“I am hesitant to ask why you’re dressed strangely,” stated Rulash.
“It’s Halloween,” said Gweniveer, gesturing at her costume. “I’m a prince. Sam, you haven’t even started your make-up. Dudes, turn on the news.”
Gweniveer dragged them back to Sam’s office and picked up the television remote. “It’s priceless. Here, you can do your make-up at the same time…”
She opened Sam’s vanity and turned on the local news. “The chairman of Grüger has completely lost his shit! It’s beautiful, after the sludge pit they built at Leans Beach!”
“This is Judy Lane, and I am covering the impromptu press conference called by the chairman of the board of Grüger Corp…”
“What’s Halloween?” asked Rulash, completely uninterested in the television. Sam wiped off his face and began applying foundation.
“You dress up and go to parties. I’ve been preparing for this for weeks…”
“We’re going as a prince and princess,” explained Gweniveer. “Duh, but look at this, he’s foaming at the mouth!”
“Fairies,” shrieked the chairman of the board at the camerawoman on the television. “I was attacked by a winged being, wings, like, like, BUTTERFLIES, big purple wings!”
Rulash froze, then swung wildly back in the direction of the television.
“She told me if I didn’t put my support behind stopping the project in the valley, she’d kill me. They’ve already burned down our valley office site! They’re going to kill us! I’m not crazy,” shouted the chairman, his face like a beet. “Please, we have to stop them!”
“The conspiracy theorists are all over this,” said Gweniveer gleefully. “We’ve called a meeting tomorrow, even though half of us will be hung over after Halloween…”
“Fairies,” repeated Rulash. He looked to Sam. “There’s only two fairies in the human realm.”
Sam paused his make-up, one eye surrounded by pink eye-shadow. “Gweniveer, I’ll meet you in the car when I finish.”
“I’ll meet you in the car,” he said, firm.
Gweniveer glanced at the two men and after a moment, left. Sam waited until the bell on the front door jangled.
“I need your help,” said Rulash. “Where is this Grüger? Why is Willow attacking them?”
“I need you to be completely serious with me. Are you joking with me?”
“What do I need to do to prove to you that I’m serious?” cried Rulash. “Wait. Don’t answer.”
The fairy king paused and held up his hands. “It’s Halloween, so perhaps the spirituality of the day allows me to break my original oath.“
Sam’s brow furrowed in confusion. “What do you mean by that?”
“This,” said Rulash, gesturing at himself, “is a disguise. This is me.”
He snapped his fingers on both hands, and Sam toppled from his seat in shock as a shimmery powder covered his office, and Rulash spun around, and like cloth wringing outwards, wings—great bright blue wings, like a dragonfly—unfurled from his back.
Sam gaped. It was Rulash, but like Rulash in extremes, as if everything about him had been cranked up to the max. His hair was bright blond, his eyes an unnerving shade of green-blue, and his face sharper. His movements all flitted, he was sharp and jerky, and alien and familiar as an orchid.
Sam was about to inform Rulash that Halloween was about disguises and costumes, not being yourself, but he just found himself rubbing his eyes.
“You are suitably awed,” drawled the fairy king. “Good. You’ll be more likely to do what I want.”
“What—what you want,” stuttered Sam. He shakily finished his make-up, just to get a sense of stability, and almost put on his blonde wig, but he dropped it on the vanity. “You’re a fairy.”
“Yes. I’m the fairy king.”
“And that girl, she’s a fairy too?”
“Yes, that’s what I’ve been telling you!”
“And she’s performing acts of eco-terrorism against Grüger Corp because they are going to destroy a famous wildlife area?”
Rulash jabbed him in the chest, and Sam wished he had put on his bra because the jab hurt. “This is the sort of thing you need to tell me! I’ve gotta help her. Or stop her. I don’t know which.”
Dazed, Sam nodded and turned around in his seat to open his computer. He did a quick google search, and as he read a couple articles, he glanced over at Rulash, still not really believing his eyes.
“The entire board has agreed to cancel the project,” murmured Sam, “but the president owns the majority share in the company and plans to go through with it. If Willow is threatening people, she’ll go to him next. He’s the missing piece in the puzzle.”
Sam clicked another page. “Grüger Corp has hired a security firm to guard the president. She’s going to be caught.”
“No on my watch,” growled the fairy king. “I’ll get her and take her home.”
Shaking, Sam turned back to his vanity.
“It’s almost nightfall,” said Rulash. He walked towards the door to the office. “I should get going.”
He paused. “If I don’t see you again, Sam, I wish you well. And remember what I said about ultimatums.”
“Rulash,” began Sam.
“I’m sorry. For doubting you.”
The fairy king gave a dismissive wave. Instead of walking out the door like a normal person, he wrenched open the window with one arm. “It’s all right,” he said. “You wouldn’t be the first.”
Mouth hanging open, Sam watched as Rulash launched himself from the window and flew away into the night.