1 Chapter 1

1126 A.D.

Cambria

You've heard the stories Cinderella, Snow White, The Princess and the Pea, and stories with many other fairy tale princesses. But this is the story of Raine, Princess of the Magical Forest in the land of Cambria, and how she became a real girl ... well, almost.

At one time, fairies were tiny creatures, hardly ever seen by humans, and would go easily unnoticed. In fact, they were often mistaken as butterflies in the land of Cambria. But upon closer examination, one could see that they weren't butterflies at all, but beautiful ladies and handsome gentlemen with lovely wings of many colors. Some had wings of white, others of red, blue, and green ... just about every color of the rainbow was represented within the fairy community. But Raine's wings were special; different from all other fairies. They shone iridescent in the sunlight, appearing in soft shades of pink at times and pale purple at other times, depending upon her mood. Her wings complemented her golden blonde hair, and iridescent fairy dust brushed across her pale cheeks. She was the royal princess, and her wings were special ... almost as special as she.

Raine loved spending her time in the forest, hidden by man. Long ago in Cambria, before Raine's time, men had captured fairies and forced them to use their magical abilities for their own selfish needs or wants. So, the fairies took to the Magical Forest and made their home there, safe and secure, hidden from the prying eyes of man.

Most fairies were afraid of humans-having heard the stories of their cruelty over the years-and stayed hidden deep in the forest. Sometimes, a human or two would catch a fleeting glimpse of what they thought to be a fairy, but the magical creature would fly off quickly, leaving the human to wonder if they had really seen a fairy or if their eyes were playing tricks on them. Usually, the humans vowed to have their eyes checked and then journeyed on their way, no more the wiser of what lay hidden in the depths of the Magical Forest.

But Raine wasn't like other fairies; she was curious.

Every day, Raine used her beautiful iridescent wings to fly through the forest. She flew through the buttercups and high into the air under the trees, then back down, skimming the tops of the tall, lush grass. She was also a friend to the animals, taking rides on the backs of rabbits and hummingbirds as she pleased. They never seemed to mind.

On her sixteenth birthday, she was flying through the forest when a loud rustling of leaves rushed to her ears, signaling to her that something huge was walking her way. She hid behind a tree and listened. It wasn't a bear, as it wasn't walking on four legs, and it was much too heavy footed to be a deer. As she listened, the beast drew near.

With all of her might, she summoned her courage and peeked around the tree to see what the monstrous thing was that made such great noise, causing all of the animals in the forest to scurry away. But when she looked around the edge of the tree, she gasped ... for walking through the Magical Forest was a man.

Of course, she thought to herself. It made sense. Only humans made the animals of the forest hide. Only humans left destruction in their wake. She remembered the stories that her father, Adair, King of the Magical Forest, had told her in her youth. Stories of man enslaving fairies and using their magic for their own selfish wants and desires. Stories of man destroying the forest, selfishly cutting down trees to make strange cottages when the caves provided perfectly good shelter. Stories of man killing animals for food. Stories of fires left carelessly unattended ...

Raine was about to fly back to her father's kingdom, but something stopped her. As she watched the human, all the stories that she had heard about them didn't seem to fit. There was something about his broad, muscular chest and short-cropped blond hair that fell lazily across his forehead, his tanned skin, and gentle nature that made her take pause. He appeared to be about her age, a teenager, and very handsome. In fact, he was the best-looking human she'd ever seen, even though he was the only human that she had seen.

He paced through the forest, mumbling to himself ... something about horses and becoming a knight, whatever that was. Listening to him talk, she suspected that a knight must be a warrior, like her father's castle guards. In her kingdom, it was an extreme honor to be chosen for the position. Raine wondered if that was what this human wanted to be ... a warrior.

Suddenly, the human looked her way, as if sensing her presence, and she quickly darted under a nearby lily. It was springtime in Cambria, and the wildflowers were blooming and lovely. The lad scrunched up his eyebrows and squinted, trying to get a closer look. For a moment, Raine wondered what he might think if he saw her. Would he think her a horrible insect and swat her away? Squash her underfoot, maybe? Raine peeked at the young man. He was muscled, but he also seemed gentle ... not at all like the stories that she had often heard of humans.

"Ah ... it was probably just a butterfly," he said to himself as he walked out of the Magical Forest, leaving Raine behind, none the wiser of her world.

Raine's heart sank. She was right. He had thought that she was just another butterfly ... an insect to be crushed underfoot. With a heavy sigh, she pushed the thought of the strange human boy aside and headed home to her castle. But as she flew away, she wondered who the human was and if she would ever see him again.

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