The Faerie King slung his leg over the armrest of his throne, sulking. His friends were sprawled about the floor, listening as Leggy the tulip sprite read his latest poetry.
I am a fragment of a leaf
a trembling reflection
on the pond of existence
as but a reflection in the lake
in the eyes of the butterfly
in the butterfly’s dream
I will die,
and it will be dark.
Leggy looked up expectantly from his poem.
One of the sprites on the floor nodded.
The Faerie King sighed. “I miss Willow. Why did the one girl I loved have to flee to the human world?”
Leggy coughed and lifted his poem.
“What?” snapped the Faerie King.
“I haven’t finished,” said Leggy. He paused to smooth a crease in his pants and tilt his lotus leaf beret.
Who will remember me
when I am dead?
“This is depressing,” said the Faerie King.
Leggy cleared his throat and continued:
Death is a depressing spring.
“There, now I am done.”
Two sprites began to clap from their places on the floor. The Faerie King gave a melodramatic sigh and ruffled his hair. Even wearing his favorite electric blue trousers had not improved his mood. The drew-drop breeze blew in through the large windows, the sounds of the spring poetry festival rising up from the courtyard beyond.
He polished the ends of his turquoise wings, his thoughts far away. The Faerie King had hung his crown off a pumpkin vine growing up the throne. He was still a young king, no more than twenty summers, but he was powerful in all the natural magics and stubborn, wrestling monster wasps until he won, even if it put his life at risk. He hated to lose.
“I don’t know what to do,” said the Faerie King. “I love her, and she’s determined to date mortals.”
“What if you turned mortal?” drawled one of the sprites.
“That’s a terrible idea,” said the Faerie King.
“I have another poem to read,” announced Leggy, drawing a leaf from his jacket. “If you would be so indulgent. Ah-hem.”
What is love
But a tree of twittering birds?
The Faerie King twisted in his throne. “Why would anyone turn mortal?” he interrupted.
“Well,” mused a sprite, “she might not recognize you. You could pretend to be someone else and win her heart.”
“Do people do that?”
“Ah-hem,” interrupted Leggy. “I have not finished!” He lifted his page and rushed through the verses:
Towards chirpy lovemaking
Amidst the thorny brambles
“I could turn myself mortal for a few weeks,” said the Faerie King. “And win Willow’s heart, which has always been mine, but she would come to realize it.”
Twittering to love
Leggy turned on his heel and stormed from the hall, but no one paid him mind. The door slammed. The Faerie King leapt to his feet and snapped his fingers. His wings vanished with a pop. He threw open his arms.
“To the human realm!”