The word is Stars, from an old prompt list that I’m not going to go looking for.
Since no character was given, I chose to use Elias Dawn and Eral the Arbor Pixie.
( x )
The Sleeping City stood as still as it always did. For nearly three decades, the ruins-turned-city had held a silent vigil over the wilds around it. No one ventured near, and no one ventured out. In the day, the sun cast long shadows from its central towers, illuminating the people caught in the city’s strange thrall.
They had been sleeping for years, but nothing changed. The fruits and bread in their stores remained as fresh as the day the entire populace lay down to shut their eyes.
Time itself slept on while the rest of the world moved without it, so the rumor mill said.
The stars were brilliant overhead with no lanterns in the city at night. Twenty-nine years after the Sleeping City earned its name, a new wind had blown in among the alleys and rebuilt towers. Someone who knew time much better than the rumor mill knew that it didn’t sleep.
That was why, on the outer wall of the tallest tower, a figure was in motion for the first time in years.
Elias clung to the worn bricks tightly, scaling the tower like it was some enormous tree. The fall below, which grew minute by minute, did not concern him. His blue eyes glinted in the night, an inhumanly bright shade as he scaled higher and higher. It might be the easiest infiltration he’d ever been on, with everyone in a wide radius around him sleeping like babes.
All except one.
“Why the hell are you climbing the tower when you could just take the damn stairs?!” A voice piped up from one of the side pockets on his worn jacket.
Elias smirked and continued his vertical trek. “Woke up, didja? Took you a while, buddy.”
There was a fidgeting in the pocket, and Elias tried not to laugh as the pixie within cursed and ranted. At length, there was a buzzing as his little wings found enough space to flit to life. “You bastard,” he complained. “You told me your stupid aura would protect me from the sleeping spell!”
A small green shape, no more than six inches tall, buzzed in front of Elias’ electric blue eyes. He shook his head to earn himself some space. “It did. Just not right away.”
Eral, one of the last arbor pixies in existence, scoffed. “Asshole.” He landed on Elias’ shoulder to wait out the climb. The minute his wings, shaped exactly like leaves and just as green, stopped moving, they curled back up into leaf bud shapes. “Really, though. Why aren’t you taking the stairs?”
“Don’tcha remember? Mom said there was danger in the tower. Gotta stay outside,” Elias replied.
“She said the tower is full of sleepy bees and honey,” Eral answered skeptically. “Your mom might be an Oracle, but that’s just batshit crazy.”
Elias snickered and pointedly shrugged his shoulder. Eral’s wings buzzed to life again for a second as he tried to keep his balance. “Hey, man,” Elias warned. “Respect my ma, wouldja? Just ‘cause she’s crazy doesn’t mean she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
Eral kicked at Elias’ neck, a sturdy little boot striking like a drop of rain. “Fine, whatever,” he groused. “Then what the hell does ‘sleepy bees and honey’ mean, anyway? Everything in the city is asleep, not just the bees.”
Elias shook his head as he climbed. “With her, gotta look past the surface words. Something gets crossed on the way from her brain to her mouth. Whatever caused all of this is inside the tower and it’s strongest in there. Can’t risk yours truly passing out on a mission, right?”
Eral huffed, but couldn’t argue. “Alright. Then what did she mean when she said you’d want me along for this one?”
Elias almost shrugged again, but avoided it since the ornery flit hadn’t done anything to earn it just yet. “Eh, she was probably just making you feel better about always tagging along where I go.”
“Hey! That is not true! The only reason we even met was because of your stupid trap!”
“And yet you still come with me everywhere.”
“I’m gonna stab you right in the hand, Elias.”
“But Eral. Then I’ll fall! ” Elias took one hand off the wall to place it delicately against his forehead in a mock swoon. His eyes flashed mischievously, and his balance didn’t suffer at all despite his one-handed grip on the wall.
Another kick to his neck. “Just watch what you’re doing, stupid. Don’t make me have to levitate you to save your ass again.”
Elias snickered and resumed his climb. “I dunno, isn’t that kinda our trademark? Jackassing around, getting stuff done eventually, you saving me with some levitation right when I need it?”
“Yeah, you’re a class act,” Eral teased, this time joining in the snickering.
“Haven’t even started yet, buddy,” Elias assured him.