The Crystal Kingdom
The tunnel of light was magnificent! It glowed and pulsated in multi-coloured beams that surrounded the children, or rather, the animals as they travelled through at great speed. All of them were still sound asleep and had no idea of what was going on.
One by one, each of the animals sped off into a different branch of the tunnel until the only one left was Rose and soon hers came to a quick end and she landed down onto what seemed like pink grass in the bright sunshine.
After a few seconds Rose began to stir and before long she opened her eyes. It took a moment for everything to sink in and for her to realise that she wasn’t in the garden anymore. She didn’t know where she was but something weird was going on, everything felt different. She stood up and looked around. As far as she could see everything was sparkling and shining and looked as though it was made of crystals, shimmering in the morning light, a soft glow reflecting back from the grass and the trees and the land all about. What was this place and what was going on?
She could hear the sounds of birds singing and somewhere not far off water running as though there were a stream nearby. It was quite warm and sunny and although everything did seem a bit weird she didn’t feel frightened, just curious. She stood there for a minute or two and then she started to realise that it wasn’t just the world around her that wasn’t the same, she was definitely different too. She looked down at her legs and they were different. They weren’t her legs, they were the legs of a horse and they were pink! Was she a horse now, a pink horse? This couldn’t be happening surely?
She started to run towards where she could hear the water coming from and straight away she could tell that she was running faster than she had ever been able to run before, in fact she was galloping and as she ran she was making a sound that was similar to thunder. The water was sounding really close now and she could see that she was coming up to it fast. As she got closer, she slowed down and walked up to the edge of the river. It was a crystal clear blue and was shimmering like no water she had ever seen before. But what was most surprising was the reflection looking back at her. There could be no mistaking it now, she had definitely somehow, turned into a rather majestic but rather pink horse!
It was at that moment that she realised that she was also not alone. Walking up to her were more horses, some of them pink, some of them golden and some of them white, each one shining brightly in the sunlight. It was too late to run, if that’s what she planned to do, but she didn’t have any plan of any kind so she just stood there and looked at them. They looked friendly and sure enough they stopped next to her and just looked back at her in return. Just as she thought her day couldn’t be any stranger one of the horses stepped forward and of all things started to speak.
“Do not be alarmed. We will not hurt you. My name is Eden, please, tell us your name and what you are doing here”.
“My name is Rose and quite honestly I don’t know what I’m doing here. I went to sleep last night in my sleeping bag in the garden and now I’m here. I really don’t know what is happening.” The horses looked at each other and started whispering among themselves before another asked,
“How did you get here?”
Rose looked at them all and started shaking her head and was about to say that she had no idea when she realised something.
“Oh. It must have been the crystals I found in the woods with my friends. They must have had some kind of power. When we found them I could see them glowing but the others couldn’t see it. Somehow they must have brought me here.”
The horses started to whisper among themselves but this time more excitedly before Eden spoke again.
“Rose, there is no doubt that the crystals you found were magical and what’s more, you were meant to find them. The friends that you speak of will all be here somewhere too. We will help you to find them. Please come with us, there is much that we need to discuss and there is no time to spare.” With that the horses turned and started to gallop away. Rose, realising that she had little choice started to follow them.
George had recovered from the immediate shock that he had somehow turned into a dragon, was in a strange crystal like world and could breath fire and ice. He was actually quite excited now and was flying high up in the sky looking down at the new world around him.
There were mountains and lakes everywhere as far as his eyes could see some of them covered in fire and lava and some of them covered in ice and snow. This was the coolest place he had ever seen and he was ready to explore it all. He swooped down into a valley and landed down next to a lake. It looked like it was on fire in certain places and he wondered how that could be possible.
“This is amazing!” He cried at the top of his voice and it echoed all around. The fire across the lake seemed to move as he carried on looking at it and suddenly he realised that it wasn’t the lake that was on fire. It was some kind of creature laying on an island in the lake and this creature was breathing fire. George was wondering if the creature was friendly but he wasn’t going to wait around to find out. He flew up into the sky and flapped his enormous wings as fast as he could. He looked back over his shoulder and to his shock he could now see that this creature was also a dragon, a much bigger dragon, dark purple in colour and what’s more, it was following him. George wasn’t sure what to do. There was no way he could outfly this creature, it was coming up to him fast. The only thing he could think of was that he would have to turn around and fight. He would have to take it by surprise if he had any chance but it was too late. The dragon had gained on him and was now right by his side. George closed his eyes and wished that he could be back in his sleeping bag, surely he was too young to die. He thought he was going to cry when suddenly he heard,
“I’ve not seen you around here before little dragon”. Was he imagining things? George opened his eyes and the dragon smiled at him. “Where are you flying off to so fast. Don’t tell me you’re scared of me. I’m not going to hurt you. I just wondered who you were. I was about to ask you when you flew off so fast.”
“Sorry” said George “I just didn’t know if you were friendly or not. I’ve never seen a real dragon before.”
“Oh, I see, so you are new around here. I knew I’d never seen you before. Let’s go back down and have a little chat. I’d like to hear all about you and where you come from.”
George decided that he could trust this dragon because if he was going to eat him he would have done it already.
“Okay, I’ll follow you down” said George and with that they both turned around and headed down to the ground with George wondering the whole time what exactly was going to happen next. When they reached the ground George and the dragon exchanged stories and as they both spoke, the other listened intently.
After a few minutes of conversation, George had found out quite a lot from this dragon. His name was Eldred, he was over five hundred years old and had spent his entire life living in this crystal world, which he had called Velaro Fore. George had also discovered that this land had been at war for some years now, ever since the King of the land Abner and his pregnant Queen Alva, had fled to escape the evil intentions of his younger brother Nerrez. None of them had been seen since as the Evil King had gone in pursuit of Abner and Alva and the only remaining royal figure in the land was Nerrez’s Queen Maura, who had taken control of most of the Kingdom and its subjects. Those that remained loyal to Abner and Alva were not strong enough to overcome the Evil Queen Maura and Maura was not a strong enough influence on her own to overcome their loyalties. This had resulted in a stalemate, with both sides anxious and waiting for the return of their allies. In turn, when George had explained that he, his sister and their friends had found some crystals in the woods Eldred’s ears pricked up and he asked George to tell him everything about it and when George mentioned that his sister often had vivid dreams including the latest one from last night of the flying pink horse Eldred let out a cry.
“George, from what you have told me, I believe that your sister and her friends are here somewhere inside Velaro Fore. We don’t have time to figure out where they all are but for certain your sister will be with the horses in their kingdom. If we leave now we can make it by nightfall, there’s no time to spare. On the way we will inform the other dragons and gather some support. If your sister Rose is who I think she is then we are going to need all of the help we can get!”
George stared at Eldred as he flew off into the sky. He was so fast that George wondered how he would ever keep up. He took a deep breath and started off after him.
“Wait for me” he shouted as he flapped his wings as hard and as fast as he could. He couldn’t work out at this stage whether Rose was in trouble or not. Were any of the others in trouble? Could they really all be here and if they were, where on earth were they?
They were indeed all there and to be precise they had all wondered the same thing, where were all of the others? As it turned out they had each had a similar experience, landing among their own kind of animal and having conversations with them explaining how they had come to be in this mystical land.
Violet, for one, had been flying for hours now as an eagle, heading towards the other animals that lived the closest, the butterfly kingdom; in the hope that one of the other children would be there. Thankfully, she would be in luck as Alex had landed in that part of The Crystal Kingdom although he was too bewildered to even speak and the other butterflies were unsure of what to make of him or how to help him.
Ruby on the other hand was having a wonderful time. She had been transformed into a dolphin and had spent the entire time playing with other dolphins and learning new tricks. The dolphins told her that the best thing they could do is stay together and head towards the duck kingdom to see if any of her friends might be there. Which was exactly where Callum was, deep in conversation with the other ducks, trying to understand how any of the animals could have been taken over by the Evil Queen and what they might be able to do to help them.
Finally Issy found herself amongst a rather large herd of deer, all grazing together in the afternoon sunshine. She had taken everything in so far from what the other deer had told her and she was convinced that they were all going to end up in a lot of trouble. She spent a long time trying to persuade the leaders of the herd before finally convincing them that they must go and gather up all of the help that they could from any of the other animals who were nearby. Someone, somewhere must know what they needed to do in order to get back home.