using his dust you didn't even see any... That's when out of the corner of your eyes you noticed almost invisible dust particles floating sparsely through the air. You wouldn't have been able to see them at all if the light from above hadn't been angled in rays around you casting them in visible floating specks. It was so faint that a tilt to the right or the left would make them disappear. Angry now you whipped your head up towards where Gahiji was still standing in The Courts. Selene had now taken the spotlight and everyone else seemed to be rapt with attention to her every word. Gahiji turned his head slightly towards you and your gazes met as a slow smirk pulled his lush lips upward. He was blatantly taunting you.
You sucked in a gasp, appalled by his brazenness. At that he gave you a devilish wink while bringing one finger to his lips in a universal "shh" sign. A quick glance around the room showed that no one else had seemed to notice. It might as well have just been the two of you in the room. His jet black wings were curved in a downward slope on top and the bottom half portion were shaped like clam shells with curved pointed ridges. While the top wings were completely black with darker black veins and only the faintest traces of white spotted lines along the bottom, his lower wings were almost completely white, with black edges and thin dark lines in a row towards the middle. You squinted your eyes and concentrated hard on them. Sure enough like invisible confetti, transparent white dust particles were flowing from his lazily fluttering wings towards your direction.
Your hands balled into fists at your sides as you shot him a murderous glare. This only seemed to make him chuckle silently to himself. You wanted to slug the sneaky snark, but another jab and shock to your back stole your attention. "He's doing this so you will interrupt the proceedings and accuse him in front of the rest of The Courts. Don't take the bait. I'll take care of the dust. Just don't look at him, don't even acknowledge his presence. Be calm and focus on the what's going on in the trial," Kwoth's hushed but hurried words whispered in your ear. Be calm, that was easy for him to say, you'd never even seen him with any other expression other than calm annoyance before. A cool breeze of air pushed into your back and blew your blood soaked matted hair gently forward. You didn't have to turn around to tell Kwoth was using his wings to subtly blow away all of Gahiji's lingering dust. Within seconds your head felt a little more clear and your thoughts felt way less muddled. There was still the stinging aching sensation of pain everywhere, but you welcomed it. You didn't know just exactly what effects Gahiji's dust had been having on you, but you were glad that the pain had remained the same both with and without it. You were hoping that you could use your pain as an anchor to keep away any bewitching effects of his dust from now on. Of course with Kwoth's help the dust didn't stand a chance of even making it towards you. Unsure of Faerie hearing you opened your mouth and barely dared to breathe the word "Thanks." A human wouldn't have heard anything, but your suspicions were confirmed when Kwoth answered back, "Don't thank me yet, Selene and Helios just voted against you, that's three couples against you, and only two for you. Everything is going to ride on the next couple's vote. If they vote for you The Courts will be split and Rhiannon will make the final ruling, if they vote against you..." There was really nothing to say after that. You both knew what would happen then. If you lost this last vote then you would also lose your life. This long grueling trial was finally coming to it's climax and so far things weren't looking to be in your favor.
You took a deep breath to steady your shaking nerves. Closing your eyes you forced yourself to chase back the rising panic that was threatening to turn you into a sobbing shrieking mess on the marbled floor. Queen Rhiannon's voice cut through your mental concentration when she announced, "Arella, Dughall it looks as if the outcome of this trial rests on your shoulders now. Let's settle this once and for all now shall we?" And with a regal wave of her dainty hand the Celtic looking pixie couple stood and took center stage.
To be continued…
Authors Note: Not even gonna lie ya'll I listened to Taylor Swift's Blank Space a lot while writing this.Well mainly when I was writing Gahiji. He's such a gem isn't he? Lol I have a weakness for the bad boys what can I say? Some of you may have noticed that I didn't take the traditional Egyptian pharaoh aesthetic approach when it comes to his face. I decided to make him look more like a modern Egyptian and so I made Maibe way old school to balance. Her looks are literally taken off of the real Nefertiti's. I highly recommend you check out the pictures I used for inspiration for them both down in the description box below. How did you like our Egyptian couple I'm curious? Still have your favorite Court members picked out? Things are finally coming to a head with The Courts and we only have one couple left to hear from. What do you guys think they are gonna do? What will happen next? Stay tuned for the next chapter to find out! Much love to you all!