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[ profile] meepalicious supplied this prompt, "Never eat the food in fairyland." + "Eating the Other", and cloudiah sponsored it.  Happy Xenothon!

Queen Mab’s Castle

Times were hard for the Fair Folk. People didn’t believe the way they once had, and belief was the coin of the fairy realm. Between the economic crash and their low birth rate, they seemed doomed to fade out like the dragons before them. Poor and desperate, the Fair Folk turned to the last refuge of the exotic: cultural tourism.

Of course, tourists didn’t want the true fae experience. What they wanted was cute, saccharine, and harmless. (Except for the occasional hardcore pagan group, and they were more interested in lambasting the fae for selling out than revitalizing the economy.) They wanted to see endless wonders, and they would pay good solid belief for it.

The fae needed that belief. And if that meant wearing pastels, glitter, and fake wings, making Tir Na Nóg into a resort for the rich and bored, so be it. No one could do wonder like the fae.

And no one could do commodification like the humans.

Maeve had been standing and smiling all day. Her feet hurt, her face hurt, and her only tip was a fake, heavily processed butter pat in her pocket. It took every ounce of self-control fae weren’t supposed to have, but once again she beamed and squeaked, “Welcome, lord and lady, to Tir Na Nóg, land of heroes and wonder!” She curtsied. “I am Peachblossom, and I will be your spirit guide for today!”

“Oh Don, Don, look, she’s got little wings, isn’t that precious—”

“Sharon, dear, don’t stare. Wings are normal here. Now, which should we do first: Mab’s castle, or a real-life fairy circle?”

“Oh, let’s do Mab!”

Never mind that Queen Mab had never existed, being a literary conceit of Shakespeare. That’s what the humans wanted, so off they went to the (illusory) ruins of Queen Mab’s (nonexistent) castle. Really, it was nothing more than an empty warehouse with a souvenir shop in the corner, but Maeve led them around, pointing out the ghosts of illusory chandeliers and ballrooms.

Sharon capered around, searching for stray dreams, but Don was quieter, and the way he glanced at Maeve a few times gave her the feeling that he wasn’t buying it.

“The fae can create illusions, can’t they?” He asked.

“Oh yes,” Maeve said. Most of her meals were spiced that way. She couldn’t afford real cinnamon.

“Then how can we be sure any of this is real?”

Sharon stopped frolicking and looked troubled. Troubled customers didn’t tip. So Maeve curtsied and said sweetly, “You don’t. But isn’t that the nature of dreams?”

That seemed to reassure Sharon. Don nodded thoughtfully, and the tour continued, but Maeve kept an eye on him. She wasn’t sure whether she liked him or not, but at least he seemed interesting.

The tour ended. While Sharon powdered her nose in the palatial royal bathroom (decrepit outhouse) Don leaned over and asked gently, “Your name isn’t actually Peachblossom, is it?”

After a moment’s thought, Maeve confessed, “No. It’s Maeve.”

“Maeve.” He smiled. “A beautiful name for a beautiful fae.”

Close. He was too close.

“I hope you don’t think me too forward,” hand on her arm, “but—“ oh, here it came, “I’ve always been fascinated by the fae…”

Maeve went rigid as his arm crept around her shoulders, and as he went on about fae sensuality, she fumed inside. At her cheap clothes, at her degrading job, at her customers with their cheap cologne, cheap fantasies, cheap tips of fake butter—

Maeve blinked. She relaxed. She smiled—a real smile, this time—and put one hand in her pocket.

“You want the real fae experience?” She asked.

Don smiled at her. “Oh yes.”

Her hand closed around the pat of butter, and she tried to lacquer her voice in honey persuasion. “The sensuality? The rich taste of an incomparable experience?”

It had been a long time since Maeve had glamorized her voice for anything but wheedling higher tips, but Don’s full attention was on her. He stared, eyes wide, mouth open. He could barely mouth the word ‘yes.’

Maeve let her magic seep into the butter.

“Close your eyes,” she whispered.

He did.

Maeve doubted he’d intentionally eat anything she gave him, so she slipped the butter into her mouth. As she leaned forward to kiss him, she wondered what Sharon would pay more for: the return her philandering husband, or his punishment…


Date: 2013-04-04 11:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] (from
I love it!

Date: 2013-04-05 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ahahaha that is freaking brilliant. LOVE.

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