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The Beginning of Rainbow Land - from the Rainbow Brite Treasury
compiled by Hilda Young

Chapter One
Wisp's Quest

Long, long ago, there was a dark land where there was no color at all.  Little creatures called sprites who lived there were always in fear of being attacked.  Terrible birds would sweep down at them, or great monsters would chase them over the gray mountains.  And there was someone else whose name they dared not even whisper...

One day, as several sprites were sheltering in a deep cave, they watched in horror as a sprite called Twink ran past, chased by a terrible monster.  He stumbled over the crags and rocks, just managing to keep ahead of the monster, until he found somewhere to hide. On the rugged mountain pass a few cold, pale-colored sprites toiled on against the biting wind.  Suddenly, one gave a cry of fear.  A brightly glowing star, like a comet, whirled nearer and nearer, growing brighter and brighter.  It was heading right for the mountain pass, but slowed and hovered just above the ground. A soft, sweet voice said, “Do you still want to save this colorless world, little Wisp?” And another voice replied firmly, “Yes, I do!”

The star gleamed even more brightly.  Then it was gone, and in its place stood a little girl, clutching a suitcase in her hand, looking very bewildered.  Her pale blue dress was the only color in the land. The soft voice spoke again.  “Find the light and color of this land and set it free. Then the darkness will disappear.”

“Where do I start?” asked Wisp.

“Look for the Sphere of Light,” replied the voice. A moment later the little girl was alone in the strange land.  As she looked nervously around her, Wisp saw a fearsome bird hovering above her hand.  “Have you seen a Sphere of Light?” she called.  “I need it to make your world a beautiful place.” To her dismay the bird tried to attack her, and Wisp was forced to hide behind a rock until the bird flew off.  When it had gone, Wisp came cautiously out and started to walk along, jumping over cracks in the ground and stepping carefully over the rocks. Then, with a shock, she realized that she had stepped onto a long, low, centipede-like creature with a zillion legs, a barbed tail and jaws like a crocodile!

“Oh...oh,” cried Wisp, trying hard not to scream.  She quickly leapt off the creature's back.  As it snapped its jaws savagely at her, Wisp fled to the safety of the tangled trees in the forest ahead. “That was a near escape,” she sighed.  But now the trees were acting in a very strange and frightening way.  They had ugly faces and branches like arms which tried to hold her tightly.  The little girl tried to free herself, turning this way and that, and in her haste to get away, she didn't see someone running towards her.  It was Twink!

They ran into each other and both fell to the ground with a bump.  In a trice, Twink was on his feet again.  “I wouldn't hang about here, if I were you,” he cried.

“I'm looking for a Sphere of Light,” Wisp explained, struggling to her feet.

Twink looked astonished.  “Sphere of Light?” he muttered.  “Great.  See you around.”

As Twink turned to go, Wisp said rather crossly, “You might at least tell me where to start looking.”

“Don't look...start running!” he shouted.  He pulled Wisp behind a rock as an ugly-looking monster galloped past.

“I hope it won't come back,” cried the little girl.

“It won't,” said Twink.  “They never do.  They just keep coming.  They go to the castle.  That's where the Sphere of Light is!”

“Let's go there, then,” cried Wisp eagerly.

“I'm not going that way,” said Twink, and he started off in the opposite direction.

So Wisp set off along, bravely walking into the shadowy mountains.  Thunder crashed overhead and vulture-like birds began to circle around.  Wisp felt very alone. Then she heard a small voice.  It was Twink, who had followed her after all, much against his better judgment.  “Everyone goes to the castle but no one comes out,” he said.  “There are monsters there and the Evil One!  He makes snow and lighting and makes mountains fall on you and...”

“I still have to search for the Sphere of Light,” insisted Wisp.  Then she told the little sprite her name.

“I'm Twink,” he said, “and I'm sure I'm making a big mistake!”  He sighed as he lead Wisp towards the mountains.  They didn't know what they were being watched by strange flowers which seemed to spy on them with their eyelike markings. It grew darker and darker as they neared the castle and suddenly there was a flash of lightning, followed by a bubbling sound.  A large bubble of lava was forming right underneath them.  Poor Twink found himself on top of the lava bubble being bounced along.  He was just about to jump, when the bubble finally burst, dropping him with a bump at Wisp's feet.

Twink decided that he had enough.  “I've just remembered,” he said weakly, “I forgot to make my bed this morning.  I'd better go home.”

“Oh, Twink, we must be brave and go on,” said Wisp.  She set off again and Twink reluctantly followed her.  They stepped onto a narrow, jagged bridge which had bubbling, steaming lava on both sides.  Twink peered over at the lava and almost fell in, but Wisp pulled him back just in time.  They passed a boulder shaped like an evil face which hissed out murky fog at them as they ran by.  A nasty mist whirled around them and the two friends tried to clasp hands so that they would not lose each other.

“Goodness, you're cold!” they gasped together.  They began to walk off again and it was then that they realized that they were each holding the hand of an ice-cold sprite statue.  They let go quickly and found each other's hands the next time.

“This isn't really a statue!” stuttered a very frightened Twink.  “This is what happens to those who go too near to the castle.  They turn to ice!”

Just then a little sprite came running towards the castle, zig-zagging to avoid the lightning flashes.  “We must help him,” Wisp cried.  But before she could move, the sprite was solid ice. “His name was Lucky,” sighed Twink.

“We must keep going,” cried Wisp.  “Come on, Twink!”

“I can’t.  It gets worse!” he cried.  “Oh, Wisp, my legs are beginning to turn to ice!”

“Twink, believe you can walk, and you will!” cried Wisp, holding his hand tightly.  “You must try to believe, Twink.”

“I am trying!” muttered Twink, as thunder crashed around them and lightning flashed, just missing them.  The ice began to rise up to his body and soon he even found it rather difficult to speak.  But slowly he managed to move forward.  A bolt of lightning struck the ground just in front of him and he slithered about, trying to keep his balance. Then a huge fireball erupted in front of them and he and Wisp had to dive for cover beneath an overhanging ledge of rock. They jumped up and began to go on, but then Wisp suddenly stopped.  There, right in front of her, stood the last statue between her and the castle.  But it was not a sprite.  It was a magnificent ice horse, poised as if ready to gallop, but frozen in mid step. Wisp gazed at the horse in wonder. 

“He's beautiful!” she gasped.  She let go of Twink’s hand and walked up to the statue.

“Take care!  It might be a trap!” shouted Twink.  “What we need right now is a plan...yes...a plan!  We'll come back when we've got a plan.  What do you say?”

But Wisp scarcely heard him, and she did not appear to notice the steep, drop to floor of a canyon as she gently touched the horse's neck.  Just then, the clouds above the castle exploded and from their depths, the biggest bird they have ever seen swooped down, straight at Wisp! Twink stared at the bird in horror as Wisp crouched down at the side of the horse. She pressed herself against it's body, hoping the bird would not see her.  It was then that she heard a strange sound.  It was a heartbeat! Using the horse as a shield from the bird, she knelt and looked up at the horse's face.  He blinked. “You're alive!” she cried in delight, hugging him tightly.  As she hugged him, the ice began to crack and shatter into dust that was blown away by the wind, revealing a real live horse dazzling white from mane to tail.  It was Starlite.

The bird attacked again, and although Twink threw a stone at it, it flew straight toward the little girl.  Starlite reared up like a gallant charger, attacking the bird as it swooped down.  But he slipped on the rocks, teetered for a moment on the edge of the cliff and then fell over, skidding and tumbling down, taking bushes and rocks with him. The bird returned to the attack, making Wisp and Twink step back until they fell over the cliff too.  Wisp braced herself for a heavy landing.  But suddenly she heard a voice say, “Hang on!”  To her surprised she discovered that she had landed on Starlite's back.  She clung tightly to his mane, scarcely able to believe her eyes -- or ears! “You can talk!” she cried.

“Talk?  Of course I can talk.  I'm Starlite, the most wonderful horse in the Universe!” he retorted. Twink landed on Starlite's back, behind Wisp.  He clung tightly to his friend as Starlite galloped swiftly towards a gap in the rocky wall ahead, away from the castle. Twink sighed happily, glad to be out of danger, but Wisp turned around and gazed at the castle until it was out of sight.  Soon she would have to return -- to find the Sphere of Light!

Chapter Two
The No Return River

A fearful storm was raging outside the castle walls.  Inside, Murky Dismal and his assistant Lurky were stuffing themselves with food from a large platter served by several terrified sprites. “Where is my pudding?” shrieked Murky.  “Hurry up!”

“I'll get it for you, Murky!" cried Lurky.  He reached for a large covered dish. “Cor, just look at this cream pie.  Doesn't it look good?”

“Be careful, you clumsy...” began Murky, as Lurky picked up the pie and leant towards him.  But the warning came too late!  Lurky’s chair toppled over and Murky got the pie right in his face! “Why you bonzo-brained...” shouted Murky, trying to wipe the cream from his face.  But he stopped as the walls began to shake and all the objects in the room started to rattle about. 

Murky and Lurky cowered beneath the table in terror as, from a sinister dark space like a mirror on the wall, came the voice of the Evil Force. “There is a pure heart loose in this land!” it screamed.  “On your feet! You've got to stop her!” The voice was so loud that things started to rattle and shake. “This is what she looks like!” said the voice. A ghostlike image of a little girl in a blue dress appeared in the room. “Now get after her!” the voice shrieked, and a flock of vulture-like birds that had been hiding encircled the room in panic.

Safe for the moment away from the castle, Wisp and Twink slid down from the back of Starlite. “Am I glad to be away from that castle,” muttered Twink.

“It's all in a day's work for the magnificent Starlite,” grinned the horse with a little bow.

Wisp now had time to introduce herself, saying, “My name is Wisp and this is Twink.  I'm looking for the Sphere of Light.  It's at the castle.”

“But there are some places you just don't go -- if you're sensible,” said Twink.

“There is a way into the castle,” said Starlite thoughtfully.  “There is a legend, mind you it is only a legend, that there is a very special belt -- a Color Belt -- which helps to overcome, well, you know who!”

“But where do we find this Color Belt?” asked Wisp excitedly.

“Well, the legend says it's in the river!” muttered Starlite nervously.

“The No Return River?” gasped Twink, turning quite pale with fright.

“So the legend says,” repeated the horse.  “The Evil one threw it there a long time ago.”

“We must go and find it!” cried Wisp quickly.  “Come on!”

“But even if we get there, we'll probably never come back,” said Starlite.  “No one has ever come back!”

“Well, we've at least got to try,” insisted the little girl.  “Just look at this dull gray land.  Don't you want it to be bright and beautiful and full of life?”

Twink and Starlite looked sheepishly at each other, but they hesitated as Wisp walked off alone. “Oh, very well, if you insist,” said Starlite with a sigh.  “Come on.  If you're going, you might as well go on the back of the most magnificent stylish horse in the world!”

“I just knew you'd both come with me,” said Wisp, smiling, and Twink climbed up behind her on Starlite's back.  But none of them noticed the spyflower stretching up like a periscope to peer after them.

Meanwhile, back at the castle, the spyflower had transmitted all it had seen onto a screen in the laboratory.  Lurky and Murky were busy at work pouring sinister, bubbling liquids into a container. “What are you actually doing?” asked Lurky, curiously.

“I'm making sure that interfering little girl will never want to see colors again,” Murky sneered.

Lurky peered at the bits of green in the bottle.  “Colors!” he said happily, but then a cloud of smog came out of the bottle.  In his terror, Lurky leapt into Murky’s arms, knocking him over.

Murky scrambled up and grabbed the bottle.  “Come on, we must hurry,” he said.  Then he saw Lurky had picked up his Gloom Gun. “Don't use that!” shrieked Murky.  But the gun went off and Murky was enveloped in a big dark cloud.  “You great bonzo-brain.  Come on, we've got to hurry. Get the Grunge Buggy,” ordered Murky from the depth of the gloom.

A few minutes later, with a great backfire, the Buggy roared out of the castle tunnel.  Lurky was at the wheel and he steered the Buggy alongside the lava moat. Suddenly, there was a loud noise, and the drawbridge crashed down onto the Buggy and Murky’s head!  Oblivious to the damage he had caused, both to the drawbridge and to Murky, Lurky drove across the bridge.  “I love trips,” he sang happily.

“Can't you stay on the road?” snarled Murky as the Buggy zip-zagged all over the place.

“But the Grunge Buggy can go anywhere!” protested Lurky.

“The road goes where they're going!” snapped Murky.  “Get back to it!”

Starlite and his friends were trying to find the river, without much success. “Are you sure you know where it is?” cried Wisp, beginning to have doubts about the existence of the river.  There was no sign of it where Starlite was looking.

“Of course, I'm just taking care that we're not being followed!” said Starlite.  “I'm sure it was right here before,” he muttered under his breath.

Unknown to the three of them, Murky was watching though his spyglass. Suddenly he heard the voice of the Evil Force calling to him.  “Stop them before they find the river!” it thundered.

Quickly, Murky ordered Lurky to fetch his new weapon from the Grunge Buggy. “Hurry!” he shouted. But Lurky tripped over a rock in his eagerness, and dropped the weapon. “Careful!” yelled Murky.  But it was too late. 

On the opposite cliff, Wisp and her friends heard a noise which got louder and louder! “It sounds like an earthquake to me,” said Starlite calmly.

“An earthquake?” screamed Twink, and he and Wisp gazed at each other in alarm.  The earth began to shake, and Twink was sent sprawling to the ground.

“Hang on to me,” cried Starlite as the ground cracked open.  But even Starlite had difficulty standing, and soon all three were bumping and rolling from one rock to another.  Twink continued to fall and bounce towards a deep chasm, while Wisp managed to fall on Starlite, and clung tightly to his mane. “It's a good thing I'm so splendidly graceful -- even in times of danger!” Starlite cried. 

He landed at last at the bottom and Wisp looked up.  “Starlite!  Do something! Twink is going to be bounced off those rocks onto...” began Wisp.  But Starlite had already swung into action, and as Twink fell, Starlite was beneath him -- but not quite in the right place!  Wisp held her breath as Starlite's foot caught in a crack in the ground, kicking up a spray of water.  He skidded wildly, right under Twink who landed neatly on his back behind Wisp.

“I'm really magnificent.  No other horse could have done that,” said Starlite smugly. All of a sudden, Starlite, Wisp and Twink were drenched with water from one side as if someone had thrown a bucket of water all over them!  They turned in surprise to see water flowing from a waterfall, which rushed though the rocks.  The water flowed faster and faster and soon it had formed a little riverlet which reached up to Starlite's ankles.

“It’s the river!  We've found it!" cried Wisp in delight.

“Yes, but let's get out of it.  Its rising fast!” muttered Starlite.  But as he tried to swim to the bank, the water rose higher still, and no matter how hard he tried, Starlite could not reach the bank.

Then Wisp called out, “Starlite, look!  A bridge!  If we can get up there, we'll be able to see everything in the whole of the river!  We'll be able to find the Color Belt!”

“Then what are we waiting for?” cried Starlite, and bravely he charged forward though the raging waters.

Chapter Three
The Color Belt

Speeding along in their Grunge Buggy, Murky and Lurky were convinced that they had seen the end of Wisp and her friends.  But then Murky got a message on his walkie-talkie telling him what Wisp and her friends were doing. “Change course,” he then hissed to Lurky.  “They're heading for the bridge!”

As Lurky turned the Grunge Buggy, Starlite was still swimming gallantly towards the bridge. “Come on, Starlite, you can do it!” encouraged Wisp as she clung to the horse. Twink shut his eyes and clung tightly to the little girl.  The swirling water now reached almost to the top of Starlite's legs and Twink felt very frightened!

As Starlite made a great final effort, Murky and Lurky arrived at the bridge, just as it began to pour with rain.  They were armed with a number of tools, and unseen, they started to hack away at the support at one end of the bridge. Lurky did all the hard work, while Murky issued his orders.  Suddenly, Lurky caught Murky with the end of the saw by mistake, pushing him over the bridge. Murky crashed against the flimsy railings which splintered as he fell, but he was saved from falling into the river by his cape which caught on the end of the railings. 

As he dangled over the edge, Murky called out, “You stupid great oaf.  Help me!  Lift me up!”

Obediently Lurky rushed to his aid, but in his attempts to free Murky, he kept hitting him on the head with his saw.  Poor Murky’s head was spinning as Lurky managed at last to get him safely back onto the bridge, but not before he dropped the saw and it disappeared far below into the river. “I wonder why it doesn't float?” thought Lurky as he peered into the swirling water.

“Don't waste time.  Get back to work!” ordered Murky, trying to think clearly in spite of a very sore head! Lurky hammered away at the bridge while Murky went into the middle and gazed into the distance.  “Hurry up, I can see them coming!” he yelled. The whole bridge suddenly started to shake violently.  Murky fell through the bridge but just managed to hang on with his fingers and toes.  “Lurky, come here!” he yelled.  But Lurky, blissfully unaware of what was happening, carried on banging.

As Starlite neared the bridge, Twink suddenly felt something bite his toes. Looking down, he saw lots of strange evil-looking fish.  One tried to bite Wisp's toes and it leapt up out of the water.  Twink hit it smartly on the nose and it swam away. But more came, and more, and more, and soon the three friends were fighting a fierce battle with the fish.  Starlite thrashed out at them with his hooves, while Twink and Wisp slapped and smacked them as they attacked. With a gigantic leap, Starlite jumped out of the water.  He started to shake himself dry, completely forgetting that Wisp and Twink were still on his back!  They clung on desperately until Starlite remembered them and stopped.

“Thank goodness we're safe now,” gasped Twink when he had got back his breath.  Then he gave a squeak of dismay.  “Oh dear, the water's getting even higher.  Do something!” With a calm smile, Starlite started to move up the bank, quite unaware that Lurky and Murky were still on the bridge nearby.

“Get me out of here at once!” shouted Murky.  “They're coming!”

“Did you hear something?” said the little girl as Starlite moved cautiously forward along the river bank.  Starlite stopped, so that he and Twink could listen, but they could not hear anything.  Lurky could not see Murky, and could not hear him shouting above the roar of the water.  So he picked up his tools and moved off toward the Grunge Buggy.  But Murky was still hanging onto the bridge as Starlite stopped to inspect it.

“It looks a bit shaky to me,” he said.  “You test it, Twink!” Rather reluctantly, Twink stepped onto the bridge and began to jump up and down.  Each jump shook Murky more and more!

“I think it's safe,” Twink called out.  He hurried along the bridge, and Starlite followed with Wisp clinging to his mane.  With every step they took the bridge shook and creaked. 

“I think we'd better go back,” cried Twink.

Starlite nodded, but Wisp cried, “We can't.  Twink!  Starlite!  I must go on with my quest!”

Starlite looked back at the way they had come.  “I don't think we can make it back,” he said.

He was right.  The bridge began to sway violently and the three friends were thrown helplessly from side to side.  When it eventually collapsed, they found themselves back in the river, being tossed about by giant waves.  As the bridge collapsed, Murky fell into the river too, but he struggled out and, muttering under his breath, ran off to find Lurky.

The thunder clouds roared overhead and lightning flashed as Wisp and Starlite searched the river for Twink.  Wisp had been forced to let go of Starlite's mane, but after a desperate struggle she and the horse were reunited.  Poor Twink battled on alone.  He kept bobbing up in the water and then disappearing below the waves.

“We'll never find the belt in a storm like this!” cried Wisp in despair. As she spoke, a giant wave swept over them.  Wisp tried to grab Starlite's tail but couldn't reach, and soon he was swept away.  The little girl was alone, swimming for her life! Tossed and bruised by the waves, Wisp saw two big ugly fishes swimming towards her.  “Oh, go away, please go away!” she pleaded.  But on they came.

Out of the air, a giant bird of prey swooped down and carried away one fish.  Another fish with giant fins appeared underneath Wisp.  She grasped its fin and it leapt up out of the water. Then, without warning, the fish dived, and Wisp found herself being carried along under the water. Poor Wisp held her breath as the fish sped along, passing lots of weird fish, and strange, menacing plants which tried to grab her with their twisting tendrils. 

Just as she felt there was no hope of staying out of their reach, the fish surfaced again.  Another giant wave pushed the little girl across the water, and the fish disappeared under the waves. Wisp looked around anxiously for Starlite and Twink as she was pushed backwards and forwards by the waves, but there was no sign of them.  She felt very alone and very frightened.  Tears filled her eyes and she began to cry. 

“Please, help me!  You sent me here, but now I want to go home!” For a moment, nothing happened.  Then Wisp was washed onto the bank where she saw a small bundle.  “A baby,” she murmured softly.  “What's a baby doing here? There, there, don't be afraid, little one, I'll look after you.” Wisp held the baby close to her, protecting it from the waves which splashed up at them. 

Then she heard a shout behind her.  Turning around, she saw Starlite swimming towards her with Twink behind him.  They both managed to reach the bank and struggle out of the water. “Starlite, Twink!  Thank goodness you're safe!  Look what I've found.  A baby!”

“A baby -- that's all we need!” cried Starlite.

“The baby needs us,” restored Wisp firmly. Twink and Wisp climbed on Starlite's back and he started to walk away from the river.  After a while they found themselves outside a cave. “Let's get the baby inside out of the rain,” cried Wisp.

“But they may be monsters in there,” cried Twink, hanging back.

“Well, at least they'll be dry,” said Starlite.  He marched boldly inside, followed by the others. The cave was very dark and gloomy.  They all shivered and the baby started to cry.

“The baby's cold.  We need a fire,” cried Wisp. 

“Pick up those branches and logs, Twink.”

“But how are we going to light it?” asked Twink.

“Stand aside, my friends,” replied Starlite with a grin.  He raised his hind leg and kicked it against the rocky wall of the cave.  A spark from his hoof shot out and ignited the wood.  Soon a fire was burning away merrily. 

Wisp left Starlite guarding the fire as she wandered around the cave.  Then she stopped and picked up something from the floor.  “Look, a belt.  The river must have washed it up.  It's old and colorless now but once it must have been beautiful!”

“But it's not magic, is it?” cried Twink in disappointment.  “It looks like something Murky Dismal would wear!”

“We'll just have to keep looking,” replied Wisp, as she buckled the belt around her waist.  But suddenly the cave filled with dazzling light and the belt shone with all the colors of the rainbow! “This is it ... we've found the Color Belt!” cried Wisp.  “So we needed the baby after all, Starlite!  She found the belt for us.  If it hadn't been for her, we would never have come here!”

“You are right,” agreed Starlite and Twink together.  “Color has come at last!”

“Yes, only a little but soon it will spread as we search for the Sphere of Light,” cried Wisp happily.  “Then we'll make the land bright and colorful!”

Chapter four
The search for the Color Kids

As Wisp and her friends were planning their next move, back at the castle the Evil Force was learning from his spyflowers how the Color Belt had been found. Thunder and lightning flashed around the castle as he raged about.  “I want that belt.  Find it!” he commanded Murky Dismal and Lurky.

“Yes, Your Excellence...Your Majesty!”  He ordered Lurky to push forward his latest invention in the hope of avoiding his master's rage.  “This is our new weapon.  The Super Gloom Machine!  It will make that little meddler and her friend so gloomy that they won't care what happens to them!” But Lurky couldn't control the machine and it rolled on top of Murky, knocking him down and blasting him with a great fog of gloom which covered him from head to toe.

In the cave, meanwhile, Wisp was determined to find the Sphere of Light. “But where do we start?” asked Twink anxiously, remembering the gloomy castle.  Before Wisp could reply, tiny flecks of color drifted out from the buckle of her belt -- one for each of the colors of the rainbow!

“What's happening?” gasped Twink, as the spots of color grew even bigger.  They turned into seven transparent bubbles and hovered in the air in a rainbow arc.  In the middle of each bubble appeared the image of a small child.  Each child tried to speak at once: “We're the Color Kids,” cried Red Butler. “...the keepers of the enchanted Star Sprinkles!” added Lala Orange. “...which the sprites mine in the Color Cave,” shouted Canary Yellow. “...which will help the one who wears the Belt to make the world bright and filled with color!” added Patty O'Green.    

Wisp looked at the others excitedly but the Color Kids had not finished speaking.  “The King of the Shadows banished us...” cried wise Shy Violet. “...to the seven corners of the land,” added Buddy Blue. “...and the only one who has earned the right to wear the Color Belt can set us free!” finished Indigo.

“I'll find you and set you free,” promised Wisp.  “And I will fill the land full of hope and happiness again.”  She smiled confidently at the Color Kids as their image faded and the bubbles vanished.

“But where will we find them?” asked Twink.  As Twink was speaking a heavy cloud of gloom filled the cave.  Murky had fired the Super Gloom Machine.

“Will we get the Color Belt now?” asked Lurky hopefully as he and Murky waited outside the cave for the gloom cloud to take effect.

“Of course, they'll soon be begging for mercy,” laughed Murky Dismal. Inside the cave, Wisp was trying to shield the baby from the gloomy mist, but it washed over poor Twink who felt its horrible effects immediately.

“Oh, what a terrible gloomy place this is,” he moaned.

As Wisp moved towards the cloud, Starlite barred her way.  “Don't go near.  It will get you too!” he warned her.

“We can't leave Twink like that.  Take my hand, Twink,” cried Wisp. Twink seized her hand eagerly but the gloom cloud now spread over Wisp who began to look downcast too. It did not last long, however, all was not well.  The machine had given a cough and jolted Murky’s hand on the crank.  The handle started to turn the wrong way!  The gloom was being sucked back in and, as the cloud disappeared, Twink and Wisp stared to feel much happier. 

“Let's go deeper into the cave,” cried Wisp, as Lurky chased after them with a butterfly net.  In his eagerness to catch Wisp and her friends, Lurky ran forward into Murky and they both collapsed in a heap.  The three friends hurried on, pursued by the remains of the cloud, while Murky and Lurky untangled themselves from the net. Then Wisp let out a cry.  Before them yawned a deep chasm.  “How will we ever cross it? she moaned.

“Don't look at me,” muttered Starlite.  “I may be the most magnificent horse but I don't have wings.” The Gloom Cloud still followed them menacingly.  Then Wisp noticed a ledge in the wall at the side of the cave, about halfway across the chasm. 

“Starlite, can you get us all to that ledge?” she asked.

“I'll try,” cried Starlite bravely and, as Twink hid his face in Wisp's shoulder, Starlite jumped!  He just reached the edge, and for a moment it seemed as if they would fall into the chasm far below.  Wisp and Twink clung to Starlite's mane as he leapt forward again to land just on the edge of the other side.  The Gloom Cloud rolled away, and Wisp and her friends were safe again.

“Well done, Starlite,” cried Wisp, hugging him hard as she slid to the ground, the baby in her arms.  “What do you think?  Shall we go on?”

“Well, we certainly can't go back,” replied Starlite, and he peered down a tunnel which led away from the chasm.

“Is someone else in the cave?” shouted Twink, and he jumped as an echo repeated his words.  He noticed some glimmering red crystals on the floor.  Twink picked some up and put them in his pouch before scurrying after the others. Around the next corner the friends found a boy dressed in red.  He was imprisoned behind bars of stalagtites and stalagmites.

“I'll fight you!” shouted the boy, before he realized who it was.

“Why, it's one of the Color Kids!” cried Twink.

“And you're the one who found the belt!” said the boy.

“I'll get you out of here somehow,” promised Wisp. 

“Stand back!” ordered Starlite, and with his hooves, he smashed the icy bars and the boy in red was free!

“I'm Red Butler and I'm in charge of the red Star Sprinkles.  This Cave is where all the Star Sprinkles are mined by the sprites.  The sprites follow their Color Kid, but you can't have all the colors without the Kids.”

“But I don't know where to look for them,” cried Wisp, scarcely noticing that the cave was shaking a little. In a yellow bubble on her belt she saw a girl dressed in yellow trapped in a tangle of branches.

“Poor Canary Yellow.  She's in the Tangled Forest!” cried Red.

“We must get her out,” cried Wisp. As she spoke, the roof of the cave collapsed with a great rumbling noise. When the dust settled, they saw a light above them.  There was a hole, open to the sky -- a way out! Ordering Red to stay behind to gather as many red Star Sprinkles as he could, Wisp and Twink got on Starlite again and set off to find Canary Yellow.  They little realized that their movements were being reported to the Evil Force by his spyflowers.

“Get to the Tangled Forest before those meddlers do!” he ordered Murky and Lurky, and they set off at once in the Grunge Buggy. Wisp, Twink and the baby were already riding through the forest on Starlite's back.

“Well, it is scary, but not too bad,” said Wisp.  “We'll soon rescue Canary Yellow.” But a moment later a two-headed monster, a hydra with two long necks and two strange dragon-like heads, reared up from behind a bush! “Maybe it won't be so easy after all,” murmured Wisp as they retreated to the shelter of some massive trees. 

From their hiding place they saw Canary Yellow imprisoned in the branches of a tree.  They watched one head guarding Canary, while the other head gobbled up some branches. “There is no time to eat!” snapped the left head of the hydra.

“I'm hungry,” cried the right head and he bit his other head in a temper.

Leaving the baby with the others, Wisp ventured closer.  “It is lunchtime,” she said.

“You see, you see!” snapped his twin.  “Who's she, anyway?”

“We've had our lunch!” said Wisp.

“See!  We've missed lunch!” cried one head crossly.

“What do you want?” snapped his twin at Wisp.

“Canary Yellow,” replied Wisp bravely.

“Never!” cried one head.  It tried to bite Wisp, but in doing so, got entangled with its other head, tighter and tighter.  Wisp ran over to Canary as the hydra's two heads started to unravel very quickly.  Heads spinning, it shot out right up into the air, over the brambles, just like a helicopter taking off!

“You'll never get me out of here,” wept poor Canary Yellow.  Wisp tried to free her but only succeeded in getting tangled herself.  To make matters worse, Murky and Lurky arrived in the Grunge Buggy determined to give Wisp a present of a Gloom Bomb!

“Here, you give it to her,” cried Murky as he handed Lurky the bomb.

“I love presents,” sighed Lurky, and he headed obediently towards the helpless Wisp, who was held fast in the branches.  Lurky was so eager to deliver his gift that he failed to notice that the two heads of the hydra were just about to return to Earth after their unexpected trip in the sky.  They landed with a bump and as brambles snapped and branches flew around, Wisp found that she and Canary were free.  The blast had opened the cage!

Chapter Five
The search continues

As Starlite trotted on searching for the remaining missing Color Kids, the baby started to play with Twink’s pouch.  She put her hand inside the pouch and drew out one of the red Star Sprinkles which Twink had picked up in the cave.  It glittered brightly and the baby laughed as she tossed it into the air.

“Don't do that,” cried Twink rather crossly, and he looked up to make sure that he caught the Sprinkle as it fell.  Immediately, something caught his eye and he cried, “Look, there's someone in that tangled nest, right at the top of that tree!”

“It's Patty O'Green!” called Canary Yellow.

“We'll never be able to reach her,” cried Twink. “We'll find a way,” replied Wisp firmly. As they discussed ways of rescuing Patty O'Green, a strange frog-like bird flew in and hovered over the nest -- much to the delight of Murky and Lurky who had been following them in the Grunge Buggy.

“That bird will take care of them,” said Lurky gleefully.  “And she's got to save four more of those tiresome Color Kids.”

“And if she wants them alive she'll have to hand over the Color Belt!” added Murky, looking very pleased with himself. But Wisp had another idea. 

“If we try to bend the trunk of the next tree, I’ll be able to ride up and rescue Patty.  Come on everyone.  Push!” The tree started to bend in half as they pushed.  Patty and the bird looked on in bewilderment.  Then the bird zoomed towards them in an angry attack.

“Let go of the tree!” yelled Wisp. Somewhat surprised, everyone obeyed, and the tree came whooshing up towards the diving bird, hitting it far away into the distance.

“You are clever!” said Patty, as she climbed down to safety from the nest. 

“Thank you,” said Wisp.  “Now let's get back to the Color Cave,” and she set off with the baby in a sling on her back. Back in the cave Canary and Patty began to collect green and yellow Star Sprinkles.

“The trees will soon look lovely,” cried Patty.

“My yellow Sprinkles will make flowers bloom and will ripen the corn,” cried Canary.

“We'll be back as soon as we can with the rest of the Color Kids,” promised Wisp.  “And when I send the signal, you must all come running, with as many Star Sprinkles as you can carry.”

“We'll be ready, Wisp,” promised Red Butler, as he pointed to the ever-growing pile of red crystals in the cave.

“Off we go,” cried Wisp, and away Starlite galloped with Wisp, the baby and Twink on his back. They had not gone very far when Wisp spotted the Grunge Buggy careering wildly down a hilly slope.  Tied to the back, wincing and coughing from the clouds of exhaust fumes, were three Color Kids -- Lala Orange, Buddy Blue, and Indigo. “We must go after them,” cried Wisp.

“They could lead us into a trap,” replied Twink fearfully.

“But if we don't save all seven of the Color Kids, there will never be any color in the land.  We must follow them!” insisted Wisp.

Murky Dismal looked back and was delighted that his plan was working. “They're following us!  I knew they would!” he said to Lurky with a smirk.

As Starlite galloped on, Wisp cried, “We've got to get ahead of the Buggy.”

“Leave it to me.  I didn't get to be the Wonder of the Galaxy by being a slowcoach,” laughed Starlite. Meanwhile, the Grunge Buggy and its occupants were in trouble.  Lurky had driven through a stream at high speed, drenching them all completely!  When it came out the Buggy raced forward and hit a tree before sliding down a rock shaped like a toboggan run.  Murky and the Color Kids cried out in terror, but Lurky thought it was great fun! As they sped forward, Murky could hardly believe his eyes.  They were running into a snowstorm of twinkling color.  Although it glowed for only a moment, it filled Murky with terror and the Color Kids with hope!

“Colors.  Lovely colors!” chuckled Lurky happily.  But Murky fired his Gloom Gun at the Sprinklestorm.  The color started to disappear slowly but up above on the rock Twink and Wisp continued to throw down the Sprinkles Twink had picked up. Thoroughly frightened by this unexpected shower of color, Murky hid beneath the Grunge Buggy, helpless, as Wisp untied the three Color Kids and led them up the rocks.

“Oh, what a dramatic rescue,” cried Indigo, with her hand to her head.

“We haven't got time for dramatics now.  We don't want to be captured again!” cried Lala Orange.

“I’ll show you the best way to climb these rocks,” said Buddy Blue.

“That makes six of you.  Only one more Color Kid to rescue,” chuckled Wisp as they reached Starlite and Twink.  Suddenly, Wisp stopped.  “Oh!  Where's the baby?” she cried.

“She was here a moment ago,” said Twink.  “She can't have gone far!”

Everyone started to look for the baby -- but someone else had already found her. “Look what I've found...a baby!” cried Lurky, and he picked her up and carried her to the Grunge Buggy where Murky was already waiting.

“We must catch them!” cried Wisp.

“We can get her back when we have found the last Color Kid,” replied Starlite.

“But we don't even know where Shy Violet is!” protested Twink.

“Besides, the baby needs our help now.  We must go after her first,” cried Wisp. Guessing that Murky would probably go back to the castle, Wisp and her friends set off to follow him.  Murky made sure that once they arrived they would have no trouble finding the baby.  All over the castle he put up signs to show Wisp the way.  Up at the window was a large sign reading BABY, while an arrow led the way to another sign which read WELCOME WISP!  He also set up lots of Gloom Blasters, traps and nets. When he had finished preparing the castle he put the baby in the middle of a mesh of traps!

“I’ll give her back the baby, if she'll give me the belt!” he crackled.  “There now. Everything's ready for them!”

Chapter Six
The Sphere of Light

After hours of searching, Wisp, Twink and Starlite found themselves once again passing through the strange shadowy field of ice statues.  Poor Twink shivered as a bolt of lightning showed up the figures standing silent and still.  But Starlite galloped bravely on, even though the lightning often only just missed him. They were completely unaware that not far from them, Lurky and Murky Dismal were watching through a castle window. 

Murky had climbed onto Lurky’s back to see better. “They're heading this way,” he hissed.  “They won't be able to miss my sign!” But he watched with astonishment as Starlite went right past the entrance and kept on going.  Murky leaned out the window as he tried to see where the white horse had gone. “Where've they gone?” he shouted.

“Bye, bye, folks!” cried Lurky happily, waving to them, completely unaware that anything was wrong. Starlite was in the shadows of the rocks below.  He galloped alongside the moat, with Wisp and Twink clinging on tightly.  Without warning, he jumped majestically across the bubbling moat and landed neatly on the other side. The stones outside the castle were very slippery and Twink clung in fright to Wisp as Starlite skidded wildly across the stone pavement.  His hooves churned as he tried to get his footing.  Then he galloped on -- right towards a solid rock wall! Twink buried his face in Wisp's shoulder and wished that he were a thousand miles away from this terrible place.  Wisp held her breath, waiting for the crash that seemed unavoidable.  But, instead of crashing into the wall, Starlite galloped through a narrow opening.

“Goodness, we're actually inside the castle!” gasped Wisp, looking around her.

“Of course.  I knew exactly where I was going,” replied Starlite, loftily.  Wisp hopped down off his back, followed by Twink.

“Look, there's a stairway,” exclaimed Wisp.

“It looks rather dangerous to me,” whispered Twink as he gazed up at the winding, narrow staircase which seemed to lead up into a blank darkness.  Twink stood on the first step and a shower of black dust fell on him before he stepped back in fright.

“Stay here if you want to, but I'm going up,” said Wisp firmly.  Twink hesitated just for a moment and then followed her reluctantly.

“It's too narrow for me to climb,” cried Starlite from the foot of the steps.

“Don't worry, we'll be back,” promised Wisp, smiling down at him.

Meanwhile, Murky, Gloom Gun in hand, was angrily searching the castle, looking for the intruders.  Lurky was trying to help, but, as usual, kept getting in the way. Eventually Murky told him to go downstairs and, in his haste to obey, Lurky fell through a trap door!  All that could be heard was a muffled yell as he fell further and further downwards. As Wisp and Twink climbed the stairs they heard footsteps coming down towards them.  Wisp managed to pull Twink with her through a nearby window before Murky stamped into view looking for Lurky.  A door in the wall opened suddenly and Lurky shot out, crashing into Murky and sending them both sprawling on the stairs.

“Hi, Murky,” said Lurky, cheerfully.

“On your feet, dodo.  They're getting away,” Murky snarled, unaware that the barrel of his Gloom Gun had become bent and twisted in the fall. As Murky and Lurky charged down the stairs, Wisp and Twink peered through the window and sighed with relief.  At that moment Twink realized that he and Wisp were standing on a very narrow ledge outside the window.  He was so overcome with fright that he would have fallen if Wisp hadn't grabbed his arm. “This way, Twink.  Follow me, and don't look down,” she said encouragingly.

They inched their way along, until Wisp saw a circular window.  “Let's look through here for the baby,” she whispered to Twink.  They peered in and there, in Murky’s laboratory, chained to a little stool and crying helplessly, was the seventh Color Kid!  Two great gloom machines were shooting clouds at her. Twink and Wisp climbed in through the window.

“Turn the other machine off, Twink,” cried Wisp, as she pulled the huge switch down on the first machine.  Soon, both of them sparked and spluttered to a halt, and the Gloom Cloud started to disappear. But when the machines stopped they triggered a light which flashed on Murky’s helmet.  He raced back up the stairs as an alarm went off with a great clanging sound.

“Someone's turned off the misery generator,” he shouted to Lurky. 

“Come on!” Wisp and Twink tried hard to make Shy Violet climb quickly through the window.  But Violet just wouldn't stop talking about the machine. 

“It was fascinating,” she marveled.  “There's some sort of random phase generator combined with a meson reactor that seems to...”

“Never mind that.  Just get some Violet Star Sprinkles from the cave,” interrupted Wisp. Violet hurried over to the window and climbed onto the ledge, but in her haste she stumbled.  Wisp and Twink tried to grab her, but she fell!

“I've got too much momentum!” she cried as she shut her eyes tightly.  The others watched in horror, but then Wisp gave a little cry of relief.  Shy Violet had landed on Starlite's back!  He had galloped quickly to be underneath her as she fell.

“I’ll take her back to the Color Cave,” Starlite replied as he galloped off. 

“Now that Shy Violet is saved, we can look for the baby again,” Wisp cried to Twink as they both backed away from the window.  At that very moment Murky charged in and aimed his Gloom Gun at them.

“You've walked right into my trap,” he cackled, as he pulled the trigger.  But because the gun barrel was twisted, the cloud of smog went back into Murky’s face!  As he staggered about Wisp and Twink took the opportunity to race towards the door.  They cannoned into Lurky who grinned at them, thinking that they were all playing a splendid game of hide and seek with him.

“Hello, you've found me.  Now it's your turn to hide,” he laughed.

Ignoring him, Wisp and Twink raced down the corridor, but somehow Twink was caught up on a large hook and swept back into the laboratory by an evil-looking Murky Dismal! “Wisp!” called Twink in despair. Wisp turned around to see Twink disappearing, but as she moved towards him she heard a baby crying!  She looked back at the room where Murky held Twink, but then the baby started to cry again!  She hoped that Twink would understand as she moved away through the dark and ominous hall towards a steep stairway.  The cries seemed to come from behind a heavy door at the top of the steps.

“That's the tower where the Sphere of Light is supposed to be,” she whispered to herself.

“It is, but I'm here too!” cried the voice of the Evil Force.

“Yes, but someone has to stop you!” replied Wisp bravely, and she touched her belt gently.  All the colors of the rainbow radiated from it in a soft mist, spreading, fading and then finally disappearing.  They gave Wisp the courage to climb the stairs!

Back at the entrance to the cave, Starlite and the Color Kids were looking across the castle.  As they gazed at the dark clouds over the castle splashes of the seven colors of the rainbow appeared.  Not a rainbow, just touches of color, which faded almost immediately!  But clever Starlite knew what it meant.

“It's the signal that Wisp told us to look out for,” he shouted.  “Come on!” He and the Color Kids rushed out of the cave and headed for the castle.  Inside the castle, Wisp was nearly at the top of the stairs.  As she reached out her hand to grasp the heavy iron door-handle, the door opened.  She stepped into the pitch black room and thought she saw smoke.  Then she heard a baby crying. She wanted to be brave but felt very alone, not realizing that the Color Kids were on their way, leaving traces of color all over the land as they rushed to her aid.  There was red, yellow, green, orange, violet, blue and indigo foot-prints everywhere!

Wisp jumped as the heavy door slammed behind her.  She saw the baby floating in the air straight ahead and bravely walked towards it.  But then she realized that the baby was actually being held by a huge dark figure in a hooded cloak.  It was the Evil Force! “Give me the belt!” he ordered.

"No!” shouted Wisp defiantly. Then the Evil Force used all his powers of destruction.  Wisp found herself standing on top of a rocky parapet with thunder crashing and lightning flashing all around.  But she still bravely stood her ground.  “I promised to make this land beautiful and I will!” she cried. She rushed to grab the baby but before she could reach it the baby was transformed.  At first, a soft glowing light seemed to surround it and then the light enveloped it completely. As Wisp watched, the baby seemed to fade away slowly and all that remained was a light -- a dazzling Sphere of Light!

Wisp knew that this was what she had been looking for.  It could help her to defeat the Evil Force.  But before she had time to do anything else she heard a familiar voice calling to her.  Looking down she saw Starlite trying to reach her.  The Evil Force saw him too and sent down a lightning bolt which shattered the rocks below Starlite. Wisp watched helplessly as Starlite started to fall, but the Evil Force laughed mockingly. Then a soft voice called out over the air, “You can save him, Wisp!”

Wisp touched her Color Belt and a beautiful rainbow shot out, sweeping over the parapet and under Starlite, breaking his fall.  Thankfully, Starlite raced along the rainbow as the castle itself started to crumble. Murky and Lurky rushed out in a great panic, followed by Twink.  He saw the rainbow with Starlite on it.  “Look, Starlite's flying!” he gasped. The Sphere of Light was now just a glimmer of light high above the parapet. 

The towering cloak figure of the Evil Force took one step towards Wisp.  Wisp reached for her belt and, as she touched the star on it, a rainbow flashed out from it. The rainbow streaked towards the Evil Force and wrapped around him.  There was a gigantic crashing sound in the sky above for several minutes.  Evil Force's cloak floated slowly open, as if caught by a slight breeze.  Wisp gazed in relief as it floated lightly down onto the rocks. It was empty -- the Evil Force has been overcome and he had disappeared forever!

On the ground below, Wisp saw that everything was ablaze with beautiful color! The Color Kids cheered loudly and all the sprites, each now in his own true color, danced up and down with excitement. And, as she looked around her, Wisp saw that the castle had become beautiful too.  It was no longer a place to fear.  Now it glowed with color -- a real Color Castle -- and all the land around it had become Rainbow Land!

As Wisp gazed around her in wonder and delight, the Sphere of Light glowed brilliantly and a soft voice cried, “You have fulfilled your quest, Wisp.  You shall no longer be little Wisp.  From today you shall have a new name -- Rainbow Brite -- and all the beauty of all the lands is entrusted to your care.  Protect it well!”

“I will,” promised Rainbow Brite. She turned to Twink who gave her some Star Sprinkles from his pouch.  Rainbow Brite touched her belt and out zoomed another rainbow arc, reaching the ground.

“Ugh!  Colors!” screeched Murky.  “Jump, popcorn brain!”  And, eager to get away from the shimmering rainbow, Murky leapt over the cliffs followed by an obedient if reluctant Lurky.  They eventually set up a home in what was to become known as The Pits. Rainbow climbed onto Starlite's back as the Color Kids and sprites surrounded her.  She sent a rainbow swirling around Starlite and his mane and tail became bright with all the colors of the rainbow.

“Remember, Rainbow Brite, there are always those who make it dark,” cried the soft voice again.  “This land needs you.  You are its hope and light and color.  You'll have to fight to keep the wonder in your world.

”I promise, I will,” cried Rainbow solemnly.  “With the help of Starlite, Twink, the Color Kids and the sprites we will keep Rainbow Land and the world filled with color forever!”

THE END



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