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I rode across the arid desert that covered the planet, riding as quickly as the dappled grey horse could take us. I dared not pause as the the horses hooves rained like drumbeats on the packed sands, least the beasts catch up with us. My red and green cloak furled out behind us beneath the beating sun.

A glance behind showed me that we could not pause even a moment. The ground behind us rippled and fell, leaving nothing visible but a cloud of sand and red spice that filled the air with a rich, earthy scent. I spurred my horse faster still. She was a proud mare, I’d raised her myself since she was a young filly, but now she frothed about the mouth as she drove us further ahead.

Suddenly, the ground lurched below us, causing her to stumble. I fell beside her as the ground sank below us, rising into hundred foot cliff faces about us. I stared at the unclimbable rock wall, sand falling from the top, as the ground behind us crumbled further into the chasm. Looking down, I could see the core of the planet laid bare as the beasts swam below, plowing through rock and leaving nothing behind as if they were worms and the planet an apple. Though larger than worm, with massive teardrop shaped bodies, a mouth at one end and a flipper at the other.Whales, I thought, though I couldn’t recall where I’d heard the term. They floated through the air above the molten core, casually eating away at the ground that supported me. It was only a matter of time until one came back this way, destabilizing the ledge my horse and I clung to.

The ground below us shifted as the sand we stood on slid deeper into hollow shell of the planet’s crust. My horse and I backed as far from from the ledge as possible. I clung to her neck, whispering soothing words as the ground fell out from beneath us, sending us plunging into the pit alone.

Suddenly, a hand grasped mine, and I stopped falling. I snapped my eyes up to see my rescuer. My sister, atop a giant flying eagle, held me firmly. I looked back to watch my horse fall towards the fiery core until she was nothing more than a mere speck against the red glow.

“I’ve been looking for you.” My sister said. “You’re lucky I arrived when I did.” I wiped my eyes before I looked back up. She helped swing me onto the back of the eagle.

“I owe you. But first, I have an important message for the king, and it can’t wait.”