Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Day 235 - June 23rd

Princess Ivy and The Unicorns of The Sea
Once upon a time, there was a castle on a hill. Inside the castle, at the tippity-top of a very tall tower, the sound of soft snoring could be heard. The Prince was snuggled in his royal bed and having a very nice dream when loud knocking on his chamber door startled him awake.
“What’s that? What’s going on? Do you know what time it is?” he mumbled grouchily, blinking dreams from his eyes.
The door opened its mouth and spoke slowly.
“Sire, the Evil Captain has escaped from the dungeons.”
The words sent a chill through the Prince and he was suddenly wide awake. “Sound the guards!” he cried out to the door. “We mustn’t let him escape!”
“Uh, my lord, I’ve already sounded the guards.”
“Oh. Well… sound them again! This is important!” All the guards lit torches and searched the entire palace from top to bottom but the Evil Captain was nowhere to be found. He had disappeared into the shadows.
By the time they searched everywhere, the sun was just beginning to creep up into the sky. The Prince sighed wearily and leaned on the ramparts. “Princess Ivy is not going to be happy when she hears what happened. Not at all,” he groaned.
In the grassy green fields where the unicorns run and live, the sun was also rising. Princess Ivy rolled out of her nice warm bed. It was a particularly exciting day because her unicorn Rosemary had just had a foal. Her name was Thyme. Ivy ran to the front door, opened it and looked out at the herd of white unicorns grazing on the grass nearby. Her friends whinnied and came over to nuzzle her. They especially liked it when Ivy hugged them around their necks and brushed their manes. Rosemary and Thyme were being slow about making their way over because Thyme was still unsteady on her hooves. Her little horn was only a couple inches long.
Princess Ivy was feeding them carrots when she heard people coming up the road. There were a dozen armored guards on horseback and they were flying the flags of the Prince. Princess Ivy waved.
“Hey Prince! Good morning! What brings you out here?”
The prince brought his horse to a halt. He looked worried. “Princess Ivy, I’m afraid the Evil Captain escaped last night. We need your assistance in recapturing him. We think he’s planning something evil again.”
“I’ll get my stuff!” Ivy said. “Rosemary, I need your help, girl!” Rosemary trotted over and Ivy hopped on; the rest of the herd would babysit Thyme while she was on the mission.
Then Ivy held up her hand and yelled “Spear of Magic!” Lots of banging and clattering came from the direction of the house before a blue spear zoomed out the open door and into Ivy’s outstretched hand.
“I’m ready. Let’s go!”
“I have an idea where the Evil Captain might be” said the Prince. “One of my guards said they saw his flag raised high up in the Red Mountains.”
It took the whole day to ride out to the Red Mountains. From their vantage point, they could see a campfire and a few bad guys and on a pole there was the flag of the Evil Captain.
“I don’t see the Evil Captain, do you?” asked Ivy.
“No, but he has to be down there, right?” replied the Prince. “Let’s just go beat them up and see.”
Princess Ivy and Rosemary led the charge with Prince Charming and his guards close behind. The bandits had been taking naps without their weapons nearby and they were easily captured. But the Evil Captain was nowhere to be found.
Princess Ivy looked down at the bad guys who were surrounded by the Prince’s guards and their swords.
“Hey you with the beard, where is the Evil Captain?
All the bandits—they all had beards—looked at the ground and didn’t say anything.
“Tell me what his plans are or else. Don’t make me mad!”
Princess Ivy thought they weren’t going to say anything when one of the bandits began to laugh.
“What’s so funny, bandit?”
He grinned wickedly. “You’ve been tricked! You fell right for the Evil Captain’s plan. He wanted you to come here. He spread the false rumor of his whereabouts so he could lure you away from the unicorns! By now he’s already captured the baby unicorn, Thyme!”
Panic surged through Ivy but she couldn’t let the bandits see her face so she led Rosemary away from them and let the guards handle the rest. They tied them up and left them at the campsite where they could retrieve them later.
“What did he say, Princess” asked the Prince.
Ivy spoke around the lump in her throat. “He’s tricked us, Prince. We have to get back to the herd at once.” The Prince looked stunned, then turned to his guards and ordered them to get ready to ride. Everyone got back on their steeds. They rode all through the night as fast as they could back to the unicorn field, everyone fearing the worst.
They saw the smoke first. The Evil Captain had burned Ivy’s house down. The unicorns were running around frantically but Thyme was nowhere to be seen. Ivy and Rosemary ran up to them. “Where did they go? Show me where he took her,” Ivy pleaded, fighting back tears. But none of them knew. The Prince walked over and placed a comforting hand on Ivy’s shoulders. “It’s going to be alright. We’ll find her.”
Ivy brushed the tears away and when she turned to the Prince he could see the flinty hardness of anger in her eyes. He gulped. “Um, Princess, you have that look again. You know, the one where it looks like you’re going to whoop all the bad guys in the world.”
Ivy gripped her Spear of Magic tightly. “I have an idea how to find the Evil Captain” she replied through gritted teeth. “We have to find someone with an exceptional nose.”
“What?” the Prince asked, confused.
“You’ll see.” She turned to the unicorns. “Friends, I need your help. Will you let the Prince and his guards ride you? We would go much faster if we all rode unicorns. Time is of the essence.”
The unicorns each chose a guard as their rider. The shortest one chose the Prince and he sighed under his breath. “Typical.”
The Princess and the Prince and his guards and their unicorn steeds traveled to the Black Forest. Everyone was scared of the forest, even Ivy just a little bit, but the unicorns seemed to know the way. Their white coats glowed with moonlight in the darkness and illuminated the path as they went deeper into the heart of the Black Forest. Strange and ominous barks and croaks and howls came from the black all around them but nothing appeared. No one spoke a word.
At the end of the path, there was a small thatch-roof cottage. Smoke curled up from the chimney before mixing with the fog blanketing the air. Ivy dismounted and strode towards the door. She raised her hand tentatively, then knocked three times.
The door swung open and dog looked out at them over his spectacles, an open book in his paws. “Good evening, good to see you again, Princess.” The Prince nearly fell off his horse. “Princess! That dog, he’s…he’s walking on his hind feet!”
“Yes, and I speak human too.” The Prince was speechless but the Princess gave the dog a big hug. “Wilfred, thanks for having us. We need your help. The Evil Captain stole Thyme.”
Wilfred raised his eyebrows. “My, that is serious. Well, come in and I’ll see what I can do.”
The Prince and the Princess walked in. An cauldron sat near the fire and a liquid bubbled inside. Wilfred walked over to it and began leafing through his book. “Now let’s see, one drop of essence of nightshade, two leaves of ashberry, a goat’s eye, the wart of a witch, five vials of unicorn purified water…”he muttered to himself. “You’re in luck, Princess. I have everything I need for the Tracking potion. Stand back now.”
Wilfred turned and began rummaging in a nearby cabinet, inside of which were bottles and jars of all shapes and sizes. Princess Ivy and the Prince ducked as all manner of ingredients flew over their heads before landing with a splash into the sizzling water. The cauldron’s contents changed color, flashing from orange to spinach green to arsenic black before settling on a turgid purple. “Success!” Wilfred cried. Then he grabbed a ladle and carefully drank a few sips. Then he took a big, long sniff. “Ah yes, I see now… hmm… no, that’s not it…where is his trail….ah hah! Princess, I’ve tracked the Evil Captain to the Blue Coast!”
Ivy gave him a big hug. “Thanks for everything, Wilfred! Sorry we have to go but I’ll come back soon.”
“Yes yes go and save the day, young lady!”
Our heroes galloped from the Black Forest with all speed to the Blue Coast. When they arrived, they crested a large hill and there was the Evil Captain and his crew of fearsome bandits.  Without hesitation, Princess Ivy and Rosemary charged down the hill with the Prince and his army who were riding on the unicorns of the herd behind them. They loosed a fiery battle cry. They all wanted to bring Thyme home. Princess Ivy and Rosemary darted about the battlefield knocking bad guys down with spear and hoof. The Prince was using two swords and fighting off two bandits at once. But he was concentrating so much on fighting his opponents that he couldn’t see the third bandit sneaking up behind him with a steel curved dagger!
“Look out!” Ivy shouted, but he didn’t hear because the sounds of battle were too loud. She and Rosemary dashed over just in the nick of time and bowled over the bandit. The Prince defeated his two opponents and glanced over his shoulder to see Ivy had saved him.
“Come on, get on. We have to find the Evil Captain.” Ivy pulled him up onto Rosemary and together they rode off leaving the battlefield to the guards and the unicorns.
The Evil Captain, having seen that his bandits were going to lose, had slunk quietly away from the battle. He had an escape route. The Prince spotted him. “There, look Princess, he’s running away along that cliff with Thyme! He’s got her in a wooden cage!” The Evil Captain turned to see our heroes coming for him. “You’ll never catch me!” he growled at them. Then he jumped off the cliff.
“No!” cried Ivy and they ran to the edge of the cliff. An enormous red hot air balloon rose up and filled the sky. The Evil Captain and Thyme were in the basket, looking down at them. “Har har har, I’ve won again, Princess. You and your little friends are powerless to stop me!”
Ivy looked down. The mighty ocean crashed against the rocks below. She couldn’t jump to the balloon. “Why are you doing this?! Don’t you know you’re hurting everyone?”
The Evil Captain looked stunned and for a brief second, the hot air balloon seemed to hesitate on the wind, temporarily frozen in place. Then the Evil Captain shook his head and looked angry. “Well, I’m doing this, of course, because it’s the most evil thing in the world. You wouldn’t understand.” Then he pulled a cord and the balloon began drifting out to sea again.
“Stop!” Ivy shouted. She didn’t know what to do! Then she remembered. “Of course! The Spear of Magic!” She summoned the blue spear by calling its name and, getting a running start, she launched it with all her might towards the red balloon. It punctured the balloon through and through and all the air started hissing out. The walls of the balloon were collapsing and the Evil Captain and Thyme began falling towards the ocean! The basket landed with a splash on the water and began to sink.
Princess Ivy and the Prince looked at each other, wordlessly held each other’s hands, then leaped off the cliff together. They plunged into the icy, dark waters of the sea. White bubbles and the dull roar of the waves swirled around them. Where was Thyme? Then they spotted the basket and there, the cage with Thyme inside! They swam fast to the spot and started to break the cage apart with their hands. The Prince had a dagger he was using to cut some of the rope. Thyme was free! But they were beginning to run out of air. Princess Ivy and the Prince grabbed hold of Thyme and struggled towards the surface but Thyme was too heavy and the water too deep. They weren’t going to make it!
Princess Ivy tried to think of a solution but no answers were forthcoming. Darkness began to weigh in on the sides of her vision and her eyes began to close. Sorry, Rosemary. Sorry, Thyme. Sorry, Prince, she thought. I wish I could have been stronger. I’m so tired. She began to pray.
Crooning noises sounded from the deep ocean. They echoed around and through her. Princess Ivy first thought she was imagining things. But the sounds were getting louder and louder. Then she saw horns flashing in the underwater light. What are my unicorns doing in the sea, Ivy wondered to herself? These were no unicorns though; they were narwhals!
The pod of narwhals swam around the Prince, Thyme and Princess Ivy and began lifting them to the surface with lightning quickness. When they broke above the water, Ivy gasped and breathed in the sweetest air she’d ever breathed. The Prince was coughing up water but started whooping with delight. Thyme was slumped over the back of the biggest narwhal looking shaken but alive!
Ivy looked at the speckled grey and blue narwhal that was gliding her across the sea. The narwhal’s golden, spiraled horn was jutting above the water and glistening in the light. “Unicorns of the sea!” she cried out. “Unicorns of the sea!” The Prince looked across at her, astonished. Then he began to laugh. They were surging towards the shore and the setting sun was painting the sky jubilantly with gold, rose and pearl. The Prince’s guards and the rest of the unicorns were waiting on the beach when they made land and received them with victory shouts and neighs. Rosemary and Thyme were together again. Princess Ivy turned back towards the ocean to thank the narwhals but they had disappeared. For a long minute, Ivy scanned the grey water for her new friends. Even though Ivy couldn’t see them, she knew they were out there. She would be back to see them again.

The End

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