Puppet Skit: “Finding the Characterprints of Jesus” Part 3

COCOA: Detective Snowy, Detective Snowy, where are you?  (sniff, sniff) I smell trouble.  (sniff, sniff) Something is wrong.

(HAPPY and FABLE enter)

COCOA: Has anyone seen Detective Snowy? We need to make tracks and find the last clue. I can’t find my detective.

HAPPY: No, Cocoa. I haven’t seen her anywhere.  It’s not like Snowball to be late for VBS. Something must have happened.

FABLE: She was going to the mouse alley earlier this morning to visit her friends.  But she should be back by now.

COCOA: Detective Snowy is not here. I’ve sniffed everywhere. I’ve got to get busy and find her.

HAPPY: I’ll help you find Snowball. She might need some help.

FABLE: Yes. Let’s go to the mouse alley and find her.

(SNOWBALL enters “mewing”, without her spy glass and hat.)

COCOA: Detective Snowy. There you are! But, what happened to you? You look like you’ve been in a cat fight!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, don’t call me Detective Snowy. I’m just plain old Snowball.

COCOA: Snowball, what happened?

SNOWBALL: I went to the mouse alley this morning. I was with my friends Stuart and Fival, telling them about VBS, when the mean cats showed up.  The cats started chasing all the mice in the alley.

FABLE: It’s not nice to bother the little guys.

SNOWBALL: Those mean cats hurt Stuart and Fival. I got really mad. I tried to hold on to my temper like Jesus would, but I got so mad.  I started yelling at those other cats.  They had no reason to be mean to my friends. And I got madder because they wouldn’t stop it when I told them to. They started calling me names and THAT did it! I started throwing things around. I scared all the ugly old cats away, and I don’t think they’ll be coming back; but I broke my spyglass and lost my cap.

COCOA: Wow, you’ve had a rough time!

HAPPY: We should have been there to help you defend the mice.

FABLE: Are you okay, Snowball?

AllFour

SNOWBALL: I’m okay, Fable.  You all are such great friends.  You are loving and caring, and so faithful. You’ve got the characterprints of Jesus. I wish I had found the last characterprint before I got so angry. I don’t feel like I’m very much like Jesus. I didn’t find anybody who was brave and courageous.

COCOA: Snowball, Jesus did act like that in the temple. You missed our Bible story today. The Bible says that Jesus got angry with the ones who were being mean to others.  God doesn’t like it when someone hurts others. Jesus showed us how mad God gets.  He threw the table down and ran the mean people out of the temple.

HAPPY: That’s right. God gets very angry at evil.

SNOWBALL: Yeah. But I still didn’t find the last character print. I’m not good enough to be a detective.  I needed to find someone who is brave and courageous.

FABLE: Snowball, I think we know who is brave and courageous.

SNOWBALL: Really? Who? Please tell me. Who is it?

HAPPY: It’s you, Snowball. You defended those poor little mice from the mean old cats, even when they insulted you.

FABLE: Jesus did the same thing.

COCOA: You are very brave, Snowball. Just like Jesus.

SNOWBALL: You guys can’t be serious! I can’t believe this. I have a characterprint like Jesus? Are you guys playing a joke on me?

HAPPY: No, Snowball. We really mean it.

SNOWBALL: Wow! I never thought I’d find any characterprints in me. I was surprised to find Cocoa was humble and loving, but me!? This is more than I ever expected! Are you guys positive I’m like Jesus?

FABLE: Yes, Snowball. We’re positive.

COCOA: So, Snowball. How do you feel now that you’ve found all the characterprints of Jesus? Are you proud of yourself?

SNOWBALL: Well, yeah. But not as much as I thought I would be. You all get the credit, too. A little. I did do most of it myself.

COCOA: What!?

SNOWBALL: Let’s review the character prints we found. Cocoa, you were humble when you took a flea bath, and you were loving when you let me change your name. Okay, it was ridiculous to change our names.

FABLE: Happy was faithful. He didn’t stop liking you when  you changed your names. He didn’t make fun of you either.

HAPPY: Fable was forgiving. He forgave Cocoa for what Cocoa said to him.

COCOA: You don’t have to  bring that up, do you?

FABLE: Don’t worry, Cocoa. I forgive you.

SNOWBALL: And I was brave and courageous. I saved the poor lSnowball-ENDittle mice from the mean cats.

COCOA: Yeah! You’re not Detective Snowy – you’re Catgirl, champion of mice!

SNOWBALL: Catgirl?

COCOA: Yes, you can be a super hero….and….I’ll be your dog!

SNOWBALL: No, Cocoa. Let’s just be friends.  Let’s help each other be like Jesus. He’s the real super hero. Jesus Christ is the champion of the whole world.

COCOA: That’s right! Jesus loves everyone!

FABLE: And Jesus is forgiving.

HAPPY: Jesus is faithful.

SNOWBALL: Jesus is brave and courageous! He helps everyone who needs his help. He saves us all!

HAPPY: I hope everyone enjoyed VBS.

FABLE: I sure did.

SNOWBALL: So did I. I learned a lot and I hope I can come back next summer!

HAPPY: Well, bye everyone!

SNOWBALL: Yeah, bye everyone!

FABLE: I hope you continue to have the character prints of Jesus all your life.

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, why aren’t you saying goodbye to everyone?

COCOA: I’m thinking about changing my name to Champion.

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, say good-bye to the audience.

COCOA: Good-bye to the audience. Oh! Bye everyone. I hope you will go into all the world and make tracks for Jesus!

SNOWBALL: Hey, Cocoa, Fable, Happy, let’s go eat! I’m starving!

COCOA: Yeah! Let’s make tracks to my house! I’ve got some mice in the freezer!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa! Don’t make me mad!

COCOA: I’m just kidding, Snowball.

(All puppets leave stage.)

(Behind curtain) COCOA: Ow! I’m just kidding Snowball.

THE END

Puppet Skit: “Finding the Characterprints of Jesus” Part 2

(SNOWBALL and COCOA enter)

SNOWBALL: I was thinking, Cocoa. Do you think I should change my name?

COCOA: Uh, I don’t know. Snowball sounds “cool” to me.

SNOWBALL: I think I need to change my name to Detective Snowy.  How does that sound?

COCOA: Snowball, I think your name is just fine like it is. Come on, make tracks! Let’s find some more characterprints!

SNOWBALL: WAIT a minute! I’m the detective! I decide what to do! And I say I’m going to change my name. I’m Detective Snowy. And I’ll change your name to….um….YES! Your name is Sir Chocolate.

CCocoaOCOA: Sir Chocolate?

SNOWBALL: Yes, Sir Chocolate. It’s so much more sophisticated and mature. After all, it’s European.

COCOA: You mean I’m foreign? Do I lose my character prints if I’m foreign?

SNOWBALL: No, Cocoa, uh, I mean, Sir Chocolate.  You’ll be the same no matter what name you have.  Jesus had a human name but he’s still our Lord and Savior.  And he loves the whole world, not only one nation.

COCOA: Well, uh, I don’t want to change my name.

SNOWBALL: Oh, come on. Just for the next two days.  Then you can change it back to Cocoa.

COCOA: Okay. You can call me Sir Chocolate.  But you’re the only one.

SNOWBALL: Okay! Thanks! You’re a good dog.

(HAPPY enters)

HAPPY: Hiya, Snowball. Hey, Cocoa.

SNOWBALL: Hi, Happy.

HAPPY: Fable told me you’re a detective now. Where’s your detective’s coat?  All detectives have cool trench coats.

SNOWBALL: I don’t need a trench coat. I have my own coat of fur, thank you very much.  A beautiful coat of fur if I might add. And my name is Detective Snowy, NOT Snowball.

HAPPY: Oh. Well, Detective Snowy, I still love you no matter what you change your name to. And Jesus loves you, no matter how much you change.

SNOWBALL: How come everyone is being so loving and faithful today?

HAPPY: Well, Snowball, I mean, Detective Snowy, those are two of the characterprints of Jesus.

SNOWBALL: Oh, YES! I forgot all about the clues! What are the next two clues, Sir Chocolate? Get busy and sniff out our next two clues!

COCOA: (sniff, sniff loudly) I smell……sniff, sniff…..um……I smell something.

SNOWBALL: What do you smell, Sir Chocolate?  Tell me.

COCOA: I smell you, Detective Snowy.  You smell sweet.Snowball

SNOWBALL: Oh, Sir Chocolate…..you’re…..you’re so European.

HAPPY: Hey, Snowy and Chocolate, why the new names? I thought you were finding characterprints for VBS?

SNOWBALL: We’re looking for someone who is loving and faithful.

COCOA: Hey, Detective Snowy! I think we’ve found someone. Happy! He is faithful; he’s our friend even when we change our names.

HAPPY: That’s right. You can change your name all you want, and I still like you.  It’s not your name, or your parents, or your friends that makes me like you. It’s who you are. Sure, you have some flaws, but we all do. Jesus doesn’t just look at what you do wrong; he looks at what you do right. And there are lots of things you do right.

SNOWBALL: Absolutely! You’re right, Sir Chocolate. We have found a character print in Happy.  He is very faithful. But, what about loving?  Let’s keep looking….

(SNOWBALL wanders away, looking for clues)

HAPPY: Cocoa, why is she calling you Sir Chocolate?

COCOA: Oh, she wanted me to have a foreign name, but she’s just calling me Sir Chocolate for the next two days.  I finally agreed after I found out I wouldn’t lose my characterprints.

HAPPY: Detective Snowy, I think you need to look a little closer than that.  Cocoa is very loving, and his love for you allows him to be your dog, and lets you change his name.

COCOA: Do you mean I’m humble – and now – I’m also loving?  Bow WOW, I thought I was just being nice to my friend!

HAPPY: You were, Cocoa. That’s exactly right. When you’re nice to your friends, that shows that you have character prints like Jesus.  You’re loving and humble.

SNOWBALL: I thought you had to be nice to your enemies, and all that stuff, before you could be loving like Jesus.

HAPPY: Well, that’s true, too, Detective Snowy.  Jesus says to be nice to everyone. But if you think about it – Cocoa would be considered as the enemy to most cats! You’re very lucky to have him as your friend.

SNOWBALL: You’re right, Happy! Thanks for helping me see that. Who would have thought? Sir Chocolate is loving! Meow! I solved the next two clues. Happy is faithful, and Sir Chocolate is loving.

HAPPY: Come on, Detective Snowy.  You, too, Sir Chocolate. Let’s go get a banana split.  I’ll make the best one you’ve ever tasted!

COCOA: All right! Make tracks!  Find me some pineapple topping!

SNOWBALL: I get the strawberry topping!

HAPPY: And I like the chocolate! But most of all, I like my friends!

(HAPPY, SNOWBALL and COCOA exit)

 

Puppet Skit: “Finding the Characterprints of Jesus” Part 1

SNOWBALL: Hello, I’m detective Snowball, and I’m here to see if anyone in this room has characterprints like Jesus.

(COCOA enters)

COCOA: Hey Snowball. Whatcha doing?

SNOWBALL: Well, if you weren’t late, you would have heard me the first time.  I’m a detective, and I’m going to find out if anyone in this room has the characterprints like Jesus.

COCOA: Hah! Hah! That’s funny Snowball.  You can’t be a detective.

SNOWBALL: Why not?

COCOA: You can’t even sniff out your own litter box! You can’t find any clues.

SNOWBALL: I can too!

COCOA: Can not!

SNOWBALL: Can too!

COCOA: Can not!

SNOWBALL: Fine. If you really want to help, you can be my dog.

COCOA: All right!  I’ll sniff out any clues there are! I’ll be the best dog detective anyone’s ever seen!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa?

COCOA: Yes?

SNOWBALL: You are NOT a dog detective.  I’m the detective. You are just the detective’s dog. Okay?

COCOA: Oh, okay.  Sorry. What clues do we look for first?

SNOWBALL: First, we’re looking for the meek and humble characterprints.  Also, the forgiving and merciful prints.

COCOA: Oh, yeah!  That should be easy!  Wait! (sniff, sniff loudly) I think I smell something! It’s… it’s… (sniff more, then pause)… IT STINKS! Who’s wearing dirty socks? Yuck!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa?  I think you’re smelling yourself now.  Which reminds me. Before we get started, you need to take a flea bath and get a leash.  After all, I think ALL dogs need to be on leashes.

COCOA: WHAT!?  No way! I can’t do that! That goes against my dog instincts!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, even your instinct STINKS! If you don’t go get a flea bath right now, I’ll…..

(FABLE-enter-interrupts)

FABLE: Hi Snowball. Hey Cocoa. Um, Snowball, what are you doing?

COCOA: She’s Detective Snowball, and I’m her dog!  We’re trying to find someone with the characterprints of Jesus.  We don’t waste time sitting around writing silly fables!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa! You’re terrible.  Now I’m convinced you don’t have any characterprints.  That was a very rude thing to say to Fable! If you keep that up, I will have to disown you.  I do not want such a stinky animal for MY dog!

FABLE: That’s okay, Snowball. Don’t be mad at Cocoa.  I know he didn’t mean it.  Not everyone enjoys writing stories like I do. To Cocoa, writing fables might be wasting time, and I respect his opinion.  I don’t expect him to like everything I do. After all, none of us are ever exactly alike.  We can be totally different, yet we can still be very good friends.  We can still like each other.  Jesus wants us to be different, and he wants us to be very good friends to everyone.

SNOWBALL: Fable, that was such a forgiving thing to say. After all, Cocoa is only a DOG, and dogs don’t know anything when it comes to being polite.

FABLE: Well, Snowball, that wasn’t a very nice thing to say about Cocoa.  Do you realize that Cocoa is actually very humble by being your dog? He is trying to help you.

SNOWBALL: I guess you’re right, Fable.  Everything I said was true, but I guess I shouldn’t have said it.  Sorry Cocoa. I do thank you for your help.

COCOA: That’s okay! I forgive you, Snowball. Fable, could you do me a favor?

FABLE: What is it, Cocoa?

COCOA: Well, I sorta was just thinking….could you help me, um, take a flea bath?

FABLE: Oh, sure, Cocoa.  Come on. Let’s take a bubble bath!

(COCOA and FABLE leave)

SNOWBALL: Well, I guess I solved the first two clues.  Fable is forgiving. He could have gotten really mad at Cocoa, but he didn’t.  He didn’t yell; he didn’t throw things around, or anything.  Just like Jesus at the cross.  Jesus could have gotten really, really mad, and called the angels to help him get off the cross, but he didn’t.  He died because he loved his friends and his enemies.  And Cocoa, that silly dog, didn’t have to take a flea bath, but he did it for me, so I would be happy.  What a friend!  He’s a good dog.

(COCOA comes back)

COCOA: Okay, let’s make tracks!  I’m ready to find the next two clues! What do we look for next?SnowCocoa

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, we can’t look for any more character prints today.  VBS is over and the kids are going  home.  But we’ll look for more tomorrow.  Come on, let’s go eat lunch.  I’m starving.  Let’s go get some hot dogs!

COCOA: Um, Snowball? Can we eat pizza?  I don’t like to eat hot dogs.

SNOWBALL: Okay, Cocoa. Hey! You look great! You’re really a “hot” dog!  And humble too.

(COCOA and SNOWBALL exit)

 

VBS & Puppet Skit Fun

As a kid, I loved playing with puppets.  I would always write my own puppet plays and play them out for Lacy or for my stuffed animals or parents (depending on if Lacy wanted to play puppets with me or if she wanted to just watch.)  In 6th grade my best friend and I were the puppeteers for the school counselor, although that wasn’t much fun because the voices were pre-taped and we just moved the puppets’ arms around and their mouths according to the voices talking.

In Sunday school, I was a puppeteer when my parents taught the children’s Bible hour.  It was loads of fun, and I loved helping my mom write the plays that would speak to the younger kids each Sunday.  I would have even more fun playing the voice of one or two of the puppets.

In the summer of 2000, my church was holding a 3 day VBS, “Finding the Characterprints of Jesus”.  There were 5 lessons:

Lesson 1 – Jesus was humble.

Lesson 2 – Jesus was forgiving.

Lesson 3 – Jesus was faithful.

Lesson 4 – Jesus was loving.

Lesson 5 – Jesus was brave.

The point of the VBS was to encourage the kids to be detectives and find out ways to be like Jesus Christ.  I remember, the instigator of the VBS was trying to come up with a fun way to close out each day’s activities, and so my mom offered us to make a puppet skit and put it on for the rest of the kids (and adults, too).  I had so much fun with VBS that year.  Mom played the cheery Happy the bear, Lacy played the lighthearted Cocoa the dog, I played the sassy Snowball the cat, and we got another gentle-voiced woman from church to play the amiable Fable the panda.  Needless to say, our skits were a hit.

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Chivalry, Vileness, and Death

An armored Knight galloped on a horse so fine,

A white horse: that milky, pale mare,

And the Knight, pure and refined,

He portrayed heroism, indeed.

~ ~

Dark eyes watched enemies at abroad horizons,

Surveyed lands: lush, green grasslands,

Emitting a bright sword, so pious,

Its appearance was crimson-free.

~ ~

His cape draped over the back of his mare,

A strong shield: a firm, polished helmet,

Those were all attributes he handled with care.

He had a character that was careful and clean.

~ ~

His heart was saddened, though,

From an attempt, an awful, fatal attempt,

That a Princess had sworn by, she chose

To be bound by a deadly creed.

~ ~

Dragon was fierce; he cared for no one,

Angry feelings: angry, livid rage,

He had a personality feared by everyone.

This Princess was a prisoner of his greed.

~ ~

She had what he wanted: she had what he needed,

Her beautiful heart: a kind and gentle heart,

Yet timidity, her one weakness,

She was Dragon’s key.

~ ~

The door to life, everlasting riches,

Promised to those who contained kind hearts,

He planned on killing her, hence,

To obtain what he needed.

~ ~

Dragon had forced the Princess to surrender

Her life: Her precious and wholesome life.

So that he could be the one to live on forever.

He didn’t once take heed.

~ ~

The Knight on the horse, that milky, pale mare,

Was going to tell Dragon what he should hear.

So he galloped on his horse, that milky, pale mare,

Day by day, battling both cold and heat.

~ ~

He raced across plains, dashed through valleys,

The horse was always weary, but he was always brave,

Night after night for strength he prayed,

Dear Father, I don’t want to be too late.

~ ~

As the Knight arrived closer, every step at a time,

Dragon pined for that lovely immortality.

He laughed and mocked, but the Princess never whined;

She tried holding onto her faith.

~ ~

Dragon hated waiting, so he would linger no more!

Her heart he would take, that precious, pure heart,

From her, so he could live forevermore.

There would be no more wait.

~ ~

The Knight galloped on, so fast and never stalling,

When envisioning death, of his beautiful Princess,

How could he even think about stalling?

No, it couldn’t be too late!

~ ~

Dragon leered; he moved his claw across her skin.

The cackle was there, that crude, blunt cackling.

He began by pinning his claw to her chin,

And he knew then, that her skin soon wouldn’t be crimson-free.

~ ~

As he neared her chest with his sharp weapon,

A noise, an approaching, tedious noise,

Like the prancing of hooves, it startled Dragon,

And he turned to look and see.

~ ~

“Who is he?” Dragon sneered.

As he saw a bright and shining Knight.

He was mounted on horse, a milky, pale mare,

It was like this Knight was cloud sailing.

~ ~

“I am a knight,” he replied, “and this is my bride.”

“You think you can take her away?”

“Snatch her from my side?”

His hands were bruised, from much laboring.

~ ~

Even so, his bravery increased,

And he unsheathed a sword, so pious,

He dismounted his horse, and neared

The Dragon, who was glaring.

~ ~

“You can’t take what’s mine away,”

“You’re fate still remains the same, Dragon.”

“Even if you take my bride away,”

“You are still dying.”

~ ~

“Steal a heart, but you’ll remain in death,”

“Even if that heart’s full of kindness.”

“Change your own heart, and you’ll be free,”

“Life will be yours, and immortality.”

~ ~

Dragon refused to listen, and the Knight shook his head.

The Princess would be set free, but Dragon’s fate was death.

The Knight cast his sword forward, a tear slipping, and falling,

He was hoping Dragon would change his mind.

~ ~

But because of his stubbornness,

His foolish, stupid stubbornness,

Dragon would reap what he sowed.

His own vileness would heap and teem.

~ ~

It would become millions of times worse,

Than it was before: all the evil he had boasted,

Would bounce back, and be his curse,

Dragon would gnash his teeth.

~ ~

So it was done, the Knight pierced him:

Dragon cried in pain, a loud and mournful cry,

And he knew then, there would be no one to save him.

The knight blade was not crimson-free.

~ ~

The burning fire he had treated others to,

That seething, potent pain they felt,

Was now engulfing Dragon, who,

Had the choice to surrender and yield.

~ ~

The Knight bent down, and checked his bride,

To see if she was still humble.

He had saved her from death, and the Dragon’s pride,

Her heart, he had tried to steal.

~ ~

The Crux at Paradise

INTRODUCTION

At one point or another, I’m pretty sure everybody wonders what being filthy rich feels like. I never believed my mom when she said “Big pockets belong to big liars”, but after spending a week at the Bahamas with the richest scamp on the planet, I think I’m a believer.

As if that’s not shocking enough, this “rich scamp”? He might just be the ghost of a ruthless pirate.

I’m not crazy! Bahamian legends foretell about all the murderous things pirates are capable of. I have lots of evidence to back up my theory.

My suspicions all started after sitting in a squeaky clean limousine…

 

Continue reading

Star Quest, Short Story by Kat Andrews

The night was too black; it brooded without stars.  The Huntsman could sense the ominous veil of darkness that crept its way into the land; for the gentle creatures of the forest now hunted instead of hid.  Without Queen Cassiopeia’s hopefulness, no one could keep the gloom and potent evil from tender hearts.

Huntsman wondered if he was the only one troubled by the coming darkness. He knew he must find the Queen quickly, so his search began at the place where the darkness was the most substantial—the Libra corral—where the horses fought each other like raging beasts.  Huntsman quickly made his way to the Libra.  A beautiful white stallion raced around the corral.  Huntsman cautiously watched as the majestic stallion circled the corral.  As the stallion slowed to a stop he bore his teeth at another, a silent horse in the dark. The horse had a beautiful ebony coat, as dark as the night sky.  Any movement she would make would bring a glimmer of light to her coat, a flicker like small stars falling from the sky.  Her wings were majestic when she spread them out to full length; but at the moment, she held them close to her sides; tense, but controlled, as someone calmed her. The man was tall and strong.  He wore a gray tunic and shorts, and a sword on his back.  Huntsman recognized him as Hercules, a great hero.  They had met before, but he was unsure about whether Herc would remember him.  Last he had heard Herc had left the land.  Now that Herc was back, Huntsman was sure that Herc would help.

Huntsman watched as Herc caressed his beautiful steed gently and talked soothing words to her.  Huntsman smiled, pleased to see that he could show compassion in the face of danger.

Huntsman silently walked up behind Herc.  To his satisfaction, Herc stiffened and raised his hand over his shoulder to rest on the sword.  He was pleased to see that Herc was still alert.

Herc jolted around to see who was there and let out a massive sigh of relief.  “Hunter, it’s just you.”

Even as Huntsman felt honored to be recognized, with concern in his voice he spoke, “What’s happening?”

Herc nodded toward the angry herd.  “An immense energy is coming from the corral, but I haven’t figured out what’s causing it.”

Huntsman quietly probed with all of his senses to broaden the search around the corral.  He listened to the hooves of the stallion beating on the battered ground and felt a slight breeze brush at his golden bangs.  With the breeze came a foreboding sensation that filled his heart.  Herc placed a hand on Huntsman’s shoulder and drew his attention to the stallion.  It slowly changed into a white serpent; then disappeared behind a tree.  Huntsman ran after it with his crossbow cocked, but found nothing.  Herc sprang onto the back of Pegasus and raced over as well.

“We’re not alone.”  Huntsman muttered.  Suddenly they felt a presence behind them. Herc leapt from the back of Pegasus and drew his sword.

“No, You are not alone.”  Huntsman turned to see a dark figure made of every evil concept thought up by man.  Around his neck rested the large snake, as white as the man was dark. “She’s here.”

“Who’s here?”  Herc shot out.  “Who are you?”

“I am Shadow King.” He motioned to the center of the corral, where Cassiopeia lay on a stone altar, which hadn’t been there before.  “Cassiopeia is here.  This corral is the balance of good and evil.  It is the gateway from the realm of mortals to my rule, the realm of shadows.  Cassiopeia’s realm is peaceful.  But bringing Cassiopeia here has tipped the sense of balance.  Soon the shadow realm will cover both realms, and I will rule it all.  Balance will only be restored if you defeat me.  But you can’t defeat me until you find me, and find my weakness.” Shadow King smirked as his serpent dropped to the ground.  Huntsman watched as it transformed into a doorway, glowing brightly.  “It’s a will-o’-the-wisp.  It can turn into anything; right now, it’s the exit.  All you’ve got to do is find it.” Walls sprang from the ground, blocking the exit.  The Shadow King slowly began to fade away.

Huntsman stood up.  He looked around and saw that they were in a corridor, and they stood near a break in the hall.  He studied each corridor closely, but they looked identical.  Huntsman started down one path, hoping that it was the right hall to take.  He, Herc and Pegasus quickly followed the corridor, but it seemed they weren’t getting anywhere. He turned to Herc. “Can Pegasus fly over the wall and see what turns to take?”

“No, I don’t think so.  There isn’t enough room in these corridors for her to spread her wings.”  Huntsman saw Herc’s gaze shift down to Huntsman’s belt.  He looked down to see what Herc was looking at, and realized that his buckle had begun to glow softly.  “What’s happening?”

Huntsman’s belt continued to glow brighter.  “My belt glows with the light of the stars.  It hasn’t been glowing because the darkness hid the stars.”  Huntsman looked around.  “Polaris must be around.”

“Who?”

“Polaris is a small light that helps lost travelers find their way.  She leads the travelers to Cassiopeia, who then helps them find their destination.  Maybe she’ll know the way to Cassiopeia.”

A small ball of light descended from above them and began to float around Huntsman.  “Come.  I’ll show you the way.”  She seemed to be telling him.  Polaris began to drift down a hall, and Huntsman followed her, Herc and Pegasus close behind.  He glanced down at his belt, which seemed to feed off of the light’s radiance.  It seemed to be absorbing the light from the little star, and it was shining brightly now.

Finally they came to the end of the hallway, which led to the room Cassiopeia was in.  A large wall blocked their way.  Huntsman examined the wall.  “It’s ice.”  Suddenly Huntsman felt the presence of the Shadow King.

“So, you’ve gotten this far with the help of Polaris.  How did that little fairy get into my domain?”  Shadow King sneered.

“You let her in.  Polaris is a star that is made from Cassiopeia’s hope.  Since you’ve brought Cassiopeia here, you let Polaris in.”

“It doesn’t matter.  You’ve made it this far, but you cannot go any further.  You will not be able to pass the wall in front of you.”  The Shadow King smiled, and added, “I hope you do make it past the wall, though.  I would love to fight you myself.  Prove yourself worthy of your name: Orion, the son of fire.”  He disappeared again.

“We need to find something that we can burn.”  Huntsman touched his sleeves; they weren’t much, but they might burn.  He ripped his sleeves off, and put them into a bundle next to the ice.  He took two pieces of flint from his belt and flicked them together several times to make a small fire.  Then he looked up at Polaris.  “Little star, can you fuel the fire with your gasses, to help melt the ice?”  The small light bobbed once, and drifted down to the fire.  Immediately the fire lit up.  Huntsman turned to Herc.  “We’ll get to the other side soon.”

Herc gazed at Huntsman’s belt, now shining brightly.  “Your belt.  That’s the legendary belt of the three stars, isn’t it?”  Huntsman nodded cautiously.  He could see darkness in Herc’s eyes.  The darkness that had affected all the small forest creatures was now affecting Herc as well.  Huntsman knew that Herc was stronger, but he also knew that he was quicker.  Herc leapt at Huntsman, sword drawn, but Huntsman dodged the attack.  Herc shook his head in dismay.  “You won’t even fight back?  This’ll be too easy.”  Herc swung his sword at Huntsman, and Huntsman swiftly moved out of the way.  Herc swung again, this time cutting Huntsman’s shoulder.  Herc was about to attack again, but Pegasus jumped between them.  Herc’s sword sliced into Pegasus’ wing, causing the horse to rear up and cry in pain.   Herc dropped his sword to the ground.  “I’m so sorry, Peg.  I didn’t mean to.  I wasn’t thinking right.” He gently put his hand on the wound, which trickled blood.  “I’m so sorry.”

Huntsman looked over at the wall that was melted away enough for them to pass.  Huntsman climbed over what was left of the ice wall, and came face to face with Shadow King once again.

Behind Shadow King was a long hallway. “Get Cassiopeia.”  Huntsman ordered Herc.  “Follow that hallway until you get to the end.  I’m sure you’ll find the exit there.”  Herc was about to argue but Huntsman shook his head.  “Go, get Cassiopeia out of here.  You have to.”  Herc hesitated for a moment, then ran over to Cassiopeia and gently picked her up.  Then he pulled himself up on Pegasus, looked back at Huntsman, then raced down the hallway.

“You do know that you led your friends into a trap.”  Shadow King derided.  “The only way to leave my labyrinth is to defeat me.”

“Then what’s…”

“A whole army of shadow warriors.  You’ll never defeat me soon enough to save your friends.”  Shadow King beamed evilly, sure that he had won.  Huntsman looked around in alarm.  Polaris quietly floated to his side.

“Your belt, Orion.  Your belt of the three stars will bring an end to his reign.”  Huntsman gently placed his hand on his belt buckle, now glowing brighter than the brightest star.  The buckle was a decoration, and could easily be twisted off.  Huntsman slowly popped the buckle off into his hand.  He looked down at it, smiled, and shone the light at Shadow King.

“Shadows vanish in the light.  Everyone knows that, Shadow King.”  Shadow King gave a shrill cry as the light shot through him.  The light flashed brightly, blinding Huntsman momentarily.  When he gained his vision again, he saw that he and the others were back in the peaceful Libra corral.

After returning Queen Cassiopeia to the castle, Herc and Huntsman stood at the throne.  “Hercules, I am grateful that you have returned.  You have helped save the land once again.  You are a true hero, and will forever be known in legend for what you have done.  Huntsman,” Huntsman bowed his head slightly.  “You also will be put into legends, but without you, we wouldn’t be alive. You have done so much.  To reward you, I shall make you guardian of the land.”

“Your Highness, I am protector of my own home.  I do not need to be made protector of the entire land.   And I prefer not to be put into the legends.”

“If you don’t want to be honored as guardian of the land, and you don’t want to be legendary, then what do you want?” Cassiopeia questioned.

“Your Highness, I believe that a good name is more desirable than riches.  To be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

“All right.  I’ll make your name great.  Everyone will know the wonderful things that you have done.”

“No, your Highness.  Being a good person is more desirable than having riches and fame.  I don’t wish to be famous, I just want to be a good person, helping whomever I can.”

Queen Cassiopeia nodded in understanding.  “Huntsman, you do know that if you continue to do great deeds, you will no doubt become well-known,” she accentuated.

“Yes, I do realize this.  But I would like everyone to know me for the deeds that I have done, rather than my name alone.”  The Queen nodded again in understanding and smiled at the Huntsman; he knew that, with her gladness, the stars would shine once again.  Eager to gaze at the beautiful stardust sprinkled over the night sky, he bowed and turned to leave the throne room.