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Blackberry's Second Journal: Chapter 12.5
Quote:Chapter 12.5: End of Paranoia

"BROTHER!" I suddenly heard a shout, which I immediately recognized as Almond's. He came running from behind the girls, and without hesitation he jumped into the river to save me. Swimming with full clothes was not a problem for him, and once he got close he grabbed my neck and dragged me to the side.

"You're really a bothersome kid, you know," Almond said as the others helped both of us to get up to the ground. We then sat on the ground under a nearby tree.

"I'm berry glad that you came, Almond!" Strawberry said.

"Yeah! That was the most definitely best heroic rescue I've ever seen for all my lifetime!" Ginger said.

"Uhh..." I said, feeling awkward. "Thank you, brother."

"Don't mention it," he said. Then I noticed something.

"Hey, where's your necklace?" I asked. He then looked at his neck.

"I guess it fell down into the river," he said.

"But that means..." I said before he interrupted.

"Don't worry about that," he said. "I think we should only worry about those."

As he said his line, he looked at the other side of the river. The rest of us looked there and saw the swarm of berry beetles continuing to devour everything they came across.

"You all may have saved our land for now, but sooner or later they will find a way to return," he said.

"What are we gonna do?!" Angel asked in panic

"So what should we do? Any great ideas now?" Peppermint asked.

"Well, judging from their behaviour the only way to save Strawberryland for good is to bring all of them back to their original home," Ginger said.

"Berry Beetle Island? How on earth can we bring them all there?" Peppermint asked.

"I guess you'll have your answer soon," Almond said, smiling.

"Huh?" Peppermint said in confusion. Immediately, all of us heard a familiar noise of running engine. I couldn't believe what I heard, but indeed Albatross came and used his gravity field to take the whole swarm away. Everything happened so fast that everyone except Almond were astounded, let alone myself who knew that Almond and Albatross shouldn't have been able to exist at the same time.

"I will explain once we get home," Almond whispered to me. The silence continued for a few more seconds.

"Right. I forgot about Albatross," Peppermint said.

"We haven't seen him for a long time, am I right?" Ginger said.

"Yeah, but I'm berry glad that the beetles are now back at their home," Strawberry said.

"Wait a second! How can we be sure that Albatross will bring them to their home?" Peppermint asked.

"Albatross can hear everything Blackberry hears, right? I'm berry sure he heard about everything!" Strawberry replied.

"You're right, Strawberry!" Angel said. "Let's thank him when he comes back!"

"As if he will come back right here," Peppermint said.

"Why shouldn't I?" suddenly Albatross said from behind her. It was an awkward moment for Peppermint and she could only laugh timidly.

"Thank you berry much for bringing the berry beetles back to their home, Albatross," Strawberry said.

"Ah, it was nothing," Albatross said. "By the way, you two look messed up. I will take you home if you let me."

"Why not?" I said, looking at myself and Almond, who were completely soaked. Then, with proper goodbye beforehand, Albatross took both of us to my home. After landing, the two of us jumped off and then suddenly with a bright light Albatross disappeared. While I was still astounded, Almond walked to where Albatross was and took something from the ground. I then saw that it was his necklace.

"Dry yourself and change your clothes first," Almond said, putting on his necklace. "I'll explain after that."

I then went to my bedroom to do what he had told me to, and then when I returned to the living room, he was already there sitting on the sofa, and somehow his clothes were already dry.

"I suppose now is the time to explain," I said, sitting next to him.

"You know where I went this morning? After I got upset?" he asked.

"No," I said.

"I went to him," he said. "In there I asked if there was any solution to your paranoia."

"And his answer?" I asked.

"He said that he noticed my soul power having grown enough, and then he offered to split my soul," he said.

"Split your soul?" I said.

"Yes. Long story short, my soul is now split between this body of Almond Cookie and this necklace. There's no more drawback for not wearing the necklace, though I can no longer transform into Albatross. This necklace will be the one transforming from now on," he said.

"I see, and the Flame Stones? They can't exist in your hands and Albatross' thrusters at the same time, right?" I said.

"Yes, therefore I only can burn my hands while this necklace is a necklace," he said. "As if you'll allow me to do that anymore."

"Well..." I said, a bit timid. "Thank you for going though those for me."

"It's fine! Don't worry!" he said with a smile. "Although, there's one more side effect..."

"What is it this time?" I asked, a bit worried.

"I still never get tired, but now I need sleep just like you and other kids," he said.

"Oh bother..." I said. "Now I need to make a new bed."

--End of Chapter 12--
[Image: TheGrapesChildrenSig.png]
I must confess that while I remember this chapter section, I have no memory of how I commented the first time. So bear with me if this comment sounds entirely different.

The berry beetles scared me. Nothing else in the canon scared me, and I'm not particularly afraid of bugs in general. Imminent destruction is a logical to be afraid of, however!

Anyway, I am still confused as to Almond's decision. Was he reaching a point where he wouldn't be able to transform regardless, or did he make his decision for Blackberry's peace of mind?
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