Marianna wove through the trees, laughing. “Catch me if you can!” she shouted. There was no response.
Marianna looked around, her grin fading. Cedar was nowhere in sight.
“Cedar?” she called.
“Got you, Mari!” Cedar yelled, fluttering his amber wings as he fluttered down from the tree he was perched in.
Marianna stuck out her lower lip. “Not fair, Cedar,” she pouted.
He laughed and flapped his wings, mocking her. Mari glanced over her shoulder, where, as usual, there was only air.
“Wanna race, Marianna?” Cedar tipped around in the air.
“No, show-off. I’m going home for my flying lessons with mama,” Marianna said.
“What’s she gonna teach you how to do, fall over? You haven’t got wings, Mari!”
“I will soon! And they’ll be better than yours, Cedar. I bet they’ll be shimmery gold and purple, like Mama’s dragon statue.”
Marianna, at seven years old, was nearing the end of the time period in which she could receive her wings. Cedar, at eight, had gotten his two years prior. Marianna had all the other qualifications for being a Head Fairy- a perfect school record, a mother and father in the Queen’s Guard, and she was really smart for her age group. But none of these really mattered if she had no wings. If a fairy did not receive wings by their eighth birthday, they were sent into the mortal world to live with humans, and all of their fairy memories were erased.
Marianna shivered. She’d hate to leave her entire life behind just because of the silly fact that she did not have wings.
"Well, I'm not staying here alone!" Cedar yelled. "So I'll race you back to your house?"
"No," Marianna insisted. Cedar would probably cheat with his wings again, and she didn't want to listen to any more of his mean jokes. She would too get her wings, and they would be beautiful.
"See you later!" she shouted, as she ran off in the direction of her house, leaving Cedar standing there alone.
Marianna tumbled out of bed two days before her eighth birthday. She stumbled into the bathroom and happened to glance up in the mirror.
Marianna looked like her mother, with her cascading golden curls and brilliant blue eyes. She was a little short for her age, and practically tiny compared to Cedar. But today there was something different.
Marianna squealed and fluttered her new wings. They were pink and white with little golden stars around the edges. Marianna decided that this was a day for celebration, since it wasn’t every day that a fairy got her wings. She put on the pretty white dress that she had been saving her her birthday and tied her golden bow.
Mari ran outside and found her mother sitting in the highest branch of her oak tree.
“Mama, look!” Marianna ran in circles around the oak tree until finally feeling confident enough to launch herself into the air. Her mother smiled and clapped.
“Congratulations, Marianna!” she exclaimed.
Marianna grinned proudly.
“Won’t Cedar be jealous, Mama? That my wings are so much prettier than his?” Mari gave a little twirl and collapsed into the grass, giggling.
"Mari, don't be rude," her mother admonished.
She stood back up and brushed leaves off her new dress. "Sorry, Mama."
Her mother shook her head. "Go eat breakfast, Marianna. We're going to your cousins' house today."
"Really?" Marianna squealed. "Yay! When?"
"Soon, so hurry!"
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