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Blackberry Bun's Journal: Final Chapter 3
Quote:Part 3: Homestay

Glinda used the same teleportation spell she had used to transport us from the dungeon to Gladys' castle. This time, when we regained vision we were on a hill and we saw a beautiful castle at a distance. The castle was green and shiny like an emerald, and the starry night sky along with the full moon at its background made the view even more beautiful.

"Wow..." I said, astonished.

"Berry beautiful..." Strawberry said.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" Glinda said. "That's Emerald City, where The Wizard of Oz lives."

"I suppose this is as far as you can take us again?" Peppermint asked. She seemed to have recovered from her shock, although not completely.

"No," Glinda replied with a little giggle. "I thought you would love to see Emerald City from afar, so I took you here first."

"What a waste of time," Peppermint said. "But, it is sorta beautiful indeed."

"Okay, let's go meet the wizard," Glinda said, using the teleportation spell again. When we regained vision, we were right in front of the main door of the castle. Soon, the door slowly opened and all of us entered. In the throne room, we were welcomed by a large ball of fire floating right above the throne.

"Greetings, travelers!" The fireball said. "What do you want from me, The Wizard of Oz?"

"Wow, he's really great huh? I mean, there's a huge fireball there but it doesn't feel hot! Nope, not at all," Ginger said.

"Hmm..." I said, noticing something strange.

"Are you ever going to speak?" the fireball asked as I walked closer to it. "Hey, boy. Don't come any closer! I will turn you into a frog if you do!"

I ignored him anyway and examined the fireball figure. I then realized the truth.

"You're not a wizard," I said.

"What?! Are you questioning me?!" The fireball said, and suddenly it changed into a giant semi-transparent head. "I am The Wizard of Oz!"

I then replaced my glasses with Vision and looked around to find the truth. It was much easier than I had thought.

"You're sitting behind a screen next to my friends," I said, and the giant head looked surprised. "Everything we see is not magic. It's technology. This giant head and the fireball we saw are just holograms."

After I said those, the giant figure disappeared and someone came out from behind the screen I had mentioned. It was a man whose age was around the same as Purple Pie Man, but the man was rather short. His height was between me and Glinda and he was quite fat, although the dog catcher from Pearis was much fatter than this scientist. He had white hair and beard around his face and he wore scientist outfit.

"Alright, you got me," the man said. "My name is Henry. I am a scientist. I ended up here because of an accident with my latest invention, The Dimension Gate. It brought me to this Land of Oz and broke down by itself."

"What?! So the wizard is just a fake?!" Peppermint said.

"Glinda, I don't belive you have not been knowing about this," Huck said.

"If there's no wizard, then we can't go home..." Angel said, starting to look worried.

"Well, actually..." Glinda said. "I knew it since the beginning because we have been friends for some time. That's why I said he could."

"Huh? What do you mean?" Orange asked.

"I think I know," I said.

"What do you mean, huh Blackberry?" Ginger asked.

"He is a scientist, so both of us can work together to make something that will take us home," I said, walking towards the others.

"Well, could you inform me further? I don't understand much," Henry asked. I then told him the story of our trip with Albatross.

"I see..." Henry said.

"Maybe we will be able to make something that can take you home as well," I said.

"Don't worry about me. Let's take care of your problem first. For starter, I need to see your ship," Henry said.

"Well, I came here by Glinda's teleportation spell so I don't know where the remains of my ship is," I said.

"Glinda," Henry said, looking at Glinda. She seemed to understand and waved her wand. Green clouds came out and covered an area near the throne, and then with a flash of light the remains of Albatross appeared. "Seems very bad. Let's get to work."

"Okay," I said, and then both of us started examining the remains.

"I think we should leave them alone," Angel said.

Everyone there agreed, leaving me and Henry to work on my ship. Outside the castle, there was a conversation.

"By the way, shouldn't we be worried about Gladys? I mean, she has completed her potion, am I right?" Ginger said.

"It's okay. Potion of Circe is not a dangerous potion," Glinda said.

"Then what is that potion used for?" Orange asked.

"Anyone who drinks a sip of the Potion of Circe will be cured from any kind of illness," Glinda replied. "I think my sister is going to bottle the potion and sell it for an expensive price."

"What a mean witch, taking profit from such thing," Peppermint said. "And Strawberry lost all of her hair forever because of that."

"Don't worry about me, Peppermint," Strawberry said. "My hair might be gone forever, but my heart stays here forever," she continued, putting her hand on her chest. "That's all that matters."

"Okay... You're right as always..." Peppermint said lazily. "But seeing you without hair still sorta... scares me."

"Yeah, I feel the same too..." Angel said.

"Strawberry no hair..." Apple said. "Apple Dumplin' not like."

"Glinda, do you know anything we can do to make her hair grow back?" Orange asked.

"Hmm..." Glinda said, thinking. "I remember that there is a spell that can be used to grow hair..."

"Wow, really? Then use it on Strawberry right now, will ya huh Glinda?" Ginger said.

"It's not as easy as it sounds," Glinda said. "I have to get my spell book first. Wait here."

After saying those, Glinda waved her wand and disappeared. Right at that time, I came out from the castle to meet everyone else.

"Where's Glinda?" I asked, noticing that Glinda was not there with them.

"She went to get her spell book, am I right?" Ginger replied. "She knows a spell which will make Strawberry's hair grow again! Isn't it great, huh Blackberry?"

"That's good to hear!" I said.

"How's the ship?" Orange asked me.

"Well, I have to tell the truth..." I said with a pause. "It's very bad. Most parts are badly damaged, and to make things worse..."

"Can it be any worse than that?" Peppermint said.

"The technology in this place is limited. If I was at home with my tools I would need a week to repair Albatross," I said.

"How much time you're gonna need here?" Angel asked.

"I'm not sure. a Week, a month, a year, years, I have no idea," I said.

"Years? Are you saying that we are stranded here for years?" Peppermint said.

"I have no other choice. Both dimension door remotes are broken and the technology here is not enough to repair any of them," I said. "The only choice is to repair Albatross little by little with that limited technology."

"Our friends in Strawberryland will miss us..." Strawberry said.

There was a silence for a few seconds, and then suddenly Glinda came with her teleportation spell. She carried a rather large book which seemed like magic book.

"Hi, everyone," Glinda said. "Something happened while I was away?"

"We won't be able to go home for years..." Orange said, then I explained the situation to Glinda.

"Hey!" Ginger suddenly shouted. "We can go home!"

Everyone were surprised by Ginger's sudden speech. I myself wondered as well, but I was also prepared for the worse.

"You see, Glinda can teleport us easily from here to there and there and there, am I right? I bet she can teleport us to Strawberryland as well! Yep she sure can!" Ginger said with excitement, then everyone looked at Glinda.

"Well," Glinda said with a brief pause. "My teleportation spell can transport anyone across this planet. But..."

There was a huge cheer from every kids which interrupted Glinda's speech. They were so happy and relieved. However, I was not and Glinda seemed to know why.

"Hey, wait a minute everyone!" I shouted, and they stopped their cheers. "I'm sorry to say this but..."

"But what? Don't tell me it's another bad news?" Peppermint said.

"Unfortunately yes..." I said. "This is not our planet. Moreover, this might be not our world as well,"

"What? How can you say that?" Huck asked.

"Yeah, Blackberry. How do you know that?" Orange asked.

"The limit in the sky is not there," I replied. "Moreover, don't you feel weird that we met two look-alikes of someone we know already?"

"Limit in the sky? What kind of nonsense is that?" Peppermint asked. I then had to explain everything about the limit in the sky which existed on our planet, which was the main reason I had to make Albatross able to jump over it.

"It was not there when we entered this planet," I said, ending my explanation. Everyone seemed not to believe yet.

"Well," Glinda said. "I don't understand much, but I know that you and your friends are indeed not from this planet."

"Really? How did you know?" I asked. I also could see the shock which had just come to everyone else.

"Well, Ginger said that your home is in Strawberryland, right?" she said, followed by everyone's nod. "I have studied over this planet, either by reading books or travelling with my teleportation spell. As the result, I know all places on this planet, and I don't remember any land named Strawberryland anywhere."

There was a huge sigh from everyone else besides me, followed by silence.

"Well," Glinda said, breaking the silence. "Do you still want me to grow Strawberry's hair back?"

"Oh yes, of course! We all still want that, am I right?" Ginger said.

"Oh yeah, forgot about that..." Angel said.

"Please do that," Orange said.

"Alright," Glinda said, opening the book she carried. "But I have to warn you, Strawberry."

"What is it?" Strawberry asked.

"The spell my sister has used to take your hair from your head..." Glinda replied. "It left a magical remnant on your head which interferes with the spell I'm going to use on you, and it cannot be removed."

"What will happen then?" Huck asked.

"As the result, it becomes difficult for me to control the outcome of this hair growth spell," Glinda replied. "The chance of getting exactly the hair you have had is very low. You might end up with bad hairdo, or even bald spots. So, I want to ask if you are sure about this, Strawberry."

"Hey, can't you just try again if the result is bad?" Peppermint asked.

"That remnant grows stronger everytime a spell is used on it. Repeated attempts will just make it worse," Glinda replied.

Strawberry then seemed to be thinking for a little less than one minute, and then she spoke out her decision.

"Yes, please do," she said, taking her hat off from her head. Glinda then raised her wand with her right hand while her left hand was still holding the magic book and her eyes were on the book. She then moved her wand around in a certain pattern we didn't understand, while murmuring things we also didn't understand. Immediately, a purple lightning came out from the wand and hit Strawberry's head. That was the last thing I saw before everything were covered in bright light.

What I saw next surprised me very much. As told by Glinda, the result was not the same hair Strawberry has had, but the main thing that surprised me was the fact that Strawberry's new hair was long spiky maroon hair, just like the Strawberry I knew from another dimension. Soon, everyone were looking at Strawberry's new hair.

"This not Strawberry's hair," Angel said.

"Yeah, it's red and long," Orange said.

"Yeah, Strawberry's old hair was short and orange, am I right?" Ginger said.

"But still..." Huck said. "It still looks nice on her."

"Yeah, I sorta like this hair," Peppermint said.

"Apple like Strawberry new hair," Apple said.

"Berry nice! Thank you berry berry much, Glinda!" Strawberry said, putting her hat back on her head.

"You're welcome. I'm glad it came out good," Glinda said.

So, that night was concluded with Strawberry getting new hair. Because it was already over bedtime, Glinda offered the bedrooms of Emerald Castle and everyone agreed to accept the offer. The castle had quite a number of bedrooms for guests next to each other, and all of them had two beds. I didn't know who stayed with who at the other rooms, but I had Huck as my roommate.

"Hey, Huck," I said right after both of us lied down on bed.

"What?" he responded.

"Well..." I said with a pause. "Do you feel upset that we can't go home soon?"

"If you ask me..." he said. "Yeah, a little."

There was a brief silence.

"But I must say that this trip is a very exciting one. I don't and won't regret it," he continued.

"Huck..." I said. "I will fix Albatross soon. I promise."

"You don't have to promise anything. Just don't stress yourself," he said, and soon we went to sleep.

At the next day, with Glinda's help an unused warehouse at the back of the castle was transformed into a workshop. The tools available were quite primitive compared to what I had at home, but there was no other choice. I, along with Henry, had to fix Albatross using that limited technology, and I knew it would take a very long time. Just as I was going to start, Strawberry came to the workshop.

"Hi, Blackberry," she greeted.

"Oh, hi Strawberry," I replied.

"It's lunch time. Come with us!" Strawberry said.

"Lunch time already?" I said, looking at my watch. Indeed it was already lunch time. "Mr. Henry, would you come with us?"

"Oh, don't worry about me," Henry replied from behind Albatross. "I'll be there later."

Then, I went with Strawberry to Emerald Castle's dining room. Everyone else were already there sitting around a large table full of all kinds of fruits and berries I knew. Glinda was there as well. As soon as Strawberry and I took seats, everyone started having their lunch. At that moment, I noticed that the berries in Oz tasted somewhat different than the ones in Strawberryland. They felt kinda unnatural, but still tasted good so I decided to let it slide. Later, when we were done eating, Glinda waved her wand and all the remaining food on the table disappeared.

"They were created by magic...?" I thought. "That explains the unnatural taste."

"Okay, so what are we going to do now?" Huck said.

"Let's have a walk around Oz!" Strawberry said. "Isn't it berry exciting to explore new places?"

"You're right! Let's do that!" Angel said.

"I'll go too!" Orange said.

"I must admit that you're sorta right," Peppermint said. "Okay, I'll come with you."

"Hey hey hey, count me in, will ya?" Ginger said.

"Apple Dumplin' go!" Apple said, then everyone started to look at me. There was a brief silence until I spoke out.

"I'll get back to work," I said, getting up from the chair and starting to walk away.

"Wait Blackberry!" Strawberry said, and I stopped. "Come with us! The more the merrier!"

"Strawberry, you know that I have to work on fixing Albatross. I have no time for this," I said. "Don't you and everyone else want to go home, to Strawberryland?"

"Blackberry, it's true that we all want to go home..." Strawberry replied. "But we don't want you to stress yourself for us! What kind of friend will let you do that?"

"Yeah, Blackberry. I agree with Strawberry," Orange said.

"Me too! Everyone else feel the same, right?" Angel said, looking at everyone else, who immediately responded with a determined nod.

"Well, I have to tell Mr. Henry..." I said.

"It's all fine, son," Henry's voice was suddenly heard. Apparently he had been listening from the entrance. "I will take care of your ship."

So, the decision was soon made and all of us went outside the castle to walk around The Land of Oz. At first I hesitated because I still felt the need to fix Albatross quickly, but then I started to enjoy the small trip. I then learned to realize that while being able to return home soon was important, the most important thing was the togetherness between me and the friends I had. I then started to remember the days when I had been lonely and timid, and I was grateful that those days were just past memories that would not ever come again, because I had everyone with me.

--To be continued--
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