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|Night School(Blood Coven Vampire,book 5) by Mari Mancusi|
Toto, I don’t think we’re in Disney anymore ...
But it’s the attendees that give me the most pause. Fairy-tale creatures from my childhood, come to life in the pews, just like Mom was talking about. I see Cinderella with a large pumpkin in her lap. (Her ride home, perhaps?) Hansel and Gretel, snacking on a bag full of candy. Rapunzel sitting alone, her long blond braids taking up an entire row. Rumpelstiltskin with straw sticking out of his clothes. You name a fairy-tale creature, it’s probably here, in the room, eyes fixed to the front, where the not-so-happily-ever-after wedding is taking place.
I pull my eyes away from the guests and focus on the stage at the front of the room. An impeccably dressed fairy priest stands above two fairy figures—a man and a woman—who are kneeling in front of him. I can only see their backs, but I immediately recognize the sparkly, luminous wings belonging to my sister. She’s wearing a simple but elegant medieval-style white tunic, and her blond hair falls past her shoulders in thick, glossy ringlets. On any other occasion, I’d be super jealous that she looks so good.
I grab Magnus’s arm and point with a shaky finger. He nods.
“If anyone here has any reason why these two should not be wed,” the fairy priest is saying.
“I do!” Magnus cries in a loud, choked voice. “I object!”
The audience lets out a collective gasp and suddenly all of fairyland’s eyes are on us. A big, bad wolf snarls from the groom’s side of the church, and at least six dwarves give us the stink eye. (Sleepy’s eyes remain closed.) Chicken Little even starts running up and down the aisle, insisting the sky is falling, until he’s tripped by one of the three Billy Goats Gruff.
Amidst the chaos, a tall, dark-suited fairy rises from his front row seat and turns to address us. The room falls silent as he opens his mouth to speak. Obviously some sort of VIP.
“On what terms, may I ask, do you object?” he demands.
Magnus steps forward, his chin high and his face fierce. “Because this young lady belongs to me. And I will take her home today. By force if necessary.” He raises his iron bar and the wedding party gasps in horror.
“Now, now,” the black-suited fairy says in a calm voice. He steps into the aisle, approaching Magnus cautiously, as if dealing with a dangerous beast. Which, in a way, I guess, he is. “There’s no need to threaten violence, now is there?” He shakes his head. “We are a peaceful people. And would never think to take what is not ours.” He turns to my sister, who’s watching us with frightened eyes. “If Princess Sunshine agrees that she is yours, then, by all means, she should go with you. But I think you may be mistaken.”
I swallow hard. If Sunny’s still under that fairy spell, she may not know who she is, never mind what she wants. Which, of course, is probably what this guy is counting on to begin with.
“Sunshine, Princess?” the man says, addressing my sister. “This man here says you belong to him. Is that true?”
Sunny takes a step back, huddling against her prospective groom. Apple Blossom’s son, I guess—I see a smarmy resemblance. He grips her arm protectively and whispers something in her ear and she cuddles closer to him.
“Sunny!” Magnus cries, his voice no longer sounding as sure. “I’ve come to save you, baby.”
“Wh-who are you?” she asks in a squeaky, shaky voice. “And why would you interrupt my happy day?”
Magnus staggers backward, as if he’s been punched in the face. “Don’t you know me?” he cries. “It’s me. Magnus. Your boyfriend. I’ve come to rescue you.”
“But why would I need rescuing?” Sunny asks, her overly made-up face crinkling with confusion. “I belong here. In fairyland. The people need me.”
Magnus looks back at me, his face distraught. Behind him, I can see Apple Blossom Junior hiding a small smile.
“I think she’s under some kind of spell,” I hiss.
My sister turns to entreat the suited man. “Prime Minister,” she says pleadingly. “Please, can’t you get these horrible creatures out of our sacred chapel? They are destroying my happy day!”
The prime minister nods. “Of course, my darling,” he says. Then he turns to Magnus. “I’m sorry,” he says. “But as you have heard, our princess has spoken. We must, by all rights, do as she commands.” He waves to the guards at the front of the room. They step forward. The vampires grip their iron bars, not ready to give up without a fight.
“What are we going to do?” Francis asks hoarsely. “There’s too many of them. Not to mention we’re weakened from being in a holy church setting.”
“There’s got to be a way to break the spell,” I whisper back. I wrack my brain, trying to remember something—anything—about my fairy research that could be helpful. Some kind of weakness or some kind of rule ...
That’s it! Just like wishing upon a star, here, fairy-tale rules apply. And since Sunny’s a princess, under an evil spell, there’s only one way to save her.
“You’ve got to kiss her!” I cry to Magnus. “It’ll break the spell!”
Magnus doesn’t need to be told twice. He takes off down the aisle, pushing the prime minister out of the way and waking Sleeping Beauty in the process. The whole chapel erupts in chaos, but no one seems to know quite what to do. Magnus drops his weapon and grabs Sunny, pulling her into his arms and giving her a sound kiss on the lips. One that would make any fairy-tale prince proud.