Up, up Emeris swam, her tail flexing strongly behind her. Until she crashed through to The Top with a sudden gasp. She twisted and turned, her yellow hair spraying water in every direction. She couldn’t see another living soul. She shielded her eyes from the brightness with one arm as she caught her breath.
The Cloud watched Emeris. She looked like a spinning top, set adrift in the water.
“Is the She-Fish lost?” The Cloud asked the languid Yellow-Star who blinked in surprise and dipped behind The Cloud to get a better look. Emeris suddenly got scale-bumps and she clutched her arms around her. The Cloud floated down to her and spoke. “She-Fish, can I help you find your way?”
Emeris rubbed her eyes and shook her head, trying not to gape. Was she dreaming? “The Top is so, so .. big!” She stuttered, feeling a little overwhelmed and not having a clue what she should do next. “Where should I start?” She flipped around again. “Where is everybody?”
The Cloud chuckled. “The Heavy Planet is vast and wide, She-Fish, but we all share the heat of the same Yellow-Star.” She drifted along a little, so that the warmth of the rays could shine on Emeris, who felt her arms start to relax. The sea bed was a murky place compared to this, mired in dark shadows and cold weeds. She looked around, noticing that the honeycomb rocks and jade trees were bathed in golden light. Her eyes settled on the shore line, shimmering in the distance.
The Cloud hovered, gliding sideways to keep Emeris warm. “The Silver-Star commands the water at The Edge. When she pulls the waves back, The Island appears”. Emeris wondered how it would feel to lay there, her tail glittering in the sunlight. The Cloud bobbed down, noticing that the She-Fish was listening attentively. “It happens a few times every day. You just have to learn to time it. When the water faces the Silver-Star, she is strongest and the pull is fast. Take care then, She-Fish”.
“Thank you”, Emeris had found her voice and a tentative smile.
The Cloud nodded. “Wait for the Silver-Star to pull back, for only then will the creatures of the Island reveal themselves”. Emeris let out a sigh of wonder, her eyes rounded in excitement. The Cloud started to float up, then slipped back. “And if you come back when the Silver-Star shines most brightly of all, when the Canopy is black and cool, you will see the Moon Hare. He is the Guardian of the Night Stars and he joins the Island to the sea. “
A sudden, unexpected gust of wind swept The Cloud sidelong, but she danced back, just within earshot of Emeris. “Alas, the Moon Hare is wounded. Perhaps you can help him?” Then another rush of wind carried her some distance, further away from the other clouds, hanging drowsily in the sky.
Emeris wondered how far The Cloud would sail in one day. How many other Islands had she seen, beyond The Top? She looked up at the sky, searching for the sleeping Silver-Star. Who was the Moon Hare and how had he been hurt?
So many questions whirled around her head. Where to start? Suddenly determined to discover some answers, she dived back down with an almighty splash. She had to find the little seahorse, Hope. There was no time to lose.