Breeze's Blast, страница 1
The Unicorn Princesses series
For Phoenix and Lynx
Unicorn Princesses, Moon’s Dance
About the Author and Illustrator
In the top tower of Spiral Palace, Ernest, the wizard-lizard, stared at his bookshelf. He tilted his scaly green head to one side and his pointy hat almost toppled off. “Hmm,” he said. “What book of spells should I study next? Magic Storms and Other Bewitched Weather? No, the unicorn princesses wouldn’t like that much. Enchanted Bangs and Conjured Crashes? Nope, too loud. What about—”
Before he could finish his sentence, a loud thumping on the door interrupted him. “Come in!” he called out, straightening his hat and cloak.
The wooden door creaked open, and a red dragon wearing a white chef’s hat and apron entered. “Good morning, Ernest!” the dragon boomed. His flame-colored eyes glimmered, and blue smoke puffed from his nostrils. In one clawed hand he held eight bulbs of garlic.
“Hello, Drew,” Ernest said, smiling eagerly. “Can I help you with something?”
“You sure can!” Drew bellowed. “We dragons down in the palace kitchen were wondering if you might provide us with some magical assistance.”
“With pleasure!” Ernest said, jumping with glee.
“Fantastic,” Drew said as threads of smoke rose from his nose. “Could you turn these bulbs of garlic into eight large cooking vats? We’re preparing to make the Blast Feast for Princess Breeze, but none of our usual pots are big enough.”
“I know just the right book of spells!” Ernest exclaimed. He grabbed a thin red book entitled Magic in the Kitchen and flipped to a page that said, in large letters across the top, “Big Pots, Large Pans, Giant Vats, and Humongous Cauldrons.”
“Thank you!” Drew said, and he set the garlic bulbs down on Ernest’s table.
“I’m sure I can do this one perfectly on the first try,” Ernest said. He read over the spell several times, mouthing the words silently. Then he stepped up to his table, grabbed his magic wand from his cloak pocket, and lifted it into the air. He took a deep breath before he chanted, “Cookily Slookily Stockily Stew! Garlic Starlic Smarlic Smew! Make Eight Bats for a Tasty Brew!”
Ernest waited. The bulbs of garlic didn’t spin or jump or quiver. Instead, thunder rumbled. Ernest scratched his head. “Oh dear,” Ernest said. “I’m not sure why that didn’t work.”
“Well,” Drew said, “I’m not a wizard, so I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s because you said ‘bats’ instead of ‘vats.’ ”
“Oh dear!” Ernest said again, slapping his hand to his forehead. Ernest turned and looked out the window just as eight bolts of silver lightning tore through the sky right above a distant meadow.
Drew shrugged. “We all make mistakes,” he said. “I usually have to try a recipe five or six times before I get it right.”
“Hopefully Princess Breeze won’t notice anything is amiss before the Blast,” Ernest said. Then he turned toward the garlic, cleared his throat, lifted his wand, and chanted, “Cookily Slookily Stockily Stew! Garlic Starlic Smarlic Smew! Make Eight Vats for a Tasty Brew!”
The bulbs of garlic spun around, faster and faster. Then, with a swirl of wind and a bright flash of light, the garlic vanished, and a tower of eight enormous silver vats appeared by the door.
“Marvelous!” Drew boomed, and a huge cloud of smoke came out of his nose. “I’m impressed you got it on the second try. Well done!”
“Thank you,” Ernest said, blushing.
Drew turned to the stack of vats and hoisted two off the top. “These are heavy! I’ll take these down to the kitchen, and then I’ll come back and get the rest. Thanks again for your help!” The dragon, with one arm wrapped around each vat, lumbered out of the room.
Early one Saturday morning, Cressida Jenkins watched the willow trees in her backyard bend and sway in the wind, and she decided to build her first-ever homemade kite.
While her parents drank coffee and talked in the kitchen, Cressida collected sticks, scissors, tape, and markers from her desk drawer. She found a pink plastic bag under the kitchen sink and then sat down with her supplies on the living room floor. Corey, her older brother, lay on the couch drinking orange juice and reading All About Bats, a book he had gotten from their grandmother for his birthday.
Cressida cut the plastic bag into a large diamond. She arranged the sticks into a cross and taped them to the diamond. Next, she used the markers to decorate the pink plastic with pictures of the seven unicorn princesses Cressida had befriended: yellow Sunbeam, silver Flash, green Bloom, purple Prism, blue Breeze, black Moon, and orange Firefly.
Corey glanced at Cressida’s kite and rolled his eyes. “Are you ever going to stop being obsessed with unicorns?” he asked. “Bats are much better. For one thing, they’re actually real. And, they can fly. Did you know they sleep all day and hunt mosquitoes and other insects all night? I bet unicorns, even if they were real, couldn’t do that.”
Cressida shrugged. She had much better things to do—like fly her kite—than argue with her brother. “I like unicorns and bats,” she said as she used a light blue marker to put the final touches on Breeze’s mane and tail.
Little did Corey know that not only were unicorns just as real as bats, but that any time she wanted to, Cressida could visit the Rainbow Realm—a magical land ruled by the unicorn princesses. To travel there, all she had to do was push a special key into a secret hole in the base of a giant oak tree in the woods behind their house.
“Why are the unicorns wearing those strange things around their necks?” Corey asked, frowning as he studied her kite.
“They’re magic necklaces,” Cressida explained. Just like the real princess unicorns, each of the unicorns Cressida had drawn wore a magic gemstone that hung from a colored ribbon.
Corey sighed. “Magic isn’t real, either,” he said.
Cressida smiled mysteriously. “That’s what you think,” she replied, not bothering to look up. When her grandmother had visited for Corey’s birthday, she’d given Cressida a set of permanent markers in metallic shades. Now, Cressida used the gold one to color in Sunbeam’s hooves and horn.
“Things that are real can be pretty amazing,” Corey said, looking down at his open book. “Did you know that the biggest kind of bats have a wingspan of up to six feet? Can you imagine a bat that big?”
“That’s pretty neat,” Cressida said, pausing to imagine a bat with a wingspan that was just as long as her father was tall.
“Maybe I’ll make a gigantic bat kite after I finish this book,” Corey said.
“I’ll help you with it,” Cressida said.
Then, as Corey continued to read, Cressida drew a rainbow that arched over the unicorn princesses.
Now the only thing left to do before she could fly her kite was to make it a tail. Cressida stood up and skipped across the living room, down the hall, and into her bedroom. She pulled her art supply bin off her shelves. And just as she began to rummage through a mess of paints, markers, crayons, yarn, stickers, glue, tape, sequins, and beads, she heard a high, tinkling noise.
Cressida grinned and leaped across the room to her bedside table. She opened the drawer and pulled out an old-fa
Cressida, who was still wearing her green unicorn pajamas, changed into a pair of jeans, a teal T-shirt with a picture of a kite with a rainbow tail, and her favorite shoes: a pair of silver unicorn sneakers. She especially loved them because they had pink lights that blinked whenever she walked, ran, or jumped.
With the key safely stowed in the back pocket of her jeans, Cressida dashed out of her room and sprinted to the back door.
“Where are you going in such a hurry?” Corey called out. “And aren’t you going to take your kite?”
“I’ll be right back,” Cressida said as she stepped outside. “I’m just going for a quick walk in the woods before I try to fly it.”
“Have fun,” Cressida’s father called from the kitchen.
Fortunately, time in the human world froze while Cressida was in the Rainbow Realm, so even if she spent hours with the unicorns, Corey and her parents would think she’d been gone only a few minutes.
Cressida ran through her backyard and turned onto her favorite path in the woods behind her house. When she came to the giant oak, she kneeled down and found the tiny hole in the base of the tree. Her heart thundered with excitement as she pushed the key into the hole. The forest began to spin, turning into a whirl of brown and green, and then everything turned pitch black. Suddenly Cressida felt as though she were falling through space. Then, with a gentle thud, she landed on something soft. For a moment, all she could see was a blur of white, pink, and purple. But when the room stopped spinning, Cressida found herself sitting on a lavender armchair in the front hall of Spiral Palace, the unicorns’ white, sparkling, horn-shaped home.
Crystal chandeliers shimmered from the ceiling. Light poured in through the windows, as pink, purple, and silver curtains fluttered in the breeze. Cressida looked all around the room for her unicorn friends, but the unicorn-size velvet couches and chairs were empty.
“Hello?” Cressida called out, standing up and walking to the center of the room. “Is anyone here?”
Then she heard a clattering of hooves in the hallway. In a few seconds, all seven unicorn princesses trotted up to Cressida.
Breeze danced over to Cressida and sang out, “Yippee! You’re here! We were trying to sneak into the palace kitchen to see what the dragons are cooking, but they caught us!” Her magic gemstone—an aquamarine—hung from an orange ribbon around her neck and glittered in the light of the chandeliers. From her other trips to the Rainbow Realm, Cressida knew Breeze’s magic power was to create gusts of blue wind.
“My human girl is back!” Sunbeam sang out, clicking her gold hooves together.
“We’re so glad you could come,” Flash said, swishing her silver tail.
Bloom and Prism reared up with excitement. And Firefly winked at Cressida.
The only unicorn who didn’t look happy was Moon, who stood apart from her sisters and stared worriedly at her shiny black hooves.
Cressida wanted to ask Moon what was wrong, but before she could, Breeze gushed, “We invited you here for our annual Windy Meadows Blast. It’s my favorite day of the year, and I’m so excited I can’t stand still.” Breeze trotted backward in circles around Cressida. “You’re just in time to come to the Windy Meadows to help me prepare for the Blast. Will you join me? Please!”
Cressida giggled. “Of course I will,” she said. “But what is the Blast?”
“It’s a special day when all my sisters and I ride huge kites up into the clouds,” Breeze explained. “Afterwards, the dragons cook us a fantastic feast. We want you to be the first human girl to ride up into the clouds with us.”
“I’d love that,” Cressida said. Flying into the clouds on a kite with seven unicorns sounded like more fun than almost anything else Cressida could imagine doing that morning.
Moon frowned and sighed loudly. Cressida opened her mouth to ask Moon what was wrong, but before she could speak, a red dragon wearing a puffy white hat and apron appeared. He whistled as he carried two enormous metal vats through the palace’s front room and down a hallway that led to the kitchen. Cressida knew from her first visit to the Rainbow Realm that the dragons were chefs who cooked the unicorns’ food with their fiery breath.
“Won’t you please tell us what you’re making for the Blast feast?” Breeze called out when she saw the dragon.
The dragon laughed, and blue smoke poured from his nostrils. “No chance!” he chortled. “It’s a secret. But you’re going to love it! We’ve been practicing the recipes for weeks. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to put these vats in the kitchen and go get the rest of the ones Ernest made for me.” With that, he disappeared down the hall, his enormous, spiked tale dragging behind him.
“I’m already hungry for the Blast feast,” Breeze said. “I skipped breakfast so I’d have extra room.”
“Me too!” Sunbeam and Flash said at once.
Flash turned to Sunbeam and narrowed her eyes. “You did?” she asked. “That doesn’t sound like you.”
Sunbeam blushed. “Well, okay, I had a little bit of breakfast,” she admitted. “I started to get cranky because I was hungry and I ate some roinkleberries. Well, a lot of roinkleberries. And some mushrooms. And an avocado. But trust me, I’m already hungry for the feast!”
“Prism, Firefly, and I meant to just have a small breakfast,” Bloom said, smiling self-consciously, “but then we saw a cluster of huge, perfectly ripe froyananas hanging from a tree. And, well, we couldn’t resist!” Cressida’s stomach turned. When she had visited Bloom’s domain, the Enchanted Garden, she had taken one bite of a froyanana only to discover it tasted like a terrible mix of pickles, marshmallows, tomatoes, and tuna fish.
Prism nodded. “They were amazing! But by the time the dragons have cooked their feast, I’m sure we’ll be hungry.”
“Definitely,” Firefly added. “I can’t wait for all of us to fly up into the sky together.”
Moon glanced up, and Cressida could see the unicorn’s eyes had filled with tears.
“What’s wrong, Moon?” Cressida asked.
Moon sniffled. “I’m not coming to the Blast this year, or ever again,” she said. “I’m too scared.”
“Oh no,” Flash whispered to Cressida. “Moon fell off her kite last year, and although she didn’t get hurt, she’s been terrified of this year’s Blast ever since.”
Cressida nodded. She certainly understood what it felt like to be scared after an accident—once, she had fallen off a playground swing, and she hadn’t wanted to go anywhere near that swing set, or even that park, afterward. Later, when she felt ready, she had returned to the park with her friends Gillian and Eleanor, and she had even tried—and enjoyed—swinging. But it had taken her awhile to feel like swinging again.
Breeze looked at Moon and said, “I know you’re scared, but you have to come to the Blast. It won’t be any fun without you.”
“I’m sure you won’t fall off again this year,” Sunbeam said.
Moon shook her head, and more tears streamed down her cheeks.
“Come on, Moon,” Prism said. “We all want you to fly with us.”
“I told you, I’m not coming,” Moon said. “Would you please listen to me? Stop trying to make me do something I don’t want to do!” With that, she turned and galloped down the hallway.
Breeze frowned. “I feel bad for Moon, but I just really hope she changes her mind,” she said. “The Blast won’t be any fun without all of us there, flying together.”
“I’ll go talk to her as soon as you and Cressida leave for the Windy Meadows to prepare for the Blast,” Flash said. “Don’t worry! I’m sure I can convince her to come fly with us.”
“Thank you, Flash!” Breeze said, and her eyes lit back up with excitement. She turned to Cressida. “Are you ready to come with me to the Windy Meadows? I can’t wait to show you aro
“Absolutely!” Cressida said. Though she felt excited to visit the Windy Meadows, she also felt worried about Moon. She hoped the other unicorns would be able to comfort their sister.
“What are we waiting for? Let’s go!” Breeze called out, kneeling down. But just as Cressida started to climb onto Breeze’s back, a high, nasal voice cried, “Hold on! Wait!” And then Cressida heard the unmistakable sound of Ernest, the wizard-lizard, running as fast as his feet could carry him down the hall and toward the front room of the palace.
“Hello, Ernest!” Cressida said, giggling.
“Before you go,” Ernest said, “I have a present for you! I’ve been practicing this spell for the past hour, and I’m absolutely sure I’ve finally gotten it right!”
Cressida smiled and braced herself for a magical mishap. Every time she came to the Rainbow Realm, Ernest got at least one spell wrong.
The wizard-lizard took a deep breath. He pulled his wand from his cloak. And then he chanted, “Safety Sequiny Satiny Bright! Make a Magic Grape for Cressida’s Flight!”
A gust of wind swirled around Cressida. And then she felt something cool, wet, and mushy against her skin. She looked down and laughed to see that she was inside a giant, bright blue, sequin-covered grape. Only her head stuck out from the top.
“Oh dear!” Ernest exclaimed.
The giant grape, with Cressida inside it, began to roll forward. “Yikes!” Cressida said as Breeze and Bloom rushed over and used their hooves to keep her upright.
“Oops,” Ernest said. “When I was practicing upstairs, I kept accidentally making apes. And one time I even made a roll of tape. But a grape is something new. Hold on. Oh dear!”
Ernest scratched his head. He raised his wand. And he chanted, “Gibbledy Globbledy Gobbledy Goo! Trade in this Grape for a Cape of Blue!”
More wind swirled around Cressida, and, to her relief, the giant grape vanished and now both her feet were firmly planted on the ground. When she looked down, she saw she was wearing a long, bright turquoise, sequined cape.