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Petal couldn't move; the Snowager's eye held her stare,
and she was immobilized with fear. The eye blinked once, slowly. Then
the Snowager let out a roar that shook the rock walls of the cave and
caused dust to trickle onto their heads.
Petal stumbled backwards and tripped over her tail. The
Snowager lifted his long, snakelike neck and opened his mouth wide, to
reveal dripping fangs. Petal whimpered softly. The Snowager hissed in
reply. He was poised to strike; Petal stared at him, eyes wide, mouth
quivering in fear. She knew that there was no escape.
Suddenly, right behind the Snowager's head, she saw a
green form appear, and a pair of friendly yellow eyes caught her own.
It was Pilot! Petal felt a little better, but one glance at the fangs
only feet from her face made her realize that her friend probably couldn't
help her now.
Pilot waved to get her attention again. Then he pointed
to her, and then to the fluttering wings on his back. He made the same
gestures again. Petal stared at him as if he were crazy; then she remembered:
She had wings! She should fly away from the Snowager and the menacing
fangs. She stood up, very slowly, so as not to alarm the monster, and
watched his every move; suddenly, she leaped into the air, and zipped
right by his head to join Pilot. They raced away as fast as they could,
the Snowager's roar of fury following them through the dark tunnel.
"Pilot!" she panted, struggling to keep up with him.
"I was so glad… to find out that… you were safe!"
Pilot smiled at her. "Sure, I was safe," he laughed.
"You think those Forest Spooks spook me? Never!" He laughed again. Petal
gave a weak grin. "We still have to get the Ball of Rainbows," she reminded
"Not to worry! Follow me!" he called. He zoomed down
the corridors; she wondered how he knew every turn to make. They made
one last turn, and Petal saw the night sky ahead of them. "Oh, Pilot!"
she cried. "The moon's almost full; we haven't got much time!"
"Don't worry!" he said again. "Just come with me, and
everything will be fine!" He zoomed up into the air, Petal close on his
heels. They were soon above the clouds, and among the stars. He zipped
around, seemingly examining each bright star, until he beckoned her over
to an especially brilliant one, blazing with golden light. "Remember when
I said that you have to give the Snowager a star?" he asked her.
"Yes," she replied, puzzled, "but… how will that get
us the Ball of Rainbows?"
"Well," he answered, "you noticed how everything in his
cave is bright and shiny, right? We have to get his attention away from
his treasure and onto something else. So, we have to get the brightest
thing of all: a star!" He grinned triumphantly. "Do you understand?"
"I… I think so," she told him. "So, when he sees this
star, he'll look away from his treasure, and we can snatch the Ball of
"Exactly!" he cried excitedly. "C'mon - I'm going to
need your help with this!"
They both pushed and tugged as hard as they could, until
finally the star popped free of the night sky. Petal held onto it tightly
as they jetted off toward the cave once more. Petal could barely see where
she was going, since the star was so lustrous, but Pilot gently took hold
of her tail guided her through the tunnels. In what seemed like no time
at all, they were back in the cave with the golden riches.
The Snowager was still awake… and he was mad with fury.
He bellowed with anger, and reached for the two trespassers.
"Now, Petal!" Pilot shouted. "Show it to him now!"
Petal held up the star in front of the Snowager's glistening
emerald eye. He stopped short in his attack, and gazed at the star's rays
as they reflected in his eye.
"Drop it!" Pilot cried.
She let it fall to the floor. The Snowager's head followed
it all the way down, and his eyes would not leave the pretty new thing.
Petal knew that she didn't have much time; either the Snowager would finish
examining his new treasure, or the moon would turn full first. She looked
around wildly, cursing herself for not looking for the Ball earlier when
she'd had the chance. Then, she spotted it: it was lying right under the
tip of the Snowager's tail. In fact, he had his tail coiled around it
three times. Petal took a deep breath and dived. She yanked the Ball of
Rainbows as hard as she could, and, with difficulty, slid it out of the
monster's tight grasp. Then she raced up to join Pilot, and the two fled
the cave just as the Snowager was looking up from the star.
The roar that followed them out of the cave was louder
than a thousand thunderstorms and an earthquake combined. They flew as
fast as their wings could carry them, and as soon as they reached the
end of the tunnel, they collapsed on the ground, panting and struggling
for breath, Petal's paw lying protectively over the Ball of Rainbows.
Pilot was the first to get up. He was still gasping,
but he helped Petal to her feet. Then he smiled. "Well… you did… it… Petal!"
he congratulated her in short spurts of air. She grinned at him. "No…"
she countered, "we… did it! Would… you like to… come back… to…
the meadow and… meet my… parents?" she wheezed.
He smiled sadly and shook his head. "No, I think that
I should be getting home," he told her. "My mother is sure to be plenty
worried about me by now! Give them my regards, though. I promise that
I'll come and visit sometime."
"You'd better!" she replied with mock severity. "Or I
might just have to ask the Faerie Queen to bring you back to the Snowager,
so that he can give you a suitable punishment for me!"
He laughed. "'Bye, Petal!" he called as he zoomed off.
"'Bye! Thanks for being my friend!" she shouted back.
The journey back to the Faerie Queen's hollow tree wasn't
nearly as long as she thought it would have been. She was careful to go
around the woods of the Forest Spooks this time, lest she be in more trouble
than she could handle again. It seemed that in no time ate all, she was
standing, once again, before the redwood tree. She let out a sigh of relief
and stepped inside.
"Faerie Queen?" she called. "I have the Ball of Rainbows!"
The Faerie Queen appeared by her side. "Well, so you
do," she said, and Petal knew that she would have been smiling, if she
had had a mouth. "Well done, Petal. You may now call yourself an adult
Petal grinned happily. "Thank you for letting Pilot come
to help me," she told her. "I couldn't have done it with out him."
"We all need friends now and then," the Faerie Queen
replied. "That's what life is about: friends and love." She removed her
wand from her robes and moved toward Petal. "I'm afraid I need to take
those wings back," she told the Lupe.
Petal sighed regretfully, but she obligingly turned and
bared her back to the Queen. She felt the same itching feeling again,
but this time she knew that she must not scratch. After a few moments,
her back felt infinitely lighter, and she knew that the wings had disappeared.
"Too bad," she muttered. "I really liked those wings."
"I'm sorry, Petal, but rules are rules," the Faerie Queen
reminded her. "You'll just have to wait until you find a Faerie Paintbrush
one day." She reached for the Ball of Rainbows, and Petal gladly handed
it over. The Queen hefted it in her hands for a few moments, and then
murmured, "This must be returned to Silver."
"Silver?" Petal said, surprised. "You don't mean my Daddy's
"I most certainly do," the Faerie Queen said. "This is
her Ball of Rainbows; it was given to her by Element many years ago."
Petal's blue eyes widened. "You mean the very first Magical
Lupe ever?" she yelped. The Faerie Queen nodded. "I didn't know it was
so important!" Petal exclaimed, blushing. "I… I thought it was just a
The Faerie Queen laughed. "Oh, no - it's much more than
that! Hasn't your father ever told you of when he used the Ball of Rainbows
to meet Element and help him defeat the most evil of all Lupes?" Speechless,
Petal shook her head. "You should ask him about it when you get home,"
the Faerie Queen said firmly. "And, I think -" She glanced outside. "Yes,
here they are now!"
Petal turned around and was greeted by the best sight
she'd ever seen: her parents! "Welcome back, sweetheart!" Celest cried
happily, bounding forward to give her daughter a loving lick on the nose.
"Yes, well done, Petal!" Galilobo said, pride in his
voice. "I couldn't have done any better myself!"
Petal was silent. She was just so glad to have her parents
back! They hugged and nuzzled for a while. Finally, Petal stepped away
and looked back up at the Faerie Queen. "Faerie Queen?" she asked timidly.
"Yes?" the Queen replied.
"May I ask you for just one more favor? Just a tiny one?"
The Queen chuckled. "I suppose there's no harm in the
"Well," Petal said eagerly, "I was thinking… could I
return the Ball of Rainbows to Silver? I haven't seen her in such a long
time, and my dad could come with me, and we'd have a great adventure,
and he'd tell me the story of when he met Element, and we could -"
The Faerie Queen laughed. "Slow down!" she said, holding
up a hand to stop her. "Yes, you most certainly may return the Ball of
Rainbows to Silver. It would save me a trip, and I have more work to do
"Yay!" Petal yipped. "Thank you so much!"
The Queen petted her head gently. Then she turned to
Galilobo. "When you return to the meadow, please send Amenophis IV to
me. His turn for a Quest has arrived."
"Amenophis?" Petal barked with laughter. "Oh, this is
wonderful! I can give him some tips on how to become an adult Lupe!"
All four laughed, and the reunited family of Magical
Lupes headed home.