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Sunbeam and Moonbeam
Helen, Age 10, Calgary, AB

“Moonbeam is late as usual.” Vanderyn murmured to no one in particular. She reached out and stroked Sunbeam’s muzzle. Sunbeam whinnied in surprise. Vanderyn’s favourite unicorn had always been jumpy, after being attacked at birth by Leaper, an old school friend of Vanderyn’s father, now a cruel man.

Vanderyn passed her hands down the unicorn’s neck and continued. “I could leave you alone but I’ll get in trouble.” All of a sudden, Sunbeam whirled around and cantered over to a tall white unicorn, standing in front of the setting sun. She apologized for being late and I hurried through the valley to a little wooden cottage near a gurgling brook.

“Vanderyn, can you show me Sunbeam after dinner?” Erica asked Vanderyn. Vanderyn’s mother thought it would be okay if the two went together, and so after washing and drying the dishes, Vanderyn and Erica proceeded outside.

When they arrived at the little clearing, Vanderyn told Moonbeam that Erica wanted to see Sunbeam. Moonbeam pushed the baby unicorn to her feet.

“Can I ride it?” Erica shrieked. She stood close to Sunbeam to show Vanderyn that she was just tall enough. Moonbeam nodded her head.

“Only for a little while.” She replied. Erica trotted around the clearing on Sunbeam, laughing. When she got off, Vanderyn noticed a light flashing quickly in the forest, and followed it to investigate. Deeper and deeper she went until she found another unicorn.

“Sunset!” Vanderyn cried. “Where have you been?”

“Leaper has gone to the human world. He is destroying famous human monuments right now and you have been chosen to stop him.” Sunset said quietly. Vanderyn knew that Sunset would be greatly disappointed if she rejected the quest. She had no choice but to accept. She quickly ran home, so she would not be missed by her impatient sister and precautious mother.

The next morning, Vanderyn packed a few things into her bag. She packed her everyday dress, her brown leather boots, a blanket, a rope and a map of Caronia. She tiptoed quietly into the hall to leave, but instead she found Erica sitting on the table, her short legs dangling from the high ledge.

“What are you doing here?” Vanderyn demanded.

“I’m coming with you. When I dismounted Sunbeam yesterday, I wondered where you were going and so I followed you.” Erica answered stubbornly. Vanderyn told her that she could come if she changed quickly. Vanderyn grabbed some bread and water from the kitchen and tossed it into her bag. Once Erica was ready, they walked outside.

Vanderyn saw Sunset up ahead. The old unicorn told her what she had to do to get to the Human World.

“You must find someone – anyone – bearing a black dragon on their forearm to enter the Human World. They might be a bit reluctant to help you, but resist and he will.”

He gave Vanderyn a script with a riddle on it and she read it out loud.

“At dawn the eye will show
What you truly want to know.
You will have the right of way
Watch your step and don’t delay.
You will need to sense the time
One will come who speaks in rhyme.
Repeat your name and why you’ve come
Your journey has just begun.”

Sunset led them to a clearing with a statue of an angel. He told them to wait there for dawn. Vanderyn kept watch for a while and then she woke up Erica and fell asleep.

She woke up to see Erica staring in awe at the angel. It was still dark out, but one beam of light shone through the angel’s eye.

“At dawn the eye will show what you truly want to know.” Erica quoted, “The eye has a hole in it and the rising sun is shining on a doorknob.” Erica squealed and gathered up her things. Vanderyn followed suit. Remembering the riddle, she pried open the door and ran in.

In the middle of the room stood a large sundial, made of marble. Erica and Vanderyn wondered what the riddle meant.

“When you sense something, you feel it. Sundials represent time.” Vanderyn thought for a moment, and then touched the sundial with the palm of her hands for a few minutes.

POP! Vanderyn jumped in shock and Erica covered her eyes to shield herself from the blinding light. When Vanderyn and Erica had gained consciousness, they both stared at a little man standing on top of the sundial. He stared back at them.

“Who? Why? Where? Why do I care?” The little man giggled. He spoke in a high pitched voice. The little man was short and despite his black hair, he was very old.

“I am Vanderyn, this is Erica, and we would like to go to the Human World to defeat Leaper.” Vanderyn said quickly. The little man laughed and rolled up his sleeves. His left forearm bore a black dragon. The little man giggled once more, and then pressed firmly onto Vanderyn and Erica’s forearms. Once more, the little man vanished with a POP! Wind blew into the room and they were sucked downwards.

Vanderyn couldn’t move, talk, or see. She dropped quickly and her stomach flew to her throat. Finally, she landed on a soft bed in a dimly lit room. Vanderyn was exhausted; she closed her eyes and slept.

As Vanderyn drifted off to sleep, she saw Sunset on top an ancient wall, whispering quietly in her ear, “Vanderyn, you will find your enemy and defeat him on this very wall. Come to me…”

Vanderyn awoke in a pale yellow, flowery room. Erica was sitting on the bed beside her.

“Erica, I saw Sunset on a giant wall, in a dream. He told me something about defeating my enemy on the wall.”

Erica agreed to look for the high wall, and grabbed a book from a shelf. She flipped through it, but couldn’t find anything. Erica explained about their strange surroundings.

“I learned a lot when you were sleeping. That silver box is a TV, we are living a hotel and if you look out the window, humans get around in cars.” Sure enough, Vanderyn looked out the window and saw large pieces of metal rolling around on wheels. They stopped at lights, and when the light turned from red to green, the cars would move again. Red is stop and green is go, Vanderyn thought to her.

“Where is a place with lot’s of books?” Vanderyn asked Erica. Erica thought for a moment, and grabbed Vanderyn’s hand, pulling her out the door. They entered a long hallway, and ran down three flights of stairs. Vanderyn entered a huge room with a sign above the wall saying, LOBBY. PLEASE CHECK IN AT THE OFFICE. There were couches and coffee tables. In the center of the room there was a huge circular desk with tall humans standing behind it. Erica ran to the coffee table and looked at the postcards. Vanderyn followed her and looked too. She saw a postcard labelled ‘Great Wall of China’. It had a long, tall wall on it, similar to the one she had seen in her dream. Vanderyn ran to the circular desk.

“Where are we?” She asked politely. The human told Vanderyn that they were in Beijing, China. She quickly thanked the human and ran outside. Erica followed her.

“Taxi!” Erica called and waved her hands around. A yellow car pulled up and Erica stepped in. Vanderyn followed. Once they were in, the taxi driver turned around and spoke.

“Where to?” He demanded. Vanderyn indicated that they were going to the Great Wall of China. The taxi lurched and moved forward. It shot through the streets, only stopping at red lights. Finally, it pulled to a halt at the Great Wall. Erica and Vanderyn climbed out, and ran to the wall. Vanderyn grabbed the sword from her bag. They climbed up the Great Wall of China, only to find someone already there. Leaper stood on top of the wall, looking at the view. Vanderyn took extra care not to look down, as she walked along the top, nearing Leaper.

“What are you doing here, little girl?,” he sneered. Leaper grabbed the sword from his belt. He was short, with pointy ears like an elf. His mouth curved into a wicked smile, and his dark brown eyes glared at Vanderyn and her sister.

“Mind your own business.” Vanderyn replied through clenched teeth. Erica glared and crossed her arms. Leaper swung his sword and aimed at Vanderyn’s heart. But she was too quick for him. She ducked and lashed back at him. He jumped out of the way. Vanderyn dodged and avoided Leaper’s blows and hit him from time to time. After a long and exhausting battle, Leaper’s sword clattered to the ground and Vanderyn kicked it over the edge of the wall.

“I’m done for.” Leaper moaned.

“We’re going to leave you right here, so that someone can take you to a safe place. Hopefully he’ll learn some manners.” Vanderyn directed the last part to Erica.

Vanderyn and Erica both rushed back to their hotel to gather up their belongings. Vanderyn knew that Leaper’s arm had a black dragon on it, so they could get back home.

As they once again climbed up the Great Wall of China, Leaper sat on a ledge, looking forlorn and lonely. Vanderyn felt sorry for him. She realized that, perhaps inside of Leaper’s black heart, maybe there was a bit of good. But this feeling of pity did not last long.

Erica and Vanderyn rolled up their long sleeves and pressed their arms against his tattoo. They were sucked down once again, and landed on top of the stone sundial.

“I see that you have made it and defeated Leaper. I give you my congratulations.” Sunbeam said, standing next to the sundial. “I foresee great achievements in your future.”

As Vanderyn, Erica and Sunbeam made the journey back to the village, Vanderyn thought of how much she would value her former life back again.

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