An Elf for All Centuries
Elf Prince Fabion enjoys the perfect supermodel lifestyle until wizard Matradorian chucks him back in time to save Henda, the sexy, powerful elf king. Since the death of his lover, Henda has lingered in a half-alive, half-dead state. Surprise, Fabion is a spiritual match for Henda's dead lover, so only he can save the dying king.
Fabion uses his sexy bod and sweet lovin' to revive the elf king. All seems well until he realizes saving Henda destroyed Fabion's world. He is an elf adrift. Fabion must stay in this ancient land forever. Fabion pitches the biggest temper tantrum of any century until he realizes sexy Henda accepts him as his true lover. Being the virile, handsome Henda's lover fills Fabion's emotional gap. The former supermodel decides to accept life in the backwards century.
Soon, Fabion learns the nineteenth century is more dangerous than his vanished thirty-ninth century. Now who wants to kill him? And why?
CONTENT ADVISORY: This is an extensively expanded and re-edited title.
A limo halted alongside a faded grassy expanse. A century ago, the grass had looked green, but these days not enough sunlight leaked through the clouds to help the grass's struggle. The grass gave up trying for the green. Even the spiky yellow weeds littering the plot drooped with despair.
Across the ragged ground covering, a tattered tree line listlessly rose into the ocher mist obscuring the sun's rays. A shabby sign topping the copper gate announced Welcome to Park Haven.
The driver glanced back at the three passengers. "Are you sure you want to stop here, Prince Fabion? This lonely spot always worries me. I hate leaving you here."
Fabion waved his right hand. "Yep, Matt, we need the exercise."
Hestran whined before Fabion could even count to one. The quick reaction set a new fine "whine" record. "Ooooo come on, Fabion, sweeeetie. Damn, you want to walk through horrid Park Haven to reach the Sequoia? Are you insane? That's toooo faaaaar."
His sulky boyfriend's high-pitched gripe made Fabion want to jam his fingers in his ears or maybe even in Hestran's ears. Naw, the act seemed too rude even for Fabion's selfish sensibilities.
Instead the prince managed to smile at bratty Hestran. He pointed up. "Come on, look at the air! This afternoon the air quality is almost pretty. I can see blue, well, all right, no I can't, but I can imagine the color ruling the sky like in times past. Today I want to enjoy a walk through the park."
Fabion hadn't strolled through Park Haven in over a month. How sad. He needed to commune with the remaining nature on a more regular basis.
Lanaro leaned around pouting Hestran. He scowled as usual. "Fuck, you always need to act different, dude. No well-bred elf walks into Park Haven from the east gate. This is the common filthy human gate, unfit for elves."
Fabion saw Matt's professional veneer slip for a second. Why did Lanaro always act like such a major prick? It was one thing to dislike humans, but insulting them to their face defined rudeness.
Lanaro deserved a tongue-lashing and not a fun one. Only Hestran's tiresome pouting had forced Fabion to agree to provide Lanaro a free ride from New Yorkshire's snooty Shadyside district. Just his bad luck that Lanaro's agent occupied the same building as Fabion's. Fabion's agent rented two floors, while Lanaro's agent crammed into a closet-size space. How dare the pedestrian elf think he had joined Fabion's regal modeling league?
Duh, Fabion was a well-bred prince, so there.
As he sniffed, Fabion tossed his red mane with practiced dismissal. He knew exactly how to flip his locks for maximum effect. "Hey, I don't need to act different--I am different, because I am exceptionally special. I enter where I want when I want." He pretended to ring a bell at the slackers. "Ding, ding, ding, end of the line. Move your pretty asses from the limo. My man Matt is going home for the day."
The elf prince leaned forward. He slapped a massive bonus into his driver's hand. Behind him, Lanaro's gasp added the perfect spice. Matt deserved the bonus for enduring insults.
"Go have fun, dude."
"Thanks, Prince Fabion!" Matt saluted Fabion. "As usual I'll wait until you enter the park before I pull away."
"As usual I commend your wise idea. Catch ya later, pal."
The prince exited into the ocher afternoon air. At that moment, the smiling Fabion doubted if anyone else in New Yorkshire acted giddier. His life embraced triumphant coolness, well, except for Lanaro's presence. He glanced up at the opposite hill, resisting an urge to wave.
Man, what happened inside the limo? Hestran and Lanaro remained sprawled on the seats like sullen teenagers overdosed on pixie dust. Fabion almost slammed the door and told Matt to drop the ornery duo somewhere horrible like Dog End Quay, but he doubted if they'd survive the nasty experience.
"Move along, you lazy critters. Exit on this side. We need to hustle into the park."
Hestran's wide eyes conveyed panic. "Why? What do you mean?"
"I mean, we run for protection, because someone might see us and you two don't want to be seen entering this gate, right? Get out but remain low."
"That makes sense."
Fabion crouched and watched the other elves huddle beside him. He adored this dare. "On my count. One. Two. Three. Run!"
The trio darted across the dead grass toward the gate. Before they reached the protection offered by the remaining trees, gunshots cracked the air. Bullets disturbed leaves from an overhead oak branch. Hestran shrieked. Fractured leaf bits fell on them.
No surprise, the elf-hating lunatic who lived on the hill had shot at them. Inside the park, the limp, half-moldy leaves and rune barrier deterred any further shooting. Fabion could have the would-be assassin arrested, but he loved the challenge.
Fabion turned and gleefully shouted, "Up yours, you sorry asshole! You missed me again. Ever think about taking lessons or buying glasses, shithead?"
Five more shots hit the trees, shattering more leaves. Fabion shot the finger toward the hill. He turned toward his companions and snickered. "See, that's why I told you to run. The nut-bunny hasn't hit me yet, but someday he might get lucky. Don't worry, his bullets are useless in here."
The gasping Hestran and Lanaro gaped at Fabion before they shuddered and almost fell to the leaf-littered ground. Fabion patted his chest. Safe and sound. Ouch, even his prime lungs needed a little recovery. The leafy screen created by the low-growing red Chinese maple granted Fabion time to catch his breath. He refused to appear in public acting less than centered and serene. His lungs cooperated, sucked in air, and returned his breathing to normal. Much better.
Hestran and Lanaro appeared close to collapse. They continued gasping and choking, leaning on each other for support.
"Fuck, you knew that would happen. You're crazy." Lanaro snarled at Fabion.
"Naw, just a thrill seeker. We're fine, right?" What an asshole.
"But still, I've never been shot at before! You shouldn't scare me like that, Fabion. You know I'm high-strung." Hestran sucked in a deep breath. "Fuck, I haven't run in years. That required too much effort." Hestran recovered enough to straighten up and kiss Fabion's cheek. "You don't want me to feel too tired for tonight, right?"
"Of course not. Now we're safe. No more running required." The spectacular elf stretched and breathed in again. He gestured toward the park's interior. "Are we ready? Let's stroll, dudes."
The decorative trio strutted across the tree-choked park. Fabion slowed down to examine the trees. Too many dead branches allowed the weak sun to leak past their skeletal shapes. The park looked worse than last month. How disturbing.
A few yards away, a cluster of grubby humans stopped eating their picnic lunch to gawk at the trio. Today's relatively mild pollution allowed the frail humans to remove their breathers. How rare. Fabion performed his number two wave and smile combo. They waved back. Smart of them to acknowledge his legendary beauty.
Lanaro sniffed like something sticky blocked his nostrils. "Talk about slumming! Why do you acknowledge those scruffy breeders? It's bad enough they keep popping out their ugly brats. At least elves understand control."
Fabion thought more like male elves were close to sterile and the female elves had almost vanished from Earth. "Lanaro, your nasty attitude is why the humans hate us. I don't care if they enjoy the park. As long as they don't bother me, I don't bother them. Let them enjoy the trees." Or what remained of the blighted trees. Despite the mild air, Fabion shivered. The dying trees worried him.
He needed to set that distressing problem aside for later. A more immediate problem harassed Fabion's nerves. The supermodel needed to urge Hestran to not hang around Lanaro anymore. The bigoted elf emitted toxic vibes worse than the poisoned sea. Even now his ill temper probably contributed to each tree's sad demise.
First he wanted to walk. Fabion turned away from Lanaro's downer attitude and resumed strutting. A small human girl, her pale, freckled face showing more dirt than skin, raced up to him. She latched her filthy fingers onto his trouser leg. Hey! Her grip almost made Fabion yank free. Watch the dirt, child, these wheat-hued, hand-spun silk trousers cost plenty!
Fabion calmed down and recovered from his near recoil. He needed to stop fretting and act benevolent. Good promotional work helped maintain his smokin' hot image. Never let a scandal-mag asshole using a long-range-laser camera capture an unwise reaction. Snap, click, boom, his reputation as a sweet, generous elf would be shot to smithereens. Scandal rags loved ripping down pure elves. To date, Fabion had conquered the silly mess, but then again, bribes always solved a few drunken mistakes.
Behind him Lanaro gagged. "Gross. Kick that foul thing back into last century."
Despite his annoyance, Fabion made sure a radiant smile brighter than the dim sun shone forth. He pitched his melodic voice into a wise, sincere tone. He imagined the elegant ancients had sounded similar. "Yes, my little one?"
The walking dirtball squealed and clapped. "Pretty elf prince, please touch my head!"
Before he bent over, Fabion tugged out a few hundred credits hidden in his vest pocket. Whoops, he must have skimped on Matt's tip. No, wait, that was his emergency cash stash. Good.
Why did human children regard an elf's touch as a spiritual blessing? Aside from his incredible beauty and superior strength, Fabion possessed no magical powers. Still, making a human happy appealed to him.
Fabion directed his shimmering smile toward the unclean waif. He leaned over and gingerly patted her snarled hair. Wait, what felt sticky? Did something squirm against his fingers? Fuck-a-yuck! As Fabion controlled his gag reflex, his free hand slipped the child the credits.
"There, my dear girl, is this what you want from me?"
Her excited giggle rang free. The dirty child curtsied and adoringly kissed Fabion's clean fingers before she scampered off to where her less bold yet equally soiled friends huddled under a struggling magnolia tree. Delighted squeals and adoring exclamations drifted toward him along with curtseys. How cute.
Those wise children understood the score. Fabion blew the happy tykes many sweet kisses. His act caused a tremendous giggling fit. He smiled and bowed.
Whispering occurred until the girls stood in a line and curtseyed together.
Those girls displayed fine style. Fabion snickered as he waved goodbye. Okay, ego boy needed to move along.
"Eyyyuch, you touched that walking germ factory! She looks like she hasn't bathed in months." The shuddering Hestran almost hyperventilated. "Fabion, why? Why do you do such rash things? Aren't you going to sanitize yourself?"
Could his boyfriend sound a little more snotty? Fabion didn't appreciate how Hestran slathered expensive hand sanitizer over his thin fingers. What, did he think Fabion had cooties crawling up his arm?
"No, because we can't catch human diseases. I'm not worried. Cut them a break--you know the water rationing is harsh on the poor. At least we can afford water." Fabion exhaled and forced himself to smile. "Please, Hestran, today I enjoy my glittering king of the advertising world status even if our world is a filthy, polluted armpit. Think, my new contract with Celebrant Sparkling Herbal Drink tucks another prime feather in my crowded cap. I feel wonderful. Don't you feel happy for me?"
Hestran pouted again. "I can't believe you agreed to work with a Walmontech-owned company."
Fabion shrugged. "Hey, they made the decision to match my perfection to their new mind-altering beverage. I only said yes and took their advance check." Drink companies always needed a sexy model to market their herbal products. The narcotic drinks introduced blessed numbness to the starving, ready-to-riot human masses. The demand bolstered Fabion's fortune.
"Still, after what they did to Hestran's family, I'd think you would refuse their offer. You know they destroyed the Naster dynasty." Lanaro glared at Fabion. His look of irritating superiority reminded Fabion of a constipated toad. "Or don't you care about poor Hestran's lingering despair?"