Was I bought up with great peers, or bought up in a cult?
I’d chosen the latter, so I wouldn’t feel so bad for doing this .
Beads of sweat dripped down my face. What if he knows I’m a Plainitian? I hoped my clothes didn’t give it away, I tried my best to pick ones an outsider would where.
“Excuse me, are you the time farmer?”
The creature seemed to glare at me, but his compound eyes were impossible for a mere human like me to read. He slided the remnants of a flower he’d eaten before I came into his temple, but continued grasping his sickle.
“Yes. What would you need, human?” the fairy smirked.
I choked on my gulp, faith in my decision unstable as a maud tower. Am I really doing this? Am I really leaving the Plainitians? My head throbbed with all these insecurities. Not now, not now I’m here! I gulped back the remnants of saliva in my throat, and numbed my expressions.
“I want to enter the thirteenth hour. Only tonight, and never again until I and if I return.”
“One night, that’ll be one falcon please.”
I grunted, trembling slightly. Within my satchel I fumbled throughout everything I’d stored for my escape: clothes that don’t scream Plainitian, food, drinks, false ID, and all the spare change I could find around the house. I brought out the drawstring pouch I’d stashed the money in.
“I don’t have a whole falcon. Will ten finches be fine?” The coins skidded across his mahogany desk. Three rounds of inspecting the coins, one in each of his three unoccupied hand, before he stashed them.
“These are real, so sure. Come with me.” His exoskeleton crumpled as he slunk through the door-beads, wings humming back into resting position, a transparent cape of skin. I scurried in behind him.
Jasmine incense hit me as soon as the curtain draped open, also illuminating the room scarlet. Tapestries of the moon’s cycle, constellations, and pages ripped from various herbals lined the walls. Clouds of smoke patrolled the surprisingly low ceiling.
“Sit.” His unoccupied upper hand directed me to a musty rocking chair. I nestled in the seat, careful not to ruin the handiwork he made from cushions and a throw. “Show me your arm.”
He brought out his sickle, and pointed the tip at my wrist. Holding it static, he muttered something in another language, giving the sickle an otherworldly glow, mist ticking around it, before plunging it in.
Panic became dictator in my head as thoughts of an endless pain flashed in my mind. What if the pain doesn’t stop? Wave after wave stung my entire left appendage. Pain never lasts this long, right? The realisation I might be wrong paralysed me. Muscles tensing, I pried my eyes. I forced a deep breath, and then another, desperate to regain my composure.
It seemed like it would be there forever and I cared less and less, yet the fact it might stick any longer burned me with cold. On any other day I would’ve rushed to bed and rested to make sure I’d heal well and fast, but not now. I needed to get away from there as fast as I could, before the Plainitians realised I defected.
“The thirteenth hour is in ten minutes, you should be on your way.”
Snatching my arm, I tried to thank him, but yelped instead. I darted out of the temple, and dashed through the city centre. Bats chuckled at me, my only company in the desolate streets. After what seemed like hours in that labyrinth of a village, I skipped down the cliffside staircase, usually used to get up to the village.
If only my parents had let me join the endurance runners club, I could’ve gone farther tonight. But good Plainitians don’t interact with outsiders, as my parents propagated.
Finally reaching the bottom, I vaulted over the final stretch.
Where to now?
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