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Blackberry's Second Journal: Chapter 10
Quote:Chapter 10: Spaceship Down Under The Wheel

"Hey, Almond," I said while sitting on a sofa, reading a comic book. Almond was awkwardly practicing some sports moves I didn't know about.

"Yeah?" he replied without stopping what he was doing.

"I'm thinking of going to visit a friend today," I said.

"Like we always do every single day," he said. "Who is it this time?"

"Carmel Corn," I said.

"The farmer girl living West from here?" he said, still continuing his awkward moves.

"You know her already?" I asked, closing my comic book.

"Strawberry told me about her once," he said, finally stopping his awkward moves. "So, what are we waiting for?"

"Well, it's actually pretty far. So..." I said, looking at him.

"Heh, no problem! I'll take you there!" he said. He then started running towards the open window in the house and jumped out from it. Immediately, there was a bright light outside and once it faded I walked to the window and looked outside. What I saw next was Albatross floating right in front of the window, ready to fly. Before I could say anything, the canopy opened and he sucked me into the cockpit with his gravity field. When I sat on the pilot seat, the monitor in front of me showed a picture of Almond Cookie from chest above with a five minute countdown right above his head.

"Are you ready to go?" the Almond in the monitor asked.

"Do you know where she lives?" I asked back.

"No!" he replied with a laugh. "But I'm now scanning the area to the west... A-ha! Found her!"

"How far actually is the range of your scan?" I asked, wondering.

"The whole planet!" he replied with another laugh. "Oh, I found a surprising thing at the farm!"

"What is it?" I asked.

"Strawberry is there as well!" he said.

"The more the merrier," I said. "Let's go!"

Without any more sayings, Albatross flew towards Carmel Corn's farm. We arrived there within one minute, and Albatross landed next to Strawberry's car. After I jumped off, he transformed back into Almond Cookie with a bright light. Both of us then walked to Carmel's house, but before we got close somebody opened the door. It was Strawberry and she saw us.

"What a berry big surprise! Blackberry and Almond!" she said in excitement. Carmel Corn followed her soon enough, along with Custard and Pupcake.

"Blackberry! It's been a long time!" Carmel said, giving me a brief hug. "And who is this?"

"Carmel Corn, meet my brother Almond Cookie," I said, which surprised the two girls, two pets, and Almond himself.

"Brother?" Almond asked.

"We live in the same house and we're very close. We're better said as brothers don't you think?" I said.

"You have no home of your own?" Carmel asked.

"Well, it's kinda complicated," Almond said. "But yeah, that's right."

"In any case, what should we do now that there are four of us?" I asked. "I mean, six."

"Oh, you haven't learned about what happened here..." Carmel said with a sigh.

"Eh? Is there something wrong?" Almond asked.

"I will explain," Strawberry said. "But let's all come in first."

All of us then entered the house. Inside, Strawberry told us that most livestock of the farm had been mysteriously disappearing recently. Carmel had thought that the animals ran away, but this morning they found tire tracks. That meant someone had been stealing the animals little by little every night.

"That's just plain horrible!" Almond said.

"It is! That's why we are planning to watch over the remaining animals tonight," Strawberry said.

"Alright, I'm with you," I said.

That night, we divided our task to watch over various areas of the farm. I got to watch over the chicken coop with Pupcake while Almond got to watch over the barn with Custard. I tried to stay awake, but I eventually fell asleep right next to the chicken coop door.

Later, I woke up in the morning, horrified by the fact that I fell asleep during the watch. I immediately checked the chicken coop and found out that all the remaining hens had disappeared. Pupcake was whining inside, probably feeling guilty for falling asleep. I then immediately ran to tell the others, and I found Strawberry, Custard, and Carmel together near the horse stable. Carmel looked very depressed.

"What happened?" I asked.

"We fell asleep, and we lost more animals," Strawberry said.

"This is hopeless..." Carmel said.

"No don't give up yet!" I said. "Wait! Where's Almond?"

"I thought he was with you already!" Custard said.

"Don't tell me that..." Strawberry said, gasping.

All of us then ran towards the barn and found it empty. We called for Almond but there was no answer at all. While looking for him, I noticed a piece of paper placed next to the door of the barn. I took the paper and realized that it was a letter left by Almond.

"What letter is that, Blackberry?" Strawberry asked while approaching me. Carmel was with her as well.

"Looks like Almond left this letter," I said, reading it.

Eventually, I'm not in the mood of helping after all.
Later! I'm going home!
Peace! Almond out!

Maybe someday I'll come again,
Even though I'm not sure.

Remember your promise to take me to an amusement park

"So he went home?" Carmel asked.

"No," Strawberry said. "He's in danger!"

"You realized it too, Strawberry?" I said. "Indeed, he might have been kidnapped by the one who stole the animals."

"How did you know?" Carmel asked.

"Read the first letter of each line except the last two from top to bottom," I said. Carmel then looked into the letter once again.

"H... E... L... P... M... E..." she said. "Help me!"

"The kidnapper probably forced him to write this letter so we wouldn't get suspicious about his disappearance," I said.

"We have to do something!" Strawberry said, quite panicked.

"Calm down! Panicking won't solve anything!" I said.

"So what should we do?" Carmel asked. "We don't know where he is being held now."

"Well, not really," I said. "The last line is definitely a hint from him. I've never promised him such thing."

"Or maybe it's not a hint..." Strawberry said, looking at something. The rest of us looked at the same way, and we saw an amusement park right above a nearby uphill slope.

"A plain giveaway, huh?" I said. "I'll go check."

"I'll go with you," Strawberry said.

"No, you two stay here," I said. "I can vanish if they spot me, but you two can't."

"Vanish?" Carmel asked.

"Blackberry has a badge of invisibility," Strawberry said. "I understand. Be berry careful, Blackberry."

"Got it," I said, starting to walk towards the amusement park. While walking there I remembered that the location of the park was the same as the abandoned farm I had visited before meeting Carmel Corn for the first time. I wondered about who had used the farm to build an amusement park, but my top priority was rescuing Almond so I decided to save it for later.

When I got close to the park, I started to walk slowly and silently towards the house near the park. I could hear people talking inside but I couldn't hear what the conversation was about, so I sneaked to an open window and crouched under it.

"Tonight we will take the remaining sheeps," a voice said. It was a voice of a man.

"Finally, I'm getting sick of this!" another voice said. It was a voice of a woman. It didn't take long for me to realize that they were Purple Pie Man and Sour Grapes.

"Just one more step and we will have that farm to tear down into a parking lot! Can you imagine that!?" Pie Man said.

"I can imagine more failures!" Sour Grapes said. "That Strawberry Shortcake always unbelievably finds a way to get through any rough situation!"

"Heh! There's no way she can stop me this time!" Pie Man said. "Anyway, let's go and survey that farm. That girl might be selling the farm in despair already."

"With Strawberry Shortcake near her, I don't think so," Sour Grapes said. "And what about the boy we caught? I'm sure his disappearance has made his friends suspicious already."

"I made him write a letter saying that he's going home and I've put the letter near the place we caught him," Pie Man said.

"Do you think they will fall for that? I don't think so," Sour Grapes said.

"Are you coming or not?" Pie Man asked.

"Alright alright," Sour Grapes said. I then heard the front door opened. I put Blind Spot on and followed them to hear if there was any more information I could get.

"That boy is a strange one for sure," Sour Grapes said while walking. "All other kids have already fallen asleep, while he didn't look sleepy at all that we had to capture him."

"Stop concerning that boy!" Pie Man said. "Just let him enjoy his time... under the wheel."

After saying that, the two adults hopped on their wagon and left the place. Once they were far, I took Blind Spot off and then I started thinking about where they could be keeping Almond. I didn't understand about Pie Man's last line, so I went into the house. I didn't find Almond there, so I went out and looked around. My eyes landed on one part of the amusement park, and then I realized something.

"The Ferris wheel," I said to myself. I then ran towards the Ferris wheel, and when I arrived I found Almond there. He was sitting on the ground right next to one Ferris wheel support column, tied up with rope around his body and gagged with duct tape. His legs were free, but an extension of the rope was tied around the support column, so he couldn't go anywhere.

"Almond!" I shouted, running to him. He saw me and his eyes showed a relief. I then immediately took the tape from his mouth.

"I'm glad you came," he said while I worked on releasing the rope. "You came because you understood the letter, right?"

"Yeah," I said.

"Sorry for the trouble," he said. "They caught me off guard."

"Never mind that. Let's just get out of here," I said. However, the knot was very tight and I had difficulties releasing it.

"Still not done yet?" he asked.

"The knot is too tight and I don't bring a scissor or such," I said, still trying.

"I think you should... RUN!" he said, suddenly changing his expression. I looked behind and saw that Purple Pie Man has returned and he was running to me.

"I cannot leave you here!" I said.

"There's no use staying if you get caught! Just run! I'll be fine!" he said as Purple Pie Man was getting closer. Almond was right, so I complied and ran away.

Purple Pie Man chased me around the park. To my disbelief, he could keep up with me. I then took Blind Spot from my pocket to put it on my shirt. However, because of panic I dropped the badge and stepped on it while running, rendering it broken. Immediately, I tripped and fell to the ground. My right leg felt really hurt and I couldn't get up.

"This seems familiar..." Pie Man said as he approached me. "Ah yes, you were like this the first time we met. Don't you remember, kid?"

"Heh, I would not forget that," I said.

"And it seems history has repeated itself. Unfortunately, this time I have no first aid kit..." he said, getting closer and laughing.

Later, I found myself and Almond sitting on a seat of the Ferris wheel next to each other. Our hands were tied behind our back, and our legs were tied as well. Because I had indeed sprained my ankle, being tied there felt really hurt.

"Now I will just put you where your friends can't save you!" Pie Man said, activating a lever. The Ferris wheel moved, bringing our seat towards the top of the wheel. When our seat reached the very top, the wheel stopped moving, leaving us stuck at the top. The view was actually nice, but having to view it while being stuck and tied up was not enjoyable at all. I looked to the bottom, and I could see Pie Man and Sour Grapes walking towards the house. They seemed to be talking, but they were too far from me so I couldn't hear anything.

"Well," Almond said. "Any bright ideas now?"

"Uh... I don't know...," I said. "My ankle hurts and I cannot think clearly."

"Might as well just enjoy the view," he said. "It's not so bad."

"Easy for you to say," I said. "Carmel's farm is in danger and now we are here, all tied up and helpless."

"Hey, I want to ask you something," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"Do you still want to figure out what I am?" he asked.

"Not anymore," I replied. "I've figured it out."

"Really? Then what is your guess this time." he asked.

"You're my brother," I said.

"Huh?" he asked, seeming confused. "But that's..."

"I don't care about what you really are anymore. All I know is that I love you as my brother and I want you to stay that way," I said.

"Well..." he said, blushing a bit. "If you say so, then fine. In fact, I'm kinda flattered now."

"Come on, that's not like you," I said with a laugh.

"Let's go back to the farm then," he said.

"I guess you already have the same idea, huh?" I said. He nodded, standing up.

"I think we're really brothers after all," he said, leaping to the bottom. A few seconds later, Albatross emerged and sucked me into his cockpit. He then flew away from the place.

"Sorry, I can't release you while in this form," Almond said from the monitor.

"That's fine," I said, sitting on the pilot seat, still all tied up. Seconds later, he landed on an open field at Carmel Corn's farm. He then used his gravity field to put me on the ground and after that he transformed back to Almond Cookie.

"Pie Man is really good at making knots if you ask me," Almond said, trying to release me. "I'll burn the rope."

After saying those, Almond emitted fire from his hand and burned the ropes on my arms and legs. However, because of my sprained ankle with the addition of having been tied up right there, I couldn't walk well. I had to walk shoulder to shoulder with Almond to get to Carmel's house. When we arrived, Strawberry and Carmel came out from the house.

"Blackberry! What happened?" Strawberry shouted, running to us with Carmel following her.

"He sprained his ankle when he saved me," Almond said.

"I'll get you treatment!" Carmel said, running back inside.

"Are you alright?" Strawberry asked.

"Don't worry, I'll be just fine," I said.

Later, I was sitting on a sofa inside Carmel's house. Carmel was applying treatment to my ankle while Strawberry and Almond stood next to her.

"Sorry for the bother," I said.

"Don't mention it," Carmel said.

"Strawberry, I found out that the culprit was Purple Pie Man and Sour Grapes," I said. "They want to change this farm into a parking lot."

"Really? That no good Pie Man!" Strawberry said, looking upset.

"Turn my farm into... a parking lot? Oh, this is hopeless..." Carmel said, finishing the treatment.

"Hmm..." Strawberry said, thinking. "No, it's going to be all right! I have an idea!"

"What's your idea?" Almond asked.

"First, I have to call my other friends," Strawberry said, taking her cell phone. She then called Angel, Orange, and Huck, telling them to come at the next day.

"Now tell me how I can help," I said.

"No, you don't have to. Just take a rest until your ankle heals," Strawberry said.

"But I'll feel useless if you say that," I said.

"Don't feel like that, Blackberry! You saved Almond and you found out who the culprits are!" Strawberry said. "Just leave the rest to us, okay?"

"If you say so..." I said, reluctantly agreeing. I then spent the rest of the day resting on the bed in Carmel's bedroom. At night, the pain on my ankle kept me awake for unknown hours until I finally fell asleep. At the next day, I woke up still with pain on my ankle, though it had gotten better compared to the night before. I then got up into sitting position, took my glasses from the shelf next to the bed, and put it on, only to find that I had overslept and it was almost lunch time.

"I wonder what everyone else is doing now," I said. Then, someone opened the door and came in. It was Almond.

"Overslept much?" he asked while grinning.

"Yeah..." I said. "The pain kept me awake for hours last night."

"I see," he said, approaching me. He then sat on the bed near my feet.

"What is everyone else doing right now?" I asked.

"You better see it for yourself," he said, revealing that he has been carrying Phoenix Tear with him.

"Phoenix Tear? Have you just transformed again to take it from our house?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said, activating the device. It then emitted blue aura, healing my ankle.

"Thanks," I said, getting off from the bed. "Let's go now."

The two of us then went out from the house, and we saw that the farm had been made into a country fair. The fair had a lot of people visiting to do various activities. What I wondered there was that somehow all of Carmel's livestock had returned.

"Looks like I have missed a lot of things," I said.

"You sure have," Almond said.

"Hey, isn't that..." I said, noticing someone familiar among the crowd. "Pomegranate Parfait?"

"It sure is," Almond said. I then approached her.

"Hi, Pomegranate. We meet again," I said.

"Oh, hey Blackberry," Pomegranate said. "What a nice fair, don't you think?"

"It sure is," I said.

"Ah, Papa and Auntie Grapes!" Pomegranate said, looking to a direction. I looked at the same direction and saw Purple Pie Man and Sour Grapes. They seemed to be talking to Strawberry and Carmel.

"Don't call him as your father in front of him, okay?" I said.

"I know! I'm not that stupid!" she said. After that the two adults walked away from the fair, looking upset. "Auntie Grapes told me a lot of stories about Papa's past. She said while giggling that there were a lot of failures after failures."

"Really?" I asked with a little giggle

"Yeah, but he finally succeeded in the end!" Pomegranate said. "By the way, I'm going home now! I've seen enough of the past and I'm very happy! Bye!"

After saying those words, she ran off to the back of a stand and disappeared without letting me to ask about what she had said.

"She said that in the end Purple Pie Man succeeded? But that means..." I said, looking at Almond.

"Well, if she said so then it is probably correct," Almond said. "Purple Pie Man will eventually succeed in taking over Strawberryland."

"But..." I said, still pretty much shocked and in disbelief.

"Hey, cut it out," he said. "Of course nobody will let that happen. Remember what I said? Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one! That applies to Strawberryland's future as well! We all will work together to make the future of the land a good one!"

"I know!" I said. "It's just that... if let's say we succeed to prevent Purple Pie Man from taking over Strawberryland... Is there a chance that it will cause Pomegranate not to have been born?"

"Now that you mention it... I have no idea," he said. "But believe me, thinking over it too much won't solve anything. Let's just remember what I have said, live our life, and be prepared for anyting that will happen next."

"I guess you're right," I said.

"By the way, once we get home I'll tell you the truth about what I actually am," he said.

"Huh? But why?" I asked.

"You no longer care about it now. Keeping it secret is not fun anymore," he said. "Of course I'll stay as the brother who loves you."

"If you say so, then thanks... brother," I said. Both of us then decided to enjoy our time in the country fair.

However, I still couldn't stop thinking about Purple Pie Man's eventual success...

--End of Chapter 10--
[Image: TheGrapesChildrenSig.png]
- Quite the coincidence that Blackberry happened to decide to see Carmel Corn when her farm was in danger. Coincidence, destiny, whatever word works.

- The riddle was clever. I found it funny, the way the letter sounded so callous and selfish, because that made the meanings so clear even without the hidden messages. Of course Almond wouldn't desert them! (And of course it would be Carmel who would think otherwise, thinking everyone is deserting her.)

- Interesting change of official episode events without changing outcomes. You told me via private message that you originally intended Pomegranate be captured instead. While I can see why that would make Pomegranate tired of the past and want to go home, I also think it would mess up the time-space continuum probably too much, so I think this is better.

- This chapter was altogether very interesting, with good cliffhangers.

Apologies if my comments sound tired and predictable. I am tired.
Stella Grapes Wrote:Apologies if my comments sound tired and predictable. I am tired.
No, your comments sound even better than usual! Big Grin
[Image: TheGrapesChildrenSig.png]

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