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Starlite is Saved

By Beryl Johnston

Lala had just finished doing Rainbow Brite's hair. She had combed it into curly ringlets that hung in a bunch at the back of Rainbow Brite's head.

"You look very pretty," said Twink, admiringly.

Starlite gazed at Rainbow's hair. "I'm sure my mane would look better if it hung in ringlets," he said.

"You're too vain," Twink told him, crossly. "You should be satisfied with all those rainbow colours in your mane."

Starlite went over to a pool, to have a drink, but he stopped to look at his reflection in the water. "I still think ringlets would look nice," he said, shaking his head and watching the colours gleam.

"I've got more important things to do that listen to you," Twink replied. "I'm going to look at some Star Sprinkles with Rainbow."

Neither of them spotted Murky Dismal, who was hiding close by. He had been listening very carefully to everything Starlite said.

"Now's my chance to get that stupid horse in my power," Murky said to himself. "That will stop Rainbow Brite filling the world with all those horrible colours." He rushed over to the Grunge Buggy where Lurky was waiting. "I've found a use for that new potion I made," he cackled. Murky picked up a bottle and went back to the pool where Starlite was admiring his reflection. "I heard you'd like ringlets in your mane," said Murky. "I have some special curling lotion that you could use." Murky opened the bottle and poured some strange-looking liquid into the pool, making lots of bubbles in the water. "Al you need to do is drink the mixture until your mane is as curly as you want it," Murky told Starlite.

"Are you sure it will work?" asked Starlite.

"Why don't you try it?" replied Murky.

Starlite sniffed at the water. "It doesn't smell too bad," he said. Then he drank a little. "It tastes quite good. How much do I have to swallow before my mane goes into ringlets?" he asked.

"Drink as much as you like," said Murky eagerly. But then he saw Twink in the distance. "Here comes that meddling sprite," he said under his breath. "I'll hide and watch what happens. "

"Starlite! Rainbow's looking for you," called Twink, as he came towards the pool.

He soon noticed the bubbles. "Do you think you should be drinking that water?" he asked.

"It tastes fine," said Starlite, lifting his head. His mane wasn't curling yet, but he thought he had beter see what Rainbow wanted. He tried to set off towards the Castle, but he didn't get very far.

"What's the matter?" asked Twink.

"I feel rather strange," said Starlite. "I can't move."

Starlite was frightened and he told Twink about Murky's potion. "I must fetch Rainbow," declated Twink. "There's not a moment to lose."

Soon Rainbow arrived with all the Colour Kids. "Poor Starlite. We'll soon make you better," promised Canary Yellow, stroking his nose.

"This massage may help, but we've got to find a proper cure," said Violet. "Murky's potion is turning Starlite to stone."

"We'll find a cure, I know we will," said Canary.

"There is only one cure," Violet told them. "We must get a really ripe apple from the Tree of Life, one that holds enough sunshine to stop the potion working."

"But where is the Tree of Life?" asked Rainbow.

"I'm trying to remember where it grows," said Patty. "I know I must have seen it somewhere!"

Nearby, Murky was listening to everything they were saying.

Murky raced back to the Grunge Buggy. "Get going," he snapped at Lurky.

"Where too?" asked Lurky, as the engine spluttered and sent out clouds of smoke.

"We've got to find the Tree of Life before Rainbow gets there," hissed Murky, looking through his telescope. "Keep your eyes open for a big tree with apples on it."

"Oh, boy, I love apples," said Lurky, lickin his lips.

At the same time, Raibow was driving with Red towards a large forest. "That may be the magic forest Patty told us about," said Rainbow. "The Tree of Life grows right in the middle."

"It's a weird place," said Red with a shudder. "How are we going to find the tree amongst so many?"

"We've just got to find it," declated Rainbow. "Starlite's life depends on us!"

Red drove along a narrow track between tall trees. Rainbow shivered. "I've never seen trees like these before," she said.

"It looks as though they're trying to stop us," Red Butler said quietly.

"Go back, go back," the trees seemed to sigh.

"Patty said we'd have to face the dangers of the magic forest," said Rainbow. She ducked under some branches that looked like outstretched hands.

Suddenly they came into a clearing where the sunlight was dazzling after the darkness of the forest. In the middle of the clearing was a single, tall tree.

"That must be the Tree of Life," cried Rainbow.

"Red pointed to a big red apple at the top of the tree. "There's the apple we need," he shouted happily.

Just then they heard an engine, and it sounded like the Grunge Buggy. They would have to act quickly.

"It's a long way up to that apple, but I'll just have to climb the tree as fast as I can," declared Red.

"Wait," said Rainbow. "There's a quicker way." She touched her power-belt and sent a rainbow arc right over the tree-top.

Red started to climb up the rainbow just as the Grunge Buggy roared into the clearing. Murky leapt out of his dustbin side-car. "I'll get the apple first," he bawled. "Get out the saw, Lurky."

As Red Butler climbed higher and higher, Murky and Lurky started sawing at the trunk of the Tree of Life. But the tree trunk was very hard and the saw was very blunt.

"Faster," yelled Murky. "We've got to cut the tree down before that kid reaches the top."

Red climbed faster until at last he could reach out and pick the apple from the top of the tree. He slid down the rainbow with the apple in his hand and passed the big red fruit to Rainbow.

Murky jumped up and down in a rage. "They've got the apple and they're getting away with it," he screeched.

"Oh, good, then we don't have to cut down the tree, after all," said Lurky, who was feeling exhausted.

Rainbow Brite and Red Butler rushed towards their car with the precious apple. "There's not a moment to lose if we're to get back in time to save Starlite," gasped Rainbow.

"Stop them," yelled Murky, still jumpin up and down, and making the ground shake. But before Lurky could move, the Tree of Life gave a great shudder and a large shower of half-ripe apples fell down on them both.

The apples covered Murky up to his chin, so that he couldn't move. The last one fell on Lurky's head. "I can see pretty stars," he murmered, and he slipped slowly to the ground, a bump rising on his head.

"Get me out of here, Bean-brain," Murky bawled. But Lurky couldn't hear anything. He was in a deep dream.

Rainbow and Red drove off, and this time the trees seemed to draw back their branches to let them pass.

At last Rainbow and Red got back to Starlite. The other Colour Kids had covered him with a rug and were doing all they could to stop him freezing completely. But, already, he could only just move his head. Rainbow held out the apple.

"I hope he's not too weak to eat it," said Red.

"Come on, Starlite, you can do it," whispered Rainbow. With a great effort, Starlite bit the apple.

As soon as he chewed the apple, Starlite began to feel much warmer. Slowly, he manged to eat the whole thing and when at last he had finished, he was completely well again.

"It worked," cried Indigo. "Starlite is saved!"

"You were very clever to find the right cure, Violet," said Rainbow.

"And Red was so brave, climbing the rainbow for the apple."

"You must never again swallow anything Murky gives you," Canary told Starlite.

Far away, under the Tree of Life, Lurky had woken up again and Murky was calling him all kinds of rude names.

"Have an apple," said Lurky, pushing one into Murky's mouth. He munched at an apple himself. "Wasn't it kind of Rainbow Brite to leave some of these tasty apples for us to eat?" he said happily.



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