The students at Bows and Arrows Academy, based in Los Angeles California, were excited. Valentine’s Day was only a couple of days away, and would begin when Principal Cupid shot the special arrow that marked the beginning of the world-wide celebration.
Principal Cupid, who owned the one, unique Valentine bow and arrow, was the leader of Bows and Arrows Academy and could be easily picked out of a crowd of grownups because he wore a diaper and a cape. He had two children enrolled in the Academy and a pet tiger, named “Stripes”, who also wore a cape. Stripes often accompanied Principal Cupid to school and he was not out of place, because half of the student body of Bows and Arrows were animals. The other half were angels.
Sisters Lucy and Bella were angels and very involved in the school. They also had interesting powers. Bella, the older, could take things and make them invisible. Sometimes she got in trouble at school for doing this. Lucy, her younger sister, never got in trouble. She loved flowers but hated spiders. Both girls wore their blonde hair in pigtails and were friends of Principal Cupid’s daughters, Mira and Isabella, and also of Swinky. Swinky’s dog, Fernando, attended Bows and Arrows Academy as well, but spent most of his time playing with the angels.
Tension was mounting for the time Principal Cupid would shoot the magical arrow, and Bella was busy making invisible vines that she threw on the floor of the classrooms, making some of the teachers and students trip because they couldn’t see them. Heart Face, a first grade angel, took a nasty spill. For once, though, Bella didn’t get in trouble because something far more serious had happened today at school.
Principal Cupid announced over the loud speaker a terrible thing: someone had stolen his arrow and unless it could be found, there would be no Valentine’s Day. That meant, of course, there would be no cards or candy for any children anywhere in the world.
“This is terrible!” said Lucy. Bella was so upset she created even more invisible vines and laid them all around the school.
“Whoever could have stolen Principal Cupid’s arrow?” cried Isabella.
Stripes, Cupid’s tiger, knew. But he wasn’t going to tell.
It all started because a few days ago, Stripes had begged Principal Cupid for a peek at his card and a taste of the candy he was going to get. Principal Cupid said, “No, Stripes. You will have to wait just like all the others.” Stripes begged some more, but Cupid was firm.
Stripes was mad. What good was it to be Principal Cupid’s tiger if he couldn’t even get a first peek at all the candy? Well, he would show him. He would show everyone. He would take Principal Cupid’s arrow when he was at school, and then he would not be able to shoot it on Valentine’s Day. No one would get candy then. No one would get cards. Everyone would be mad at Principal Cupid, just like Stripes was feeling.
Stripes went to the closet where he knew the bow and arrow were kept. Making sure he wasn’t seen, he grabbed the arrow. He knew just who he would take it to.
He would give it to World Peace, of the LA Lakers. And then there would be no more Valentine’s Day.
It was Heart Face who first spied the Lakers, in a pickup game on a court just outside the school, holding the arrow.
“There it is!” he cried. “World Peace has Principal Cupid’s arrow! However did he get it?”
Stripes blushed; even the orange part of his stripes turned red.
“You gave it to him, didn’t you Stripes?” said Bella. “Now, how are we going to get it back?”
“Let’s talk to World Peace,” said Swinky. “See if he’ll give it back to Principal Cupid.”
But when the angels and Swinky went to talk to the Lakers, World Peace shook his head. “That tiger, there, gave it to me. It’s mine.”
But Lucy had an idea. “How about if you have a play-off game? With the Portland Trail Blazers. They’re in town. What about whoever wins the game wins the arrow too?”
World Peace thought for a moment, then agreed. “’Cause we will win. The Lakers always do,” he said, confidently.
The band of angels all went to Principal Cupid with their plan. Stripes accompanied them, and told his owner the truth about what he had done. He felt very badly now, and Principal Cupid decided not to punish him.
“You’ll be punished enough if the Trail Blazers don’t win, because that means that you will not get any candy or cards either,” said Principal Cupid, “ever again.”
Stripes hung his head low, but Lucy spoke up. “We’ve got to talk to Damian Lillard,” she said. “He’s the best player on the Trail Blazer’s team. He’s the champion point guard and he’s good at shooting.”
“I hope you can find him,” said Principal Cupid sadly. “I hate to think that this is the year when there was no Valentine’s Day.”
Lucy, Bella, Mira, Isabella, Swinky, and Heart Face searched the town and finally found the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard was busy shooting free throws. “Excuse us, Mr. Lillard,” they shouted. Fernando barked. “We are from the Bows and Arrows Academy and we need to talk to you!”
Damian listened patiently to their plea and agreed to help. “I’ll get the team together,” he said, and we will take on the LA Lakers. May the best team win.”
The night before Valentine’s Day the whole city was at the Staples Center, on the edge of their seats to see who would win the Valentine arrow. They knew if the Trail Blazer’s won, they would give it back to Principal Cupid. If the Lakers won, Valentine’s Day would be cancelled tomorrow, and perhaps forever.
“Good luck, Damian!” cried the students, who crowded in seats under the backboard. Damian smiled.
The game, from the start, was a nail biter. The Blazers were ahead, then the Lakers. Then the Blazers scored, but were soon outdone by the Lakers. Principal Cupid could hardly contain himself, and in his nervousness, kept flipping his cape over his head. In the last few seconds of the fourth quarter, the score was tied. Damian was fouled by World Peace.
The entire student body of the Bows and Arrows Academy fell silent. Everyone knew that a single free throw would win or lose the game. The fate of Valentine’s Day was held in Damian’s hands.
Principal Cupid held up his bow. “Bring that arrow home!” he yelled, but his voice was overshadowed by the screams from followers of the other team, making noise, trying to disrupt Damian’s concentration. The whole arena rocked as the Laker fans shouted, “Miss! Miss! Miss!”
Damian threw the ball. It hit the rim, and ricocheted off. All the students gasped.
World Peace laughed. “It’s ours!” he said, pointing to the arrow.
Damian took a few deep breaths. He bounced the basketball a couple a times, in preparation for his second free throw. The audience was in an uproar, but Damian appeared not to notice. His eyes were fixed on the hoop. And then he launched his shot.
The ball dropped through the net in a perfect swoosh, without touching the rim.
The entire crowd exploded. World Peace stood with his mouth open, unbelieving. Damian turned to him, and said, simply, “Give me the arrow.”
World Peace did. Damian then took the magical arrow and handed it to Principal Cupid, amidst the applause from thousands of grateful children.
The principal took the arrow, and nodded. Swooshing back his cape and rearranging his diaper, he placed the arrow in the bow, pulled back the string, and shot the dart into the sky, where a magic heart appeared. Hitting its target, candy of all kinds began falling into the arena.
“Thank you, Damian,” cried Principal Cupid. “Thank you, Trail Blazers. Thank you students from Bows and Arrows Academy.
“Because of all of you, we have saved Valentine’s Day!”