Sounds of the battle echo across the Pond.
You have fought and protected and defended valiantly.
When the darkness slowly begins to retreat further away from the Pond, you feel like victory is finally within your grasp. Cheers go all around you as the darkness retreats further, slinking away from the light of the Pond.
You’ve finally won.
You can finally rest.
Amidst the jubilee of victory, through the crowd you see Xiaolong. She has fought tirelessly, taking little rest, and casting frighteningly powerful spells that you never knew her capable of. Except, Xiaolong doesn’t look happy like everyone else. Instead, there’s a deep crease between her closed eyes. You can see her gills wiggling. You recognise that she’s searching for something with her magic.
Suddenly, several things happen at once. At the same time Xiaolong opens her eyes with a look of terror, screams erupt from behind you. You look towards the noise, and you see a new rupture in the Pond’s magical boundary.
But when you look over to the battlefield, the breach is still there. Did you get turned around in the celebrations? Did you lose your bearings? Your mind struggles to put it all together. But there couldn’t be – but how? How?
There are now two breaches at the Pond.
“They’ve flanked us!” screeches Sprout, who has taken flight and is directing everyone who is still stunned by the attack. “Half of you there! To the new breach! You there – yes, you! Return to the old breach!”
You look back at Xiaolong, and it looks like she has frozen amidst the chaos. She turns to the new breach, looks to the old breach, turns back – she can’t seem to decide which one to run to.
“Xiaolong!” you yell, running over to her. You kneel to see her eyes, which are pinched in fear and indecision and grief.
“Friend,” she whimpers. “What do I do?”
You hesitate. Xiaolong looks frightened, and she – the Pond Keeper who always knew what to do, when to be brave, who had all the answers – now looks to you for answers. But what can you say, when everyone has fought their hardest and now they have to fight again? What do you say, when her home is threatened and the situation is undeniably dire?
You hold a fist for her to bump. We do our best. Work together. Believe in each other, and ourselves. You know the words sound so small, so inadequate, but you are sure that this is something that Xiaolong would tell you if you were scared.
Tears run down Xiaolong’s face. She gives you a big smile and bumps her tiny fist with yours. You can feel the warmth of her hand, but you can also feel it tremble too.
“I’ll return to the old breach,” she says. “And I’ll need you to go to the new breach and make sure that they don’t get in.”
You assure that you have it handled – even though you aren’t sure about anything right now. And as she scurries off to the old breach, staff raised, you turn towards the new breach.
The fight, once again, awaits.
Welcome to the second half of the Pondathon, friends!
The battle ahead is more dire than before. It’s now important, more than ever, to believe in yourself and believe in each other, raise each other up, empower your friends, and do good.
Your progress so far!
All of you have fought and read your books admirably! The Pond friends are all so proud of you – and you should be proud of yourself and of each other.
I have created a spreadsheet outlining everyone’s total points collected so far! If what is on the spreadsheet is a little lower, please do not message me to change anything on the spreadsheet and please do not worry. (However, if your information/data is missing, please feel free to contact me.) Remember, the Pondathon is not a competitive readathon where you are competing with your fellow friends and teammates.
Find the spreadsheet and how we’re doing here! Find the updated spreadsheet here.
Here is a summary of everyone’s collective progress from the first half of the Pondathon.
- 1,387 books completed (Team Xiaolong, Gen, Cuddle, Varian)
- 44 books promoted (Team Cuddle)
- 276,319 pages read for Side Quests 1 – 4
We successfully protected Xiaolong!
- 81,025 pages were read for Xiaolong’s side quest! Wow!
- Xiaolong was protected from 8103 of the darkness’s attacks and earned 16,206 points! Phew! (But maybe, Xiaolong, you should coordinate with your friends so you don’t get into a pickle next time!)
- 210 people completed the bonus quest objective and earned the quest item: Mark of the Brave.
We cast heart-magic and made mushroom soup with Cuddle!
- 76,401 pages were read for Cuddle’s side quest!
- We collected 7640 pieces of firewood and earned 15,280 points. (No trees were harmed in this side quest.)
- 146 Pondathon friends shared their current reads – and gained 730 points!
- 162 people did something kind for someone and themselves, casting powerful heart-magic, and earned the quest item: Recipe for Compassion.
We helped Gen make healing potions!
- 56,489 pages were read for Gen’s side quest!
- We made 1882 healing potions and earned 7,582 points. (We definitely have enough potions for the whole Pondathon!)
- 146 people helped and worked with each other, and earned the quest item: Potion of Trust.
We sung with Amina and Bao to protect our friends!
- 65,397 pages were read for Amina’s side quest!
- We sung 6,539 musical notes together, and earned 13,078 points. (Wow! That’s enough notes for a three-movement concerto!)
- 210 books were completed during Amina’s side quest!
- 114 people wrote a haiku or three-lined poem in honour of their favourite book, and earned the quest item: Ballad of Friendship.
Did you miss getting a quest item?
Sometimes life gets in the way – and Xiaolong understands completely!
If you missed getting a quest reward item, don’t fret! Xiaolong and Varian have a bit of spare magic and have decided that they can cast a bit of time-magic (which is very rare and powerful magic!) to rewind the clock. But to cast time-magic, they are going to need your help.
How does it work? To earn a quest reward item of a past side-quest, complete the below and relevant side quest. You will be emailed your reward a few days after submitting your response.
- If you missed Xiaolong’s quest reward item, Mark of the Brave, read 100 pages between now and March 5th.
- If you missed Cuddle’s quest reward item, Recipe for Compassion, do two acts of kindness for someone else and two acts of kindness for yourself between now and March 5th.
- If you missed Gen’s quest reward item, Potion of Trust, team up with anyone participating in the Pondathon and read 200 pages together between now and March 5th. (You do not have to read the same book and they do not have to be completing this side quest.)
- If you missed Amina’s quest reward item, Ballad of Friendship, write two haikus or three-lined poems about your favourite book/s and share it on social media using the #Pondathon hashtag between now and March 5th.
- If you missed Varian’s quest reward item, A Moment of Your Time, talk about two books that helped get you through a tough time on social media using the #Pondathon hashtag between now and March 5th.
- If you missed Aunty Buaya’s quest reward item, Favour of the Knights of Strongjaw, team up with anyone participating in the Pondathon and read 200 pages together between now and March 5th. (You do not have to read the same book and they do not have to be completing this side quest.)
- If you missed Party’s quest reward item, A Dagger Called Valour, talk about two of your favourite diverse book on social media OR a diverse book you are looking forward to reading between now and March 5th.
Sign-Up to Our Pondathon Prize Giveaway
As a big thank you for participating in the Pondathon readathon, The Quiet Pond will be hosting a giveaway. Complete the form below to sign-up and go into win! All winners will be chosen at random.