(Note to readers . . . this is the fifth part of this story so if you have not been with it from the beginning, you might want to start with pt. one and work your way here. Thanks, Debbe)
Fergis and Virgilia were led through the Wood of Twisted Trees by Veronica while the newly friended ghost followed hesitantly as if uncertain if he should stay behind or go with them. It was cool in the morning with the sun barely peeking its soft white light through the trees but promising a day without rain. Veronica held the found paper in her hand tightly as if afraid to lose it and Virgilia seemed to come alive as they made their way down the Path of Uncertainty. Fergis and Veronica exchanged glances as they had no clue what was transpiring with their friend.
The pretty blonde pointed out the briar and the rabbit below that neither of her companions had noticed at all. The briar gave Veronica an idea. She cut off lengths and twisted it into an odd little stick. She proclaimed her creation a wand but the other young one shook her head, “not yet. You need some of this,” and she picked a length of ivy and twined it around the outsideof the briar for her friend. Now Fergis and Veronica were freaked as they’d never heard that many words come out of Virgilia’s mouth and because, as soon as she finished her task, a puff of smoke came out of the wand and the ivy and the briar forged into one solid whole.
“Creepy,” said Fergis with his mouth turned down into a frown.
“Right,” replied the girl as they both attempted to ignore the latest action and hurried down the road anxious to find something interesting before the best part of the day was gone.
Soon the trio came upon a thicket where they discovered a lovely spotted baby fawn curled up asleep and looking up in a tree overhead they spied tiny birds with blue beaks crooning softly. The children were fascinated and all sat on the ground to watch the little fawn quietly as they listened to the birds lovely trill. Veronica did not realize it but she was swinging her wand to the tunes. Before she realized it, the baby deer was the same colour as the beaks of the birds. “Ah oh. Did I do that?” She asked, wondering how she was going to change it back. She waved the wand again . . . the deer was now red. Pretty, but not as it should be. Since that worked, Veronica waved the wand again and again, proceeding through each colour until the poor animal was back to soft brown. In the meantime, the baby’s father returned and stood beside the thicket, pointing his rather large antlers at the trio who decided rather quickly that it was time to be on their way.
Before long the sun was directly overhead and Veronica decided they should stop and eat. Fergis refused to look at her when she requested the food she’d given him earlier in that morning. He didn’t have to tell her, she knew he’d eaten it all. “Nevermind, there are some berries over there on that bush. We can eat those.” Before long, each of them had dark blue stains around their mouths and they were laughing out loud because they looked so funny.
However, suddenly they were distracted by a strange noise that sounded like flapping wings, but with much more force than a bird would create. Next they felt a blast of intense heat and they became quite afraid for they were uncertain what caused it. Huddling together with the silly ghost hiding in between them, they finally saw what caused the noise and the heat. Looking up past the tops of the trees, they saw the huge head of a black dragon that was staring down on them with very large eyes and bared teeth. Dragon drool dripped from the corner of his mouth and he eyed them as if they were potentially his dinner or as if very angry with them for some reason.
Virgilia surprised everyone when she looked up at the fierce looking drake and shook her finger at him saying, “Shame on you, frightening small children like that. We haven’t done anything to you.” Her voice was very certain and not at all like she was afraid.
But if the children were surprised by her actions, the giant dragon was even more so. “Huh?” he said it very loudly as he lifted his head back away from where the young ones and the frightened ghost were sitting. The large creature sat down on the ground and looked down at them as if trying hard to determine what to do with these small beings.
“Good one,” Fergis commended his friend. Veronica recommended that they take advantage of the dragon’s surprise and sneak out past him. Unfortunately the dragon rose and began to follow alongside just like the ghost except now much of the ground thundered from the creature’s rather large footsteps. His tail made sweeping brushes behind them, occasionally knocking down a tree or upending some brush. Without thinking Veronica waved her imaginary wand at the drake and in a thrice he became their size. They were all shocked but none so much as the poor dragon who was now very near tears. The once powerful and scary dragon was now reduced to baby dragon size and he was not at all happy with his current circumstance.
Dumbfounded, Veronica asked, “Did I do that?”
Fergis who was distracted by a fly replied, “Dunno . . . try it again and see.”
The little girl did just that but instead of the dragon changing sizes as before, he became plaid instead of his intimidating black. Now he resembled one of their toys except he was still intact and the poor thing became more distressed than before. He hiccuped and fire snorted from his nostrils, setting the bramble in front of him aflame. Veronica poured the rest of their water on it, and sizzling smoke filled the air, but at least the fire was out before a much larger problem faced them.
Speaking for the first time, the timid ghost informed them, “I think that wand is magic. Do you think you could bring me back to life with it?”
“That’s the problem, isn’t it? When I shake it, the wand does things, but I never know what it is going to do. I could make you disappear or I could make you the size of a tree.” She looked puzzled and sat down with a pout, resting her chin on her hand, uncertain what she should do next.
Fergis stopped making faces at the fly long enough to notice and asked, “What’s the matter? This is boring . . . let’s do something. If you are magic now, why don’t you just make up some parents so we could go home? Yeah, that would be good.”
The dragon, upon hearing of their intent, willed himself to calm and tried to communicate with the little girl. It wasn’t easy because her brain was so very convoluted. His thoughts were too gentle at first, like a soft morning breeze, but little by little the thoughts became more distinguishable. “Use your wand as a beacon. Let your real parents find you.”
When Veronica understood, she raised the wand into the air and tiny embers like little fireworks began to spark from its tip. The sparks became more intense and rose higher and higher until they were shooting high into the air above the tops of the trees. From under the flowers along the lane bobbed little Will-o-the-Wisps that until now were hidden from view. Their darting and dashing about delighted the children who forgot everything except these delightful creatures and the firework display.