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Blackberry Bun's Journal: Final Chapter 2
Quote:Part 2: New Land, New Adventure

A small glimpse of light...
Is that light... a star...?
Or... Just a hallucination...?
Or perhaps... a light of hope...?

"Either way, this is better than doing nothing," I said, getting back to my full consciousnes. Everyone else were still unconscious, probably because of the shock and fear which had happened. I then looked at the purple button at the far corner of the control panel. Albatross' engine still couldn't be started in the unknown space, so the only option available was the button I had made on nearly all of my devices.

Without any second thought, I pressed the button. Soon, large jet flames came out from Albatross' rear and it accelerated with astronomical rate. The acceleration was so intense that I could feel the pressure, despite the still-working gravity field. As I struggled to maintain control of Albatross, the glimpse of light grew larger and larger until everything was covered by bright light.

When I regained vision, I saw that we were back to space. I looked to the rear and saw that we had come out from a vortex similar to the Black Hole, but the color of the vortex was white.

"Came in into Black Hole, and came out from... White Hole?" I thought. "Kinda... strange..."

Soon, the overcharge ended and the engine stopped, leaving Albatross gliding in space. The planet I knew was in sight though, so the situation was not that grave. Soon, everybody else started to wake up one by one.

"Where are we...?" Angel asked.

"What happened...? Orange asked.

"Are you all right, Apple Dumplin'?" Strawberry asked Apple.

"Apple Dumplin' scared..." Apple replied.

"Hey Blackberry. I thought we have been sucked by... what was the name... Black Hole?" Huck asked.

"We managed to escape from it," I replied.

"What? I have read that anything which enters Black Hole will never come out again. Nope, not ever!" Ginger said. "Does that mean we are the first ones who escaped from Black Hole, huh Blackberry?"

"Maybe..." I replied.

"Well, now I think I can sorta count on you," Peppermint said, but a few seconds later Albatross' engine exploded because of the overcharge. "Hmph, I take back my words."

"What happened?" Huck asked.

"The engine blew up," I replied. "I believe everyone knows that it always happen if I overcharge the engine."

"How can you be so calm now?!" Angel shouted. "This is gonna cost us our lives!"

"Hey, I learn from my mistake," I replied. "This time, I have put reserve engine in case of this."

After saying those, I started Albatross' reserve engine which was located under the main engine, and piloted the ship towards the planet. Everyone were calm again and I was glad nothing really bad happened to us. However, soon I noticed something weird as Albatross flew closer to the atmosphere of the planet. The limit in the sky was not there. That gave me a bad feeling but I had no idea whether I should tell everyone else or not. While I was pondering, suddenly Albatross' reserve engine blew up.

"Why that one blew up too?!" Strawberry asked.

"Apple scared..." Apple said, hugging Strawberry and leaking tears.

"I have no idea, but I promise none of us will get hurt," I said.

Even though I had said those, I myself was not sure if we would be able to survive the fall unhurt. Maintaining control of falling Albatross was easier said than done. As it fell through the clouds, I struggled to keep its balance. Soon, we passed the clouds and we saw a small village we had never seen before. Albatross fell directly towards the village so I had no choice other than doing an emergency landing right in the middle of that village.

"Everybody, brace yourselves!" I shouted as Albatross came closer to the ground. Soon, it touched the ground and drifted sideways with hard friction. Not long after, it finally came to a complete stop.

"Get out of here now! It might blow up again soon!" I shouted, opening the hatch. All of us quickly jumped out from Albatross, I was the last, and ran as far as possible from it. Albatross didn't explode like I had feared, but looking at its shape and also the thick black smokes coming out from it, it was assured that Albatross was no more.

"Where are we now?" Orange asked.

"I don't know. I have never seen this place before," I said.

"How can we get back home?" Angel asked, but before I could give any answer, someone shouted at us.

"Who are you and what are you doing here?!" the voice shouted. We looked towards the source and got surprised. The voice came from someone who looked like a witch, but the more surprising thing was that the witch was very similar to Sour Grapes.

"Sour Grapes?" Orange said, wondering.

"Who is Sour Grapes? I am Gladys and I don't know any Sour Grapes. Now answer my question!" the witch said.

"Well, we are travellers and we got an accident," I said.

"Aww, poor you..." the witch said. "I will give you all a shelter."

"Really? Thanks!" Huck said.

"Yes, I will give a nice shelter... in the dungeon!" the witch said, pointing her crescent moon wand to the side. A green lightning came out from it and hit a door which immediately opened. We immediately realized that we have just met a wicked witch instead of a nice one.

"What if we refuse?" Peppermint asked, challenging the witch.

"Oh no you can't!" the witch said, pointing her wand towards us. The same green lightning came out and hit us all. Immediately after, all of us were magically lifted from the ground, unable to move. "Now go into the dungeon and spend the rest of your life there!"

With a wicked laugh, the witch moved her wand to point towards the dungeon door, and all of us started to float towards it. There was nothing we could do. However, the witch noticed something.

"Wait! You!" she said, pointing her wand. Strawberry stopped to float while the rest of us kept floating into the dungeon. Once the last person entered, the dungeon door shut itself, leaving all of us except Strawberry trapped inside.

Outside, the witch had taken the float spell away from Strawberry. Through the dungeon bars, we could see her standing, facing the witch.

"You have something that I want! Come with me!" the witch said.

"..." Strawberry was silent, looking at us.

"What? Worried about your friends?" the witch asked.

"Please, let them go," Strawberry said.

"Alright, I will promise this," the witch said. "Now you come with me, and once I'm done with you I will release you and your friends."

"Will you keep your promise?" Strawberry asked.

"Yes! So, are you coming with me?" the witch asked back.

Strawberry replied with a weak nod, and soon the witch put the float spell on Strawberry again. Soon, the witch left riding a winged monkey, carrying Strawberry with her.

"Damn!" Huck shouted, hitting the dungeon door with his fist. "What is that witch going to do to Strawberry?!"

Inside the dungeon, the condition was not good at all. Apple kept crying because she was so worried about her big sister. Angel and Orange sat by her side, trying to calm her down with no success. The rest, including me, were talking about how to get out of there.

"Hey, you have that key right?" Peppermint asked me.

"You mean Key Master? I tried it while we were watching Strawberry. It seems the door is locked by magic, so it was no good," I replied.

"How about your dimension door?" Huck asked.

"Well..." I said, taking Time Remote II from my pocket. "Outside this dungeon."

Instead of making a dimension door, the remote vibrated hard and covered itself in electricity waves. I threw it to the corner of the dungeon just a few seconds before it blew up with quite an amount of black smoke.

"Looks like the Black Hole has broken it," I said.

"That means, this too?" Huck asked, taking Ginger's remote from his pocket.

"Hey, isn't that my Amazing Dimension Door Remote?" Ginger asked.

"Yeah, I was going to return this to you today," Huck replied.

"Let me try..." I said, asking Huck to give the remote to me. I then typed the words "Outside dungeon" and then the remote met its demise like my remote. "No good," I said.

"Don't you have any other things?" Peppermint asked.

"Well, let's see..." I replied, searching inside my pocket. "I have Key Master, Inner Heart, Paraplu, and Vision."

"That's all, huh Blackberry?" Ginger asked, looking at the four devices I had put on the floor.

"That's all," I replied.

"Oh, I should have stayed home..." Peppermint said. "This is not good at all."

"We have to find a way out of here fast or that witch will do something bad to Strawberry!" Huck said, quite panicked.

"And it's your fault for bringing us all here!" Peppermint said, pointing at me.

"Hey, we can't blame him! It was not his fault that Black Hole sucked us, am I right?" Ginger said, defending me.

Soon, there was an uproar inside the dungeon. Nearly everybody inside fought each other with mouth, and I was involved in it too. It lasted for some minutes until Orange shouted.

"Stop it, everybody!" she shouted, and everyone suddenly fell silent. "Please, we have to be calm."

"Yeah... you're right," I said.

"All of us panicked that we couldn't think clearly," Huck said.

"Not to mention that we are all tired from our disastrous trip," I said. "Let's get some rest first. After that, we can start thinking of a way to get out of here."

Everyone agreed to my suggestion and went to get some sleep. However, I was so worried about Strawberry that I couldn't sleep, so I just pretended to sleep. That being said, I eventually fell asleep for real because of the fatigue I had gotten.

Later, nightfall came and all of us were asleep. There was no lighting inside the dungeon so the only visible thing there was the moonlight from outside coming through the bars of the dungeon door. Suddenly, the door opened by itself, waking all of us up. We saw a shadowy figure coming into the dungeon. It was not the witch, because the silhouette was clearly different.

"You're not the witch... who are you?" I asked.

"First, let's brighten up a bit," the figure replied, waving a wand. Immediately, a few balls of light came out from it and floated around the ceiling. Those balls illuminated the whole room, enabling us to see the figure. Once again, we were surprised. The figure was apparently very similar to Plum Puddin', but taller and older.

"Plum Puddin'?" Angel asked.

"Who is Plum Puddin'? My name is Glinda and I don't know any Plum Puddin'," The figure replied.

"Are you... a witch too? Like Gladys?" Orange asked.

"Yes, I'm a witch. A good witch," Glinda answered. "And to tell the truth... Gladys is my sister."

"You are her sister? Then, do you know where she took Strawberry?" I asked.

"Sorry, I don't know what your problem is. I was just told that Gladys had taken prisoners here, and I'm here to release you all," Glinda said.

"Before putting us here, she said that Strawberry had something she wanted," I said.

"And then that mean witch took Strawberry with her to who knows where, am I right?" Ginger said.

"So she has taken your friend..." Glinda said, thinking.

"Do you know what might be the thing she wanted from Strawberry?" Huck asked.

"Well..." Glinda said with a brief pause. "I know that she was frustated because she was so close in making a legendary potion, but she lacked one ingredient. She once said that she needed a redhead."

"Redhead? Strawberry is a redhead. Don't tell me she is going to use Strawberry as the last ingredient. Yeah right..." Peppermint said.

"Wow, that means the mean witch is going to throw Strawberry into a boiling cauldron like I have seen in many fairy tales. Yep, she sure will," Ginger said.

"Strawberry... boil...?" Apple said, starting to leak tears again.

"We can't let that happen!" Angel said.

"We must stop her!" Orange said.

"Please, take us to where she is now before she harms Strawberry!" Huck said.

"She lives in a small castle to the West," Glinda said. "I can take you there but..."

"We can't waste time. Just do it now!" Peppermint said.

"Oh, okay..." Glinda said, and she waved her wand. Green dust came out from it and surrounded all of us. When the dust cleared, we were already on an open field of grass with a small castle visible not so far from us.

"This is the closest I can take you," Glinda said.

"We can't waste time searching inside that castle. Do you know where she is holding Strawberry in there?" I asked.

"If she is really going to use your friend to make a potion, she should be in the b..." Glinda replied, before suddenly a water balloon fell from above and hit her. Right after that, she turned into stone. All of us gasped and looked above, only to see the winged monkey we had seen before attacking us by throwing water balloons filled by some kind of petrification potion.

"Quick! Come close to me!" I shouted, quickly taking Paraplu from my pocket and throwing it upwards. A light barrier formed and protected us from the attack.

"Glad that you have this," Huck said.

"But we're not gonna enter the castle if we just stand here!" Angel said.

"Nobody reminded me to make it mobile..." I thought in my mind, looking at the winged monkey above. It seemed to have noticed the barrier so it stopped throwing the potions, but it kept watching us with quite an amount of water balloons ready in its grip.

"Come on, think think think..." Ginger said, walking around in circles. Then she snapped her finger. "I've got an idea!"

Ginger then told us her idea and everyone agreed that it was worth a try.

"Okay, on the countdown," I said, preparing to deactivate Paraplu. "Three... two... one... GO!"

I then deactivated Paraplu and started running as fast as I could. As planned, everyone ran in different directions and that successfully confused the monkey. However, the monkey was quite smart that it started to chase one target, which was me. I was lucky that it missed two throws, but I didn't think it will miss the third time. While still running, I got an idea that was quite a gamble, but still worth trying than only running. I then took the deactivated Paraplu from my pocket and threw it upwards while still running. I still kept running for a few seconds until I looked back and saw that the monkey has been stuck inside Paraplu's barrier.

"Jackpot," I said while catching my breath.

"Wow, what happened?" Huck asked as he came close to me.

"Paraplu's barrier is made to block any water from either direction. I remembered that living creatures consist of 75% water inside so it can be used like this," I answered.

"Well, I don't understand much, but it's great that you could think of this," he said.

"We have no time to waste. Let's meet the others and enter the castle," I said.

Soon, we met the others and walked towards the castle. When we got closer, we saw the petrified Glinda we had almost forgotten.

"What about Glinda...?" Angel asked.

"Well..." Ginger said. "I have no idea. Nope, not at all."

"Don't worry about me," a voice was heard, and immediately with a flash of light Glinda came back to her normal self.

"Glinda!" Orange said, coming to hug Glinda.

"That petrification potion only lasts for five minutes," Glinda said while receiving a hug from Orange. "But still, I can't accompany you inside."

"Why not?" Angel asked.

"Gladys and I have promised each other that none of us will enter the castle of the other. I have to keep that promise," Glinda replied.

"In times like this?" Peppermint said. "Come on! Someone's life is in danger and you insist on keeping a promise your sister will probably break anyway?!"

"Please don't say that," Glinda said. "Gladys might be a wicked witch, but she always keeps her words."

"Are you sure about that?" Peppermint asked again.

"Well..." Glinda replied, seeming in doubt.

"See?" Peppermint said.

"We can't force her to break her promise, Peppermint," I said.

"Hmph! Do whatever you want, but we've been wasting time talking," Peppermint said.

"Oh yes, you can find her in the basement if she's going to make a potion out of your friend," Glinda said. "The stairs leading there is to the left after entering the main door."

After thanking Glinda for her information, all of us entered the castle through the main door which was not locked. As told by Glinda, we turned left after entering and found a door which led to a downward staircase. There was little to no lighting there, so we could barely see anything. I then remembered my watch, and activated its flashlight function.

"Okay, step carefully," I said, leading the group. The trip downwards was quite long but soon we saw a glimpse of light. As we came closer, the light came from a small window placed on a door. I peeked through the window and saw the wicked witch concocting something in a boiling cauldron. Right next to her, I saw Strawberry lying unconscious on a pedestal not wearing her hat, which was hung on the wall nearby.

"What do you see?" Huck whispered to me.

"Is Strawberry safe?" Angel whispered.

"Strawberry is still safe for now, but I don't know for how long," I whispered back.

Suddenly, the door swung open and all of us were thrown into the room. We all fell on the floor.

"Peeping is not a good manner, kid," Gladys said, still mixing things in the cauldron with one hand while the other hand held her wand. "I suppose my meddling sister has released you from the dungeon."

"Yeah, and we came here to stop you!" Huck said, as all of us stood up.

"We're not gonna let you do this to Strawberry!" Angel said.

"She's our friend and we will do anything to protect her! Yep we sure will!" Ginger said.

"Yes, we will always be there whenever she needs help!" Orange said.

"You can say the same for me," Peppermint said.

"Apple Dumplin love Strawberry!" Apple said.

"Now release her or..." I said before Gladys interrupted.

"Or what? What can you do?" she challenged. It was true that we were no match for her because we couldn't use any magic like she could. Before long, she waved her wand, shooting green lightning at us. None of us could evade, and as the result all of us were petrified like what had happened to Glinda. I still could see and hear things, but I couldn't move any muscle. It seemed that the same applied to everyone else.

"Unlike the potion I gave to that monkey, my spell lasts for days!" Gladys said with wicked laugh. "But don't worry, as I have promised to your friend before, I will release you all after I'm done with her!"

None of us could do anything as Gladys continued to make the potion. Ten minutes later, she stopped mixing and looked at the still-unconscious Strawberry.

"It is time, my dear," Gladys said. "For you to be the last ingredient I need for the legendary Potion of Circe!"

With a wave of her wand, Strawberry floated from the pedestal to above the cauldron. My thoughts were screaming, and I believed the same was happening to the others as well. Strawberry was in a grave danger and we were watching her, unable to do anything. Gladys then raised her wand high, and lowered it quickly.

"NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" My thoughts screamed.

However, the thing that happened next was unforeseen by us. I believed everyone had been thinking that Gladys had wanted to put Strawberry into the boiling cauldron, but instead of that...

All of Strawberry's hair fell off from her head into the cauldron...

"Yes! The last ingredient! The hair of a redhead!" Gladys shouted in excitement. Then, with another wave of her wand, Gladys sent Strawberry back on the pedestal and all of us were back to our normal selves. "I'm done with your friend. Go get her."

"Strawberry!" Orange shouted, running towards Strawberry along with the rest of us.

"Is she okay?" Angel asked as I examined Strawberry.

"She's just asleep," I said.

"So now the redhead is no longer a redhead huh?" Ginger said.

"Seems so..." Huck said.

"Strawberry... no hair..." Apple said, then Strawberry woke up.

"Everyone! You're here!" Strawberry said.

"Yeah, we're here alright..." Peppermint said. "But your hair is not there."

"My hair?" Strawberry asked, rubbing her head. "Oh, so Gladys is done."

"You don't look surprised. You knew about that?" I asked.

"Yes, she told me that she only needed all of my hair," Strawberry replied, taking her hat from the wall and putting it on her head.

"And you agreed just like that? What a nice kid you are as always..." Peppermint said.

"Your hair will grow again, right?" Orange asked.

"Well..." Strawberry replied.

"Hey kids, instead of questioning her, just look at this!" Gladys interrupted, waving her wand to the wall on the other side of the room. Images of what had happened appeared there like a TV.

Gladys entered the potion room, and Strawberry followed her still floating. Then, Gladys put the spell off from Strawberry and she stepped on the ground. Strawberry looked around the potion room which was as broad as her living room. There were shelves all around the room, all containing weird things which seemed to be potion ingredients. There was a cauldron at the center of the room and a stone pedestal next to it. The pedestal was large enough for a kid to lie down on it.

"What do you want from me?" Strawberry asked, looking a little bit worried.

"I need your hair. That is all," Gladys answered.

"My... hair...?" Strawberry asked, putting her hand on her hair.

"I want to make a potion, dear. Here, take a look," Glady's replied, taking a scroll from a shelf and giving it to Strawberry. "The last line."

Strawberry read through the scroll, which listed the ingredients needed for the potion. At the last line, it said, "All hair of a redhead."

"Oh... I see..." Strawberry said, giving the scroll back to Gladys. "I'm your redhead."

"Indeed," Gladys said. "By the way, you look tired, dear. You can get some sleep on that pedestal while I prepare the potion first."

"That stone?" Strawberry asked, looking at the pedestal.

"It's not as hard as it seems," Gladys said, waving her wand to the pedestal, shooting a green lightning on it.

"Will you let my friends go after you're done?" Strawberry asked as she walked towards the pedestal.

"I will," Gladys said as Strawberry hung her hat on the wall and sat on the pedestal. "By the way, dear. I have to tell you that your hair will never grow back."

"It's fine, as long as you keep your promise," Strawberry said.

"I always keep my words, dear," Gladys said.

"Thank you berry much..." Strawberry said, and she fell asleep on the pedestal.

"No... your hair is gone forever?!" Huck said.

"You mean witch!" Orange said, angered.

There was a bucket of water next to the pedestal where we gathered, and without our knowing Peppermint took the bucket and threw all the water to Gladys. She was not looking so all the water hit her, wetting her whole body.

"Return Strawberry's hair!" Peppermint shouted with tears pouring from her eyes. "She's not the Strawberry I know and love without her hair!"

"Peppermint! No!" Strawberry said.

"Her hair, and everything else in her..." Peppermint said. "Means a lot to me, and to all of us!"

"Peppermint..." Angel said. Everyone else were surprised on Peppermint's reaction. I believed that most of us had been thinking that Peppermint was a stern, cold child. But what had just happened showed that she actually had a huge affection.

"Don't worry, Peppermint," Strawberry said, hugging Peppermint from behind. "I'm still what I have been before."

"ACHOO!" Gladys sneezed and trembling. "Look at what you have... ATCHOO! Done..." she said. It seemed that the water had made her caught a cold.

"Please forgive Peppermint," Strawberry said. "She..."

"Don't say anything more! ACHOO!" Gladys interrupted. "Just go away now. Leave me... ACHOO! Alone..."

We did as told by her, and left her alone in the potion room. On the way, Strawberry and Angel had to hold Peppermint's hands because she was still shocked by the fact that Strawberry had become bald forever. Soon, we were out from the castle and met Glinda who had been waiting for us.

"I see that you did it," Glinda said.

"Yeah, but we still have problems," I said.

"Strawberry has lost her hair forever," Orange said.

"That mean witch has completed her potion! I bet it is something dangerous, right everyone?" Ginger said.

"And, we can't get home," I said

"Hmm..." Glinda said, thinking. "Maybe you should meet The Great Wizard of Oz."

"Who is this wizard?" Angel asked.

"If someone can take you home, he can," Glinda replied.

"That would be great! Could you take us there?" I asked.

"Sure! Let's go right now, shall we?" Glinda said, and with a wave of her wand all of us disappeared in a flash of light.

--To be continued--
[Image: TheGrapesChildrenSig.png]
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