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 Orange and the Bakery Surprise Part 5

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“There once was sculptor named Pygmalion, who an ivory statue of a woman. He fell deeply in love with his creation.

Now, these peoples have gods and goddesses sometimes, and one of these is Aphrodite, a goddess of love and beauty. Pygmalion went to a big festival celebrating her, and though he looked for a people to become his bride, he found none that he liked the way he did his wonderful ivory statue. He prayed to the goddess Aphrodite, asking her to bring him a woman who looked like his art, so that he could know love and have a bride!He was afraid he would never find anyone, you

But no woman like his statue appeared at the festival. He felt very downhearted on the way home. Would he be alone forever?

Now, despite what he thought, the goddess had heard him. She whisked away to his house and beheld the statue. It truly was a master work! Every line, every detail so lifelike, and, she thought, exquisitely beautiful. She thought this of course because it looked so much like her!

When he got back to his home, he went up to the statue and gave it a kiss. What was this? The lips of the statue were warm! Was it his imagination? He kissed her again. They were indeed warm! In another second, the statue came to life! Aphrodite had heard him and blessed the statue with life! Her skin grew pink and her eyes smiled and she became just like another people! They got married and even had children.”

“But that,s a wonderful story,” Blueberry Bat said. “Why will the CupCake Bat cause trouble?”

“What’s “married?” Lime whispered to no one in particular.

“Don’t you see? Grape said, “We don’t have any goddesses here to bring her to life. Mandarin is set for heartbreak if he has fallen in love with his masterpiece!”

The Bushel gasped.

“That’s awful! We don’t want him to be sad,” Lemon said, his eye big and watery.

“Shooby doda dawabbly,” Batnana said.

“Yes, surely there’s something we can do,” Strawberry agreed.

They all fell silent in thought. How could CupCake come to life?

Grape perked up. “Wait, how did WE come to life?”

“A star fell on the island. Its dust fell over the grove and it was magic and brought us to life from fruit, or so we’ve gathered from the other animals here.” Watermelon recited.

“That’s right!” Grape said, striding to the middle of the Bushel. “So if we can find the star, maybe we can get some of its dust and we can sprinkle it on the CupCake Bat!”

There was sounds of excited agreement all around.

“I like this idea, but we shouldn’t tell Mandarin, just in case it doesn’t work. We don’t want to get his hopes up!” Blueberry pointed out.

“We need to distract him, then,” Pear suggested. “Otherwise he’ll notice something is up.”

“We could hold a party to celebrate his masterpiece,” Lime chimed in, dancing Lemon around in a circle in his excitement.

“Yes!” Apple cried. “With singing and dancing and music. Lemon could make everyone lemonade, Kiwi can string up some lights.”

“And in the midst of the action, a couple of us can slip away to find the star,” Grape said.

“Perfect!” Watermelon said. “I think we have a plan!”

The Bushel all nodded their agreement.

“Grape, Kiwi, and BlackBerry, you’re my away team. The rest of you stay here and keep Mandarin in the blue. Now, let’s get going!”

“Llllet’s get ready to partyyy!” Lime cheered.

They all flew off to decorate for the party.

By the time the moon was full in the sky, everyone was having a great time at the party. They were so full of sugar that sometimes they had to fly in circles just to burn some off. Batnana painted portraits and Apple made up songs on the spot. Pear had made some drums out of leaves and acorns and was pounding away. The Flying Fox was very entertained by all the littler FruitBats and their antics and watched from where he was hanging above them in a tree. Kiwi had caught fire flies and ut them in lanterns and so light blinked everywhere in the trees. Watermelon, Kiwi and Grape met BlackBerry off to the side, under the cover of the BlackBerry bush. When it was clear that Mandarin was fully in the swing of the party, they slipped away from the grove.

“Did you bring the map?” Watermelon asked Grape.

“Of course!” he unrolled it. He’d been working on it every time they went on an adventure, and sometimes he would fly really high so see the far side of the island and add to it. He was pretty certain he knew where the star had fallen, because there was a dark spot where foliage had just started to grow again after being burnt off. He figured the star was really hot when it came down.

He pointed to it on the map. “There, that’s where we’re going first.”

Mandarin Orange and the Bakery Surprise Part III

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All the Bushel shuffled forward together as he plunked down on the tree trunk, his fox tail twitching.

“Where did you come from? We’ve never seen you on the island before!” Watermelon asked.

“You don’t eat meat like a fox, do you?” Lemon asked.

“I come from everywhere!” Vulpes answered. “Here and there and near and far. I travel, you see. It’s why I have a bag. And a hat. Not proper to go traveling without a hat!” He looked at Lemon. “And no worries, little Fruit, I do not eat other animals, though I do eat lots of things! It’s one of the best things about traveling!”

This caught Mandarin Bat’s attention.

“Come sit by the fire with us,” Blueberry Bat offered.

They all hopped down to the sand beside the fire and Vulpes leaned on his bag. The flames had almost gone out from neglect, but DragonFruit threw on some more sticks and breathed fire on it to get it going again. The FoxBat lifted a log that would have been too heavy for them and pushed it up against the side of the flames so it could catch.

Mandarin Orange asked what sort of things Vulpes ate on his travels.

“All sorts,” he told him. “There’s different fruits and veggies all over the place! And then there’s all the stuff people make!”

“What are people?” Grape asked.

“You mean, you’ve never met a people before?” he replied, shocked. “They’re almost everywhere. Some are scary, but most are magic, even if they don’t know it! They make all sorts of fun and wonderful things!” he pulled his bag out from behind him and opened it. “It doesn’t look that big, but I swear it’s bigger on the inside,” he told them as he stuck his upper half down into the mysterious thing. “Aha!” came a muffled sound and he came back up with a strange metal object with a handle and a spout. He stuck his head back down inside again and came back once more with a white bag filled with broken up dry leaves and a jar of thick amber liquid.

“Honey!” Mandarin squealed with joy. He’s rather a fan. “The BuzzBees trade that to us sometimes when Apple and Pear give them a song to sing as they work!”

The FoxBat nodded and held up the honey to the light of the fire. The sun had set now and the light made it look like it was glowing. Batnana cooed at how pretty it was.

“I am going to make you something tasty, right now!” he told them. “Back in a sec!” he flew off in the direction of the stream that came down the mountain to the bay to fill the kettle.

The Bushel talked excitedly together all at the same time while he was gone. Mandarin just knew that this new friend could give him an idea of what to make with his flour!

A minute later, Vulpes returned, water sloshing in the kettle. He plopped it onto the big log right beside the fire.

“When the kettle -that’s the thing with the water in it- when it screeches, it will be almost ready. We’re making the water hot.” he looked around. “Do you guys have cups?”

Mandarin had brought the emptied flour sack with them to hold their hollow acorn shell cups that morning so they could drink from the stream or for if they found a citrus tree to squeeze. He scrambled over to where he had stashed it under the bent over palm trunk and retrieved them.

“Excellent!”

“This drink was invented by people in the east part of the world. They take special plants and dry them and grind them up. Then they add spices. There’s all different kinds, but this is my favorite! Smell!” He passed the bag around the fire and they all took turns sniffing.

“I smell Cinnamon!” Mandarin claimed. “Lots of other things too, but I don’t know what it all is.”

“That would be the cardamom, cloves and ginger!”

Just then, the kettle started to whistle. Vulpes pulled it away from the fire, opened a latch on top, and stuffed the bag into it. He took their acorn cups and nestled them in the sand so they wouldn’t tip over, and put a big dollop of honey in each one.

“Now, normally there’s milk, but I assume that would be hard to get at the moment, so it can wait” Another minute and he poured the hot water, which now smelled like the spicy bag, into each cup and passed them out.

“I give you: Chai Tea!”

The Mystery of Willowyck Castle prt 4

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“I donno if it was such a great idea to release THAT from the stone!” Mandarin Orange said after recovering from the fright.

“That shadow!” Lime Bat spouted, turning to the window. “What was it?”

Lemon peeked out from behind him. “It was HUGE, that’s what it was.”

“It must have been one of the things flying around the top of the castle.” Kiwi guessed.

Grape nodded. “Indeed. We better proceed with caution.”

“DragonFruit, can you show us a covered rout to the roof?” asked Watermelon.

“Sure! Follow me!”

They did just that, back out through the cracked door into the narrow hallway then through another door to the room across from the sculptor’s workshop. A section of the roof had collapsed long ago. The hole let in the pink light of the evening sky and the warm summer breeze. The sun was close to setting. The Bushel flapped up to the hole and peered out; a rainbow of little bat faces with twitching ears.

High above, soaring in and out of the clouds were big, dark creatures! Grape glanced down at the walkways on the walls between the towers. There were rocks in clusters here and there all over the walls.

“How incredibly odd,” he said to nobat in particular. Taking another glance up to make sure the dark animals were happily flying high above and not interested in them, he climbed onto the roof, scampered to the ledge, then fluttered over to the wall.

Watermelon noticed a moment later. “Come on everyone, lets stay together!” he said, following suit. They reassembled on the wall of the castle by a pile of the rocks. The rocks were bigger than them, and the same color as the flying creatures.

Grape climbed on of the rocks. “Wow, you know, these kinda look like-”

“Eggs!” Blueberry finished.

Just then, the sun began to fall over the edge of the world and the sky grew darker. The moon, which had barely been noticeable in the full daylight, began to glow yellow as it rose over the opposite horizon. When its light hit the castle, the rocks began to bounce! Grape flew off the rock he was on and eveybat retreated in surprise.

“What’s happening!” Lemon yelled over the noise of fifty bouncing rock-eggs.

“I donno, just don’t get bounced on!” DragonFruit told them. They took to the air just over the eggs to watch. As the eggs bounced, little pieces of them were chipping off! At first they bounced hard, bigger pieces breaking and crumbling away. Then, when the big pieces were gone, they started bouncing softer, almost vibrating against the stone walkway on the top of the wall. This caused smaller chips to come loose. As parts fell away, it became more obvious that they weren’t just breaking off at random. The eggs were becoming something! DragonFruit suddenly looked up at the flying animals above them.

“I think I know what they are!” he called to the rest. “There were stone creatures like the one we saw in the sculptor’s room on the turrets of the wall before! Maybe they became alive! Maybe they were just hibernating or something! I think they are Gargoyles!”

Sure enough, one of the eggs had bounced and chipped until it resembled a grey puppy with horns and bat wings, but also wrinkles and a little pug nose!

“Gargoyle?” Blueberry Bat said, “He looks more like a Pugoyle!” Blueberry noticed one of the eggs was far behind the others. She watched it, and it wasn’t bouncing quite as fast. “What’s wrong with this one? It looks like this one isn’t going to make it!”

The Bushel flew to it, the egg beside it had already become a puppy, and it was jumping and trying to play with it’s sibling. They could see where the little curl of a tail would be, and where its nose was, but it couldn’t bounce hard enough to break off some of the bigger pieces it needed to before working on the details. The Bushel held their breath then cheered it on, but nothing was happening.

“I don’t think it can free itself on its own!” Blueberry said with a frown. “The poor little guy is stuck!” Tears beaded at the corners of her eyes, “What do we do!”

“Released. It needs to be released!” Grape Bat announced. “Batnana!”

Batnana flew up. “Skibbity do dwop!” she said with a little salute, then shot off in the most linear flight any of them had ever seen her achieve (usually he liked to do loops) back through the hole in the roof.

“Where did you send her?” Pear asked.

“She’s an artist. She’ll know what to do.” Was all he would say.

Introductions #1 WATERMELON BAT

Watermelon Bat

If we are going to start with introductions, it is only right to introduce Watermelon Bat first, as he is  undoubtedly the leader of the Bushel! A good moderator and loyal to his friends, he is brave and makes sure to involve everyones talents when problems arise on adventures. When something goes wrong, the Fruitbats know they can count on Watermelon to fix it. Level headed and fair, he is also a good bat to go to if there is an argument. He has made it his responsibility to keep the Bushel happy, safe, and healthy, and that means adventures! Because there is nothing more healthy than a good adventure!