Sunday, August 7, 2016

Berry Explores the Unknown – Pt. 2

Despite my doubts, Mysterious managed to fly all of us to the dark side of the map. That's what we've been calling that unknown region in the upper left corner of the world map. Well, Happy started it, and it stuck. 

However, when I said that Mysterious managed to fly all of us across the map, I don't mean all at once. As I'd said before, she can't carry all of us at once with her tiny paws. Her paws are like nubs, they can't hold three other plushies.

Our solution? Using a rope tied to Mysterious's nub-like paw, and the other end tied to one other plushie, she'd fly each of us one by one across the map.

Of course, it was a little hard to hold onto the rope.


And, as you'd imagine, carrying an elephant across the map wasn't so fun, either.

"Ugghhh, why do y'all have to be so heavy!?!? This was a dumb idea." Mysterious groaned.

Happy, not seeming to hear her, kept on screaming. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!! THE ROPE IS SLIPPING!!!!!!!! SAVE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Why do you all have to be so loud, too?!?!?"

Surprisingly, our method was just barely successful at getting us to the dark side of the map. Mysterious dropped us all off one-by-one on top of a tree so we wouldn't climb down and get lost and make everything difficult. In her exhaustion, she didn't take into account that I was a koala and climbed trees easier than I walked, but I understood her reasoning and held my snarky comments back.

Once we all got there, we realized we weren't in the middle of nowhere as we thought. From the top of the tree, we could see a treehouse up ahead.

Mysterious wanted to collapse in the treetop and take a nap, so we let her and went on ahead. She'd probably use magic and turn us all into grapefruit if we said no. Besides, the treehouse wasn't very far away. 

As we walked on, we started noticing the heat. It was definitely hotter here than back in Jamaa, almost tropical. In fact, it was very tropical. Wild banana plants were everywhere in this lush-looking jungle. It seemed to have recently rained, streams were high and water pooled in the hollows of leaves. 

There were puddles everywhere, too. We practically splashed through the forest.

Upon arriving there, everything burst into even more color. A blue tiger sat at the top of the tree house above a string of rainbow-colored pennants.



At first, we tried to sneak up on him, but Happy wouldn't let that happen.

"HI BLUE TIGER!!!!! HOW ARE YA?" Happy called up the canopy.

The blue tiger glanced down from beneath his dark sunglasses. "I'm fine, thanks." We saw he was holding a tea cup –– equally blue –– from which he leisurely sipped from. "We don't normally get visitors."

"We're from–– wait, what do you mean 'we'?" said Rainy.

We looked all over and found a very familiar orange crocodile sitting behind a lemonade stand, right in front of our faces.

"Alex! It's you!"

"hiya, guys," said Alex, "want some lemonade?"

"We'd wondered where you'd gone off to after the crocodile-lion war."

"I've just been traveling around jamaa... with my lemonade stand, of course." Alex said, gesturing toward his lemonade stand with his sword. "sadly, no one's bought any lemonade from me before. i wonder why."

"Maybe it's because you're so short. You were right in front of us and even I, a tall elephant, couldn't see you!" said Happy. "The thing you need is a chair or something to sit on. Y'know, to make you taller."

"hey," said Alex. "that's a pretty nice idea! i'm sure Pineapple here has an extra chair lying around."

The blue tiger, presumably named Pineapple chimed in. "You can borrow a chair once we've properly introduced ourselves. I haven't seen another plushie since Alex here, and I'd like to talk with you before you're on your way."

It sounded fair. Alex gave us a thumbs-up with his lil' nub-like claw and we went up the ladder to the inside of this blue tiger's treehouse. 


When we reached the inside of the treehouse, it was considerably cooler. All the shade from the thick leaves of the tree made it pretty dark, too.

"So," began Pineapple, "where did ya come from?"

"We've traveled here from Jamaa." I said.

"Huh... Jam-AAH? What a weird name. Never heard of it."

"What about you? What do you call this area?" 

"Jamaa 2: The Sequel" answered Pineapple, without missing a beat.

We started to think the lion was kidding us. I mean, c'mon, who names their child Pineapple? Then again, who names their child Berry? We all had stupid names. 

Maybe Pineapple was a popular name in this part of the world. I vaguely remembered meeting a lion named Pineapple during the crocodile-lion war.

"How far away is your planet, Jam-AAH?" asked Pineapple.

"Err... Jamaa isn't a planet of its own. It's just a few hundred miles away."

"On this planet!?" cried Pineapple.

"...on this planet."

"That's insane. And are there... people there, like you?"

I was starting to get freaked out. "There are!"

Pineapple sat in an awed silence. 

"...wow." He gasped.

After a while, he spoke again.

"On my planet, I was the only one. There were nothing but banana plants for as far as I could see. I chose to come live here because the environment was similar, but I had no idea... Other people? That's incredible." 

"There ain't just banana trees, Pineapple!" cried Happy. Rainy, who was slowly edging towards the door, nearly fell out of the tree. "There are mountains, and rivers, and deserts, and... and lots of other stuff!"

"I'll have to see this sometime." replied Pineapple, glancing out the little window. "Until then, I think you'd wanna get back to your home outside. Not because I wouldn't let you stay, but because the stars just look so pretty tonight. Also, there's a flying lion knocking at the door."

We turned around and Mysterious was floating there with the dreaded rope tied around her paw. "Time to go home!" she said. 

Happy groaned. "Couldn't you just use magic and give us wings so you wouldn't need to carry us with that flimsy rope? Why didn't ya do that in the first place?"  

Mysterious paused, considered that a moment. "Wow... I really should have done that in the first place." 

"Ahem, before you go, here's the chair you promised Alex." said Pineapple, offering a step stool. "It's pretty much all I got. I prefer sitting on the floor."

I thanked Pineapple, and carefully carried it down the ladder outside. He was right, the stars were really pretty!

Alex was still there, short as ever, behind the lemonade stand. "oh thank you, Berry!!" He put the step stool behind the stand and sat on it. Alex was visible enough.

"I'll be your first customer," I said. "How much per glass?"

"that'll be 500 dollars." replied Alex plaintively. "ya heard me, 500 dollars."

Maybe that's the real reason why he can't sell any lemonade...

"Err... Sorry, I don't have enough money."

"suit yourself" Alex huffed.

I looked up and Mysterious, Happy, and Rainy were already flying overhead. "C'mon, Berry!" called Rainy. I noticed I already had a tiny pair of stupid-looking butterfly wings sprouting out my back. Magic.

As I flew away to join them, I waved goodbye to Pineapple, and he waved back. 

"I'll see you later!" he called.

Before I turned around, he took off his sunglasses to clean them on a cloth, revealing one large eye at the center of his face.

"...See ya!"

fin

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Berry Explores the Unknown – Pt. 1

~ Thank you lostfairy for the prompt! ~

"Berry and friends explore the undiscovered top left corner of the map!"

• • •

It had been during the heaviest snowfall of the season that Happy decided it was too cold to stick around Jamaa.

Now, we'd argued that the snow was too high to even move around safely outside. I mean, c'mon, the thick shoji screen we used as a door had collapsed inwards from the sheer force of the winds. We had to stack up furniture against the door, so even leaving would take effort. And I'm not one to expend a lot of effort.

However, despite all of the difficulty involved, Happy insisted we go somewhere warm and wait out the storm there.

"C'mon, Berry! If we don't leave soon, we'll be ice sculptures by Spring." Happy seemed visibly irritated with me and Rainy's resistance. Mysterious, on the other hand, had other ideas.

"Yeah, Berry," she said, "If the snow becomes a problem–– and by "if" I mean IT WILL–– I can just melt all the snow for you."

"The last time you used magic, it ended up with both me and Berry getting trapped in an alternate dimension of spaghetti monsters." Rainy criticized.

Mysterious suddenly shook her head. "No, magic won't be needed."

"Then how do you propose we fulfill Happy's wish?"

The magician snapped her fingers and a hairdryer materialized out of thin air. "With this here hair dryer. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to melt us a path through the sn––" She walked towards the door but halfway there the wire tugged her backwards. "Darn it."

Happy seemed really distraught. He was sick of not being able to do anything other than sit around a haphazard fireplace wrapped in blankets. I couldn't blame him–– while I may like doing absolutely nothing all day, Happy was full of energy at all times. When he couldn't do anything to expend that energy... well, if he couldn't get outside soon, things weren't going to be pretty.

I saw Happy sigh and stare out the window sadly. "If only... sigh." he sighed dramatically as snowflakes coated the glass. Wow...

He was beginning to accept his inability to leave the den. If something didn't happen soon, Happy would switch from his acceptance stage to his bitterness stage. And from then on to apathy and writing depressing poetry. That sounds a lot like a regular day for me! Maybe Happy being bitter wasn't such a ba––

"GUYS COME LOOK!!!" Oh boy, salvation has arrived! Grrr...

The sudden voice belonged to the lioness who had attempted to melt the winter away with a hairdryer. Now it seemed like she had seen a better idea outside the window.

"The height of the snow drifts has decreased dramatically!" She called to Happy.

"Huh... what?" the pink elephant broke away from his moping. "But when I look out the window, all I see is white!"

Suddenly, the whiteness in the window broke away to reveal a rainbow-patterned snout. Happy and I jumped as it spoke.

It turns out that the snout belonged to Rainy. "That's because it was covered in snow from the storm! Let me help you clear the rest off..." he brushed the remaining snow and ice off to reveal bright green plant life preparing for Spring. Snow still clumped in corners, but it was mostly navigable.

At this moment, Happy flipped a complete 180° from mopey and mournful to jumping for joy. "Oh my gosh! Thank you so much, Mysterious! Now we can go to Crystal Sands and wait out Winter with banana smoothies and sand castles!!!" I would be happy that Happy was so overjoyed if he hadn't yelled it directly in my ear. Jeez... there goes quietly sitting in front of the fire.

"Well... maybe not Crystal Sands. Or anywhere in Jamaa, really. According from word sent in telepathically from the Temple of Zios, everywhere in Jamaa but here is still clogged with snow. Huh, isn't that strange?"

I prepared for another onslaught of moping, but Happy was still bright-eyed. "Wait, someone told you telepathically? Were they also a wizard? Do you have some kind of telepathic chat room?"

Mysterious rolled her eyes. "You could call it that... but I'm a magician, not a wizard. There's a difference."

"There's a difference?"

"You know what––– *sigh*" Mysterious rolled her eyes once more. "Never mind. So, where do you want to go, Happy? It looks like everywhere in Jamaa is still under the storm... unless..."

"Unless what?" I asked. I wondered if she'd attempt to build a giant magic hairdryer to melt the snow away.

Mysterious pulled a rolled up sheet of paper out of her messenger bag. At first I thought it was some blueprints for a giant hair-drying disaster until I realized it was a map of Jamaa. An area at the top left corner had been circled, despite not even being part of Jamaa.


She pointed to the circled area with her forepaw, but her forepaw was rather stubby so it looked more like hovering. "This area of the map is uncharted, yet its climate is reportedly even more tropical than Crystal Sands. Even if there is snow, it's likely not to be as much of an issue given the location."

I was fascinated, but skeptical. "Are you sure we can travel out of Jamaa? Isn't there a rule against that or something?"

Mysterious opened her mouth in a wide and toothy grin. "Nope! Not one single rule against it. C'mon, I go out of Jamaa all the time! It'll be easy and we can all hang out in the tropics while everyone else in Jamaa is still digging out their dens."

"It'll be easy? Have you any idea how far away that region is?" 

The moment I said it, a blue flame encircled Mysterious. Me and Happy gasped as wings sprouted from her back like a gryphon.

She flexed her new wings and grinned smugly. "I don't think travel will be a problem."

Suddenly, a frustrated knocking sound from the window drew our attention. Oh right, we completely forgot Rainy...
"C'mon, let's go outside." Said Happy, with a bright new light in his eyes. 

Now the only problem was how Mysterious would carry me, Rainy, and Happy with her stubby arms.

*TO BE CONTINUED!*

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Berry's Proposition


Hi friends! It's me, Berry, the blue koala! Didja miss me?

*awkward cricket sounds*

...C'mon, I know you missed me!

*even more awkward cricket sounds*

Sigh... alright, now as I was going to say, I have a proposition for you! Yep, just for you! Or anyone else who decides to roll with it. 

What's this proposition, you may ask? Why, it's really quite simple. Y'see, I've been neglecting to update my journal with my latest shenanigans not because I've been lazy, but because I've had no shenanigans happening much. Not because things have been boring, but because I've really... not wanted to have anything happen. 

The way I look at it is this: every time I step outside, some disaster happens, and me and my friends narrowly make it out okay. It makes for great writing material, but it can get real risky! So I've decided to lay low, stay cool, coat myself in bubble wrap–– you know what I mean? Me, Happy, Rainy, and Mysterious (we became friends with that wizard lion an entry or so ago, remember?) have just tried to avoid any danger. That makes it a little hard to write actually INTERESTING journal entries. So... I was thinking I'd take a break from my autobiography and move onto a little fiction.

That's where you come in! It can be hard coming up with good ideas for stories, and I could use a little help from you people. How about it?

If you're interested, comment on this post an idea you have! It can be as simple as "happy fights a dragon" or more complex than that. Give me a prompt, and there's a chance I'll choose yours to write! I'll credit you for the idea, of course. C(^.^)D

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Where are we, again?

Okay, it's been two hours and neither me nor Rainy have figured out how to get out of the maze, let alone how to even move! The floor keeps falling every time we take a step. At first it was terrifying, but now it's just annoying. You think you're getting somewhere and whoops! No you're not. Ugh...

Maze of Malevolence? More like Maze of Maybe. The only "malevolent" part of it is that you have no was to be sure which way is up or down, left or right... blah. It's just too confusing.

"So..." began Rainy. "Any idea how this place works?"

"Nope." I answered.

That conversation has been repeated at least 50 times during our duration in this awful place. The same words, but this time was a little different. It took 50 times to actually think. Hmm...

I looked around, noticing asteroids, giant spaghetti monsters, you name it. But none were walking or even resting on the unstable tiles that acted as tiny islands for me and Rainy.

They were all... flying. 

Upon this realization, I got an idea that could only come forth after two hours in crazy town.

"Hey, Rainy. I wanna try something."

Rainy looked at me surprised. "What?"

"Just trust me– it's a weird idea but I think it will work!"

"What's your idea?"

I looked down from our floating island and grew uneasy. That's a long way down...

"Let's try to fly."

It was now or never, so off the tile I jumped! I was horrified for a few quick moments, but I tried to believe I could fly just like in those weird fairy tales. When it didn't work the first time, I started getting really scared. I could hear Rainy yelling from a while away.

But then... I started hovering!

I looked around, and realized I was in a big soap bubble. It turns out that a spaghetti monster was blowing bubbles when I accidentally dropped into one. I waved at the spaghetti monster from up high.

"Thank you!!!" I called.

The spaghetti monster waved one of its noodle arms at me. Soon, Rainy's tile was coming into view!

"Hey, Rainy! It worked, I can fly! Sorta..."

"Thank goodness you're okay! Yeesh, don't scare me like that. At least give me some warning so I could jump with you!"

We laughed a little until the subject of getting out of the maze came back up.

"So... how are we gonna do it?" asked Rainy.

At this point, I could see another circle of back-and-forth asking come about. Sure, I could kind of hover in a bubble now, but I still had no idea where to go.

We kind of sat there defeated on the tile. It seemed pretty hopeless. That is, until a mysterious floating paper appeared!

• • •

BACK AT THE DEN!!!!

"Aww, c'mon, can't you give them directions or something?" Happy pouted.

"No, no, NO! For the quadrillionth time, that breaks the rules! They have to figure it out for themselves!" Miss Magician Mysterious was obviously irked.

Happy scratched his head. "Uhh... but who made the rules?"

"I did!"

"Then why don't you change the rules?" 

"I don't want to!"

"Why?"

"UGH!!!!" the lion was exasperated. "I've waited an eternity to test this portal out! Ya think I'm just gonna throw some directions at them and let my work go to waste!?" she hissed at Happy.

Suddenly, Happy noticed something purple and swirly by the maze entrance. "Hey... That's a portal, isn't it?"

"Well, yeah, but––"

"So then this maze goes nowhere! They're not trying to escape the maze, they're trying to get out of the portal!" Happy grabbed a pencil and paper.

"Mmhm," the magician scoffed. "That's the beauty of it–– Hey! What are you doing!?"

Happy had scrawled something on a piece of paper and moved to drop it in the portal. The lioness tried to block it, but Happy jumped surprisingly high and SLAM DUNKED THE NOTE RIGHT IN THE PORTAL

"Why, you... How dare you ruin my project!?" the magician asked indignantly.

"Well, how dare YOU try to trap my friends in a maze of no return!"

"I–– Hey, you're right. Why did I even build the portal in the first place? I never wanted to be a magician. I wanted to be a sculptor..."

Happy patted her on the back. "I know how you feel... Want a mango? We have a few inside."

"Sure... Thank you."

• • •

*TO BE CONTINUED IN 2 WEEKS! THANKS FOR READING!*

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Magician's Maze


So here we are, journal. A few days after the most nerve-wracking rescue mission ever, and we're bored.

Bored, bored, BORED!

Can you believe it? I know I can't. Nevertheless, all we've been doing today so far is eat popcorn and fight over who gets to sit on the Fluffiest Pillow In The Galaxy. Happy claims the pillow really is from outer space, but right now we're too mind-numbingly bored to argue. Blah... at least Rainy seems to be slightly more upbeat.

"Hey guys... so... do you wanna go outsi––?"

Prince Rainbow was met with a resounding "Nah," from both me and Happy.

"Well, you're no fun. I'm gonna go outside on my own if you––"

"Go ahead," me and Happy said in unison.

"Sigh... Fine," replied Rainy, "but if you want to join me, I'll be in the yard."

We thought that Rainy would just leave us to wallow in our boredom, but in no later than 30 seconds we heard a startled "What!?!?" coming from the front of the den. 

Rainy poked his head in. "Guys, I think you should check this out."

With many a sleepy groan, we pulled ourselves upward. Happy fell over a few times onto the Fluffiest Pillow In The Galaxy. 

"Hmm... it must have some sort of gravitational pull..." Happy said into the pillow.

Ignoring Happy, I dragged myself outside to find–– wait, what!?


First of all, how did that massive amount of shoji screens get here? And who in Mira's name is that mysterious looking lion? The shock of it all pulled me out of my bored stupor. Happy was a different case and looked unfazed–– sleeping with his eyes open, actually. Creepy.

The equally creepy lion took this opportunity for introductions. "Hello, fine citizens of Jamaa! Step right up to Miss Magician Mysterious's Maze of Malevolence, the perfect place to get lost and NEVER COME OUT! MUAHAHAHAHAAHA *cough cough* HAHAHA!!!"

"Umm... Miss Magician, What are you doing here?" I questioned, trying to be understood over Happy's loud and unsettling snoring. 

"That's Miss Magician MYSTERIOUS to you, common folk! And why am I here? Why, I just wanted to share the UNSPEAKABLE HORRORS of my maze with you non-magical plushies. Prepare to be a-MAZED! With fear! MUAHAHAHAAAAAA"

This magician's "maze of horror" seemed more like a bunch of shoji screens haphazardly nailed together. From the outside, the only horror here seemed to be of the waste of perfectly good shoji screens. Yeesh...

"So, what do you say, normal Jammers? Why not give it a spin? See what interesting tales you'll tell... if you don't die of fright before you get out!"

"I guess we don't have anything better to do, anyway. Why not, Rainy?" I asked, curious to see what disappointment awaited us. Whatever it is, it's bound to be better than another seven hours of nothing.

"I'm not sure, Berry... I mean, what if this really is as horrifying as this magician tells us? It looks cheesy at first, but how can we be so sure? Plus, how did she build this entire maze in five minutes without us noticing? I swear that ten minutes ago I looked out the window and saw nothing. If that's not magic, then what is?"

"Eh... I guess another adventure is better than lying around doing nothing, huh? I know I'm going in. You can stay out here with Happy if you like."

Rainy looked conflicted before giving in. "Okay... but I'm coming with you! You can be incredibly reckless sometimes. You need some guidance."

I scoffed. "Sure thing, Prince Rainbow!"

The lion magician turned her head from whatever she was doing. "I'm glad to see you normies have finally come around. Enter... Miss Magician Mysterious's Maze of Malevolence! I'll see you on the other side... if you make it. MUAHAHAHA!" 

I was about to ask her a question when she vanished completely! Like a hologram, I swear! But me and Rainy had already entered the maze when I began to question the safety of all of this.

Suddenly, the sky was no longer blue and cloudy but violet and gold, stars twinkling and spinning so dizzily that I had to look down to prevent from falling over. 

"Maybe this wasn't a good idea..." I said.

"Ya think?"

*TO BE CONTINUED IN TWO WEEKS ON FRIDAY!*

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Home Again

Well journal, we're all back home! Me, Happy, Rainy... and we even brought back Cherimoya! She'll only be visiting for a while before she goes back to her own village, but until then she's just hanging out.

And I guess whoever's reading this is curious as to what went down in the Crocodile Kingdom. Turns out that the plan worked perfectly! It seems weird with me being so casual about freeing the lions from centuries of being under the control of the phantoms. Our exit from the crocodile kingdom was rather un-ceremonial save for the fact that "Prince Rainbow" had to have a big discussion with the two crocodile queens about wanting to leave the kingdom. The queens were persistent because they did miss their son, but allowed him to stay with his friends–– as long as he wrote letters every single day and visited at least three times a month. 

Back to the lions. No one was really allowed inside the actual castle, but according to Rainy there was this big peace treaty between the crocodiles and the lions. While all of us "common folk" celebrated outside, the Prince Rainbow observed as the lions talked of making the journey to far-off Appondale–– all the way across the map! It was a good thing the crocodiles were generous and kind, granting the lions rations, maps, and even compasses so they could complete their journey. 

Rainy says it was probably because they just wanted the lions out the door as soon as possible, but at least they did so with grace and generosity. 

We all watched them head across the bridge on their merry way to Appondale. They seemed a little bewildered but overall in much better spirits. Snowflake the lioness as well as Pineapple and Coconut hadn't joined them, instead going off to their own clan of phantom-free lions to tell them the news. Overall this was a very happy celebration!

And to think that for hundreds of years, the lions had been under the control of phantoms. Jamaa 1, phantoms 0! Arguably a big win against those octopus-looking globs of tar. 

Then again... would such a big victory be noticed by the phantoms? If so, would they target us!? I need to stop thinking so hard; my head hurts! Ouch!

Fast forward to the present. Cherimoya is outside helping Happy water the plants, Rainy is right next to me struggling to write a letter to the queens, and I'm here... writing in this book. Yep. It feels like it's been so long since I've been able to relax like this! I hope I don't jinx it and start a whole other chain of annoying events. 

Ok, from this point on I will be ultra careful not to get myself into ANYTHING suspicious!

Nope, not moving from this spot!

Staying completely still!

...

.....

.......

...........

ok i'm bored

*TO BE CONTINUED IN TWO WEEKS!*

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Old Friends

The two geckos were not actually geckos, but the lions that had kidnapped Rainbow!

Rainbow himself hid behind Happy as the two "geckos" morphed out of their disguise. As soon as they did, Strawberry rushed over and hugged them. Apparently, they were the lions that had vanished from her camp!

We all watched on in awkward confusion as they talked about where they had been, what stories they had to tell. None of us smaller plushies wanted to interrupt as we probably had no idea what it was like to be separated for so long.

Finally, the topic of what-exactly-is-happening-right-now was brought up. It was revealed that the two gecko-posers had learned from the scrolls all about what they were up against in terms of the phantoms. They also managed to crack a secret code within the ancient text that roughly spelled out "CHECK YOUR MANE" 

They told of how they finally found out what that meant as they turned around, showing two phantoms each latched onto their great manes like parasites. Strawberry laughed and used her sharp teeth to pull them off, and as soon as she did they disintegrated as if they were nothing. It seemed that as she did that, a previously unnoticed sickly yellow sheen to their eyes disintegrated two. Overjoyed with being freed from the phantoms' control, they rolled around in the new Autumn leaves, sneezing and laughing from the dusty leaf mold.

"It's been a while since I've seen you this happy!" happily remarked Strawberry.

'How long have we been trying to rescue Rainy?' I (Berry) thought. If the leaves were already falling, and Alex the crocodile had come to them in June... then one whole summer had passed. 'I can't wait to go home'

Changing the subject, Cherimoya revealed that some of her escaped allies reported that her plan was already in action. All of the North, South, East, and West villages (including Cherimoya's home town, Honeygrass Village) had been temporarily evacuated. 

"I've also called over my sister Elderberry. She's a witch, remember? She has this magic flute that once played, will make all the lions fall asleep for 12 hours. Once she's sure they're all asleep, she'll alert the hidden villagers that it's safe. Then, they'll all help pick the phantoms off the sleeping lions' manes."

A distant low note sounded from the direction of the forest. 

"Looks like she's already here," said Cherimoya happily.

I couldn't believe it. It was finally over, I could finally go home! 

But first...

"I can't thank you enough, Cherimoya. Could we go help Elderberry with removing the phantoms?"

She smiled, full of ease and pride. "We need all the help we can get."

fin

*TO BE CONTINUED IN TWO WEEKS ON FRIDAY!*