It wasn’t long till all of Glimmerbrook was covered in snow. Cordelia felt eternally thankful for Morgyn’s gift of the magical fireplace. They weren’t wrong, she was not sure how well she would survive without it. The nights were freezing. But during the day, especially on a sunny day like this, spending time at the campsite was a joy.
Cordelia had plans to travel to Winderburg with Grace that day – the spellcaster suggested the two of them go shopping for Winterfest gifts together. It was still early though, so Cordelia planned on roasting up some sausages on the fire for breakfast, and then perhaps getting a few more home improvements done.
The elf had other ideas.
“Ow!” Cordelia scoffed as the snowball hit her. “Dandy!”
“Gotcha!” He giggled happily. His giddiness was infectious. Cordelia figured she had no choice but to re-evaluate her plans for the morning.
“Oh, you think two can’t play this game?” She called out in a mock-menacing voice. Dandelion better be ready for retaliation.
Snowballs were flying through the air, accompanied by incessant laughter from both of the parties involved in the snowball fight. Both of them got so immersed that neither noticed the snow-white figure approaching from the other side of the river.
Cordelia spotted L Faba through the trees before Dandelion did. What was she doing here? She was well aware the mischief sage was not keen on her by any stretch of the imagination, but she’d never sought to find her in her own home.
Nonetheless, Cordelia wasn’t planning on finding out L Faba’s intentions. She made a spur of the moment decision to dive into a bush to hide.
Dandelion looked perplexed for a brief moment, but his expression soon turned into a cheesy grin when he saw his friend approach.
“Lulu!” He ran towards the sage through the snow. “What are you doing here? You haven’t been around here for… ever!”
She leapt into his arms. “Dandy, you know that’s a lie!”
“Well it feels like forever…”
“Oh shush, little sprout.” She hugged him tighter. Cordelia had a good view of L Faba’s face from the bush. Her joy at seeing Dandelion seemed genuine. Cordelia would never understand the mischief sage.
They finally let go of the embrace. L Faba glanced towards the shack. Cordelia drew further into the bush branches. Had the sage seen her?
“I see you’re still associating with the human,” L Faba said to Dandelion, as if to scold him.
“She’s my friend!” Dandelion protested.
“Dandy, when are you going to realise you need to be selective with those kinds of terms?” L Faba frowned at him.
When you actually act like a friend, instead of him having to call you one for unfounded reasons, Cordelia thought. But she did not emerge from the bushes to share her thoughts with the sage.
“I can have more than one friend!” Dandelion stood up for himself. “You’re my friend, and she’s my friend, so why can’t you just get along?” He gave her a pleading look.
L Faba sighed. “It’s not that simple.”
“Is it because she’s human?” He asked her, searching for an explanation of her distaste.
“Humans can often not be trusted.” L Faba nodded. “But there’s more to it than that. I… have my reasons. It would do you no good to know. Just trust me.”
“Well I have my reasons to be friends with her.” Dandelion said defensively. Cordelia felt so much love for him in that moment, seeing him stand up for her.
L Faba sighed. “Listen, Dandy, I didn’t come here to fight.” Her lips curled into a smile again, though as far as Cordelia could tell, this time, it was a lot more forced.
“I came to invite you over for Winterfest.” She explained.
Dandelion stared at her for a moment. “Winterfest… in the magic realm… with you?”
“You said it yourself, it’s been far too long,” L Faba admitted. “And I had such a good time catching up with you at the Spooky Day fair. Just wait till you see the HQ decorated for Winterfest, you’ll love it! More importantly, we’ll get to spend the holiday together… It will be just like the old times!”
“The old times.” Dandelion repeated. Cordelia could tell he was struggling with making a decision. She wasn’t sure why. Was he considering saying no on her account?
Before he could say much of anything, L Faba somehow materialised a violin and started playing.
The sage was far better violinist than Cordelia anticipated. She didn’t know the tune, but it was hauntingly beautiful. It was also strangely sad, though, something she would not have expected from the sage of mischief.
Whatever the song was, it clearly meant something to Dandelion. He watched the performance, mesmerised.
“Just like the old times.” He said again when she was done. “I’ve missed you, Lulu.”
“I know. I’m sorry. So will you come?” There almost seemed to a hint of uncertainty in her voice.
“Of course I’ll come.” Dandelion said softly.
The relief on L Faba’s face was brief, soon replaced by her usual confident smile. “Good. I’ll see you at HQ for Winterfest then. Without the human.”
And with that, she walked away.
Dandelion rushed towards the bush. “Cordie?”
Cordelia slowly crawled out of the tree branches. “Is she… gone?” She looked towards the path where L Faba had come from.
“I think so.” Dandelion nodded. “I wish the two of you got on better.”
“Yeah. Me too.” She agreed. “I guess you’re all set for Winterfest, though.”
He hesitated. “Are you mad at me?”
“What? No, of course not. You’re allowed to hang out with her. I know you miss her.” For some reason, she added in her head.
“She doesn’t want you to come with, though.” The elf pouted.
“That’s ok. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it very much.” She said truthfully, recalling her Harvestfest experience. “It’s going to be fun for you, though, I’m sure.”
He finally allowed himself to be excited. “I know, right!” His face lit up. “I haven’t been to the magic realm for Winterfest since I was little. I can’t wait!”
Cordelia tried her best to feign excitement for him. “That’s great. Anyway, Grace and I are going over to Windenburg to do some shopping today, so I better get some breakfast in my belly…”
“Oh, I’ll help!”
He followed her to the fire pit. They got the fire going, with Dandelion taking extra initiative to add logs. He was feeling guilty, Cordelia realised. That was unlike him.
“What was with the violin?” She asked him.
“Oh, Lulu has always played it to me, especially when we were little and I couldn’t fall asleep.” Dandelion explained. He sounded proud of L Faba’s skill. “She’s good, isn’t she?”
“She is.” Cordelia had to agree. She stared into the fire.
“Why did you ask I was mad at you, Dandy?” She asked him.
The elf’s face turned uncharacteristically serious. “Oh… well… I sort of knew she wouldn’t want you to come, even before she said it.”
Cordelia nodded. “Figures. But why would that make me angry?”
“I also sort of thought we would spend Winterfest together.” Dandelion told her. She looked up at him. “You know how nice Harvestfest was, with the little picnic feast, and getting you to meet all the gnomes and everything…”
Cordelia realised what he was trying to say. “Until I up and left you to go to the Charm manor.”
He looked away. “I’m not mad or anything. Wasn’t mad then, either. Just…”
“You were on your own again.” She finished the sentence for him, feeling the guilt in her stomach.
“But now you’ll be the one who’s going to be alone.” Dandelion nodded.
“Dandy… I’m sorry I left that day. I wish I hadn’t, believe me.” He had no idea, she thought. “But… that doesn’t mean you can’t go celebrate Winterfest with L Faba. It will be good for you. Don’t worry about me.”
“Maybe you could go to the Charm house again?” He suggested with a hopeful look on his face.
Unlikely, she thought, but she decided to go with it. “Yeah, maybe.”
“Then neither of us will be alone!” He beamed happily. “Oh Cordie, I can’t wait!”
He did a little dance of sorts, even though he was seated. Cordelia smiled to herself. At least one of them was going to have a good Winterfest.