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Jing stared at himself in the mirror. He looked amazing in his new breeches made of white chocolate. It sort of made up for his stepfather, King Oberon of the Fairies, giving him the job of Sugar Plum Fairy. Jing was the only male Sugar Plum Fairy in the kingdom. He had to admit that in some ways it was fun. He got to wear gorgeous costumes made of amazing, yummy things to eat, but a man could only stomach so much spun sugar, chocolate, candy and cookies.
True, he got to dance and sing all day, amusing the Unseelie Court. He wasnâ€™t much good at anything else, if he was honest about it.
He stuck a foot out, admiring the cool, snow cone effect of the delicate white chocolate. His white chocolate winkle pickers that adorned his feet even had marshmallow and chocolate buttons dusted in sugar. His mouth watered at the mere sight of them.
Look at meâ€”Iâ€™m a delicious holiday treat! The winter Fae will love me!
It beat last yearâ€™s costume of a tea bag...
The one from two years ago made of coffee beans had eventually given him a headache, but if the seamstress fairyâ€™s behaviour was anything to go by, the white chocolate was a hit.
She was kneeling beside him, sugar spinner in hand, nibbling at a white ribbon of the confection at his knee.
"Stop it, Ophie."
She gazed up at him, embarrassed. "Sorry, Jing. Youâ€™re just so tasty!" He smiled down at her. "Letâ€™s hope the men think so tomorrow." He checked himself in the mirror again. Perfectâ€”except for his hair. It was red, and no matter what he tried, it stuck out in sharp angles. A cockâ€™s comb, his mother called it. Apparently his father had had the same problem. Heâ€™d disappeared under mysterious circumstances when Jing had been a baby. He barely remembered him. He had faint images of a thin elf singing songs...but that could have been anybody.
Nobody else in either family had hair like his, according to his mother, so Jing alone bore the brunt of endless jokes.
He was Oberonâ€™s redheaded stepchildâ€”in every single way.
"Hurry," Ophie said after doing some damage control, "the King has an announcement about this yearâ€™s festivities."
"Holy moly, I forgot about that. Iâ€™m always late." He hurried along the corridors of the Kingâ€™s castle, Jingâ€™s home for five years now. He could detect wafts of incredible smelling food from the kitchens. He itched to take a detour and sample Cookieâ€™s menu. But he couldnâ€™t. He was forever in trouble and he wished for once to make a decent impression.
He rounded a corner and could hear his stepfatherâ€™s voice. When he and his mother had taken up residence in the Royal Court, Jing had first been given the task of being Oberonâ€™s chief advisor. When he had counselled him against investing in Fairy Facebookâ€”which had later sold for millions of Satyr gold coins, the most prized in all the landâ€”the King had not been impressed.
"I could be rich!" heâ€™d bellowed.
"But you are rich," Jing had pointed out.
"You can never be too rich. I want more! More!"
Soon, Jing had found himself bouncing from one court-appointed position to another. His mother had been greatly relieved when heâ€™d landed the job of Sugar Plum Fairy and had got along so well with the female fairies. And, as she was fond of pointing out, it kept him out of trouble...and he got to keep his clothes on.
Trouble. It followed Jing. Like a trail of ants, little problems nipped at his heels, no matter how hard he tried to lead a quiet, productive life. As he crept into the throne room, Oberon was droning in his ponderous way about his subjectsâ€™ proclivity to get drunk on ambrosia. The throne roomâ€™s holiday decor distracted Jing, whose gaze swept over the cavernous space. It looked amazing decorated in spun red sugar and toffee. The participants of the Winter Fae Fest held their collective breath. The lectures about booze were typical and slightly offensive considering that Oberon was the worst offender in the court. He was usually naked by noon, propositioning men and women, young and old. He considered presenting his subjects with his massive cock on a par with giving them a knighthood.
Everyone was excited about tomorrowâ€™s pending celebrations and easily forgave their ruler for his annual speech. Jing tried not to fidget.
I do wish he wouldnâ€™t go on so. He really is as boring as bat shit...