Excerpt: Penelope Moonswoggle - The Girl Who Could Not Ride A Dragon

Excerpt: Penelope Moonswoggle - The Girl Who Could Not Ride A Dragon

Book 1: The Forgotten Series

Some people wished on birthdays every year and never, ever had a single wish come true.

Some people wished on shooting stars every single night and never created more than a sigh of disgust.

Penelope, however, was not like other people. She had an entire closet of wishes that had come true, including the new pink comforter on her bed that her mama still thought she had pilfered from the Store of Heavenly Sleeps, even though no one could prove it. Penelope had seventeen stuffed animals, three hundred and six books, a bicycle, a diamond tiara, and a collection of bracelets that even her great aunt Mimi coveted.

No one believed she could actually wish things into existence. And no one really cared. If she wasn’t riding a dragon, she wasn’t important.

And, in an eternally frustrating turn of events, the one thing Penelope still hadn’t figured out how to successfully wish for was the ability to ride a dragon.

But today, on her twelfth birthday, on the eve of the Altaville Festival of Dragon Lights, Penelope Moonswoggle was going to change that. Tonight, she was ready.

She moved back over to her birthday cakecake. Gandalph was pacing excitedly, his little whiskers flittering with great anticipation.

Farkle sat opposite her, crossing his legs beneath his magnificent mantle. “Sit.”

She knelt.

“Is your wish true in your heart?” he asked, his voice deep and resonating through the night.

She closed her eyes and reached into her soul for her deepest inner yearnings. She felt her burning, pulsing desire to ride a dragon. The yearning that had been raging inside her since birth. She allowed it to fill her, just as Farkle had taught her. “Yes. My heart wants it.”

“Will your wish harm any others?”

She resisted the urge to answer immediately, and instead, she thought about it, settling her mind as she’d practiced so many times. She imagined all possible outcomes to her wish before she answered. She felt the purity of her dreams dance through her, like fairies celebrating the morning dew. “No, it won’t harm others.”

“Can you make the wish come true?” He lowered his voice. “Do you have the power?”

Ah.that was the question that had so often stumped her. Her doubt that she could, with one wish, become the girl that no one thought she could be.

It was one thing to believe she could wish a bracelet into existence. It was another thing entirely to think she could dissolve a curse that had defined who she was since she was born. This was her last chance. If she didn’t do it this year, she wouldn’t get another opportunity, because she’d be kicked out town onto her bahonkas. What if she failed again?

“Penelope. Do you believe?”

No, no, no! She knew she didn’t. “Uh, oh.” Where was her faith? She’d been so confident all day! And now she was panicking? “I’m freaking out—”

“Silence!” Farkle roared with such ferocity that the grass flattened and the pine needles chattered. “Penelope Esmeralda Moonswoggle, you will look at me right now!”

She stared desperately into the furious face of the powerful gnome who could destroy her with the single swipe of his stick. “Tell me what to do, Farkle!”

“You know what to do.” He set his hands on her shoulders, and she felt warmth filling her. “How do you wish for a bracelet? What do you feel?”

She fingered the black and gold bangle she’d wished into being on a shooting star last night. “My mind becomes quiet. I don’t think of anything but what it will feel like to have the bracelet on my wrist. I let the joy of its manifestation fill my heart, and then I release it into the universe and allow it to come to me.” She grinned. “And then it shows up.”

He nodded. “It’s the same thing with all wishes. Nothing changes with this one, except your perceptions of your own limitations. Can you wish a book?”

“Yes, of course. I-“

“Can you wish a bracelet?”

“Yes-“

“Can you wish a living creature into existence?”

Her heart thudded. That was such a huge task! Yes, she knew birthday wishes were the most powerful wish opportunities in existence, far more than a shooting star, but still. A dragon was a huge deal. “I don’t know—”

“What about Gandalph?”

Her ferret squeaked, and she looked down at the adorable white furball she’d wished into being on her eleventh birthday. He was the first (and only) living creature she’d tried to manifest, and she’d done it on her first try. She’d so desperately wanted a friend to be with her while everyone else was off at the rim, and when Gandalph had appeared in her arms, she’d actually cried.

He squeaked again, as if to reprimand her for her self-doubt. His tiny pink nose wrinkled while he wiggled his little ears. His dark brown eyes focused on hers. Their bond was unbreakable, a connection stronger than she’d ever felt with any living creature, even her parents. She’d created him, but she’d also wished for their tight bond. And it had worked. She’d done it.

“Yes, yes,” Farkle said. “Feel your power. You can do anything, Penelope. You can do it.”

“I can do it,” she whispered.She let her potency race through her, fill her with conviction and strength. If she could wish Gandalph, she could wish anything. The size of the wish was irrelevant. All that mattered was passion, desire, purity and belief. A dragon was nothing more than a big ferret, right? Right.

“Penelope?” Farkle pressed. “Do you believe, truly believe, you can make this wish come true?”

His face was flickering with the reflection of the candlelight. And there, in his eyes, she saw pride. He believed. He really had faith in her ability. Maybe her parents saw her as nothing. Maybe the entire community of Altaville dismissed her, but Farkle, in his ancient wisdom, saw her as a girl who could make things happen. Rightness filled her, and her body vibrated with accord. She could do it.

She laid her hand on Gandalph’s head and stroked his silken fur. “Yes. I believe.” The words reverberated in her chest, in the air, in the night, and her arms prickled with power.

Farkle smiled. “Then blow out your candles, birthday girl, and make yourself a wish.”

Penelope paused for a moment and quieted her mind. She held in her head the image of a beautiful purple iridescent dragon with feathered wings, the same magnificent creature she’d been imagining her whole life. The dragon watched her intently, his dark green eyes riveted on hers, as if he were already alive and simply waiting for her to bring him into her world. She already knew his name. Merripen.

She reached out with her mind to him, and she touched his soul. Energy rippled through her as she felt Merripen respond to their connection, and she knew with sudden certainty that she’d just touched the world where wishes waited to come true.

“Now,” Farkle said. “Do it now.”

I wish for a dragon that I can ride high up into the skies every day of my life. I wish for Merripen.

And then she blew out the candles.

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