Sunny, Eden and the other animals waited patiently at the foot of the Crystal Towers for a long time before they started to get a little concerned about what had happened to Rose.
“She’s been in there a while Sunny” Eden said softly as she continued staring upwards, “do you think we should go up and check on her?” She watched Sunny’s reaction closely to see if he had the same concerns that she did. She couldn’t tell. She had known Sunny all of her life and he had always been very brave and strong, even when the Queen and King had fled the land Sunny had remained completely loyal and unshakeable in his belief that they would one day return. “Everything happens for a reason” he had said, “mark my words, they will return at exactly the right time. We just need to be patient.” Their patience and loyalty had been stretched to the limit over the years. First of all having to endure many of their friends and family members from all of the different animal kingdoms give up hope and turn into vile, hideous creatures, followers of the Evil Queen Maura. Shadows of their former selves these animals now cowered in fear and anxiety to her ever growing hunger for dominance. Then as the enemies numbers strengthened, they endured wave after wave of attack upon their home kingdoms as Maura tried to tighten her grip on her power. Every time she attacked, more and more turned to her side. If she could have destroyed them all she would have done it, but that had proved quite impossible. It looked at one point as though she may take them all over but somehow, she was not able to finish the job and gradually less and less of them were being turned, until not a single one turned, no matter how many times she attacked. This is how it remained. Although they were smaller in number, the remaining loyalists did not buckle under the pressure and had stayed strong in their stand against the Evil Queen. Eden was sure that this was in no small part due to Sunny and his unwavering faith in their rightful king and queen. She looked at him again, anxious for an answer, to hear his thoughts on their new visitor Rose and how she seemed to be faring inside the crystal chamber.
“Eden, look. Something is happening up there.” Sunny spoke suddenly with excitement in his voice. It was as if he had known all along that all they needed to do was wait and it seemed he was right again as a bright subtle pink light poured out from the crystal chamber above. But what happened next seemed to take all of them by surprise, including Sunny.
Rose appeared at the entrance of the chamber surrounded by a radiant glow of soft pink light. She stood there for a few seconds and then suddenly she spread out the most magnificent pair of wings. She looked down at them and it was clear that in addition to those, she now had a rather prominent horn centred at the top of her head. She had been transformed again, this time into a beautiful Alicorn.
There was no need for Rose to walk back down the steps at all and she flew straight down towards them as all of the others gasped, landing in front of Eden and Sunny she gently bowed her head and smiled.
“Welcome home Your Highness” exclaimed Sunny as he and Eden both bowed to Rose.
“Welcome home?” repeated Rose. “That’s what you said in my dream! But I don’t understand. I’ve never been here before. Why are you saying welcome home?”
“You may have never been here before” explained Sunny “but this is your home. You are the daughter of Abner and Alva and the rightful heir to the throne of Velaro Fore. They have guided you here to help us. Surely it can’t be long now until they return. What message did they send you inside the chamber?”
“All I can remember is that when I went inside everything went black. I didn’t know what was going on. Then as I started waking up I heard the words ‘Go to the palace Rose. You must speak to Maura.’ The next thing I knew I was standing again looking down at you.”
Sunny looked intently at Eden who now spoke again.
“Rose, are you sure that’s what you heard? We never go to the palace, we stay as far away from Maura as we possibly can. She has left us alone for years now. If we march upon her palace she will no doubt attack us again.”
Rose looked at Eden and was about to speak when suddenly her horn began to glow. A beam of light shot straight out and covered Eden from top to bottom in a warm glow. A few seconds later she also had wings. One by one the light came from Rose onto each of the other horses until every one of them had been transformed into a Pegasus.
“What is happening?” Rose gasped as she looked at all of them lined up, completely transformed.
“This is part of your power Rose and part of your message,” replied Sunny. “This is confirmation from Abner and Alva that you are indeed to head towards the palace and that we are all to come with you. We will go with you at first light, it is too late to head off now. We will all take shelter and rest here. Tomorrow, we will send messengers to each of our kingdoms to send reinforcements and then we will march upon the palace.”
“Agreed,” said Eden “we will wait until morning. There is nothing more that we can do tonight. Make sure you all rest up well, especially you Rose. Tomorrow is going to be a very challenging day for all of us.”
With that they made their preparations for the night and settled down ready to sleep. Rose lay there staring up at the stars. This was all too much to take in. She had so wanted to find out more about her Mum and Dad and where they came from but now she was here, she still couldn’t find them. Where were they and where was George and all of her friends?
It was just as she was pondering that very question that George and Eldred, along with another nineteen dragons that they had gathered together, arrived at the gates of the horses kingdom.
“My brothers we have important news for your leader Eden, I am Eldred of the Dragon Kingdom” Eldred declared as he stood before the guards at the gate “please let us pass.”
“Eldred, Eden is not here. She has ridden north to the Crystal Towers with a company of our fellow countrymen and a new arrival by the name of Rose. We are not sure when they are expected back but you are welcome to remain here and wait for them,” replied the guard.
George looked at Eldred in dismay, “We’ve missed them. We have to go and find them straight away,” he cried.
“I don’t think that’s the best idea George,” said Eldred. “We will struggle to find them in the darkness of night and besides we have to rest up at some point. Let’s spend the night here and we will fly out at first light and meet them at the Crystal Towers. You never know, they may even be on their way back here now.”
George didn’t like it but he knew that Eldred was right. He nodded first at Eldred and then at the guards. The guards in turn opened the gates and all of the dragons filed inside, led by George and Eldred. They gathered around the centre courtyard and settled down for the night. George couldn’t help but wonder how they were going to find his sister and he hoped that she was ok. That was his last thought as he slowly drifted off to sleep.