Peer Review by PouringOutTheSun (Ireland)()

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The Magic Mirror

By: Timokok

The children gave a plaintive sigh and were crestfallen upon hearing that Mum and Dad were going to New York by themselves. They would not be able to go to Maldives as they always did in the June holidays. “Children, I have arranged for you to stay at your cousin Anna’s house while the both of us are away.”
It was quite an arduous journey for the children and John was querulous throughout the long journey that took five hours. “Forest Cottage”, read the sign board. They had never been there for quite some time. The house was completely surrounded by forests of thick vegetation and the house was tremendously huge as the children looked in awe. The family alighted from their vehicle and exchanged ‘hellos’ that was followed by some conversation.
The children enjoyed the company of the fun-filled and friendly Anna, vice-versa. After the parents drove off the children at once sprinted into the house with mercurial speed as they started to play together. “Let’s play a game of hide and seek, shall we,?” suggested Anna. Anna was the catcher while the rest were hiders. They hid in all sorts of places. John saw an enormous wardrobe and he opened it to reveal a huge mirror. He touched the mirror and his hand was able to pass through it. “What is happening?” he exclaimed.  The huge mirror was sure to be as tall as him. A thousand thoughts raced through his mind as curiosity overwhelmed him. Before he knew it, he was magically transported through the mirror into another portal...
Suddenly John found himself at a lake with mythical creatures everywhere. There were many large walking trees, rainbow-coloured pegasus soaring through the clouds. In addition, there were human-like creatures that had the legs of a man but the head of a horse. The dwarfs were also running hastily in the village. When they saw John all of them stood rooted on the ground, knelt and bowed down. Suddenly a huge blue mystical dragon that breathed fire landed on the ground. It looked fierce and menacing to John with a long purple tail and spikes on it. John gaped and gawked gormlessly as he was confused yet fascinated by the magical world. “Welcome to the forbidden world of magical creatures!” the fierce looking dragon boomed with a low but calm voice. “Nice to meet you John, I am Avery. Where are the rest of your 3 siblings and cousin? Oh pardon me I forgot to explain to you. We used to have a kingdom ruled by our great king Joseph. But greed overwhelmed an evil wizard called Zenith who envied the king’s high position. Eventually, Zenith gathered an army of his evil mythical creatures, staged an uprising and held Joseph captive. Now Zenith sits on the throne and the four of you have been chosen to defeat him and his army to restore the kingdom to Joseph. Please bring the other three of them here. We need your help.” John was stunned as if bewitched by a sorcerer but quickly got excited about the quest. “I would be back with them.” he gestured.
“Be sure to hurry though, our king is in great need of help and in danger.”
Still stunned by what had transpired, John ran back through the mysterious mirror portal to where he had come from, to alert the others quickly. When he was back in the closet he realised that he could still hear Anna counting down from thirty seconds.  John was very sure that he had spent at least an hour in the realm of magical creatures. It was then he realised that time passed at a different speed in the magical world! Anna was confused when John told her to stop the game at once and gather Nick and Abby as well. After they were found the trio were mad the game was interrupted. John told them everything that had happened on his trip to the world of magical creatures. “Stop telling tales and wasting our time John.” Anna said as the others’ arms were akimbo, furious with rage. They refused to believe him so John brought them inside the huge closet with the mirror.  
“Wow!” Nick exclaimed. John explained that time flowed differently in the two realms so they agreed to enter the portal.
It took a few seconds for the children, including John to absorb the amazing sight of the fantasy world before them. The dragon stood there and explained the plan to the children to sit on its back and fly inside the castle and rescue the king.  The children were thrilled and listened in awe. Several dwarfs walked to the children and handed over to them a silver shiny armour as well as a sword and helmet each.
At dawn, the dragon flew near the castle of the wizard and realised that his army of evil creatures was already coming towards the village where the children were.  Avery quickly flew back to where her army was and told the mythical creatures to get ready for a fight. The pegasus, dragons, wolves, and army of man-like creatures braced themselves in defence against the wizard and his legions.
When the two armies met, Avery shouted, “Attack!” and they charged at each other. The dragons breathed fire and set the evil creatures of the wizard in flames.The walking trees with their large roots clung onto the necks of the sorcerers and witches summoned by the wizard. While the two armies were fighting, Avery the dragon told the children to get on its back and hold on tightly. Avery flew over to the castle of the evil wizard and brought them inside. They found king Joseph held captive in a prison cell.  The children drew their weapons and battled with the wizard’s guards and quickly subdued the enemy. Avery breathed a flame at the wizard but he was able to extinguish the flame using his magic. The four children however managed to corner the wizard with their swords.
“I admit defeat!” the wizard wailed in surrender. But just before the children were able to capture the wizard, he created a portal and escaped through it. Nick then freed the helpless king Joseph. “Thank goodness you saved me, children! You are the heros in the prophecy who would come to release me from the evil clutches of the wizard.”
King Joseph was reinstated on his throne, and relieved to have his kingdom back. Before the children left the king gave them a small pendulum, and told them if it ever lights up they were going to be summoned for another quest.  When they returned to their realm, they were just in time for dinner prepared by Anna’s mum. The children promised to keep their great adventure a secret, at least until the next time they were summoned into the fantasy world again.


Peer Review

All the fantastical creatures contained in here are really cool. I like the way you described their action during the siege on the castle and how it pertained to the set of rules of what each one could do individually

Since this competition is looking for relatively short stories I understand that there’s not much time for character development but I would have like to have seen more of Anna. She’s described a bit but then doesn’t really get more of a part in the story to herself.

There’s nothing standing out in your draft that confused me.

Crafting entire new worlds is hard but also so rewarding! You had something great going with your description of the mythical creatures in the fight scene so maybe you could give that a little bit more focus if you are to do another draft?

Reviewer Comments

With a little bit of polish this story will be a strong contender in the competition