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The bells signifying the start of recess pealed across the school grounds, bursting the eardrums of any slow walkers who were just passing beneath any of the many bells that were situated across the school. Children slammed their books shut and pencils rolled off the desk and dropped with soft wooden thuds upon the floor. As one massive wave of energy that had just been set free from the cage in which it was being kept, the children ran to their lockers, grabbed their snacks and surged out of the classrooms and into the school yard.

However there was still one child who had not yet crossed the threshold of the classroom doors into the daylight. A small girl peeked out from the doorway and stared at the others who were talking and playing amongst each other. As much as she wanted to play with them, the child knew that she had no place among them for she was lame and no child wanted to play with one who was unable to keep up with their games. And so the girl, who was too afraid of making friends, too afraid of being rejected, hid behind the door and it was there that she ate and kept herself as entertained as well she could by watching the games of the other children and imagining herself among them. However this day was to be different for the young girl, although she did not know so yet.

As usual the girl seated herself upon the cool, marbled floor of the main hall. The girl took her sandwich out of its protective plastic sleeve and began to eat whereupon she heard a faint noise, one that can only be described as the sound of fairy-dust being sprinkled upon the floor. Out of the corner of her eye, the girl saw a sparkling glow. Turning towards it, the girl reached under the vending machine from which the light shone and drew out a book that was covered in dust and spider webs.

The girl wiped the book as clean as she possibly could revealing a stunning image of a beautiful princess in a silver dress dancing with a prince who shone almost as brightly as the sun. Hugging the book to her chest, the girl stood up quickly and walked as fast as her lame leg enabled her to towards an unnoticed staircase located just a few metres away from where the girl had been sitting. Reaching it, the girl tucked the book under one arm and slowly climbed up the wooden stairs until she reached a small, almost invisible attic door. Holding on to the ladder with one hand, she reached up and pushed with all her might against the door. The door refused to budge and, hearing the clicking of heels coming nearer and nearer, the poor girl, terribly afraid that she was going to be caught, pushed as hard as she possibly dared without causing herself to fall down the ladder. Within a few short moments the door creaked open and the girl crawled quickly into the space above her, shutting the door closed just as the clicking heels passed beneath her.

Giving herself a moment to rest, the girl looked about her. The ladder had led into a small loft that was furnished with a simple arm-chair that was placed next to the only window within the loft. The window, however, allowed only a small amount of light to pass through into the room for it was a small window. However next to the arm-chair was a small mahogany table and upon that table was placed a small lamp that gave off a warm, golden glow.

The girl went and curled herself upon the armchair and, once she was comfortable, proceeded to open her found book and began to read.

Once upon a time hundreds of years before man ever became first entranced by the mysterious wonders of the heavens, many people lived within the great universe. These people were very different to those who lived on Earth. They were a shining, happy people who took delight in every small wonder they happened to come across in their travels through the galaxies. There was one young girl, however, who was not as happy as those around her for although she too was a person of the heavens, she was of a different origin to those around her.

The ring of the school bell sounded dimly through the loft. The girl heard the bell but she paid no heed to it for she knew that her next class was sports and it was one where she would not be missed. The girl fidgeted upon the chair until she was again comfortable and continued to read.

One day this same young maiden stood close to the edge of her room and stared across at the vast universe, at the stars that twinkled merrily and shot amongst each other within the friendly darkness that surrounded all. The girl glowed softly; her pale skin and moon-pearl dress glowed as a full moon within the night sky does. The maiden watched the Stars with a longing mixed with sadness for as much as she wanted to join them, she knew that she would never be able to for she was a rare Daughter of the Moon and they the Children of the Stars and the moon children and star children never mixed.

Taking the saddened maiden by surprise, a small glowing object flew into her room and landed with a soft thud upon her bed. (Those who lived within the Galaxy had no need for doors or enclosed windows for none were threatened by thieves and other such dangers that stalk the dark corners of Earth) The girl moved away from her window and went to her bed, her footsteps falling silently on the marbled floor. The object which had flown into her room was small asteroid and tied to the asteroid with a ribbon as black and thick as the night was a golden scroll that glittered with stardust. The Maid untied the ribbon and it fluttered gracefully from her hand and out the window and again became one with the darkness of the Galaxy. The Maid unrolled the scroll and began to read and as she read, the script inscribed upon the scroll glowed and sparkled. It said:

To the Moon Maiden

You are cordially invited to attend the

Annual Celestial Ball

Held at the Lyrae Ballroom

On the 25 of September this year.

Please RSVP by the 15 of September

The Maiden sighed and, letting the scroll fall softly to the ground, walked slowly back to her window. Although one had the option of not returning an RSVP, attending the ball was compulsory and it was generally assumed that all guests would arrive unless there was the odd reply stating that said guest was crossing the threshold of Death's door.

The Maiden had attended the ball every year and, for her, it was the same every time. Nothing ever changed. The girl would, she knew, give her best wishes to the one who would be hosting the ball and from them on she would stand in the shadows, watching as the others glided joyfully in pairs across the ballroom until the night was over and all could return to their homes.

The Maiden allowed herself to wallow for a few more moments within her misery and then she pushed her melancholy thoughts and feelings to the back of her mind. The Maiden leaned out of her window and whistled a sweet melody. Within a matter of minutes another smaller asteroid came and floated before her. The Maiden, through the language of music, told the asteroid to follow her and follower her it did as she turned and walked to her silver, ornate writing-desk. The maiden took a small piece of parchment from one of the drawers and upon it wrote her acceptance of the invitation and assured the host that she would be attending the ball. Opening yet another draw, the maiden pulled out a silver ribbon of the smoothest silk. Rolling up the scroll and tying it onto the stone with the ribbon, the maiden told the asteroid to deliver the message to Lyrae Ball for that was were all invitations were being sent.

The weeks past and the night of the ball drew ever nearer until it had finally come. This year's ball was indeed a grand one, perhaps the grandest of all, the guests whispered excitedly.

Within the ballroom itself, colourful skirts billowed out as the women were twirled about by their male partners. The silver orb that was floating about near the ceiling gave off a soft silver glow upon the ballroom. The women looked like ice princesses and the men like ice princes. The walls, floor, pillars and ceiling were pure white that had silver patterns etched upon them which reflected the soft, silver light.

Whilst all of the unearthly, mystical beings seemed to be enjoying themselves, the Maiden stood alone amongst the shadows. Many mistook her for one of the marble goddess statues situated in various places about the ballroom. She was not as tall as the other guests however her beauty made up for her height. Her skin was as pale as a moonlit pearl and her long hair cascaded down her back in waves of raven-black curls. She kept her silver eyes downcast, hoping that no one would notice her for although she desired to dance among them, she felt that if she were noticed she would then be rejected and whispered about.

Suddenly everyone in the ballroom went silent. A bright light was shining through the gap between the entrance doors and the floor. The two doors flung open of their own accord and a prince as radiant as the sun entered.

The children of the Stars gasped and many of them cast their eyes downwards. The prince's light, blonde hair sparkled and his piercing amber eyes surveyed the ballroom. The golden light surrounding him mingled with the silver light, casting a brilliant luminosity about the room. He was a child of the Sun, the most rarest of all mystical beings.

He walked gracefully into the ballroom and, ignoring all the Star women who fluttered their eyelashes at him, approached the Child of the Moon.

When he has reached her, he held out his hand and his light enveloped her own.

"Come with me," he said to her, his voice as soft and as warm as the Sun's rays.

The Moon Daughter smiled shyly and placed her hand into his. He slid a silver and gold ring upon her finger that proclaimed to all those watching that she was his and he was hers.

The Moon Princess herself began to glitter and shine as the Sun Prince led her to the centre of the ballroom and they began to dance the Eternal Dance of Sun and Moon.

The girl, after finishing the story sighed in contentment for she was glad that the Moon Princess received her happy ending. It was then that the loft door opened and the girl tensed, looking with the fear of being caught to see who was coming.

It was not a teacher who entered but a boy, similar in age to the girl. Seeing the girl, his eyes widened in surprise and then he smiled.

"Hullo!" said he and, drawing nearer, noticed the book she was holding. "I see you found my sister's book!"

The girl tentatively held out the book but the boy shook his head and said that the girl could keep it.

He then held out his hand and said, "My name's Alistair. What's yours?"

And so began the friendship between Molly and Alistair that, as both children grew older, would develop into love and Molly never found herself to be lonely again.

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