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Blackberry's Second Journal: Chapter 13
Quote:Chapter 13: Without The Other Half

It was a starry night, a few weeks after the day Almond split his soul between his human body and his necklace. The seven of us, namely Strawberry, Angel, Orange, Ginger, Peppermint, Almond, and I were relaxing on the top of a small hill, lying down on mats we had brought ourselves. Ginger kept telling us about the names of star formations we could see in the sky.

"That's berry interesting, Ginger Snap," Strawberry said.

"Just how do you know all these things?" Peppermint asked.

"Oh, I've all kinds of books about stars stars and more stars! I just love to read about stars and outer space and all that!" Ginger replied.

"Maybe you'll be an astronaut when you grow up," Orange said.

"Yeah, maybe," Ginger said. "Maybe one day someday I'll go there and see those stars for myself!"

"Umm, we all have gone there, right?" I said.

"That's true, but we didn't get to enjoy it for long because suddenly that black hole came up and whoosh! Everything went dark!" Ginger said.

"And that's why you're not gonna catch me up there in the stars. I'm staying right here! That's my future," Peppermint said.

"Someone is traumatized, I see," Almond said with a grin.

"You have no idea how scary that was!" Peppermint said. "Anyway, if you want to go there again, Ginger, of course you can."

After saying her last line, Peppermint looked at Almond. Indeed, Almond's true identity had been revealed to everyone in Strawberryland not long after he split his soul. He had decided not to hide his identity anymore, and had confessed everything to everyone.

"Well, why not?" Almond said. "Shall we go right now?"

"If you are fine with that, which I hope so, yes! Let's go right now and fast!" Ginger said, accepting the offer. With a smile, Almond threw his necklace upwards, which then morphed into Albatross and brought all of us to outer space. Once again, we were all astonished by the beautiful view of stars above and our planet below. I could see the Black Hole not too far from us, but nobody else cared because they were too distracted by the view and Albatross resisted the hole's force with no effort.

"Berry beautiful!" Strawberry said.

"Can't agree even more for that," Angel said.

"I would like this to last forever!" Ginger said.

"Better not. You'll get bored eventually," Albatross said, and we all laughed.

"Almond, I haven't said this to you, but I'm berry glad to have you with us!" Strawberry said. "I don't care if you are a boy, a spaceship, or a soul of a planet. You are you, and we will always be friends no matter what."

"Thank you," Almond and Albatross replied at the same time.

Three days later not too long before noon, all seven of us were sitting in a gazebo at the outfield of Strawberryland. Strawberry was reading out a book for us. The book was about how a man named Phileas Fogg traveled around the world within 80 days as a challenge. He actually arrived back one day late, but because he crossed the International Date Line he got one extra day and that qualified him to be successful.

"International Date Line? What is that?" Almond asked.

"Well, that's actually quite a confusing thing. You know that the planet rotates for our day cycle, right?" I said and he nodded. "At one point agreed by all countries there's a line separating one day to the next. Right now is 21 May at 10 o'clock right? So let's say this gazebo is right at the International Date Line."

"Uh-huh?" Almond said as I walked to the West side of the gazebo.

"If I stand here on the West side, right now is 21 May at 10 o'clock," I said, then I walked to the other side. "But if I stand here, right now is 20 May at 10 o'clock."

"I don't get it," Almond said.

"Me neither, actually," I said, getting back to inside the gazebo.

"Putting that aside, I doubt anybody could actually get that far that fast," Peppermint said. "It's just impossible, unless they were in a jet airplane... or you."

"Albatross can go around the world in 10 minutes," Almond said. "But it will be just pointless if you don't have fun traveling."

"Peppermint, a lot of things are possible. If you have the right attitude, you can find ways around most any obstacle," Strawberry said.

"She's right, as always," suddenly we heard a very familiar voice. Pie Man and Sour Grapes came riding their wagon. "It's all about having a positive outlook. But of course, some things are still impossible," he continued as he got off from the wagon and approached us.

"Like what, Pie Man?" I asked cynically. "Like the thing you've been eavesdropping us about?"

"Exactly! Though I didn't get that 10 minutes you were babbling about," he said with a sinister grin, looking at Almond. "In any case, I'd give every pie in this wagon to anyone who could do that."

"If anybody could do it, Strawberry Shortcake could! She can find ways around any kind of obstacle!" Ginger said, infuriated by Pie Man's words.

"Uhh... Ginger..." Strawberry said.

"Yes, Yes I know," Pie Man said. "But still, she couldn't possibly make that trip."

"Oh, she could do it with her eyes clo..." Ginger said before interrupted.

"Yes, she can do it, but she won't do it," I interrupted, then I looked at Ginger. "Don't fall for the incitement, Ginger. We all know well that he will do anything at all cost to see Strawberry fail."

"Oh, so you're afraid she will lose?" he challenged.

"No, I'm afraid of YOU putting her in harm's way!" I said. "There's no reason for her to accept your challenge."

"No reason, eh?" he said.

After saying that, Pie Man walked back to the wagon where Sour Grapes was sitting waiting for him. Suddenly, he turned around and hurled something at me while saying, "Then I'll give her one!".

I had no idea what he had hurled at me, but at the last second Almond jumped in front of me, causing him to be the one getting hit in the face by the thing Pie Man had thrown. It turned out to be a small water balloon filled with purple water, and Almond's face ended up covered in purple. The purple water then immediately evaporated into purple smoke, and Almond fell down unconscious.

"Brother!" I shouted, holding him.

"What did you do to him?!" Angel shouted.

"Relax, he's just asleep," Pie Man said as some of us put Almond to lie down under the gazebo. "But he will never wake up!"

"What?!" Peppermint said in surprise.

"You no good Pie Man!" Orange said in anger.

"Don't worry. I have the antidote," Pie Man said, showing a sealed purple vial. "If you take the challenge and succeed, I'll give you all the pies in the wagon, and the antidote."

"And if she fails?" Ginger asked.

"You get nothing, of course! But you still can buy the antidote from me," Pie Man said with sinister grin. "The price would be... berries. Yes, all berries in Strawberryland! Fields included!"

After saying those, Pie Man went back to his wagon.

"I'll be back in 80 days, but I don't think you will be," he said, and then he left.

"That no good Pie Man!" Angel said. "Look at what he did to Almond!"

"I hope he will be fine," Orange said.

"Does any of us know what thing Pie Man threw at Almond?" I asked, and everyone shook their head.

"Judging from what he said, I can predict that it was a magical potion," Ginger said. "One that induces sleep."

"He will never wake up...?" Strawberry said. "I hope what Pie Man's said isn't true."

"I sure hope so, Strawberry..." I said. I was really worried that it would be the case.

"Where should we put him?" Peppermint asked. "To be honest, I don't think we can climb the ladder into your house while carrying him."

"Let's bring him to the Friendship Clubhouse," Strawberry said. "It's the closest place from here."

"I'll bring my motortrike," Ginger said. Ginger then went to her house and later returned with her motored tricycle with a cart attached behind it. We put Almond on the cart and then Ginger brought him to the Friendship Club house. When we arrived there, Almond was already put on a bed, with Ginger explaining the matter to Blueberry and Raspberry, who happened to be there.

"That no good Pie Man!" Raspberry said.

"I'll search my books," Blueberry said. "There might be some information on the potion you said."

"Many thanks, Blueberry!" Ginger said as Blueberry left the place.

"So what are you going to do, Strawberry?" Peppermint asked. "There's no way you can make it back in 80 days."

"Maybe not. But I will!" Strawberry said, which surprised everyone else.

"Are you serious, Strawberry? Our berry fields will be at stake!" Peppermint opposed. "We will find another way!"

"Our friend is more important than any berry fields!" Strawberry said, and all were speechless.

Later, at night of the same day, I was sitting next to Almond's bed. I held his warm hand, in mind asking why he had to save me. I also felt really upset because I could only sit there unable to do anything for him. I had no idea how long I sat there, but eventually I fell asleep right there. In the next day, I woke up and realized that I had overslept.

"Strawberry has probably departed already," I said. "I'll be back soon, brother," I said, then I left the clubhouse towards the outfield. While walking, I noticed that Pie Man's wagon was coming from where I headed. I then decided to quickly hide behind a nearby bush. While hiding, I could overhear a conversation.

"With the engine of that boat 'fixed', she will never get far!" Pie Man said.

"So what are we going to do now? Just sit here and wait?" Sour Grapes asked cynically.

"No. That girl always somehow find a way to succeed. Therefore, I must make sure she won't," Pie Man said. "We will follow her!"

"What?! Are you crazy? It will cost us a fortune!" Sour Grapes said.

"Any amount of fortune does not compare to all the berries we can get," Pie Man said. After that, the wagon had gone too far for me to overhear anything further. Knowing that Strawberry had already departed, I then decided to return to Almond. When I arrived back at the clubhouse, Blueberry was there.

"Hi, Blueberry," I said.

"I'm sorry, Blackberry. I tried looking all over my books, but I couldn't find any information about the sleeping potion," Blueberry said.

"I see. Thank you," I said.

"No need to thank me. I absolutely didn't give any result," she said.

"But you tried," I said. "I appreciate your effort, and I believe Almond will do the same."

"Yeah, you're right," she said, and both of us looked at Almond's motionless body. I then sat next to Almond's bed again and stayed there. Hours later, there was nobody else in the clubhouse and once again my mind kept asking why he had to protect me, and also felt upset for being unable to do anything. But then suddenly I noticed that Almond's necklace started to shine. It then faded again, started shining again, and kept repeating.

"Maybe I should try wearing it?" I thought. I then took the necklace and put it around my neck. Suddenly, I heard a voice.

"Hey!" the voice said.

"Brother? Is that you?" I said.

"Pretty much. I'm the soul part put inside this necklace," the voice said. "I'm speaking in your head by the way. Nobody else can hear me."

"Do you know how I can wake you up?" I asked.

"It's not an easy matter," the voice said.

"Why? Because the sleeping potion is very difficult to cure?" I asked.

"That was not a sleeping potion!" the voice said. "It was a soul trap potion!"

"What?!" I said, surprised.

"Indeed! That potion sucked the soul out from Almond's body. When Pie Man said antidote, he actually meant the vial where the trapped soul is contained!" the voice said.

"That's plain horrible. That no good Pie Man!" I said, filled with anger.

"Calm down! Anger won't solve anything!" the voice said.

"How can I be so calm?! Now Pie Man is going to follow Strawberry to make sure she fails!" I said.

"That's why I went through the trouble of awakening myself like this! We both will follow Strawberry and keep her safe!" the voice said.

"Ah, that's right. You can transform into Albatross and bring us," I said.

"Easier said than done actually," the voice said. "Without the presence of my other half... Ah, never mind! Just bring me outside and throw me upwards!"

I immediately did what he had told me to, and the necklace transformed into Albatross. He then sucked me into the cockpit and immediately flew to chase Strawberry. However, just less than a minute later, he landed on Ice Cream Island roughly and reverted back to a necklace.

"Hey, what happened?" I asked after putting the necklace on.

"Sorry..." the voice replied with a lot of panting. "Without my other half nearby, I can't keep the form for long. Not to mention that I used a lot of soul power just to enable myself to speak to you."

"We're not going anywhere at this rate..." I said. Suddenly, someone greeted me from above.

"Hey, kid. Long time no see!" he said. I immediately recognized that it was Raven. "More trouble happening?"

"Yeah, actually," I said. I then told him about my problems.

"So you need a transport?" he said, and I nodded. "Follow me. There's something that might help you."

I then followed Raven to a shoreline not too far away. In there I saw a small boat with engine. The condition of the boat was quite far from acceptable, but there was no leak and there was still some gasoline inside.

"I can't go far with this," I said.

"I think your necklace might say otherwise," Raven said.

"Huh?" I asked.

"You said that the energy source of Albatross, the Sun Stone, is now that necklace, right?" he said. "It might be possible to use that energy source for this boat's engine."

"What do you think, Albatross?" I asked.

"Let me try it," Albatross said. The necklace then emitted gold aura, and the boat's engine did the same.

"Does that mean it worked?" I asked.

"Yes," Albatross said. I then got onboard the boat and sat near the engine.

"Have a safe trip, kid! I wish for your success!" Raven said.

"Thank you, Raven!" I said, and then I departed with the boat.

Thanks to the energy provided by Albatross, the boat could run much faster than it should. However, it was still too slow for me. I started to worry about not being able to catch up with Strawberry.

"We're not going to catch up at this rate," I said.

"Who said we were going to use this boat all the way across the ocean?" Albatross said.

"I have no idea about your idea. So please explain," I said.

"This is just to shorten the distance to our destination," he said. "Tomorrow morning I will have gathered enough soul power to transform again."

"For how long?" I asked. "Last time, you didn't bring us far."

"Not long, but much longer than the last time," he replied. "Remember that I used most of my soul power to enable this telepathic communication."

"Then maybe you should stop speaking?" I said.

"I said 'enable' right? It's now permanently enabled and won't consume any more soul power. Think of it as a permanent upgrade," he said.

"Alright, I understand," I said.

Later, nightfall came and I was still riding the boat with no land in sight.

"I wonder why I don't feel hungry at all," I said.

"Sun Stone's energy. But don't depend too much of it. Eat real food once you can," Albatross said.

"I see," I said.

"Let's stop and get some sleep. My energy will keep you warm and comfortable," he said. I nodded and after the boat stopped I lied down. Like he had said, somehow the hard surface still felt comfortable and the cold night didn't bother me at all because I felt warm.

"You know," I said. "I wonder how your other half is doing now, being trapped inside that vial."

"I think he's not aware, like in a deep sleep. When he returns to Almond Cookie body he won't know anything," he said.

"That's good to hear," I said. "Can't imagine how he suffers if he's aware all the time."

"Yeah..." he said, then I fell asleep a few minutes later. When morning arrived, we continued the trip for a few hours to close some more distance. Then suddenly the boat's engine stopped.

"Alright, it's time," Albatross said.

"Try to land some time before your transformation expires. We can't risk causing a commotion from rough landing in the middle of a city," I said.

"I'll try my best," he said. I then threw the necklace high and it transformed into Albatross. After putting me into the cockpit and closing the canopy, he immediately flew fast. Less than three minutes later, he slowed down right above a city I knew: Pearis.

"She should be in this city by now," he said.

"Definitely. Let's find a place to land," I said. However, suddenly he deformed back into a necklace while we were still about five stories from the ground. I fell down screaming, and then I had no idea what happened next.

I had no idea at all whether I survived that fall or not, and if I indeed survived I also had no idea how long I had been unconscious and how badly I got injured. When I woke up, I realized that I was on a bed in a bedroom. My whole body felt pretty painful, although still bearable.

"Crepes! He's awake!" suddenly a familiar voice shouted.

"Really?! C'erry I'm zo glad!" another familiar voice shouted.

"What happened? Where am I?" I asked, seeing that the two girls were Cherry Cudler and Crepes Suzette.

"You fell down five stories high! You were very lucky that you fell through a tall tree and landed right into a bush below it!" Cherry said.

"Ot'erwize you wouldn't be 'ere in C'erry's 'ouze!" Crepes said.

"I just happened to be there so I brought you here," Cherry said. "But still, you got some minor rib fracture. You'll need rest."

"T'ankfully, your armz and legz are just fine azide from bruizez and scrat'ez," Crepes said.

"I see..." I said. "By the way, where's my necklace?"

"It's right there," Cherry said, looking at the shelf next to my bed. I looked there and saw my necklace. I immediately took it and put it on.

"Hey, bro," I said in my head, but there was no reply.

"T'at necklaze lookz like Albatrozz," Crepes said.

"Because it is Albatross," I said, which of course confused the two girls. I then told them everything about Albatross and why I had the accident.

"Zo you were following Strawberry S'ortcake? Ze and 'er friend Peppermint Fizz left by train two dayz ago," Crepes said.

"So Peppermint is accompanying her..." I said. "Do they know about me?"

"No. W'en t'ey left I didn't know about t'e accident yet. C'erry called me t'e next day," Crepes said.

"How long have I been unconscious?" I asked.

"Two days," Cherry said.

"I see," I said. "But for now I wonder why Albatross is not replying me."

"Well..." Cherry said. "I might be wrong, but maybe he feels guilty."

"Guilty?" I asked.

"You fell because he suddenly deformed while flying, right?" she said. "Maybe now he's afraid of you getting angry at him."

"I see..." I said. Then I looked at the necklace. "Brother, come and talk to me. I'm not angry at you."

"...Really?" a voice came out from the necklace. I could notice that Cherry and Crepes couldn't hear him. "But I..."

"You couldn't control it. I don't blame you," I said. "Though now it seems I cannot continue the trip. Sorry..."

"No! I should be the one who say sorry!" he said.

"Never mind. What's past is past. The main thing now is that I'll be stuck here for a while," I said.

"Not if I can help it!" he said. Then the necklace started to shine brightly.

"W'at 'appened?" Crepes asked.

"It's shining?" Cherry asked.

"He just said he could help me. I don't know what he meant," I said.

"Blackberry! Look! Your arms!" Cherry said. I looked at my scratched and bruised arms, and noticed that they were gradually healing. The pain over my body also disappeared gradually. Three minutes later, the necklace finally stopped shining. I then tried moving my body around, and there was no pain at all. All injuries were gone as if the accident had never happened.

"I never knew that your regeneration can be used for this," I said.

"It took a lot of soul power, though. I won't be able to transform for a week at least," he said.

"I guess we have to travel using conventional means, then," I said.

"Umm, 'ello Blackberry. Could you tell uz w'at 'appened?" Crepes asked.

"You've been talking to Albatross, but we can't hear him so we don't understand a thing," Cherry said. I then explained everything to them.

"I guess I have to go immediately to follow them," I said.

"But it'z zeven in ze evening now and ze lazt train is already gone," Crepes said. "Ze next one iz tomorrow morning."

"You should just rest now. Tomorrow morning we will take you to the station," Cherry said.

"Can't be helped I guess," I said. "By the way. Thank you very much for taking care of me."

"No, I didn't do anyt'ing! C'erry did all the work!" Crepes said.

"Thank you, Cherry," I said, hugging her.

"Cherry love hug..." Cherry said.

--End of Chapter 13--
[Image: TheGrapesChildrenSig.png]
All right, I finished reading this today and I am loving it!

When Blackberry leaves Blueberry, there is no mention of this. He basically runs out on Blueberry whilst seemingly talking to himself. Just a sentence or so saying he let her know what was going on would clear that up, unless I am reading incorrectly.

Otherwise, I don't see any problems in story flow. In fact, this story flow is better than your usual. Not that your usual is bad. This is just above your norm, for reasons I have no idea how to explain. You know by now that my favorite chapters are the attention-grabbing cliffhangers, and this is one of those. Well done.

Now, just because we have gotten this far in the story, I will remind you of my own timeline in white words although I don't really know why 'cause we've spread spoilers all over the place what with the future travel. It is after the 80 Days contest fails for Pie Man that he returns to The Land of Dreams and Sour Grapes meets Somnus. I am presuming this reminder is unneeded, because by my calculations based on the race starting in mid-late May, although we both know how lovely (being sarcastic) I am with math, our time lines are thus far in sync. Anyway, once this story arc is complete, although originally Blackberry had nothing to do with Pie Man's return to The Land of Dreams, I can work in anything if ya want. Just ask me about any specifics if needed. If not needed, ne'ermind this!

Oh goodness, Grapes will be married by the end of the story's year. It's awesome that you have come that far. Although five months is even less time than ten to know your spouse before marriage! (This was the one chronology parallel I couldn't make fit.)
Stella Grapes Wrote:When Blackberry leaves Blueberry, there is no mention of this. He basically runs out on Blueberry whilst seemingly talking to himself. Just a sentence or so saying he let her know what was going on would clear that up, unless I am reading incorrectly.
I considered that Blueberry had already left the place because in the paragraph it is mentioned that hours have passed after the last dialogue. But alright, I think a few details can be added there.

Stella Grapes Wrote:Anyway, once this story arc is complete, although originally Blackberry had nothing to do with Pie Man's return to The Land of Dreams, I can work in anything if ya want. Just ask me about any specifics if needed. If not needed, ne'ermind this!
Well, I actually don't even understand what you mean here.

And thank you. Big Grin
[Image: TheGrapesChildrenSig.png]
Blackberry Bun Wrote:
Stella Grapes Wrote:Anyway, once this story arc is complete, although originally Blackberry had nothing to do with Pie Man's return to The Land of Dreams, I can work in anything if ya want. Just ask me about any specifics if needed. If not needed, ne'ermind this!
Well, I actually don't even understand what you mean here.

And thank you. Big Grin
Hm... I guess I'll explain later, as the story evolves.

And you are welcome.
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