But sleep would not come for Captain Elaine that night. As she tossed and turned, a strange red glow washed into her sight. She heard a creaking above, and tiptoed up the stairs.
When she reached the ship’s deck, a dark mist had replaced the storm. Under the light of a blood-colored moon, she could now see the rainbow mast, split in half. The sight sent shivers up her spine. Her heart ached, as if she had lost a close friend.
The broken part no longer spiraled with rainbows. The fluffy cotton candy sail was completely gone.
Where the cotton candy sail had been, a huge, round black bag the size of a shark now hung. Silver rings shimmered like blades around the bag’s ends.
Captain Elaine clenched her teeth. Her hands trembled. She thought for a second of calling her crew.
Instead, she grabbed sleeping Ginger and wrapped her around her shoulders like a puffy bandana. Then, she moved closer and stopped, as if she was rooted to the spot.
She heard the creaking sound again, but now she knew it was not the wind. No, something was moving and stretching the black material from the inside, like a cat trapped in a sack.
Elaine turned to run, but a ripping sound made her look back.
The center of the black and silver bag had torn lengthwise. Light green and pink sticks emerged from inside. Then, she saw they were not sticks at all. Enormous wings shimmered and stretched. Antennae golden and glowing, the size of oars, unfurled. A brilliant bushy yellow tail uncurled.
Two bright orange eyes stared out hungrily.
Ginger woke with a start, hissing and clawing. Elaine gulped. She quickly glanced around, but she was all alone.
Then, the massive shining creature flew. The wind from its wings blew hard and fast, like water from a whale spout.
Elaine unleashed her rainbow-hilt sword, but the wind was too strong. She jumped backward, balancing on the ship’s unicorn horn, her sword held high.
The creature careened closer. Its pink and green wings flapped furiously. Its glowing antennae swished like a sword just drawn and searching for a target.
Elaine’s beautiful balance faltered. Her foot slipped off the horn’s spiral. With Ginger’s claws fastened tight, cat and girl were falling, falling into the churning water of the dark night.