Mandarin Orange and the Bakery Surprise Part 6

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Meringutan looked like no one the FruitBats had ever seen before! You would recognize her as an orangutan of course, because they had never seen an ape, and they had to take a minute to observe her. She wore a lemon colored flower print skirt and a necklace with a cherry pendant and cherry earrings. Grape noticed that she wasn’t shaped all that different from a bat actually, when he really thought about it. Two arms, two legs, head, spine. If she was to be shrunk down and given wings, she could fly with them! He laughed to himself at the idea as Meringutan swept them into her cottage and deposited them onto a low, lace covered table. The cottage was all one big open room, with a loft that appeared to be filled with big leaves for a bed. The colors were bright and cheerful in the morning light that came in from 2 small windows and one big one at doubled as a back door. A threadbare rug filled most of the floor, and a faded, comfortable looking chair with a knit blanket stood in one corner with a small table beside it. there was a basket filled with yarn, and several paintings on the walls. there was also a phonograph with its big horn filling space across from the chair. None of the bats knew what that was of course, but Kiwi was especially fascinated.
“We haven’t introduced ourselves!” Watermelon realized as the strange Meri bustled about in her kitchen with a tea kettle like the one the Flying Fox had. “This is Kiwi, Grape, and I am Watermelon. We’re FruitBats and we come from an orchard across the island.” They all sat in a row on the table, watching as she started a small fire in the belly of a big iron stove. Once it was lit, she sat the kettle on top and turned back to them.

Meri came over and got at closer look at them, sitting on a pillow beside the low table. “I have never seen bats like you on the island,” she said.

“We aren’t that old yet,” Kiwi pointed out,” And I think we, that is, the 12 of us in the grove and DragonFruit at the castel, are the only ones.”

“How very interesting! I’m glad to meet you three, but what are ya’ll doing over on this side of the island if ya’ll are from the grove? That’s a bit of a …flight!”

“We’re looking for something. The fallen star!” Kiwi said, excited to tell someone about their secret mission.

“You know the grove?” Grape added.

Meri addressed Kiwi first. “I think I may be able to help with that.” Then she turned to Grape. “I know most of this island, I’ve been here a while and I’ve tried to cover the whole place in my hikes. I collect things and I’m a photographer, you see. There’s plenty of neat stuff out there to explore!”

The bats didn’t really see, because none of them knew what a “photographer” was. Watermelon was about to ask, when the kettle began its whistle. Meri spun around and found the smallest teacup she could from the shelves above the counter and filled it with fragrant herbal tea she dried from her garden out back. Then she dropped in a dollop of honey and stirred it all up.

“Hope ya’ll don’t mind sharing a cup,” She said as she placed the tea on the table before them. “You might have to wait for it to cool.” She added when Kiwi leaned in for a drink. It smelled like flowers! Kiwi Bat almost wanted to jump in for a bath, though the honey would make her sticky.

“Now,” Meri continued while making a cup fro herself in a big ceramic mug and taking a seat back on her pillow. “What as it ya’ll were looking for again?”

“There was a shooting star that landed on the island. We need some of its dust! We went to where it touched down, but it was dark and too hard to see, so we were waiting till morning.” Watermelon explained.

“But your Jellyphant grabbed Watermelon before we were awake!” Grape finished for him.

Meri nodded. “Yes, they are good at bringing me new things, but they don’t quite understand manners. But you aren’t hurt, I hope?”

Watermelon stretched his wings. “Nope, though they do have a firm grasp!”

“Yes, they come in very handy when I have to move anything too big.” she sipped from her cup. “I’m afraid the star itself is no longer where it fell though.”

The FruitBats gave a collective sigh of disappointment.

“But,” she added ,”I did meet it, and I might be able to help.”

“You met it? It’s alive?” Grape said in awe.

“Yes, a sweet little thing! It stayed with a friend of mine for a while, but it missed lighting up the night. We had no way to put it back in the sky, so we introduced it to the glowing starfish that live in the ocean out near the beach! My friend says it’s quite happy there.”
They all smiled at the thought of a real star lighting up the night with the bioluminous starfish at the beach. It must be so pretty!

Shaking himself out of it, Grape remembered their mission. “You said you might be able to help though, to get some of the star dust?”

“Oh!” she put her tea down and stood up. “Yes, as thanks for helping it feel at home, the star gave me a little of its dust. I’ve been keeping it in a bottle, because it’s so fine that it could just blow away!” Meri went over to a hanging paper lantern beside the ladder to the loft. She reached into the top and pulled a jar out. The powder inside glowed and sparkled! “I will have to find another jar to put a pinch in for you to take. It will have to be small since you will have to carry it such a long way.” she dug around in the kitchen cabinets. When nothing was satisfactory, she went to a trunk that sat in front of the comfy chair and opened it. Inside were a lot of old, browning papers and books. Grape wondered where they came from, and what they said. After digging around the bottom, Meri pulled out a tiny bottle only a little bigger than an acorn made of blue glass. She looked at it for a long moment, then shut the trunk and returned to the table. “I’m going to let you borrow this old perfume bottle, but you have to bring it back when you’re finished, ok?” It clearly meant something to her.

She took a tiny funnel from the kitchen drawer and tipped a little of the glittering dust through it into the tiny bottle. “What are you going to do with it?” she asked.

Watermelon explained their mission, and how they guessed the dust would do the trick.
Meri smiled, then laughed. “Well that’s just adorable! I do hope it works for ya’ll, and I also hope that you can bring everyone to visit when your CupCake Bat gets settled in.”
“Of course!” Watermelon agreed. “We wouldn’t be able to do it without your help. We can bring them when we return the bottle.”

It wasn’t long after that Meringutan walked them outside and they took off in the direction of the fruit grove. She had sealed the bottle with some wax to make sure the cork wouldn’t pop out and ran a piece of yarn through the little handles on either side so that Watermelon Bat could wear it around his neck to carry it. As they passed over the house in an acrobatic farewell circle, Grape wondered if she had built the cottage herself, or just inherited it from some other creature. There were certain elements that didn’t seem right with her proportions. He thought for sure there would be more to her story. He would have to ask upon their return.

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Mandarin and the Bakery Surprise PART 4

20160923_182354The FruitBats happily sipped their tea and chatted together until the moon had set and Batnana was yawning. They invited the FoxBat along with DragonFruit and Chip to come back to the fruit grove for a snack and a place to nap away the morning. He agreed and they flew off to the cliff and up to the grove in the pale, dim light of the stars.

In the afternoon of the next day, when they began to stir in the trees and bushes and the temperature began to drop as the breeze came in from the ocean, Mandarin was excited to talk more with their guest.

Vulpes was hanging with Batnana at the top of the banana tree, facing the ocean. Mandarin landed beside them.

“-Well, if you like art, you should visit Italy!” Vulpes was saying “There’s great art everywhere out there, but I love some of the statues you can find in Rome. The people, who I was speaking of last nigtht, they like to carve big statues of themselves from glittering white marble. Seems a little conceeded to me – putting fancy statues of your species everywhere – but maybe they just have an easier time relating. Not a lot of peoples can talk to us other animals very well.”

Batnana sagely nodded her yellow head. “Swooby do da wao,” she agreed.

Even though Strawberry wasn’t there to translate, the Fox seemed to understand her just as well.

“Then again, maybe they are just celebrating their achievements with these statues, and that’s totally acceptable. Always a good thing to know when one has done a good job at something, right?”

At this revelation, Mandarin had one of his own! “Oh, thank you, you gave me an idea!” he shouted, and dropped from the branch, flapping off back to the orange tree. Batnana and Vulpes exchanged a confused glance as they watched him go.

Later in the evening, the fruit grove was filled with the smell of baking cake. It had been several hours since Mandarin had peared into the old hollow log he used as a kitchen beside the base of his tree. He’d only come out once to ask DragonFruit to come help light his little stone oven. Everybat was get getting more and more curious about what he was up to in there, but whenever anyone asked, he shooed them away, telling them he would show them all when he was finished.

“He is obviously at his baking again,” Grape said. “Though he’s never been this secretive about it, not even when he made that big blackberry pie to welcome BlackBerry Bat to the grove.”

Strawberry and Kiwi, who were enjoying a game of tulip tree pistil sword fight, eventually gave up because the smell was so good that their bellies began to growl. Strawberry dismounted Chip and dropped the dried tulip pistil. They were all gathering infront of Mandarin’s “bakery” in anticipation of his newest creation.

“Hey,” Watermelon cried into the opening. “You’ve got everybat out here wondering: What is that amazing smell?”

Mandarin Orange stuck his head out. Just wait a sec, she’s almost finished!”
The whole Bushel was suprised by this, looking around for somebody missing. Who is “she?”

A minute later, Mandarins butt wiggled backward out of the shadow of the log; he was pulling something heavy. They all took a step back to give him some room.

When the creation pulled into the sunlight, Mandarin sat back and admired it. Around the base were flesh flowers in the shape of the paper lining of a cupcake, and in the middle sat a cupcake the size of a bat! In fact, it WAS a bat! Mandarine had baked several different pieces of chocolate cake and put them together to make a life-size CupCake Bat! Pink icing and sprinkles decorated her and her eyes were multicolored candies! The fruit grove filled with gasps of admiration!

“She’s beautiful!” they all cheered.

“And not to mention, she smells delicious!” Blackberry complemented.

At those words, Mandarin froze. For the first time since having the idea of baking the bat, it dawned on him that they would be eating it. In his imagination, all the Bushel’s faces started to look sinister and hungry.

“Oh NO!” he screamed, standing before his creation with his wings spread wide to protect her. “You can’t eat my lovely CupCake Bat!”

His friends frowned.

“But you’ve been baking all day and it smells so good,” Lemon pouted.

“Errr, wait, I have some more batter, I’ll go make another cake for us to have with dinner. But NOBODY better touch my CupCake while I’m gone! You swear!”

“We solemnly swear,” the Bushel agreed, raising their left wings.

Mandarin squinted at them, seemed satisfied, and went in to make them a cake.

“This may lead to trouble,” their new foxy friend told them as the went back to playing in the grove.

“How’s that?” Blueberry asked.

“Let me tell you a very, very old story from a land far away…”