Once Upon a BlogThe blog that tells the story...
Chapter 1 – The Gem Kingdom
Once upon a time, in a land far away – further than you ever thought or dreamt, was the Gem Kingdom. Nestled at the bottom of the great ginormous mountains, the Gem Kingdom shone like the brightest star in the darkest sky – its glow could be seen from millions of miles around. It was made from the most precious gems and jewels which were mined from the secret caves and caverns where strange creatures of all shapes and sizes lived. Beyond the rickety rackety clinkety draw bridge and rainbow coloured walls lived the people – a very special group of people, as the people who lived in Gem Kingdom were all heroes. Each of them brave as they were adventurous, some were astronauts who discovered new planets, other were fire fighters who put out some of the most frightening fires, some were animals talkers and others were circus juggling stilt walkers. Whatever the people did, from the small to big, a statue was made in their honour. These remarkable figures paved the way to the Gem Castle.
The Gem Castle was by far the most treasured jewel in this wondrous place – princess ballerinas twirled around the spires from dawn until dusk, the bakers would bake and makers would make and the tinkers would tink. In the middle of all of the humming and drumming, sat on his thrown was King Wallis. Being the King meant he was the biggest hero in the Gem Kingdom, although no one knew what heroic or adventurous thing he actually did, and it was rude to brag so myths were made and whispers whispered, all different tall tales of how the King came to be King.
Much to the King and whole Kingdoms surprise, not everyone was happy in Gem Kingdom. Prince Edward (or Edward as he liked to be called) had a sad face and heavy heart, as unlike his father or family, he still hadn’t been on an adventure which he could be proud of. He never thought he did a brave thing or a kind deed, he was still waiting for his chance to shine and he looked for an adventure everyday everywhere.
One day, Edward decided to look for his adventure in the royal rose gardens. He searched high in the oak trees and below in the badger’s hole, but he still couldn’t find his adventure, or even an adventure to go on. As looked through the flowers King Wallis came and said ‘what are you doing to those lovely flowers?’. Edward stopped his search and said ‘I’m looking for an adventure, but I can’t seem to find one anywhere, can you help me?’ The King thought long and hard, twirling his beard and scratching his head. ‘Okay son, the time has come. Go and pack your suitcase and meet me at three by spiralling spire.’
Edward threw open his suitcase and packed all of the essentials he would need to for an adventure, like the ones he day dreamt about for so long. He packed his telescope, jam sandwich, sun cream, teddy bear, plasters and bandages, a pot of honey, string, ham sandwich, arm bands, magic medicine, pocket watch and his cat Nora.
Dragging his suitcase up the spiralling spire, the King handed Edward a key and said ‘This is where the adventure begins. There may be monsters, there may be treasure, there may be a challenge, there may be fun, but you must decide which way to go. Take my royal rocket, and blast out of this place, travel the world and see where your adventures take you.’
And so, that is what Edward did…BLAST OFF!
Chapter 2 – The Frozen Treasure
Zooming through the sky, Edward looked out of his window and saw yellow and gold pointy stars whooshing past and said to Nora ‘I saw some quick stars that were golden Nora!’. After travelling for 8 hours in the royal rocket, Edward decided it was time to land. The fall was fast but their landing was soft. Wiping away the mist from his window, Edward peeked through to see a wintry land. ‘We’ve reached the South Pole, we’ll definitely find an adventure here.’
Stepping out of the rocket, Edward and Nora had to step carefully as there was white slippery freezy ice everywhere. The land felt unsteady under their feet, and they skated away from the rocket to explore this big white place…not before Edward tied his string to the rocket, just in case they got lost!
Amongst the towers of snow, Edward spotted a cave – a deep dark hole which looked like it could be a good shelter. Creeping into the mouth of the cave, Edward was stiff with cold and fear as he has never had been in a cave before, and he had heard stories of trolls and monsters which lived in caves just like this. In the distance there was a glowing light which they followed, with Nora leading the way. The glow got brighter and bigger the more they travelled into the cave, until they discovered that the glow was coming from a treasure chest.
Edward recognised the treasure chest, as it was the one which went missing from the Gem Kingdoma very long time again. The chest, so it was told in tales, had the King Wallis’ famous gold crown, 1000 golden coins, silver star jewels and the bracelets and necklaces which belonged to the Princess ballerinas.
‘Maybe this was our adventure Nora, to bring back the stolen treasure to the Gem Kingdom…we need to carry it back to the rocket’ said Edward. Just as they were about pick up the chest, there came a CRASH and a flash of fire as the Dragon arouse. ‘I am the scariest and meanest dragon in the whole entire world, you will never get my treasure!’ roared the dragon. The dragon was thin and tall, covered in blue and red spots with razor sharp teeth. He had skeleton wings and 8 legs like a hairy spider, which covered his deadliest weapon, his thunder claw!
As the Dragon backed away form the chest, Edward and Nora could see that it was guarding 3 dragon eggs. Edward had a plan! With Nora’s help, they would return to the cave once the dragon was cleaning her eggs…but they weren’t going to be strong enough to carry the whole treasure chest by themselves! At that moment a ninja appeared form the shadows and introduced himself: ‘Hello Prince Edward, I’m Jo and I have been trying to return the treasure to your kingdom for a long time now. The dragon grows bigger everyday its close to the treasure, and the only way we can save the treasure and stop the Dragon from getting even bigger is to take it.”
And that’s exactly what they did. Edward, Jo and Nora snuck into the cave like mice and carried the treasure from right under the sleeping Dragon’s nose. Just as they were about to reach the edge of the cave, they heard a CRACK. Turning around, they saw that the dragon’s eggs were hatching, wobbling from side to side like a plate of jelly. Picking up their pace, they found the string and followed it back to the rocket where they hid the chest. Edward told Jo all about his and Nora’s adventure so far, and in no time at all they felt like they had known each other for years and years. ‘I wonder what’s in the chest and if it will help us on our adventure’ said Edward. ‘Well’, said Jo ‘there is only one way to find out…’
Chapter 3 – The Cheetah and Howler Monkey
Approaching the treasure chest, Edward very carefully placed his fingers on the latch. Jo and Nora watched on with excitement as they started to imagine what the other contents of the chest could be. Taking a deep breath, Edward flicked up the latch with a swift gentle touch. CLICK. The lid of the chest crept open, revealing the glow and treasures which they saw in the cave previously. The Kings crown, the jewels, the 1000 coins and necklaces were all in the box, along with one other thing.
‘What is it Edward?’ enquired Jo. Looking on, he saw Edward fish out 6 pieces of crumpled up paper, each torn. ‘I think it’s supposed to be a map of some sort, let’s put it together and see.’ Scratching their heads, they each took a part of the map, and started to piece it together like a puzzle. Unlike other puzzles or jigsaws they pieced together before, this was by far the hardest, it was like an unbreakable code. With a lot of time, patience (and cellotape!) they finally managed to piece the map together. Nora purred with satisfaction.
A light bulb shone above Jo’s head, ‘Don’t you see Edward, now we can find our way, this will lead us to the next part of your adventure’. At the bottom of the page, a clue was left and it said:
‘Look up at the sky, and you will see me. I only come out at night. I fell from the sky to help you on your quest. You’ll find me in the jungle chest.’
‘It’s a star we need to find, and it looks like it’s in the jungle in Brazil according to this map’ said Jo.‘I wonder why we need a star to help us on our journey?’ pondered Edward. Before they could think anymore, they turned the rocket the right way up and like the star they were trying to find, they shot off across the sky. As they cascaded through the clouds, they could feel the warmth of the sun and the humidity of the jungle the closer they got to Brazil.
Steered by Nora, the rocket darted into the jungle, with the vines and trees catching the vessel, tangling it in a messy green web. Opening the door, Edward, Nora and Jo swung to the jungle floor using the vines. Reaching the floor of the Jungle, they felt like they were tiny ants in a garden, not even Edward had seen a place of this size before, not even in the royal Gem Gardens. Everything was ‘huge’. Taking out the map, they searched for a landmark which would show them where they were. ‘Well, we’re by a tree…is there a tree on the map’, asked Edward. Nora and Jo looked at each other in despair. ‘Of course we’re by a tree, we’re in a jungle!’ laughed Jo.
Stumbling around looking for the right way, Edward, Jo and Nora started their long trek into the jungle, hoping they were heading in the right direction. On their travels, they saw a colourful carnival of beasts of all shapes and sizes, some with feathers others with scales, some which crawled and others that leapt. Leading the way, was the dotty Cheetah. ‘He looks like a leader, he will know the way I’m sure’ said Jo.
‘Excuse me Mr. Cheetah, can you help us please?’ asked Edward. The cheetah, shifted his narrow eyes from side to side, curling his body around to inspect these strange creatures that fell from the sky.
‘I am Speedo the Cheetah, you can trust me. How can I help you?’ said the Cheetah, twisting his tail slowly for side to side.
‘Well, I’m on my first adventure and I’m looking for a treasure chest that contains a magic star.’ Do you know where me and my friends have to go?’ said Edward.
Licking his lips, the Cheetah said ‘I will show you where to go, but first why don’t you have a rest in my cave as it looks like you have been traveling for a long while, and all adventurers need to eat some time…follow me.’
Leaving the animal parade behind, the 3 adventurers followed Speedo deeper into the jungle. The journey to Speedo’s den was paved with bones, which was rather peculiar Jo thought. Stepping over the skulls, a whisper could be heard in the trees. As the Cheetah stopped at the waterhole to drink, Edward followed the whispers into the trees.
‘Turn around before it’s too late. I am the howler Monkey and I always tell the truth. Speedo is a trickster who is leading you into his deathly trap. I know of the chest of which you seek, follow my friends and we’ll be there in under a week’.
Hundreds of howler monkeys sprung and swung from the trees, gathering up Nora and Edward, with Jo running close behind…with Speedo in toe. ‘Don’t look behind you Jo, just keep on running, reach for the howler monkeys!’ shouted Edward. Leaping for his life, Jo somersaulted to the safety of the trees, leaving Speedo roaring with rage on jungle floor, ‘You will curse the day you met me, there will be consequences!’.
Guided by the howler monkeys, the adventurers reached the Tree of Secrets, the home of the howler monkeys. The howler monkeys guarded the secrets of the forest, hiding away anything that was ever lost or waiting to be found. ‘Wait here, I know what it is you’re looking for’ said the chief howler monkey. The adventurers watched as the chief lifted up a trap door and brought out a small silver netted bag.
‘Thank you!’ echoed the adventurers. As he inspected the bag, Edward discovered a tag that was tied to the lid of the bag which read…
Please handle the Northern Star with care. It contains 3 wishes – use wisely.
Chapter 4 – Be Careful What You Wish For…
The adventurers immediately started to drift off into their own fantasies, imagining what they would wish for from the Northen Star. Edward imagined himself as a wizard; the most powerful and wisest wizard that there ever was in the history of wizards. As a wizard he imagined all of the possibilities, the spells, the pointy hat, the mile long beard, the sparks that would fly from his fingers and the stories that people would tell about him. Nora’s fantasy on the other hand didn’t involve any hocus pocus or tricks she would pull from her sleeves, but rather the food which she so desperately missed. She imagined basking in 10 tonnes of her favourite fish, swimming in between the smoked salmon and gobbling up the tuna chucks.
Jo closed his eyes and searched his memory for that special thing which he always wanted but never dare tell anyone. Like a thunderbolt, it came to his head, and then to his lips, and before he could stop himself, he said ‘I wish we had a Robot Shark that would protect us from all kinds of danger…’
With an almighty bang came a shower of sparks which sprang off the branches in the Tree of Secrets, making the howler monkeys dance around with excitement.
‘What have you done Jo? You wished away our first wish!’ exhaled Edward. ‘I hope it’s going to help us’.
Jo’s eyes fell to the floor, as it was only a matter of time before his wish arrived. The sparks that showered above started to take their form, making Jo’s wish a reality. Nora and Edward watched in awe as the last few sparks jetted into each other, revealing the Robot Shark. It crashed to the floor, along with Edward and Nora’s mouths in shock. After a few more minutes of shock, Edward looked at Jo in disbelief and said ‘What an earth is that?!’. Jo sheepishly looked at his feet and said ‘Well it’s a shark, a Robot Shark.’
‘How is a Robot Shark going to help us on our quest?’ asked Edward with much curiosity, and a little bit of anger. ‘It’s not just ANY Robot Shark, this Robot Shark is one of a kind, take a look and see’ pleaded Jo. Edward and Nora slowly stepped towards the mechanical monster, and on closer inspection it was just as ugly as it was when it fell from the sky.
The Robot Shark was made of blue metal and had a rustic gold mouth, which exposed its razor sharp teeth and emerald green tongue. Sliding out of the side of the Robot Shark, were his wings, diamond encrusted and shaped like crashing waves. To fill the silence, Jo decided to explain all about the Robot Shark’s features and how it could help them on their Quest. ‘ This is going to be really useful because it’s made from the strongest materials ever found; we can hide from any beasts and transport ourselves in the sky or sea’ said Jo smugly. The howler monkeys were thrilled to be in the company of the Robot Shark, dancing around it and offering it all of their most favourite things. The celebration was cut short by the entrance of Florence, the howler monkey spy.
‘You must be the adventurers! Everyone is talking about your legendry adventures and how you came to overcome the Dragon and Cheetah. It’s whispered through the trees that the Dragon and Cheetah are teaming up to catch you and use the last 2 wishes of the Northen Star. They will only want to make bad wishes, so you must go! Get in your Robot Shark and dive to the depths of the sea, before their army of predators assembles and catches you.’
Without a second thought, the adventurers leapt inside their armoured beast…maybe Jo didn’t waste a wish after all! The holwler monkeys wished them on their way, and as before, Nora took control of driving. She pushed and tinkered with the control buttons until the Robot Shark sprang into life, flapping through the jungle on its way to the ocean.
As beautiful as the Robot Shark was thought Jo, it wasn’t as comfortable as traveling in the rocket as they were tossed from side to side, holding onto the ropes and nets inside for their dear life. The Robot Shark swam, flew and drove the adventurers for 7 days, until they reached the safety of a desert island in the middle of the Coral Ocean.
Nora threw down the anchor and docked the Robot Shark in the shallow pools of the island. Emerging from the Robot Shark, Edward and Jo felt dizzy and had never been so pleased to see dry land. As the boys took refuge on the shore, Nora went fishing for their dinner; after all, she was not only the best driver but the best cook as well.
As she dived down into the coral to collect a crab or two, Nora could see a dark shadow approach her in the water. The shadow made the water turn black, and before she knew it, she was pulled out of the water by a scaly predator. It inspected her up and down as it flicked out his forked lizard tongue. ‘My masters will reward me for this…’ slurped the predator. Taking Nora by the scruff of the neck, the predator locked Nora away in a clam.
Waking up on the shore, Jo and Edward waited for Nora to return with their dinner. When the sun dropped and moon rose, Edward started to get concerned about Nora and set off to find his companion. He looked in the coconut trees, the lagoons, the rock pools and long grass, but he couldn’t find her anywhere. His mission was cut short by the cry of Jo…
‘EDWARD, COME QUICK!!’
Sprinting to the beach, Edward was greeted by Jo who was white with fear. ‘What is it Jo?’ asked Edward. ‘Look in the sand, there is a message’, croaked Jo. It read:
You double crossed us and now it’s time to pay the price, you will do what we say or the cat will be fed to the sabre-toothed mice. Leave us the wishes and go back far from where you came, the cat will be returned and you will get your fame. You have until dawn to leave us the star, you will know its time when I go RAR!!!! (yours sincerely, Dragon and Cheetah)
Chapter 5 – The Twists in the Tale
On reading the message in the sand, Edward felt sick with worry, it was as if his stomach was tied up in tight knots. Being a Ninja, Jo was quick to think on his feet, and he thought of a plan and he thought it quick. They would do anything to get their faithful companion back, even if it meant putting themselves in danger.
‘A-ha! I have a plan’ said Jo triumphantly. ‘It’s a bit risky, and probably the most dangerous part of our quest yet, but it just may work…’
At that moment, Edward thought about just how far they had come on their quest, and how many challenges they had overcome, and this seemed like it could be the biggest obstacle in their quest yet. ‘I’ll do anything, let’s hear the plan!’ exclaimed Edward.
‘Well, we’ll need to trick the Dragon and Cheetah. They said they wanted stars, and that’s exactly what we’re going to give them’ said Jo. ‘But the howler monkeys said that they would use the wishes for bad things’ interrupted Edward. ‘We’re not giving them the wishing star, we’re going to give them a different kind of star…have a look around’ replied Jo.
Edward cast his eyes along the beach, and his attention was drawn to the millions of golden star fish which coloured the beach and made it shimmer and dazzle. ‘They didn’t specify which stars they wanted, so let’s give them the star fish’ laughed Jo. Edward smiled at his friend and his stomach started to untie itself. Jo’s plan brought a wave of relief and hope back to their quest like a beacon of light in the darkest place, guiding them where to go.
The sun was setting in 1 hour, so the plan took shape immediately. Under the message left by the Dragon and Cheetah, Edward took a shell and careful carved a message which said:
We’ll take the stars to the blue rocky lagoon; we’ll meet you there under the glow of the full moon. PS don’t forget our cat…we really want her back.
As soon as the message was written, a wave crashed on the beach, dragging the message into the water and back to the Dragon and Cheetah. ‘What about the predators which the Dragon and Cheetah have assembled? How are we going to overcome an army of scaled demons and monsters…there’s only two of us’ asked Edward. ‘Well, we’re going to need to use the star, the Northen star for another wish’ replied Jo.
Retrieving their treasured jewel form the belly of the Robot Shark, Jo cradled the Northen Star and held it up high. ‘I wish for a sound catcher net’ requested Jo. Just as before, a shower of sparks descended, dancing above their heads like an eclectic storm until the spark took the form of the wish.
‘Oh Jo, not again, stop wasting wishes…we’ve only got 1 left!’ said Edward. Jo smiled and said ‘Actually I didn’t waste a wish; this is part of the plan. I remember hearing a story when I was young about ships that crashed into the rock pools when the sailor’s heard the song of the Siren…’
‘What’s a Siren?’ asked Edward. ‘It’s a beautiful woman who has a broken heart. She lives at the bottom of the ocean and tricks people into following her lullaby. Her song is deadly and will make anyone or anything freeze on the spot and smah into a million pieces.’ Taking the net, Joe explained the plan on the way into the water. They would catch the deadly lullaby in their net and then release it onto the Dragon and Cheetah. ‘We’re going to need the Robot Shark for this, not even her song will be able to get through these thick metals walls.’
Tying the net to the fin of the Robot Shark, they dived to the depths of the Coral Sea, weaving in and out of the rainbow reefs. ‘There she is’, pointed out Edward, ‘Look, down there’. Sat on an anchor, the Siren was wrapped in the coral reef, surrounded by the tentacles of sea weed and blood thirsty piranha fish. As soon as she saw the Robot Shark, her song began. In the protection of the Robot Shark, the adventurers saw her mouth move, but they heard no sound. The net collected the notes of her sad lullaby until it could carry no more of her song.
Spiralling back to the surface, Edward handled the netted song with care and hid it away in his pocket. Last minute preparations were made, as the sun disappeared on the horizon. The Northen Star was replaced by the golden star fish, and Edward and Jo nervously waited on the beach for their unwanted guests to arrive.
As the moon crept into place, it was eclipsed by the parade of predators; winged, scaled and lizard like. Swarming over the island like a disease, they surrounded the adventurers, teasing them with their forked tongues. Completing this monstrous show was the Dragon. The moon beams shone between her skeletal wings, revealing the Cheetah who clawed himself to her back. Her landing sent an almighty sonic boom throughout the island, making the land shake and change shape. The Cheetah leapt off her back, gracefully landing on the sand.
‘We have the Northen Star, do you have Nora?’ demanded Edward. The Cheetah and Dragon gave each other a sly look and sniggered. Dragon held up Nora high in the air, displaying her like a trophy. She looked like a bag of bones; thin and weak. ‘Hand us over the Northen Star and you will get your cat’ spat the Cheetah. Taking a deep breath, watched by the thousands of eyes of the predators, Edward marched towards the Cheetah and Dragon, handing over the silver bag. The Cheetah swiped at the bag and snatched it off Edward. ‘Now, give me back Nora’ demanded Edward.
Using its thunder claw, the Dragon took hold of Nora and blasted her out to sea. Like a rag doll, Nora flew lifelessly in the air until she splashed into the water and sank.
‘NOOOOOOOO!’ cried Edward as he dived in after her. The Dragon laughed and claimed her prize, dizzy with greed and evil satisfaction. Opening the bag, the star fish flopped onto the floor. ‘You little pests, you tricked us!’ yelled the Dragon. Before the Cheetah could make its deadly attack, Jo revealed the real Northen Star, ‘I wish for a sword’ he shouted. In a flash a sword darted into his hand, and he drove it into the heart of the Dragon who let out a piercing wail. Green blood came flooding out of the dragon, spilling towards the sea as Edward emerged holding Nora. As the Cheetah and predators were about to take their revenge, Edward cast out the net, releasing the Sirens deadly lullaby. Covering their ears, the adventures watched as the predators froze like ice and smashed like glass on the beach.
When the song was sung, Edward laid Nora on the beach. Tears filled his eyes and heart as his faithful companion lay in a deep deadly sleep. He wished and wished for one more wish – for Nora to be with him by his side forever and forever. As his tears fell, he closed his eyes…and woke up with tears on his pillow.
Spinning his gaze, the island disappeared and his bedroom came into view. It was all a dream, none of it real…or was it? Nora was curled up at the bottom of his bed fast asleep. A knock came at the door, and King Wallis entered.
‘Dad, I have had the strangest dream I have ever dreamt. There was an adventure, and I was on it. I was the hero!’ said Edward triumphantly. After sharing his excitement, a cloud loomed above his head and his smile fell. ‘What’s the matter son?’ asked the King? ‘Well I only wish it could of been real, that I was a real life hero’ replied Edward.
The King smiled and said, ‘You are a hero. You always have been, you just never knew it. A real hero is someone who isn’t afraid to dream. When I was your age, I was the biggest dreamer who had the biggest dream.
And that’s how the King came to be King, and how this story ends…for now.