Maia peered round the door, heart thumping. Eve, where are you? she thought, pulling out her mobile and texting her sister for the fifteenth time.
Some girls meet with their sisters to see a movie. Some take a walk in the park. Some go unicorn spotting.
Maia Silvertongue was a fairy, and not just any fairy. She was second in line to the throne of Fairyland. Sometimes she wished she was the daughter of somebody nice and normal, like a doctor, or a baker.
She sighed. Eve had promised to be there early. Eve? she texted. You're late.
Message failed to send.
This was getting serious now. She stuffed her phone back into her pocket. It wasn't like Eve to miss an appointment. Then again, maybe she had just broken her phone and forgotten all about the meeting. Maia had been looking forward to this for weeks. She didn't get to have much fun since her mother left.
She sighed again and stepped out of the shadows. Back to her ordinary, boring life.
Suddenly, a hand clamped over her mouth and a bag was pulled over her head. Maia let out a muffled scream and kicked out wildly. Her assailant yelped, but didn't loosen their grip. Maia went limp, frantically trying to comprehend what had happened.
"Steady on," said the mysterious kidnapper. It was a male voice, and sounded quite young. "I'm not going to hurt you."
"Let - me - go!" Maia managed to squeak through the bag.
The boy laughed. "Sorry, Princess. I think not. We're almost there."
Maia's blood ran cold. "P-princess? What do you mean?"
"You fairies think you're all princes and princesses, living the high life. Nobody thinks about us anymore."
Maia thrashed. "Who are you? Who is 'us'?"
The bag was roughly ripped off her head to reveal... a small boy, just a kid, with dark curly hair and piercing green eyes.
Despite herself, Maia began to laugh. "How old are you, twelve? Please!"
The boy snarled at her. "I'm fourteen!"
Maia rolled her eyes. "So am I. But I don't go around abducting people, pint-size. What do you want with me anyway?"
"Don't call me that!"
"Honestly. You've kidnapped me, made fun of fairies, appear to be part of some magical race of beings and you're smaller than me."
He glared at her. "If you must know, I wanted a frie-" he caught himself. "I wanted someone to... er... have as a prisoner. Like in books."
Maia softened her tone a little. "Well, you picked the wrong person. I can just chill here, with no Aunt Lou- no people to be horrible to me."
He's obviously lonely, she thought, but he still kidnapped me! I can't go too soft on him, but I can't be too hard either.
She forced a smile. "OK, then. Let's start over. I'm Maia Silv- Maia Willow. What's your name?"
He smiled happily. "I'm Loki. The trickster god."