As Calib raced home from school, thoughts were stirring in his head. Not that long ago, he had received a phone call at school asking him to come home immediately. The person’s voice sounded urgent.
When Calib ran inside, he saw his father, lying on his bed, shivering. His skin was a sickly shade of green.
Calib’s mother was crying. She explained that his father had fallen asleep the night before, and hadn’t woken the next morning. He would die if they didn’t get help.
The questions on Calib’s mind weren’t answered, but more questions were raised. “What’s wrong? Is he alright? What can I do?” As he lay in his bed that night, he wondered where he might be able to find a cure for his father’s disease. He was determined to find a way.
The next day, at school, Calib told his mate Luke about what had happened the night before. ‘That sounds familiar,’ he said. Luke pulled a book out of his school bag and showed it to Calib. In golden letters, the words “Golden Valley” were displayed on the cover.
‘He’s in a coma.’ Calib looked at the illustrations of sleeping men and golden dragons. ‘Why are there dragons next to the men?’ Calib asked. Luke explained that it was called the Dragons Coma. The victim will sleep forever unless one of their relatives chants the spell of awakening.
The book explained that the spell of awakening could only be found in the “Ancient book of Answers”. For centuries, the book had belonged to the Empress of the Golden Valley.
The Golden Valley was a large palace to the north of Azelea town, where Calib and Luke lived. It was a long distance away, but Calib was determined to help his father.
‘Let’s go,’ said Calib. ‘We have a long journey ahead of us.’ Luke looked at Calib with a confused expression on his face. ‘You’re out of your mind!’ Said Luke. ‘You wouldn’t make it back alive! It’s too dangerous.’
‘Exactly,’ said Calib. ‘That’s why you’re coming with me.’
The next morning, Calib and Luke set off for the Golden Valley. The path was long and wound around the blue hills that approached them. It seemed like they had been walking forever.
Eventually the far stretches of blue land faded into a dry, dusty path that led its way to a small cottage sitting on the hill.
There was nobody else in the cottage, but the fire had been lit and there was a roast lamb sitting on the kitchen table.
Luke and Calib made themselves welcome, and settled down for the night.
They woke to the sound of quarrelling coming from the kitchen, and there were pots and pans flying through the air.
In all of the confusion, Calib and Luke managed to climb out of the window, and escape from the cottage.
Past the tall trees and vast blue land, the Golden Valley palace stood tall and strong.
‘Look,’ said Luke. ‘You can see the palace from here!’ The boys raced through the forest, and found themselves at a large stone gate that was engraved with pictures of animals. On the ground, there were stones with the same animals engraved on them.
Calib noticed that each engraving had been filled with a different coloured gemstone. The sunlight reflected off the gemstones, and it shone out at every angle.
‘It looks like a puzzle,’ Calib said. Luke tried stepping on a stone with a wolf on it, and the engraving on the wall lit up. Calib stood on another stone, but nothing happened. ‘Maybe there’s an order that you need to step on the stones,’ said Luke.
For the next few minutes, Luke and Calib tried different combinations, but nothing worked.
‘Look,’ Calib said. ‘There are small letters engraved next to the animals. The wolf has an “O” next to it. Luke picked up a stick and wrote the letter “O” in the soil.
‘We need to spell something,’ Luke noted. They looked at the long rows of engravings on the gate and tried to figure it out.
For the next few minutes, Calib and Luke tried as many different words as they could think of, but none of them worked. The boys had managed to figure out the first three letters of the word; “O, P and E.”
As he was pacing, Calib tripped and fell on a stone infront of him. The stone gate opened with a deafening crunch, and beyond it, the Golden Valley palace was visible behind the faint line of clouds that surrounded it.
Calib and Luke set off toward the palace. It was beginning to get dark, and the boys knew that they would soon need to find a place to stay for the night.
At the end of the forest, there was an old, abandoned shed that sat on a hill which looked over the palace. Luke and Calib took an old sheet from the shed and fashioned themselves a bed to sleep in for the night.
The boys woke at dawn and set out for the palace. The road ahead of them was long but straightforward, and it ended at the palace gate.
After a few hours, Luke and Calib arrived at the Golden Valley palace. It was polished marble with golden lining around the entrance. The walls were old and stained, and the scent of lavender was lingering in the air.
There was a loud rumbling coming from the dungeon below. ‘Did you hear that?’ Said Luke. ‘It was coming from down there. Let’s go!’ The boys made their way to the dungeon, where they found a large dragon guarding a glass case.
‘The book must be in there,’ said Calib. ‘Here’s the plan: you distract the dragon, and I’ll go for the book.’ ‘What do I do?’ Luke asked, but Calib was already making his way toward the case.
As Luke was frantically running around in the hope of catching the dragon’s attention, Calib was ducking and weaving his way to the glass case on the other side of the room.
When the dragon noticed Calib, he let out a mighty roar and thrashed his tail about. It hit Calib and he fell to the ground. ‘Luke, quick!’ Calib said. ‘Get the book!’ Luke grabbed the book from the case and threw it to Calib. Calib caught it and ran for the door, but the dragon stopped him before he could escape.
Calib noticed that there was an open window next to the glass case. He ran over to the window and threw the book outside, and then he began to climb out of the window himself. ‘Luke,’ he said. ‘You distract the dragon, and I’ll get out the window, and then I’ll help you out, too.’ Luke shouted out to the dragon as Calib hoisted himself up and out of the window.
Once Calib had made his way out of the dungeon, he reached through the window and helped Luke to get through. There was a loud roar, and flames were shooting out at every angle. Luke and Calib turned, and ran back the way they came. A victory route, thought Calib, that not many have been lucky enough to take.
The journey home was long, but the boys were now more optimistic as they trudged along, book in tow. After a month, they arrived home to find Calib’s father still lying in his bed, asleep. Calib kneeled next to his father’s bed and began to read the spell.
Troubled one with sleeps unease,
remove the cause of this disease
Sleep eternal never more,
and shift this source of evil born
At the last word, his eyes fluttered open, and he was awake. Calib was overwhelmed with joy, and glad that it had not been too late. ‘I couldn’t have saved you if Luke had not been by my side,’ Calib said. Throughout the night, Calib and Luke told tales from their adventure. They talked about fire breathing dragons and stone wall puzzles until they were blue in the face.
‘I’d better get going,’ said Luke. Calib looked up at the clock on the wall and was surprised to see that an hour had already passed since they arrived back. ‘I’ll walk with you,’ Calib replied. The boys walked back to Luke’s house in silence. When Luke was about to ring the doorbell, Calib stopped him.
‘Luke?’ Calib asked. ‘Thanks for coming with me. On the quest, I mean.’ ‘No problem,’ Luke said. ‘It was fun.’ They said their goodbyes, and walked their separate ways home.