| Once upon a time, there lived a boy named Oberon. He lived with his grandmother in the Great Forest near the Sparkling Lake. Their cottage was very modest with a thatch roof and no shutters, but Oberon's grandmother sold weavings to give them a small amount of money to buy food. As for friends, they were the only human inhabitants of the forest, and the market boys never seemed to pay Oberon any heed due to his lack of status and money. But the boy lived happily with his grandmother.
As he walked down the path to market one morning, weavings slung over his arm, Oberon came across a wolf stalking its prey. Looking closer, he noted the dog's intended food: a tiny water nymph.
Oberon had seen numerous nymphs and sprites but had never communicated with them because he was always frightened of their powers.
The nymph had no way to escape the snarling wolf, and she shrank away from it, shaking in fear. Even her powers could not save her, and Oberon knew it was up to him. He dropped the weavings and searched the ground for a weapon until he found a fallen branch. He charged the wolf and swung the branch hard, hitting the angry dog across its jaws, and it whimpered as it scampered away.
As the nymph slowly looked up, her transparent body became more blue, letting him see her true colors instead of the disguise she had tried to adopt. "Who are you?" her high-pitched small voice cried.
"My name is Oberon," he said softly so as not to frighten her further. "There is not even a pond in this forest for another ten miles. May I ask what you are doing so far from your home?"
"I... I got lost on my way back through the forest... I had no idea I was so far from the Lake." She sank to her knees on the ground and bowed her head. "Thank you, young sir, for saving me from a very unpleasant end. I shall grant you three wishes in return, and you may call upon me at any time. Just say my name and I shall come."
" And what is your name, miss?"
"I am called Loranis, master. Is there anything I can do for you now?"
Thinking for only a moment, Oberon nodded. "Yes. Loranis, I wish that you would be my friend for all time."
A frown crossed her face. "A friend? What is a friend?"
Smiling, Oberon sat on the grass next to her. "A friend is someone you share the most secret of things with, and who you talk to and play with. They accept you for what you are and care about you."
Nibbling her lower lip, she looked up at him. "I suppose I can try to be your friend. It would be an honor to have a friend as..... big as you," she finished.
Laughing lightly, he nodded. "'Tis been a pleasure to meet you, Loranis, but I must be heading to market to sell those weavings." He pointed a finger towards the pile of weavings near another tree. "Would you like to join me?"
She gave a quick nod, though her confusion stayed, and forced a smile "I would... be delighted to join you."
As they went to market, they talked about their lives in the woods and in the lake, and as the day wore on, became more comfortable around each other. By the end of the day, when they returned to the forest and went their separate ways, they knew they would be friends forever.
As they grew a little older, Oberon and Loranis became very close, seeing each other everyday. When he reached his tenth year, Oberon started to go to school in the city of Marris, with the funding of a generous baron, and he left his home to live with the Baron.
While in the city, Oberon made new friends, many of which were the market brats that had ignored him before, and he somewhat transformed into the mean and selfish court-bred children that he had been taught to distrust and hate. He studied literature, writing, mathematics, and a little magic. He had learned a few tricks about plant and water magic from living in the forest and befruiending a sprite, though, to him, they were normal parts of his lifestyle.
As he excelled in his magic courses, he was tested with more and more advanced spells and potions, concocting everything for burn salve to a spell to protect from earthquakes.
Occasionally, Oberon would write a letter to his grandmother, and it would have things to be told to Loranis, but he soon forget about his only friend. He slowly began to change into a greedy and even arrogant young man, and, by the age of fifteen, had started to look down on every servant and peasant he came into contact with. As for sprites and nymphs, he no longer had a use for them but to bend them to his will in his spells and magical workings, according to his teachers.
Though many of his peers congratulated Oberon on his advancements through all of the minor and half of the major spells known in the kingdom, a few resented him and even wanted him killed. These few consisted of a woman by the name of Marlie, with support from her father, the Count of Burgom, and her close friend, Wulrim, the former leader in the boy's magic classes. Wulrim had grown very jealous of Oberon for taking his title and his friends, so he and Marlie began to plot his downfall.
Meanwhile, in the forest, Loranis was growing steadily more lonely as the years went by. She had begun to turn into a woman with no one around to notice but the few nymphs that lived nearby. Though she had tried to talk to Oberon's grandmother, she had never been successful because sprites and nymphs could only be seen by people willing to see them. Left with nothing but her forest, Loranis stayed near the cottage and could often be heard crying.
As she walked through the woods one morning, hoping to see a sign of her good friend, she thought of a wonderful idea. Why don't I go visit him?, she asked herself as she ran down the path to the city.
That very same morning, at breakfast, a servant had spilled a plate of buttery rolls into Oberon's lap, and he had stormed out, having a fit. He took a stroll down the path towards the woods, and, as Loranis came nearer, his foot landed directly in front of her.
She gasped and looked up at the huge man, recognizing him immediately. "Oberon!!!" she exclaimed, wrapping herself around his leg. "We've missed you so much in the forest! Your grandmother was worried that you would forget about us..." Looking up into his hard face, she blinked. "Oberon, what's the matter?"
"Who are you?" he demanded, lifting his foot and shaking her off. "And why are you touching me, vermon?"
Shocked, she stared up at him. "Oberon, you must be joking.... It's me! You're best friend, Loranis! Don't you remember?"
Oberon only glared down at her and shook his head. "No, and I want nothing to do with you nymphs. You're all disgusting and weak. Get away from me before I kill you."
Slowly letting go of him and backing up, Loranis stared up at her old friend in shock. "You.... you did forget about us.... What happened to you here?" She turns and fled down the path before he could see her cry. Oberon shook his head and continued on his walk, putting their meeting out of his mind.
Also that very morning, Marlie and Wulrim had a special surprise, consisting of advanced spells and a barrage of sprites at their command, waiting for him near the school. As he passed by, they attacked, sending sprite after spell, all attacking as one, and Oberon screamed for help as his beautiful clothing and body were burned, slashed, and bruised.
Meanwhile, Loranis had stopped just at the edge of town near a tree to try and end her sobs, but they refused to cease. How could he have changed so much? she asked herself, putting her head in her hands. And why would he hate me so much? I only came to visit....
Oberon tried one last desperate attempt for help before he blacked out, grabbing a name from his memory that he had thought was lost. "LORANIS!!"
She heard his cry and bit her lip, fighting every urge to run. You have to help him, even if he was cruel to you. He's in trouble!
But I certainly can't go alone, a softer voice sounded through her head. I'll need some help of my own.... I GOT IT! I'll just ask some of the other sprites to help! And once we're done saving him, we can yell at him for being so mean! She quickly took off down the path, recruiting sprites and faeries to her cause.
As her small army searched the town, they came across Oberon in front of a huge building being attacked by evil sprites and spells. Loranis wanted nothing more than to run away and leave him to die, but she knew she couldn't do that to her best friend, even if he had been mean.
So she called together the leaders of their army and told them to attack. They quickly pulled out blades and prepared magic, then attacked, slashing and casting away. She ran over to Oberon with a pail of water, dumping some on his face. "Please wake up..."
Oberon slowly opened his eyes to see his childhood friend leaning over him. "Loranis... you're alive! I'm so sorry I was so cruel when I saw you... I suppose I've changed since I left."
She stared down at him as tears rolled down her cheeks. "Yes... you have. And I know you didn't mean to be so hard on me earlier... but I'm not sure that I can forgive you just yet, if at all."
Nodding, Oberon sighed and sat up. "What happened over here? I don't remember a thing."
"It seems that someone was attacking you, Oberon. You called my name, and I gathered some other sprites and faeries to come fight with me to help. It doesn't look like they'll hold out much longer, so maybe you should go help them out?"
Oberon slowly stood and nodded, cupping his hands, and Loranis noticed the pale green glow between them. "I hope magic works." Turning back to her, he wet his lips. "Loranis... I know I messed up, but I want you to forgive me."
Looking down, she asked softly, "Is that a wish, master?"
Smiling, he scooped her up in his hands. "Yes. I wish that you could forgive me for being so stupid. It's what we both want anyway, right?" Loranis smiled slightly and looked up, then snapped her fingers. "I have completely forgotten what made me upset, and the incident is behind us. Now, go help them."
Oberon lifted his hands and cast a lightning bolt straight at the attackers, sending them in every direction. Spotting Marlie and Wulrim up on the top of the building, he shot another bolt in their direction, and they fled before the spell could touch them. Soon, the only movement in the street was from the faeries, sprites, and Oberon.
Loranis had turned her head before he cast his spell, for she did not want to see what manipulated magic could do to others, but as she felt strong fingers lifting her, she looked up into the face of her old friend. "Oberon.." she sighed and laid her cheek in his palm.
As the small army came back to the forest, Oberon and Loranis thanked each of the sprites and faeries personally for their bravery and help. Then they were left alone. "Oberon, I-"
"No. Don't say anything. You have absolutely nothing to be sorry for. I was the one who changed. You only tried to find me."
Stopping to look down, he blinked. "Wait a minute... I thought you said that whole thing was out of your memory."
She stared at him. "Oberon, what are you talking about? I don't even know what you mean. I was just trying to say that I-"
"Loranis, I wish that you could love me.. It's the least I can do for how I treated you. You already forgave me, but that's not enough. I really want you to feel...."
She blushed and looked at the ground. "Feel what?"
"I want you to feel the same way I feel about you. I think I've loved you since the second I met you and... I just completely forgot that. I'm so sorry for doing that. But... I just wished something.. and I don't want to force anything on you that you don't want..."
"I'm so sorry! Please don't love me because I told you to!" he babbled, kneeling down next to her. Loranis laughed as she looked up at him. "Oberon, that's not a problem. I already love you."
Staring, Oberon picked her up gently. "You... you mean that?"
Loranis nodded and kissed his finger. "Yep. The only problem is... I'm too small.. or you're too big," she laughed bitterly, biting her lip. "But you can choose which way you would like to go, if you really do love me."
He thought for a moment, then looked back at her. "Would you rather be part of my corrupt world? Or would you rather live in your carefree, magical world?"
Loranis sighed and looked up at him. "I've never known anything carefree in my life... None of the faeries or sprites like me much, so they ignore me. It's been that way since before I met you, and I doubt it'll ever change. As for my magic, it's all little tricks anyway, and I can easily give it up. So... I suppose I want to be your size."
Smiling, he tapped her shoulder with his fingertip. "Is that a wish?"
She laughed and nodded. "Yes, it is."
Oberon looked up at the trees and sighed happily. "I wish that Loranis would become human."
Loranis snapped her fingers and quickly began to grow, her body taking up his hands, then both his arms. She lay in his lap, covered in a thin blue gown, and she watched as her skin turned from transparent to blue to a peach color. Glancing up at him and blinked as she saw his glazed expression. "Oberon, what's wrong?" she asked, afraid she had hurt him.
Shaking his head once to clear it, he laughed and kissed her hair. "Nothing, my love. Nothing is wrong at all. But... I have one question to ask, and I hope you say yes.."
"And what do you need to ask me, Oberon?"
Setting her down on the ground, Oberon knelt down and took her hand in his. "Loranis.... will you be my wife?"
She gasped and sat back. "I.... I... don't know.. This is.. very sudden..."
"Then I will give you all the time you need to answer," he said softly as his lips touched her forehead, then her lips. She kissed him back lightly and smiled as his arms wrapped around her, lifting her off the ground.
Loranis slowly pulled away and blushed. "That.... that's never happened before. And now, I've definitely made up my mind. Yes, Oberon. I will marry you."
He smiled and whirled her around in a cirle as he rained kisses on her cheeks, hair, and lips.
Later on that month, a beautiful floral wedding was held in the forest, and every sprite, faerie, nymph, and human near the forest was invited. As they left in a small white carriage towards the Lake, they called out to the guests, "Have a wonderful life!" and they lived happily ever after.