I selected the image of the butterfly sculpture for my prompt this week. This is a slightly polished up version of my 20 minute sprint inspired by the image. I hope you enjoy it.
Exchange Student to Faery
I knew I was going somewhere like no place else ever.
It didn’t stop me from being completely floored when we stepped through the door and found ourselves not inside another room, but outside on a pathway paved with smooth stones walking toward a short, squat wooden building.
There was a butterfly perched on the edge of the roof.
I thought my eyes were playing tricks, or it was some weird perspective thing, but the closer we got, the more I realized that the butterfly was taller than I was. Bright blue translucent wings flapped slowly as it sat there on the edge of the roof. Its body was a full six feet long, the wings even longer.
“Don’t be alarmed,” my fae guide said as we continued toward the building. “The Winged Ones are completely harmless to humans.”
“Are they all that big?” I asked, still staring at the gigantic insect.
“No, only direct children of the queen are that large,” our guide replied. “Most are no larger than a common mortal housecat.”
“That shouldn’t be physically possible,” I muttered to myself. I was a science student after all.
My guide laughed.
“What?” I asked, frowning at him.
“You forget,” he said, smiling down at me. “You are in Faery now. You’re normal rules and physics do not apply here. Faery has its own set of natural laws which differ quite greatly from those of your mortal realm.”
“Are there any other overly huge versions of small things I should be watching out for?” I asked. I was only here as part of a student exchange program, but I wanted to be prepared for whatever I was going to see. I’d tried to research before we left, but there weren’t a lot of reliable texts out there about Faery yet.
“I’m told that humans often think of dragons as very large lizards,” the guide said. “I don’t expect you’ll actually see any dragons, but it’s the only example I know of. I didn’t realize the Winged Ones had a counterpart in the mortal realm.”
“It looks like a butterfly. They’re normally only a few inches from end to end. Maybe seven of eight for an especially large specimen.”
“I will have to tell their queen about these butterflies. I’m sure she will want to see some.”
“I can pull up pictures, but you’ll have to talk to someone hirer up at the university about actual samples.”
“Of course,” my guide replied before opening the door to the building.
“I’m being presented to the lady of the court today, right?” I asked as I walked into the building.
The hallway looked like it had been made out of rose-colored glass. The hand-blown kind with variations in thickness and swirling colors. It was quite beautiful, but nothing like what I’d expected from the simple wooden exterior. It didn’t look like it was the right size either. The ceiling of the hallway was taller than the entire building had been.
My guide must have been serious about Faery having its very own version of physics.
“Yes, I will present you to Lady Cordelia so that you may be properly welcomed to the court,” my guide said. “After that, I will show you to your rooms, where your belongings are being delivered, and introduce you to the staff at the academy.”
“That’s what you call your university?” I asked.
“It is not technically a university as you know such things. It is the only formal school in our entire court.”
“Schools are less formal in Faery?” I asked as we continued down the rose-colored hallway. The color was actually starting to give me a headache now.
“Schools are almost non-existent in Faery,” my guide corrected me. “Our court has one of only three formalized institutions. And ours does not have mandatory attendance for the young.”
“Okay, I guess I have a lot to learn, but that is why I’m here.”
We stopped in front of two massive double doors. Neither of which should have fit in the building, let alone both. My brain still hadn’t wrapped around the warping of space needed to fit this long, tall hallway in a short squat building.
My guide put a hand on each door and pushed in, letting the doors swing away from his hands as he stepped into the enormous gold room.
“Our eagerly awaited human scholar, my lady,” my guide announced in a loud clear voice, followed by some other sentence in the Faery tongue that might have included my name.
“Approach us,” a woman’s voice said from the depths of the room.
“Approach the Lady Cordelia,” my guide instructed, motioning me toward a raised dais at the other end of the room.
I walked slowly, keeping my face forward as I tried not to gawk at anything. It was like a room out of Versailles. Gold leaf everywhere with ornate decorations and moldings and painting and mirrors. It was a little overwhelming.
When I stopped at the base of the stairs leading up to the dais I looked up.
My mouth fell open as I stared.
Lady Cordelia was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.