Fox never complained when I wanted to spar, even though I always beat him.
He knew the reason I was better, too. I’d always beat him unless I tried to lose–fighting was the only thing I was better at than him. Fox could talk to anybody and make even the coldest fae like him, and his paintings were the prettiest.
“Watch the wings, Griff,” he said. (A punch in the wings was as painful as a punch in the balls, so we had a gentlemen’s agreement or whatever.)
I could predict every one of Fox’s moves before it happened, but it wasn’t because I watched how his muscles tensed before he pulled back his arm or where he was looking.
It was because ever since I was little, I could see the future.
Dad heard whispers on the wind, but for me, it was more like seeing commercial breaks on a human’s TV: a sliver of the future shoved into my regular life. Dreams were even worse–Mom said I used to hate sleeping even as a baby.
It was one of those future-slivers that sealed a deal with that dumb human Fox liked all those years ago…
I couldn’t grant a wish like that, but I knew what she wanted would come true.
It was stupid for me to even talk to her. And why’d I even kiss her? Humans are dumb and gross.
I was just rescuing Fox, that’s all. He was cousin to a fae prince–he had no reason to be messing with gross dumb human girls.
I even knew where she’d end up after she got a family, but I refused to tell him, no matter how hard he begged or how much he offered me. We’d fight over her in the future–I could see it. Probably because she was so dumb and gross.
Fox’s fist went sailing over my head–but just barely. “Thought I’d finally get you this time,” he said. “You seem distracted, my prince.”
“I was just thinking about lunch. I’m hungry.”
“Ouch, Griff. Can’t even concentrate on wiping the grass with me?”
“Sorry,” I said. “I’ll punch you now.” And so I did.
“You got me good,” Fox said afterwards. “Time for a break? I could use a shower–and the company of a lovely fae to nurse my bruised cheek.”
“I don’t see a bruise,” I said. “I held back. Did I really hurt you?”
Fox just laughed, so I guess not. We went to take a shower together after that, because it was the manly thing to do.
“Would you care for me to hand-wash the royal stones, my prince?”
“Shut up, Fox.”
Fox was my best friend. I’d never let anything or anybody come between us, especially not a dumb human.
“I hope things stay like this forever,” I said. “Even though I can see the future, I never thought we’d finally have peace.”
I had to remind myself that the fae realm was peaceful over and over. Whenever I saw my mom in a dress instead of leather armor, I felt anxious, even though there hadn’t been any fighting for years and I hadn’t seen any attacks in the future.
(They were always kissing each other too. Gross.)
“Hey,” I said, when they were finally done mashing their faces against each other. “No sightings of attack…”
“You don’t need an excuse to talk to us, Griffin,” Dad said. “But we appreciate the reports.”
“Punch anyone today?” Mom asked. “It’s been so long for me, but at least your dad keeps me distracted.”
“Only Fox,” I said, trying not to think about my parents doing gross stuff. “And he doesn’t count.”
The palace grounds were calm, filled with the sounds of birdsong and leaves rippling in the breeze.
There weren’t many things I couldn’t predict, but the Oracle was one of them.
Everybody knew who he was, but nobody knew what he did or what he wanted. Mom only said he was weird, and Dad only said he “served the fae.”
“Hey,” I said. “Have you seen anything important lately…?”
“Who can determine what’s truly important to another soul?”
“Well, you’re the Oracle, right? So you can see the future or whatever. Probably.”
“Can I?” he said. “Or do I merely see infinite possibilities?”
“Well, uh, if you know anything I should know…”
“Do you not already bear the weight of far too much knowledge, young prince?”
I didn’t think so. I liked knowing things, most of the time. I’d saved my parents from dozens of attacks when I was just a kid, and I could always beat Fox in a fight. I knew when my parents were doing gross stuff and knew when to not walk into their room.
But that night, it was different.
I was gonna meet that human girl again–and so was Fox.