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Blackberry's Second Journal: Chapter 5
Quote:Chapter 5: Future World Revisited

Two days have passed since the day we had gone to Porcupine Peak to rescue the mermaids. The result of the journey was well worth all the effort. We got to meet Cinnamon Muffin who was a very friendly girl, and Licorice Whip had finally realized his mistakes and since then had become a good guy. However, the journey had also left me with a big question. What had happened to Albatross?

Ever since the day it had mysteriously come back together from burning pieces, Albatross had become somewhat alive. I could no longer control it from the cockpit, but it could fly by itself and it seemed to always understand what I wanted. I just needed to get onboard and it would take me to the place I wanted to go to without me telling the place. It felt like the ship could read my mind. Still, the big question was about how and why it had become alive, and if it was indeed alive, why it was loyal to me? Could it be... Black Currant's soul possessing the ship like how it happened to many vehicles in Greenhill? But in their case the possessed vehicles became able to talk and I could see that they were alive because there were visible signs such as the presence of functional mouth, eyes, nose, and ears. Albatross still looked the same as before the crash landing, so it probably was not the case. I really wanted to know the answer but I didn't even have a clue, so I decided to let it by for then.

This morning, after having breakfast I suddenly felt like visiting the future Sour Grapes, or Stella Grapes to be exact since she had left her previous name by then. I also wanted to know more about her children because I hadn't got to know much about them. Peach Streusel was a bit like Ginger Snap in talking. I also could guess that she was as active as Huck because she had shown good skateboarding skills. She was also unique to me because out of all Strawberryland kids I knew she was the only one who wore shorts, which in my opinion matched well with her activeness. I still didn't know much about the twins Mango Jubilee and Persimmons, but as far as I had noticed Persimmons seemed to lose hope easier than Mango, while Mango seemed a bit harder to trust new people compared to Persimmons. Jackfruit Jam had not shown notable personality, so I still couldn't tell much about him. As for Grapes' husband, I didn't even know his name yet, but the couple seemed to love each other and had been living a peaceful life.

In any case, because I had not remade my Time Remote II, I had no options other than using Albatross' time travel ability to visit Future Strawberryland. I had not written in the last journal that unlike with the Time Remote II, time travelling with Albatross was a bit harder. After disappearing, it didn't simply reappear at the destination time. Instead, it reappeared in a hyperspace-like tunnel which was the place where time flows. The ship then had to fly against the flow to travel to the past or along the flow to travel to the future. At this time, the monitor would show the current time period the ship was on, and after the destination was reached the ship would disappear and reappear at the world.

Without any more thinking, I stepped out from my house and approached Albatross where it had parked itself next to Falcon and Blackbird. As if it understood, it opened its canopy, letting me to get onboard. After getting in, I sat on the pilot seat.

"Albatross, maybe you know this already, but take me to seven years in the future," I said.

Right after I had said the line, the canopy closed and I could hear the engine roaring. The ship then floated up and disappeared from Strawberryland. The next thing I saw was the hyperspace tunnel of time, still giving rough shakes like before. Albatross then flew along with the flow of time and the monitor in front of me showed increasing dates. The trip went fairly well for the first one minute, but suddenly the monitor flashed red with a siren blaring.

"What's happening?" I asked, but a sudden massive shaking answered the question. I looked outside and saw the tunnel having an upheaval. Everything outside looked distorted compared to the usual and lightning strikes, or at least something that looked like them, happened everywhere. Immediately, some text appeared on the monitor.


Without questioning anything, I put up the seatbelt on the seat and held onto the seat tightly. I was quite afraid, but I had experienced worse things while staying in Oz so I still could keep calm and trust everything to Albatross, or whatever was controlling it. I still saw everything visible from the cockpit windshield, and apparently the upheaval also caused various debris to float all over the place. There were rocks, trees, water, and many other things including vehicles and furnitures. I could never guess where those debris had come from, and I could only hope Albatross was skillful enough to avoid them.

Fortunately, Albatross was indeed very skillful in flying through the upheaval while avoiding all the debris. Little by little the amount of debris decreased and the shaking outside seemed to be calming down, implying that we were almost through. However, suddenly a lightning strike hit a large rock nearby and shattered it into pieces of various sizes. The largest piece, which was as large as myself, was launched straight to Albatross. Everything had happened so quickly that Albatross had nearly no time to react. It managed to avoid fatal impact, but the rock still hit one thruster on the right side of the body, causing it to explode and burn with thick black smoke. Another line of text appeared on the monitor.


The flight continued and soon enough we had been through. I was really glad this kind of experience had not happened at the last trip. I couldn't imagine what kind of panicking would have occured if my friends had to experience such danger.

"Albatross, are you all right?" I asked, but there was no response. The monitor once again showed increasing dates, but there was a message under the numbers.


"That's fine. It's still the future Strawberryland after all," I said. One minute later the ship stopped flying and disappeared from the tunnel. The next thing I felt was an extremely cold air temperature. Everything was white with snow outside, which meant that I had arrived at winter season. Albatross then landed on an open field and didn't move anymore. Another line of text replaced the previous line.


"So you indeed can regenerate," I said. I was shaking quite badly because of the cold weather and I was not wearing my winter jacket. The snow outside was pretty thick, but fortunately the sun was shining and there was no snowfall. There was nearly no difference in the temperature of inside and outside Albatross, so I decided to jump out and walk around instead of staying put.

I walked away from Albatross, hands covered in armpits. I knew that not wearing warm clothes in winter was a bad idea, but I had never thought that it would have been that bad. That was also the first time I regretted for having short sleeve shirt as my casual outfit unlike most other Strawberryland kids. The weather felt so cold that I started to feel pain in my hands, and then I heard someone calling.

"Blackberry!" the voice called. I looked towards the source and found out that it was Peach Streusel in her winter outfit. Her hat seemed to be a thicker and furry version of her usual hat. She wore pink fur coat and purple gloves, and looking at her neck area I could guess that she wore her purple sweater underneath the coat without the orange shirt. She still wore the same orange shorts, and she wore violet boots along with purple thigh socks. I kinda wondered if she didn't feel cold, because her shorts and thigh socks were not long enough to cover the entire legs, leaving her thighs not covered. She then approached me running.

"Hi, Peach," I said, still shaking.

"It's been five months since the last time we met! Where have you been? And why aren't you wearing warm clothes at all?" she asked.

"Well..." I replied, not knowing what to say.

"Mom said that you came from the past! May I guess that something wrong happened in your time travel and you ended up in winter?" she asked, which made me speechless because she was so right. "Looks like I'm right! Here!"

After saying those, she put her coat off and gave it to me. Of course I couldn't accept it because the coat was most likely her biggest cover from the cold weather.

"No, I can't accept this," I said. "What will cover you from the cold then?"

"I'll be fine, don't worry about me!" she said. "I insist!"

"Well..." I said with a brief pause following. "Alright."

I then took the coat and wore it. I felt a little better, but a single coat was apparently still not enough.

"Let's go to my house! It's warm there!" she said. We then walked towards Peach's house. On the way, I wondered a bit because she seemed not to feel cold even though she had given me her coat.

"Umm, Peach?" I asked.

"Yes?" she replied.

"Don't you feel cold?" I asked. "I mean, you have given your coat to me, and... you wear shorts."

"Pants are just too hot for me! I love running and playing around! Wearing these shorts and socks keeps me warm enough already!" Peach replied with excitement. "But now without my coat I will get cold pretty soon, so let's run to keep us warm!"

After she had said those lines, she started running. I followed her running, and indeed not long after that I felt even better. Soon, we arrived at the log cabin located at the woods between my house and Huck's fort. The cabin's roof and some other parts were covered in snow.

"I'm home, Mom!" Peach shouted as we approached the front door.

"Welcome home, sweetie!" a voice I recognized as Grapes' answered from inside.

"Mom, I brought a friend!" Peach said as we entered through the front door.

"Who is it, dear?" Grapes asked as she came out from a room. She still wore her purple longdress, but in this cold weather she also wore a long purple coat. She then saw us. "Little Blackberry?"

"Uhh, 'little'?" I asked.

"Sorry, hun," Grapes replied with a giggle. "The Blackberry I know is already as tall as myself, so seeing you makes me think that you're little."

"Yeah I see that.." I said.

"Oh, please have a seat near the fireplace!" Grapes said. "I'll make hot chocolate for you."

"Thank you, Mrs. Sour... uh, I mean... Mrs. Stella Grapes," I said.

"You're welcome, hun," Grapes said, starting to walk towards the back. "By the way, you can just call me Mrs. Grapes."

I then walked to the fireplace and sat down on the floor in front of it. My hands had not been covered well so even though my body was warm enough, my hands hurt and were nearly frostbitten. I then put Peach's coat off, returned it to her, and positioned my hands near the fireplace. She then put it back on her body and stood there, but I could notice from her behaviour that she actually wanted to go outside again.

"You can go play outside again if you want," I said.

"Really?" she asked.

"I think I'll mostly talk to your mom for now," I said. "Don't worry about me."

"Okay then, thanks!" she said, and soon she went outside. Two minutes later, I realized that even though I was sitting near a fireplace, not wearing any warm clothes was not a good idea at all. I felt a bit cold again, but I was too embarassed to ask for warm clothes. Suddenly, a blanket was put on me from behind. I looked at the one who had put it on, and saw that it was Grapes' husband. He was still in the outfit I had seen before, which made me wonder because it didn't seem warm, but he didn't seem cold. The smile on his face expressed kindness.

"You are..." I said.

"Somnus. That is my name," he said. "Thank you for your help back then."

"Oh, it was not a problem," I said as Grapes returned with three cups of hot chocolate.

"Where is Peach?" Grapes asked.

"I noticed that she actually wanted to go outside again, so I told her to," I said.

"That's my Peach," Grapes said, looking towards the already closed front door.

"To tell the truth, I am impressed that in such outfit she can easily withstand cold weather," I said.

"I would rather have her wear pants in this kind of weather," Grapes said. "Well, she actually complied once, but..."

"What happened?" I asked.

"Let's sit down on that sofa first," Grapes said.

The three of us then sat down on a sofa located in front of the fireplace. I sat inbetween with Grapes at my left and Somnus at my right, with a cup of hot chocolate held by each of us. I felt quite timid because I had never sat between two adults, and the fact that they were couples made me felt even stranger.

"So, what happened that she now wear shorts again?" I asked.

"One day, I heard her singing alone in her room," Grapes said.

"What did she sing?" I asked.

"Let me help answering that," Somnus said. He then stood up in front of me and Grapes, put one hand on Grapes' forehead, removed his glasses with the other hand, and then he stared at me with glowing eyes. I immediately felt something strange, and then I saw a vision of Peach, wearing her winter outfit with pants, sitting on her bed alone in her room. She sung a song with sad melody.

My mommy put me in pants,
And I feel... hot and stifling.
My mommy put me in pants,
And I feel... stiflingly hot.
My mommy put me in pants,
Why did my mommy put me in pants?
I thought she loved me...
I'm sad...

The vision then ended, and Somnus sat down on the sofa again. I was a bit confused about what I had just seen. What had he just done? It seemed like he had just projected one part of Grapes' memory into my mind with hypnosis.

"That was... weird and kinda exaggerating," I said.

"That was her tactics," Grapes said. "She knows that feel guilty easily. She made me feel guilty with that song, and it worked."

"Eh, wouldn't that make her spoiled in the future?" I asked.

"I can only leave that matter to my darling..." Grapes said. "He knows how to love our kids but still being firm with discipline, while I'm just a big pushover."

"You are still the best mother I ever know, dear," Somnus said.

"So, what brought you here, hun?" Grapes asked me. "Are the others with you?"

"I just wanted to visit," I said. "I came by myself."

"I see, but coming at this time without warm clothes is not a good idea," Grapes said.

"I know that..." I replied. "There was a problem with my time travel which made me land five months later than I wanted."

"Is time travelling like this fine?" Grapes asked. "I'm actually worried history will be changed."

"It's fine because I traveled forward," I said, taking a sip from the cup I had. "Of course the story would be different if I traveled backward."

"But what if we tell you something important about yourself?" Grapes asked.

"It won't matter. It will be just like I hear the words of a diviner," I said. "I met one during my stay in... a place far away. He told me some things about my future, but I just continued life normally."

"He's right, honey. You shouldn't worry about that," Somnus said. "My cousins also agreed with me."

"Cousins?" I asked.

"Oh, I forgot to properly introduce you," Grapes said. "This is my husband Somnus, the younger cousin of PJ and Sandman from a place named The Land of Dreams."

"Eh? You are their cousin?" I asked, quite surprised.

"Your future self was not surprised when she told him that," Somnus said. "Apparently you have known it already because of your visit here."

"You know them already?" Grapes asked.

"Yeah, I have visited the place a few times," I said. "So you are not... human?"

"I am half human," Somnus said.

"So that's why you don't need warm clothes," I said and he nodded. "And that also can explain about what you just did, although I thought the magic of your kind can only work around dreams."

"Dreams and memories are not much different," Somnus said. "Both of them reside in our mind."

"By the way, where are your other children?" I asked.

"The twins are not at home now, but Jackfruit Jam is upstairs," Grapes said. "He can't stand cold."

"Yeah, that's right," a voice suddenly said from behind us. We looked behind and saw that the voice came from Jackfruit Jam himself. He wore rather thick warm clothes compared to what I usually wore in winter.

"Come and sit here, my son," Somnus said, standing up. Jackfruit then sat on the sofa right next to me.

"I think we will leave you two here," Grapes said, standing up. "Oh, and you can have that cup of chocolate," she continued, looking at the cup of chocolate which was actually for Peach but had been remaining untouched. Jackfruit nodded and then the couple left.

"Uh, hi Jackfruit," I said.

"Hi too," Jackfruit said. "And thank you for your help back then."

"Oh, that was not a problem," I said.

"As you might have noticed, I'm weak," Jackfruit said. "I get cold easily, I get sick easily, my three sisters and my cousins and can all outrun me, play sports better than me, and tire out later than me."

"Eh, I don't think it's that bad," I said.

"Oh,it IS that bad," Jackfruit said. "You probably haven't noticed it, but my legs were not born to walk right."

"Really? Indeed I haven't noticed anything like that," I said. "Wait, did you just say 'cousin'?"

"Yeah, my cousins and their parents also live in this house. Back then you didn't meet them because they stayed inside," Jackfruit said. "Too bad you can't meet them now either. All of them are on vacation to somewhere warm."

"Don't tell me that their father is..." I said. "Purple Pie Man?"

"Yeah, he's their father," Jackfruit said. "Is there something wrong?"

"Uhh, nothing," I said, deciding not to bring up anything more about him. "And their mother?"

"The mother's name is Cranberry Crisp," Jackfruit said. "But we used to call her as 'Berry Princess' until she gave the title to someone else."

"Berry Princess?" I asked. "I think Mango said that when we introduced ourselves back then."

"Yeah, we were confused because mother used to tell stories about her past, and the names you all mentioned were the same as the kids she met in the past," Jackfruit said. "And one of you had the same name as the new Berry Princess."

"Eh? What do you mean?" I asked.

"Strawberry Shortcake is the new Berry Princess," Jackfruit replied, which surprised me.

"That's interesting to hear," I said. "What does she do?"

"I haven't been told much, but there sure is a great deal of responsibility in the title," Jackfruit said. Then suddenly we heard something from the front door.

"We're home!" a voice I recognized as Mango's was heard. The door opened and we saw the twins coming in. Both of them wore their winter outfit.

"Welcome home, dears!" Grapes replied, approaching them. "We have a visitor here!"

"Really? Who?" Persimmons asked, then she saw me. "Ah, little Blackberry!"

"Yeah yeah, I'm still little compared to my real self in this time period," I said.

"Little or not, you're still our hero!" Mango said. "You cured Jackfruit!"

"Eh, that was nothing. Really," I said.

"Hey, now that there are four of us, how about some board games?" Jackfruit suggested, and we all agreed. We then played some board games for some hours.

"It's lunch time now, dears!" Grapes said from somewhere inside the house.

"Okay, Mom!" Persimmons said.

"Come have lunch with us, Blackberry!" Mango said.

"Eh, may I?" I asked.

"Why not?" she said with a smile.

"Thank you then," I said.

"Wait!" Jackfruit said. "Where is Peach?"

"She's playing outside," I said. "Is there something wrong?"

"Well, no matter how she loves being outside, she always comes home before lunch time," Jackfruit said.

"Come on, Jackfruit. You don't need to be so observant!" Mango said.

"That's right," Persimmons said. "She will eventually come."

"I don't know..." Jackfruit said. "I kinda have a bad feeling."

"Come on, Jackfruit! Don't scare us like that!" Persimmons said.

"Don't worry! Peach is tough!" Mango said.

"But..." Jackfruit said.

"Alright then," I said. "I'll go look for her."

"Eh? No, you don't have to!" Mango said.

"If I use my ship it shouldn't take long," I said. "But..."

"But what?" Persimmons asked.

"Could any of you lend me some warm clothes?" I asked.

"Here, you can have mine," Mango said, giving her coat to me. Persimmons also lent me her scarf and Jackfruit lent me his warm hat.

"Thanks," I said as I wore those. The variety of colors made me look somewhat strange, but as long as I felt warm enough I could care less. "I'll be back soon."

After saying the last sentence, I walked outside.

--End of Chapter 5--
[Image: TheGrapesChildrenSig.png]
I love it. Love, love, love it, recognize references, and am so happy you wrote this. Big Grin One tidit; you made a calculation error. Blackberry went to approximately 8½ or 9 years in the future. Babies have over a year and a half (counting the prenatal months) before they turn a year old!

I must say, Blackberry certainly takes unnecessary risks with his life and I would think by now he should be afraid of something going wrong on his way back to the past!
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