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a sunrise which was to put out all the stars

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Agnes is turning eight tomorrow and every time anybody has asked what she wanted, she's said, "A unicorn." It's what she's said for every single birthday, and she's gotten unicorn shirts and shorts and pants and dresses and shoes and toys and books and posters and movies and five different plushies. She knows everyone is tired of the unicorns, but she loves them so much.

Agnes is turning eight tomorrow and before she goes to sleep, she prays, “Thank you God for Gru and Margo and Edith and Granma Gru and the minions and Dr. Nefario. Please give me a real live unicorn for my birthday. Thank you for listening, God. Love, Agnes.”

Edith mutters, “Always with the unciorns. They’re not real, nimrod.”

Margo says, “That was lovely, Agnes.”

Agnes calls, “Night, Margo and Edith,” wraps her arms around Princess Buttercup the Yellow (because there’s also Princess Buttercup the Blue and Princess Buttercup the Rose), and dreams of unicorns.

.

In the morning, Gru makes unicorn-shaped pancakes and then Agnes opens her presents. The minions each designed a new unicorn figurine for her, and Dr. Nefario created a new kind of bubble where it’ll always take unicorn shape when you blow it and Margo got her a new book and Edith a sketchpad and Granma Gru weekly horseback riding lessons at a barn and then Agnes looks at Gru.

He’s smiling nervously. “My present is outside,” he says, wringing his hands. “Come, see.”

Agnes carefully slips out of her chair, setting everything back in its place, and follows Gru through the kitchen to the backyard.

“It, it was nothing,” Gru says. “If you do not like, is no problem.” He takes a deep breath and steps aside.

There is a unicorn standing in the backyard. With wings. “Oh, my,” Agnes breathes, unable to look away.

“Is just a baby now,” Gru says. A minion comes around the corner and waves at them, but Agnes is focused entirely on the unicorn.

The unicorn is black, with black wings and a black mane and tail and a black horn, and he’s pawing at the grass with one of his front hooves, and just as Agnes goes to step forward, the unicorn sneezes and a ball of fire envelops one of the bushes. The minion pulls out a fire extinguisher to douse the flames.

“He will learn as he grows,” Gru assures her as the unicorn’s head droops.

“You made me a unicorn,” Agnes says, “with wings. That breathes fire.”

“… yes,” Gru says. Fred the minion pats the unicorn’s shoulder. His wings flutter. His tail swishes.

Agnes throws her arms around Gru to give him a big hug and then she carefully approaches the unicorn. “Hi!” she says, holding out her hand for the unicorn to sniff. “I’m Agnes. Do you have a name yet?”

The unicorn nudges her hand and gently lips at it; she laughs because it tickles. “I’ll come up with the best name ever for you, I promise,” she says, petting the unicorn’s ears and shoulder and trying to move as slowly as possible because she doesn’t want to scare him.

She spends the day in the yard with the unicorn.

.

That night, Margo drags her away from the yard. The unicorn apparently has a little house back there, and Fred the minion to take care of him, and Granma Gru’s horseback riding lessons will cover how to care for and feed a horse, which will mostly fit with how to care for and feed a unicorn, and Agnes hugs Margo and Edith and Granma Gru and Dr. Nefiaro and Kyle and every minion she sees and Gru, and after her bath and dinner, Agnes throws herself onto her bed shouting, "Best day EVER!"