“Where are you going?”
Sunlight ran after the mysterious boy with blue hair as he kept walking. “Wait up! Why? What’s there?”
“Something to keep my powers from running out,” the boy said, still walking. “I need to get there if I’m gonna survive this drought.”
Sunlight ran ahead and walked backwards in front of him. “Wait, you have powers too? What can you do? And what’s your name? You didn’t even tell me your name!”
“My name is Rain,” he answered without stopping. “And I need to get to Rainbow Mountain because my powers are running out.”
Sunlight looked at the glowing orb on his chest. It was the size of a coconut and was the same orb that she had on her chest. But hers was filled with golden light that matched her golden hair and his was filled with glistening blue water that matched his striking blue hair. She’d been using her powers her whole life and hadn’t known that they could ever run out. What would she do when she had no more light left?
“I wanna come with you!” she said.
“Fine,” said Rain. “But we go straight to Rainbow Mountain. No stops.”
“What if we find something fun along the way?”
“We keep moving.”
Sunlight frowned. “Well, don’t you like to rain on a parade. Get it?”
But Rain just kept walking.
And that was how Sunlight met Rain.
They stuck to walking through the forest for the rest of the day and at noon, Sunlight could finally make out the peak of an ivory mountain in the distance. A circle of white puffy clouds was floating above it like a halo and if she squinted, she could make out the faint outline of a rainbow. It looked so beautiful. How long would it take to get there? She hoped they’d make it before sunset. But then again, it wasn’t about the destination—it was about all the fun they could have along the way!
She’d never been to this part of the forest before and was taking it all in as they walked. There were fiery red, four-winged birds perched above her, nine-tailed wolves sleeping in dens and horned bears reaching for honey off branches. They all looked so beautiful, but they were all so sad too. Most of the animals were lying on the ground like they were half-dead. They looked like they hadn’t drank water in days. But there were so many other cool things to look at that were happier than the thirsty animals.
“We should check out this view!” she cried. And with a swirl of dazzling sunlight from her orb, she was spiraling to the treetops and leaving Rain below her. She hovered over the trees and giggled at the sight. She could see everything from here.
“Get down!” Rain shouted underneath her. “You have to save your powers!”
“But this is so much more fun!” She kept exploring and noticed something in the distance. There was a break in the forest where some huts were gathered close together. A village! She spiraled back down to Rain and dropped in front of him.
“There’s a village up ahead! Come on, let’s go check it out!”
She grabbed his hand and sprinted ahead.
“But we have to get to the Mountain,” he protested.
“Don’t be such a party pooper.”
And before long, they were in the village, being greeted by the natives.
“Welcome friends,” one said. “We haven’t had visitors in ages.”
“I’m Sunlight,” Sunlight introduced herself. “And this is Rain.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” the villager said. “We would invite you to eat with us, but with this drought, we haven’t had food here for several days.”
“We’ve run out of fuel to power our stoves. And the wood in this forest is useless. Enchanted wood doesn’t burn, you know.”
“That’s terrible,” said Sunlight. Then she looked at Rain and pulled him aside. “We have to help them.”
Rain shook his head. “What have I been telling you? We have to reserve our powers until we get to Rainbow Mountain.”
“But we can’t just leave them like this!” Sunlight said. “They’ll starve.”
Rain looked at her then at the villager. “Fine. But then we move on. And no more stopping. Agreed?”
Sunlight beamed. “Let’s do it!”
And they got to work. It was still early in the afternoon so Sunlight was able to harness the Sun’s rays to power the stoves, make fires and even set up a tanning booth for some of the women. Rain set up a well, a small lake for the children to swim and take well-needed baths in and even made a hot tub that Sunlight heated. And just for the fun of it, Sunlight planted rows of lilies around the border of the village and after Rain watered them, she brought them blooming in seconds. Now the village was more alive than it had ever been before.
“Thank you so much,” the villager thanked them. “We’re eternally grateful.”
“Anytime!” Sunlight called as she and Rain walked off. Then she turned to Rain. “See? Wasn’t that fun?”
Rain grinned. “You were right. It was.”
“That’s the spirit!” Sunlight laughed. “We make a great team.”
But as they walked on, Rain noticed that both their orbs had gotten smaller.
“Why don’t you use your powers that much?”
“I already told you—I have to save them because we’re in a drought,” Rain replied.
“But what about before the drought? Did you use them then?”
Rain shook his head.
“Why not? Your powers are so cool! There’s so much you can do! You can make waterfalls, swimming pools, geysers and even—”
“I’m afraid of hurting people.”
“What? A little water never hurt anybody.”
“Yeah, but a flood can kill you.”
Sunlight went quiet for a little while. Then she perked up and said, “Well, you can’t let that stop you from doing what you love.”
Rain kept walking without looking at her. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
They kept walking through the forest, taking sips of Rain’s water here and there when they got thirsty, but never too much. They walked for days and it didn’t seem like the mountain in the distance was getting any closer. Then, to Sunlight’s delight, they made it to another village.
“People!” she shrieked.
“Wonderful,” Rain groaned. “Let’s keep moving.”
But they quickly discovered that this village was a lot worse off than the first one.
“Run for your lives!” a villager screamed. “Leeches! Leeches! They’ll suck your soul! They’ll suck your soul!!!”
When they looked, they saw giant, black wormlike creatures the size of horses sucking on villagers’ bodies and clinging to the sides of houses. Everyone was running for their lives in every direction, screaming their heads off.
“We have to help them!” Sunlight said.
“This is ridiculous,” Rain replied. “Leeches shouldn’t even be in a forest. Let’s keep moving.”
“But they need our help!” Sunlight insisted.
“The humanity!!!” someone screeched nearby.
“Listen,” Rain said sternly. “We get to Rainbow Mountain, get more power then we’ll come back to help them.”
“But what if they’re gone by then?”
“If we run out of powers, we’ll be gone by then,” Rain hissed. “We can’t help anyone if we’re dead.”
“But, what about—”
“Look, if you wanna stay and waste your powers, be my guest. I’ll be waiting on the other side.” And with that, he walked right through the village and crossed to the other end without stopping.
Sunlight, however, got right to work on the leeches, blasting them with rays of heat until they dropped off their victims.
She went around the entire village rescuing the men, women and children, but the more people she rescued, the more leeches came back. And worst of all, the more she used her powers, random villagers started passing out around her. Then trees and houses burst into flames until half the village was burning. What was going on? Why did the leeches keep coming back? And why were people fainting? Why were things burning all of a sudden? And why was it so much hotter now? Then, to her surprise, she discovered that her orb had shrunk again. It was now just the size of an egg on her chest. She only had enough power left to save a few more villagers. And just when things couldn’t get any worse, the largest leech of all, tall as an elephant, sucked several children then slithered away with them.
“My babies!” the mothers cried. “Save them!”
Sunlight knew she couldn’t do this without more help. So she ran out the village and found Rain. “You’ve gotta help me! This giant King Kong leech came and kidnapped the babies!”
“We have to get to Rainbow Mountain,” Rain replied.
“But I need to help them! And I’m running out of powers.”
“I told you so,” Rain said, sounding much more childish than he’d intended.
“Why are you being so selfish?” Sunlight pouted.
“I’m selfish?” Rain snapped. “Don’t you get it? You’re the reason we’re in this drought in the first place! If you weren’t so busy using your powers so much, we wouldn’t be dying in this heat!”
Sunlight gasped. “So this is my fault? Why don’t you just make it rain? We wouldn’t be in this drought if you weren’t so lazy!”
Rain’s eyes swelled wide. Then he narrowed them into angry slits and glared at her. “I’m done. I don’t have time for this. You can stay here and waste your powers. I’m going to Rainbow Mountain.” And he turned on his heels and stomped away.
“Fine!” Sunlight screamed. “Go ahead! See if I care, ya big loser!” She kicked dirt at him as he went then turned and ran back into the village, muttering under her breath about how stupid his blue hair actually was.
With the desert before her and Rainbow Mountain behind her, Sunlight chased the elephant leech down. It was surprisingly fast and was moving more like a gazelle than a leech. When she finally reached it, she blasted it with ray after ray of heat, but it didn’t slow down. Finally, she ran ahead of it, grabbed its slimy face in her hands and gave it all the heat she had left. There was a burst of light and energy and the leech slithered back a few feet. Then it squeaked and slithered towards Sunlight again, unfazed.
Sunlight’s head was spinning and she could barely stand. Her orb shrank again and vanished off her chest. She wobbled side to side then dropped to the ground, completely burnt out. The children plastered to the sides of the leech’s body whimpered as it approached her and she lay there, waiting for her last moments.
Then the leech lifted its belly, revealing hundreds of suction-like mouths eager to swallow her, and there was a clap of thunder. Water poured from the sky and in seconds, the forest was washed in a tidal wave as Rain surfed in to the rescue.
The leech squeaked and roared, released the children and was washed away in the tsunami.
When everything cleared, the leeches were gone, the fires were out and Sunlight was lying in dirt wet enough to be the seashore.
“You saved us!” the villagers cried, running to the scene.
Sunlight could barely hear them. And she could barely see them. Her orb was gone and now she lay on the ground, barely hanging onto her last breaths. She could see Rain lying on the ground near her. He was on his back and his eyes were shut—his orb was gone too.
“No,” she whispered.
The villagers realized what was happening and gathered around hastily, trying to find anything to help revive the heroes. But Sunlight knew it was too late. As they lay there, the rain stopped, the clouds started to fade and the forest was back to normal again.
Sunlight gave one last sigh and shut her eyes. She wouldn’t even be able to say good-bye to Rain.
But then, as she was about to drift away, the Sun appeared from behind a cloud and its light burst through the mist the rain had left behind. And shooting over the village came a brilliant, sparkling rainbow. Its light washed over Sunlight and Rain and their orbs swelled back into place on their chests.
Sunlight coughed and sat up and Rain came up next.
“We’re alive!” she cried.
The villagers cheered.
“You used your powers!” Sunlight said to Rain. “You brought the rainbow to us with your powers! You did it!”
Rain shook his head. “We did it.”
So they learned a valuable lesson that day—that Sunlight and Rain must always work together. Ever since then, whenever there was Sunlight, Rain would follow shortly after. And there was never a drought again.