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Blackberry Bun's Journal: Chapter 16
Quote:Chapter 16: Chasin' Dumplin'

The day of the Berry Blossom Festival had come. In the morning I woke up in excitement for the festival. My heart was determined that it would be an event I would not miss. I immediately had my breakfast, and while I was having it someone rang my doorbell. I wondered for a while because it was uncommon to have a guest that early but I opened the door anyway and it turned out that the guests were Apricot, Peppermint, and Apple.

"What a surprise! Please come in!" I welcomed them.

"I came to ask if you will go to Berry Blossom Festival," Apricot said.

"Yes of course! That's an event I won't miss!" I replied.

"Apple Dumplin' met Apricot, and Apple Dumplin' go with Apricot," Apple said.

"Strawberry was not with you?" I asked.

"She had to attend a tea party as the opening of the festival. Hmph, formal things are not for me," Peppermint said.

"And not for me either," Apricot said. "I always become timid in events like such,"

"Me too actually. Shall we go now?" I said.

"I don't think so. The real festival will be right before midday, unless you want to sit and wait there until they finish their tea party. Boring if you ask me," Peppermint said.

"Yeah, that would be uncool," Apricot said.

"I see. Then make yourselves at home," I said.

All of us waited in my house for the main part of the festival to start. In the meantime we had some talks and played with some of my devices. Apple seemed to walk around my house on her own.

"By the way, I went to Rainbow's place before meeting Apple Dumplin' and Apricot," Peppermint said, randomly lifting things with Telekinator. "She won't come to the festival."

"Oh, why is that?" I asked.

"Her boat's engine suddenly broke down making smokes and leaking oil. She said repairing it would take the whole day," she answered.

"Couldn't she repair it tomorrow?" Apricot asked, copying some random things with Replicator.

"I told her that, but that kid told me oil coming out would dirty the river if she didn't repair it soon," Peppermint replied.

"Then I think I will help her. With me helping her she might make it to the festival today," I said.

"Yeah, indeed," Apricot said. "I'll try to help too."

"Let's get going then, if you say so," Peppermint said.

When all of us had gone down the ladder, I felt that something was missing but I couldn't recall it.

"Are we missing something?" I asked.

"Yeah, I feel it too," Apricot said.

"Come on you two! Don't you realize that we are missing one person?" Peppermint said.

"Oh yes, we forgot Apple!" I said, facepalming. "I'll go get her."

I climbed the ladder again, then when I opened the door and looked inside, I couldn't believe what I saw. I saw a dimension door in the middle of the living room. Apple probably had played around with Time Remote Mark II which I had left in the shelf that day. I quickly ran towards the dimension door because there was no other way to get her back, but it was too late. The dimension door disappeared right at the time I attempted to jump into it, leaving me hitting the floor. Right after that the other two girls came in.

"Hey, what happened?" Apricot asked.

"Where's that kid?" Peppermint asked. There was a brief silence.

"She's gone..." I answered, getting up.

"Gone? Gone where?" Peppermint asked. There was another brief silence.

"I don't know..." I replied.

"What do you mean?" Apricot asked. Another brief silence came.

"She...she...played around with...Time Remote Mark II..." I answered.

"What?!" Apricot said, surprised.

"I don't know where she went, or to what time..." I said, starting to panic.

"Hey, I don't know your problem but panicking will not help. Calm down and think of something," Peppermint said.

She was right about that. Panicking would not help at all. I then started to calm down and think of a way. I then remembered about Time Monitor, which I had not touched at all since the accident that had happened to Huck. Because Time Remote Mark II was made from the original Time Remote, Time Monitor might still worked. I quickly took it from the shelf and put it on a table, then I turned it on.

"I hope we can get some information from this," I said.

In the monitor all of us saw Apple playing around while holding Time Remote Mark II.

"Listen carefully to anything she says," I said.

"Okay," Apricot said.

However, probably because of Time Remote Mark II being not the same device Time Monitor was supposed to monitor, the voices coming out were quite unclear. We attempted quite a number of rewinds to hear what Apple Dumplin' had said before the remote made the dimension door.

"Is the last word ``Home``?" I said, wondering.

"Yeah, I think so too," Apricot said.

"Does that mean she is at Strawberry's house now?" Peppermint asked.

"No, I didn't make the remote to recognize the person holding it. She must be somewhere else now. A place called ``Home``," I said.

"Okay, now we know where she is going to, but how can we get her?" Peppermint asked.

"Can you make another remote?" Apricot asked.

"I can, but it will take two days. It will be too late," I answered. "Ah, Ginger!"

"What's with Ginger?" Peppermint asked.

"She has a remote with the same function!" I answered, climbing down the ladder bringing Falcon's remote. I quickly revealed Falcon from its invisibility and got onboard. Peppermint and Apricot also followed me quickly and went onboard as well.

"You don't have to go along. The trip might be dangerous," I said.

"There's no way I would not help a friend in need," Apricot said.

"I haven't apologized for what I had done to her," Peppermint said, although I could feel that it was not the main reason.

I quickly flew Falcon Towards Ginger's house. I even rushed the landing that it almost crashed to the ground. I then ran into the cookie factory because I knew Ginger had been keeping her remote somewhere inside it.

"Is it okay to just come in?" Apricot asked when we got inside. "And shouldn't we tell everyone about this?"

"This is an emergency. I will apologize later, and there is no need to spread the panic to more people," I answered, and at the same time found Ginger Snap's Dimension Door Remote.

I then typed ``Home`` and drew a circle with its antenna. A dimension door was formed and we all jumped in. When we came out, we were inside some kind of building with quite a number of adult people looking at us in confused face.

"Err... We come in peace," I said to whoever heard it.

"Who are you and where did you come from?" one person asked and approached us. The man was middle-age and had no hair on his head, his face was quite scary but still had some kindness.

"It's difficult to explain. We just come looking for a little girl of this height in yellow dress with images of apples on it," I answered, explaining the looks of Apple.

"I see... indeed there was a little girl here with the same traits as you just explained," the man said.

"That's a relief! Where is she now?" Apricot asked with excitement.

"She's in my room now. It seems she was afraid of us, so I let her rest there for now," the man answered. "Come with me now."

With relief we followed the man walking inside the building. There was a conversation along the way.

"By the way, you haven't answered my question," the man said.

"Well, our names might sound weird for you," I replied.

"I wouldn't be surprised, the girl said her name was Apple Dumplin' or something like that. I suppose all your names are like that?" the man said.

"Well, indeed. I'm Blackberry Bun," I replied.

"I'm Apricot," Apricot said.

"Hmph... Peppermint Fizz," Peppermint said.

"I see... My name is Cid. Pleased to meet you all," the man said.

"By the way, what is this place if I may ask?" I asked.

"This is the building where all of us, the Al Bhed, live. It has been built since a long time ago by our ancestors in the middle of a desert. We call this building ``Home``," he replied.

"Al Bhed? What is that?" Apricot asked.

"Our race. There are other kinds of races outside. Guado, Ronso, and Hume for example. I think Humes are the ones resembling you all the most," he answered.

Not long after, we arrived in front of the door which Cid addressed as his room where he kept Apple. When he opened it, we were surprised that instead of Apple we saw a dimension door.

"Quick! Jump in before it disappears!" I told Apricot and Peppermint. "I wish I could stay for longer Mr. Cid, But we have to chase her. Farewell!"

All three of us jumped into the dimension door, leaving Cid without proper farewell. I could hear him saying ``Good luck!`` though. When we came out, we realized that we were in a dark alley. We were lucky that this time nobody saw us, but we still couldn't find Apple.

"Okay, now where are we now?" Peppermint said, looking around. "It's so dark in here."

"Let's just keep looking for her," I said.

We kept walking in the dark alley without any result. We even thought that we got lost in the alley because occasionally we saw an area familiar to us. I didn't know how long we had been walking, but it felt really long.

"I can't take this anymore. We have been walking for so long without finding either Apple or a way out of this alley," Apricot complained.

"Face it. We're lost here," Peppermint said.

I couldn't speak any words out. Even I started to feel a frustration in my mind. The situation seemed grave, but suddenly I saw something that looked like a house.

"Look! There's a house there!" I said.

"A house in this dark alley? Yeah right," Peppermint said.

"Let's go there. Apple might be there as well," Apricot said.

We walked to the house, and as we came closer, we realized that it was not a house but an antique store. We entered it anyway and saw that inside the store there was a lot of shelves filled with various things such as puppets, marrionetes, toys, and other things.

"Whoa, look at these things!" Apricot said, astonished.

"Come on, they are just pieces of junk," Peppermint said.

"I don't think so. They still look good," I remarked. "And there's no dust on them. Somebody must be taking good care of them all."

"Is anybody here?" Apricot shouted. There was no answer at all.

"This store is starting to scare me. Let's get out of here," Peppermint said.

"But we still don't know if Apple is here or not," I replied.

"Come on! She should have heard Apricot shouting if she has been here," she said.

However, suddenly all the puppets started to move and make noises. Nobody seemed to be moving them. They seemed to move on their own, and little by little the noises they made turned into music.

"This is freaking me out!" Peppermint said.

While we were wondering, someone came from the back of the store. It was a man wearing nice coat, but his face was covered in makeups of a clown. His face was smiling and full of kindness, but he still seemed strange and a little bit scary for us.

"Who are you?" Apricot asked, but the man did not answer.

"Hey, can you speak?" Peppermint said.

The man did not answer at all. But he started to wave his hands in a certain pattern, and the puppets seemed to react on the movements and gradually the music played by the puppets became better. We didn't realize that we actually started to watch him in awe instead of being afraid of him. Later he finished the music and we all clapped hands. Then he took something from one of the shelves and gave it to me. I observed the thing which looked like a treasure chest and opened it. A music came out from it, so I knew it was a music box.

"It's nice, but I can't pay for it," I said, and the man shook his head. "You give this to me?" I continued and he nodded. "Thank you!"

"Could you tell us about a little girl of this height?" Apricot asked. "Have you seen her?" she continued and the man shook his head.

"Oh well, could you show us the way out of this alley?" Peppermint asked and the man pointed to the door. We looked onto it and saw a busy road visible at a distance straight from the antique store.

"Thank you sir! I wish I could repay your kindness," I said as we left the place. I could see him waving his hand for us and we did the same.

We walked towards the exit of the alley into the crowd of the city. Once we were out, all of us looked around and indeed we were in the middle of a city. However, I felt something familiar with the city.

"Something looks familiar..." I said.

"Yeah, I feel that too..." Apricot said.

"While I don't feel something like that. Let's just find her and get back home fast," Peppermint said.

While the two of us were wondering about the familiarity of the city, suddenly a voice greeted us.

"Blackberry! Apricot! It's you!" the voice shouted, and the two of us recognized the voice. We looked upon the source and indeed the voice came from Buddy, who as usual was riding ChaCha.

"You know him?" Peppermint asked. "And also the strange creature he is riding?"

"Peppermint, this is Buddy and ChaCha. Buddy and ChaCha, this is Peppermint Fizz," I said.

"So we are now in Greenhill? How could Apple got here?" Apricot asked.

"I think she pressed the history button. I saved this world in the remote so I can just press the button whenever I want to visit this world again," I said.

"I'm happy to see you again. There are still a lot of things to show to you. But where are Lemon Meringue and Raspberry Torte?" Buddy asked.

I explained to him that we actually came there not for visiting him, but to find Apple Dumplin' who accidentally came. I explained the looks of Apple and asked if Buddy and ChaCha had seen her before.

"No, I haven't seen her," Buddy answered.

"Oh, I guess we have to look for her somewhere else in this city," I said.

"That girl you described sounds like the girl in my house right now," an echoed female voice was heard. Peppermint was the only one not knowing what voice it was.

"That's a relief! Let's go to the house right away!" I said, and we all started walking.

"Hey, who was talking back there?" Peppermint asked me.

"Sarah. My friend," Buddy answered.

"Why I couldn't see her?" she asked again.

"We couldn't see her too. It's hard to see her in the afternoon because...she's a ghost," I answered and Peppermint stopped walking.

"A...ghost? You're friends...with a ghost?" she said.

"Yeah, anything wrong with that?" I said.

"Yes, I Err...I mean..." she said timidly.

"What's the matter?" I asked.

"Well...umm...I'm afraid of ghost..." she said. "Now laugh all you want."

"I won't laugh. It's fine, she's not someone to be scared of," I said.

"Well...alright..." she said with doubt, and we continued walking.

"By the way, Buddy. Have you told anyone the truth about us?" I whispered to Buddy.

"Yes. Sarah, Hippo Truck, Leopard, Cindy..." Buddy answered.

"Pretty much everyone you have met before except Buddy's mom and dad," ChaCha said.

"I see," I said. "By the way, I got this from someone in an antique store," I continued, showing the music box to Buddy.

"Ah, you found the antique store?" Buddy said.

"Something wrong with that?" Apricot asked.

"No. Actually Buddy and I entered that store once, but after that we never found it again," ChaCha said.

"Oh, that's weird," I said.

"It seems that it is a magical store you only can find if you are lost," ChaCha said.

"This city sure has interesting things," I said.

"Greenhill is a city where miracles happen. That's what people say," Sarah said, and I noticed that our destination was in sight.

Just as we arrived, an old lady I had never seen before rushed from the house. She seemed to be panicking.

"Sarah! The little girl!" she shouted, and we had a bad feeling.

"What happened?" I asked.

"A black hole appeared and sucked her into it!" the lady said, still in panic.

All of us rushed inside to the guest room, and we saw a dimension door disappearing right at the time we entered. However, this time I found my Time Remote Mark II lying on the floor. I picked it up and examined it, only to find that it was broken.

"When I asked where she came from, she answered Strawberryland and suddenly that thing created this black hole right next to her!" the lady said.

"And then she was sucked into it?" Sarah asked.

"Yes. I was really afraid and hit that thing with my stick to stop it from making the black hole!" the lady said.

"Oh great. Now we lose our transport," Peppermint said.

"Your transport?" ChaCha asked.

"This remote is what makes our travel to this world and back to our world possible," I said, which surprised the Greenhill residents there. "Don't worry, I still have another one with me."

"Oh, that's a relief. I thought I had made our guests unable to return home!" the lady said.

"Oh yes. I suppose you haven't met her before. She is the lady who lives here as well. I call her Grandma because we are so close and I feel like she is my grandmother. I have told her everything about you all," Sarah said.

"I see. I wish we could stay for longer but we have to chase her. I suppose it's goodbye again," I said, typing Strawberryland with Dimension Door Remote and then drawing a circle with its antenna.

"Please come again someday," Buddy said as a new dimension door appeared.

"I will. Bye for now," I said and the three of us jumped into the dimension door.

We ended up in a forest, but from the surroundings we recognized that we were in Huckleberry Briar. We walked around shouting Apple's name but there was no answer.

"Hey, I think we should just go to the festival. Maybe she has gone there already," Peppermint said.

"You have a point, but I want to go home first to put my remote and this music box there," I said. "You can go to the festival first if you want."

"I will go with you," Apricot said.

"Hmph, me too I guess," Peppermint said.

We walked towards my house in Blackberry Bushes, and when we arrived we saw the little girl we had been looking for standing right there.

"Apple Dumplin'! I'm glad to see you!" I shouted in excitement, running towards her.

"You really made us worried!" Apricot said.

"Apple Dumplin' sorry. Apple Dumplin' play with Blackberry remote," Apple said as I hugged her.

"That's fine. Now you are here, I could care less," I said. "Let's go to the festival now, after I put this remote and music box inside first."

However, when I was going to enter my house I saw that the button to reveal the ladder was not in its place. I walked to the back and found that Arrowhead was not there. I then came back to the three girls who were waiting at the front.

"This is the other Strawberryland, not our home" I said.

"What do you mean ``Other Strawberryland``?" Peppermint asked. Then, I explained to her about the other Strawberryland where everyone were different. Some girls had completely different looks, Strawberry's hair had different color, everyone were slightly older than in our Strawberryland, and the fact that I didn't exist in this Strawberryland.

"That means it's a lucky catch that we end up here. Otherwise Apple will be stuck here," Apricot said.

"Yeah, but that's not important now. Now all we have to do is to keep transporting to Strawberryland until we are in the correct Strawberryland where we live," I said.

Even though I had said that, it was easier said than done. At the first try we were transported to Ice Cream Island, where we had to walk for some while until we met Honey Pie Pony there who did not recognize me, which meant we were still in the other Strawberryland. The next try transported us to Lower Lollipop and we had to walk again. When we got close to the outfield, we saw a girl we couldn't recognize.

"Who's that girl?" I asked.

"I don't know," Apricot replied.

"You expected me to know? Yeah right," Peppermint said.

"Apple Dumplin' not know," Apple said. Then the girl seemed to notice us and immediately approached us.

"You are... Blackberry Bun?" the girl asked.

"Yes, who are you?" I asked back.

"Strawberry told Apple Dumplin' about you," the girl said. "A friend from a different world."

"You are... Apple Dumplin'?" Apricot asked.

"Yes, Apple Dumplin' is Apple Dumplin'" the girl answered. I scratched my head, seeing that the older Apple Dumplin' still used third person to mention herself, but I decided not to talk about that.

"We're still in the wrong world after all," Peppermint said. "I'm getting tired."

"Me too," Apricot said with a sigh.

"Apple Dumplin' tired," the younger Apple said.

"Me too actually. Let's rest under that tree," I said, pointing at a nearby tree. Then all of us sat down under the tree and had some talks with the older Apple Dumplin'. We forgot about the time and when we realized it, the sun was already setting. We then said goodbye to the older Apple and started our next try. The next try transported us right in front of the tree where my house was supposed to be hidden, and when I examined the tree I found the button to reveal the ladder and pressed it.

"Okay, now we are back in our Strawberryland," I said as the ladder went down and I climbed it.

"That's a relief," Apricot said.

"Now we have missed the festival. That's just great," Peppermint said, looking at the sky which was almost dark.

"Sowry..." Apple said.

"Nah, no need to say sorry," Peppermint replied as I went down the ladder. "Let's go there anyway. We might still be able to see the closing."

All of us then walked towards the place where the Berry Blossom Festival was held. When we arrived there, we saw everyone on the main stage of the festival. Strawberry was wearing something that seemed like a crown instead of her hat.

"Seems we indeed have missed the festival huh?" Peppermint said. "And maybe the closing as well."

"It seems so, but that was quite an exciting adventure we had," I said.

"Yeah, that was totally cool," Apricot said.

"Hmph, yeah I sorta agree with you on that," Peppermint said.

And so, all of us approached the rest of our friends and tried to enjoy what the festival had left to offer.

--End of Chapter 16--
[Image: TheGrapesChildrenSig.png]
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