The fairy dance was in full swing.
Tye walked right up to the black-lipped fey, and crossed her arms.
“Child, child,” hissed the one who’d stolen Tye from her bed. “What do you wish for?” And this time the echo was in Tye’s head, and not aloud. What do you wish for?
The music swirled around her limbs, easing the strain of sitting by the tree all day, but Tye focused and formed the words.
“Turn me into a tree,” she said. “So I can sit with Rohan, and not grow stiff or hungry or tired.”
The black-lipped fairy’s smile tightened, and her eyes narrowed. The light glowed beneath her skin, and the air around her warmed. And then her face changed, and she was all sharp teeth with her broad black smile.
“How about a bird?” she cooed.
“Birds need food. And birds must fly. I wish to be a tree.”
“Be a bird or be a girl,” hissed the black-lipped fairy. “Fly when you must and see if you can find your way back.”
Tye frowned. “Very well,” she said, at last.
And with that the black-lipped fairy curled her hands around Tye’s shoulders. She kissed her forehead, and her nose, and her hands, and stepped back, lifting one long sharp hand.
“Shoo now birdy,” she said, slipping back onto her rock.
A sharp gust of wind cut through, forcing Tye back, and the up, and up, through the trees and over, until she looked down on the black forest in the black, black night.
Tye circled the woods until morning, and when the sun rose she ducked into the canopy and searched and searched for the tree with the red ribbon on its branch. When at last she found it, she crumpled onto the branch beside the swatch of cloth, exhausted. Fatigue crept through her feathers, and she embraced it. It was the best kind of tired in the whole world. And there as dawn spread, nestled between branch and trunk, tucked beneath Rohan’s red ribbon, Tye fell asleep.