Writing Challenge Winner: Bringleclaw and the Cursed Pearl by Layla Mendoza

Layla Mendoza is a thirteen-year old writer who participated in the Summer 2023 Elemental Writing Challenge in which she wrote a 5,000 word original short story this summer. Layla’s fantasy adventure tells the tale of Bringleclaw, a curmudgeonly villain desperate to return the flourishing kingdom of Betom back to the old ways, and a group of unlikely misfits determined to stop him.

Read the full story below!

 Chapter 1: Bringleclaw  

Far away, in a place that humans have scarcely seen, there was a kingdom called Betom, that had beautiful emerald green hills, sparkling bubbling brooks, tall, multi-colored trees that only you and I can dream of, and most of all: Magic. The magic that lived here dwelled everywhere, not just in the magical beings, but in the land itself, tucked away into the darkest corner, the smallest thorn, even small, unsuspecting insects! 

And you can only imagine how joyous the creatures that lived here were! The elves often held grand feasts and dances. The goblins, as fierce as they might seem, liked to play wondrous music when they were feeling especially happy and even the smallest fairies would go about, joining in any festivities they could. Of course, it wasn’t always like this. In the ancient days, the Goblins liked to cause all sorts of mischief, wreaking havoc in not only their own realm, but as many others as possible. 

But festivities and joyous occasions were the daily life for the citizens of Betom, and it went on for many years – the same things, the same celebrations.  But then one day, everything changed. 

It all starts with the goblin named Bringleclaw. Bringleclaw, unlike most goblins of his time and age, had a dull gray skin like an elephant, with oversized hands and feet, broken, yellowed nails and teeth, huge red and yellow eyes, and over-sized ears that flopped when he ran.

 Also unlike most goblins, he did not like to make music, or join in other creature festivities. No, he just liked to do what a normal goblin would like to do: Lurk around in shadows and in the deepest pits of magic, waiting for something, anything, that he could intrude upon. But it never came. All of the creatures were at peace with each other, and that meant no mysterious elf or troll meeting up in secret, planning something dastardly. 

But this would not do for Bringleclaw. His inner goblin that had been born with him and ever growing, was not satisfied. He had to have something to do besides go to grand feasts and dances! 

This, Bringleclaw thought as he looked upon the rest of his tribe dancing with the elves from one of his favorite spots up high in a tree, is not proper for goblins! We should not be dancing with elves or fairies! They should be our enemies! No, this will not do at all! And from that day forward, amongst the usual feasting and dancing, Bringleclaw sneaked off to a long forgotten cave that wasn’t as grand as everything else in Betom, and started formulating plans to restore the goblin ways. He worked for many years, changing his plans until they were just right. 

And finally, when the day came to set everything ready, Bringleclaw awaited the time until every creature was sound asleep-which was very late at night-before hurrying around, gathering what he needed: 


  • Magic from only the darkest and ancient of places
  • sword from the old armory
  • help from the Dark Pixies
  • map from the Old World Library (which, by the way, no one visits anymore)
  • LUCK!!!!!

*Please not that this has been translated from the Goblin language for your convenience*

It turns out, as Bringleclaw discovered, that the swords from the armory were quite rusty, and the majority of the books in the Old World Library were covered in dust, cobwebs, and crawling with an unknown assortment of bugs. But Bringleclaw managed to find just what he needed, and by morning, there was a tiny army of Dark Pixies awaiting Bringleclaw’s signal, ancient and dark magic thick in the air, feeling almost humid. 

As the sun began to rise on the horizon, covering the land in streams of glistening sunlight and making everything it touched glisten, the creatures of Betom began to stir. Bringleclaw signaled to the first troops of Dark Pixies to advance forward to their first spot: the elves. Quickly, the Dark Pixies, who were very fast learners, wrote a message in elvish on one of the resident’s wooden walls, and then quickly left the now slightly bustling community. No sooner had they, did there come a scream, and the Dark Pixies smiled their huge, toothless grins at one another, knowing their message had come forth. And not only this troop, but all of the other Dark Pixie troops had completed their tasks in writing their messages to the different creatures of Betom, and it was this: 

Beware all residents of Betom, your former allies have turned upon you. Trust no one. There are lies and schemes everywhere.

I tell you again, TRUST NO ONE! 

All around the Kingdom of Betom, the creatures were riling up in a panic, and their leaders, chiefs, queens, whatever they might call them, had trouble trying to calm them down. In the elves’ land, everyone was running around, crazed looks set in their eyes, not caring to think once about their appearances, in the goblins’ land, the Chief Goblin was having trouble stopping fights that were the result of accusation. And in the fairies’ land, everyone went inside their little houses, and shut the doors as soon as they got the message, vowing they would not come out until the eve of the trumpet-an ancient tradition stating that when the horn was sounded, signaling there was peace in the Kingdom. 

Bringleclaw watched all of this through a cracked mirror from the secret lands of the Dark Pixies, smiling a wide and toothy grin, licking his lips with a dull gray-purple tongue. Turning to look at the High Dark Pixie Thomas, Bringleclaw said, “Thank you ever so much for helping me in this feat. I couldn’t have done this without you.”  Thomas just grinned, that creepy Dark Pixie toothless grin and stated, “Twas nothing. We thank you for the opportunity to rid Betom of the endless feasting and joyous dancing!” All of the Dark Pixies then gave a great cheer, and Bringleclaw grinned even wider. 

“Ay.” He replied. “Twas nothing.”

His restoration of the goblin ways had finally begun. No more silly dancing or feasting, and definitely no more goblin music. It just wasn’t right! His rebellion had begun, and no one could tell him to stop. 

Chapter 2: The Misfits

But Bringleclaw wasn’t the only one who saw this change as something of an opportunity. Not too far away in a small hidden cove, there was a band of misfits that were a little bit annoying, a little bit sarcastic, and in every way adventurous. 

Their ages ranged from 12-14, and they all had one thing in common. Besides being a little bit sarcastic, they all were half human, half some other magical creature. 

For instance, the eldest misfits at 14 Renee and Octavio, were half elf.  They had the unusual ability to be able to see in the dark, which most elves of their day and time did not have. The two in the middle-Anne and Mae-were half dragon. Anne had huge silver and black wings and back legs resembling that of dragons, and Mae had deep purple wings and fire. 

Finally, Marie and Therese, the youngest, who were 12, were half fairy, and both of them were incredibly small and had wings. Marie was able to use some magic to grow larger from time to time. 

Though all had completely different powers and features, they had a strong bond built between them, from years of being together in the small hidden cove. For as long as they could remember they had lived by hunting for game in the woods that encapsulated the cove, picking up pottery, silverware, plates-anything left behind by the many feasts. But when they heard of the news that there was a war going on about the Kingdom of Betom through a frog who called himself Prince, they decided that they had to do something. Besides, it wasn’t like there was anything better to do. 

So it was with half heavy, half excited hearts, they left their two story house hidden in the cove, armed with weapons and bewitched armor that they had found somewhere in their attic. 


The next morning, they emerged from Emerald Forest at the edge of the pixie’s territory, just as the sun began to rise. Therese and Mae were both stumbling, hardly able to keep awake. The older ones were barely able to help keep them upright. Everyone was so tired. They finally managed to make it to the pixie’s main village, Sterling, where an older pixie whose name was Marigold took pity on them and let them into her house. All of the other pixies though? They looked on in absolute terror as the six humans stumbled into their fellow pixies house. They definitely weren’t taking Bringleclaw’s message lightly. But the message didn’t seem to bother Marigold, who was fussing slightly over the younger ones, insisting that they take the two grand bedrooms on the second floor. At first, Octavio and Renee argued that they would all do just fine sharing a room, but they finally gave in, too tired to argue any longer. 


The next morning, all six of the Misfits awoke late, all feeling quite refreshed, and after a rather large breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and sausage, they all hurried out again into the town. 

They now had the intention of finding a map, which they hoped to use to get to the Goblin lands-to find Bringleclaw.

 But, as they hurried through town, all of the shopkeepers, who were already put on the edge with the warning, hurried to flip their signs to Closed as they passed. Not only were the pixie residents weary of the warning though: halflings weren’t exactly common around their kingdom. Sure, there was the old bar in the middle of all of the connected lands of the kingdom, that even halflings had access to, as the bar was on the edge of magical existence, and the edge of the human world, if only one looked in the right place. But not many creatures ventured out to this bar any more, and even those who did go didn’t really see a halfling. So you can imagine the pixies’ surprise and fear as the six misfits trekked through the village towards the border that led to the Trolls’ Land, having given up on finding a map. 

But, just as they neared the freshly marked border of wooden spikes, a small boy that looked about 13 ran up to the group, panting for breath, his deep purple skin slick with sweat. 

“Here. . . you. . . go. . .” Gasped the newcomer, holding out a capsule made out of smooth oak and gold, with a latch and lid at one end. Renee took it, and, after giving the boy a curious look, opened the capsule, tipping it towards her hand. Out came a yellowed parchment that kept wanting to curl in on itself as Renee flattened it out on the ground, so that Octavio had to set upon the ends to stones. She gasped when she could fully see what was written on the parchment. It was a map, an old one, but still very usable. The map labeled secret passageways, dangerous passages, and even where there might be food available. It also marked the borders of the nine different lands in the Kingdom of Betom: Troll, Pixie, Fairy, Goblin, Dragon, Elf, Pegasus, Dwarf, and Dark Pixie. 

  Please note: This map was made as accurate as possible. Our cartographers aren’t as well accustomed to making such a detailed and complicated map.

Renee looked at the map to see where they were. It turned out that they were only two lands from the Goblin territory. And, according to Octavio, they could make it in about three days’ time if Mae, Anne, Therese, and Marie flew above Octavio and Renee. The younger ones happily agreed. They loved flying, and were just finishing up putting the map in the capsule, and about to set off, when the boy who had given it to them cleared his throat.

“Uhum.. .” He trailed off, looking awkwardly down at the ground and scuffing it with the toe of his boot. 

“Yes?” Anne prompted, raising her eyebrows. 

“I was just wondering. . .I was just wondering if I could come with you guys. I’ve always wanted to go on an adventure.” He looked up hopefully now, and all of the Misfits exchanged glances. Finally though, Therese sighed, “I suppose so.” The boy instantly looked overly excited, and moved closer. 

“But no funny business!” Marie warned him as they made their way across the border and through an overgrown path that would take them right towards the goblin lands. Away from the currently scheming Bringleclaw. Away from their goal. 

Chapter 3: Bringleclaw

A realm away, in the Dark Pixie’s magnificent library, Bringleclaw sat, reading a book called The Kingdom Of Betom: Ancient Magical Items

Yes, Bringleclaw had managed to cause chaos to the Kingdom and gain power of a sort, but he didn’t feel like it was enough. He longed for more power, more control over Betom. There had to be some way . . . and yes! There was! Bringleclaw had just flipped to a page about ‘dangerous magical items important to Betom’ and there, on the very first page, there was an item called The Black Pearl:  The Magical Sustainer. Bringleclaw eagerly read on. 

Bringleclaw straightened his hunched form, his mind galloping faster with ideas than he could sort. What if, Bringleclaw thought to himself, I went to this ‘Cliff Edge Bar’ or whatever, and took this Black Pearl. With it, I would have all the magic of the Kingdom! Everyone would have to listen to me!! ME, and only ME if they wanted to survive! Bringleclaw cackled softly to himself. Yes, this was a way to get revenge on the goblin tribe that had betrayed their ancestors’ ways. Not only the goblins, the entire Kingdom! How would the fair dwarf queen Manta live once she saw what her dwarves were making for the pixies? What would the famed pixie adventurer Charlie think once he saw his pixies making the grand feasts that all the kingdom creatures had eaten? Yes, the entire Kingdom had disowned their ancestors, and they were all going to pay. 


Later that night, when the entire village of the Dark Pixies was off somewhere farther than Betom, Bringleclaw got up from his bed, grabbed his rucksack which now held the book The Kingdom of Betom: Ancient Magical Items and a small pendant with a sapphire set in an ornate obsidian hold, and hurried down the guest hall and out into the black night dotted with dashes of bright white. Moving quite softly for something with such big feet, Bringleclaw made his way to the edge towards the Obsidian Trench, the trench that separated the Harthrow Meadow and the Deadlands. It was a wide stretch of land that was all grays and blacks as far as the eye could see. Only rogue Trolls roamed this land, where the only signs of earth were tall, jagged rocks that stretched up as far as the eye could see. In fact, trolls were the exact thing that Bringleclaw was searching for-it was said that if you gave a troll a precious piece of treasure, it would grant you one traveling wish-kinda like a genie. The trolls had some Transporting Magic that allowed them to get to places quickly, but mostly the elves dealt with that kind of magic. So it was with a set mind decision that Bringleclaw made his way towards the rickety old swinging bridge that was so old and weathered, it threatened to fall apart. But Bringleclaw wasn’t one to fear dangerous things- he was a goblin after all. 

He stepped onto the first piece of rotting wood of the bridge, and started carefully making his way across it with his rucksack swinging from side to side with every swing of the bridge. When he reached the middle, he stopped abruptly-though not because of the gaping hole. There, standing on the other side, was a pixie-not a Dark Pixie-but still . . . a pixie. 

“What are you doing here?” Bringleclaw snapped at the newcomer, grabbing his sack and clutching it to his chest. 

The newcomer, despite Bringleclaw’s harsh words, didn’t flinch or even move. Instead, he said quite calmly, “I’m here,” he stepped closer, “to make a deal.” The pixie raised his eyebrows at Bringleclaw, who didn’t move for a second. Should I trust this pixie? He thought to himself, and for a moment, it seemed that he was going to do something to knock the pixie off of the bridge, but instead, he asked, “What. . . kind of deal?” 

“Ah,” the pixie named Avian said, still making his way closer towards him on the bridge, “It’s a deal of something that you want.” He held up a large book, and in the moonlight, Bringleclaw could just make out the words ‘The Black Pearl: The Magical Sustainer’. Bringleclaw looked up sharply. “How-” he started, but the pixie put up a hand to stop him. 

“I’ve got my ways. And,” Avian stopped on the bridge, fiddling with a piece of fraying rope, “so do a certain group of Misfits.” 

“What are you-” again, the pixie held up his hand for Bringleclaw to silence himself. 

“There is a group of six halflings who managed to figure out about, well, you and have in their minds that they can stop you. But I think we both agree that this Kingdom shouldn’t fall into the hands of six 12-year-olds. No, I think not.” He now stepped over the large hole, and was standing only inches from Bringleclaw when he half whispered, “With this pearl,” he held up the book again to the page about the Black Pearl, “we can take the magic from the very folds of this kingdom. Show these citizens a real piece of villainy.” 

Bringleclaw was silent for a moment, and in that moment, thought of the whole kingdom heeding his every word and he said, “Yes.” 

“Good…” the pixie drawled. “I’ve already got a man on the job.” 


Not too far from the Misfits – actually, not far at all – a pixie with deep purple skin sat in a small hole carved into a cliff at the edge of a lake, a fire’s light barely reaching inside the cave. The pixie clutched a small glass orb that had a black dragon encapsulated in it, as well as a cloth bag of pure magic. I would describe its appearance to you, but magic changes form a lot.  The man grabbed a handful of magic from the bag, and then quickly took the hand with the magic and put it over the glass ball. After whispering something in folleto-the language of the pixies- the ball started to glow softly, and the black dragon inside made its way from the inside of the ball, to the outside. It opened its shining black mouth and growled, “Who do you wish to speak with?” 

“Avian.” The man replied quickly. The black dragon was silent for a moment, and then, he opened his mouth, and the deep voice of the man’s boss filled the small hole. 

“Report, Agent Blackthorn.” 

“I’ve found them, Avian. They don’t suspect me though.” 

“Good, Blackthorn.” 

“I’ve gotten right into their little group-played like I was an ecstatic 15-year-old who ‘just wanted to adventure!’. I can’t believe that they actually believe that story.” 

Avian snorted. “Just don’t let your guard down, Horace. These Misfits seem . . . crafty.” 

“Don’t worry,” the man in the cave said, glancing out at a group of people huddled around a fire, “I’ve got my own plans.” 

Chapter 4: Bringleclaw & Blackthorn


After Bringleclaw had agreed to the plan that the pixie who had shown up proposed, they headed back towards the side on which Bringleclaw had come, and Avian, the pixie’s name, had called a dragon loyal to his cause. This dragon Endrod was a large forest green Snapper and had flown them to what Avian called “The Agency”. 

“The Agency”, it turned out, was a large, stone and obsidian fortress half-built into the side of a large cliff at the edge of the Elves’ territory, and half inside of the cliff itself. Endrod then dropped them off at a high landing platform, in which a picture of elves- all clad in the same long, black cloak-stood in front of a picture of a vague map of the Kingdom. 

“We will now make our way to the guest chambers.” Avian proclaimed, saying the first words he had since they had left. Bringleclaw simply nodded. 

Avian led him down a flight of narrow stone steps-dripping with glistening obsidian-towards another platform where the cliff side encapsulated the far half of it. Carved into the side of the cliff wall were ornate doorways, and set into each one was a plain colored door with some sort of floral design and elven saying on it. Avian led Bringleclaw through one bright red door painted with sharp, twisting black thorns and beautiful shining silver roses. Painted upon the door were ten elven words. Bringleclaw looked curiously at them, and then, as if Avian had read his mind (he had turned around, so perhaps he had seen Bringleclaw’s expression) Avian said, “Those words written on the door mean,  “Sometimes thorns hide amongst even the most beautiful of things.” Bringleclaw just nodded like he knew exactly what it meant. But he didn’t need to pretend. Avian kept on about the saying. 

“It means that even a beautiful thing can be unhealthy or dangerous to one. Like Betom.” They were through the door now, and in a large, cavernous room with an arched ceiling, stone pillars carved with designs, a couple of chandeliers, and many comfortable looking pieces of furniture. On the wall directly in front of them, however, there was a large, black and silver map taking up a lot of wall space, and in front of that was an oak desk with a seemingly glowing white female elf sitting behind it. She had long, dangly gold earrings, a beautiful white silk dress, and deep black eye shadow around her eyes. 

“Marna!” Avian said sharply. The woman looked up from a piece of paper that she had been looking over. 

“Yes, Master Avian?” She asked, setting the paper down and entwining the fingers of both of her hands together. 

“I need you to get a meeting room ready for me right away. Get agents Mclone, Horsnap, Clover, and Chief Moreposer in there as well. Please also get a crystal ball ready to go and on the table.” 

“Yes, sir, right away.” And with that, Marna opened her desk, grabbed a small locket, and began talking very fast into it. 

“Chief Moreposer I need you to go and get agents. . .” but Bringleclaw didn’t hear the rest because Avain led him through yet another door, though this one didn’t have a saying on it, into a hall with doors dripping with yet more obsidian on either side. Avian led him through the fifth one on the right, and inside where there was a long table set up vertically, a see-through black chandelier, and a long chalkboard against the far wall. He told him that he was going to get a crew together to search for the ‘Misfits’, and a crew to search for the Black Pearl. 

“Good,” Bringleclaw drawled, dropping his sack onto the table. “We need to get rid of those pests as soon as possible, and retrieve the pearl before anyone else finds out.” 

Avian nodded, saying a quick, “Yes,” as he went over to the blackboard and started writing upon it. 


A couple of minutes later, Bringleclaw, Avian, and the Agents and Chief that Avian had called were all sitting round the table, looking up at their Master as they awaited instructions and answers. 

“I’ve called you all here,” Avian started, “To answer the immediate call of danger to our mission.” He looked pointedly around the table. “And that is?” 

“To restore order to the Kingdom of Betom and make known to the Kingdom that creatures do not EVER mix or join together,” recited the agents and chief, as if reading from a textbook. Bringleclaw just sat there blinking. He had absolutely no clue what to say or do. 

“Good.” Avain muttered. “Good.” He then turned back from the blackboard towards the table, grabbing the small crystal ball that was on the table, placing pure magic upon it, and then whispering into it, “Agent Blackthorn.” 

A minute later, a small ruby dragon sat on top of the crystal, where everyone could see and hear it.

For a moment, there was no noise. And then Avian spoke. 

“Agent Blackthorn,” He said, “Report.” 

“Master Avian,” The ruby dragon spurted, “I’ve got some. . . interesting news.”

“Good.” Avian drawled. “Continue.”

“Just after your last call, we-me and the Misfits, I mean- set off for the High Goblin Housing area, and, I was about to try and take down the Misfits in front of me, but I didn’t realize who was behind me. Octavio. He’s been suspecting me ever since I joined their little party. So I had to lay low.” 

“And?” Avian prompted, impatiently. 

“I waited until night. I used the blackfire ropes to tie up the larger ones. They had armor, but they took it off to sleep, so that made my job easy. And I used purple rope from Fairy Dragons for the smaller two. By the time they realized what was going on, they were already tied up. And. .” Agent Blackthorn paused to add a little drama, “if they even try to escape, they will be burned. Octavio’s already got quite a few major burns. But-” The sound of Agent Blackthorn’s voice grew a little softer, as if he were turning his head. “I think he’s learned a thing or two.” His voice grew stronger, at the end of the sentence. “All I need now is a team to bring them back. I was just about to call.” 

“Good.” Avian repeated. “Good. I’ll send a team, one of my fastest, in fact. We have no time to lose. The other team is off towards the Dwarves’ land, for the Black Pearl. We also-” But he was cut off by the sound of someone screaming through the crystal dragon’s mouth, a shout, another scream, and then. . . silence. The little ruby dragon spurted, “Call has ended. Failure on the other end. Please try again later.” More silence. Avian looked up slowly at the group around him, hands shaking, eyes widened with fear and anger. And then he spoke three words. “We leave immediately.” 

Chapter 5: The Misfits 

What had happened on the other end- Agent Blackthorn’s end – was simple. One of the youngest Misfits, Marie, had managed to collect enough magic from around the crystal ball that she was able to grow to normal size, breaking her fiery bonds-but not before getting a few major burns in the process. Then, while Agent Blackthorn continued his talk with Avian, she had managed to slip over to Therese and break her bonds with some more magic, shrinking a bit in size. She then quickly freed Octavio, Renee, Anne and Mae before she shrank back to her original size. They were just about to sneak off from the rocky terrain that Blackthorn had captured them at, there was a scream as the black vine snaking around the ground burst up in green flames, nearly burning Renee. All of the Misfits whirled around in time to see Agent Blackthorn lower his arm, open his mouth about to say something, and then gave a shout as his arms magically clasped to his sides, and his entire body was lifted up off the ground. He then clearly started trying to move, but as soon as he did, he gave a long scream. Meanwhile, the small crystal ball he had been holding fell to the ground and shattered. The small obsidian dragon teetered over sideways, and then went still. 

“Don’t struggle,” the voice came from Octavio, who had his hand outstretched, clearly restraining Blackthorn. “You’ll just make it worse.” All six of the Misfits looked at awe upon Octavio, struck with shock about what he was doing. 

“How-what-?” Stammered Anne, looking at Octavio’s hand. 

“Don’t ask now,” Grunted Octavio. “Go on, get some ropes or something. I can’t hold him for long!” The remaining five quickly scrambled to find something to use, and then settled on some more black vine that they found on the ground. 

Once Blackthorn was all tied up, the Misfits stood around him, ready to try and get something out of him. 

“Okay,” growled Octavio, “you’re going to tell us what your group-whatever it’s called- is up to. And don’t even think about hiding anything.” He held out his hand and made it glow a ghostly green. Blackthorn paled. “You’ll have much worse to deal with.” 

“All right-all right! I’ll tell you.” Agent Blackthorn gave in, raising his hands as much as he could due to the restraints. 

“The Agency-that’s what our group is called- had been working to try and divide the creatures of Betom for ages, and once Bringleclaw made his move, it was the perfect chance for us to make our move as well. Seeing as Bringleclaw’s and ours were the same.” He paused and became thoroughly interested in a giant fire bug crawling over his boots.

“Which was?” Prompted Octavio, alighting his hands again. 

“To take. . .” Blackthorn trailed off, looking fearfully around him. 

“WHAT?” Yelled Octavio, making a move towards Blackthorn, but stopped by Renee and Mae, who held him back by the elbows. 

“The Black Pearl.” There was stunned silence, and for a long moment, no one spoke. The fire bug chose that moment to set Blackthorn’s shoe on fire, but even as Anne hastened to put it out, she did not look right. Her eyes were unfocused, and she had an expression of mingled horror and hatred written all over her face. 

“You WHAT?” Screamed Anne, snapping her wings out and digging her clawed feet menacingly into the rocky ground. Blackthorn flinched. “We wanted to take the Black Pearl.” He repeated. 

Mae snorted deep blue flames. Anne dug more aggressively. 

“So you basically wanted to destroy the entire Kingdom.” Renee said calculatingly. 

“Not really. We mostly wanted to show the creatures of the Kingdom that they shouldn’t be connecting so easily with those that aren’t in their Land. They should respect the other creatures, sure, but not, well-” But he was cut off as a sound from above drowned him out. It was the sound of wingbeats. All six of the Misfits plus Agent Blackthorn craned their necks upwards towards the sky, and saw what had made the sound: six huge dragons. And they weren’t alone. Perched on each dragon’s back was an elf all clad in black. Except for one. Sitting upon a rather large red Incinerator dragon, sneering down at the Misfits, was a large goblin with gray skin and yellow and red eyes. 

“Bringleclaw,” whispered Anne, taking a half step back, eyes widening in fear. 

A deep, shimmering black dragon landed right behind where Agent Blackthorn was huddled, the other dragons and their riders followed suit, until the Misfits were surrounded. 

All of the six instinctively moved closer, drawing the weapons that they had brought from their house. 

A sharp laugh drew their attention. Standing not too far away beside the deep black dragon was a man with flaming red hair and multiple gold and silver clasps on his black cloak. “You really think you can stop us, the greatest organization ever created, with a few,” he gestured at their weapons, “daggers and chipped swords?” A sly grin crept upon his face. “Absolutely not.” He made a single with his hands, and immediately, flames and arrows shot from every side of the Misfits. 

“Duck!” Shouted Octavio, lunging for the ground. The Misfits soon lay on the ground, coughing as smoke from the fires engulfed them. 

“Quick,” Octavio whispered to the other five, “do you all have your weapons?” Five heads nodded simultaneously. “Okay. Now concentrate hard. You should be able to feel some magic clumped around your weapon-once you feel it, imagine the magic flowing into your hand. Don’t let go of your weapon until you can’t feel the magic around the weapon anymore. Got it?” He raised his eyebrows just as the fire and arrows ceased. Five heads nodded. “Good.” 

Octavio had finished his explanation just in time. Once Avian, the man with fiery red hair, had realized that none of his attacks had worked, he had ceased fire. He now stepped forward, and the circle grew smaller as everyone else followed his lead. “Stand up!” He shouted at the six Misfits who lay upon the ground. “Or else you will regret it!” He took another step forward. The circle grew smaller. All six of the Misfits stood up, clutching their weapons. Then Octavio dropped his-a silver dagger with a sapphire set into the handle-to the ground. It hit the stones with a clatter, and then shimmered out of sight. Then Anne dropped hers, followed closely by Renee. Soon all of the weapons that the Misfits had been clutching had hit the ground and mysteriously disappeared. Avian gave another sharp laugh. 

“You’ve surrendered, have you?” He narrowed his eyes. “Good.” He made it as if to grab Anne, who was closest, but then recoiled quickly, as if burned. His eyes widened in shock. “How?” He started, but the next second he lay flat on his back, winded as Anne pinned him down, holding a ball of pure magic warningly in her hand. 

The reaction of the Agency members was immediate. Some of the members hopped back on their dragons and started attacking from the air, while others started using their own magic to attack the Misfits. Pretty soon, the area was thick with magic and smoke, with a few members of the Agency tied up, but the Agency had also captured Marie and Therese, who had fainted because of the so much magic for their small bodies, though Marie had managed to turn full sized for a few minutes. 

The battle raged on until the inky darkness of night, when finally, one side had won. 


      -The Dark of Night-

10 years later 

A figure all clad in a deep black cloak held together with a gold and silver pin stole through the night on a long, dusty road that led to a nightmarish castle. A castle that led the Kingdom. 

The castle had tall, black pointed spires that glinted in the sun and moonlight and stood menacingly above the small town of Elfon- a city dedicated entirely to the elves. 

A long time ago, ten years in fact, this figure knew that her Kingdom-Betom-had not been as separate as it was now. It had been thriving. Its creatures had loved to join together and dance and sing. They had harmony. But it had all changed ten years ago. When a goblin-the very goblin who now sat upon the throne- had gone in league with some villainous elves-who called themselves the agency- and were planning to take the Black Pearl- the same plan that Bringleclaw had made. Apparently, though, six halflings had started their fight against The Agency and Bringleclaw. But they had lost their battle to the Agency, and were now locked up somewhere in the castle. 

After that, the Agency and Bringleclaw had taken the Black Pearl from its perch in the caves near the Cliff Edge Bar, and had sucked all the magic from the Kingdom. Or so they thought. 

To Be Continued!

Thanks to my mom for helping me edit!

Alyssa Larue

Author: Alyssa Larue

I am the teen librarian at DPL and the epitome of a book nerd. When I'm not producing our teen or tween short films or getting glue everywhere while making a teen zine, I can usually be found with my nose in a classic, historical fiction, or fantasy read!

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