THE DIABOLICAL SUMMER GAMES- PART 1
Summer had arrived! In the Kingdom of Clarity, that meant the annual Diabolical Summer Games were beginning. Any one with magical abilities was allowed to participate. The Queen sent her messengers to every corner of the world to hand out the invitations. Every Kingdom waited with bated breath until they received their summons. The dragons would return, along with the most powerful witches and wizards, the magical unicorns, the fairies from the Dark Forest and from Mystical Falls. It would be the most formidable gathering of the year, with all that power concentrated in one location for the week of the Games.
The Queen and her helpers had spent months planning the details of every single contest being held that week. The games were a test of mind, body and spirit. Only the smartest would be able to navigate their way to the end of the course.
“Your Highness, the contestants have arrived.” The Queen’s helpers, the tiny pixies that could only be found in the Kingdom of Clarity, informed her.
“Very well, my darlings. I think we’ve devised the most cunning tests this year. Let us begin.”
The Queen swept outside regally, followed by her soldiers and the pixies. She stood on top of the mountain, her body casting a shadow on almost the entire kingdom below. At this hour, the sky was a beautiful mix of yellows, oranges and pinks, the colours all melting into each other like paint dripping down the sky and shading the clouds. There was a light breeze in the air as the sun set slowly behind the mountain.
“WELCOME ONE AND ALL!” The Queen began her speech. “We are honoured to have you all here with us today. Some of you have travelled from far and wide, braving the harshest elements just to be here. You will not be left wanting.”
She paused, letting her eyes roam over the contestants gathered below, seeing the anticipation and nervousness in their faces. Some watched intently, while others paced and their hands trembled every time they applauded the Queen.
“This year, there will be four races. Each day of the contest, we will have a new race. To make it to the second day of races, you need to complete the first race and so on and so forth. Only the best will make it to the fourth and final day. And now, I ask the winner of our Fire Breathing Championship, Inferno, to step forth and announce the first race.” She stepped aside and let Inferno swagger to the top of the mountain.
“LISTEN UP,” he bellowed.
“The rules are very simple. The race begins at the top of Crystal Hills. An obstacle has been laid out for you. You must defeat the obstacle in order to move on to the next race. NO SHORTCUTS OR CHEATING!” Inferno looked at the witches and wizards directly when he said that.
“I have my eyes on you and so do the Great Coven of Unicorns. They will be watching everything and judging.”
He pointed to the base of the mountain, where the three members of the Coven were in position, already eyeing potential troublemakers.
“We would never!”
“Lies, all lies!”
A chorus of protesting voices immediately rose up from the witchcraft group, all defending themselves with fervour. The fairies whispered amongst themselves, while the dragons stretched their wings, raring to go.
“TO CRYSTAL HILLS!” Inferno roared and led the way. The contestants followed quickly, not wanting to be left behind. He strode down the mountain and through Rainfall Forest. They all emerged slightly wet but incredibly determined. Within minutes they reached Crystal Hills and the groups lined up along the edge of the Hills. Witches, wizards, fairies, dragons, lizards and the feared sea serpents, the fierce Husky wolves and many more creatures were in place.
“You’ll be left in my dust,” hissed one of the witches to another. “I’ll be waiting for you at the finish line,” one of the sea serpents growled at the fairies. “We’ll be floating past you while you struggle,” the fairies tittered back crossly.
“Enough chattering!” Inferno held up the Summer Games Flag and began the countdown.
As soon as the flag swung down there was an explosion of movement over the starting line. The creatures that could fly were relying on their abilities to get them past the obstacles, while the smaller creatures were relying on their size to see them through to the end. They were all sadly mistaken. Alas! The Queen had planned well.
The first obstacle they came across was a pit of quicksand. Less than a foot above the pit was a tightly woven web created by the Tula Spiders. Their webs could not be cut, burned or removed magically. They were impervious to everything. The first ones to test the abilities of the Tula webs were the Minx witches. They were known for their cunning and love of pranks.
“Let’s go Sister! Fly low, but not too low. Fly high, but not too high.”
They hopped on their broomsticks and flew gleefully over the pit, but their overconfidence proved to be folly. The Queen had gauged the distance between the quicksand and webs perfectly. The Minxes got stuck to the webs on top and their feet got trapped in the sand below. They were well and truly stuck.
“My hair’s stuck!”
“Oh no! My hat!”
The Coven of Magical Unicorns removed the witches from the pit and the race. If a contestant got trapped, they were automatically disqualified. After seeing this strategy fail, the other creatures tried their skills.
“Step aside!” The sea serpents slithered up to the pit and looked at it with their hooded, pale, orange eyes. There were three of them competing this year and they were determined to make it to the finals.
“Sssspeed it up,” they hissed to each other and before anyone could blink, they had slithered across the pit so quickly, the quicksand didn’t have time to suck them down and they kept their entire bodies flat on the sand, so the webs above didn’t touch them at all. What no one else noticed were the tiny fairies who hitched a ride on the serpents’ tails and made it across the pit with them.
The lizards and dragons had their own techniques.
“Hop, hop, hop across!
Hop, hop, just make sure you don’t drop!”
The lizards sang a little tune to motivate themselves. They tried a jump and a hop that took them a few feet ahead and just as their toes started sinking, they would jump a little and hop a little. They were so small, even after jumping they didn’t touch the webs up top. It took them a little longer but they finally made it across and drooped with exhaustion.
The dragons got into the pit and waited for the quicksand to drag their bodies in. They were all so big; eventually they couldn’t go any lower. Just the tops of their snouts reached over the sand and using their immense body strength, they dragged themselves through the pit and reached the other side, shaking the wet mud-like sand off their scales.
Many more tried and failed. Some jumped too high and got stuck in the webs; some were too slow and got dragged into the sand. The unicorns had to remove many creatures before the first race ended.
“Well done to all of you. You have made it to Day Two of the Summer Games. Your next race begins at sunrise. Rest up!” Inferno addressed the triumphant group of creatures at the base of Crystal Hills.
The next morning, the fairies, the sea serpents, one witch and two wizards, the Husky wolves; who used their swimming skills and muscle power to simply swim across the pit like it was a mere lake; and the other contestants gathered by the entrance to Rainfall Forest.
“Welcome to Day two of the Diabolical Summer Games!” Emilia, Queen of the Fairies of Mystical Falls, greeted them.
“You may be feeling quite confident after emerging victorious yesterday, but I assure you, today’s challenge will test every fibre of your being,” she continued, smiling widely. “You must traverse through the forest and make it to the clearing on the other side.” The fairies behind her, Sophia and Zara, giggled and clapped their hands excitedly. They knew what was coming next.
“Once you enter Rainfall Forest, the entrance will be sealed off. The only way out is to reach the other side. Try and stay as dry as possible.” With that cryptic clue, she waved the flag and sent them all inside. The sea serpents were the first ones to slither ahead. It was pitch dark inside, even though normally the sunlight streamed through the trees and highlighted the abundance of flowers. The branches were usually filled with chirping magpies and tweeting sparrows.
Not today, though. Instead of a soft drizzle just barely falling slowly to the ground, a torrential downpour greeted them. Whirling tornadoes of water gushed towards them, drenching them in seconds. The serpents thrived in wet conditions but the force of the mini storm proved to be challenging for them as well. They tried to slither left and then right, backwards and forwards, but to no avail. With every step they took forward, they were pushed two steps back.
The witch and wizards tried to use their magic to create barriers around themselves but Queen Emilia had used the magic of the crystals from Mystical Falls to enchant the water. It burst through their shields and knocked them off their feet. While the magic folk and the serpents were struggling, the Husky wolves bounded past. Instead of avoiding the cascading water, they lunged forward and leaped through the sheets of water.
And Voila! It worked! “Try and hold your breath,” they mocked the still struggling contestants and bounded out of the forest directly into the clearing.
“Form a chain girls,” Starlight, one of the fairies from the Dark Forest, decided.
“If we go through the water and imagine it’s just a mist, we can make it through. Just focus all your magic on the water.” They linked arms and flew towards the torrents of water.
“Not a thing to fear, just a misty waterfall to conquer.”
They kept chanting as they dove into the tornado. They emerged gasping on the other side but they had done it! “I knew we could do this girls!” Starlight hugged them all as they stood by the Husky wolves and waited to see who else would make it through. A moment later, two dragons shot through the water and rolled and stumbled into the clearing. “HURRAY!” All the dragons watching as spectators cheered them on. Hours had passed inside Rainfall Forest. The crowd waiting outside was getting antsy. Where were the other contestants?
Finally, Queen Emilia flew to the center of the clearing and stood on a small, raised, stone pulpit.
“The rest have admitted defeat and have been rescued by the Coven of Unicorns.” She waved gracefully towards the wolves, fairies and dragons. “Congratulations! You have completed Day two of the Summer Games!”
As the crowd cheered and the contestants glowed with pride and joy, Queen Emilia raised a hand to silence them. “Tomorrow we will celebrate the Games at a Marvellous Magical Feast, before continuing with the final two days of the championships.”
As everyone murmured excitedly amongst themselves, the Queen of Clarity joined Queen Emilia on the pulpit.
“UNTIL THE NEXT ROUND!” She declared and the crowd erupted in cheers again. What, oh what, would the next few days bring?
To be continued in Part 2.