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Nebula, a small mystical lion cub with little wings like the widespread night, stood beside a tall tree, gazing up at the stars. Her face was masked with purple fur, her flank clouded with a sparkling dark cobalt color. Her wings were a gentle purple blue. She was beside her glorious mother, her glossy dark midnight eyes shining with admiration.
"Wow...the sky...it's so beautiful!" she remarked in awe. Her mother smiled softly.
"Yes, it is. Just like you," her mother replied affectionately, nuzzling her daughter dearly. Nebula turned to her mother. The cub was just like a mini version of her stunning mom.
"Mom, I want to go up there! I want to see the stars and touch them!" she cried happily.
"In your dreams, dear," her mother chuckled as she walked away to their den, hidden behind tall trees and leafy bushes. Nebula just stood there, watching the sky.
"In my dreams, maybe, but in real life, definitely," she vowed to herself, leaving the starry sky to shine by itself. She glanced at her back, wondering when
those night wings would grow, spread out, and lift her off the world to meet the stars.
2 Months Later
A leaf fell to the ground. A smile spread on Nebula's face.
"I have grown, Mom! And I can fly! I flew to this branch, Mom! If I can do that, I can reach the sky and stars!" Nebula squealed excitedly, flapping her feathery, angelic wings. Her mother stood on the ground, shifting her weight uncomfortably and shuffling her wings. She was stuck in the dilemma of pushing her daughter further into the unknowing of reality, or breaking her dreams right at the exact moment by mere words.
"That's great, Nebula. But dear, I already told you it's impossible to reach the sky," she sighed, unwilling to say more to discourage her cub. Her milky blue eyes already reflected that her thoughts were different from her daughter’s. Nebula frowned and shook her head in disagreement; she could detect her mother’s uncertainty, and it made Nebula herself feel uneasy.
"Mom, you’re wrong. I just know that I can go up there."
"Nebula...but it's impossible. It's too high, and you might die," Her mother disagreed softly. Nebula leaped off the branch and onto the fresh grass, barely making a sound.
"But...you always told me to reach for my dreams, make my dreams come true!" Nebula exclaimed in disbelief. Her face was contorted in slight confusion. All through her young life, her mother had encouraged her to follow her heart and to achieve her goals. She never denied Nebula’s dreams and always pushed her forward, told her that she was doing the right thing.
"But your dream...is impossible..." Her mother's eyes were creamy and unhappy.
"But it's not impossible! I've seen it! Birds have flown so high I couldn’t spot them any longer. I know you can reach up there!It's not impossible!" Nebula retorted, exasperated.
"It isn't! I'll reach the sky, and I'll be there to tell you I told you so!'" Nebula shouted back as fear rose inside of her, voice rising that it was almost an anguished, terrorized scream. She couldn’t bear to see her biggest dream crushed by the simple words her mother had used. Tears threatened to spill, but to her relief, didn’t. Wearing a broken expression, she dashed into the cover of the trees and bushes, running as fast as she could. Breath hard and raspy, legs scraped by brambles, and steps clumsy yet unstopping, Nebula continued to sprint without end. Her heart pumped hard and strong, but it ached so much. She had given up controlling her flailing paw movements as it brought her further and further away from her mother. It was only in the early morning when she finally stopped. The tears had finally escaped from her glossy eyes.
Nebula woke in the middle of the next night, dried tears stuck crisply to her face. Memories from the day before flashed in her mind; she winced at the thought of herself shouting like that to her mother. She stood up defiantly, her delicate purple paws trembling slightly.
"I'll show Mom," she said tightly, "that I'm right. I don't need her here to prove her wrong that....sky's not the limit." These words comforted her a little, but she still felt like her heart was broken. She was away from her mother’s opposing thoughts and words, though the distance that stretched along them pained her.
Sighing, she slipped out between a fallen log and a quiet pond so she was out in the open, with only the grassy plain and a lone tree. The thin blades of green swished gently and reassuringly. Peaceful quiet held the place in a silent melody that calmed Nebula’s fretting nerves. She padded over to the tree and looked up.
"Dreams can come true..." she whispered, eyes shining faintly. She fluttered delicately to the highest branch, where she poked her head out from the leaves to look at the beautiful landscape. Her movements were slow and quiet; she didn’t want to break the silence. Breezy trees rustled close to the edge of the forest and the grass was painted a dark shade of blue. Finally, Nebula looked up at the star lit sky. And slowly, ever so slowly, Nebula flapped her small feathered wings. Gradually, she was lifted higher and higher. Nebula glided through the sky, enjoying the air, the movement, the quiet. She laughed in the silent night, spotting a lone bird. Stopping now, she drifted closer to the stars.
"I can reach you...." she murmured happily, dreamily as she floated off. Suddenly, the voice of her mother reached her, stunning her. "But your dream....is impossible...."
Nebula snapped her wings shut in utter surprise. Her eyes were wide as she plunged to the ground. Nebula willed her wings to open, and they did just in time to break her fall just the littlest bit. She stumbled to the ground, terrified at how close she was to dying.
"And I didn't reach the stars..." Nebula trailed off in shock, voice nearly cracking. She looked up, thinking about what just happened. "Is mother....right?" Her eyes glimmered with fear of being wrong. She couldn’t be wrong, not after all the dreams she had dreamed. Sighing shakily, Nebula slinked back into the forest with her head down, spirits down, and a cutting loneliness welded deep into her heart.
"Mom's right...isn't she?" Nebula asked herself the next night, discouragement trailing deep inside of her. She turned her head up at the sky, gazing at the beautiful streaks of blue and black swirls that were added with radiant stars that glowed even brighter before.
"Why are the stars so bright on such a dark night?" Nebula wept softly. She sighed. "If I go up there, would I die?" She inched her way out of the cover of the foliage and to the open plane of grass.
Spreading out her wings, she glided deeper and deeper into the sky. She flitted strong, balanced strokes. Every flutter and she crept higher into the air.
"There's only one way to find out," she declared firmly, "And that's to do it." The stars' brilliance shined brighter, lighter. She was drifting closer. The wind was rather harsh, and there were no birds in sight.
Nebula stopped abruptly, keeping her place in the peaceful night sky. Not because she gave up. But she was there. The stars were so close to her. Nebula flickered over, reaching a paw out to touch the surface of the star. It was hard, rough, and just like she imagined. A grin spread widely on her face as she felt it.
"I have done it," she whispered, gradually getting louder. "I have touched a star!" she echoed into the night, ripples of her voice singing into the night. She watched the stars for the rest of the night, unable to take her eyes away from the glittering show that she deserved.
When day came, Nebula dived for the ground, a flow of excitement and triumph driving her. She touched the ground, tingling with delight. The ultimate success she needed to complete her only dream assisted her. Pride and confidence coursed through her small body. When she looked up at the lone tree, she was surprised to see a lion with wings who bore a shocking resemblance to the young cub herself. She squinted, surprised at who she thought it was.
"M-Mom?" she gasped, taken aback. Her mother smiled weakly, her sides heaving.
"I saw you, dear. I saw you reach the sky and disappear until you were just a dot. You touched a star," she wheezed faintly. Nebula blinked, still in awe.
"But...why are you here? How?"
"I ran really hard, as close to you as I could get when I saw you in the sky."
"You did?...Why? I thought you didn't believe in me anymore."
Her mother smiled warmly. "Oh, dear, did you really think I didn't want you anymore? I was always after you, but I couldn't find you." She nuzzled her daughter. "I missed you so much. You made me so terribly worried." Her eyes clearly showed the weariness in them. Nebula stared at her mother with guilt, realizing it was all her fault that the whole problem ever happened. She shook her head and smiled brightly.
"I missed you too, Mom," Nebula confessed, falling into her mother's arms. Happy tears ran down her cheeks. Her mother looked up.
"You actually reached the stars. I'm proud of you," Her mother said softly.
Nebula smiled and replied. "I did. And you know what?"
Nebula leaned against her mother and closed her eyes in content.
"Mom....I told you so."