The Baby Isn’t Yours
At Kalia’s question, the children’s voices grew louder as their excitement intensified.
They bombarded her with questions.
– Wow! I guessed right.
She can hear our voices.
Amazing! Who are you? Are you human? –
– We didn’t even deliberately reveal ourselves but she could still see us.
She must not be human! –
– Who are you? I’ve never seen you before.
Are you an outsider? Where are you from? –
They really are fairies.
This was the first time she had seen a fairy in person.
Occasionally, she had heard about their existence from Simon.
He said he could see them because of his elven blood.
Coming across a fairy was a rare occurrence outside the fairy forest and even he had only encountered them three or four times in his life….
Such beings were accidentally stumbled upon by Kalia….
Fairies were very secretive beings.
They owned and reigned over 20% of the world’s land mass but very seldomly did they let humans into it.
Their territories were huge empires concealed by a magical barrier and the entrances were usually enchanted trees.
Most lived within the boundaries of their land. There were some fairies that lived in natural objects such as trees in the mundane world, hiding themselves in plain sight from the humans.
The fairies that Simon had encountered were precisely the latter type of fairies.
Feeling a little overwhelmed by the revelation of these creatures, Kalia took a shaky breath and shook her head in answer to the children’s question, “”No, I’m a human being.
I’m from the Capital and…..
it’s my first time seeing a fairy.”
The laughing children smoothly maneuvered down the tree trunk and sat on a branch just above Kalia, looking at her with much interest.
When she looked closer, Kalia discovered that a very faint light seemed to envelop the children’s bodies, as if there was fog scattered around them.
Except for the pale glow emitting from them, the children looked very normal, like any other human children.
Each child had dark brown hair with green eyes that somehow seemed to resemble a tree.
The freckles smattered across their noses were very cute.
Each of the 3 children looked different with their own unique features but had very similar characteristics in common with each other; they were like ginger cookies baked at different temperatures.
The child closest to Kalia looked slightly older than the other two and stared at Kalia with a strange look.
His eyes filled with wonder and interest.
– How can she see us when she’s human? This is the most interesting thing… – he murmured in confusion and interest.
Shaking his head, the child’s eyes that were studying Kalia’s face trailed down to her stomach.
After a long pause and a blink, the fairy said with twinkling eyes, – Is it because of the kid in your stomach?-
Kalia’s exceptional hearing caught the fairy’s quiet words and couldn’t help but lay her hands over her stomach.
Kalia glanced at the child and asked, “Can you….
can you tell that I am with child?”
At her words, the 3 children made eye contact with one another and burst out laughing.
-Yes, we can.
It’s because we can see kids! –
-Sometimes kids can see us too!-
-Yes! That’s right! –
“I see,” Kalia nodded in understanding at the noisy children’s words and she gently stroked her belly.
She couldn’t see it but it was a little unbelievable that her child’s presence was so clear… a light rosy flush of colour highlighted Kalia’s cheeks.
One of the children climbed down the tree and approached Kalia.
The child stopped in front of Kalia to stare intently at her stomach.
The other two followed closely behind the first and the three shook their heads after a while.
When Kalia asked, the children exchanged glances with each other again, then scurried even closer to Kalia with excited faces.
– Hey, I think this kid is very unusual.
– Yes, definitely unusual.
No, I think it’s unique!
– Yeah, I’m sure it’s a special kid!
‘What did this all mean?’ Kalia wondered.
At the fairy’s abundance of praise, a subtle but pleasant warm feeling washed over her.
Suddenly feeling a little bit emotional, she inquired aloud, “What do you mean?”
The children answered in unison, speaking as if they were one entity – Your belly is shining so beautifully!-
“….shining?” Kalia’s voice shook slightly as she asked back.
The children chattered back with excitement.
– Yeah, it’s a beautiful light! –
– It’s my first time seeing a shining child!-
– This kid is going to be a special being! I’m sure! Because fairies can predict!
Upon hearing this, Kalia’s heart sank and rattled.
It wasn’t a tremor of happiness.
The words “special being” to her, were very scary words because of how heavy the implications were.
She just wanted her kid to grow up normally with the ability to choose their own paths and be satisfied with the happiness of their own choices.
Basically, she wanted the child to grow up casually.
– What’s wrong with your face, miss? Your face turned white!
– Are you sick, miss?
– Do you want some fairy water? Since you’re a special human being, it’s okay to share a little bit of our fairy water! –
– Should we? Should we hand out some of our water to this miss? I don’t know if it’ll come out well though! – (1)
– One of us will help you out, alright? –
– Yeah, yeah, yeah! Let one of us help! –
Kalia shook her head in a hurry seeing the children babbling and fighting among themselves over who would provide the fairy water.
“No, no, no.
You don’t have to give me any fairy water,” she gently but firmly refused.
Fairy water was known as a panacea.
She didn’t know if it was actually true or not but, because of the mystery surrounding actual fairies, many rumours, both false and true, were spread about them.
Businesses also profited off the human’s general lack of understanding and many things were passed off with fairy’s names attached to it.
Yet, Kalia hurriedly turned down these fairies because fairy water was supposedly an elixir made from a fairy’s tears.
However precious it may be, Kalia did not want to receive tears from these children.
– What? Are you sure you’re alright, miss? –
“Thank you for your concern but I’m fine.
I’m a lot stronger than I look,” Kalia reassured them.
Kalia squatted down so she was at eye level with the children who were so willing to shed tears for her.
These children, though of a different species, were as innocent and lovable as any ordinary children.
She reached up and gently cupped a hand around the cheek of the nearest child.
With heartfelt affection and sincerity, she made eye contact and smiled sweetly, “Please.
Don’t cry for me.
You don’t have to force yourself to cry for me.”
The child’s face reddened in Kalia’s hands.
Gently, she reached out to wrap the blushing child in a hug.
She was very grateful for the sweet little fairies’ selfless consideration.
– Hug! –
– Me too! Me too! I want to hug you too! –
The two other children watching the scene unfold by her side also jumped into her arms.
Enveloped by 3 pairs of arms, Kalia smiled lightly and hugged the children in her arms back.
“I have to go now.
I’ll be back tomorrow before I leave.”
– Yes! Come back tomorrow! Come back! –
– Bye miss! Goodbye! –
– See you tomorrow! –
The children reluctantly let go of her, waving their arms hard in goodbye.
Watching Kalia walk calmly back to her hotel, they couldn’t help but blurt out – You know, don’t you think the light isn’t just coming from the belly? –
– I’m not sure.
The light from her stomach was so strong, but it did glow softly around her too! –
– Well, maybe she’s not human? –
– I don’t know… she said herself that she was human? –
– Or! Maybe she doesn’t even know that she’s not human! –
– Wow, it’s the first time in awhile you’ve been this smart.
– What do you mean! I’ve always been smart, unlike all of you! –
– What did you say? Bring it on! –
– Are we fighting? Let’s go! It’s a competition!!-
The children ran around in circles up in the tree, without realizing they were at it all night.
The laughter of the inaudible and invisible children rang out in the square all night.
When the dark sky was dyed with the brilliant colours of dawn and the world was slowly lighting up, the children who had been running and playing for so long, finally fell asleep.
But, on the next day, Kalia never met the children.
After waking up early, tidying up and grabbing an early breakfast, she took a stroll back to the square before her departure, but the children never showed up.
Guys, I’m here,” Kalia called out to the children in a quiet voice but was met with no response.
A tiny wind blew by her cheeks.
With it, the wind carried the sound of leaves fluttering and the tree rustling made a ‘shhhhh’ sound, almost like the tree was telling her to be quiet.
‘Are they…..sleeping?’ Kalia thought with a shake of her head.
She then raised her head to look up at the sky.
The huge tree was glowing in the morning sun.
It was cool and shady beneath its canopy and sunlight splattered down through cracks between leaves.
Shading her eyes with a hand, Kalia watched the light shift through the canopy before circling around the tree in regret.
Halfway around, she saw something glint underneath her feet.
Bending down, she picked it up and saw it was a small crystal bottle, barely a finger in length.
She twisted it around in her hands to observe it; it was very small and cute.
As if given a cue, the leaves suddenly shook briskly even though it was not windy.
Does it have a conscience?’
Glancing up, she spoke out loud on purpose, just in case, “… Who left this here? I can’t just take this, right?”
The leaves began to shake very frantically, as if vehemently denying what she said.
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Wow!
“…Did they? Did they leave this here?” Kalia asked again.
Funnily enough, the leaves that had been rustling so violently calmed in an instant.
The branches swayed gently, very gracefully, as if to agree in response to her words.
For a moment, she seemed to hear the tree’s voice.
‘Shaaaaa, that’s righttttt.’
The rustling sounded something like this.
When she saw the leaves quiver as if dancing in the air, even the most tactless could understand that this was what the children had left.
Laughing at the tree’s ‘words’ and how it had reacted as if it were a creature with an ego, she reached out to pat the trunk once.
The rough, and hard texture beneath her hand didn’t feel bad.
‘Now that I think about, is this a fairy tree?’
Even though the children said it was OK and were so determined to give Kalia the fairy water, Kalia was still a little hesitant. If they were in front of her right now, she’d thank them immediately but….
She felt sorry to take it just like this.
However, it was almost time for her to get going.
She couldn’t delay any longer. Kalia looked up at the tree, and then looked around.
It was only the middle of the morning, just past 10 o’clock.
Some stores were busy preparing to open but the plaza was still pretty idle.
Everybody that was there were busy going about their day and it seemed as if no one was watching her.
Even if there really were, it’d probably just one or two.
After all, to them, a day like this was just like any other and would be easily forgotten; whoever is actually watching probably wasn’t paying much attention.
Besides, they would long forget this memory of theirs in a day’s time.
“I’m in a hurry to pack and leave so I don’t have much on hand to give.
This is, uh, a cookie I bought this morning,” she mumbled.
After kissing the trunk as a thank-you kiss, she placed the cookie under the tree, “When the kids wake up, tell them I’m grateful.
I’ll make sure to drop by again on my way back.
She didn’t know if the tree understood or if it was just her imagination but the leaves seemed to shake gracefully after hearing her words.
The sound was quite vague and careless.
At any rate, Kalia gently stroked the tree trunk as if she were proud of it.
Though she may be mistaken, she swore she felt a faint tremor run through the great trunk.
‘Must…..must be my imagination, right?’
(1) The fairies said that they didn’t “know if it (the fairy water) would come out well”.
In the next few sentences, we find out that fairy water has to be made and one of it’s ingredients is fairy tears.
Here, the fairy implies that the fairy water has to be made and it also requires skill to make it right
(2) At first I thought it was because people wouldn’t remember something so insignificant but, she did say that they’d ‘forget after a day’.
I’m guessing this is the effect of the trace-erasing scroll.
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