Baltic groaned softly as he opened his eyes and adjusted his sight to the lighting. He could tell that it was nighttime, but there were strange, bouncing lights everywhere. He blinked a few more times before he realized that those weird lights were actually fireflies. He glanced around him and noticed the massive trees surrounding him. All of a sudden, Jefferson’s grinning face appeared above him. He stared at Jefferson’s ears. They were elongated. Jefferson was in his original form as an elf.
“Hey, sweetheart. Welcome back to the land of the living.”
He rolled his eyes, but the movement caused the back of his head to pound a little like a mini migraine. “Where…where are we? Why are you in your original form? Are we near a waterfall or something? I can hear the sound loud and clear.”
Jefferson gave him a hand and pulled him up to his feet gently. He took in the trees, flowers, and the clear evening sky. There were millions of stars shining brightly. He gaped in amazement. Then, he noticed the giant body of water, along with a humongous waterfall on the other end. He relaxed instinctively when Jefferson wrapped both arms around his chest.
“I’ve reverted back to being an elf because we’re within the realm of the land of the elves. Welcome to Ofezra, sweetheart.”
His heart thudded in surprise and he turned his head a little to face Jefferson. “This is the land of the elves?”
Jefferson nodded. “One of them. It also happens to be where I was born thousands of years ago. We’re in the forest at the edge of the city where my people reside in. What do you think?”
“It’s…it’s incredible. Some of the insects, animals, flowers, and other plants are unfamiliar to me.”
“They don’t exist in the mortal world. I’m sure there are plenty of things in the ocean I’ve never seen either.”
“True. Why this place?”
“Because I want to give you a glimpse of where I lived before I moved into the mortal realm. Besides, Ofezra is full of pure, natural magic everywhere. Your siren magic can’t cross over in its awakened state, so it has to remain dormant within you as long as you’re here.”
The two of them remained like that for a moment longer. Baltic didn’t mind it at all, though. He was more than willing to stay in Jefferson’s embrace for eternity.
“Are you hungry?”
His stomach grumbled in that instant. He gave Jefferson a shy smile before responding. “Starving.”
“Great. I’ve requested for some of my old friends here in Ofezra to prepare some food and drinks for us. Have you ever tasted the wine made by elves before?” Baltic shook his head, and Jefferson grinned widely. “You’re in for a treat then. Come with me.”
He followed Jefferson toward the blanket that was spread on the ground. There were several kinds of breads, grapes, cheeses, meat, sauces, and a bowl of something he was unable to identify, along with the utensils and a few knives. There were also two bottles of wine next to the picnic basket and the two wine glasses. He waited in anticipation as Jefferson picked up the long breads, cheeses, meat, and sauces before combining them all to make sandwiches. Then, Jefferson cut a part of the sandwiches before passing it over to him. His mouth began to fill up with saliva as he smelled the delicious scent coming from the sandwich in his hand. It tasted even better when he bit down on a small portion of it.
He bobbed his head up and down in his excitement. “Out of this world. What are the breads made of?”
“Same ingredients as the ones in the mortal world, but the magic in this land amplifies everything. How do you like the beef?”
“Tender and exquisite. I find it hard to believe it’s beef.”
Jefferson snickered. “It is. The cows here feed on grasses, which grow through the magic in the land. I’m not kidding when I told you magic is everywhere.”
Baltic plucked one of the grapes before popping it into his mouth and moaning in appreciation. “Damn. I wish I could bring these grapes back to my brothers. In fact, I want to take everything here back to Cas and Dray.”
Jefferson laughed. “We can pack some of them. Or we can always bring your brothers here someday, along with Gav and Ed.”
“Okay.” Then, Jefferson poured some wine from the first bottle. Baltic knew it would taste amazing because the scent alone was intoxicating. He was right. “This…this is like nothing I’ve ever had. Not even the wine in the ocean is as wonderful as this.”
“It’s a mixture of dew collected from the leaves early in the morning before the sun rises, honey from the magical bees, and some herbs that only exist here in Ofezra. Among other ingredients, of course.”
Baltic pointed at the other wine bottle. He was curious now. “What about the second bottle?”
“Different ingredients. The sweetness of the wine is more subtle. We can have that with the dessert later.”
Jefferson indicated the bowl of food Baltic was unable to identify earlier. “That’s ice cream.”