In chapter nine, the rescue expedition is at the kizzee camp, where the unicorns and kizzees have agreed to a truce “until The Dark is defeated.” Sammy, Kerri, and Peaches look on as Aeryk and Dorlyn heal the sick kizzees.

            The two unicorns went from one to another of the kizzees, both young and old, who had been resting under the trees. Small children were carried out from the tents to be touched by the magical horns. Dorlyn knelt down to enter a few tents to heal adults who weren’t strong enough to walk.

            Sammy watched in amazement as weak, listless kizzees were energized by the unicorns’ touch.  “Wow!” she exclaimed.  “That’s some cool magic.  It’s hard to believe they’re the same people…or animals…or whatever.”

            “I think ‘people’ works,” said Kerri.  “They may look different, but they talk and think like we do.” She laughed.  “Look at those kids bouncing around like popcorn.  You’d think they’d never been sick.”

            The children ran and jumped in a whirlwind of activity. Shouts and laughter echoed through the camp. Their game seemed to combine tag, leapfrog, and chasing each other up trees. A few children came towards the girls, then immediately ran away.  Others did the same.  They appeared to be daring each other to get close to the strangers.

            Sammy pulled a food bar from her pack and took a bite.  One of the children edged closer, staring at the food. His nose twitched.

            Sammy smiled. “Want a taste?” She turned to Peaches. “It’s okay, isn’t it? Can they eat our food?”

            “I think so,” said Peaches, “But wait, I’ll check with Aeryk.  He should know.”

            Soon Peaches was back, with Aeryk’s assurance that people food was safe enough for kizzees.  “Just a little,” said Peaches. “Too much might make them sick, like eating too much candy.”       

            The little ones crowded around as Sammy and Kerri shared small pieces of their food bars. Some of the braver children reached out to touch the girls’ faces and hair.

            One little one said, “What happened to the fur on your face? And why is the fur so long on your head?”

            Others chimed in, all talking at once. “You have funny ears. One of the hunters said you were fairies.  Are you fairies? Are you sisters? Where’s your family? Where did you come from? Why are you here?”

            “We’re humans,” said Sammy, “from Earth.  This is the way all our people look. Kerri is my friend; we each live with our own families. We’re just visiting your world.  We’re on our way to help some people to get to a safe place.”

            One child asked, “Do you eat good food like that all the time?” He licked his lips and stared at Sammy’s backpack as if hoping for more.

            “No,” said Sammy.  “That’s just for the trip.”

            “Oh,” said the child.  “Journey food.  Like our hunters use when they travel a long way. You and your friends are hunting companions.”

            “Sort of like that,” said Sammy.  “I brought Kerri to meet Princess Selena—she’s a fairy—and then we came along to help Aeryk and Dorlyn.  But after we’re done with this trip, Kerri and I won’t see each other very often. I’m moving to another town.”

            That brought on a detailed discussion of towns—a little like very big camps—and houses that can’t be moved. It was impossible to explain the part about jobs and money to nomadic hunters. But they knew you had to move when game was scarce.

            “I think our way is better,” declared one boy.  “When we need to move the camp, we just take the houses apart and everybody moves together.”

            Sammy sighed.  “You may be right,” she said, “but I don’t think that would work for us. I think our world is too complicated for that.”           

            At last the work was done. The kizzees seemed much more energetic than they had been. All of the children were running and playing. The unicorns, who had been soaking up sunlight all the while they were working, were ready to go.