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The younger sister’s face wrinkled from the familiar term, which was an endearment mingled with childish insult. “I noticed.”

There were only a few options for cryptids to live on their own among human society. Some organizations placed daevors and lixyns on certain career paths for those with the touch, mostly in positions of support. Didn’t want a human plumber fixing your toilet? Well, phone one of the agencies, and they would send a certified professional who wouldn’t be surprised if you answered the door with your wings unfurled.

Deja was off to do something with consulting. She would travel all over to counsel wayward cryptids who didn’t know what to do with their lives. Cryptids like Wynx.

“I’ve already told you—you can visit whenever mom and dad say it’s okay. And once you’re twenty-five, then you’ll be eligible to join the agency as well. I’ll be a higher up by then, so I can easily get you a job as my lackey.” Deja’s smile went evil at the thought. Her short curls were ruffled by the breeze.

Winx dropped to the sand beside her. “But I won’t be eligible for another five years. What are you going to do in that time? I mean, who’s going to look out for you?”

They quieted as Winx’s concern floated between them. Despite the age difference, the two were incredibly close. Inseparable. It would be the first time that they had been apart for any length of time. Though Deja pretended to be annoyed by her younger sister, the truth was they wouldn’t know what to do without one another. Come the end of the week, Deja would be a world away, and Winx would be left to her own devices.

“You have to try not to worry about me, all right?” Deja patted her sister’s hand. “It’s not like I won’t be safe.”

“You’ll be in a world of different people. A world full of human people.”

“We all need to spread our wings. One day, you will too, whether you choose to do it in our colony or the world of humans. We all have destinies to seek.” Her voice softened. “This is my time, Winx. I don’t get a second chance to grow up.”

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