Crystal clear and as smooth as glass, the mirrored surface of the tiny pool was undisturbed in the midst of the immense, quiet forest. Butterflies fluttered over a meadow of exotic flowers, their deep purples, oranges, yellows, and reds breaking the green monotony of the foliage surrounding the pool. Clear blue skies emphasized the hues and textures of the rocks and plants surrounding the water, making the colors almost too vibrant to seem real. All over this unnatural beauty lay an aura of purity, as though the place had somehow managed to lay untouched, away from the destruction wrought by human hands.

At the edge of the forest, where cool darkness met warm light, was poised a graceful, slender girl. Her delicate features served as a startling setting for a pair of endless blue eyes, their color rivaling that of the impossible blue of the sky. Framing all of this was an untamed mane of silver hair like the color of the silver rocks lying on the bank, but paler. Pale enough to almost be the color of frost as the light shone over the tumbling waves and curls.

She moved slowly, elegantly, toward the very edge of the water, yet she looked as though she was poised to run at any moment. Fluidly, she dropped to her knees, sinking into the shallow pools made by the rocks, and cupped her hands, bringing the water carefully to her lips. It rippled into tiny waves, disturbing the balance of the scene. There was an almost indiscernible movement to her right.

Disturbed, her eyes flew up to meet those of the boy who had suddenly appeared across from her. Her gaze wary, mistrusting, she watched him as he stood there, unmoving, as though he had been carved out of a vividly colored block of marble.

The forest around them was quiet. The dull murmur of the wind had stopped. Nothing moved.

Her eyes flashed blue fire and her head tilted back in defiance at his mocking stare. Still nothing moved.

Silence stretched between them, the boy's gaze fixed on her forehead, which had a curious six-point star shimmering on it, revealed when her hair had fallen away from her face.

Suddenly, the boy let out a mocking laugh that echoed over the trees around them. Startled, the girl stood, the air around her shimmering and distorting the clarity of the scene.

A shimmering silver unicorn, so pale as to be almost the color of frost, with liquid blue eyes, galloped into the unearthly still depths of the forest, an unruly mane of waves and curls flying behind it.

An ageless pair of green eyes watched her go, brighter than that of anything surrounding them. A large golden dragon settled down at the edge of the pool, his transparent gossamer wings folding gently around him as he lay to watch and to wait, protecting the pool from the outside world.

Before he laid his head to rest, he paused to look back down into the still water, his green eyes whirling with golds almost as beautiful as the color of his scales.

Staring back at him was the face of the boy.


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