Hello

Hello and welcome to the last part of this short story set in the world of Fire & Ice, Paola’s Childhood Part Four. Paola’s Childhood follows a young Paola. Though this story is set in the same world as my book series, it happens at a different time. You can find Paola’s Childhood Part One here: Part Two here: and Part Three here:

You can find part one of my last story, Words Unsaid, here: https://www.victoriamayburybooks.ca/2020/06/05/words-unsaid-part-one/ If you haven’t read my other story, Product of Love, you can find the first chapter here:https://www.victoriamayburybooks.ca/2020/02/15/the-product-of-love-gills-backstory/ . If you enjoy my writing and wish to help me continue in creating this world, you can buy my book on this website or go here to help me publish my next book in the Fire & Ice Chronicles:https://www.gofundme.com/f/fire-amp-ice-chronicles-the-wild-mountains.

I hope you like Paola’s Childhood Part Four which is the last part of the backstory.

Paola’s Childhood Part Four

The party grounds were already full of people milling about when Paola and her father showed up. Paola felt comfortable in her doe colored dress. It felt natural and comforting since it had been her mom’s.

Soon enough, Liliana spotted her and made a beeline for her friend. The younger she-elf was dressed to the nines and had sparkles on every possible part of her outfit. To say she was the star of the show was more than correct.

“What happened to your arm? Are you going to be OK?” Liliana asked Paola, her eyes filling with tears.

Paola looked at her broken arm in the sling and gingerly shrugged. “I caught a vine and wrapped it around me in a non-advisable manner. The healer said it will heal in a month or two.”

“Well, can I give you a hug or did all your vine swinging make that impossible?” The she-elf asked, her eyes dancing with mirth.

The two friends embraced and shared a giddy giggle.

“Happy birthday, Lil.” Paola said to the little elf. Liliana beamed in return and guided her friend through the party goers, stopping from time to time thanking different of the guests for coming.

Paola took these opportunities to scan the party’s layout. There were yellowish lights hung seemingly in midair that made Liliana’s dress stand out even more. A divine buffet table took up the length of the one wall. There was no wall opposite to the buffet wall but an open air ballroom decorated with more lights and garlands of Liliana’s favorite flowers.

The buffet’s enticing scents called to Paola, but she was determined to stay with her friend. It wasn’t her job to protect the future leader of the city, but she was protective of the little elf. Liliana always saw the good in people and was kind and charming but her heart was tender and bruised faster than most fruit. Paola was determined to not let anyone hurt her little Lil.

The two elves made it to the buffet table at long last. Paola grabbed a plate but then froze. How was she going to serve herself? Liliana giggled and took the plate from her.

“How about I dish up the food for both of us and you hold one of the plates? That way we won’t take forever to grab our food.” The dark she-elf suggested.

“You can’t do that!” Paola exclaimed. “This is your birthday celebration.” The little elf wouldn’t take no for an answer and soon, Paola acquiesced and allowed her friend to help her.

“You are my friend and are a better gift to me than all those presents.” She gestured with a serving utensil to the massive pile of presents in the corner. “Thinking about opening all those presents with everybody watching gives me the shivers.” Liliana shivered dramatically, causing her green hair to whip back and forth.

Paola opened her mouth to give a witty reply, when a keening wail cut through all the murmuring guests. Everything went silent. The lights, which were actually lightning-bugs, dimmed and the once warm and cheerful atmosphere became colder than marble.

Paola stepped in front of Liliana, scanning the room for the one who cried out. Her blood went cold when she saw the woman from earlier. The woman looked beautiful but there was something twisted about her, something evil.

The woman gave Paola a twisted smile that looked more like an animal baring its teeth. A wretched wail emanated from the woman again. All who heard it trembled. Paola stood frozen to the floor as the woman ethereally glided towards her. The young elf wondered what human could move in such a fashion.

Then, it clicked. This was no human or mage. No, this was a dryad, a monster that killed all it wished. The dryad stopped mere steps away from Paola. She bared her teeth once more at the she-elf.

“Give me what is mine, thief!” The dryad demanded in a guttural voice.

“What have I taken from you?” Paola surprised herself as she responded to the creature.

The creature was not amused and snarled.

“You carry it on you! I can sense it.” The dryad took a long sniff to emphasis her point. Paola did not move but stood tall and said nothing. The dryad’s patience depleted and she roared. “Well, I will take it off your cold body!”

Paola lunged to the side, rolling awkwardly as the dryad charged her. She didn’t know what to do or how to fight a dryad and so continued to dodge her attacks. They fought around the buffet table then moved to the ballroom.

With every missed attack, the dryad became increasingly frustrated and Paola evermore tired. The dryad finally landed a hit on the elf’s broken arm, slicing it with her razor sharp nails. Paola cried out, falling to her knees.

She saw the dryad advancing towards her like a cat with a cornered mouse. Paola eyed the dryad wearily as the creature took its time, knowing her prey would not get away. There was a scream from the huddled party goers.

“Paola!” The young voice screamed. Paola watched as her friend stabbed the dryad in the leg. The creature howled in pain and turned towards Liliana. She grabbed the little elf by the throat and lifted her into the air.

Paola saw red. She stood up shakily and produced what was to be Liliana’s present.

“Hey!” She called out to the dryad, waving the shiny object. “Is this what you wanted?”

The dryad’s eyes went wide as she saw the object in Paola’s hand. She stretched out her arm.

“Give that to me, now!” She demanded, still holding Liliana by the throat. The young elf was quickly turning blue, Paola knew she had to do something.

She stepped to place the shiny object in the dryad’s hand but paused. Why was the dryad here? Why would the dryad come all this way for something so trivial, unless it wasn’t as trivial as Paola thought. The young she-elf looked the dryad in the eye.

“I don’t think so.” She replied calmly and crushed the shiny object. The dryad howled in pain again and dropped Liliana’s limp body. Paola rushed to her friend’s side as the creature shriveled up, becoming smaller and smaller until there was nothing left.

“Liliana!” Called Paola, stroking her friend’s cheek. “Wake up!” The little elf’s eyelids fluttered open, and she smiled.

“That was the best party ever!” Liliana exclaimed in a raspy voice. Paola chuckled and then noticed a pair of boots opposite of her. She lifted her gaze and saw the Jefe.

Paola began to rise to greet the Jefe formally, but he stopped her.

“Rest, chica, the healers are coming.” He spoke quietly. “I cannot repay you enough for saving my mija’s life. You are so much like your father.” The Jefe’s pink eyes glistened slightly. The Jefe turned, addressing the crowd.

“Fellow elves,” he began in a commanding voice. “Today, we celebrate the seventh birthday of my beloved mija. Thanks to the brave acts of this young elf.” He gestured to Paola. “Liliana will be able to see her eighth birthday. As a reward for going above and beyond the call of duty, Paola will be Liliana’s personal guard until she relieved from her duty or is buried.”

When the Jefe had finished his announcement, all the party goers burst into enthusiastic applause. Paola felt a soft tug on her sleeve. Looking down, she saw a beaming Liliana.

“Now, we get to see each other everyday!” She whispered softly to her older friend.

Paola chuckled. “Yeah, we’ll see so much of each other, we’ll get sick of it!”

The two girls giggled and Paola felt joy she hadn’t felt since before her mother passed away.

Goodbye

I hope you liked Paola’s Childhood part four. A new short story will begin in two Fridays’ time so say goodbye to Paola’s Childhood. Next Friday, I’ll begin to explain the history of the world of Fire & Ice. Please comment or share this with your friends, it really helps to boost my spirits. Thank you for your time!

Victoria R. Maybury

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