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Quote:Chapter 8: Blackberry's Slow Journey

"I hate you!" I shouted.

"Fine. Then don't expect me to help you anymore," Albatross said.

"I don't need your help!" I said, turning away and leaving him alone. I then walked through the forest between my house and Huck's fort, full of anger in my heart. That's right, I had a fight with Albatross.

It all started when he accidentally crashed with Falcon and Blackbird while landing, rendering them wrecked and unusable. If he had apologized this would had not happened, however...

"You don't need them anymore anyway," Albatross said.

"What did you just say?" I asked.

"You don't need them anymore anyway," he repeated. "I'm much better than them combined."

"Don't say that!" I said. "There are sweet memories around them!"

"Memories? You should learn to put your past behind you and move forward," he said.

"And leave them like they're garbage? No way!" I said.

"They already are now anyway," he said.

Then our quarrel continued until what had just happened. I really couldn't believe Albatross was that arrogant, narrow-minded, and rude. I had been thinking that he was a very nice, helpful, and dependable friend, but it turned out I was really wrong. However, I then remembered that the future me seemed to get along with his Albatross well, which meant that I would eventually get along with Albatross again.

"Getting along with that no good thing? Yeah, right!" I said to myself, still filled with anger.

I kept walking without knowing where to go until I heard something which seemed like girls chatting while passing by Strawberry's house. Out of curiosity, I went to the back of her house and saw four girls of the main group and Tangerina Torta around the picnic table.

"Of course, there are other ways to get there," Strawberry said, seeming to be thinking. I then approached them.

"Hi, all," I said.

"Blackberry! And just at the right time!" Ginger said.

"That's right! He will be a big help!" Angel said.

"Umm, am I missing things here?" I asked. Strawberry then explained about going to Tangerina's place to see Gladiolus giganticus, a special flower which bloomed only once every 10 years in autumn, but Tangerina had the last train ticket and there would be no other train for a week. "Autumn? But today is Spring, right?"

"I forgot to tell you that every 30 years the flower blooms in Spring instead of Autumn, and this year is the special year," Tangerina said.

"Honestly, that makes me wonder how long that flower has lived," I said.

"So, could you help us to get there?" Strawberry asked.

"Well, I'd gladly take you there but..." I said.

"But what?" Orange asked.

"I refuse! Nope, no way," suddenly a voice we could easily recognize said. We looked at the source and saw Albatross floating above Strawberry's garden. Without giving us chance to speak, he left the place.

"Err, could you tell us what happened, Blackberry?" Strawberry asked. I then told everyone there that I had a quarrel with Albatross because he wrecked Falcon and Blackbird and spoke insulting words about them.

"Whoa, I really have never expected to know that he's so rude! Nope, not ever!" Ginger said.

"You better scrap that thing immediately," Angel said.

"Angel Cake!" Strawberry said, and at the same time we heard a surprisingly loud lightning bolt. Looking at the sunny weather, I could easily guess that it was Albatross' lightning cannon.

"Remember that he can hear everything I hear. You've just made him angry enough to fire his lightning cannon," I said.

"Uh, sorry..." Angel said.

"What are you going to do about him?" Orange asked.

"As much as I hate him, I won't scrap him or such," I said. "I made him over the course of 4 years, too many memories. Moreover, if I really want to do that, can I really do it? I mean, I will get fried by his lightning cannon and flamethrowers before I can even get close."

"Whoa, that sounds creepy! Or should I say crispy?" Ginger said with a giggle, but nobody else giggled and she became embarassed. "Sorry..."

"In any case, all my vehicles are out of the options," I said.

"Well..." Strawberry said, thinking again. "I could get a car."

"Why not? It will take a couple of days to drive there, but you should arrive right on time," Tangerina said. "You all should come too!"

"We could get a trailer too, to haul our camping stuff," Orange said.

"Let's do it!" Angel said.

"Let's go for it!" Strawberry said.

"I... I don't know if I can go," Ginger said.

"Why not, Ginger Snap?" Orange asked.

"It's a long way to be, you know, in a car, sitting," Ginger replied. "I bet Blackberry feels quite the same, am I right?"

"If you ask me, pretty much yes," I said. "But many says that getting there is already half the fun. I'd like to experience that for once."

"As for me, I don't know. Maybe," Ginger said.

"Come on, Ginger Snap!" Orange said, trying to encourage Ginger.

"Yeah, come on!" Angel followed.

"Hmm... yeah okay. I guess I could give it a try," Ginger said, settling everything.

At the next day, all of us were sitting in Strawberry's car which was parked right in front of her house, ready to go. Peppermint and Huck stood near the front gate to send us farewell. I sat next to Strawberry, who was the driver, while the other three girls sat on the back.

"Have a good trip! Goodbye! Don't forget to write!" Peppermint said, waving her hand.

"Okay, so we're going to have to hurry if we want to see that flower bloom," Angel said, writing on her notepad. "The way I figure it, we have to make 400 miles a day with 20 minutes for lunch and two 10 minute stretch breaks."

"So what are we waiting for? Let's get going!" Orange said in excitement.

"Bye! See you soon!" Everybody in the car said to Peppermint and Huck, and then we left the place.

"Bye!" Peppermint shouted from behind us.

The trip went really... slow and boring. Orange Blossom kept singing the same song of John Jacob whatishisname, to the point that Angel Cake got annoyed.

"One more time!" Orange said.

"Orange Blossom, don't you know any other songs?" Angel asked with annoyed face.

"Not really," Orange said. "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. His name is my name too!"

"No more! Please!" Angel said.

"You all have sung countless different songs before. How about we retrace our memories and sing one of those?" I suggested.

"That's a berry great idea, Blackberry!" Strawberry said. "Do you have any suggestion about which song?"

"Well," I said, thinking. "I remember this song. Candy is sweet, ice cream is too..."

"Oh yeah, that song was a beautiful one!" Angel said.

"Sweet Dreams? I don't think it's a good idea to sing that," Ginger said.

"Why not?" Orange asked.

"The song is about, you know, sweet dreams. It makes you sleepy," Ginger said. "We don't want our driver to fall asleep on the wheel, am I right?"

"Oh yeah, you're right," I said. "We have to look for a merrier song then."

"Wait a second!" Angel said. "How did you know about that song? You weren't there that night!"

"Eh... Umm..." I said, panicking because I realized that I had just revealed something they should not know.

"Were you... stalking us?" Orange asked.

"I... Uh... I..." I said, still having no idea what to say.

"Calm down, everyone!" Strawberry said. "Blackberry, take a deep breath and then you can start explaining."

"Alright," I said, taking a deep breath. "You see, the sleepover in Strawberry's house was an attempt to get everyone back together, right?"

"Yeah, I remember that," Angel said. "Hey, how did you know about that too?"

"I met Strawberry when she was throwing the butterfly letters and I asked about it," I said. "So, that night I was wondering if the attempt was a success or not, so I sent my Eagle Eye to go there and find out. That was how I heard the song."

"I see," Orange said.

"If that was the case, then I'm fine with it," Angel said. "Anyway, any other suggestion?"

"Let's see..." I said. "How about this one? Back together, ain't it fun? Back together again."

"Isn't that the song we sung when Honey Pie Pony returned?" Orange asked.

"Yep, it definitely is," Ginger said.

"I saw her in the talent show, but I still don't know how she has been doing when we were away," I said.

"She couldn't get along really well with others without us, so she moved back to Ice Cream Island," Strawberry said. "She returned to Strawberryland when she heard that we have returned."

"Hey, by the time we sang that song, we didn't know you yet, am I right? Huck introduced you to us three days later, am I right again?" Ginger asked.

"I happened to be there, but none of you saw me," I said.

The trip then continued with all of us singing songs we had sung in the past. It didn't last very long, though. We eventually exhausted our throat, so Strawberry suggested an 'I Spy' game. That didn't last long either because it got boring pretty fast.

"Hmm, according to my calculations we are not making very good time," Angel said, writing something on her notepad.

"Oh, I think we'll make it!" Strawberry said. "You just got to remember, getting there is half the fun! Just think of all the amazing sights we've already seen!"

"But it's cramped in here and the ride's too bumpy!" Ginger said.

"I know it hasn't always been easy, but you can't let the little bumps in the road bother you," Strawberry said, and then everyone started singing a song about a little bump in the road.

Some time later, all of a sudden the car had a problem. Smokes came out from the hood and then the engine stopped working.

"What happened?" Ginger asked.

"I don't know," Strawberry said.

"I'll check," I said, going to the hood and opening it. "Busted isolating, vacillating, variable-speed witchet."

"No, couldn't be that. It has to be something else. You must be wrong. You can't be right," Ginger said in disbelief, checking the engine herself. "He's right."

"Can you fix that?" Strawberry asked.

"Easily, in 20 minutes," I said, taking my tools which I kept in my pocket. However, when I was about to start fixing the car, suddenly Albatross flew quickly right above us, and with his gravity field he stole all my tools and escaped.

"Albatross! You...! I hate you!" I shouted.

"Why did he do that?" Orange said.

"Man, I can't believe that he can be so mean!" Ginger said.

"What are we gonna do?" Angel asked.

"I guess..." Strawberry said.

Not long later, we were pushing the car with Custard on the steering wheel. We were fortunate that there was a gas station nearby so we didn't have to push very far. When we arrived we were greeted by a girl of our age. She had brown curly hair and wore mechanic suits.

"Car trouble? New in town, huh?" she greeted as the car stopped. Strawberry approached her and we followed.

"Hello, I'm Strawberry Shortcake! This is Angel Cake, Ginger Snap, Orange Blossom, Blackberry Bun, Custard, and Pupcake!" Strawberry said.

"How do you do? Name's Candy! Banana Candy! Welcome to Banana Boro!" she said.

"Thanks!" Strawberry said. "Do you think you can fix this car? It has busted isolating, what was it, Blackberry?"

"Busted isolating, vacillating, variable-speed witchet," I said.

"Really? Let's see," Banana said, checking the engine. "You're right. This is gonna take a while."

"No, you don't have to fix it," I said. "I actually can do it, but my tools aren't with me right now. So I think you can lend me your tools."

"If you say so, then let's put this car into the garage first," Banana said. We then detached the trailer from the car and then we pushed the car into the garage. Once the car was put in place, Banana gave me her toolbox.

"Well," I said, opening the toolbox and taking the tools inside. "These tools feel kinda different than mine. It might take longer than I said."

"How long do you think it will take?" Strawberry asked.

"Maybe an hour or so," I said.

"Well, that's not so bad. It'll give us time to eat lunch," Strawberry said, looking at other friends. "Is there a restaurant around here, Banana Candy?"

"Sure thing! Right down the road. Great place, fantastic food. Let me get you a cab," Banana said, and she left the garage.

"We're berry sorry for troubling you, Blackberry. We'll order a takeout for you," Strawberry said.

"Don't worry about me," I said, and soon a car horn could be heard from outside. "Sounds like your cab."

"See you soon, Blackberry!" Ginger said, and everyone left the place leaving me alone.

Fixing the car turned to be harder than I thought. The tools I had borrowed from Banana Candy felt so different that it slowed me down significantly. Even after everyone else came back, I hadn't made much progress.

"Sorry, I don't know what's happening, but I had a lot of difficulties fixing this," I said.

"Don't worry, Blackberry," Strawbery said, giving me a packed food. "Here, take a break and have your lunch."

"Thanks," I said, taking the food. All of us then sat on the floor near the door of the garage, talking to each other while I had lunch.

"Really? You're all going to see the Gladiolus giganticus?" Banana said when we told her about our trip.

"That's right," Orange said.

"It's always been Strawberry's dream to see it," Angel said.

"Yeah, I always wanted to see it myself too," Banana said. She then looked at me.

"Err, something wrong?" I said before taking the last bite of the food.

"Can you come with me into the garage?" she asked. I only nodded because I was still chewing food in my mouth. Both of us then walked into the garage. In there Banana took something which turned out to be another toolbox from the shelves and gave it to me.

"Another toolbox?" I asked.

"These are my real tools," Banana said. "The ones I gave you were just toys."

"No wonder..." I said. "But why?"

"It... it was so nice to have you here. I didn't want you to leave," she said.

"You should know that we can't stay here forever," I said.

"Yeah, I'm really sorry. It was an awful thing to do," she said. "I was... lonely."

"Hey, how about this? You can come with us to see the flower bloom. That way you can stay together with us for a while longer," I suggested.

"No, I couldn't," she said.

"Why not?" I asked

"You see, I've never left this place," she said.

"Never thought of exploring outside?" I asked.

"Kind of, I guess," she said. "Maybe I'm scared."

"You won't be alone. There's no need to be scared," I said.

"Well, I guess... I could, couldn't I?" she said. "And I will! Thank you, Blackberry!"

"All right then, I'll fix the car and then we'll leave immediately. You better tell everyone else and start packing," I said. She nodded and left the garage.

Not long later, while I was still working on the car, Strawberry and Angel came.

"Blackberry?" Angel said.

"Yes?" I replied without looking at them, still continuing my work.

"We heard from Banana that you offered her to come with us," she said.

"Yeah, the more the merrier, right?" I said.

"That's berry right," Strawberry said. "But..."

"Let me guess. Not enough seats in the car?" I said, still working.

"You know already?" Angel said.

"I will just sit in the trailer with Custard and Pupcake. Problem solved," I said, still continuing the work.

"That doesn't feel berry right," Strawberry said.

"Yeah, it is gonna feel like we just... dump you, after all you have done for us," Angel said, which made me stopped working.

"Dump?" I asked, then I giggled. "Don't be silly! Just because I sit in the trailer doesn't mean I'm dumped. Then you might as well say Custard and Pupcake are dumped too!"

"No, that's not what we meant," Angel said.

"I will sit on the trailer. No more questions. Okay?" I said, and I continued fixing the car.

"Okay, if you say so," Strawberry said. "Thank you berry much, Blackberry!"

"Don't mention it," I said, and the two girls left the garage.

Slightly less than one hour later, the car was fixed and ready to go. I drove it to the front of the trailer for Strawberry to attach the car to the trailer, and then I went inside the trailer. Soon, all of us were onboard and we left the place. Inside the trailer I couldn't see much scenery, but it didn't matter because I felt pretty tired after fixing the car. It didn't take long until I fell asleep there.

I didn't know how long I had been asleep when Strawberry woke me up.

"Eh, have we arrived?" I asked, still half asleep.

"No, we're at Calico Falls!" she said. "The view is berry beautiful and I thought you might want to see this."

"Why not?" I replied, getting up. We then walked out from the trailer. The next thing I saw was huge beautiful pink waterfalls, viewed from fairly close distance. Words couldn't describe how beautiful the view was.

"You see, this trip is full of berry wonderful new things!" Strawberry said. "Aren't you glad you came, Ginger Snap?"

"Well, I guess it hasn't been all bad," Ginger said.

Soon, the trip continued until the sky got dark.

"It's kinda hard reading this map now," Angel said. "But I know that where we want to be is just over those mountains!"

"Let's get some sleep here first!" Strawberry said, and the car stopped. We then spent the night there.

In the following morning, we continued the trip. I still stayed inside the trailer, but of course this time I didn't fall asleep. I could feel the car climbing a pretty steep slope, so steep that it could barely reach the top of the slope. After that, the road ahead was a winding downward slope. I could feel the car speeding up, but then I heard everybody screaming.

"Strawberry, I think you should slow down!" I shouted.

"Yeah, we should!" Strawberry replied. "But we kinda can't!"

The car kept speeding up through the winding road. The movements made everything inside the trailer including me thrown all over the place. Custard and Pupcake were lucky because they could hold onto the curtain of the trailer's front window.

"Hey hey hey! Take it easy, will ya!" Custard shouted while still dangling on the curtain.

Suddenly, there was a sharp turn to the right. The car didn't manage to turn well so the trailer ended up dangling over the cliff.

"Hold on tight!" Strawberry shouted. However, the weight of the trailer defeated the power of the engine. Both the trailer and the car fell down to the bottom of the cliff, along with all the passengers. I could hear everybody screaming, while I was too shocked and frightened to scream. All I had in mind was that it was definitely the end of everything.

However, suddenly the fall stopped. I slowly got up and walked towards the nearest window to look through it. I was surprised to see that we were floating over the cliffs. I then remembered something and looked upwards. Just as I thought, Albatross were flying right above us. He had just saved us with his gravity field.

"Heh, what a bunch of bothersome kids," he said. He then brought us to the bottom of the winding road and put us on the ground there. Everybody got off from the car and the trailer, looking at Albatross, who was still floating near us.

"Thank you berry much, Albatross," Strawberry said. The rest of us were speechless, probably because we couldn't believe the arrogant and rude Albatross had just saved our lives.

"Albatross," I finally began to speak. "As much as I hate you, I still have to thank you... And I think I know what you are."

"Just stop right there," Albatross said, opening his canopy. "You better go see the flower you want to see first. Come, I'll take you there."

All of us then looked at each other, thinking whether we should accept his offer or not. Nobody said anything, but everybody gave a nod, which implied that we agreed to take his offer. Seeming to know, Albatross pulled us into the cockpit with his gravity field.

"So this is the spaceship you told me about last night?" Banana asked after we all stepped on the cockpit.

"Yeah," I said. "Albatross, meet Banana Candy. Banana Candy, meet Albatross."

"Nice to meet you," Albatross said.

"Nice to meet you too," Banana said.

"Alright, we're just above the house of your friend. Go meet her," Albatross said, opening the canopy and dropping all of us with his gravity field. Tangerina saw us from her tree house and went down to greet us.

"The flower just bloomed this morning!" Tangerina said. "Let's go see it!"

All of us then followed Tangerina towards the place where the flower was located. When we arrived, all of us were amazed seeing the blooming flower. A lot of hummingbirds were flying around the flower, seeming attracted to it. The journey was slow, tiresome, and boring at times, but seeing the blooming flower made everything worth all the effort.

"Isn't it the most beautiful thing you ever saw?" Strawberry said.

"Yep, it sure is!" Ginger said.

"I'm glad that we made it here in time," Angel said.

"Very beautiful," Orange said.

"Definitely worth everything," Banana said.

"Albatross," I said, looking at Albatross who had landed on a nearby open ground. "I think I know who you really are."

"Speak your guess, then," he said.

"You can read my mind or hear everything I hear, but you actually can't. You actually remember everything," I said.

"Uh-huh?" Albatross said.

"You started our fight on purpose, because you knew that if we haven't had a fight and if Falcon and Blackbird haven't been wrecked then we would have never met Banana Candy," I said.

"So?" he said.

"You are me, aren't you? The future me," I said. "I think the future me controls you with a remote or something and speaks through there. I don't know exactly how, but in any case you are me, and I am you."

"Well, you guessed it," he said, which made me happy for a moment. "Wrong again. I'm not you or whatever you just said."

His last line made me disappointed again.

"You're not all wrong, though," he said. "You were right about wrecking your other ships and starting the fight so you could meet Banana. But just that point."

"Oh..." I said, still pretty disappointed.

"Relax, take your time," he said. "But I still feel really sorry about Falcon and Blackbird."

"Ah, don't worry. I know just the way," I said, smiling towards him.

"Eh?" he asked.

Two days later, in the afternoon, I looked at Albatross with satisfaction expressed on my face. I had salvaged parts of Falcon and Blackbird and merged them with Albatross. As the result, he gained Falcon's harpoon, invisibility, and the ability to dive underwater. From Blackbird he gained an extra thruster right underneath the engine.

"There! Now all of you are one!" I said.

"Heh, whatever you want," he said. "But, I sorta like it."

"Now, you need a new name!" I said.

"Huh?" he said.

"How about... Alby?" I said while holding myself from laughing.

"That's not a new name! That's just cutting my name short!" he said, and both of us burst into laughter.

--End of Chapter 8--
Aaaaaah! Apparently I'll never be in the mood to review this one, so I'll just go ahead and do it. Part of this may be that, even though I really really like Banana Candy (in large part because I often style my hair similarly to hers albeit shorter), the episode this takes place in somewhat feels very laggy after a while and isn't one of my favorites. I think it's because so much of it takes place arguing while lost in a car, something that feels laggy in real life. Somehow, this doesn't feel the same type of laggy in vehicles that are not more often used.


Stuck in a Traffic Jam

"You know, on TV, they never show anyone stuck in a traffic jam for as long a time as it really takes. I can see why."
- I forgot who in my family said this!


Anyway, all right, I definitely felt the tension with Blackberry and Albatross. It somewhat gave the chapter a very harsh beginning. Albatross continued to be annoying after, and I can't scrapping him sounded like such a bad idea in the moments (except for it being physically impossible).

The dialog in the car was a mixture of fun and annoying, as per realism. You're good at dialog. I really like Banana and her change of heart. Ha, I think riding in a trailer behind a car is fun. James thinks it's dangerous. It's only dangerous if you don't know what you're doing!

Speaking of danger, you described nearly falling off the cliff very well. Albatross better find a different method of making things happen as they're meant to be, though, because he was annoying. :lol:

I love you and I'm sorry about the wait!