The nature spirits had a tradition — upon turning eighteen years-old, they either chose someone in their village to marry, or travelled far to find them. Nixie had always felt like she was destined to leave her water-pixie life behind in order to become a woodland-pixie, convinced that her soulmate lived far from the sea.
But with four more years to go, fourteen-year old Nixie was now growing impatient. She began to doubt herself — what if I had already met my soulmate and let him slip away?
She remembered her first boyfriend, Easton, who left the village when he was six-years old. At nighttime, she gazed up at the stars and attempted to send him telepathic messages — “are you out there? Do you still remember me? Do you miss me?” Yet sadly, the messages were never returned, never knowing if he had received them or not.
Nixie also recalled Figg, her longtime childhood crush. Perhaps I let him go too easily, she questioned, perhaps I should’ve tried harder…
In one final attempt, she wrote Figg an anonymous letter and dropped it in the mailbox of his straw house: I have wanted you since our childhood but have always been too shy to tell you. She figured, if he magically ended up feeling the same way, he would have a feeling that the letter was from her, and send her any type of response…
Unfortunately, Nixie never received any type of response from Figg whatsoever. She hadn’t heard any rumors about him having a girlfriend, although she did spot him hanging out with a group of friends that included Kimmy a few times…
And that’s when Nixie realized the importance of letting go of the past. It was time to move on. Love is never meant to be a one-way street. That’s when you know it’s over.
Tensions were continuing to rise, regarding the push to dismantle the royal establishment and create a democracy within the sea village. Nixie’s mother had passed away a few years ago due to getting involved in the fight. Nixie could never say it out loud, but the older she grew and more she learned, the more she decided she was on the opposite side of her mom — she wanted to keep tradition.
Out of thirteen children, plus her father, Nixie was the only one who felt this way. The rest of the family was insistent that a new order should take over. Although Nixie’s mom was the most aggressive about it, the whole family aside from Nixie had zero tolerance for those who were resisting change.
Nixie, like many others in the village, believed that tradition was important and should be conserved. They believed that the only reason the nature spirits have survived for so long is due to tradition, and that conducting new rules would shake the foundation of their species, posing a threat to the survival of all mystical creatures!
However, on the other side, they believe that the key to sustainability is evolution, which requires change. If a civilization wants to survive, it needs to adapt to new circumstances. They believe that tradition has held them back in many ways, and that leaders who are chosen by the common people have better intentions for the community than the royals do.
On a crisp, autumn day, while Nixie was collecting leaves, she heard a buzzing go off in her head. She was receiving a telepathic message.
“Who’s messaging me?” she asked, sending a telepathic message right back.
“It’s Gandalf!” he said.
“Nuh-uh,” she denied.
“Yes, it’s me! What’s up?”
The voice sounded familiar but she couldn’t quite tell if it was really him or not. Feeling bored, she decided she would entertain him.
So he went on to smalltalk with her a bit before he asked, “what are you doing tonight? We should hang out.”
Excited but nervous, Nixie replied, “maybe!”
“Yes or no, baby?”
“Uh,” Nixie hesitated, weary about how forward he was sounding.
“There’s just one problem…”
“What?” Nixie asked.
“I’m worried that I’m too small.”
“That… what? Huh?!” Nixie heard a roar of laughter coming from behind a tree — and then looked over to see a group of boys cracking up. She froze.
The voice continued, “is that going to be a problem?”
“Okay, I know this isn’t Gandalf,” she rolled her eyes, “all his friends are laughing at me. Who is this? Are all of you spying on me? You guys are freaking me out.”
“I’ll talk to you later,” he said as Nixie looked back to see the boys had teleported away.
With no idea what to think, Nixie showed up to the beach without her crystals. And then she sent back her telepathic message, “meet me here in person. Shapeshift if you have to.”
And then suddenly, appeared Gandalf.
“Let me explain,” he said.
“Whoever this is,” Nixie began, “you need to stop messing with me! I don’t care how fun this might be for you, you need to stop!” She whined.
“That wasn’t me before, it was Xantho.”
“Alright, I thought so. And this is still Xantho?”
“No, it’s really Gandalf now.”
“No,” he morphed into Xantho, “you were right before.”
“Ugh! I knew it!”
“Just kidding,” he morphed back into Gandalf.
“I guess you’ll never know,” he chuckled.
“Not funny!” Nixie squealed.
“So tell me, you ever kiss someone?”
“That’s none of your business.”
“You so haven’t.”
“Yes, I have, actually.”
“You wouldn’t know them.”
“Tell me what you’ve done.”
“I’ve done stuff. Why do you ask?”
“You asked first,” she crossed her arms.
The two of them continued talking for quite a while, until they were too tired to stay awake. Nixie had no idea if it was really Gandalf, or Xantho, or both of them.
For months to come, Nixie would receive telepathic messages claiming to be Gandalf, and then saying it was actually Xantho, and then going back to saying it was indeed Gandalf. Nixie found it thrilling to talk to him, even if she was unsure of his true identity.
But eventually she became fed up with getting her head messed with. That’s when she started sending telepathic messages to Finch. And to her surprise, he was extremely friendly and polite — much unlike Gandalf or Xantho!
One day Finch sent a message back asking Nixie, “are you shy or something?”
“What do you mean?” Nixie felt defensive.
“You keep sending me messages, but when I see you in person, like during classes, you totally ignore me… what’s up with that?”
“I don’t know,” Nixie denied, “I mean, you don’t really say anything to me either…”
Suddenly, one night before bed, a holographic image appeared in front of Nixie’s face out of nowhere. It was Gandalf. But it was a holograph, so she wasn’t positive it was really him…
“Now you’re talking to Finch?” he shouted, “I just wanted to say, I hope you have fun with that clown!”
Nixie gasped, “since when do you care?” she shot back.
“Whatever, I don’t!”
“Well that’s what happens when you mess with someone’s head like that, you force them to move on!”
“Look, this is really Gandalf! It’s not any of my friends!”
“Then what’s up with the holograph? And the telepathy? And the shapeshifting? Yet every time we see each other in person, you ignore me!”
“You act like you don’t like me, unless I’m pretending to be someone else!”
“Well, who are you?!”
“It’s Gandalf! How many times do I have to tell you? Sure, at first Xantho was pretending to be me, but this is me for real now!”
“Hmm…” Nixie squinted her eyes with skepticism.
“Can I tell you something?”
“Sure,” she sighed.
“There are many times when you randomly pop up in my head. Or my friends will mention your name, and I’ll start thinking of you. And my heart beats fast and I feel this intense rush throughout my body…”
Nixie and him ended up talking for hours that night. But no touching whatsoever — he was just a holograph.
Nixie persistently had vivid dreams about Xantho. For nature spirits, dreams were taken very seriously. Their dreams are reality — yet on another 3-D plane.
In one dream, while all of Nixie’s friends were trash-talking him and telling him how much of a pig he was, he defended himself, telling the girls how deeply in love he was with Nixie. In another dream, the two of them were struggling to reach out to each other as invisible forces were tearing them apart.
Upon waking from these dreams, Nixie was filled with intense emotions. The feelings she was having for Xantho were stronger than any other boy she had felt with before.
Extremely fascinated by these dreams, Nixie went to one of her teachers, Mrs. Mugwort, who specialized dream study. Mrs. Mugwort informed Nixie about herbs she could consume in order to make herself become more conscious and aware of the dreamworld.
Nixie went foraging for these special herbs. Afterwards, she headed home to boil some water and make tea out of them. The taste was earthy and bitter, yet strong enough to put her to sleep.
In her dream that night, she found Xantho.
“Is there something going on between us?” she asked — in the dreamworld.
“Of course,” he nodded without hesitation, “don’t you remember — all those times we hooked up together?”
“Huh?” Nixie was puzzled, “we never…”
Suddenly flashbacks appeared to several moments between the two of them, making out, in many different places — all contained in the dreamworld.
“Then what’s holding us back in real life?” Nixie wondered.
“This is real life!” he stated.
And then Nixie woke up, eyes bursting wide open!
When Nixie spotted Xantho during classes or hanging out in the center of town, she could never approach him. It all felt too real, too scary, too much… And he could never approach her either.
Instead, Xantho converted himself into a hologram and found Nixie by herself in a garden, tending it and picking weeds.
“Hey,” he confidently greeted, “so I heard some rumors that you have a crush on me…”
It was true, Nixie had been going on to her friends about how her obsessing with Gandalf was fading as she was falling for Xantho. All of those dreams she was having really got to her.
“Maybe,” she answered somewhat defensively.
“I might like you back,” he shrugged.
“Oh really?” she raised an eyebrow. “Wait,” she added, “how do I know this is really you?”
“Do you have your crystals?”
“Yes,” Nixie nodded — she was wearing an amethyst necklace, rose quartz earrings, and carrying tiger’s eye in her pockets.
“Then, you know it’s me.”
“What about Gandalf?”
“Forget about him! He’ll say that he likes you, but I try to get him to talk to you, and he won’t. He’ll never do it. He’s too scared of you. So just talk to me instead,” he convinced.
“Hmm…” Nixie pondered with skepticism. “Show me the real you.”
“Fine,” he submitted, and as the hologram dissolved, he teleported his real self there.
“Wow!” Nixie was shocked that he actually revealed himself.
“See, Gandalf would never do this for you.”
“You’re right,” Nixie nodded.
Xantho leaned in closer for a kiss, but Nixie stopped him.
“Wait!” she said.
“What? Are you too scared?” he teased.
“Just — what’s going on?” she paused with dither, “we’re not married!”
“You said you’ve kissed others before!” he argued.
“Sure, but I was just a child… what does all of this mean? Do we have to get together? I’m not sure if I’m ready for all that…”
“Stop overthinking,” he persuaded, “you either wanna kiss me or you don’t. I won’t force it either way.”
Nixie paused for a moment to take a look at Xantho. She had no idea what the future held. She wasn’t ready to fully open herself up to another. And yet, there he was… looking so adorably delicious… surely, one little kiss couldn’t hurt?
And so, Nixie gave in, and passionately embraced Xantho. The garden became alive like never before. The flowers shot up high into the sky and all of their colors became more vivid. Her mind fell into a meditative trance and her thoughts vanished — there was no more thinking, just being… being in the moment.
Before she knew it, Nixie had completely lost track of time and space. The world had stopped, but now it was starting back up again…
“That was amazing,” Xantho smiled wide, giving Nixie a kiss goodbye.
“Yeah,” Nixie agreed, still feeling dizzy, completely unsure of what had just happened…
When Nixie told her friends what had happened, they were all in total shock.
But her best friend, Ariel, warned her, “Xantho is a bad boy! I’ve heard rumors about him kissing other girls before…”
“Well, he’s not my husband,” Nixie shrugged, “so I don’t care about the rumors.” Of course, a part of her worried — what other girls?!
Xantho sent Nixie more telepathic messages, asking them to meet again in the same spot. However, when Nixie agreed, he suddenly backed out — which made her furious. She panicked, is there someone else?!
Nixie sat there in the garden, playing with the grass, waiting for Xantho to show up again. She was hooked on him like a drug. Instead, a holograph appeared — it was Gandalf.
“So, I heard about you and Xantho…”
Nixie tugged on her crystals just to make sure she still had them. In disbelief, she saw that it was truly Gandalf this time.
“You what?!” she exclaimed.
“Don’t get mad at him for telling me, it just slipped out. Anyway, so tell me about it. How was it?”
Nixie was baffled by how forward he was being. She tugged on her crystals once again, just to be sure… “you’re not mad?”
“Of course I am,” he replied in a surprisingly calm voice. “How come we’ve never done that?”
“Because you’re always running away from me,” she ground her teeth in frustration.
“That’s not funny!” she contended.
“I can’t believe it,” he continued.
“What do you expect, okay? He made a move, and you didn’t!” Nixie argued, “why don’t you teleport yourself over here?”
“I can’t,” he shook his head, “you’re tainted now.”
“Then why are you still here talking to me?” she struck back.
“Because… I don’t know…” he hesitated, like he was under her spell, “you’re too cute…”
And then they both leaned in for a kiss!
A few weeks later, while Nixie was in her garden again, Xantho appeared.
“So you’re with Gandalf now?”
“I hope you know that was just a one-time thing. He’s never going to talk to you again. He’s so mad at you for talking to me.”
“Really?” Nixie said distrustfully.
“Don’t bother with him.”
“But you blew me off! We were going to meet up again and you backed out!”
“I just had a lot of stuff going on.”
“Well, here I am…”
“Well…” Nixie sighed, “might as well make-out again…” she offered, pretending as if she had no choice.
“Nixie!” Ariel confronted her with anger, “everyone is talking about you! Everyone knows what you’ve been doing! When are you going to get a grip?”
“Hey!” Nixie barked back, “I’m just living in the moment!”
“But you’re hurting people!”
“Who am I hurting? Gandalf doesn’t care, Xantho doesn’t care, nobody cares!”
“You’re hurting yourself!”
Nixie ran to Grandmother Tree in hysterical tears.
“Have I fallen into the deep, dark hole of lust? Have I completely forgotten about love? This isn’t who I am…”