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"I've never seen anything like this," I told the Magician. I reached out and clasped his hand firmly. "I promise you: I will help save this land. I will find the King." Slowly, the animals' symphony faded and the bright light returned to twilight, as the Magician's illusion ended and we returned to reality. With a sprinkle of fairy dust, the Magician lowered the ferry back on to the river. "I hope you are able to find the King," he said with doubt. "You're so very far from home and so very much alone." "You have my word that I will succeed in my mission," I reassured him with a smile.

He pulled up along the bank, got out, and extended me a hand. Once I stood firmly on the ground, I continued to hold his hand tightly, looked him in the eye, and said, "Thank you for assisting me along my journey and showing me such wonders. I will never forget your kindness." He smiled. "Deep peace of the running wave to you," he said softly. "What will you do now?" I asked him. He gave me a curious knowing glance. "Set sail towards the sun. Feel the warmth that's just begun. Share each and every dream, they belong to everyone." "I wish you well," I said. "I will find the King."

And so I began my journey on the other side of life. As I headed into a sparse, bare forest, I heard the Magician whisper under his breath: "Your painted smile hides you still while you search yourself within..."

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