Days pass, and you do not know what is crueler: the brutal wait for the battle ahead or the terrifying thought that an evil so cruel and immense is near.
Sprout bursts through the magical boundary, their cries of distress piercing the tense bustle of last minute preparation and fortification. “It’s here!” they shriek. “It’s almost here!”
The evil does not arrive like the earthquake or the deafening thunder that you had imagined.
The evil arrives with silence — and then a loud click.
You and your friends turn around to the source of the sound. Up above! There! At the magical boundary that Xiaolong and Varian has worked so hard to fortify is a small crack.
Ahead of you, you see Xiaolong and Varian cast shield-magic in tandem, their magic intertwining with one another. Judging from the movement of their hands, Varian is trying to hold the boundary together while Xiaolong tries to mend it.
And then comes the sound of a sudden and torrential hail.
But when you look up, you realise, with growing terror, that it isn’t hail at all – cracks have appeared all over the Pond’s boundary. Like lightning in slow-motion, the chips in the boundary begin to spread, thin arms reaching for a weakness.
The darkness has come.
You hear cries of fear and despair. You hear Sprout shouting instructions to someone, somewhere. You hear Xiaolong wail and Varian moan from the strain of trying to mend five, ten, twenty, fifty fissures at once. Tendrils of darkness wedge themselves through the fractures. So much is happening. You don’t know what you can do.
“Friend!” cries Xiaolong. “Help me and Varian!”
Her call shatters your paralysis.
Days before, Xiaolong taught you a simple spell that you, deep down, already possessed, but never knew how to harness as magic. With your whole heart and mind, you reach out to Xiaolong. You chant the spell aloud in your head (because if you don’t, you fear the sounds of chaos will falter your heart): you believe in Xiaolong, you believe in Varian, you believe that their will to protect their friends is stronger than the darkness’s will to destroy. Of course, doubt is there – who wouldn’t, in the face of such malice? – but you also do believe in their power, their compassion and their goodness and you believe that you are their friend and that they care about you and that they will do everything, everything, in their power to protect you.
Finally, you feel it – you feel Xiaolong and Varian’s magic. You feel their determination to protect everyone at the Pond and you feel their trust in you and their friends. Slowly but surely, the fissures in the Pond begin to close and the boundary, with your added magic, begins to weave itself whole again.
But you also know that the three of you cannot keep this up forever.
You look at Xiaolong, who looks steadily back at you — and nods.
Together, you, Xiaolong, and Varian release your hold over a narrow section of the boundary – the entrance you always passed through whenever you visited your friends. The darkness, sensing that you have loosened your grip, immediately begins to concentrate its assault with a barrage of unforgiving attacks that deepen the fissures breaking out in the boundary with each impact.
“Go, Xiaolong!” shouts Varian.
You feel it – Xiaolong letting go of the spell the three of you wove together. With her gone and with only you and Varian holding it together, the spell’s sudden weight knocks you to your knees. You see Xiaolong hurtling towards the impending breach, her staff raised, shouting for everyone battle-ready to rally behind her.
“It’s okay, friend,” whispers Varian. But what is okay? How can this be okay? “You can let go. We are ready. You are ready. We could not have held the boundary without you. The darkness will come when you let go,” Varian gives you a weary smile, “but, we will win.”
You see Xiaolong standing at the front lines in the face of danger, ready to defend her friends. You see Gen, diligently making potions for his friends even though you know the danger and noise frightens him. You see Sprout, working with the forest because they have the power to look out for everyone. You see Cuddle, caring for and helping those most in need because she would never let any of her friends feel as scared as she does now. You see Varian, who believes in you.
You believe. You hope.
You let go.
What is the Pondathon?
- The Pondathon is a co-operative and narrative-driven readathon where you read books and collect points to protect your friends from the darkness that has attacked the Pond.
- If you missed out on what the Pondathon is, you can read about when the evil was first discovered at Pondathon: Prologue – Something’s Wrong…
- You can also find more detailed information about the readathon at Pondathon: Prologue – It’s Time to Fight and Protect.
- You can find information about the teams that you can join at Pondathon: Prologue – We Need You and Your Magic; Choose a Team!
- And you can officially sign up and create your character for the Pondathon at Pondathon: Prologue – Join Us In Battle and Armour Up!
Ready your books; it’s time to read!
At the end of the day, or whenever you have done your day’s worth of reading, be sure to submit your reading progress in the form below.
- Make sure you use the same Pondathon name as the one you signed up with! (Otherwise your points may not be counted.)
- Haven’t signed up yet? You can sign up here.
- If you miss a day, that’s okay! Either submit your total reading progress across all the days you missed or submit your reading across for each day separately.
Pondathon Progress Tracker Form
The Pondathon is a co-operative readathon – which means that all participants of the readathon are reading and working together to fight the darkness!
To keep track of how we are doing, please ‘save’ your progress each time you read by completing this Pondathon progress form. Have any questions? This FAQ may have some answers.
You can either:
- save your progress at the end of each day
- save your progress after each reading session or sitting
- save your progress each time you complete a ‘team bonus’
If you forget to save your progress, don’t worry – you can save your progress retrospectively by changing the date.