Jasmine screamed, which was a perfectly reasonable reaction given that the ground was rushing up to meet her. She didn't know exactly how tall the tree was but she guessed the fall would be enough to kill her; if not it would certainly do some serious damage.

On and on she fell. She was through the clouds now and could see the grass on the meadow below getting closer and closer. She took a breath and let out another scream, scrunching her eyes shut to block out the sight of the approaching ground. She screamed twice more and then opened her eyes.

She was surprised to see that she was no longer falling. The ground that had been rapidly approaching was the same distance away as it had been when Jasmine had shut her eyes. She looked around, wondering what was keeping her up. Behind her was the enormous ashy tree trunk, and her initial thought was that maybe a branch had broken her fall. A quick glance down told her that his wasn't the case. There was nothing beneath her, nor anything on either side of her supporting her. Then, out of the corner of her eye she caught sight of a long pink shape slithering through the air towards her. It was the creature from outside the tower.

The thing wiggled through the air towards Jasmine, its slender body swaying this way and that, and stopped a few metres away from her. It put Jasmine in mind of a daffodil that someone had painted the colour of strawberry ice-cream. It had no limbs, just a long, eel-like body that extended down until it ended in a point. Its head was star shaped and in the middle of its face sat a long snout that reminded Jasmine of a pig's nose. The creature hovered in the air before Jasmine, flicking its tail like a cat.

They stared each other down for a minute, neither making a sound. At first the creature frightened Jasmine, but after a few moments of silence she found that it didn't bother her that much. If the thing had wanted to attack, she reasoned, it would surely have done so by now. In any case, The Alchemist seemed not to like it, which at the moment was reason enough for Jasmine to pluck up the courage to speak.

"Hi." Jasmine's voice seemed to startle the whatever-it-was, which flew past her and went to hide in a hole in the tree. "It's ok," Jasmine said. "I'm not going to hurt you." These words did nothing to reassure the creature, who sank further back into its hiding place. Jasmine tried to coax it out with some bread, but this didn't help much either. She dropped the piece of roll she'd broken off and began to think. She wasn't sure what this thing was or its intentions, but curiosity had overcome her and finding out was now her only goal. She hummed tunelessly to herself while she thought, and was suddenly struck by a revelation. If this was the same creature that had been flying outside her window it was attracted to her song. She began to sing in a quiet voice and watched to see what the thing would do.

Success. The creature popped its head out of the hole and slithered over to Jasmine, circling round her two or three times before coming to rest in front of her. "Hello," it said. It didn't speak out loud. Instead the words simply appeared in Jasmine's brain as if she'd known them all along. "Are you the one who made this world?"

"I helped," Jasmine replied, blushing. She'd ever been very good at taking credit for things because in her experience things that she was proud of were more often than not things that adults disapproved of. If Jasmine went around taking credit for everything she did she'd be so often in trouble that she wouldn't have time left for mischief. The creature surveyed Jasmine silently. To break the silence Jasmine asked "How did you know?"

"I've heard your song before," it replied. "I wasn't sure it was you when I saw you fall, but I knew as soon as you started singing. I'd like to help you."

"Help me? Help me get home?"

The thing nodded. "I'd like to. But you'll have to help me first."


"The man you call Zolto has stolen my wings. He knows that the only thing with enough power to send you home is a faerie, and being the first one he came across he stripped me of that power and left me for dead. Of course, he didn't know that faeries are immortal, and so naturally I followed him back to this tree to get them back. But he doesn't have them any more. They're scattered around this land, protected by dark magic."

This was a lot of information for Jasmine to take in all in one go, especially since her brain was still trying to properly process the events that had occurred since she touched the typewriter. To keep conversation going she latched onto the simplest piece of information from the previous statement and decided she'd get that straight in her mind before attempting to sort through the rest of the facts. "You're a faerie?"

"Yes, why?"

"I don't know, I just imagined them to look different."

"We can take other forms," the faerie replied, "but this is our natural one."

Jasmine didn't really have an answer to this, so she just said "oh," and let the conversation trail off into silence. This made the faerie impatient, and again it asked her for help. "You're sure if I help you you can send me home?" Jasmine asked.

"Positive. In fact it would be my pleasure."

Jasmine weighed up the options. On the one hand helping this creature was sure to be a dangerous task. On the other this was the closest she'd yet come to getting home. It didn't take long to reach a decision. "Ok. I'll help."

"Excellent," the faerie replied, and it did a little cartwheel in the air. "There are four in total. Good luck."

"What, that's it?" Jasmine asked. "You're not going to tell me where they are or what they look like?" They were sinking slowly towards the ground now, and Jasmine had a terrible feeling that once they landed the faerie would leave her.

"I'm not entirely sure. I think The Alchemist flew to the desert first of all. I would suggest making that your first destination. As for what they look like, you'll know when you find one." They were almost on the ground now. Jasmine could see the details in the meadow flowers and the blades of grass, and she noticed Felix standing by the trunk of the tree looking up at her. "I'm afraid I can't be of any more help," the faerie said as Jasmine's feet touched the ground. "But I'll return when you've succeeded in your mission. Good luck."

And with that the faerie was gone, disappearing with a puff of purple smoke.

Felix trotted over to Jasmine and sniffed at her satchel. "Hello boy," Jasmine said cheerily. She stroked the side of his neck before reaching into her bag for the packet of Polos. She took one out of the crinkly silver wrapper and handed it to him. "I've got a job to do. Want to help?"

Felix crunched on his Polo. "Can't," he replied, his mouth still half full of the mint. "I have business in the north. But I can take you that way if that's any help at all." Jasmine wasn't sure that heading north was going to help very much at all, but she didn't particularly want to be alone and since she only knew roughly where one of the wings might be she decided to accompany him. Felix knelt down to allow Jasmine to mount him. She clambered clumsily onto his back and threw her arms around his neck, holding on as tight as she possibly could. "What sort of business in the north?" she asked as they set off at a trot.

"Important business," Felix replied proudly. Jasmine had the notion that if unicorns could smile he would be beaming from ear to ear.

"Is it going to be dangerous?"

"I should think so."

"And exciting?"

"Oh, no doubt about it."

"Can I help?"

Felix stopped trotting and tried to turn his head to see Jasmine better. "No, this is something I must do by myself," he said. "Besides, you've got your own business to attend to. You need to get home to Christian." He was right. Jasmine had been here for too long already and she wasn't sure how long her mission would take her. Christian would be having a hard enough time adjusting to the move as it was, a fact that would only be made worse if Jasmine didn't write to him to keep his spirits up.

Felix and Jasmine rode north all afternoon across meadows and through forests. When evening crept in they stopped to eat in a valley, Felix munching lazily on the plants that grew along the bank of the stream they'd stopped at and Jasmine eating the bread rolls she'd taken from Zolto. It wasn't much and she was still starving afterwards, but there wasn't anything else in her bag apart from one last polo. She thought about rummaging through the bushes that grew around to see if she could find any fruit but she was worried that she might accidentally poison herself. She had never been particularly clued up on what was safe to pick back on Earth, and the plants that grew here were ones she'd never seen before. She sat on the grass next to Felix, who seemed to be busy consuming his body weight in foliage. She put her elbows on the ground behind her and lay back on the grass. Thick clouds were creeping in across the sky, dark grey ones that looked heavy with rain. "I don't like the look of those," she casually observed.

"The look of what?" Felix asked through a mouthful of leaves.

"Those clouds. Looks like a thunderstorm is brewing." Jasmine sat up. "Maybe we should find somewhere to sleep for the night. I don't want us to get caught in it."

"Ok," Felix replied. He didn't stop eating. Jasmine sighed, got to her feet and informed Felix that she was off to look for shelter. "I'll catch up with you," he called as she left.

Jasmine scouted the area, picking her way through the branches that tangled amongst each other. There were a few trees growing along the bank of the stream but mostly the ground was covered in thick thorny brambles. A little way off from the plants dark rocks jutted up in clusters, large clumps of granite piled atop each other. Jasmine walked towards them hoping to find some sort of cover.

When Jasmine reached the rocks she was dismayed to find that the formation wasn't as impressive as it had looked from a distance. She had hoped to find a cave or something, but no such luck. The closest she could find to an actual cave was a large outcrop that provided minimal shelter. The underside of the rock that jutted out was covered in a thick layer of moist, dark greed moss. The ground beneath it was damp and bare, nothing but dark soil that seemed to wriggle and shift with insects that ran across it. It wasn't ideal but it would provide at least some protection from the rain if it fell the right way. The shelter would have to do until they weathered the storm. It had begun to spit now and Jasmine doubted she'd find anywhere drier before the it began to rain any heavier.

She traced the course of the stream back, her wellies splashing in the water. She was thankful she still had them though she longed for her coat, which presumably was still somewhere in the city above the clouds. She trudged through the drizzle watching the raindrops making little ripples in the stream. Felix had obviously had the idea to come and find her and was sloshing his way upstream to meet her. The rain was beginning to get heavier now. It was no longer the fine misty sort. Instead it had begun lashing down on the ground in thick hard drops. "I've found shelter," Jasmine shouted. "Upstream, maybe half a mile away. If we run we can make it before we get soaked." Felix galloped over to her and lowered his back to allow her to climb on again. They travelled towards the rocky outcrop together, Felix's hooves sending water spraying in all direction with each heavy hoof beat.

By the time they reached the shelter Jasmine was drenched. Her lemon-yellow dress had taken on so much water that it had become a dark mustard colour and it clung to the contours of her body. Her wellingtons were full of water and squelched horribly when she dismounted Felix. She took them off and tipped them out onto the ground before crawling into the space under the rock. Jasmine and Felix sat beneath the shelter together watching the rain beat down on the broad-leaved plants that grew in the valley and roll onto the ground below. The sky was darkening now and the air was getting a chill to it. Jasmine wished she had some way to build a fire. She had seen people on television creating fire by rubbing two sticks together until they sparked, but this was not a skill that Jasmine had ever learned. Even if she had she doubted it would do her much good – the only wood she'd be able to find would be too wet to be of any use, and even if it wasn't she wouldn't have the space for a fire. Instead she crept further back into her hiding place, pressing her body into Felix's as tightly as she could for warmth, and watched the lightning illuminate the valley in flashes.

When Jasmine woke the valley was bathed in golden light that gave the tree-tops halos. The edges of the plants all had a distinctly pinkish glow to them that told Jasmine it was early in the morning. She yawned and rubber the sleep out of her eyes before looking around groggily. She didn't remember falling asleep last night and for a minute or two after waking she was confused as to where she was. The events of yesterday were hazy and distant in her mind and at first when she woke she thought herself to be dreaming. She pressed her finger into the palm of her other hand to check (an action that, according to Christian, was more reliable than pinching) and after ascertaining that she was awake she stood up, almost knocking her head on the roof of the shelter. Felix was nowhere to be seen this morning and Jasmine desperately hoped that he hadn't continued north without her.

Not knowing what else to do Jasmine pulled on her wellingtons (still sodden from the night before) and traced the path of the stream back to where Felix had been grazing yesterday. A lot of the time that Jasmine had spent in his company he'd been eating, and she was relieved to see that this morning was no exception.

Felix was standing in the centre of the clearing pulling leaves off branches and lazily munching on them. Someone had lit a fire a little way off from him and laid little red fish out on a leaf next to it. Jasmine ran over to Felix and kissed his silvery fur.

"There's breakfast over there," Felix chirped. It was the happiest Jasmine had heard him sound about anything. "I caught it myself."

Jasmine sat on the ground and speared one of the fish with a nearby stick. "What about the fire?" Jasmine didn't know if unicorns could shrug but she was sure that the movement Felix made was the same thing.

"That was burning when I got here," Felix replied. Jasmine held the fish over the fire feeling the warmth of the flame on her knuckles. It tasted good when it was cooked and had a meaty consistency like chicken. After devouring the first fish Jasmine promptly speared another. The hunger of the previous night had finally caught up with her. She ate all of the fish, her dress dying while she ate, and by the time breakfast was over Jasmine was finally comfortable again. When breakfast was finished (which in Felix's case took an awful lot longer) Jasmine kicked dirt over the fire which spat and crackled in protest before finally dying out.

Jasmine and Felix set off again. The air today was warm and the earthy smell of the valley hung on the breeze. Felix offered to carry Jasmine again but it was such a beautiful day that she politely declined, informing him that she'd rather walk. She carried her wellingtons in her hand and her toes sank into the soft earth with every step she took. Jasmine had long since crossed the stream she'd been sitting near with Felix and was now in a small forest, but progress here had been slow since Jasmine insisted on stopping every so often to examine an exotic plant or try and catch an unusual bug. By lunch time Jasmine had begun to fall in love with the land and promised to somehow bring Christian here to experience it. By evening she'd had so much fun exploring that she'd almost forgotten about Christian completely.

As night began to ooze across the sky Jasmine and Felix emerged from the dense canopy of trees into a large, circular clearing that was deathly silent. The sounds of the valley were inaudible here and even the birds in the treetops didn't sing. Jasmine was under the impression that if she strained her ears she would hear the grass growing. There was no movement in the clearing from any living being. Even the plants didn't rustle, despite the breeze that blew through the place and made the bottom of Jasmine's dress dance. Jasmine had the feeling that she was somewhere holy, and she took her shoes off and rested them against a nearby tree trunk.

In the centre of the clearing was a large, egg-shaped stone that was so smooth that the edges of it almost blended seamlessly into the background. It caught the light of the full moon and seemed to amplify it before bouncing off towards the trees, bathing the clearing in an eerie milky light. Jasmine walked barefoot to the stone and ran her hand across the side.

Felix beat his hoof on the ground to get Jasmine's attention, and Jasmine (who had forgotten that he was behind her) jumped and turned around. "This is where we part ways," he said.

"You're leaving?"

Felix nodded. "I think this is as far north as I'm supposed to take you." He paced over to her and nuzzled her side. "But it's ok. I think you'll see me again. Maybe not for a very long time, but I have a funny kind of feeling that this might not be good bye."

"It is for now though?" Jasmine asked quietly.

"For now," Felix said with a smile in his voice. "You'll be fine though. I can tell." He turned towards the canopy of trees and took a couple of steps before turning his head back to Jasmine. "Oh, one more thing – when you see me again, remind me that this is where I left you. I have a feeling it's important."

Jasmine was about to ask Felix what he meant, but he shot off into the trees before she even opened her mouth. She sat alone on the polished rock with her head in her hands, the only help she had running miles away from her through the trees.