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She was walking through the great hall when she heard it; a sharp noise, a bit like the whip of a bowstring, a bit like the sound of breaking ice. She looked around, puzzled, and gasped.

“What have you done?!”

She jumped almost out of her skin. The man looking down at her was unfamiliar, probably one of the servants here.

“I didn’t do it,” she said, instinctively hiding her bow behind her back. “I just heard it break.”

He frowned and examined the chalice more closely. “Well… alright. I don’t see any of your arrows around here anyway.”

She scratched her head, accidentally freeing her red hair from the constraints of her elegant and frustratingly tight headdress. “What is it, anyway?”

He grinned. “You don’t know? I thought you were a fairy princess.”

She stuck her tongue out at him. “Thought I was? How rude. I know it’s magic, any idiot can see that, I just don’t know what it’s supposed to be. Is it a cup or something?”

“A chalice,” the man said, reading the label beneath it. “This crack goes all the way through.”

“Oh… that’s bad,” she said, putting her fist up to her mouth and biting on a knuckle. “That’s really bad.”

The man stepped back, looking nervous.

“When you say bad…”

“I mean, we’d both be in trouble, bad. You, me, and everyone.”

He stepped back again. The chalice wobbled slightly on its pedestal and he froze. Were the cracks getting bigger?

“When you say everyone,” he whispered, hopefully, “Do you mean everyone in the castle?”

The girl shook her head. “I mean everyone, everyone.”

He took a deep breath. “Well then,” he said. “How do we fix it?”

She looked up at him as if he was stupid. “Don’t you know?” she asked, a slightly sarcastic tone to her voice.

He thought for a moment. “Magic chalice. Magic crack?”

She nodded. “Magic glue.”

They stood there in silence for a moment.

“Well?” She put her hands on her hips and looked up at him.

“Well what?”

She glared at him. “Well, hadn’t you better get going then? To find some magic glue?”

He blinked repeatedly. “Me? Aren’t you a fairy, wouldn’t it be easier for you?”

She folded her arms. “I can’t go anywhere. I’m a hostage here, remember? It’s all up to you.”

© Kari Fay