Read the series prologue.
Read episode eight.
Episode Nine: Unicorn Quest
“This is terrible!” Lilac exclaimed staring at the curtain of water in front of her. “The river is disgusting.”
The fairies were sitting in Lilly’s home, a cave-like house behind the waterfall of the Farawad River.
“It’s not just the river,” said Wispen. “All the water in the forest is like this.”
“It’s some strong curse,” said Lilly in a hoarse voice. “We sprites can’t make the water clean again. It’s making us sick. Some other kinds of fairies are sick too.”
“And animals,” added Wispen.
“You should try not to talk so much, Lilly,” said Lilac in concern. “We don’t want you to lose your voice.”
Lilly smiled weakly.
“We should find out whose fault it is and make them pay!” shouted Reuben.
“Hush, Reuben,” said Lilac irritated as usual by the pixie’s immaturity. “We don’t know what’s making the water so dirty.”
“The queen says she knows how to make the water clean again,” said Wispen. “She asked all fairies who are well enough to come to the dancing meadow.”
“The three of us are going there later today,” Lilac added.
“You’ll have to tell me about it,” said Lilly. “Sorry I’ll be no help this time.”
“Nonsense!” cried Lilac. “It’s not your fault you got sick. You don’t need to be sorry.”
“You will tell me what the queen says, though, won’t you?” Lilly persisted.
“Of course I will,” Lilac agreed.
Later that afternoon the three healthy friends stood in the meadow, waiting for the queen of the fairies to announce what should be done.
“Where is the queen?” asked Reuben flitting around trying to catch a glimpse of her.
“She’s not here yet,” said Lilac. “Just wait a little while.”
“I hate waiting!” Reuben pouted.
Before Lilac could say anything else, a cry went up, “She’s here!”
Reuben flew higher to get a better view. “I see her, I see her!” he yelled in excitement.
A tall dark haired fairy dressed in long, flowing silver robes glided silently into the very center of the meadow. Those standing in front of her parted to let her pass. Finally the queen stopped, folded her large gauzy wings and turned in a slow circle to look at all who were gathered. Once she completed her circle she spoke.
“Citizens of Fairy Wood you know why I have called you here. I do not know what has caused the waterways to become so polluted but I know how we can fix them. There is a creature which possesses the ability to cleanse that which has become unclean and heal those who have been poisoned. The creature I speak of is the unicorn. Unicorns have been our allies for years but it will take a large number of them to clean all our waterways and heal all our people. I need all of you to help. Some of us may need to invite unicorns from beyond the forest. Time is short! We must bring the unicorns to the woods before we all fall victim to this terrible curse. Now hurry, and may the Lord of Light protect you on this quest.”
She raised her hand in blessing then flew gracefully from the meadow.
As soon as she was gone everyone stirred and began talking quietly. Lilac and Wispen moved closer together and Reuben stopped flitting around and landed to join in their conversation.
“We should split up,” said Wispen. “That is the only way we can find enough unicorns in time. The more we can convince to come, the faster the water will get clean.”
“That’s a good idea,” said Lilac. “Also, I think that we should meet each other after every few trips so we can talk about how things went. We can compare tactics and give each other ideas. We should also update Lilly occasionally.”
“We could meet at the waterfall,” said Reuben. “That way we can talk and update Lilly.”
“Sounds good,” Lilac agreed. “For starters I think I’ll head for the Emerald Mountains. Reuben, why don’t you search for unicorns in the forest? Wispen, I’m sure you know where to start.”
“Yes, I do,” he admitted then added, “We should get going.”
“You two go ahead,” said Lilac. “I’m going to tell Lilly what’s happening. I promised I would.”
“All right, but hurry,” Wispen replied.
They stood together just long enough to whisper, “Light shine on us all.” Then each went in a different direction to search for the unicorns.
“That’s a great idea!” said Lilly after Lilac finished telling her about the new quest. “I wish I could help. I’d love to see a unicorn.”
“You’ll see plenty of unicorns before long,” Lilac replied. “Plus, the queen said that they can heal people. You’ll be helping us again in no time!”
Lilly nodded then winced and pressed her hands against her forehead.
“Are you all right?” asked Lilac in concern. Ever since Lilly had gotten sick it seemed as though she was getting worse every time Lilac saw her.
“I’m fine,” the sprite muttered.
“I’ll tell you what,” said Lilac. “I’ll bring the first unicorn I find here to make you better.”
“We need to clean the water first or we’ll just keep getting sick,” said Lilly.
“There will be plenty of time to clean up the water once you’re well. I have to go now, but I’ll be back before you know it.”
“May the Lord help you on your quest,” said Lilly raising her hand in farewell.
Lilac smiled and got to her feet. She couldn’t help looking back one last time before leaving the cave behind the waterfall. Lilly had closed her eyes and was lying back on a cushion of moss. She must have thought Lilac was gone, for she had stopped pretending she was fine. She looked terrible. Lilac was sure she had never before seen anyone that sick. Lilac realized that she had to find a unicorn fast, or it might be too late to help her friend.
Reuben whizzed through the forest like a tiny red comet searching for any sign of a unicorn. As he flew, he worked on a plan to get any unicorns he found to the waterways. Finally, he spotted a gleaming white unicorn grazing in a forest glade. Slowing his pace a little, Reuben flew right up to the animal and began flitting around him. The unicorn raised his head and tossed his mane in irritation but the pixie continued to annoy him. The creature gave up on grazing and trotted out of the clearing. Reuben followed, flashing his pixie light to confuse the unicorn and guide him in the right direction.
Finally, the unicorn came to a filthy pond. Here the pixie landed on the branch of a tree and sat, watching. The unicorn waded into the center of the pond and lowered his head until his horn touched the water. Instantly a spot of clean water appeared surrounding the horn. The clear water spread from this point until the entire pond was clean again.
“That was cool,” said Reuben. “I’m going to do it again.”
He flew off to find another unicorn to bother.
Lilac flew towards the mountains as fast as her wings would carry her. If she started to grow tired, she had only to think of Lilly growing sicker and her energy returned. When night fell she decided to get a little sleep so that she would have enough strength to complete the quest. Still, she was on her way again before dawn. She reached the mountains later that day and began her search. By the time the sun set that night, she had still found no sign of unicorns. She rested again and resumed her search the next day. She flew through alpine forests and over rocky peaks, some of which were tipped with snow.
As the sun sank lower in the sky, Lilac found her spirits sinking too. She had hoped to see some sign of a unicorn by now. She decided to continue her search through the night. She flew closer to the ground in order to better see what was going on below her. She almost passed a rocky mountain face when she noticed movement on it. She circled back around to get a closer look. Sure enough, a grey unicorn with a foamy white mane was leaping from ledge to ledge.
“Hello there!” Lilac called. At the sound of her voice the creature spooked and began running down the mountainside.
“Wait, please wait!” Lilac cried diving after it.
She chased the unicorn over the rocks and down to the tree line. In the mountainous woods it became harder for the fairy to keep track of the unicorn since she had to watch where she was going and avoid running into trees. Eventually, she lost sight of her quarry altogether. Unable to discover where the beautiful animal had gone, Lilac landed on a moonlit boulder.
“I just wanted to ask for your help!” she shouted into the woods at the top of her lungs. Then she sat down, pulled up her knees and put her head on them. Tears of frustration and despair ran down her cheeks.
“What do you want?”
Lilac gasped and lifted her head. Although the voice had been in her mind she was sure the question had come from someone else. She looked around until she spotted the unicorn standing under a nearby pine tree.
“Whatever you want me to do must be very important,” the unicorn continued. “You called me back. Very few things can keep unicorns from leaving if that is what we wish to do.”
“This is important,” Lilac replied, also with her mind. “I need your help to keep fairies from dying.”
She told the unicorn about the polluted water and Lilly getting sick. The unicorn listened closely then agreed to follow Lilac to Fairy Wood and help the situation there.
“And since we’ll be working together for a while we might as well know each other’s names,” the unicorn added. “Mine’s Mist.”
Lilac introduced herself.
“You seem tired,” Mist noted. “I think we should rest now and head for Fairy Wood in the morning.”
“I don’t think we should waste any time…” Lilac began but Mist interrupted her.
“We won’t do anyone any good if we’re too tired to think straight.”
“You won’t try to run away?” Lilac remembered hearing that unicorns were very wild and didn’t like to answer to anyone.
“I don’t think I’d get far if I tried,” Mist replied. “If the urgency of your quest called me back once, it is sure to do it again. If I left I would be forced to return, unless you release me.”
Although Lilac could see the benefits of this, she couldn’t help feeling a little ashamed of herself. She hadn’t meant to force Mist to help.
“I suppose we can rest for a little while,” said Lilac, “But I want to get an early start.”
“That’s fine by me.”
Lilly hadn’t thought she was hallucinating until that morning. After all, how could the waterfall be disgusting one minute and perfectly clean the next? Then there was the light. A small point of light seemed to be hovering just beyond the curtain of water. Before long a figure formed itself, seemingly out of the foamy water. The figure was a grey unicorn. Light seemed to be coming from the tip of her horn. Lilac followed the unicorn into the cave. At the sight of Lilac, Lilly’s mind snapped back into focus.
“I’ve brought a unicorn, Lilly,” cried Lilac, “just like I promised.”
Mist lowered her head to Lilly. Not quite knowing why she did it, the sprite raised her hand and touched the tip of Mist’s horn. She smiled as she slipped into a peaceful sleep.
“Is she going to be all right?” Lilac asked Mist.
“She will sleep for a little while,” Mist replied. “When she wakes she will be completely healed.”
Lilac was so relieved she found she couldn’t speak. She looked at Mist gratefully.
“I understand,” said the unicorn.
A few days later the four fairies sat on the crest of a hill watching large numbers of unicorns moving below them.
“I still can’t believe you convinced a whole herd to come to the forest!” Lilac said to Wispen.
The gnome shifted uncomfortably, clearly embarrassed.
“It’s not so hard really,” he muttered. “You just have to know how to talk to them.”
“Well none of the rest of us got an entire herd to come at the same time,” Lilac pointed out.
“They’re such beautiful creatures,” breathed Lilly. “I doubt there have ever been so many in the same place at the same time.”
“It is pretty amazing,” Lilac agreed.
“And it’s all because of us!” Reuben shouted triumphantly. He then proceeded to puff out his chest and fly about fifty feet into the air.
The others rolled their eyes and continued to gaze at the colorful group of creatures moving through the woods. Lilac spotted Mist near the center of the group.
“I’ll be right back,” Lilac said as she flew toward the unicorn.
“Hi, Mist,” she called mentally. Mist returned the greeting. “Sorry I haven’t released you yet. You see I don’t really know how I bound you in the first place. Still, I will do everything in my power to find out how to set you free. I’ll ask one of the older fairies for advice. An old fairy is sure to know how to undo an unintentional spell.”
“But you did release me,” Mist replied. “Your spell was gone as soon as your friend was well again. It was your urgency to help her that placed the spell on me. Once she was better, the urgency was gone.”
“But I don’t understand. If the spell is gone why are you still here?”
“I stayed because I wanted to help,” said Mist tossing her mane. “You need all the help you can get cleaning that poison out of the water.”
“Well, thank you.”
“Don’t mention it.”
With a contented smile, Lilac returned to her friends on the hill.
A couple weeks later the friends gathered again to discuss a much grimmer scene.
“I saw the remains of two more unicorns eaten by trolls this morning,” Wispen reported. “The large numbers of unicorns gathered here seem too tempting for the trolls to resist.”
Lilac nodded. “A number of unicorns have panicked and fled the forest.”
“Can you blame them when every night they expect another attack from bands of hunting trolls?” asked Wispen.
“I understand their fear,” replied Lilly. “It’s just that as the number of unicorns in the woods dwindles, the pollutants begin to return to our water.”
“I have been chosen to carry a message to the High Elves at their annual meeting in Wilderlah,” said Lilac. “The fairy queen is sure that the elves will sympathize and send warriors to help us protect the unicorns.”
“Good,” said Lilly. “It’s been terrible hearing about all those unicorns killed by trolls. The elves will know what to do.”
“Please hurry, though,” added Wispen. “The longer you take the more unicorns will die.”
“I’ll fly as fast as I can,” Lilac promised.
“May Light go with you,” said Wispen.
“Watch out for trolls and humavipers,” Reuben said, “and werewolves and giants and dragons and nightmares and…”
“That’s enough, Reuben,” cried Lilac, irritated. “I’ll be careful. Besides, I’ll probably fly too fast to meet any monsters.”
“Hurry back,” said Lilly quietly.
“I will,” Lilac replied. Then she hugged her friends and started her journey to Wilderlah.
Continue to episode ten.