The Wonderland, Part 2
rating: 0+x

Last time on Nuri:
The Wonderland, Part 1

The history of relations between humans and fay is a tale of two peoples who had never even thought of understanding each other. The humans were too ignorant to understand the point of view of the fairies, and the fairies in turn were too arrogant to deign to understand the mindset of the humans. The two peoples had fought several wars against each other, the first started by the fairies, but the enmity went back much further than that. Elli was of the opinion, that a lot of spilled blood could have been avoided if both sides had realized that it was really just a dispute over land ownership.

Fairies expected other peoples to know the boundaries of their territory, but they did not make them known in a form that other peoples could readily understand. And they became angry when others settled on their territory. They cursed inhabitants, livestock and crops, kidnapped children and left changelings behind, and led those who lost their way to their deaths. This and more was meant to drive people from their territory and often it worked. People developed techniques to investigate an area to see if it belonged to fay before building on it, or learned to leave offerings for them, or to erect buildings so that they would not hinder fairies. But often their actions also stirred up anger among people. They armed themselves, designed amulets and protective circles, and hunted fay, which only led to more war and ruin.

But with the advent of mass-produced iron, these struggles came to an end. Most fay could not tolerate iron, it was poisonous to them, burned their flesh on contact, and even being near the refined or alloyed metal made them uncomfortable. The fay suddenly could not approach human settlements and, except for those who could resist the curse of iron, retreated to their own worlds, which existed as pocket dimensions all over the world. It was the only case in human history where ethnic cleansing had occurred largely by accident.

The fay had long harbored hatred for humans, but the ravages of time eroded everything. Fay nowadays had decided to leave humans alone, because even if they reclaimed their land, it was contaminated with iron and uninhabitable for them.

But fay lived a long time. And even if their ill will no longer blazed so strongly and many had reconciled with the humans, there were still those who wanted to "revive the old times". And it was precisely those who Elli wanted to give an exam.

Fay gates were usually firmly closed nowadays, but such obstacles are only a minimal annoyance to someone who has the Nexus at her back and call. The land of the fay in the Palatinate was called Luchiam and was populated by only a few fay With the forest that had once covered all of central Europe, most of the fay had also disappeared, settling in more inviting places. The fay of the continent had had to fight off the dwarves before the humans, so apart from the legends about changelings, there were hardly any stories about the old fay in Germany. Other than the dwarves, of whom the old heroic legends told.

The portal of the Nexus opened in the door of a house of the fay. Elli and Dean now entered a city of white stone, whose magical flora colored the buildings turquoise with their light at night. Fay thought highly of bionics and used natural forms for their buildings, which is probably where the belief that they lived in trees and mushrooms came from. The common fay, however, was not tiny, but slightly taller than a human and more delicate. Their faces possessed little impurity and filled with grief as Dean approached them. A rather notable percentage of his body was made from steel.

"Hey, you," he asked a female fay, who hastily backed away from him. "Did you happen to-"

Elli punched against the back of his head.

"Dean, you don't talk about little kids around fay," she murmured in his ear. "They're still pretty touchy about that."

"Then how are we supposed to find Nuri?" asked Dean back.

"Watch me."

Elli approached the fay with a friendly smile on her face.

She just looked at her in confusion.

"A- A human? What are you doing here? How did you get in here?"

Elli was already breaking rule 1 of fay etiquette by snooping around, because fairies were big on privacy, so she tried to look as non-threatening as possible.

"Don't worry, we'll try to get out of here as soon as we can. It's just, one of you kidnapped a little friend of ours and we'd like her back. So would you be kind enough to give us a hint as to who in your fancy little community would do such a thing?"

Rule 2: Be as polite as possible with fairies, because they are easily offended.

"Wah? How dare you! There hasn't been a kidnapping here in over five hundred years. After all, we hardly ever go out to the Palatinate. Who are you anyway?"

Rule 3: Never apologize to fay, because they interpreted that as admitting you owed them. And fairies had very strange views on how to repay debts from a human perspective.

Rule 4: Never tell a fay your full name. Because that gives them the power to steal the concept of your existence.

Rule 5: Never lie to a fay, or at least don't let them find out you lied.

"You can call me "Blondy", I hear that name more often," Elli replied. "Can I count on your help? I've got fairy wine, I don't want it to be your loss."

The fay licked her lips suppressedly.


Elli wordlessly pulled a bottle of 1765 Elphamer out of her pocket. The fay tried to reach for it, but Elli pulled the bottle away from her.

"First you have to help us find the missing person."

By now, Elli and Dean's appearance seemed to have gotten through to the law enforcement officers, four of whom approached in their silver-adorned uniforms. None of them dared come within two feet of Dean.

"What's it going to be when it's done?" blapped one of them, whose uniform looked a bit more ostentatious than the rest. "Who are you and how did you get in here?"

Elli turned to them in annoyance.

"To you, I am Blondy. And I entered your land through that doorway there."

Confusion broke out among the fay, as Elli was telling the truth, but it sounded like absolute garbage.

The leading policeman finally caught himself again.

"What are you doing here?" he asked. "And why is this … this thing here?"

He pointed an outstretched finger at Dean.

"Hey, that's robophobic!" he blapped back.

"Oh no, it thinks!" gasped one of the law enforcement officers.

Dean demonstratively took a step in the direction of the cops, who backed away from him like magnetic poles of the same polarity.

"Don't piss off the natives," Elli murmured to him. "Their fire magic can melt even you."

Dean grumbled something unintelligible and backed away.

"Getting back to the topic at hand, we're investigating a kidnapping," Elli matter-of-factly explained to the cops. "You wouldn't happen to have anyone here who is, let's call it 'backwards'?"

"A kidnapping?" repeated the protruding policeman, who now apparently realized that Elli and Dean meant him and his community no harm. "Of a human child? Impossible! No one here would-"

"That's a lie," Elli interrupted him dryly. "I didn't say anything about a child at all. Where is she?"

The policeman blinked in confusion and seemed to be going over the conversation in his mind again.

"I didn't lie on purpose," he tried to talk his way out of it. "There is someone outside our city who might be eligible. But what do we get in return for our help-"

Elli put both hands on his shoulders and smiled a friendly smile of such coldness and murderous intent that the woman she had addressed earlier flinched.

"In return, I will forget my righteous fury toward you," she declared. "You know who else doesn't like to be fooled besides you fairies? Me. So, I therefore ask you gentlemen, with my utmost respect, to get your asses in gear and take me to the suspect or suspects. Who is that, anyway?"

The policeman swallowed for a moment.

"Uh, a fairy godmother, if you know what I mean."

"Oh," Elli said knowingly. "One of those."

Wonderland was great.

Nuri had gone sledding with Mom and Dad, had bathed in the South Sea ocean, and had gone to the zoo, all in one day.

The fairy godmother was also there and watched the action with amusement from a distance.

Nuri, for her part, was having such a great time that she had completely forgotten about Elli and Dean. Now all four of them were just sitting at the table eating cake in the clearing, illuminated by the turquoise light of the plants.

"Mommy? What was it like to be dead?" asked Nuri.

She shrugged her shoulders.

"I don't know. It was like I was asleep."

Nuri was visibly unhappy with the answer. The fairy godmother seemed to notice.

"Now, Nuri, that's a very personal matter. Nobody should stick his nose into that, even you."

Nuri puffed out her cheeks in annoyance.

"Young lady, don't look at me like that! That's-"

"Oh no, it's alright, you're supposed to ask when you want to know something," Elli said from behind her.

She had crossed her arms and leaned on the back of the fairy godmother's chair.

"What!" gasped the fay. "You were with- How did you get in here?"

"Elli!" Nuri exclaimed happily. "You found me."

Then she was overcome with a guilty conscience for just disappearing like that. That needed distraction.

"Look, Mom and Dad are alive again! The fairy godmother brought them back!"

Her parents waved.

Elli gave them both an appraising look.

"Fay magic can do many things, but bringing back the dead isn't one of them," she said matter-of-factly.

"Hey, how dare you!" snapped the fay, standing up angrily.

"Exactly!" agreed Nuri. "They're here, no?"

"Really?" asked Elli, strangely melancholic. "Describe them to me, Nuri."

Nuri frowned.

"What do you mean?"

The fay loosened her collar, visibly troubled.

"Well, I'd prefer it if you-"

Elli paid no attention to her.

"Describe your parents who are sitting here to me. What do they look like?"

Nuri took a breath to comply with the request, but then realized she couldn't. She knew her parents were right here, but she couldn't for the life of her make out what they looked like.

"M-mommy?" she asked, frowning her brow.

The longer she tried to percieve her mother, the more alien she became. Until finally, the illusion of her parents cracked and shattered with a loud clang.

Nuri looked stunned at the shards that dissolved into luminous dust on the ground.


She turned to Nuri, who had started to cry, and hastily knelt down in front of her.

"Oh my goodness! Nuri, don't worry, we'll fix this."

"Where are Mommy and Daddy?" asked Nuri through the tears.

"Just a little mistake," the fay hurriedly rebuffed. "I can bring them back if you just believe. Believe in me, Nuri, and I can grant your every wish. After all, I am a fairy godmother. I exist to help children like you."

"Fairy Godmothers existed to improve the reputation of the old fay," Elli corrected dryly behind her. "Fay who took pity on the humans and did not support their kin in driving the humans away. You tried to forge a bond between your two peoples by improving the fays' image until the iron came."

Elli stepped toward the fay.

"And since then, there have been those like you. Fay who still want to do good without a care about what could be lost. Who can't see that they've become obsolete in a world that man has shaped so that fay can't live there."

"SHUT UP!" the fay snapped at her.

Nuri burst into tears behind her, but the old woman didn't seem to care anymore.

A large tree nearby suddenly started to move and pushed its enormous roots out of the ground to grab Elli. She just reached for her flask, took a sip and spluttered the swill at the plant. The mist immediately caught fire and the roots flinched back in fright.

"What are you doing!" the fay hissed. "You're too wet to be set on fire by something like that."

The roots seemed to have the same thought, because they shot toward a stunned Elli again and put her in a chokehold.

"Really?" she asked out of the tangle. "You're going to trap an innocent child in your illusion?"

"I don't think that you have any right to complain," Dean interjected. "After all, you put a guy in a computer simulation"

He had stepped past the knot of roots in which Elli was barely visible. The fairy godmother backed away from him, startled.

"Wha- He's made entirely of iron!"

"Rude," Dean mocked.

"I left the man in the tank because he wouldn't have been happy in reality," Elli countered meanwhile, "The old biddy here wants to keep Nuri here because she herself won't be happy in reality."

"You two are so engrossed in your bitch-fight that you've completely forgotten what it's all about," Dean called them both to reason, kneeling down next to Nuri and putting his hand on her back to comfort her.

It helped, oddly enough.

"I don't know too much about human emotions, but even if they're triggered by mirages, they're real, right?" he continued. "Shouldn't we let Nuri decide for herself where she wants to be?"

The old fay grimaced, but then snapped her fingers. The tree eased away from Elli.

"Urgh! I've got dirt all over my clothes!"

Nuri gradually got herself back under control and looked around in confusion.

"What-what's going on?"

"The two women there can't agree on who should take you," Dean explained. "The fay thinks you should stay in Wonderland, Elli wants you get you awaay from here. But what do you yourself want?"

"She wants to keep you trapped in an illusion to give herself an illusion," Elli noted.
"Maybe," the fay admitted. "But what's worse? Staying here or going back, where you have to take things as they come? Especially death? Here, everything can be what you want it to be."

Nuri had had enough of the world. She just wanted to be home, with her parents. But she remembered the discomfort it had caused her to realize she was in an illusion. Just don't think about it. Don't think about it, because it only makes you sad. Just let things be as they were. No, better yet, let things be the way they are supposed to be!

Elli was startled to see Nuri join the fay.

"Nuri, do you really want to spend your life in a mirage?" she called out to her.

The fairy godmother just grinned.

"I guess the die is cast, Blondi. I'll let you go, since you only acted out of concern for the child, but don't ever come back."

Elli looked at the demon fox.

"Are you sure, Nuri?"

Nuri avoided looking at her, but just nodded.

Surely this couldn't be true! Nuri was just a little child! Elli inwardly cursed the fay for luring her into her trap with lies and deceit. And that only so that she herself could feel better!

"Nuri …"

"Come on, Elli. Nuri has made her choice …", Dean murmured to her.

Elli fought the impulse to smack him, faintly clenching her fists several times as she stared at Nuri clinging to the fay's skirt. But finally, she gave up. Nuri had chosen and the fay was too powerful to be opposed. Elli wanted to turn to leave, but couldn't get away. Something was holding her back.

Frowning, she looked down at herself. It was as if her grief dress had gotten caught somewhere, but there was only grass around her. Then she realized.

"Hey, don't cheat, you old crone!"

The fairy illusion shattered, revealing Nur clinging to Elli's dress with both hands and still tears in her eyes. She sniffled.

"Iwannacomwifyu!", she muttered.

Elli leaned down to her with a smile and took her in her arms.

"I'm sorry I left you alone".

The fairy godmother, who seemed to be on the verge of exploding since the mirage was exposed, finally blurted.

"WWWHHHAAAAAAAT! Oh no, Nuri, it won't go like that. You owe me, you're staying here!"

"You said 'thank you' to her, didn't you?" asked Elli Nuri matter-of-factly.

She just nodded in confusion.

Meanwhile, the trees around them began to move. Roots reached out for Eli and Nuri.

"I've waited so long to finally be able to do good for people again. I'm not going to let this chance be taken from me, especially not by a bimbo like you."

The fay suddenly wheeled around as Dean crept up behind her.


A bright blue jet of flame the diameter of a standard manhole cover shot out from her right, causing Dean to immediately jump to the side. He wasn't hit, but the heat alone was enough to spontaneously set his suit on fire. And the fay followed up with more bursts of fire to melt Dean, who could only hastily dodge with no way to approach her.

Nuri and Elli, meanwhile, were encircled by the roots.

"Elli?" asked Nuri, full of fear, while still holding on to her. "What are we going to do now?"

"Now I'm going for the final blow," Elli returned grimly.

To the Fairy Godmother, she bellowed, "What are you doing right now?"

"Crushing you like peas under my soles!" she screamed back.

"Is that what a fairy godmother does?" continued Elli. "In front of a child at that?"

The trees froze just inches away from them. Elli saw the fairy godmother drop to her knees.

Got her …

"You didn't touch her at all," Nuri held in puzzlement.

"I can beat people up with words, Nuri," Elli returned. "A useful skill for any woman in the world."

The fay, meanwhile, was hyperventilating. Dean apparently didn't quite know whether to help her or keep his distance, given how his presence affected fairies.

"Leave her alone, Dean," Elli commanded. "She's doing a self-evaluation right now."

"What's an evlation?" asked Nuri.

"She's thinking hard about what she did," Elli explained as Dean struggled through the stiff undergrowth toward them. "Don't worry, I think she'll come out of this musing as a better person."

"Should we let the other fay know?" asked Dean, who had arrived.

"Eh, they'll have noticed for themselves what's going on, after all, the stupid cow wasn't exactly quiet."

"And now?" asked Nuri.

"Well. Your parents are gone. No power in the cosmos can change that. But I'll be damned if I don't find you a new home."

The nexus opened in an arc that a root had made to bore back into the earth.

Sato had slid to the door on his knees and tried desperately to open it. But it was locked. Someone must have locked it from the outside.

"Clause 7 Second Paragraph," it sounded calmly behind her. "The Institut für Menschliche Bildung und Weiterentwicklung cannot be held liable for the loss of the subject due to the actions of third parties. This case is evidently present. We have everything on tape."

Sato squealed as the creature she'd brought to capture Voss slapped against the wall beside her. Or at least what was left of it after the "surprise vivisection" the professor had performed on it. To Sato, it was just a pile of blood-stained fur hitting the floor.

"Very sloppy work," Voss commented dryly as he stepped toward Sato. "If you had entrusted us with the development of this phenotype, I could have given you a better result. But you want something that can't think for itself, don't you? Easier to control with your … instrument … You are trying to turn humans into animals in order to tame them."

His coat showed some scratches, but he himself was unharmed. Sato had tried to flee when the professor, not out of anger but out of pure curiosity, had begun to dissect his opponent even as she attacked him.

"That's not how we work here at the IMBW," he continued, crouching down so that he loomed menacingly in front of Sato. "You don't have to worry, I'm not going to keep you there. You have no potential that seems worth researching to me. On the contrary. I want you to deliver a message. We, that is, the IMBW, will continue to accept orders from your organization, but you, Ms. Sato, will be blacklisted. We will reject any project that has your name under it. Would you communicate that to Marshall, Carter & Dark Ltd, please."

Next time on Nuri:
The Fox Hunt, Part 1

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License