The twelfth-year classmates gathered round to say their goodbyes to one another. Half of them would go on to get married, the other half would be leaving the village to find their soulmates elsewhere. Nixie would be heading out west.
They had a festival which included live music, a few performances (including Nixie and others putting on a dance), and lots of freshly cooked food.
Zed had moved on and found his wife, now pregnant with quintuplets. Fantasia and Callie were engaged to wonderful men. Kimmy was dumped last-minute by her fiancé. Figg ended up remaining single during his schooling years and would be traveling to focus on his studies. Easton sent Nixie a friendly, telepathic “hello” and let her know he was doing well and hoped the same for her.
Nixie spotted Lazarus, and the two of them simply pretended not to see each other. Nixie was unsure of what to think of it all. All those years she never knew if they were friends or enemies, and now they were the worst you could be — strangers.
The head teacher, Mr. Pacific, called each student individually to stand on the stage, and give a final wave goodbye.
When Nixie was called to the stage, she gave the crowd a proud curtsy, as a group of boys from the night of the party (including Figg!) stood up and cheered. They were still amused about how crazy she acted that night.
Mr. Pacific announced, “Nixie is a dancer, and just completed her fifteenth year of dance lessons! She has excelled in yoga, ancient history, and fable studies. Nixie has been voted by her peers as ‘most likely to shock us ten years from now.’ Congratulations, Nixie!”
Nixie burst into giggles, “I like to keep everyone on their toes!”
After the ceremony, a classmate — a nymph named Tori — approached Nixie while she was alone.
“Can I talk to you for a minute?” Tori asked.
A bit nervous, Nixie smiled and nodded, “sure! What’s up?”
“Well,” she began, like she really had something she needed to get off her chest, “I know you had a thing with Gandalf a while back, and I know you also had a thing with Xantho.”
“Uh-huh…” Nixie continued to nod, even more nervous now. She had tried to contact Xantho since their last encounter, but he was dodging her now.
“I hooked up with Gandalf too, a few times. I also hooked up with Xantho.”
Nixie’s chest tightened up, “yeah, a lot of girls have…” She rolled her eyes with a heavy sigh. It had been absolutely humiliating, a great bruise to her ego, hearing about all the other girls they had gotten with.
“I just can’t get over Gandalf,” she whined, “he kept stringing me along and it was all so confusing… And now he’s dating Isla! Like, what’s up with that? Tell me — how am I supposed to get over him? How did you deal with all his mind games?” Desperate and helpless, she looked at Nixie like a lost child.
“You just have to forget about him, simple as that,” Nixie told her, “it takes a great amount of strength and self-discipline, but it will get better with time.”
“I just… there’s just something about him…”
“You have to let it go.”
“Forgive him. Look at the bigger picture and try to understand the situation from his perspective. Don’t make yourself the victim in this story. Thank him for making you stronger. Go find a man who truly values you — they do exist.”
“You’re totally right… Thank you. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.”
“Of course not. What happened to Gandalf and Xantho, anyway? They used to be best friends, and now they don’t even speak.”
“I heard they both kept hooking up with the same girls and started fighting about it.”
“Jeez,” Nixie shook her head.
Nixie noticed that Ariel had been quite distant towards her lately. Reaching in for a hug “goodbye,” Ariel daintily gave her a quick pat on the back and then pushed her aside.
“When will I see you again?” Nixie asked.
“Uh,” Ariel awkwardly hesitated, “I don’t wanna be friends anymore.”
“What? Why would you say that?”
“I don’t really trust you anymore.”
“Xantho has been going around telling everyone that the two of you never even existed, that you were lying about him.”
“Uh,” Nixie struck back with total confusion, “you’re telling me you believe him? Over your best friend?”
“I don’t know what to believe,” she shrugged with apathy.
“Believe me!” Nixie furrowed her eyebrows, “I’m your best friend!”
“No, you’re not,” she denied.
“Huh? I don’t understand!”
Ariel was starting to become aggravated, “you don’t understand? Seriously?”
“No!” Nixie shouted, “what did I do?”
“I don’t like who you’ve become these past few years. I don’t like how you’ve been acting. It’s been embarrassing to call you my friend. You’re an airhead Nixie, wake up!”
And with that, she teleported away, leaving Nixie stranded. Her body was fueling with anger, trembling uncontrollably.
Nixie ran to Grandmother Tree saying, “I wanted to give you my final goodbye. Thanks for everything, and I love you.”
Grandmother Tree responded, “you’re heading out west now? Good luck, dear woman.”
“Nope,” she answered, “I’m ending my life.” She was holding poisonous berries in her hand.
“Oh, your life has merely just begun…”
“I’ve lost faith and I don’t think ‘love’ is out there for me. I can’t handle it anymore. I feel used… empty… worthless… soulless… unlovable.“
And just as Nixie was about to pop the poisonous berries in her mouth, a gust of wind flew them out of her hands — and then a tornado formed, sweeping her away and lifting her high in the sky. She looked below with horror and disbelief as her entire beach village was crumbling and sinking into the ground. Nixie looked back up with fright to see she was headed straight towards a black hole.
“AHHH!!!” she shrieked in shear panic.
But a hand reached in out of nowhere and pulled her away. Nixie’s vision went blurry as she lost consciousness.
When she opened her eyes, she was in almost total darkness. Angelic eyes were watching her.
“You saved me,” she caught her breath, “who are you, an angel?”
“Come with me,” he said, as Nixie followed him down a tunnel, towards the light. “And sadly, no,” he added, “just an elf, name’s Neldor.”
“What’s going on?” she asked as they walked.
“The apocalypse!” he answered, “it’s the end of the world!”
“You know how every few thousand of years or so, the world ends?”
“I thought that was just an old wive’s tale. Where are we? Is this Heaven?”
“No,” he chuckled, “it’s my bunker! I’ve been preparing for this! Been stocking up on food and supplies for years now. I thought we had a bit more time, so I was out gathering a few last-minute goods, and then I spotted you flying away!”
“Wow, I can’t thank you enough… although, I was planning on ending my life anyway…”
“Thank goodness you didn’t! You would’ve missed a crazy apocalypse!”
“If the world is ending, aren’t we all gonna die now, anyway?”
“Nope. Not the ones who were prepared for this — that’s why we have my bunker. We’ll have to stay here for a few years or so, let the gods rebuild the world, and then it’ll be safe again to come out of hiding.”
“What about my family?” Nixie paniced, “and my… oh right, I don’t have any friends anymore…”
“Hopefully they found safety. Otherwise, you may not see them for a while… But don’t worry, I promise you’ll find them again eventually, soon enough.”
During the destruction of the apocalypse, all magical powers of the nature spirits were put on pause. This meant: no teleporting, no telepathy, no shapeshifting, no holograms, etc. until the world started over again.
Finally reaching the end of the tunnel, brightness appearing, Neldor opened the door to a large room with couches and tons of boxes packed away with stuff. There were others there — three boys and a girl.
“Meet my friends,” Neldor introduced.
“I can’t stay here,” Nixie refused, “I can’t impose.”
“Oh, please stay!” the girl exclaimed, “we need another lady here! Too much testosterone up in this joint!”
“I’d love it if you’d stay,” Neldor offered his hand, “it’s not safe out there.”
Taking his hand, Nixie caved, “okay.”
“Oh my gosh!” the girl squealed. Her name was Rose, she was a fire-fairy with bright red hair that also had hints of pink. “You two make such a cute couple! Are you going to marry?”
Nixie blushed, “no, no, we just met!”
“Maybe someday, after this whole apocalypse is over…” Neldor suggested with hope yet caution.
“Yeah, maybe someday,” Nixie smiled, looking into his eyes.
Nixie settled herself in, taking a breather and trying to process all… She sat herself down on a couch and fell deep asleep, emotionally exhausted…
“I’m really worried about my family,” Nixie confessed upon waking from her nap, “is there any way I can find them? I really hope they’re okay…”
“We’re all worried,” one of the boys, Oregano, said. He had his arm around Rose, comforting her, “a few more weeks at least until we can leave the bunker and go explore to see what’s left.”
“The universe will spare those who lived dutiful lives, I’m sure your family is perfectly okay,” the other boy, Agrostis assured.
“Yeah, no worries,” the third boy, Slate chimed in. “You’ll find them somehow, but for now, it’s out of our hands — all you can do is try to relax.”
“So what are we supposed to do all day?” Nixie wondered, “eat, sleep… what else?”
“Get intoxicated!” Neldor explained, “we have mead, wine, beer, all kinds of alcohol… and we also have lots of magical teas!”
“Have you ever tried ‘Aphrodite’s herb’?” asked Rose.
“No,” she shook her head, as Rose handed her the cup of tea.
One sip, and she felt fine. Two sips, she began to cough. Three sips, and her entire surroundings looked completely different — yet exactly the same.
“Am I dreaming?” Nixie wondered, “this feels like a dream.”
And everyone giggled with amusement.
Nixie and Rose got along very well. They often sat back drinking their teas together, having personal discussions.
“How is it going with you and Neldor?” Rose eagerly inquired.
“It’s perfect,” Nixie smiled.
“Do you see a future with him? When do you think you’ll get married?” she asked.
“Oh, I dunno,” Nixie shrugged, “we’re really just living in the moment, you know, it’s just casual. But we’re committed to each other, there’s no one else.”
“Yeah,” Rose agreed, “I’m happy to be committed to Oregano, it feels good. I have to admit, right before we met, I was actually doing a lot of crazy things with all kinds of boys… it was really my best friend at the time, Melia, convincing me to act that way. She said it would make me feel better, more confident and stuff… it actually kind of made me feel the opposite! I learned the hard way that there’s a lot of people you can’t trust.”
“Exactly! It really lowers your self-esteem. It makes you think you’re replaceable, nothing special. It hurts. It turns you emotionless.”
“Nixie, I really enjoy having these deep chats with you.”
“Yeah, me too!”
Six months had passed, and the storm was finally over. The sun was shining as Nixie and her friends emerged from underground. They all took in a deep breath of fresh air.
Tears came running down Nixie’s face.
“Oh, Nixie! What’s wrong?” Rose said with concern, “is it tears of joy?”
“I’m… actually… kind of sad,” Nixie admitted.
“I’m so happy to be back in nature, so relieved to see everything restored… but I’m really going to miss our time together! We all had so much fun!”
“Don’t worry Nixie, we’re not going anywhere,” Rose assured.
“Yeah,” Neldor agreed, putting his arm around Nixie, “we’re all sticking together.”
Nixie knew that they would all stay friends, but that it would never be the same. However, she was incredibly excited to be back in nature and see what the new world would bring!
With magical powers restored, everyone was anxious to get back in touch with one another — check up on friends and family. Nixie received many messages from her family, telling her they were all okay and had survived. Nixie’s ghost-mom was finally able to reappear, visiting her and being able to talk to each other again.
Nixie was relieved that hear friends’ families had also survived just fine. However, her heart dropped when Rose told her that her nasty ex-best friend, Melia, was looking for a reconciliation.
“I think that’s great,” Nixie lied, trying to be polite, trying to not let jealousy get in the way.
During their time together, she found herself becoming very possessive over Rose. The thought of her having other girlfriends now, especially a volatile ex-best friend, made her sick. There was one time when Nixie asked Rose to kiss her, just out of fun and boredom, and it ended up being a lot more passionate than she expected…
After the friends had explored the new world together for a few weeks, making sure it was safe, they parted ways so that they could all visit their families. It was temporary, and they said they would all reunite soon.
Nixie gave a great, big hug to Maria, Beck, Oakley, Kiwi, and the other eight siblings! Of course, a hug for her father as well! Sadly she couldn’t physically hug her mom, but her being there in spirit was more than enough.
Missing her alone time, Nixie decided to go for a solo walk along the beach after dinner was over. She gasped, heart pounding, when Xantho’s holograph appeared.
“Hi,” was all he said, in a hopeless tone, like he wasn’t expecting much.
Filled with anger, Nixie shook her head in shame and kept on walking, completely ignoring him.
But the anger continued as she kept on walking. Now he was stuck inside her head, just when she had finally forgotten about him. And then he anger turned into sadness… and then strangely enough, the sadness began to turn into hope…
Nixie confided in the one who knows best — Grandmother Tree.
“Xantho just tried talking to me! I don’t know what to do, I’m with Gandalf now! But I kept having all those dreams about him, and now those feelings are back! And I can’t help but wonder, what if there’s a reason we always end up coming back to each other? What if there’s still hope for us?”
In which Grandmother Tree replied, “listen to your heart.”
And so, Nixie walked back to the beach and found him once again.
“What’s up?” she greeted, flatly.
“Nice to see you’ve survived the apocalypse,” Xantho perked up.
“Yeah, you too.”
“What have you been up to?”
“Been hiding out in a bunker for the past six months. It was pretty crazy, but actually pretty awesome too, as scary as it all was.”
“Nice,” he let out a smile, “I actually didn’t make it at first, but God gave me another chance. Can you believe it?”
“No!” Nixie smirked, and then put her hand on her heart, “that’s good to hear, I’m glad you ended up making it.” She wasn’t sure why, but somehow it actually felt pleasant to speak.
His smile growing, Xantho came closer and said, “can we go somewhere and cuddle?”
Suddenly, Nixie felt disgusted, unable to forget how much he broke her. “Why don’t you just get over me? I’m not going through this forever. I thought you would’ve moved on by now! I’m with someone else, and he’s really sweet! But it doesn’t matter anyway, because even if I was single, I still wouldn’t come back to you!”
And with no response, Xantho simply disappeared.
Nixie knew she deserved better than someone who had treated her that way, better than someone who made her feel worthless and humiliated… yet sadly a part of her wondered, what if that’s what love is about — putting your pride aside and eternally gravitating towards someone with no conditions, no matter what they have done to you, because maybe there’s a perspective outside of your own ego’s that can see how you are just as much at fault as they are…. Or, then again, maybe she was just a side piece.