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Blackberry's Second Journal: Chapter 16
Quote:Chapter 16: Take The Time to Listen

The event on Annie's ranch had been over, and all of us had arrived back home. At the end of the event, Annie had given the trophy to Strawberry's team. However, it had been decided by every single member of the team that the trophy should have been given to both teams. So, we had had a group shot photo with both teams holding the trophy and the event had been closed with everybody happy.

Just one day after the trip, after a good night sleep on my bed, I went back to my working table to finish the new device I had been working on. Almond woke up some time later and then he went outside without saying much to me, probably because he didn't want to disturb.

I finished the new device just before lunch time. I wanted to test it out, but I needed something more. Therefore, I walked to the phone in the living room and called Strawberry's house.

"Hello. Strawberry Shortcake here," Strawberry answered the phone.

"Hi, Strawberry," I said. "Blackberry here."

"Hi there, Blackberry! How are you?" she said.

"Good, thank you," I said. "Strawberry, I think I need your help with something."

"What is it? I'll be glad to help!" she said.

"I've just finished a new device and I want to test it out. I'm wondering if I can borrow one storybook or two from you," I said.

"Of course you can! I'll bring them to you!" she said.

"No, you don't have to. I'll come and take them," I said. There was no answer. "Strawberry?"

Suddenly, someone knocked my home entrance.

"Come in! Door's not locked!" I said. The door then opened and to my surprise the guest was Strawberry. "Strawberry? But how...?"

"See?" suddenly Almond followed behind her, and the two of them giggled. "We got him!"

"Almond... Figures..." I said after sighing a little.

"I'm berry sorry for surprising you, Blackberry," Strawberry said, still giggling a little. "Almond was visiting me when you called. He heard everything you had said, so he went to my bookshelf, took two books, and brought me here with Albatross."

"Albatross? But you said two days ago that there would be no Albatross for two weeks," I said.

"It was a mistake. I came up with that time thinking that I was still the one transforming!" Almond said. "My other half here has his own soul power reserve, though much smaller than mine. He can't keep Albatross for long if my reserve is dry or I'm too far from him."

"Your power has been growing so fast lately," I said. "I remember when you only could be Albatross once a day for five minutes. Now Albatross can last for one hour in your normal condition."

"Yeah, indeed, and I don't know why," he said. "But as long as I can always use my power to help others, I have no problem."

"Alright, Blackberry. Now that the storybooks you need are here, what are you going to do with them?" Strawberry asked.

"This," I said, taking the new device from my working table and putting it on the table in the living room. The device was a thick box with an insertion on its top, which was large enough to put a book in. Attached to one side of the box there was a vertical support pole and at the top end of it there was a scanner with the shape of a gun pointing at the insertion of the box. At the butt of the gun there was something similar to a radar dish.

"It looks cool, Blackberry!" Strawberry said. "What does it do?"

"If we put a storybook in this insertion, the device will scan the book and make a dimension door which will bring us into the world inside the storybook," I said.

"That's berry cool, Blackberry!" Strawberry said.

"How do we return once we're inside?" Almond asked.

"I have also made a remote controller for this device. It will take care of everything," I said, showing a small remote controller.

"That's good to hear. So, when will we go?" he asked.

"After lunch I guess," I said, looking at the clock in the living room wall. "Let's have lunch together, Strawberry."

"Thank you berry much, Blackberry," Strawberry said. I then went to the kitchen and quickly prepared bread slices. I then brought them all to the dining table which had a collection of jams on it, and we all sat around it.

"You have so many kinds of jams, Blackberry!" Strawberry said, astonished by the amount of jam jars.

"I like making jams based on the names of my friends," I said. "Actually, I just started making those about one week ago. With my Jam Maker."

"Though some names cannot be made into jams," Almond said. "I can't really imagine about 'angel jam', 'crepes jam', 'frosty jam', or 'tea jam'."

"That would be berry funny!" Strawberry said with a giggle. "Look at these jams! You even have peach jam, mango jam, persimmons jam, and jackfruit jam!"

"The last one is very spot on," Almond said and we all laughed.

"We've only met them for a very short time, but they're our friends too, and I believe they will be in the future. I mean, our future," I said.

"You're berry right, Blackberry!" Strawberry said, and the two of us started having lunch. But soon enough, Strawberry noticed Almond not eating.

"Why are you not eating, Almond?" Strawberry asked.

"Ah yes, I haven't told anyone other than brother about this," Almond said. "I don't need to eat. I never feel either hungry or full."

"Really? But nobody said that you shouldn't eat, right?" Strawberry asked, looking at me afterwards.

"For that matter, I let him decide," I said. "But I think you should eat sometimes, Almond. It's a pity if you never experience the taste of food."

"Blackberry is berry right, Almond," Strawberry said. "You should try eating once in a while."

"Well, if you say so," Almond said. He then took a bread slice, smeared a random jam on it, and ate it. "Well, this one is good enough."

After we finished our lunch, we went back to the living room table where the device was put. I took my backpack from nearby my shelves and put in a number of devices, along with the new device's remote.

"Ready?" I asked. Both Strawberry and Almond nodded. "Alright, put the storybook into the insertion."

Strawberry then took one of the two books and put it into the insertion. I then activated the device, which immediately scanned the book. Less than one minute later, the radar dish behind the scanner gun let out electricity waves, which created a dimension door. All three of us then jumped into the dimension door. When we got out of the dimension door, we saw that we were on an open field of grass with a few trees and bushes around us. I looked around and noticed a castle in a distance.

"Blackberry, where are we?" Strawberry asked.

"Inside the world of your storybook of course," I said.

"I know that, but which part of the story?" she asked.

"If my device works right, it should be the beginning of the story now. Unless there's a flashback to some time before the beginning. In that case we would be brought to that part," I said.

"Well..." Strawberry said, thinking. "This story has one."

"Hey, isn't that Banana Candy?" Almond said. We then looked towards where Almond was looking at, and indeed we saw Banana Candy walking towards us. She looked troubled.

"Definitely not. She's just a character in this story, who happens to look like her," I said.

"She looks troubled. Let's help her out," Strawberry said. We then approached her. She seemed a bit surprised.

"Who are you all?" she asked.

"We're... travellers from far away," I said. "You look troubled, so we're wondering if we can help."

"Oh, I see," she said. "Well..."

She then told us about a celebration of the birth of Princess Strawberry Rose and she was tasked to deliver invitations to the people of the kingdom. Her trouble had been from one house which was completely surrounded by thorny brambleberry bushes, which had made it impossible for her to deliver the invitation. While she were speaking, all four of us walked towards the house she had mentioned and we arrived right when she finished telling.

"It's indeed completely surrounded by thorns. How does the house owner gets in and out from there?" I asked, taking the invitation scroll which had been left there on one of the bushes.

"The owner is a fairy. She can just fly over them," she said.

"Hmm... any ideas?" I said, looking at Strawberry and Almond.

"There are other fairies, right? I think you can kindly ask one of them to deliver the invitation," Strawberry said.

"Oh yeah, you're right! Why didn't I think about that?" she said. "Thank you! I'll get to it right away! Oh, here are invitations for you all! Be sure to come!"

"Thank you berry much!" Strawberry said, receiving the invitations.

"See you soon!" she said, running off.

"So... what will happen now?" Almond asked. "What we just did will make the story different than it's supposed to be, right?"

"I'm actually not sure about that. Let's just wait and see what happens next," I said.

"According to this invitation, the party is still two days away. What are we going to do until then?" Strawberry asked.

"Hey, backpack. Give me the remote for the new device," I said. My backpack then immediately gave me the remote. "We can use this to skip time right to the day of the party."

"Let's get going then," Almond said. Strawberry also agreed, so we skipped time to the day of the celebration. When we arrived at the castle entrance, we gave our invitations to the receptionist, who happened to look like Plum Puddin'

"Let's see... The guest list has 'three travellers' written at the bottom. I suppose you are them, right?" she said. "Banana has told me a bit about you all, but she somehow forgot to ask for your names. Anyway, please come in!"

"Thank you berry much," Strawberry said, and the three of us went inside. The event was held in the castle courtyard, and we could see a baby bed placed at the main stage of the courtyard. The bed had its curtains closed so we couldn't see the baby. Right next to the bed, a puppy which looked exactly like Pupcake was sleeping on the floor.

"I wonder how the baby looks like," Almond said.

"Well, judging from her name and Pupcake sleeping next to the bed, I won't be surprised if she looks like Strawberry," I said.

"The fairies should come berry soon if the event still stays true to the book," Strawberry said, and she was right. A group of fairies soon came flying from above. It was pretty surprising that the fairies looked like our friends. To be more exact, they looked like Tangerina Torta, Orange Blossom, Ginger Snap, Rainbow Sherbet, Apple Dumplin', and the last one which I didn't recognize at first but actually looked like Angel Cake but with darker skin and dark purple hair. They flew straight to the baby bed, greeted the puppy, and opened the bed curtain, which then revealed the baby inside. Indeed, the baby looked like Strawberry.

"The story is different now," Strawberry said. "The purple fairy shouldn't be here yet because of the failed invitation delivery."

"What is supposed to happen here?" I asked.

"Each fairy will give one gift to the princess with her spell, but after four fairies give their gifts, the purple fairy will suddenly come, angry for not being invited. She then will place a berry horrible curse on the princess and leave," Strawberry said.

"Curse? What kind of curse?" I asked.

"A prick from a brambleberry thorn will make the princess vanish forever," she replied.

"That sounds horrible indeed," Almond said.

"But after that, the last fairy who has not given her gift yet will use her gift to replace vanish with sleep," she said.

"But now that all fairies are here, let's see how things will go," I said. "Looks like it's starting."

"I give you wisdom, my darling girl. Be the wisest ruler in all the world," Rainbow fairy said, casting her spell.

"You'll be a gifted ruler when you become our queen. Not just of people, but nature's creatures and all things green. I give you a green thumb, darling girl," Tangerina fairy said, casting her spell.

"For now and always ever after, my gift is one happy laughter," Ginger fairy said, casting her spell.

"The gift of true friendship is my gift to you. You'll be patient, forgiving, and a good listener too," Orange fairy said, casting her spell.

"My turn then," the purple fairy said. "Or maybe you want to go before me, Appleberry?"

"I'm still thinking, Brambleberry. Please go before me," Appleberry said.

"Alright," Brambleberry said, waving her wand. "Since everyone else has taken care of your inside, my gift to you is healing. Be all wounds you will ever receive, healed with no scars staying."

"I think my gift will be this," Appleberry said, waving her wand. "Generosity is my gift to you. Whenever there is someone in need, you'll be more than happy to aid."

After Appleberry had finished her spell, there was a beeping noise from my pocket. I knew that the noise came from the remote, so I took it and examined it.

"This part of the story is over. It's time to skip time again," I said. "And it's for... 11 years? That's a huge jump."

"Yes, after this part there is a time skip until the princess is about as old as me," Strawberry said.

"I see. Let's go in any case," I said, and I used the remote to skip time to the next part of the storybook.

We arrived at a place unknown to us. We were in the middle of a forest, and there was no sight of anything that could be used to lead the way.

"Where are we?" Almond asked.

"I have no idea," Strawberry said.

"Don't ask me," I said. "But I'm sure we're still somewhere within the storybook world."

"I guess so. Let's walk around... Ouch!" Strawberry said, suddenly holding her back neck.

"What's the matter?" I asked.

"I think I got bitten by a bug here," Strawberry said. I then examined her back neck, and indeed one part was red and swollen.

"Yeah, indeed. Are you all right? Do you feel anything wrong now?" I asked.

"I think I'm..." Strawberry said, before she suddenly fell down and fainted. Almond quickly held her body so she didn't fall to the ground.

"Strawberry! What happened?!" Almond said, slowly putting her on the ground.

"Her fever is high. Whatever bit her is probably poisonous," I said, touching her forehead. "Can you do something with your healing power, Almond?"

"Bro, you know my soul power reserve is empty and won't start refilling for two weeks. Even if it is not, my healing power can only heal physical wounds, not intoxication!" Almond said.

"Even if we bring her back to Strawberryland, I don't think there's anyone who can cure her there," I said. "We better bring her to one of the fairies. They should be able to help her, hopefully."

Almond then carried the unconscious Strawberry on his back and we started moving to one direction. Unfortunately for us, similar with Greenhill, the world inside the storybook had no soul, so Almond couldn't use his scanner ability. We could only hope that we would run into one of the fairies.

"Hey! What are you doing there?!" suddenly we heard a voice. We looked to the source and saw that the voice came from Brambleberry fairy.

"We're..." I said before interrupted.

"Isn't that Princess Strawberry Rose?" she said.

"No. She is..." I said before interrupted again.

"I see! You two are kidnapping her! You no good kidnapper!" she said.

"You're wrong! We just..." I said, but once again I got interrupted.

"I'm not listening!" she said, and then she casted a spell on us. I didn't know what happened next.

Some time later, I woke up not knowing where I was. The first thing I could notice was the fact that I was locked in a cage which was not even large enough for me to stand up. Beyond the iron bars, I could see that I was in a small stone house. Across the room was a bed, and I could see Strawberry lying there covered in blanket from neck to toe and without her hat. She was fast asleep but she was breathing heavily, which meant her condition was still bad.

"Finally awake, you kidnapper?" a voice suddenly said. I looked to the left and saw Brambleberry sitting on a chair.

"I'm not a kidnapper!" I said.

"I see no other explanation for you two hurrying, bringing unconscious Princess Strawberry Rose in the middle of a forest," she said.

"That was because..." I said.

"Because you kidnapped her and you were running away from the kingdom!" she interrupted.

"Put that aside for now! Her condition is bad!" I said.

"Yeah, because you two poisoned her to make her unconscious," she said. "I've been trying to cure her, but I can't do anything if I don't know what poison you used!"

"That's not..." I said.

"I'm not listening!" she interrupted. "Now I will only listen if you tell me what kind of poison you used on her."

"We didn't even..." I said.

"I said, I'm not listening anything other than what kind of poison you used!" she interrupted, and I couldn't say anything. "Not convinced yet? Then how about this?"

After saying that, she waved her wand towards a part of the room which had been covered by a curtain. The curtain then opened, and I was horrified by the sight of Almond being unconscious and entangled by brambleberry vines which were growing from a pot.

"Almond! What have you done to my brother?!" I shouted.

"Well, right outside that window is a pile of brambleberry thorns," she said, waving her wand. The vines then brought Almond near the window she had mentioned. The window was wide open and large enough for a person to go through. "I suppose you don't want me to throw your brother there, do you?"

"NO!" I shouted. Of course I knew Almond would regenerate any injuries, but he would still feel the pain and I didn't want that to happen.

"Then you know what to say," she said.

"Uhh... Bug!" I said, suddenly getting an idea. "We extracted the poison of a bug!"

"Interesting. What bug?" she asked.

"Uhh... the poisonous kind that lives around here!" I said.

"Be more specific! There are two kinds of poisonous bug around here, and if I give her a wrong potion she'll only get worse!" she said.

"I... I don't know," I said.

"There's no way you don't know!" she said, waving her wand. The vines brought Almond closer to the window. "Tell me or..."

"I really don't know!" I said.

"You don't think I wouldn't really throw your brother out of the window, do you?" she said, waving her wand again. The vines moved as if they're getting ready to throw Almond out. The situation was really grave, but suddenly someone knocked on the front door.

"Hmph!" she said. Putting her wand on the table next to her. "Coming!" She then flew to the front door and opened it.

"Hello, Brambleberry!" a voice said, and I could recognize the voice as Huck's voice.

"Oh hello, Prince Huckleberry! Welcome!" Brambleberry said. "But I'm afraid the situation is bad now."

"Bad? What's the matter?" he asked as the two of them entered the house. Indeed Prince Huckleberry looked like Huck. He then noticed me and Almond, but he had not noticed Strawberry on the bed. "Who are these guys?"

"These no good villains kidnapped Princess Strawberry Rose and made her unconscious with a poison. I'm now trying to make him tell me what poison they used so I can cure her," she said.

"They kidnapped Princess Strawberry Rose?" he said. "That cannot be right."

"But that's what happened," she said, showing him the unconscious Strawberry. "See?"

"Princess Strawberry Rose...? This... cannot be..." he said.

"Unbelievable indeed. That's why I'm gonna get the information right now," she said, looking at me.

"Brambleberry, do you know why I said that this cannot be right?" he asked.

"Huh? No. Why?" she asked.

"Hello, Brambleberry! How are you? I've just picked brambleberries from your garden for your berry delicious treat you have invited me for!" suddenly someone none other than Princess Strawberry Rose came into the house bringing a basket full of brambleberries. Brambleberry was very surprised.

"I have been with her since this morning," he said. "Whoever this girl is, she is not Princess Strawberry Rose."

"What are you talking about?" Princess Strawberry Rose asked. She then noticed everything and got very surprised. "What's going on here?"

"Then... who is this girl?" Brambleberry asked in disbelief, and she looked at me.

"She is my friend Strawberry Shortcake. We are travellers from far away and she got bitten by a poisonous bug," I said.

"Well, I think I can guess what happened next," Prince Huckleberry said, looking at Brambleberry. She was speechless, seeming embarassed and afraid. "Better release them now, Brambleberry."

"Uhh... Yeah. Right away," Brambleberry said. She then took her wand from the table and waved it. My cage opened and the vines released Almond, who landed on his feet fully awake.

"So you were awake all this time?" I asked.

"Yeah, but I couldn't get free anyway, so I just kept pretending to be unconscious," Almond said.

"I... Uh... I..." Brambleberry said, being very afraid and embarassed.

"Put that aside for now. Now the thing to do first is to cure her," I said, though it was pretty obvious that I sounded upset.

"Which part of her was bitten?" Prince Huckleberry asked.

"The back of her neck," I said. He then examined the back of Strawberry's neck.

"Oh, I know this," he said. "Brambleberry, please get the potion for Berry Wasp poison."

"I... I'll get to it," Brambleberry said. She then took a vial from her shelf and carefully put the content into Strawberry's mouth. She then waved her wand and Strawberry's body shined. After it was over, I could notice her breathing normally again and her face became more peaceful than before.

"Is she alright now?" I asked.

"She should be. Just let her sleep more for now," Prince Huckleberry said. All of us then walked outside the house.

"I believe it's time to settle things between us now," I said, looking at Brambleberry.

"I... I... I'm sorry!" Brambleberry said, kneeling on the ground.

"You accused us of kidnapping, put me in a cage, threatened to harm my brother, and now you expect everything to be settled with 'I'm sorry'?" I said.

"The last one was just a bluff! There's only soft grass there," Brambleberry said.

"That doesn't make you any better," I said. "Everything could be avoided. Strawberry could be cured faster. If only you took a time to listen to me!"

"Please calm down, traveller," Princess Strawberry Rose said. "I admit that Brambleberry made a mistake, but could you please forgive her? I believe she has learned from her mistake."

"I can't ever deny such polite request," I said after sighing. "Alright, fine. Just do me one favor."

"I'll do anything! What do you want?" Brambleberry said.

"I heard someone saying about brambleberry treats," I said. "I'd like to have some."

"Not only some! I'll give you many! As many as you want!" Brambleberry said.

"Did I hear something about brambleberry treats?" suddenly Strawberry came out from the house saying that.

"Strawberry! You're okay!" I said.

"Yeah, I'm berry fine now. Though I have no idea what have been happening while I was asleep," she said.

"This fairy, Brambleberry Fairy, helped us to cure you. Other than that, nothing special," Almond said, which pretty much surprised Brambleberry.

"Thank you berry much, Brambleberry!" Strawberry said.

"I... I... It was no problem... really..." Brambleberry said.

"Also, this might be a bit awkward but... Strawberry, meet also Princess Strawberry Rose and Prince Huckleberry," I said.

"Hello," Prince Huckleberry said.

"It's like I'm looking at a mirror! Nice to meet you," Princess Strawberry Rose said.

"You're berry right! I'm Strawberry Shortcake, and this is my friend Blackberry Bun, and his brother Almond Cookie," Strawberry said.

"Well, now that we're done introducing, let's get inside for the brambleberry treats," Prince Huckleberry said, and we all went into the house. I really hope Brambleberry has learned her lesson about taking the time to listen to what others have to say.

-End of Chapter 16--
[Image: TheGrapesChildrenSig.png]
I wish I had more to say of this chapter! I do like it, and your way of adding in this story was creative! I like the jams bit. I don't think I recall Strawberry knowing who Peach, Mango, Persimmons and Jackfruit are. Did Blackberry tell her about them or am I just terribly forgetful?
Stella Grapes Wrote:I don't think I recall Strawberry knowing who Peach, Mango, Persimmons and Jackfruit are.
First Journal, Final Chapter Part 4
[Image: TheGrapesChildrenSig.png]
Blackberry Bun Wrote:
Stella Grapes Wrote:I don't think I recall Strawberry knowing who Peach, Mango, Persimmons and Jackfruit are.
First Journal, Final Chapter Part 4
Ack, I'm so sorry! I remember now!
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