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By Hikari Chiisai

Our kind have been in hiding for a long time. It feels like forever, but it's really only been a few hundred years. Maybe someday we can come out. But not yet.

I was adopted when i was 5. My biological parents abandoned me, and my adoptive parents hated my guts. To this day I don't know why in hell's name they took me, they made me work but they were rich enough for a maid. Thankfully, everything changed when I turned 10.

The day I turned 10 I underwent chrysalis. I had no idea what was going on. But when I went out shopping the next day (they didn't care enough to put me in school), I met a strange lady. She was like me! "Excuse me," she said when she walked up. "But are you a Sluagh?" She spoke in a whisper, like I had started to. "What's that?" I asked. "So it WAS you..." she said. "Did you notice any changes in yourself recently?" "Well, yesterday was my birthday and then I woke up and looked like this! When I asked my mum if she noticed anything different about me, she told me to stop being a smart-ass and get to work. Are you saying you know what's happened to me?" I said. "You've undergone chrysalis." she said. "Wha..?" I said, confused. "Come with me." She said, starting to walk off. I hesitated, but then followed.

She poured me some tea as we sat in her attic room. I looked around as she poured a cup for herself. She had lots of interesting things, but one thing that caught my eye was a 3-faced doll in a white dress sitting in her own little chair with her tea. "What's that?" I asked, pointing to the doll. "Oh, that's Lily," she said, taking the doll and putting it in her lap. "But of course, we haven't introduced ourselves. My name is Adrianna." "I'm Gwen..." I said. "Well, it's very nice to meet you, Gwen. And how old are you?" she said, sipping the tea. "I'm 10..." I said. She set down the cup. "Let's get down to business." she said. "What do you mean?" I said, drinking the tea to be polite. "Well, earlier, I mentioned that you went through chrysalis. I'm going to explain what happened, why it happened, and some history." she said. "Ok..." I said. "You and I are Changelings, a sort of human-supernatural creature hybrid. Well, I'll start at the beginning. Way back in the middle ages, there lived humans, and other creatures, us." she said. "You mean Sluagh?" I asked. "Well, that's one type. There's Boggans, Eshu, Nockers, Pooka, Redcaps, Satyrs, Sidhe, Sluagh, and Trolls. There are also Piskies and Spriggan, but these are VERY rare. I don't know much about Spriggan, but Piskies are about 1 in 500, 2 if you're lucky. But anyway, the humans and creatures lived together in peace and harmony. But then humanity turned towards logic, thus causing the shattering of the dreaming." she said.

"Woah, woah, woah. What's the shattering? And what's the dreaming, for that matter?" I asked. She laughed. "You're sounding like a Sluagh already." she continued. "The dreaming is a realm from which the magical creatures came. It is made from human dreams, and Arcadia is located there." "What's Arcadia?" I asked. "Well, aren't you the curious one. Arcadia is a magical kingdom where the Sidhe live. The Sidhe are rather snooty, and they consider themselves royalty and the rest of us are what they call 'commoners'." she said. "They don't seem very friendly..." I said. "Gwendolyn, in this world, not everything is friendly." She set down the cup and continued. "The shattering was the period of time in which humans turned to science, logic, and technology, and stopped dreaming. We were forced to take on a human form, sort of a human-creature hybrid, called Changelings. Our fae mien was hidden until a time called chrysalis, the time when our fae form would come out for the first time." Do you mean the first time ever or the first time in that particular body? And what happens to the fae part after the human part dies?" I said, drinking some more tea. "You're starting to get it. Chrysalis is the first fae appearance in that particular body. And after awhile, the fae mien is lost to that body, but once the human dies the Changeling is reincarnated into a new body. When the shattering happened, however, the Sidhe fled to Arcadia and closed the gates to everyone else." She set down the cup. "Well, that's basically it...Oh! I suppose I should explain the mists..." she said. "Yeah! I wanna know everything!" I said. She laughed and said, "Well, then let's explain."

After a lovely afternoon of chatting and tea, I glanced at the clock. "Oh my god!" I yelped. I breathed heavily and said, "I am so dead..." "We'll take my car." she said, setting down the cup and standing. "Um...ok..." I said shyly. We left the attic and went to her car, which happened to be a hearse. She helped me with my errands and then dropped me back at the hellhole, telling me to meet her tomorrow for more tea. Mum was pissed and almost hit me but I managed to escape to my room. Me and Adrianna had tea together for a few weeks, until one day she showed up with 2 other people. "Gwen," she said, "This is Rose, one of my old friends. She's an Eshu." The tanned lady nodded, but didn't speak. She had a sketch book. The man was carrying an umbrella, and was dressed in all black. "This is Vincent, a Vampire." Adrianna said. "But didn't you tell me that Vampires are really dangerous!?" I said, frantic. "Well," she said, "You might remember that I said some are less dangerous. He's a Kiasyd." "Oh, ok!" I said. "Shall we? This sun's starting to hurt." He said. We went to the attic room in Adrianna's house. We chatted and drank tea. Rose never said a word, only drank tea and sketched. When she showed me the picture, I was shocked! It moved! Vincent was shy but sweet and Adrianna was as kind as ever. We had tea every day, as we had before, but it had become a habit for me to come home late. Mum had hit me before, but never like this. And dad had always yelled, but never this angrily. I had been walking with Adrianna so many times that I knew the way to her house. I packed up my things and headed to her place.

Upon arrival she asked me what happened, and I told her. She seemed shocked and angry, and let me stay. All was well for another week.

That tuesday, however, at 5pm, just when we had started to make dinner, and it had gotten dark, there was banging at the door. "OPEN UP!!" shouted a voice. I knew it instantly. Dad. I panicked and we ran upstairs to the attic room. They broke down the door. I clutched Adrianna's dress. They came pummeling up the stairs. She put her hand in front of me to protect me. They reached us. "Ok, lady, give back the kid!" shouted Dad. "No!" I yelled, hiding behind her. "Hey, lazy dumb-ass! Get back here!" Mum shouted at me. Dad pushed Adrianna aside and grabbed me, dragging me down the stairs. I screamed. Mum yelled at me. We got outside, but Adrianna had grabbed Lily and run down to the street. "Gwen! Get behind me!" she shouted. I struggled and broke free, then ran behind her. "Just what do you think you're doin', lady!?" Dad yelled. "We're takin' her!" "NO!!" Adrianna shouted, and thrust Lily in front of her. Lily's face changed to angry and there was this rumbling sound. The earth split open and they fell to their death. She took down Lily, and then she said, "Come inside." I stood in awe, but then quickly followed.

She put up the front door, holding it there with duct tape, then went upstairs. I followed, and found her sitting at the table pouring a cup of mint tea. She then started clacking on the side of the cup-saucer set with a metal spoon. "What are you doing?" I said. "This is serious..." she said, pausing, appearantly to listen. There was another clacking, phantom almost, and then she was clacking on the side again. "I did what I did to protect you. But now we have a broken door, a huge crack in the ground, and two dead humans. We're going to have to call in someone to clean this up. Or at least to fix the door." The tapping was heard again. She then tapped rhythmically back. "But what are you doing?' I said. "I'm contacting Luna." She said, listening to the clacking response. She tapped out her reply, then drank the tea. "Well," she said, getting up, "Let's get back to dinner."

The next day was odd. At about noon, a strange Sluagh in a medieval-style dress, carrying a parasol, came to the house with a bunch of Boggans. She spoke to Adrianna while the Boggans went to work fixing the door. Adrianna introduced me. "Luna, this is Gwen," she said. "Well, it's very nice to meet you," said Luna. "Likewise..." I said. The Boggans finished and Luna said, "Well Adrianna, everything's taken care of." "That's a relief..." Adrianna said. "I'll see you later, then?" "Yes, of course." Luna said. The Boggans picked up their tools, Luna picked up her parasol, and they left.

Over the next few months, Adrianna taught me all sorts of things about the Changeling world. She took me to her favourite freehold. She taught me the Sluagh cup code. And we had a great time. She also shared stories and secrets and treasures. And she introduced me to lots of others. And we even went to the dreaming! It was all very exciting. And for once, it felt like someone actually cared about me. Like someone cared if I lived or died or whatever. It was nice. As it is today. She still teaches me things, and it hasn't been too long since all of this happened. And everything is lovely. Which it should be.

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