“It’s not a Rumble Pot, it’s called a kettle,” Fyonn sighed. It amazed her how he had managed to go so long in life without a formal education. She handed him a silver tool as he sat among a the pieces of disassembled plug.
“See, it doesn’t matter what it’s called does it, it does its job,” h e replaced what he called a fuse and quickly began screwing the case back together. Squigg seemed capable of fixing almost anything, he was a marvel to watch though his lack of education was something of a grate on her nerves.
“It matters because that’s what it is, you can’t go around calling a tomato an apple. Things have names and its important to use them. The Kettle, it seems is very important to humans, especially the large ones, the adults.”
“Is that so,” Squigg said without taking his eyes from the plug.
“Oh yes, they use it almost every hour, not the same ones of course but I’ve observed that it is the most used appliance in the school,” Fyonn explained, feeling rather pleased with her observation. She watched as Squigg nodded absently and jammed the plug back into the socket. He kicked the switch on and quickly flicked the kettle on. It began to rumble and hum as it heated the water inside.
“It don’t matter what it’s called, it works,” he said packing away his silver tools. Fyonns wings buzzed in irritation “I don’t need fancy human names for things so long as they do what they are supposed to.” It amazed her that he could be so intuitive with the workings and fixing of things and yet refuse to learn more about the correct way of naming them.
“I can’t believe anyone would choose to be ignorant on purpose,” she snipped.
“Ignorant, you want to talk about ignorant. The bigguns don’t give a care about us. When was the last time you saw a biggun help a pixie? Yeah I know, pixie law, but what about the other folk, the water dwellers or the trolls. They don’t even help the goblins anymore. The stories my old Gran used to tell me about the bigguns and how they were a shining beacon of hope were just that Fyonn, stories. So no, I don’t want to learn the names of human things, I just want to pay how I can for the things that I take.” He turned his back and continued packing away his tools. She was about to give him a good piece of her mind when there was a loud crash.
“Sprocket!” they cried together. The hedgehog rolled into a ball on the spot where he had been quietly behaving himself, making no crashing noises of any kind. Fyonn threw Squigg a worried glance
“Hide,” she breathed. They were gone in an instant, Sprocket under the counter, quiet as a mouse in a hedgehogs prickles and they found themselves on top of the freezer behind a large tin of coffee. Peaking out Fyonn had a good view of the big hall that led off to the corridor. There had been no sound since the crash but both of them remained hidden. The silence stretched on.
“A stray cat?” Fyonn suggested about to move from behind the tin but Squigg motioned her back down and pointed to the far side of the hall. He didn’t look at her, his eyes never left the small darting figure in the darkness. It was hard to see at first but as her eyes became more accustomed to the dim light Fyonn could see what he was pointing to, a pixie in the dark, a large pixie. It was flying lazily about the hall as if looking for something.
“A pixie Squigg!” Fyonn smiled, eyes alight at there being another pixie about. Squigg held on to her arm, his face stern. He shook his head once
“That ones up to no good,” he said quietly as the shadowy pixie left the hall. “He’s casing the place, making sure no one is here to interrupt what ever he has going on,” there was none of his usual playfulness in his tone.
“And I supposed you would know all about that,” She quipped but he didn’t smile. He didn’t look at her, his eyes remained on the hall as if he expected the pixie to come back.
“Yeah I would,” he answered quietly, “that’s how I know that one is well and truly up to no good.” Well this was too much, a few days ago it had been her and her only in the School, to read all the books she could want in peace and now not one but two pixies and a dirty hedgehog had showed up. She pulled her arm free and took off into the gloom ignoring Squiggs whispered protests behind her.
This wouldn’t do, no this wouldn’t do at all Fyonn thought as she buzzed angrily through the hall. The school was becoming far too popular with just the wrong sort of pixie. She peeked out into the hallway to see the big pixie, who was much bigger now that she was closer to him, greet a smaller pixie with a mess of wild black hair. The big pixie had a club on his belt and the smaller one held a dagger in her hand, she was cutting pages from a history book. How dare she, that little winged imp. Before she could round the corner and demand they behave themselves Squigg pulled her back into the hall. He said nothing and put his finger to his lips. Without a sound he leaned them both put and pointed to the doors at the far end of the corridor. A third pixie, smaller than the other two, was leading something in through the open door. He guided it on a long rope, a huge black shape that hopped and bobbed as it walked through the dark hallway. The pixie pulled and strained against the dark thing. A massive black and grey crow. The rope was bound about its beak like a muzzle but that didn’t stop it from trying to peck the smaller pixie. That dangerous beak was scared and pitted, the feathers of its head rough and ragged. The bottomless eyes stared out cold and uncaring. On its back, just below its neck was a saddle and long lance sat strapped to the side. There were empty sacks tied to the other side. The crow flapped its wings causing the little pixie to dart for cover. The female pixie laughed, it wasn’t a pleasant sound. She flew forward and removed the muzzle from the crows beak, it tapped its clawed feet in delight at being free and cawed loudly. She stroked its head soothingly as it bowed to her.
“Dear sweet Corvix, don’t try to eat the help,” she cooed, “Digit, Bola, lets see what this place has worth stealing shall we.” The pixies and the crow began to tear the hallway apart looking for loot. They pulled open draws and spilt the contents on the floor, the little one began unscrewing light fixtures and stripping wires, the big one began simply breaking things and taking a simple pleasure in the act of destruction. The crow flew from room to room returning with several shiny items whilst the leader began pulling books from shelves and tearing into them with wild abandon. They ducked back into the large hall and Squigg let her go but kept his finger against his lips. Fyonn realised she was shaking with anger. How dare they, the nerve, the sheer audacity to come into the school and tear it apart, the books, the poor books. This wasn’t right, this wasn’t how pixies behaved. Behind them Sprocket was shuffling towards them as fast as his legs would carry him.
“Listen Fyonn, we have to get out of here,” Squigg whispered. Leave, no they couldn’t leave it wasn’t right.
“What do you mean leave, we can’t leave, they will tear the school apart,” she protested.
“And what do you think they will do if they find us here?!”
“But it’s not right Squigg, what about all the boys and girls, all their work and their books,” she demanded.
“Did you not see that crow in there, that thing is huge! It would scoff you down without a second thought. It’s just too dangerous to stay here. We should go now, while they don’t know we are here. How hard can it be to find a new place eh?” A riot of emotions ran through her, how could he be so cowardly, how could he make so much sense, why wasn’t there something they could do. Her mind came back to the image of that enormous crow, how could they possible get that thing to leave if it didn’t want to. It was all just so unfair. She looked up at Squigg and saw a defiant glint in his eyes, something she had not seen in the days since they had met. She nodded once and motioned for them to leave by the kitchen door but as soon as Squigg turned to leave she dashed into the hallway. Sprocket gave a startled little squeak and covered his eyes. Squigg knelt down in front of him
“I know mate, but we will find some other place that’s just as good,” Sprocket shook his spines. The pixie rubbed his face in disbelief, “shes gone into the hallway hasn’t she, no, of course she has.” He turned to follow, “Little miss bossy wings is going to end up crow food.” Sprocket snuffled in protest, “Well yeah it would serve her right but it don’t mean its right letting her get munched,” he muttered.
Fyonn was standing in the middle of the hallway looking across at the raiders. She hadn’t said anything, the raiders were still busy going about with their destruction of the school. She tried to think of what to say, all of a sudden she wasn’t so sure of herself. Squigg tried to get her attention but she was stoically ignoring him.
“Have you got troll dung for brains! This is not going to end well,” he hissed. She folded her arms and glared down the hallway, still ignoring him. She could hear him muttering under his breath, something about why him and how he didn’t deserve this. That did it, he may be charming but he was still being a coward.
“Come on, they haven’t seen you,” he urged.
“Hey you!” Fyonn shouted. Squigg smacked his palm into his face in disbelief. The raiders stopped what they were doing, the leader gave a sharp whistle and the big pixie swooped into the middle of the hallway. The little one remained where he was, dangling upside down from a light fixture. The crow backed them all, a large and dark presence. “Stop what you are doing this instant and leave this place, you are not welcome,” Fyonn demanded.