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6 The Tale of The Enchanted Fores

    "How do you know it's not a myth?" Keiran hissed, unwilling to believe a stranger's words without any proof.

    "Once, a foolish boy decided to venture inside the rumoured cursed forest by his neighbours." The man started talking like a storyteller, piqued Lucia's interest. "He lost his way for days until one night he met a vast field of grass with twinkling lights. He looked up and saw a crescent moon with three stars within its circle."

    "You said you found the crescent moon?" Keiran relaxed a little. It was no use for him to continue being on edge.

    "It might be me, it might be someone else." The man winked.

    Keiran frowned while Lucia laughed. She found the man's teasing ways of speaking funny.

    "Mister traveler," Lucia smiled while addressing the man, "You said earlier that one's luck or the purity of their hearts were involved if we wanted to find the forest. Could you please explain it?"

    There was a flicker of warmth in the man's eyes when he looked at the little girl, as if he was longing for someone. But both Lucia and Keiran didn't understand the meaning of his gaze.

    "If you have a good heart, the obstacles that you'll find on your way in the forest would reward you with something you need. But, if your heart has darkened with impurities, be careful so that you won't lose yourself to the vain whispers you'd hear."

    "Seems like it has nothing to do with luck," Keiran smirked.

    "You could always have luck but the pureness of one's heart is another matter. Even though you have all the greatest luck but your heart is an evil one, only doom awaits you." The man picked an old branch and played with it.

    "Do you know what I really am?"

    Keiran hid his hope in the question but the man could still hear it. He looked up and carefully assessed the boy's expectant face. He shook his head, disappointment flashed across Keiran's eyes.

    "I haven't see a fae like you." He said truthfully, his face turned serious. "You look like a normal human, except that body seems to be directly connecting with your shadow. You're obviously a fae. Might be a rare one."

    Keiran didn't throw any remark to the man. He looked down, lost in his thoughts. Lucia sensed the complicated feelings that emanating from him. She carefully placed her hand on his arm. Keiran turned his head at her touch.

    "You're here." She said with a smile. "Regardless of how you were born, you're still here."

    The man smiled too. "That girl is right. You could enjoy the beauty of this forest because you're alive. You might not know how you were born but just enjoy this moment, will you?"

    Keiran nodded his head. Both of them were right. He shouldn't feel sad over a matter like this. Besides, his life so far was fulfilling. He even met a friend who could accept him.

    "But, if someday you really wanted to know about yourself..." The man trailed off, as if regretting his words but he continued any way after some thoughts. "Venture into The Enchanted Forest and find The Garden of Fae. You might find your answers there."

    Keiran's eyes widened. "The Garden of Fae? Do you mean..."

    The man nodded. "Queen Titania might know the answers. After all, the queen is the ruler of the faeries."

    Queen Titania. The beautiful queen often appeared in the folklore as the mother of all faeries. She was said to live in a beautiful garden, so beautiful it couldn't be compared with any one's imagination. Good people would be treated with her kindness while the corrupted ones would suffer her wrath.

    "You must remember, boy." The man's eyes dimmed. "Do not seek the queen unless you have something to sacrifice. Even the one with the purest of heart couldn't escape from making sacrifices."

    Lucia looked at Keiran's expressionless face. She couldn't fathom what he was thinking right now. Even though she had just met him last night, she knew he had a lot of uncertainties about himself. And she understood the feelings too well.

    Like him, she didn't know who were her parents. She just knew that her father was an employee in Mason Manor sometime ago before his death.

    "Alright." Keiran nodded in determination. "I won't seek the queen unless it's necessary."

    The man smiled lazily. He looked approvingly to the boy. Then, he searched for something in his pockets before bringing it out. He gestured for Lucia to come near him. Keiran didn't object when he saw Lucia got up and walked to the man.

    "I want you to have this, little lady."

    The man showed her a necklace with a small stone. The delicate chain was in gold while the stone looked white with the luminescence of blue-light colour. She was immediately attracted to its iridescent sheen.

    "This moonstone may guide you when you lost your way." The warmth in his eyes almost teared Lucia up. She never had anyone speak with such fondness to her before.

    "But, mister... I couldn't possibly accept this." Her cheeks glowed in red due to her overwhelming feelings.

    "It chose you." The man put the necklace around Lucia's neck. "No matter what happens in the future, please persevere. You and the boy, both."

    After making sure the hooks of the necklace were intact, the man got up from his position and walked to the opposite direction. Lucia was stunned with the man's sudden act. Seeing the man didn't have any intention to stop, she called out to him.

    "May I know your name, mister?" She asked timidly.

    The man turned around and smiled. "Phillip Waters. We'll meet again, dear child."

    He continued walking without turning back again. Lucia and Keiran could only see his figure faded away in the midst of the bushes.
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