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The small angel floated amongst the world of the Stars and the Moon. The
nightly heavenly bodies shone serenely in the dim, blue world all
around. And though she knew it was all around her she almost never
opened her eyes to see it. She spent most of her time with her face in
her hands, crying.
She was a most beautiful angel. Her long hair was a shiny, glimmering,
silvery blue, and glistened like bright moonlight on the ocean. She
wore a beautiful, white dress that shone with luminosity. Perhaps her
dress's light came from something else, as the moon gets its light from
the sun. Her eyes were bright, glowing blue, yet not quite blue. Not a
color seen ever on Earth, but it was a most gorgeous color, and would
have reminded anyone of the color blue.
Her wings had long, snow-white feathers, and they sometimes shone a hint
of rainbow in the light they reflected. And over her head, the angel
had a most beautiful star. It was small, compared to the stars that
were huge and far away. The star over her head was about the size of
two of her fists put together, and it shone brilliantly in white light
and hints of rose, purple, green, blue, silver, and other unearthly
All of the angel's radiant beauty made it so difficult to tell she was
sad. If one were to look upon her now, her beauty might confuse him for
just a moment before he realized she was crying. And even when she was
crying she did not look nearly as sad as she truly was.
After she was finished crying she slowly lifted her head out of her
hands and revealed her young, pure face. She looked up at the stars
around her, and some below her, and even down at the mysterious, dim
surface below that stretched out as far as she could see. She looked
almost quite peaceful, but it was clear in her expression that she
longed for something, as she floated in the world of the Stars and the
She felt the cool, serene air on her face, looked out on the stars and
the bright pale moon.
Then she looked out to a strange, but magnificent light shining a little
way off, and wished she could go there. She had tried many times
before to go to the light, but she never could. She was stuck in the
world of night. Luxia, the crying angel, bowed her head and kneeled
perfectly in the air, in quiet sadness.
When she looked up again, her eyes caught sight of a large, silhouetted
mountain, seeming to stand up from the dark surface below. It looked
like a comfortable place to walk and sit on for while, so she flew
quietly to it, her dress flowing in the air, as she softly rode the
Once she set foot of the mountain, however, she realized it was soft and
feathery. She was puzzled.
Suddenly the mountain moved. A big, black shape rose up in front of her,
and a round, shiny eye looked at her.
"Oh, my!" exclaimed Luxia, her glowing eyes wide. It was the head of a
seagull! A giant seagull, with black and gray feathers.
The enormous beast looked at her more closely. Luxia saw her terrified
reflection in its shiny, dark eye.
But then, to her surprise it's eye blinked with some benevolent, yet
cunning expression and he suddenly appeared very kind.
"An angel?" the bird said. "I didn't know there were still angels in
the Night World."
The angel was rather shaken by such a surprising meeting. The most
suitable thing she could think to do was to bow. "I'm the only one as
far as I know," she said. "I'm stuck here."
The seagull shook his head. "That is sad, indeed," he said. "But the Night World is a very beautiful place."
"I know," said the angel with a sigh. She turned away and stared off
into the stars, now much more at ease with the fowl. "But it's lonesome
here, and I wish I could go and be somewhere else."
"Lonesome?" the bird said, a little surprised. "Then you've been here
longer than I thought. How long have you been here?"
"Oh, I've always been here," replied the angel.
"Always..." said the seagull. "That makes me very sad. Why didn't you
go with the others?"
"Others? Well all I know is that I woke up a long time ago and found
myself alone here. And I've been here ever since."
"Is that so?" said the bird. "I thought all the angels left the Night
World a long time ago to their home, after they were made. You must
have been sleeping when they left."
The angel bowed her head in regret.
"It's not your fault, I think," said the bird. "Angel, may I call you by
your name? I find you most lovely."
"It's Luxia," replied the angel.
"Luxia," said the bird. "And may I call you a he, or a she?"
"I am neither, but you may call me a she, if you prefer," said Luxia,
and she was beginning to notice that a light breeze began to blow. It
made her hair and dress dance and the seagull's feathers flick.
"Then I shall call you a she," said the bird. "I am Corbett, and I have
chosen to live here, in the Night World. I watch everything that can be
seen from here. I am very old, and my right wing is crooked."
"Oh, but you don't look old at all!" said Luxia.
"Nevertheless, I am ancient. I am still strong and healthy if that's
what confuses you."
Luxia's eyes glowed green with fascination, and yet not green, but an
unearthly color like it. She looked to the light in the sky, the one
she had tried to get to many times. Maybe Corbett knew what it was.
"Corbett, do you really see everything from here?"
"Yes. The stars, the moon, and also the black-gray, misty surface below
"What is the surface?" asked Luxia.
"It's another world below us called Earth."
"Earth?" said Luxia, looking down from the edge of the seagull's back.
"What's it like?"
"Well, if you have eyes as good as mine, you can see it for yourself.
But I will explain it to you. Earth... it has stars like there are
stars here, but they're not nearly as beautiful as they are here. It
has land and water and air and light, and many other things. A sun, a
moon like there is here, planets, and their moons, and many other
wonders like nebulae and black holes and gases."
"Does anybody live there?" asked Luxia.
"Well... yes." He said nothing more about Earth. "But please tell me,
Luxia, for you are too lovely a creature to be sad, where is it you
would like to go if you have been here long enough?"
Luxia looked to the light. It was a pure, snow-white light, and very
still and calm. Some of the light flowed out like white clouds, but she
could not see them move either. Many stars were around it. She had
always thought it looked like a Window in the sky. A beautiful, tall,
arched Window, with light shining too bright for her to see what was on
the other side. It looked so close, perhaps just a few miles away.
Luxia looked back at Corbett. "I would love to go there," she said,
pointing to the light. "I wonder so much and so dearly as to where that
Window goes," she said.
"Then why don't you go there?" said Corbett.
"But..." Luxia began to say, but then she thought twice. She had
never succeeded in reaching the Window before, but the way Corbett said
it, being the powerful, magnificent bird that he was, made it sound
like it could be done. Maybe she hadn't tried hard enough before. She
looked to the Window and rode the breeze towards it.
As she flew, she thought she must be going very slowly, but when she
looked back to the mountain rising up from the dim, misty Earth below,
she saw she had traveled a great deal. But as she continued to look to
the luminous Window, she thought she must not be going anywhere.
She called back to Corbett, "I'm trying to go there, but it doesn't seem
to be getting any closer!" Corbett didn't seem to hear her, and once
she noticed this, Luxia flew back to the great bird. "Why doesn't it
get any closer?" she asked him. "It looks so near, but it seems to get
farther the more I fly towards it!"
Corbett's beak had a natural smile to it, and his eye blinked with
agreement. "Yes," he said. "That is because it is not so close. It is
very far away, and it is not a small Window, but a very big one. It
goes to a very beautiful and wonderful place."
Luxia's eyes blinked with curiosity and a slight hope. "I never knew it
was so far. But what makes it look so close?"
"The light from the place where the Window goes to is pure light. It
comes from a very bright and glorious heavenly body in its sky. The
night is so bright that it cannot be called night there, but something
higher than night. And the light is always the same, even when the
heavenly body sets. So, Luxia, when the light shines out the Window, it
doesn't lose any of its splendor. It is the same over there as it is
over here. And that's what makes it look so close."
Luxia could only imagine the sight of such a star and such a place, and
it seemed so much within her reach, but in truth it was so far. "If the
Window is so far and I cannot fly to it, how will I get there?" cried
Corbett's eyes blinked with a devious expression, but it was actually a
very pleasant look. "I can take you there, if you'd like," he said. "I
am much bigger and faster than you are, and should dearly like to help
Luxia brightened with elation, but then was very concerned. "But, would
I fall off if I rode you?" she asked.
"Not if you hold onto my feathers. I may be old, but even my feathers
are still strong on my body. And they won't come out." Corbett was
already beginning to stretch his wings.
Luxia immediately knelt down and grabbed his big, soft feathers with
"Are you ready, Luxia?" he asked.
"All right," said Luxia with excitement. "Let's go!"
Corbett's gigantic form lifted off the tall mountain on which he had
been standing, and he was soon airborne.
As he had first jumped off into the air, Luxia thought for certain
Corbett was too big and too fast for her to stay on, but as he glided,
she thought it was easy. She felt almost no speed. Just a steady glide,
and yet as she looked back at the mountain coming up from the Earth,
watching how far it got she knew she had never traveled so fast in
her life. There was little wind in her face, only a playful breeze that
her hair waved in. Stars were bright all around her and the whole night
seemed to sing serenely.
Corbett's silky feathers glistened in the light. He flapped his wings
little, and such long wings he had for a seagull, and only let himself
glide powerfully, like a Concorde, only quieter. Even though one of his
wings was crooked, it didn't seem to bother him at all.
What troubled Luxia was that Corbett didn't seem to be going straight to
the Window. "Corbett," she asked, "Where are you taking me?"
"I am taking you to the moon first, to ask him what we must expect on
"The moon? But... the moon isn't a person."
Corbett must have been smiling to himself. "Yes, he is," he said. "At
first sight the moon looks like a dead, pale globe. But if you look
closely you can see his face."
Luxia looked up and tried to see it for herself, while Corbett talked
more. "The moon has better eyes than mine and he can see for millions
of miles. All the way to the Window. I would like to ask him what the
path to the Window is like before we leave."
Luxia watched as Corbett's glide brought her closer and closer, and if
she looked very carefully she could almost see a pair of eyes, and a
Soon the moon was so close its surface began to flatten and she could
make out the mountains and rocks upon it.
"Hold, on Luxia!" said Corbett and he flapped his long wings to bring
himself to a halt, and his great webbed feet landed in the dust. "You
may get off and walk around if you like," he said.
Luxia flew down to the surface of the moon. As she looked upon at the
lunar sky, she was surprised to see a new arrangement of stars. Many
stars appeared where there had once seemed to be very few.
Luxia also saw a peculiar sight in front of them. Three tall crosses
stood up from the ground.
"It is good to see you again, Corbett, my friend," said a deep, powerful
voice. Luxia felt the moon shake.
"As you," replied Corbett.
"And your angel friend wants you to take her to the Window?"
Corbett did not say anything at first, but then he faced Luxia. "He's
talking to you," he said.
"He is?" replied Luxia. She looked up to the sky, and put her hands to
her mouth. "Yes!" she answered.
"Very good," said the moon. "I have been watching you for some time,
Luxia," said the moon.
Luxia was flattered and surprised.
"Now for your request, Corbett," continued the moon. "The world of the
stars and the moon is as ever, and flight will be easy. Be forewarned,
however, that a squall has formed in the Elusian Paradise. Steer clear
of it. And past the Paradise, in the Ridge of Shadow, the anemone tree
is dormant, so fly quietly as not to disturb it. Beyond the Ridge you
will reach the Cosmos of Snow and remember to stay above the clouds
"Of course," Corbett responded.
"Following the Snowy Cosmos, you will pass through the Mists of Drear.
Fly slowly and carefully."
"Or I shall crash," Corbett said.
"Pass the Mists of Drear and you will reach the Gateway to the Window."
"That sounds like a long way to travel!" exclaimed Luxia.
Corbett's kind, energized eyes looked to her. "It is, Luxia. But
nevertheless it would be an honor to take you to the Window." He looked
away and spoke again to the moon. "Thank you, my friend! When I return,
we will have an enjoyable talk about the journey!"
"I look forward to it," said the moon's deep voice.
Corbett looked back at the angel. "Are you ready to go, Luxia?" he
Luxia grinned joyfully, her most lovely face beaming with the purest,
most luminous joy. "Yes. I can't wait to get there!" she flew up to
Corbett's back and held onto his feathers. Corbett looked to the stars,
flapped his wings powerfully, disturbing the moon dust, and soon was
soaring so high that the flat-surfaced moon began to curve in roundness
"Remember, Corbett," said the moon, his voice no softer than
before. "Beware of the Black Fire!"
"I shall!" he replied, and Luxia soon found herself soaring in Corbett's
swift, quiet glide through the cool, calm air of the Night World,
headed straight for the Window.
Luxia's eyes were wide and glowing. She was finally on her way. She
would finally make it.
The air brushed her face and hair and dress, and she could even see the
stars move as she passed them. When he looked back, the moon had become
very small and disc-like. "Luxia," said Corbett. "You can let go now."
"What?" exclaimed Luxia.
"It's all right. You won't fall off."
Luxia looked down at her hands, thought a moment, and carefully loosened
her grip a little at a time. She did not fall off. She could hardly
believe that she was just sitting gently on his back at his dazzling
speed. "How is this happening?" she asked Corbett.
"It is my stream of flight," said Corbett. "You are no longer riding me,
but the air I carry with me as I fly."
Luxia's whole form glowed. After many years of being alone and stuck in
the world of the stars and the moon, it was wonderful to meet friends
who wanted to help her, and to be doing such amazing things. She
carefully moved into a comfortable position with her legs stretched out
in front of her, and watched the cosmos go by.
After only a short while, however, the angel noticed something. The deep
indigo sky-world was turning to a bright green, and there were fewer
and fewer stars. The world was disappearing.
"Luxia," said Corbett, "we are leaving the Night World now."
Luxia got back into a kneel and held onto Corbett's feathers again.
"Where are we now?" she asked, her lights' colors turning white with a
hint of violet, her eyes glowing gray.
"We are entering into the Elusian Paradise," replied Corbett. "I don't
think you can see it yet, but you will as we get closer."
Luxia leaned forward and focused. Soon, the green color all around her
turned to a light blue and it became very luminous. She looked around
and thought she could see a sun sitting in all the brilliance, a sun
with white light and colors she had never seen before. She could see
such beautiful, enormous white clouds all around her, and it was hard
to see what color the sky was, because the sun's light in between the
clouds was so bright. The air began to feel a little warmer, and it had
the smell of flora.
Then up ahead, a land appeared out of the light luminosity. The land was
full of trees and tropics. Luxia's eyes brightened at all the new
Corbett flew over the land, which was covered in brightness, and Luxia
looked down over it. "This is the Elusian Paradise?" she said.
"Yes," replied Corbett with some satisfaction in his voice. "Beautiful,
"It's so very wonderful," said Luxia. The light in the world made her
own light seem to fade all around her, but at the same time, covered
her with its own. She saw trees and many colorful exotic plants, plants
much more beautiful than on Earth. She saw wide meadows and flowers
Way off in the distance though, she thought she saw a violent cloud and
a cold wind blowing over the trees. She thought that must be the squall
the moon had been talking about, and surely enough Corbett was going
nowhere near it.
Up ahead, she could see a grand water fall pouring into a great river.
She watched as Corbett's giant, beautiful form swept closer and closer
to its white waters and rainbows. When he soared over it, Luxia felt a
little of its mist and she passed right through one of the rainbows.
As Corbett glided powerfully over the enormous cliff from which the
water fell, Luxia realized she did not see anyone. "Corbett," she said,
"does anybody live here?"
"No one lives in the Elusian Paradise, but sometimes others will come to
spend time in it and visit for a while. It's a quiet, glorious
When Luxia looked up, she was amazed to see the Window. Shining up
ahead. It looked a little closer, finally, than it had in the world of
the stars and the moon. Luxia's eyes shone with glee. It seemed to be
sitting right up ahead in the air, in front of the clouds.
"Corbett, look! The Window!" she exclaimed.
"Yes," Corbett replied delightedly. "But we still have a long way to
Luxia could then see that it didn't seem to be getting as close as it
should be, and realized she had forgotten about the illusion it made.
The sight of it made her ache with want to be there, but she knew she
was on her way, and that satisfied her. She was finally going to the
Window, and she could wait.
The Elusian Paradise seemed to go on for miles and miles. Luxia sat
leisurely on Corbett's feathery back, full of lovliness, and just gazed
at the Window, always thinking that Corbett was about to fly right into
it or that it was trying to move away from them. But every time she
realized it had gotten a little closer. She was elated all over again.
Luxia spent so much time looking at the Window that she did not noticed
a range of dark mountains up ahead, with a sky-wide layer of ominous
clouds looming over. She did not realize they were leaving the paradise
until some of the dark clouds were high over her head. It began to grow
"You will have to hold onto my feathers, while we're in this world,
Luxia," said Corbett, some quiet suspense in his voice. "I will be
changing speeds from time to time."
Luxia held onto Corbett's feathers just as he flapped his wings to slow
down. He seemed to be entering into a dark wasteland, with big,
many-branched trees standing still in the nooks of mountains. Corbett
flew very quietly farther in, and soon the light from the Elusian
Paradise disappeared behind them.
Luxia remembered the moon speaking of a world like this. She couldn't
quite remember the name. "Corbett, where are we now?" she asked.
"Speak, quietly, Luxia," replied Corbett. "This is the Ridge of Shadows.
It is the home of a great tree-beast called the anemone tree."
Luxia peered over Corbett's long wing, down on the many trees. "Which
tree is it?" she whispered.
"They are all the anemone tree. It comes up out of the ground in many
places," said Corbett.
Luxia gazed at every tree with astonishment. She could hardly believe
that she was looking at the same tree every time. For the long, quiet
moments, Luxia was silent, and watched as Corbett cruised through the
mountains. She could still see the Window, like an opening of pure
white sunlight peeking out of the clouds.
Then Corbett began approaching the greatest part of the anemone tree. If
Luxia had not known that all the trees were the same one she would have
thought this one was surely the anemone tree. Its trunk was short and
wide and the many thousands of branches reached for the sky. She felt
Corbett slow down once more, headed straight into the dense branches.
"Corbett, you'll crash!" Luxia exclaimed, keeping her voice quiet.
"Shh! We must be very quiet here. Trust me. It's not as dense as it
As Corbett approached the tree, Luxia saw that he was right. The branches
were far apart enough for him to fly through safely. Corbett twisted
and tilted as needed to avoid the branches, and Luxia rode him in the
quietness and suspense. The branches became denser as he flew deeper
in, but it did not last long. Soon the branches began to spread apart.
"We're almost through," said Corbett.
Suddenly Luxia saw a figured branch curl. Her glowing eyes widened at
the sight. Then other branches began to curl.
Then to her great surprise, a whole limb rose and swung at them. Luxia
ducked and lay close to Corbett, who quickened his pace and dodged the
other branches and limbs that tried to get at them. They swung violently,
hitting each other. Corbett suddenly accelerated, maneuvering through
the branches with surprising reflexes and Luxia held on tightly on her
Then at last, the branches disappeared and Corbett swept away from the
great tree. All was calm again. With the mountains cleared as well, they
were leaving the ridge.
Luxia looked back on the shadows and watched as the anemone tree shook
and swung about.
Corbett began to chuckle. "That was a close one," he said.
"What happened?" asked Luxia. "Why did it try and get us?"
"My wingtip brushed his limb and woke him up. The anemone tree does not
like to be disturbed when he is dormant."
"He seems like such a dangerous creature!" said Luxia.
Corbett blinked once and smiled. "The anemone tree isn't bad," he said.
"Just grumpy. Perhaps too grumpy. If we had not been so close to the
outside of the ridge he might have swallowed us up in his branches and
beaten us!" he said amusedly.
"I do not like to think of that," said Luxia, a little more relaxed.
Corbett looked back at her. "Am I frightening you Luxia?" he said, with
such readiness for apology.
"Oh, no," Luxia reassured, patting his head. "Not too much."
Luxia looked ahead, but she couldn't see the Window. She began to worry,
her eyes scouring the horizon for it. Her hair and dress flapped in a
cool wind. "Where's the Window?" she exclaimed. There was only
"Don't be afraid, Luxia," said Corbett. "There are clouds up
ahead that block its light. You can't see the clouds yet, but hold on,
I have to climb upward!"
Luxia held on tightly and felt Corbett's magnificent ascent. They passed
through the dark clouds, and all was quiet.
Suddenly, something tickled Luxia. She looked around, wondering what it
was. Then she saw something sparkle, like a star. Then she saw many of
them, falling gently like starry snow-flakes. As Corbett continued to
climb through the air, she found they were passing through strange
glowing mist, with what seemed to be tiny stars lying in it, like the
dense Milky Way. Soon there was more of the mist, until it was all
around them. Before Luxia knew what was happening, there was a very
thick mist in front of them, growing brighter and brighter. "Just a
little more," said Corbett continuing to ascend powerfully.
Luxia suddenly felt the tickling all around her, as a dense mist
swallowed her up. And then, as Corbett passed up through it, Luxia
found herself soaring over a thick bright sea of clouds.
Luxia's eyes beamed blue, and she flapped her luminous, bright feathered
wings. "Where are we now?" she asked, amazed.
"This is the world of the Snowy Cosmos," said Corbett.
Luxia gazed at the clouds as Corbett swept over them. They glowed and
sparkled, and indeed looked almost snowy. She especially liked the wind
of this world, blowing excitedly. It made her dress flap with a very
pleasant sound. When she looked up, she had never seen a blacker, more
beautiful sky. There were many stars too, different stars than she had
seen in the world of the stars and the moon.
"It's so beautiful here. But what are the clouds made of? What makes
Corbett eyed her pleasantly. "It's stardust," he said. "It came from a
beautiful white sun that exploded a long time ago, not long after the
beginning of world. It was as bright and dense as these clouds are
Luxia watched as a cloud came closer to her. She curiously put her hand
out and as the clouds passed she touched the hundreds of tiny stars and
smiled in the thrill.
When she looked ahead, however, she found that she still could not see
the Window. "Where's the Window, Corbett?" she asked.
"We are high above the clouds and we cannot see it from here," he
Luxia spread her legs out and sat comfortably again. Her eyes longed,
but of course her radiant beauty kept her from ever looking too sad.
"Oh, I wish I could see it," she said. "Are we almost there? It's been
such a long journey and I can hardly wait."
Corbett bowed his head and smiled inside, happily. "Yes, Luxia. We're
almost there," he said. "But the world of the Snowy Cosmos is an
enormous wide sea. It will take a long while to cross it."
Luxia took comfort in knowing the Window was close. She was on her way.
She would soon be there. In the meantime, she had a beautiful new world
to gaze at as she passed through. She smiled and watched the clouds
swiftly rush past her, and then gazed up at the dark, starry sky, with
such beautiful, peculiar stars.
Time passed and Luxia enjoyed every moment in the Cosmos of Snow. She
asked Corbett, "How far have we gone?"
"We still have a long way to cross," he said casually.
Luxia looked up at the stars, her eyes glowing white. "I should very
much like to sleep under a world like this," she said. As an angel,
she didn't need to sleep, but she could if she wanted to. She
stretched her arms, spread her wings and lay down in the soft bed of
feathers. She looked out on the passing sea for a while longer. The
ride was swift and powerful, but quiet and easy. She closed her eyes
Corbett looked back on her with his cunning look in his eye and his
pleasant smile. He then turned his eyes forward and watched his path,
knowing he carried the beautiful angel with him. He was honored.
"Luxia! Wake up!" came Corbett's voice suddenly.
Luxia opened her eyes, and sat up. She found that they were still in the
"Luxia!" Corbett's voice persisted.
"What is it, Corbett?" Luxia asked, easily awakened.
"There's something ahead of us," replied Corbett. There was suspense in
Luxia kept her eyes up front, glowing with color, and looked ahead.
Suddenly, a cloud of darkness appeared in front of them, followed by
thick, black smoke. Everything, the sky, the stardust clouds, began to
darken. Then shooting up in the distance, was a red, burning pillar of
"It's the Black Fire!" exclaimed Corbett.
Luxia gasped at the awful sight. "The Black Fire?" she asked.
"A hideous monster, who enjoys nothing more than bringing eternal misery
to other creatures," Corbett explained
Another pillar of flames rose, bigger and nearer this time.
"It's getting closer!" Luxia exclaimed.
"He will try and drag us to his world of pain and despair, from where
there is no escape!" cried Corbett.
Suddenly, Luxia heard an awful, threatening, malicious cry from the
fire. A black shaped appeared, seeming to race towards them.
"What do we do?" Luxia cried.
"Don't be afraid!" Corbett said, with strength in his voice and a
piercing look of defiance in his eyes. "I've shaken the Black Fire
The Black Fire raced toward them, a large black round body, trailing
smoke and embers. Luxia thought for certain it would crash into them,
but Corbett suddenly took a powerful turn, evading it. Luxia was so taken
by surprise that she almost didn't grab onto his feathers
in time. She felt the heat brush past her.
Corbett turned sharply the other way and faced the Black Fire, flapping
his great long wings backward. The Black Fire curved around, and came
flying towards them, no wings and all round and malicious. It was like
a hot cannon ball, screaming and growling horribly. But Corbett
suddenly made a cunning drop and glided under it, Luxia holding on
tightly. Corbett's flight was much more powerful and unpredictable now.
When Luxia looked back, the Black Fire was tailing them. Corbett curved
and tilted left and right, but the Black Fire was not shaken. However,
Luxia could still feel confidence in Corbett. She could feel it in his
movements and see it in his eyes. He knew what he was doing.
Soon the Black Fire was right on Corbett's tail. There was such a
feverish heat and stench in its presence. The black, round form spat
fire and embers.
Suddenly Corbett made an abrupt turn and Luxia thought for sure they
would lose the monster. But they didn't. The Black Fire had followed
them perfectly, and was now at Corbett's side.
When Luxia looked up at it, she shuddered. It was black and shiny and
had many short legs on its round, bulgy body, like a giant bug. And yet
not a bug. Nothing like a bug. Something completely repellent and
disgusting. It kept changing shape and size like it was made of hot
oil. Then suddenly it opened its one, big, fiery-red eye. It looked
right at her. It was all too frightening, and Luxia held tightly to
Corbett and shielded herself with her wings, shining mother of pearl,
before the menacing creature.
Then she heard Corbett's voice ring out like a trumpet. "You fiend!
Don't you remember me? You will not take us to your domain, you
despicable beast!" Luxia felt Corbett dive. She held up to his feathers
and hoped it would be over soon.
When she opened her eyes to see what was happening, Corbett was
beginning to escape the Black Fire. He shot right through a dense layer
of star-dust. The clouds parted in the wake up his flight stream. Luxia
saw that the Black Fire was not following, but behind them she saw the
deep orange light of an explosion and thunder called eerily
over them. But Luxia was not afraid anymore. The Black Fire had
Corbett flapped his wings to slow down, and they now drifted gracefully
in a calm, cloudy place.
Corbett's eye looked back at Luxia. "I am sorry we met the Black Fire,
Luxia," he said. "Are you all right?"
Luxia rose up on her knees holding his feathers with one hand and spread
her luminous wings, looking around the clouds. "I am now," she said.
"But I never knew that such a... an evil creature existed."
Corbett nodded. "The Black Fire was once the most beautiful creature in
all the world, but a long time ago he turned to evil ways and became
the most horrible thing ever to live. He wanders the world, seeking
only to bring misery to everything that is good, and is now our mortal
"I'm amazed it didn't drag us down to its lair."
Corbett laughed gently. "He is a very frightening sight and presence to
be in. But it's actually rather difficult to be degraded to his home.
You have to let him take you there. You have to choose to go. But
nevertheless, he is very powerful..."
"Well, at least we're safe now," said Luxia.
"I apologize again," said Corbett, "that you were in danger."
Luxia smiled gracefully to him. "I feel much safer than ever with you,
The seagull looked forward. "How that gives me comfort," he said.
In the next, long moments, Luxia rode among the clouds and was quiet.
She wanted to enjoy the beauty of the Snowy Cosmos, but little by
little she began to notice that the clouds were changing. They were not
as luminous and white, but gray and wispy. A dead silence was in the
Before Luxia knew what was happening, Corbett spoke. "Luxia, we have to
slow down now. We are entering the Mists of Drear." Luxia held onto his
feathers and felt the power of his flight soften as he brought himself
to a very slow glide. Before long, Luxia found herself covered in the
gray mist. She tried to see in it, but she could hardly see anything
besides Corbett. "I still can't see the Window!" she exclaimed.
"We are not far now," replied Corbett reassuringly, and rather
delightedly. "First we must cross the Mists of Drear. And it is not a
very beautiful place..." He spoke quietly and there was a slight
suspense in his voice.
As Luxia rode she looked from side to side. At times Corbett would turn
a little. Fist left, then right. She could hardly see why, but she
thought she saw enormous dark, pillars behind the mist. The air was
eerily cool and still, aside from Corbett's gentle flight.
Then, strange sounds came. Quietly at first, but soon clear. It sounded
like distant lamentation. Luxia looked around but she could hardly see
past the mist, and it was getting thicker. "What's that crying and
screaming?" asked Luxia.
Corbett turned and evaded a pillar. "Those are the sounds of those who
are grieving," he said.
"Grieving for what?" asked Luxia.
"Different things," replied Corbett. "Those who are badly hurt or
saddened end up here. Many of whom have been attacked by the Black
Luxia shuddered and for a few moments said no more.
Soon the crying was very clear and coming from down below them. Luxia's
light glowed in the mists. She looked over Corbett and thought she
could see many, many people lying down below, if they were people, for
many of them looked badly disfigured. "I think I can see them," she
Soon the mist was so thick that even Corbett was becoming veiled.
"Hmm..." said Corbett, his eyes fixing. "The mists here are too
thick for me to fly safely. We'll have to land," he said, and gently
descended to the floor, or whatever it was that they stood on. "We may
have to walk the rest of the way," Corbett continued.
Luxia spread her wings and floated off Corbett's back. When she landed
on the floor she saw that they were surrounded by the grieving people,
all lying and moaning. They all seemed so despairing and stricken with
grief and infirmity.
Luxia put a hand to her heart. "Oh, it's... it's so awful..." she
said. She floated to the side of a weary thin woman who looked so ill
and was crying painfully, as if something awful had happened to her or
someone she loved. Luxia knelt to her side and helped her sit up. "Oh,
poor woman," she said. "What's happened to you? Tell me." But the woman
did not answer. She only let her head fall back limply. Luxia gently
let her down and wiped her head.
She then quickly turned to a man, who moaned and despaired. "Oh, please
tell me. What's happened to you?" she asked. The man said nothing, only
groaned in her arms.
Luxia turned to Corbett. "They won't speak!" she cried.
Corbett nodded sadly. "They cannot hear or see you. They are overcome
with grief," he said.
Luxia bowed her head, sadly.
"Come, my dear Luxia," said Corbett. "We will be at the Window soon."
Luxia rose to her feet. "Yes," she said. "Oh, but how I wish we could do
Luxia and Corbett slowly trod through the mists. Nearly all through it,
Luxia could not help but try and tend to the many grieving people along
Then, as Luxia walked among them, her eyes suddenly fell upon a man who
looked so badly bruised and beaten and filthy. He was dressed in long,
stained robes and clothes that looked like they would have been very
fine, if they were not covered in filth. He was lying on the floor, not
moving, a distraught look on his face.
"Oh!" exclaimed Luxia, hurrying to the man's side. She knelt down by
him. "This one looks almost dead!"
She at once began wiping his face with her dress. He looked so battered
and so near total despair. Luxia had to save him.
Corbett looked down at her. "You know you may not get him to wake up,"
"I know," said Luxia. "But I must do something to help him."
As her white dress of light wiped the face of the man, the very wounds
and bruises wiped right off of him. When his face was finally clean
Luxia saw also that much of the grief that had been on his face was
Then, suddenly, his eyes moved. Luxia's eyes opened and shone white.
Corbett looked with amazement and hope as well. The man opened his
eyes, and looked at Luxia.
Luxia was amazed. She smiled with joy.
The man's eyes looked almost frightened and stricken, but not with
grief. With astonishment, as he looked at Luxia. After some difficulty
of trying to speak he said, "Are you... an angel?"
Luxia nodded, still smiling. "Yes," she replied.
The man closed his eyes and groaned. Then he opened them again. "You're
so beautiful," he said. He sat up, his once broken body seeming strong
and healthy once more. "Did you... save me?" he asked.
"I did. And I'm so glad you're all right!" replied Luxia.
"Oh... thank you!" said the man. "Thank you... thank you, thank
"Only an angel's healing touch could have saved you," said Corbett
"Oh, angel," said the man, "Please I must know your name now that I've
"It's Luxia," replied the angel. "Please tell me yours."
The man bowed and shook his head. "My name? Oh, no. You must not know my
name. It is a very bad name. It's so full of degradation!"
"Oh, but I must," insisted Luxia kindly.
The man looked up. "Oh, if you must, Luxia, I will tell you. Oh, no!
Please let me only tell you that... I am from Earth. And that...
I was a prince."
"A prince," replied Luxia, impressed. She happened to look down at his
hands and suddenly noticed they were covered in filth. "Oh, your
hands!" she said. "Let me clean them," she took them and began wiping
them with her dress.
At this the prince suddenly began to weep. Big tears spilt from his
Luxia quickly put her hands on his face. "Please don't weep," she said
consolingly. "You're all right now."
The prince shook his head. "Oh, no! No! A beautiful angel like you
should not be comforting me."
Luxia looked at him curiously. "But why shouldn't I?" she asked.
"Because I am a very wicked and cruel prince!"
Luxia shook her head. "Oh, no! No you're not," she said.
The man stopped crying and looked up at Luxia. "But I have done such
terrible things. The Black Fire came to me disguised and slowly
corrupted me. At the end of my life I discovered I was in danger of
him, and I tried to escape. I tried, but he was so powerful. I did
everything I could to keep away from his fiery pit, and in doing so I
thought how I could have been so blind, to let the Black Fire get to me. I
thought I was worth nothing, having done my cruel deeds. So I ended up
At this he put his face in his hands and wept more. Luxia pulled him to
her and embraced him. "It's all right," she comforted. "You're sorry
"Indeed," said Corbett.
The prince slowly drew away from Luxia. His eyes were now very dry. "Do
tell me, beautiful Luxia. What is an angel so lovely as you doing in
the Mists of Drear?"
"Well," said Luxia, "I was on my way to the Window."
The prince's eyes widened. "The Window?" he said. He stood up in his
stained robes and spread his arms out to Luxia. "If I may," he said
humbly. "Please let me come with you."
Luxia brightened. "Of course!" she exclaimed "You shouldn't be in a place
The prince folded his hands. "Thank you, Luxia. Thank you! However can I
repay you for everything you've done for me?"
"I don't want anything from you, good Prince," Luxia reassured. "But it
will make me very happy if you'll come with us to the Window."
The prince closed his eyes and shook his head. "Good prince, you say?
Maybe if you say so, but nothing can change the deeds I've done. From
now on, I ought to be called Fallen Prince of Earth."
"Well, I don't think that's a very good title for you," said Luxia, her
eyes shining sympathetically.
"But as long as you're good now, I suppose it's safe to say that you did
fall," said Corbett judiciously.
The Fallen Prince looked up, "Very well," he said, "but let's go. Right
"Yes," said Luxia.
They all began walking through the mists, past the tall dark pillars and
the many suffering people lying about. Through it all Luxia could
hardly bear seeing them, the way they were. She folded her wings and
looked at them sadly. "If only there was more we could do," she moaned.
Corbett's head bowed sadly.
The Fallen Prince sighed. "Despair..." he said. "I shudder to think
Soon however, as they walked, the cries of the grieving fell behind
them. It grew very quiet.
...Luxia looked from side to side. The Mists of Drear were clearing
and she began to feel excitement around her.
Then as the mists in front of them grew thinner, she thought see saw
light up ahead. The light made an opaque effect behind the mists. Luxia
began to feel such joy enter her. "That light... is it?"
"The Window," Corbett nodded, his beak in its natural smile, and his
eyes twinkling delightedly. "We're almost there."
Luxia put her arms out, feeling for the end of the mist. The light grew
brighter and brighter. Everyone felt such joy from it.
Finally, finally, at last, Luxia came out of the mist and beheld the
Window. It was big and bright before her, just a little way away. It
was surrounded by stars and suns shining in a bright sky. Just at its
base she thought he saw the outline of a gate.
"We're here!" cried Luxia. "The Window!"
Suddenly, without warning there was a fearsome tremble, a veil of
darkness, and the Black Fire appeared before them, menacing and
Luxia gasped. Corbett and the Fallen Prince kept still in its frightful
presence. It blocked the light from the Window and sat in front of
them, all round and ugly, spreading flames and smoke and ash. Luxia
shook and trembled before it, afraid that at any moment it might
swallow them up or spew flames at them.
"The Black Fire..." exclaimed the Fallen Prince.
"It's back!" exclaimed Luxia.
"He's jealous," said Corbett. "The Window is the gateway to a beautiful
world of undisturbed joy. He will try and stop us at any cost!"
Luxia looked up at the great bird. "How are we going to get past him?"
At once the Black Fire erupted in a jet of towering flames, and roared.
Corbett spread his wings and his eyes sharpened. "Away with you, old
wretched fiend!" he said with a ringing scree. The Black Fire roared
louder. "Complain all you want, but don't stand between us and our
destination!" Corbett continued.
The Black Fire rumbled like thunder. The air was hot and burning, and
stank with the Black Fire's stench. But it did not move from its
Corbett lowered his head to Luxia. "Don't be afraid, Luxia. Fight him.
He cannot stand to be defiled!"
Luxia shook her fists and gathered courage, though it was hard in the
face of all the Black Fire's evil power. "Stay away from us!" she
shouted in her beautiful voice. "I don't want anything to do with you!"
At this the Black Fire grew in size, like a great shadow. Its flames
glowed red and its smoke was pitch black.
"Don't you hurt us!" Luxia persisted.
The Black Fire rose high above them and opened its eye menacingly.
The Fallen Prince stepped up in front. "Do you remember me?" he
exclaimed. The Black Fire's eye looked at him. "You will have me no
more. Luxia saved me, and she is far more awesome than you'll ever be.
Be gone with all your flames! You have no power while we stand before
The Black Fire began to shake furiously. And then, suddenly, it closed
its red-hot eye, and began to shrink. It shrank and shrank until it
only appeared as a little black droplet of oil, and jumped
frighteningly away, like an uncannily horrible flea. The smoke cleared and
the air cooled... and then, the pure light from the Window shone
forth before them.
Luxia stepped forward, relieved that the enemy was gone. While looking
at the Window and being near it, Luxia forgot all her fear. Her eyes
shone and sparkled in the light of the world beyond the Window. "It's
so beautiful," said Luxia. "I've finally made it!"
Corbett nodded, pleased to see how happy she was.
The Fallen Prince stepped up. "Come, my friends," he said. "We're here!"
They all ran as fast as they could to the gateway. Luxia could not wait
to get through and see the beautiful place beyond it. When she came to
the gateway, however, she stopped at the sight of a giant guard, with a
golden rod in his hand. His eyes turned to the party and his hand went
up. "Stop!" he said.
Luxia didn't know the meaning of this. "Please, can't we come in? We've
traveled so far..." she asked.
The giant put forth his staff. "Tell me who you are and what you wish to
do in the world beyond the Window?" he said in a deep, resonant voice.
Corbett stepped forward. "I am Corbett," he said dignifiedly. "With me I
bring the lovely angel Luxia. And the Fallen Prince of Earth."
He was hardly given a chance to say anything else, for at once a loud
majestic voice rang out from deep within the Window. "The Fallen Prince
of Earth? Let them in! At once! Hurry, now!"
The giant stepped back and the gate suddenly opened as if by itself.
Before Luxia knew what was happening she and Corbett and the Fallen
Prince were stepping through the Window.
At first Luxia had no idea what was in front of her. The light nearly
blinded her. And yet she thought it was truly a wondrous light. In the
next moments she thought her eyes were beginning to adjust to the
brightness. When at last she could open her eyes, a most beautiful
world appeared. She was walking down a paved road, with such beautiful
lively gardens and plants of such wonderful kinds. Above her was a
tall, tall building, constructed of such a fine material. There were
other buildings like it everywhere, with stone and marble stairs
spiraling up to higher floors. There were gorgeous fountains and parks
and fields. Twice she spotted small pedestals with large crystalline
marble balls on top as decoration. A majestic orchestra was playing
music from somewhere, a tune that filled her with thrill and wonder.
In the distance, behind the buildings were blue mountains, nothing like
the mountains on Earth. Their beauty surpassed everything Luxia had
ever seen. As the music played birds flew by, as if heralds to the
tune. The sky was such a perfect blue, and at the same time the light
from the heavenly body of this world surged with awesome power, and yet
as blazing as it was, it was so gentle to the eyes. There were
beautiful trees in the parks and by the buildings and along the roads
and everywhere were people of all kinds from many different worlds,
walking and laughing.
Luxia tried to see it all at once. It was so wonderful to finally be
here. She began to dance and laugh.
"Hurry, Luxia!" Corbett called kindly. He was walking with the Fallen
Prince down an enormous decorative hall, paved with gold, or something
like gold. Luxia followed them in and looked up to the top of the hall.
It looked as if a whole row of skyscrapers could fit inside. Suddenly,
as Luxia looked up at the golden glowing ceiling, a whole cluster
of angels appeared. Other angels. She saw them look down at her, crying
in sweet voices, "Luxia!" "Luxia!" "Hello, Luxia!" "We missed you,
Luxia was overjoyed at the sight of them. Each angel had such a
different, unique face and features so that no two were alike. "Hello,
everyone!" she waved as they flew around her. "I missed all of you
"Were you scared?" "Don't fall asleep next time, Luxia," said the
"Hurry, Luxia!" called Corbett firmly, but still he was perfectly
pleasant in his tone of voice.
Luxia told her angel brethren she would be back and hurried on, though
still quite confused as to where she was going.
At the end of the hall was an enormous, decorative door which two guards
opened as they approached. A bright light shone from the doors and as
Luxia stepped through them, she found that her eyes needed to adjust
once more. Once they had, Luxia saw she was in a throne room. A king
with such a long colorful robe was sitting on an elaborately built
throne, and the Fallen Prince was running up to him.
Luxia saw that his clothes had been cleansed from theirs stains and were
shining in the light.
The King rose from his chair and embraced the prince. "My son!" he
exclaimed. "My son! My son! You're all right!"
"Father!" the Fallen Prince addressed as they held each other tightly.
"If it hadn't been for Luxia I would still be rotting in the Mists of
The king looked at Luxia with wide jovial eyes and gazed at her in the
deepest, most magisterial gratitude. "I am King Nicolas, one of many
men made a ruler in the world beyond the Window. Is it true that you
saved my son from the woe of the Dreary Mists?"
"Yes, sir," said Luxia, bowing again.
King Nicolas folded his hands in gratitude. "Lovely Luxia!" he said. "I
am eternally grateful to you! Please! I wish to hear all about you and
how you came to save my son." He put an arm around the Fallen Prince.
"Come, my boy! Sit with me, at my right hand!"
With a clap of his hands, he motioned for his servants to bring him the
throne of his prince, and two brought out a marvelous chair with gold
and many jewels. It was almost more beautiful than his own.
"Father, please don't give me such a beautiful throne," said the Fallen
Prince. "After all I've done I don't deserve to rule by your side."
King Nicolas kissed his son. "My son. I could have lost you. Now I have
you again, and you're all right with me... this is a new life for
you! You were once in danger of the Black Fire, and for all those years I
was worried sick for you, and now you're grown up and are free from his
evil flames. From now on, my son, you are the Saved Prince!"
Once they were seated King Nicolas gestured for her to tell her story.
Luxia told it all to the best of her magnificent ability, and Nicolas
and his son, and Corbett in the back of the room, and all the servants,
listened carefully. Her only interruption was when Nicolas said, "Oh,
do come on. Please get to the part when you rescued my son."
When she was finished he clapped many times with gleeful gratitude.
"Such a wonderful course of events!" he said.
He turned to Corbett and stood up. "And you, Corbett? It is you who has
brought this beautiful creature all the way to the Window?"
Corbett took a step toward the king. "It was my pleasure to do such
a small, kind deed for the lovely Luxia," he said.
At once the king saluted him with hands raised. "I thank you, mighty
Corbett. Is there anything I can do for you? Why, I see your wing is
crooked? My surgeons will fix it for you if you desire."
Corbett laughed with a twinkle in his eye. "I thank you, kindly, your
greatness. But it does not bother me. I am perfectly content with it."
"As you wish," bowed the king respectfully. He then turned to Luxia.
"And you, my dear! You have made my very happy, because you have given
me my son! What shall you have from me? Name it!"
Luxia looked down and tried to hold back a flattered smile. "Oh, sir. I
do not need anything from you. If you please, I only wish to stay here
and live in the world of the Window."
Suddenly she stopped as a thought entered her head. She looked up to
King Nicolas. "If you please, sir. There are so many poor people
suffering in the Mists of Drear. They are suffering miserably. I could
not bear to see them the way they are. I have always longed to be here,
and now I long to share this joy with others. I would only ask, since
you are a wise and just king, that you help to bring them here, to this
joyful bright, world!"
The king listened carefully to this, and when she was finished, he rose
his hands and clapped once very loudly. "Done!" he said with such
devotion and enthusiasm. All the servants and Corbett nodded in
The king's scribe came right to his side. "Make a decree that our most
caring and bravest men and all angels, and all dwellers of this
luminous domain who are willing, are to help the grieving in the Mists
of Drear to recover, and to bring them to a home beyond the Window!"
Nicolas cried. He then turned to Luxia, and beckoned her. Luxia stepped
forward to the King's throne. "Luxia," said King Nicolas. "Is it your
wish that you go and help those in the Mists of Drear?"
"Oh, yes sir. If I may," said Luxia.
The king took a sword crafted of a gorgeous, righteous metal. "Then,
please kneel," he said. Luxia kneeled with her hands folded. Nicolas
placed the flat of the sword on her shoulder. "Then, Luxia, Angel," he
said, "I make you the head of all the service men, women, angels and
all who will do this. You will help bring these poor souls to the
domain beyond the Window, because you were not afraid to care for my
suffering son when his spirit was dead."
Luxia opened her mouth in awe.
"From now on," said the king. "You shall be called the Angel of the
Window! Arise, Luxia."
Everyone cheered and hailed Luxia as the Angel of the Window. Luxia only
kept her hands folded. She glowed fantastically, in all her rays of
When the cheering was done, Nicolas rose his hands. "Gather! Everyone in
the Domain of the Window. This day will be made a feast day in honor of
"Oh, you needn't do so much for me, sir," insisted Luxia humbly.
"No, no! My sweet one, I insist!"
Corbett stepped forward. "If you please, you greatness, I will excuse
myself. I am anxious to return to my home in the Night World."
The king nodded. "Very well, good Corbett. Perhaps another day." He
called to Luxia. "Come, Luxia. You will sit at the head of our feast
"Wait, sir," called Luxia. She ran to Corbett, and embraced his soft
feathery head in her arms. "Good-bye, Corbett," she bid. "I'll never
Corbett's kind pleasant eye blinked. "I will remember you every day of
my life, my lovely Luxia. I am glad I could make you happy, and I am
honored that I carried an honorable creature as yourself."
"I hope I'll get to see you again soon."
"I promise," said Corbett. He turned and Luxia watched as he took flight
and disappeared, to make the long journey back to the world of the
stars and the moon.
In the next hour, Luxia joined King Nicolas and the Saved Prince and all
her angel brethren in the celebration.
Afterward, Luxia began her service as the leader of the heavenly hosts
who took care of the grieving victims in the Mists of Drear, and
defended all who were vulnerable from the clutches of the Black Fire,
making trips to the Mists and caring for the crippled and the
disfigured and the miserable. And way off in the world of the Stars and
the Moon, Corbett talked with his friend, the moon of the adventure, as
they had after all of Corbett's earlier days and adventure and glory
that had made him the seasoned traveler that he was.
In the days to come Luxia enjoyed her new home in the world of the
Window, and Corbett at times paid her respectful visits, and in the
further days to come, he would often take her to other worlds to see
and be in.
When all had been saved from the woe in the Mists of Drear and the
powers of the Black Fire were broken by Luxia's love, service and
protection, Luxia enjoyed many a day of beauty and yore, and returned
to being a humble angel, living with her kind in the world beyond the
Window, though her life had been graced with many a won heart, and very
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