HARRY & MOLLY Harry was your average water frog and lived in a canal that ran through a beautiful

valley at the foot of some very high majestic mountains. His particular home was on a farm that had several cows, chickens, pigs and various other animals that go with a farm. Harry liked the farm because with it came an abundance of food, namely in the form of flies and other insects that provided him and his friends with an endless bounty of food. Harry had several friends around and life was good. He had one particular friend whose name had been Eddy. Eddy and harry had been friends since they were tadpoles. Unfortunately Eddy’s luck ran out last year when he was caught and eaten by a local water snake named Henry. Henry really wasn’t a bad snake, he just did what snakes do and that day he happened upon Eddy and made a feast of him. Harry, understood that Henry didn’t eat Eddy out of malice but that didn’t make him like Henry. In fact he disliked that snake intensely, all snakes for that matter. But he and the rest of the frogs watched intensely for him. Even the fish in the canal disliked the snakes and would warn the frog community if they spotted any of them. Miss Ellie was the mother fish of the area and had a school of small fish always with her. She was always on the lookout for anything that could pose a danger to her charges. Miss Ellie liked Harry, he never bothered her or teased the children just to watch them scatter. Today was the late day of spring and the weather was quite warm, the sky

was clear with a few clouds scattered about. A soft gentle breeze blew from the south across canal. Harry lay on his back with his legs crossed and chewed on a blade of grass that he held in his hand as one would normally hold a cigarette. He watched the blue sky and thought what a wonderful day it was. “I hope nothing happens to spoil it,” He quietly said to himself. Suddenly there was movement beside him and Henry came slithering by in a great hurry. Harry cursed himself for not being more alert. But Henry wasn’t after him, Henry was on the run from something. “Better run,” Henry hissed as he dove in the canal and started to swim away. “They’re coming.” PAGE 001

Harry didn’t need to be warned twice, he didn’t even look back as he sprang to his feet. With a huge push from his legs he leapt into the air and landed in the water with a large splash. Henry the snake had swam to the other side of canal and disappeared into the shore grass along the edge. Harry slowly swam back to the surface and peeked through the water to see what had frightened Henry. What he saw did not frighten him as it did Henry, it was only the farmers children. Molly, the oldest at about ten years old and her younger brother Benny. He was around eight or nine, with large blue eyes and a shock of curly golden hair. Molly was taller with sea green eyes and strawberry blond hair. She also had a liberal amount of freckles scattered over her face. Molly's hair was long and fell about her shoulders in a loose cloud of activity. This time Molly carried a net and a large bucket with a lid. Harry did not like this, it meant she was going to take some of the water animals with her. None ever seemed to return if she took them to the house. Molly had always been nice to him as she had caught him several times but always turned him loose after a few minutes. Benny had never caught anything yet but she did let him hold Harry a couple of times. Harry still winced at the feeling of being squeezed tightly before Molly made him turn him loose. “What’s going on?” Harry heard a voice beside him, it was Fenton from Miss Ellie’s school. “Hey,” Harry said, “Fenton, what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be with Miss Ellie?” “I sneaked out for a bit,” he said, “they will never miss me.”

Fenton was one of the local minnows, no more than two and one half inches long and was always a flurry of motion. It seemed that anything happening, questionable or exciting Fenton would be mixed up in it. Before Fenton and Harry could look back up at what was happening on shore there was a loud swooshing noise. They both felt themselves being being lifted out of the water in a large net and being unceremoniously dumped in a half full bucket of water. “Oh no, caught,” they both shouted as they fell into the bucket with a splash and the lid slammed shut with a loud clank. Molly nor Benny heard them yell as neither of them spoke frog or fish. PAGE 002

What Harry and Fenton had no way of knowing was that Molly had been given a rather large aquarium and now needed aquatic animals to fill it up with. The only thing they knew that they were being bashed around in a cold dark bucket of water as the two children ran back to the house. The aquarium was quite large and comfortable for the both of them but it would take a bit of getting used to. Molly had her father put the aquarium in her room since it was hers and her project, no matter how much Benny wanted to help. Molly up-ended the bucket and out fell Fenton and Harry into their new home with a loud “Ker-splash.” One end of the aquarium had a shore line of sand, mud and rocks that was above the level of the water. The rest was under water with a large circulating pump at the that end. Fenton and Harry knew nothing about pumps and other such mechanical contrivances, for the most part it was all a mystery to them. Harry thought the pump assemblies looked a bit like some of the devices he saw at the weirs on the canal only much smaller. Harry was disoriented to say the least, he swam to the shore stumbled out onto the sand. He sat on the sand and looked about. “Is this to be my new home?” He asked aloud. Molly did not answer as she still did not speak frog or fish, even after carrying him and Fenton all the way from the canal. Molly sat the bucket down and looked back at her new pets. She then reached in and tried to scoop up Harry. Fenton saw this and let out a shriek and swam away to the farthest corner of the pool. Harry did not want to be picked up and backed away until he was cornered in the the aquarium. Harry had been captured by Molly before and she had never hurt

him and always turned him loose later. However this time he had a feeling that this place was going to be his, and Fenton’s new home. Harry felt Molly’s hands gently close around him and lift him from the tank. Molly picked up Harry with her right hand and sat him on the palm of her left hand. Harry was free now but he had no desire to jump, there was nowhere to go. Even if he survived the long jump to the hard floor how would he get back to the canal? And what about Fenton? He sat there and looked into Molly’s eyes. They were still the same sea green he remembered from when she had caught him a year ago. 003

Molly stroked harry’s head and looked into his large yellow eyes. For a frog Harry was quite good looking with large eyes, a wide head and a mouth that seemed to curl up at the ends. This gave the impression that he was smiling at Molly. “This is your new home,” she quietly said, “you will be safe here and I will watch over you and your fishy friend.” “That’s nice,” Harry answered in a slow, quiet croak. He could understand Molly and her brother when they spoke but they could not understand him or Fenton. Molly was holding Harry close to her face and examining ever detail of him. “I shall call you Harry,” she said. He could feel her warm breath on him as she spoke and he detected a hint of mint. “Well, you’ve got the name right,” Harry said. Molly did not answer but got a curious look on her face as though she thought Harry was trying to talk to her. “Why don’t you kiss him?” Benny said as he ran into his sisters room. “He might turn into a prince.” “Kiss him? Ugh, that’s gross,” she said, “I’d get warts on my lips.” “That’s not true,” Benny said, “Uncle Al says that’s all a lie, he kissed frogs when he was a kid and nothing happened.” “Have you taken a good look at Uncle Al’s face?” she asked as she sat Harry back in the tank on the sand. She then slid a screen cover over the aquarium tank. “Escape is going to be impossible,” Harry said to Fenton as he dove into the water. “Oh,” Benny said, “mom told me to tell you get cleaned up, dinner will be

ready in a few minutes.” “Well,” Fenton said as Molly and her brother left the room and closed the door behind them. “What do we do now?” “There’s nothing we can do at the moment.” Harry said as he climbed up on a rock and looked around. “But I think she could almost understand what I was saying.” “I thought so too,” Fenton answered. “I must work on that,” Harry quietly said. 004

The time passed quickly for Fenton and Harry, Molly fed them well and always told them stories about what was going on. Two months had passed and the house hold was in an uproar as Molly’s aunt was getting married. The wedding was to take place at the farm and there would be a lot of people about. Benny came in occasionally to look at Molly’s pets and tease her about kissing the frog. “He’s not just a frog,” Molly would say and then she would hold Harry to her cheek then let him ride on her shoulder. Sometimes she would keep him out of tank for an hour or more. Harry would always come back with great stories for Fenton. Late summer rolled around and the wedding time arrived, people came in from all over. There were relatives that Molly never knew she had, but she was sure she did not want any of them in her room where Harry and Fenton were. “Some of auntie’s new husband’s relatives are downright weird,” she whispered to Harry, “I’m going to lock my door while they are here.” Molly did not see her pets the rest of the day as the wedding party drug on and on. She had left them plenty of food in case she couldn’t get back until after dark. The reception continued well into the night after the bride and groom had left. Nearly everyone had achieved a noticeable level of intoxication. Benny had went to sleep on the couch and Molly helped him to his room. Benny did not sneak any drinks, he was just young and tired. Molly pulled the covers up around Benny and said good night. She then returned down stairs to see what was going on. Molly was dressed in a white gown and was quite pretty but the dress was soiled in a few places from being hugged by relatives and having drinks spilled on it. Her mum and dad were asleep on the couch leaning on each other as every one else seemed to be on their way

to sleep. “Well, I’ve had it,” she said, “I’m going to bed.” Then a thought crossed her mind. “No one will know,” she scooped up a full glass of champagne and tasted it. “This tastes good,” she said and then drank the entire glass. Molly tried several of them and after the third one she decided it best if she went to her room. 005

Harry knew that something was wrong when the light in Molly’s room came on. Harry was wide awake and watched as she entered the room. Molly seemed to be quite giddy and would break out in giggles every little bit. She weaved a little bit as she scooped up Harry held him to her cheek. Harry noticed that she seemed a bit rougher with him and her breath did not have the minty smell it normally had. “So,” Molly said as she looked into Harry’s great yellow eyes, “my brother says you will turn into a prince if I kiss you. Well, let’s just see.” Molly put Harry to her lips and although Harry knew about kissing, it was something humans and many animals did to show affection. (yes, even frogs) But Harry wasn’t sure whether she was going to kiss him or eat him. Molly appeared to not be herself tonight and it was making Harry nervous as he had no experience with alcohol. It was to late now to do anything and he had no idea what he would have done anyway. Molly put Harry to her lips and Harry put his hands against her lips to prevent her from swallowing him. She gave him a wet slobbery kiss and suddenly the room filled with white light. There was an explosion of silence. Harry fell to the floor with a splat. Almost immediately he was covered with a shower of white cloth. Inside the cloth something was moving and there crawling away from the gown was a beautiful frog about the same size as Harry. “Molly?” Harry said as he reached out and took her hand. “Harry?” She said with a dazed look on her face, “what just happened?” Molly looked around at her dress and then at her body, the effects of the champagne hadn’t seemed to have carried through the transformation. Also she was able to understand and speak frog, and fish. “I’m a frog,” Molly said with astonishment, “and I’m naked.” “Of course,” Harry answered, “we don’t wear clothes.”

Molly was in a total state, hopping about trying to cover herself with her hands. Soon she got a hold on part of her dress and wrapped it around her body. It took the better part of the night to get her calmed down and decide what to do. They had tried kissing and it had no effect although they enjoyed it and tried many times. It had became obvious that they would have to seek outside help. With a bit of coaching Harry taught Molly how to jump properly and they hopped onto the table to say good bye to Fenton. 006

In a few minutes they had explained what had happened. Fenton looked sadly at the two of them on the table outside the tank. “When you get back to the canal,” Fenton said, “tell Miss Ellie what has happened and ask her about the mermaids. They live higher upstream where the canal starts at the great lake. The mermaids know magic, they may be able to help. I wish I could go with with you but I fear I can’t live outside the water long enough to make it to the canal.” “I will leave a note,” Molly said, “I just hope Benny understands.” Molly found a scrap of paper on the desk and a short pencil, Harry helped her hold the pen and she scrawled a note telling Benny to please take the fish back to the canal and set him free.” Molly hugged the tank as Fenton pushed himself against the glass. “Good-bye,” she whispered as she and Harry walked hand in hand to the edge of the table. They both jumped and landed on Molly’s gown that lay crumpled on the floor. The landing was soft and they stealthily went out the door that Molly had conveniently forgotten to latch. Hand in hand they picked their way through the sleeping guests and made it out into the cool morning air. Harry and Molly lost no time getting to the canal and diving in. Even with great haste it was past daybreak when they dove in the water. There were various insects on the water including lots of mosquitos. Harry was starting to enjoy breakfast, his tongue darting in and out in a rapid motion. Molly, however seemed reluctant to try. But with some urging from Harry she tried it and found the insects quite tasty. The morning sun was rising and Harry found a warm spot on the bank, he and Molly sat and enjoyed the warm rays beating down on them. In the sunlight Molly’s features became quite apparent. By frog standards she was very beautiful with large soft yellow

eyes and a mouth that curled up at the ends, even a bit more than Harry’s. In a few minutes Miss Ellie swam up with her usual school and Harry explained what had happened and where Fenton was. “I left a note for my brother,” Molly said, “I think he will return him.” “I hope so,” Miss Ellie said irritably, “you should not have taken him in the first place.” Molly sat in silence and pulled herself tighter to Harry. 007

“There are mermaids that live by the great lake,” Miss Ellie said, “Whether they can help you or not I don’t know, but they would know who can if there is such a person.” Harry and Molly thanked Miss Ellie, she and her school turned and swam away. “I don’t think she likes me,” Molly said. “That’s probably because you took Fenton from her school,” Harry quietly said. “Sorry,” Molly quietly said as tears welled up in her large yellow eyes. “It’s quite all right,” Harry said as he pulled her tightly to him, “some things were meant to happen. Besides I think Fenton will find his way home.” Harry and Molly sat for a good while on the banks discussing their upcoming trip. It would be dangerous but it would be the only way they could unravel this mystery and turn Molly back into a human. “Molly?” Harry said, looking into her eyes. “Yes?” She answered. “Shall we try that kissing thing again?” he said, “I rather enjoyed that.” Molly said nothing as a large smile came over her face and she moved her lips closer to his. In a few minutes they decided it was time to start and they dove back into the canal. Side by side they swam toward the lake so very far away. “You know,” Harry said, “it’s going to be up stream all the way.” “Not as long as we are together,” Molly answered as she took his hand in hers and they swam in rhythm toward their destiny. “Perhaps,” Molly thought, “it wouldn’t be to terrible if I have to stay a frog forever.” 008

CHAPTER TWO Harry and Molly swam together until the sun was high in the sky. The canal flowed to the east from one of the lakes high in the western mountains. Soon they approached a large weir system that diverted some of the water to another canal that went north. Harry and Molly climbed out of the canal and rested on the bank. The caught a few lies and had a great lunch together. They walked, and hopped around the control mechanism as the water was to turbulent to try to swim in. The two of them crawled out onto the concrete divider and perched on a large control wheel that was fitted on a vertical threaded shaft. Harry had no idea what the device was but Molly knew. “It’s a control wheel,” Molly said, “when turned it raises or lowers a valve that controls the water flow.” Harry only nodded as he only understood part of what she said, he was sure that if he saw it he would understand. But he did know that to get close to the gate he could be sucked into it and send off in another direction. After resting a few minutes longer and eating a few more mosquitos (which there seemed to be an abundance of) they dove back into the water and continued their journey upstream They did notice by late afternoon that the water was getting somewhat cooler. By tomorrow after noon they should be close where the canal went into the mountainous area. So far they had not encountered any hostile opposition, they had saw a few snakes along the way but they were pretty much safe from them. This time of year the snakes generally only ate field mice. Apparently they tasted better and were easier to catch. Suddenly they were surrounded by large frogs, these frogs were more like toads. In fact, Harry thought they must be toads but he hadn’t saw any that big before. Molly was frightened and stayed very close to Harry. “You will come with us,” the lead toad said. “We will take you to our king.” “But we don’t want to see your king,” Harry said, “we are travellers and just passing through.” “That does not matter”, the huge ugly toad said as the the others closed in around them. “You will come with us by force if need be.” 009

The lead toad was an ugly brute that looked more like a troll with a bad case of warts than any type of frog. “Ouch,” Molly said, as one of the toads poked her with a sharp stick he was carrying. She moved closer to Harry and wondered what was going to happen next. “Move,” the toad said that had poked her, “do not dispute the leader.” All of them were on the surface of the water and the leader turned and started to swim upstream. There was nothing Molly and Harry could do but follow. Any time they slowed down they would get a poke from the stick from the grossly ugly toad behind them. There were enough of them that escape was not possible. After nearly an hour the leader took them to a rocky area on the southern bank. There had been some sort of machinery located there in the past but had long since been removed and filled with rocks and boulders of various sizes. Harry and Molly were directed into a lagoon like area that had a lot of plant life growing on the surface, including some very large lilly pads. On the biggest pad there sat the biggest and most ugly toad of the entire bunch. “So, what have you brought me, Snarf?” The giant toad on the lilly pad croaked in a deep bull frog voice. “Snarf?” Molly thought, “the lead toads name is Snarf?” She thought it would have been funny if she hadn’t sensed that they may be in great danger. “Two who say they are travellers, your highness” Snarf answered in his baritone voice. “Travellers, you say,” the king said, his voice deep and resonant. “I am King Warticus. No one travels though here with out my consent, and I do not give my consent lightly.” “Where do they get these names?” Molly thought, but she also thought that the situation was becoming more dire by the moment. “A toll,” he said in a great booming voice that shook the pads around him and caused Snarf and the others to cower in fear. 010

It was about this time that Molly noticed the king had a silver crown, only it wasn’t a crown but a silver thimble. Her mother had one like it at home. “How did he get a thimble and how did he convince everyone it was a crown?” Molly thought as she looked at the sewing thimble perched atop the head of the ugliest toad she had ever seen. Actually he was probably no more ugly than other toads she had seen but when she was human she took little notice of it. King Warticus ranted on for a good bit about his greatness, mainly because he had fought fire dragons to attain the crown he wore. Harry and Molly both realised that the King was barking mad which made their situation even more dangerous. “What would you have us do?” Harry asked as they looked up at the demented king who raged on, shaking the whole lilly pad. “Do?” He shouted, “what would I have you do? I will have you pay a toll.” He looked down at them with his great black eyes bulging insanely from his head. Even for a toad his eyes threatened to leave their sockets. “Take them to the dungeon,” he continued, his head shook in an uncontrollable spasm. “I will decide later what toll they must pay.” All of the toads gathered around and forced them into a small tunnel that ran upward out of the water but was closed off. They pushed a rock over the underwater opening and effectively sealed them in. “Well,” Molly said as they climbed up out of the water, “now what?” “We wait,” a voice in the darkness said. “Who else is here?” Harry asked, looking around in the darkness. “I am Nimbus,” the voice answered, “I’m a newt.” “Hello, Molly answered, “I’m Molly and this is Harry, we’re water frogs from downstream.” “Wait a moment,” Nimbus said, “there is some sort of moss that grows here and gives off light, you will be able to see shortly. Not real well but at least enough to get around.” Sure enough in a few minutes their eyes adjusted and they could see Nimbus and each other. “Now,” Harry asked, “do you know anything about this King Warticus?” “Only that he is mad as a hatter,” Nimbus answered. 011

“Where did he get that thimble?” Molly asked. “Thimble?” Harry asked, looking at her. “Oh sorry,” Molly continued, “they are a common item around our house. Evidently he has gotten one from somewhere and claims it to be a crown.” “You live with humans?” Nimbus asked, his black eyes shining in the subdued light. “Yes,” Harry quickly replied, “we were pets, Molly more so than me.” Molly took the cue from Harry and nodded her head in agreement. “So,” Nimbus said, “the crown is just an ordinary human article. I suppose the rest of it was all a lie also.” “That may be true,” Molly said, “but how do we get out of here?” “I don’t know,” Nimbus answered, “I’ve only been here less than a day and I haven’t saw anyway out.” “We could try to force the rock from the entrance,” Harry said. “But then we would have to fight the toads,” Molly said. “I don’t think we are ready to do battle with them,” Nimbus said, “anyway, what does he want from you guys?” “Toll,” Harry answered, “but he hasn’t decided what yet.” “Same thing he said to me,” Nimbus replied. “Only on the way in here I heard the guards say that he may trade us to the snakes.” “What has the snakes got that he would want?” Molly asked with a frown on her face. “I don’t know,” Nimbus answered, “payoff perhaps, so they will leave him and his toads alone.” “Possibly,” Harry said, “all the more reason we need to escape.” The three of them surveyed the area and looked for openings or loose rocks they could shift and probably make a way to the surface. The toads were more than a match for them in the water, but on the ground they were just lumbering beast that they could easily out manoeuvre. They had finally given up after they had searched every bit of the cave for a loose area they could shift. “Look,” Harry said, “if we can get out of the entrance and get on dry land we can easily escape them. Maybe just go straight up the bank from the entrance.” 012

The three of them made there way underwater to the entrance surveyed the stone that the toads had rolled in front of the door. They listened closely but did not hear anything on the other side. Harry looked at the other two and motioned for them to help him push. They had been able to wedge themselves under one side and push the stone back in the direction it had came. In a few minutes of stress and strain they felt the boulder shift. Slowly they shoved it until there was just enough room for them to squeeze out. quietly they pushed the boulder back in its original position. slowly they swam up to the surface and hopped out onto the rocks above the water line. The day had turned to night and it was very quiet, only the running water and the occasional call of a lonely frog broke the stillness. Nimbus said goodby and thanks to Harry and Molly, he had other places to go and he was already late. Harry and Molly set off up stream to put as much distance as they could between them and that crazy king toad with a thimble on his head. They finally got far enough away to where they felt it was safe and returned to the canal. They both burrowed into the soft mud together at the waters edge and went to sleep for the night. They awoke the next morning to the sun shining on them and the roar of King Warticus throwing a tantrum in the distance. They both swam upstream long enough to get the mud off, staying close to the shore in case Snarf and his cohorts showed up. After a good distance had been put behind them swam ashore amongst the grass. This stirred up many mosquitos and they buzzed into flight. “Oh my,” Harry said, “breakfast.” Harry and Molly had a feast and them climbed higher on the bank and enjoyed the sun. The Canal was taking on a more incline and the water running faster. Soon it would be to fast to swim in and most of the travel would be on foot. Harry and Molly sat side by side, she was holding his hand and leaning her head on his shoulder. They both were basking in the morning sun. “Shouldn’t I tell people I was once a human?” she asked. “I don’t think it matters,” Harry answered, “but it will turn into long explanations that few if any will believe.” 013

Harry and Molly continued their trek up stream toward the large lake that fed the canal. The going had became slower and there were fewer and fewer places they could actually swim. The water had became colder and although it wasn’t cold enough to effect them yet it did seem to make them more sluggish. The wildlife that lived in the water became less and less and food was becoming scarcer. They did find that by moving small rocks in the canal bed they could find certain food types living under them. The canal was now a fast moving stream and was covered with trees that grew close to the edge of the water. Molly and Harry rested in a small area where the sunlight penetrated the dense forest. “This feels good,” Molly said as she and Harry sat in the warm sunlight. “Do you think we can be to the lake by nightfall?” “I think so,” he answered, “if we don’t have an incident of some sort.” The two of them sat huddled together in the warm sunlight for few more minutes before it was time to move on. “Why are you helping me?” Molly asked, “I captured you and your friend and put you in a tank. You could have just hopped away and I wouldn’t have blamed you if you did.” Harry had gotten to his feet and extended his hand to Molly who readily took and rose to stand beside him. “Because I like you,” he answered with a smile on his face, “you were always kind to me and Fenton. There is no reason for me to dislike you.” Molly gulped once and her eyes started to glisten with tears. She threw her arms around Harry and hugged him tightly. “I like you too,” she whispered. The two of them continued their journey along side the stream. The way was getting more difficult as they proceeded. They had to climb over slippery rocks and over branches that lay in their way. After a good while they approached a waterfall where the stream came crashing down like thunder. The fall was not all that tall actually, however to the two frogs it seemed quite high. Alongside the water fall was an area of rough slippery rocks that would be difficult to climb. They thought that climbing the rocks would be faster and safer than venturing into the woods to go around.


They had made it half way up alongside the waterfall, slowly picking their way along the rocks. Harry was above Molly most of the time gently putting her feet in Harry’s footsteps. Harry was better at being a frog than Molly and his footing was better. They had approached a wider area and Molly moved up alongside Harry. He extended his hand to her but when she reached to take it she slipped. Molly shouted long scream that Harry could barely hear over the falling water. “Molly,” Harry yelled as Molly fell back and struck a rock on the way down and bounced out into the waterfall. Harry watched in horror as Molly vanished into the crashing water. Harry fought the urge to dive in, first he must see where she was going to come out. After a few seconds, which seemed like forever he saw the limp body of Molly floating away in the still water at the bottom the falls. “Please let her be alright,” Harry said as he dived off the rock he was on and splashed into the water very close to Molly. Harry had one arm around Molly and was swimming toward the closest shore. He pulled her up on a flat rock out of the water. Harry laid Molly on her back cradled her head in his arms. He had no idea what to do, she was breathing ok but but her eyes were closed and mouth partly open. “Please be ok,” Harry whispered as he gently stroked her head and then bent down and kissed her on the lips. Molly’s eyes snapped open and she gasped in a large breath. She sat up and coughed out a bit of water and started to breathe smooth again. “You’re ok,” Harry said as he grabbed her and hugged her tightly. “I was so afraid I had lost you.” Molly looked into Harry’s eyes and saw a love there that she had not noticed before. She hugged Harry tightly afraid to let go she whispered. “Thank you Harry, thank you so much.” “How do you feel?” He asked. “My right hip hurts,” she replied, “where I struck that rock when I fell.” Harry had a concerned look on his face as he put his hand on her hip. “It doesn’t feel broken,” He said, “can you raise your leg.” Molly slowly raised her leg and and harry smiled as they both realised that it was just a bad bruise.


Molly had a bad limp when she stood up and the pain shot through her hip when she tried to walk. “We better stay here for a while,” Harry said as he held her to keep her from falling. They made there way back away from the rocks where the bank was soft and muddy. Harry hollowed out a small area for them and Molly sat down in soft mud. “That feels good,” Molly said as the soft mud flowed around her bruised hip. Harry lay down beside her and let the mud flow over them both. Harry pulled her close and only their heads were visible as they looked at the sky overhead. It was late afternoon and darkness would soon be upon them. Harry spotted some flying insects coming their direction and hoped they would come a bit closer. Soon he was able to catch one, his tongue was so fast it was not even visible. But instead of swallowing it he raised his hand out of the mud and shook it clean, he then took the insect between his fingers and touched it to Molly’s mouth. “Open up,” he quietly said as Molly crossed her eyes to look at the large bug Harry had offered her. “Oh, you shouldn’t have,” she said as Harry smiled and dropped the bug into her open mouth. “Thanks,” she continued as she spoke around the insect she was trying to swallow. They caught several more bugs and had a nice meal as the forest grew darker and darker. They talked for a good while before sleep started to overcome them and they dozed off for the night. Morning came and the two frogs were still asleep until the woods were alive noise. There were birds of all sorts and along with chirping crickets and all sorts other wildlife. “How do you feel?” Harry asked as he and Molly raised up and shook the mud from themselves. “Much better,” Molly answered, “my hip is still a bit sore though.” The two of them dove into the water for a quick swim and get cleaned up. The sun shined brightly through the trees and it was going to be a wonderful day, as long as they didn’t get captured. This time they would be more careful around the rocky waterfall. 016

The climb to the top was slow and away from the waterfall. Molly’s hip still hurt some and she had to rest for several times during the climb. Harry took his time and helped her all he could. Finally they reached the top and before them stretched out a large lake. Harry and Molly climbed up and sat on an old log that had washed up against the shore. “This is a beautiful place,” Molly said, “perhaps we should stay here.” “It is nice,” Harry said, “but you do want to change back, don’t you?” “I’m not sure anymore,” Molly said, “I like you and I like being here. and being a frog isn’t so bad.” Harry took Molly’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. “You don’t have a girlfriend somewhere, do you?” Molly asked as she looked into Harry large yellow eyes. Those eyes had always fascinated her, even when she was a human. “No,” harry answered, “Ellen used to run around with me and Eddy but after he got eaten she started going with another guy named philip. She really like Eddy but we sort of drifted apart with Eddy gone.” “Sorry to hear that,” she said as she leaned against Harry. “Yes,” harry replied, “Thanks, but things happen as they are meant to. How's that hip doing?” “It hurts some, and it’s still pretty sore,” she answered. “Let me see,” harry said. Molly struggled to her feet beside Harry who remained sitting. “It’s swollen a bit,” Harry continued as he put his hand on hip joint. “Is this pretty sore right here?” “Yes,” Molly replied, “don’t push to hard on it.” Harry gently massaged the damaged area, the skin was bruised where she had struck the rock but not broken, that was a good sign. “I think,” Harry said, “that all you need now is time and it will get better. Can you swim ok?” “It will be slow,” she answered. “When we get in the water,” Harry said, “you can put your arm around me and we can swim together and you won’t use that leg. That will give it a rest and in a couple of days you will be as good as new.”


Harry and Molly hopped off the log into the cold lake water, it was refreshing and felt good on her hip. She put her arm around Harry and paddled with her good leg and free arm. Together they made good time. “Where are we going to?” she asked. “I think Ellie said that we should find a marker in the middle of the lake,” Harry answered. Suddenly there was a flurry of activity and a large vicious head appeared next to them. It was some sort large fish with a row of razor sharp teeth. The mouth clamped down on Harry and wrenched him away from Molly. Harry had no more than slipped from her grip as the whole area was alive with fish of all types attacking the large one that had Harry in its grip. “Harry,” Molly screamed as the predators mouth opened and Harry started to slowly fall toward the bottom. Molly forgot all about her injuries as she dove to catch Harry. In a few seconds she had him in her grip and was pulling him toward the shore. Harry was not moving and blood was oozing from several places on his body. Slowly Molly pulled Harry ashore as her hip protested with a blaze of pain. She was openly weeping as she lay Harry on the sand on his back. “Please don’t die, Harry,” she quietly sobbed as she put her hands on his injuries to try to stop the leakage. “Please be ok.” Suddenly the water split open and a Mermaid appeared, she flipped herself out of the water and landed next to Harry and Molly. She was about six inches tall which made a bit taller than Molly when she was standing. She had an iridescent silver blue tail from the waist down. From there up she had white flawless skin and golden hair, her eyes were deep blue. her hair and eyes sparkled in the morning sunlight. Without a second look at Molly she put her hands on Harry’s stomach and said a few words that Molly did not understand. “He’ll be ok, won’t he?” Molly sobbed as she wrung her hands. The Mermaid leaned back from Harry and sat coiled beside him. She looked up at Molly and smiled exposing a beautiful set of teeth. “Why don’t we let him tell you?” She said in a soft, almost hypnotic voice. Suddenly Harry’s eyes popped open and he took a deep breath. “Oh Harry,” Molly cried as she kneeled down and put her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly.


“Easy,” the mermaid said as she lay her hand on Molly’s shoulder, “let him breath for a moment. Molly released her grip on Harry and gently lay his head back on the sand, her tears were streaming down her nose and dripping into Harry’s face. “Molly?” Harry weakly said, “what happened ?” “We got attacked,” Molly said, “by this big fish, at least I think it was a fish. He bit you and I thought you were dead. Oh Harry I was so scared, I thought you were dead. I drug you ashore and this mermaid came and saved you.” Molly was scared and excited and was talking faster than Harry could listen. “He’ll be ok in a few minutes,” the mermaid said, “I have to go now, the fish will not bother you again. He was not from here and has been sent away. Oh, and by the way my name is Amy.” “I’m sorry,” Molly said, “I am Molly and this is Harry. Thank you for saving us.” “I know who you are,” Amy said smiling at the both of them, “we’ve had news of you both.” “really?” Molly said, as Harry raised himself up to the sitting position. “From who?” “Actually,” Amy said, “Miss Ellie sent word about what had happened and sent some fish to watch over you. They just got here a short while ago and just in time apparently.” “But we came to see you,” Molly said. “No,” Amy replied, “you came to see our queen, which you shall do shortly. Just wait here and rest for a bit and some of your friends will come and escort you to our castle.” “With that said Amy gave herself a flip and landed in the water, disappearing with hardly a ripple. Molly stumbled and nearly fell as she sat down beside Harry, her hip was afire with pain but this is the first she had noticed it since she brought Harry ashore. Harry and Molly hugged each other tightly, with tears of joy streaming streaming from Molly’s eyes. The pain in her hip seemed nothing compared to the joy of having Harry back, alive and healthy.


“How is your hip doing?” Harry asked as he pushed Molly back far enough to look into her eyes. “It hurts some,” she said, “but it’s ok.” “I think we can get the mermaids to fix it for you when we finally get to see them.” Harry said. “Don’t worry about my hip,” Molly said, “it’s you I’m worried about. When I brought you ashore you had big holes in you and blood was running everywhere. I was so scared for you, I couldn’t see how you were going to live.” She hugged him tightly again. “The mermaid fixed me up, I guess,” Harry answered, “but who are these friends that are supposed to meet us here, I wonder?” Harry had got his strength back and could stand, once he got to his feet he helped Molly to her feet, she could hardly walk on her bad hip now. They went to the waters edge and Harry helped Molly set down in the shallow water. This made the pain ease up a bit. Harry sat behind Molly with his legs stretched out on either side of her and his arms around her middle. Molly had her hands resting on his and leaned her head back against his chest. It seemed that nothing was as bad as it was a little bit ago, they were alive and relatively healthy . They knew that they were safe now. Molly was starting to doze off a bit in spite of her pain which had eased up a lot in the cool water. Just then there was a ripple forming in the lake and harry was ready to drag Molly away from the water when a small minnow appeared at the surface. “Fenton?” Harry said as Molly’s eyes sprang open. “How did you get here?” “Hi guys,” Fenton said looking at the two of them, “You two are hard to keep up with.” “Benny set you free?” Molly said in an excited voice. “Yeah,” Fenton answered, “he came looking for you and found the note. He then got a cup and scooped me up and ran down to the canal and threw me in. I think they are all looking for you now.” Molly had a sad feeling as she thought of her mum and dad worried sick wondering what had happened to her. But none of that could be helped now. “How did you get up over the fall?” Harry asked. “Oh, there’s a fish ladder on the south side,” he said, “didn’t you guys see

it?” 020

“No,” Harry said as they both looked at Fenton, “we must have missed it.” “How did you get away from Miss Ellie?” Molly asked. “I sneaked away again,” Fenton said as another minnow swam up beside him. “This is Fiona,” he continued, “she came with me.’ “Hi,” Fiona said in a nearly shrill voice. “I just talked to Amy and she said to take you guys to the mermaid’s castle a the other end of the lake. Oh and by the way, I’m happy to meet you, Fenton has told me so much about you.” “Thanks,” Harry said, “but it will be slow going, “Molly has a hip that is pretty badly bruised and we will be slow.” “I thought Amy fixed you guys up?” Fenton said. “She didn’t know about my injury,” Molly said. “I Was so worried about Harry I forgot all about it.” “Oh well,” Fiona said, “I’m sure they will fix you up when you get there.” “There isn’t going to be any more of those mean fish around, is there?” Molly asked. “Oh no,” Fenton said, “those are frankenfish, they swim up from the river through the spill gates attack the locals but this area has a good defence against them. I think that one has been dismembered and eaten by the guard fish.” “I suppose we should get started,” Fiona said, “are you able to swim?” “I think so,” Molly answered as rolled to one side and slipped into the water. Harry slipped in alongside of her and she put her arm around him they started to swim through the cool lake water. “Follow us,” Fiona said, As she and Fenton started out into the lake. Harry and Molly swam slowly behind them, she was barely moving her leg on the injured side. Her hip was very painful when she tried move her leg. The four of them could not help but notice how clear and clean the lake was, not at all like the water farther downstream in the canal. They swam for a good while and molly was hoping it wasn’t much farther as her hip was now a dull ache. “There it is,” Fiona said in her shrill voice, “straight ahead.” Harry and Molly stared intently into dark blue distance and saw some vague outlines of a stone castle in the distance. Molly was reminded of some of the things people put in their aquarium back home.


Harry and Molly swam up to the surface and took a quick deep gulp of fresh air. They could stay down for a long time now. Molly couldn’t help but notice how fresh and clean the water and air was here in the mountains. “Amy told me they have air pockets in their castle,” Fiora said, “so you won’t have to worry about breathing.” In a few moments they were approaching the castle and several mermaids came out to greet them. They were escorted inside where they met the king and queen. The throne room was great affair with a golden throne that shined in the artificial light given off by the plants. Instead of two separate thrones there was only one and it was wide enough that both of them sat upon it. Upon the throne sat the king and queen in their regal splendour. He was quite tall with light red hair and simple gold crown. “At least he doesn’t have a thimble on his head,” Molly whispered to Harry who only smiled. “A thimble?” The king said as the queen put her hand on his arm. The queen was tall also and had beautiful long blond hair and light skin with green eyes that glowed in the light. “So you’ve had a run in with old king Warticus, have you?” The king continued. “I am King Arnold and this is Queen Ann, we rule the mermaid kingdom and nearly all of this lake.” “Yes,” the queen said as she looked down at them. “We also have a daughter swimming around here somewhere, her name is Wendy.” “Now,” King Arnold continued, “tell us how you happen to know about Old King Warticus?” Everyone sat in silence as Harry and Molly related their story of how they came to meet old King Warticus and Snarf. King Arnold leaned back and roared with laughter. “Barking mad,” the king said, “he’s pretty harmless so far but we may have to do something with him if he keeps this up.” “Is there something wrong with your leg?” The queen asked as she saw Molly rubbing her hip. The two of them explained what had happened coming up the waterfall. Queen Ann sent for a healer and in a few minutes two mermaids arrived to work on Molly.


After a few minutes of the mermaids working over Molly with a laying on of hands and muttering a few incantations she was as good as new. The two mermaids bowed to the king and queen and disappeared in a flip of their tails. “You two probably are ready for some fresh air,” The king said, “let us go to the upper throne room.” With that said he rose to his full height along with his queen and started to swim upward. In less than a minute they were in a room that was filled with air and only several feet of water on the floor. “The plants that grow here,” Queen Ann said, “give off air and light, we trap the air in here for people who cannot stay under water forever.” “This beautiful,” Molly said, as her and Harry looked around at the art work that stood above the water level. Fenton and Fiona obviously could not come out of the water but admired the throne room as they swam close to the surface. Harry and Molly climbed out of the water and sat on the edge of a stone step that was right at the edge of the water. King Arnold and Queen Ann stayed in the water and with a slight movement of their tails it looked as though they were standing in front of them. “There is not much we can do for you,” Queen Ann said sadly. “It was frog magic that made you this way so it will have to be frog magic that will undo it.” “Where can we find this ‘frog magic’?” Harry asked. “You will have to go to the frog kingdom,” King Arnold said, “It is in another lake far to the west of here. I would send a guide with you but we cannot live out of the water for extended periods of time.” “We can make you a map,” the queen said, “but you are welcome to stay here as long as you like, but I suppose you are eager to become a human again.” Molly had frown cross her face and she squeezed Harry’s hand. Harry looked at her and smiled. “I’ll miss you,” he said. “If I go back I will take you with me,” she replied. “Anyway,” Queen Ann said, “you must decide because I think the change will work only do one time.” “I really don’t know,” Molly quietly said as looked at all of them.


Suddenly the water broke open a splash and showered everyone. It was Wendy and two of her friends. Wendy was about half the height of her mother and had flame red hair. Her two friends had fair skin and very long hair. One was jet black with blue eyes and the other was a strawberry blonde with hair to her waist. She had blue eyes with a touch green. Molly was reminded of what she looked like when she was human. Wendy was a flurry of red hair that seemed to engulf her entire body as she swung it around to get the water from it. Mermaid hair is unusual as it seems to be dry as soon as they leave the water. They only have to shake the water from it and it looks like it was never wet at all. “Wendy,” her mother said, “will you please be a bit more cautious, you are throwing water every where.” “And,” the king said, “this is, of course Wendy, our daughter and these two are her friends. The dark haired one is Penelope and the blonde is Melissa. They all smiled at Harry and Molly as Wendy leapt out of the water and sat beside Molly. “Hi,” Wendy said as she smiled at Molly, her oversized blue eyes sparkling in the light. “They tell me you are from the human world, what’s it like there? I’ve always wanted to go but everyone says it to dangerous.” “Please Wendy,” the queen said, “control your self,” “I’m sorry, mum,” Wendy said, “it’s just I’ve never met anybody that has been to the human world before, this is so exciting.” “She has not exactly ‘just been there,’ she is actually a human,” the queen said as the other two mermaids swam in closer and looked at Molly with astonishment. “You’re really a human?” Wendy said as her mouth fell open and she put her hand over her heart and leaned back. “Yes,” she said, “it was through an accident that I got changed to a frog.” Harry and Molly sat quietly and told the story of how her and Harry had met she became a frog. Fenton and Fiora swam lazily about the room and looked at the artwork. At the end of their tale Penelope and Melissa let out a loud sigh. “That is so romantic,” Penelope said in a misty far away voice.

“Yes,” melissa quietly agreed. King Arnold quietly rolled his eyes while Queen Ann only shook her head and said. “Girls please.” 024 Wendy seemed to be in constant state of brushing her long red hair back from her face. Her body was smooth and very light, not fish white like Fenton and Fiora. She seemed to have a slight bronze tint to it and from the waist down she was a fish, of course. Her fine scales were an iridescent green with a wide flat tail. Wendy would swing her head around to clear the hair from her face and long red hair would be in a cloud of activity as it settled down around her shoulders an back. “My mother would kill for hair like that,” Molly thought to herself. “Why don’t you take them over to the chart house,” the queen said, “and introduce them to Magnus. He can get them a map to the frogs kingdom.” “Yes,” Wendy answered in an excited tone, “come, follow me. We can be there in a few minutes.” Wendy did a magnificent flip off the step and landed in the water with hardly a ripple. Molly and Harry dove in behind them and they all swam out of the room, Fenton and Fiona were right behind them. “I wish we could go with you,” Penelope said, “but there is to much dry land, I don’t think we could make it.” “It would be nice to have someone along,” Molly said. In a few minutes they were going in a large stone building with an old merman leaning over a huge stone table. Every once in awhile he would quietly rise up and swim over the table looking at the maps that lie before him. “Excuse me,” Wendy said as they all swam into the large room. The old merman looked up and recognised Wendy. He smiled immediately through his old white beard. “Wendy,” He said, “What are you and your friends doing down here? And you have brought a couple of frogs and two fish along, I see.” “It’s the frogs,” Wendy said, “They are the reason we came. She, I mean Molly was a human but got changed into a frog and now Harry’s, that’s Harry, is trying to help her get to the frog kingdom so she can become a human again.” “And you need a map,” he answered, “my name is Magnus,” he said, extending a hand. Molly and Harry both shook his hand while Wendy continued to talk about Harry and Molly’s arrival.


Harry and Molly talked to Magnus for a good bit with Wendy constantly interrupting. Penelope and Melissa were watching and listening wide eyed with excitement. After a few minutes Magnus told them to wait there while he went and got them some charts. “This is going to be so exciting,” Melissa said, “I wish we were going with you.” Molly only smiled as Fenton and Fiora swam around them. the more Molly was around Harry and the water world the less she wanted to return. Here she had good friends and Harry was wonderful to her, and she thought it would be nice to visit the frog kingdom anyway. Since her and Harry were both frogs and neither of them had ever been to the frog kingdom. Wendy and her two friends swan up to Molly and Wendy put her hand on Molly’s shoulder. “What’s it like to be a human?” Wendy asked as she looked at Molly with her oversized blue eyes. “It’s ok, I guess,” Molly answered, “it is certainly different. We have machines that do most of the work for us.” “How about make up?” Penelope asked, her eyes wide with excitement, “and all those things that girls do?” “Those are things grownups do,” Molly answered, “I wasn’t old enough to know about such things.” The three girls got a look of sadness on their faces and Molly couldn’t help but feel she had saw Wendy before, but where? It was somewhere in the human world. Suddenly it struck her like a flash, she looked up at Wendy with a startled expression. “What’s wrong?” Wendy asked. “You look like a mermaid I saw in the human world,” Molly answered, “she is in a cartoon world and makes movies.” “Was her name Ariel?” Wendy asked. “Yes,” Molly replied, “yes it was. But how did you know?” “One of the campers left a book here last year when they left and we found it.” Wendy said. “We thought it was a story about Wendy,” Melissa said. “Oh please,” Wendy said, “can you tell us about Ariel?”


Molly started to explain everything about the cartoon princess and almost said that she wasn’t real, but only a drawn cartoon. Suddenly she realised that such news might upset Wendy and her friends. Besides here she was a frog in a lake full of mermaids and this was certainly real enough. Perhaps the story of Ariel and all her friends were real also. Wendy and her two friends watched with wide eyes and moving their tails slowly as they stayed suspended in the water. Molly and Harry sat perched on the chart table telling them the story of their hero Ariel. Several other Mermaids and fish had gathered about and were listening intently. In a few minutes the story was interrupted by Magnus returning with an armload of charts that he placed on the table in front of Harry and Molly. “Sounds like I am missing a good story,” he said as everyone swam in a little closer. “I was telling them about Princess Ariel,” Molly said as Magnus rolled out one of the charts. “It was ever so good,” Wendy said, “when can you finish the story?” “Oh,” Molly said, “this is a story that can never be finished, there are new adventures every day.” “Ok everybody,” Magnus said, “you all can tell stories later, right now we need to plot you a course to the frog kingdom.” Harry and Molly stared at the chart as wendy and her two friends hovered over them. Fenton and Fiona along with several other mermaids swam overhead. Magnus explained the direction they must take into the western lake. Getting across the river would be the most dangerous area as it was where the Frankenfish lived. There was a long tract of dry land bordered by by a heavy forest that another small river ran through that fed the lake. They were to travel up the river to the frog lake, but that took them though the fairy realm. “Fairies,” Molly said, “they have fairies here also?” “Of course,” Magnus said, “we don’t see them often because no one likes to cross the dry area. In fact you guys may want to carry water with you.” “Are the fairies friendly?” Molly asked as he looked at the map. “Fairies are always friendly,” Magnus said, “but whether they will help you along the way is unknown.”

“There must be a better way across this dry area,” Harry quietly said to himself as he looked at the chart. 027

Soon they had figured out where they had to go, getting there was the problem. The mermaids were not much help, never having been out of their lake. “Do you know the name of the frog’s home?” Molly asked as she looked at the map alongside Harry. “I think it’s just frog lake,” Magnus replied. “Now that you mention it,” Harry said, “what is the name of this lake?” “This is mermaid lake,” Wendy said, “even the humans call it that when they come up camping.” They all studied the map and once Harry and Molly had it memorised Magnus rolled up the charts and returned them to their proper places. The two of them had no idea when they were going to leave but they thought tomorrow would be a good day. Until them a nice soft muddy place to sleep would be nice. Wendy and her friends stayed close by and listened anxiously to everything Harry and Molly said. Molly told some more stories about Ariel and all the mermaid children listened intently. She thought it was a good thing she had saw all the movies so she had plenty of material to keep the children entertained. The day finally came to an end with Harry and Molly curling up together on the shore. The mermaids had all returned to their deep water homes and the lake became smooth and quiet. “Does she ever stop talking?” Harry whispered to Molly as held each other tightly. “Ariel?” Molly answered smiling at Harry, “I don’t think so. I’ve never known anyone to talk so much and so fast.” “They’re good kids,” Harry said, “but I think they are driving the queen crazy.” Harry and Molly help each other and drifted of into a nights sleep The next morning they awoke to the sun shining though the leaves on the

trees an reflecting off the water in silver sparkles. The activity of the woods was quiet noisy as birds of all types were calling to one another. “I wonder,” Harry thought, “maybe the birds can carry us over the dry area.” He would run it by Molly and get her opinion. 028 Harry and Molly were soon wide awake and had a breakfast of gnats that seemed to be in abundance around the edge of the water. “I wonder what Mermaids eat,” Harry said as he licked his lips clean. “Perhaps we should ask Wendy. “I’m sure we would get a full days sermon about it from her,” Molly said laughingly. “Anyway,” Harry continued, “what do you think about maybe trying to get some of the birds to give us a ride across the dry area?” “I don’t know,” Molly answered in a surprised voice, “do you think they would, and don’t birds eat frogs?” “Not all of them,” he answered, “maybe the pigeons or some one that size could carry us easily.” “Let’s ask the mermaids,” Molly said, “surely they would know.” Harry and Molly dove into the water and swam toward the mermaid castle in the middle of the lake. It didn’t take long until they were surrounded bay mermaids, mostly young and a mixture of boys and girls. Word had spread about Harry and Molly. Especially Molly who used to be a human and told stories of what is was like the human world. “I wonder where Wendy and her friends are,” Molly whispered to Harry. One thing about whispering, it doesn’t work under water, everyone hears what you say. “They will be here shortly,” a young boy said, who was close by. he had a shining boyish face with freckles and a shock of strawberry blond hair that was cut reasonably short but still floated in water as he moved. “Yes,” an excited girl cut in, “the queen insisted she have a good breakfast before she left, Penelope and Melissa are with her.” “Are you guys friends with the birds?” Harry asked as he looked at people gathered around. “Some of them,” the boy answered, who had spoken earlier, “And some we aren’t.” “Yeah,” the girl added, her blue eyes sparkling in the morning sun that filtered down through the crystal clear lake water. “Most of them are nice but some will try to eat us.”

“We would like to catch a ride from them, if we can,” Molly said. 029 “You will have to speak with the king and queen about that,” another girl said. “Are there any other frogs that live her?” Molly asked. “A few,” the freckle faced boy said, “but not many, I’m surprised that they haven’t been up here to see you.” “We’d like to talk to them, if we could,” Molly replied. “I’ll see if I can find some of them,” another redheaded Mermaid girl said as she swam away. “I suppose,” Harry said, “we should get on over to the castle and see the king and queen.” Soon they were all swimming toward the castle which was not far away. By human standards the lake itself was not that large, but to the beings that lived there it was quite huge. They had nearly arrived when they met Wendy and her two friends swimming toward them. In a few minutes they had all joined up. “Hi,” Wendy said as she swam up along side Molly. “I wanted to come and see you sooner but mom made us eat first. Have you decided when you’re leaving?” “No,” Molly answered, “not yet but we want to know if we can get some birds to maybe carry us across the dry area.” “We may be able to do that,” Wendy answered, “we have a pigeon friend named Homer who might help, but I don’t think he could carry both of you.” “You better talk to your father before you ask Homer,” Penelope said. “Yes,” Melissa agreed, “you remember what happened last time.” “What happened,” Harry asked as everyone listened, they were very close to the castle now. “She had Homer give her a ride,” Penelope said, “and they went way high and out over the dry area.” “Yes,” Melissa added, “and the king was furious, he said if something would have happened she could have died before before she got back to the water.” “It was worth it though,” Wendy said, “the flight was great, birds are so lucky to fly.” “But you were confined to the castle for a week,” Melissa said. “It was still worth it,” Wendy retorted. 030

In a few minutes they were inside the castle, all the mermaids had swam away except Wendy and her two friends. They escorted Harry and Molly into the royal chamber where the king and queen were. “Well,” King Arnold said, “welcome back. Did you have a good night?” “Yes,” Molly answered, “it was wonderful. It is so peaceful up here.” “Can I get you some breakfast?” Queen Ann asked. “No,” Molly answered, “we ate before we swam over.” “Have you decided when you are leaving?” the king asked, as he looked at the two of them. “Soon,” Harry answered, “but first we would like to ask you a question.” “And what might that be?” The king said as he looked at Queen Ann and them back at Harry and Molly. “A ride,” Molly said, “Harry seems to think we may be able to catch a ride with some of the birds to get across the dry area.” King Arnold only stared at them for a few seconds and then looked at Wendy, who flushed a red color and looked at the floor, her hands clasped together at her waist. “I suppose that would be ok,” the king answered, “but you understand the dangers of flight? You could be dropped, injured or stranded. I’m sure that Wendy could help you talk to the birds about it.” Wendy smiled and looked up at her father. “Thank you father,” she quietly whispered. “Just don’t get any crazy ideas about going with them,” the king said as he looked straight into his daughters eyes. “Of course not,” Wendy laughingly said as swam up and hugged her father and kissed him on the cheek. In a few minutes they all said good bye to the King and Queen and swam outside to join all those who were waiting, including several frogs. They were soon joined by Fenton and Fiona and swam of into the distance. “You know, of course,” the queen said, “Wendy and her friends are probably going with them.” “Yes, I know,” he answered with a sigh, “but what can I do?” “Nothing,” she answered as she hugged him tightly, “she is so much like you.” 031

Soon they were at the far side of the lake and the mermaids leapt out of the water onto the sandy shore. Harry and Molly joined them along with several other frogs. They had introduced themselves to the family of frogs that had joined them. They could tell them nothing of importance as they had never left the lake, nor had they ever had anything to do with the frog kingdom. They enjoyed where they lived and got along well with the other inhabitants of the lake. “Now,” Wendy said, “if I can contact Homer we will see what we can do.” She put her pinkie finger from each hand in the corners of her mouth gave out with piercing whistle that echoed through the forest. Nearly everyone covered their ears and a few gave out with an audible ‘ouch’. “Hey,” of the girls said, “warn us next time you that.” “Sorry,” Wendy quietly said as he looked to the sky. In a few minutes there was a motion in the trees not far from shore. They all watched as a grey pigeon flew into view and landed close to Wendy. “Wendy,” the pigeon said high pitched raspy voice, “how are you?” “Great, Wendy said as she hugged him around the neck. He, in turn wrapped his wings around her. “Sorry about getting you in trouble last time,” He said, “I thought I best stay away for awhile.” “It’s ok,” she answered, “but we need your help, this is Harry and Molly and we need to get them to the frog kingdom. Homer looked at the two frogs and smiled at them. This is most difficult for birds because there beaks are solid and one has to look behind the beak to see the smile. Homer listened intently as they all explained what had happened. “A human,” Homer said, “you used to be a human? My grandfather worked with humans, he was a messenger during one of their wars. They treated him well and even made him a hero. They gave him some sort of medal that is still in his old nest inside the humans house.” “Really?” Molly said, “I’d like to see it sometime.” “I’m sure I can show it to you,” he answered, “but for now how many of you need a ride?” “Five of us,” Wendy said before anyone else could speak. 032 “Five of us?” Harry and Molly said as they looked at each other and then back at Wendy who’s bright red hair was blowing softly in the wind. “Of course,” Wendy replied, “you two, Penelope, Melissa and myself. That

makes five.” “But your father said-,” Molly started to say. “Oh yes,” Wendy interrupted, “I know what he said, but this is the adventure of a lifetime and we’re not going to miss out on it.” “OK,” Homer said, drawing out the phrase in long syllable. “Where, exactly do you want to go?” “To the frog kingdom,” Molly said, “we need to see the king about reversing this spell that I am under.” “Or not,” Her and Harry both whispered silently to each other. “I can’t take you to the kingdom because we can’t land there,” Homer said, “it is forbidden for birds to land there because so many birds have eaten the frogs. It has became their sanctuary. I can drop you of by the fairies realm and you can swim up stream the frog kingdom, you will be safe with the fairies.” “That sounds good,” Harry said, “Will there be enough water for the three mermaids to swim all the way?” “Yes,” Homer answered, “the river is not that big but there is plenty of water. We can probably be there in a couple of hours.” “How soon can we leave?” Molly asked. “I think I can have a crew together in about an hour,”Homer answered. Everyone agreed that would be good and Homer flew away to find his friends. Harry and Molly sat on the beach and told the rest of the group what it was like to be a human while they waited. “I want to see if the frog king can turn me into a human,” Wendy said as she tossed a small pebble into water. “Really,” Penelope said, “you want to be a human?” “Not permanent,” she answered, “just for a little bit. I want to see what it is like.” “It’s not a great as it sounds,” Molly said, “I’m not all that sure I want to go back.” “Then why are we going to the frog kingdom?” Melissa asked. 033 CHAPTER SIX “Because it’s an adventure, silly,” Wendy laughingly said as she pushed on Melissa’s shoulder, causing her to tip over sideways and splash into the lake. Melissa popped back up to the surface and with both hands splashed water toward Wendy. Unfortunately she missed Wendy and the water splashed onto Penelope.

“Hey,” Penelope shouted as she dove into the water. Both girls were giggling and splashing about when Wendy dove in and joined then. Soon everyone there was involved including some of the frogs. Harry and Molly sat on the shore and watched everyone play in the water. In a few minutes they had all settled back down and came back ashore. “You’re serious,” Wendy said to Molly as she sat next to her. Her tail stretched out and lay in the water. “You don’t want to become a human again?” “I’m not sure,” Molly answered, “This is such a nice place and I like being with harry. But I do want to know what happened and change back if I want to.” “Maybe,” Wendy said, “they can change Harry into a human also.” Harry and Molly looked at each other and then at Wendy, everyone sat in silence waiting for Molly to say some thing. Penelope sat next Harry as He sat very close to Molly. Melissa sat behind Molly and all the others were gathered in close. Some of the frogs and other mermaids sat in the water near by. Several young girls lay on the edge of the shore with their elbows in the sand and their heads resting their hands, their tails stretched out in the water behind them slowly moving in the water. “I think it has turned into a quest,” Molly said, the corners of her mouth curling up into a smile. “Yes,” Wendy said excitedly, “not just an adventure but a quest. This is going to be so exciting. “Not as exciting as it is going to be around here,” Melissa said, as she put her hand on Wendy’s shoulder and leaned close to her. “When your father finds out you have gone.” “I don’t think our folks are going to be all that excited about us leaving either,” Penelope said. “Well,” Wendy said, “it’s to late now, here comes Homer with his friends.” 034 “If this works out for us,” Wendy said, “we will be back before they even know we’ve left.” Everyone was watching the sky as a flock of birds came flying closer and closer. Soon they had all landed near by with Homer landing in front of Wendy. Homer was taller than Wendy when he stood up straight, but not by much and the mermaids could not stand to their full height outside the water. There were two rather large birds that Molly immediately recognised as young eagles, apparently they were friends of Homer. There were many

other birds along for the adventure including many bluebirds. They fly with them and watch over the operation in case anything went wrong. Homer introduced all of the flock to everyone and neither Molly nor Harry could remember all those names. The ones they did remember were the two eagles whose name was Odin and Thor. Odin would carry Harry and Molly and Thor would carry the three mermaids. None of them on the ground had ever flown before except Wendy. Molly had, as a human flown on an airplane once but she doubted that it would be anything like riding on the back of a eagle. Odin spoke everyone first and his voice was deep resonated similar to an echo. He explained that he and Thor were out fishing for Frankenfish when Homer came by and asked for a favor. “Frankenfish?” Molly said, “you eat Frankenfish?” “Yes,” Thor said, his voice deep with an echo chamber quality to it, “Homer tells us of lake that you want to go to west of here.” “We’ve heard of it,” Odin interjected, “but we’ve never been there. We will gladly take you there.” “That way we will have new fishing waters,” Thor added. Everyone’s heads were turning back and forth from Odin to Thor as the generally both spoke often. “Frankenfish a really disliked by everyone in the water world,” Homer said, “the frog kingdom and the fairies realm will probably be glad to have you.” “Anyway,” Odin said, “when you get on my back come up forward of my wings and sort get under the feathers a bit and hang on. Don’t get to high in the slipstream, if you get blown off I will try to catch you with my feet, but I can’t guarantee I won’t puncture you with a talon. This didn’t make Harry feel good, remembering being bitten by a Frankenfish earlier. 035

“Are we ready?” Wendy asked. Everyone looked around and nodded in agreement. “Ok,” Odin said, as he lowered his neck down to the ground, “Climb on,” Harry and Molly both gave a jump and landed on Odin’s back. They made there way to the area just in front of his wings. Molly was amazed at the softness of Odin’s feathers. “Oh that tickles,” Odin said with a shudder as Molly and Harry parted his feathers and crawled closer to his skin. The three mermaids had a much harder time getting on Thor as they had no

legs and feet to climb with. But with the help of Homer and the other mermaids they managed to get aboard. In a few minutes they were ready for take off. Are we all ready?” Thor asked. “Yes,” everyone answered. “Then let the adventure begin,” Wendy shouted as the two eagles started to flap their wings. In a few seconds they were in the air and they felt ground give away and they were gaining altitude. Molly and Harry hugged each other tightly and although the take off was a bit rough, once they were in the air it became very smooth and Odin only moved his wings occasionally and mostly just glided. “How are you guys doing back there?” Odin asked as he banked a little to the left and they could see the land far below. “Great,” Molly said, “this is wonderful.” They looked over and saw the three mermaids sitting on Thor, Wendy was in front of Melissa and Penelope. She had her head up and her arms out facing into the wind. It looked as though she was trying to fly as her long red hair blew back in the wind. The two behind her huddled closer to Thor but their hair still blew back into the wind. “Look at Wendy,” Molly said as she leaned against Harry. “I hope she doesn’t fall off,” Harry said as they looked at the country side below. “I think she has flown more than we were told,” Molly said as they both became a bit braver raised up farther and looked around. 036 The view was magnificent although they had to squint because their eyes were large and not designed for looking into the high wind. They marvelled at how great it was to be able to look around and see for what appeared to be forever. They were many other birds of varying species flying with them. Molly couldn’t help notice how great the bluebirds looked in flight swooped and dived. Homer and a couple of other pidgins flew close to Thor. Molly suspected that may be because they thought Wendy might fall off. The flight went for on for nearly an hour when Odin finally said. “There it is, the lake where we will drop you off.” “Where?” Harry said as he stretched his head up and looked into the distance. “You will see it pretty soon,” Odin said, “Our eyes are the best in the bird world. We can see for miles.”

Molly and Harry both strained their eyes to look off into the horizon. Molly noticed that the Mermaids were staring into the distance also.” “There it is,” they heard Wendy shout as she pointed off in the distance. “Are we the only blind ones here?” Harry said as he and Molly stared into the distance. “Wait,” Molly said excitedly, “I think I see it,” She moved her head against Harry’s and pointed off at the horizon. “See the bit of blue in the distance?” “Yes,” Harry said, “I think I do.” Odin and Thor had stopped flapping their wings and went into a slow glide toward the lake. All of the other birds stayed alongside. “I’m not going to land Odin said, “I will slow down get close to the water and when I say jump you guys dive for the water.” In a few minutes they were close to the water and Thor was along side on their left. They both made a sharp bank to the left and yelled, “jump.” Harry and molly let go of Odin’s feathers and made a leap into the air. Both of them made a beautiful dive side by side into the lake. The three mermaids did the same. They were a magnificent sight with their tails straight and they long hair trailing out behind them. Harry and Molly landed in the water with a smooth splash but the three mermaids disappeared into the water with hardly a ripple. Soon they had gathered at the surface with the birds circling close by in case there was any trouble with the Frankenfish. “I’ve changed my mind,” Wendy said, “I want to be an eagle.” 037 “Where shall we go?” Molly asked as they looked around the lake. They were a good ways from shore but they could see some trees and rocks in the distance. “Let’s go there,” Wendy said, pointing toward the distant rocky shore where the trees hung over the edge of the water. “It will give us some protection in case there are some bad things in the water.” Everyone struck out for the shore, the mermaids were excellent swimmers and just by moving their tails they could attain a great speed. Harry and Molly were very good also, being frogs they could easily keep up with the mermaids. In short order they arrived at the shore with no problems. Harry and Molly leapt out of the water and sat on a large rock that was partially submerged in the water. In a few seconds they were all out of the water and setting on the rock in the warm sunshine. “That was really great,” Penelope said, “I could really get addicted to

flying.” “Yes,” Wendy agreed, “Homer used to take me up lots of times until we got caught.” “I thought you had flown before,” Molly said, “we were watching you from Odin’s back and you looked like someone who had been in the air fairly often.” “When you were human?” Melissa asked, “did you fly a lot?” “Once,” Molly answered, “we went to visit my grand mum and we flew in a large airplane. It wasn’t the same, and not near as much fun.” “By the way,” Wendy said, “what do we do now?” “According to the maps,” Harry said, “we need to go upstream past a water fall and then we will be in the frog kingdom.” “What of this Fairy realm?” Penelope asked. “I think it starts right here at this tree line,” Molly answered. “I wonder where the Fairies are?” Melissa said as everyone looked around. “I wonder where Homer is,” Wendy said, “he wasn’t with us when we flew into the lake area.” “I bet he probably went to meet the fairies,” Molly said. “Or,” Wendy replied, “he went ahead to the frog kingdom.” Suddenly there were several sparkling gold lights appearing around them, the fairies had arrived. 038 The small gold sparkles danced around them and appeared to be made of a glowing dust. it was impossible to tell how many there were. After a few moments the sparkling dust coalesced into four fairies. “Hi,” they all said in a high pitched voiced. “Welcome to the Enchanted Forest, home of the fairies.” “Hello,” Harry said as they looked at the four fairies that had just landed in front of them. “This is Molly and I am Harry, the others are Wendy, Penelope and Melissa. Each of the mermaids smiled and raised her hand as Harry mentioned her name. “yes,” the fairy closest to Harry said, “we know who you are. Homer told us and explained why you are here. I am Stardust and this is my friend Meteor, we are sky fairies. These other two are Raindrop and her friend cloudy, they are water fairies.” “We’re so glad to meet you,” the others said in unison then broke out in laughter. “Sorry about that,” Stardust said, “we all seem to talk at the same time when we get excited.”

The fairies seemed most excited about the mermaids and hovered around the three girls. They had seen lots of frogs since they lived right next to the frog kingdom but this was the first mermaids that had ever saw. “May I touch your skin?” Raindrop asked Wendy. “Of course,” Wendy replied, “may I touch your wings?” Raindrop’s wings were soft and felt like silk to Wendy. Raindrop gently touched Wendy’s tail and was amazed at the fine soft scales that seemed to stay wet even though they had been out of the water for a good bit. There was little difference in the hair except that the mermaids hair seemed to dry a bit faster than the fairies. “I suppose,” Stardust said, “that we should escort you to the castle. You all can swim with Raindrop and Cloudy. We will meet you there.” “Swim,” Wendy said, “you swim as well as fly?” “Of course,” Cloudy said as he got to his feet, “we’re water fairies you know.” The three mermaids dove in the water along with Molly and Harry. Raindrop and Cloudy joined them, they were all about the same size and were about equal in swimming ability. 039 The two fairies were excellent swimmers and reminded Molly of the professional athletes on a much smaller scale. Their wings were folded back against their body and were hardly visible at all in the water. Mostly their hands and arms were at their side and they moved much the same as the mermaids. Penelope, Melissa and Wendy could not help but show off a bit because in the water there were none better than the mermaids. They would do loops and swirls then pop out of the water and dive back in with hardly a ripple. “That’s ok,” Raindrop said, smiling at Cloudy, “they still can’t fly. “And they are not nearly as good looking,” Cloudy added as he smiled and swam close to Raindrop. “And we are neither,” Harry said as he smiled at Molly. As far as looks go there were little difference in the mermaids and the Fairies except the fairies had legs. Both had flawless skin and long hair that seemed to glow in the light. Raindrop had large blue eyes that had a liquid appearance to then like deep still blue water. The boy fairies generally had short hair and Cloudy had sea green eyes with a row of freckles across his nose. “This way,” Raindrop said as she and Cloudy turned to the right and started

up a small stream that fed into the lake. “The water will get shallow, so be careful of the rocks. There isn’t anything alive in this area that will hurt you.” The water became fast and rough but they had no trouble dodging the rocks and tree limbs that had fallen into water at an earlier time. After about a half an hour they reached an area where the water was deeper and incredibly refreshing. “This is it,” Cloudy said, “right over there on that shore is where the castle is.” Harry and Molly looked at the sandy shore with some rocks sticking out of it. “The entrance is just around the cornerm,” Raindrop said as they all followed her around the shore line to a large stone archway into a cavern that the stream started in. 040 There through the opening lay the fairies realm, it was quite magnificent with golden castles rising toward the sky. It was like they had entered another world, which of course they had. When they rose to the surface they saw that the area was filled with fairies. The roadway from the waters edge to the castle gates appeared to be yellow brick lined with large green trees, flowers and shrubbery that was immaculate trimmed. Raindrop and Cloudy shook the water from themselves and spread their silky wings. Melissa, Penelope and Wendy sat on the bank and marvelled at the beauty of the place. They could not travel on the ground without legs. The court page asked them to follow him to the royal court. “What of our friends?” Molly asked, “they can’t travel on land.” The page was a slim fellow with sharp grey eyes and more than an aristocratic personality. “Very well,” he haughtily stated, he snapped his fingers and six rather large fairies flew up and he directed them to carry the three mermaids to the royal court. The fairies picked up the mermaids, one on each side and carried them with their arms around them. In a few minutes they were in the royal court with Molly and Harry sitting in a large chair facing the throne. Shortly the fairies appeared carrying the three mermaids and deposited them in the chairs beside Harry and Molly. “Nice,” Wendy said, “but not as much fun as the eagles. The page stood beside the throne tapped the floor three times with the royal trident. Everyone fell silent and the king and queen entered. They

walked into the room and sat side by side on the golden throne that was trimmed in blue with emerald green silk cushions. “The royal court is now in session,” the page said as he looked over all who had gathered there. “King James and Queen Jillian presiding, Court is now in session.” “Court?” Molly thought, “are we on trial for something?” “First,” King James said, “I want to welcome all the visitors to the Fairies Realm. Especially the Mermaids, as you may know we have never had mermaids here before.” “And the frogs of course,” Queen Jillian added. The page introduced everyone to the king and then retired out of sight. 041 “Homer told us about your situation,” the king said, he was a tall fairy with white hair and pointed ears. He and the queen appeared to be older than the others and their wings were of a more golden color. “Yes,” the queen agreed, “there is not much help we can give you except directions and thank you for bringing the eagles here.” “They will help us control the frankenfish,” King James said, “which quite frankly are getting out of hand. We haven’t lost any fairies to them but lots of the aquatic life have suffered.” “Thank you,” Molly said, “but how far is it to the frog kingdom?” “It isn’t far,” the queen said, “it is the way that is treacherous.” “What of our mermaid friends,” Harry asked, “will they be able to go with us?” “I’m not sure,” the king said with a look of concern on his face, “I’m not sure they can get over the falls. It’s quite high, you know.” “Perhaps we could equip them with wings,” the queen said. “That would take a while,” King James said, “and it would mean calling up old Ragnar.” Molly and Harry looked at each other and then at the three mermaids. They were all wondering who Ragnar was and Wendy could hardly contain herself at the thought of getting her wings. “To be able to fly,” she whispered to herself. “In case you are wondering,” the queen said, “Ragnar is and ancient fairy wizard. He has been here since the beginning of time and knows a lot of magic. He will be able to tell you what will be required and if he can do it at all.” “This may take a couple of days,” the king said, “do have the time?”

“Yes,” Harry said with Molly nodding in agreement, “we will take time.” “Very well,” King James said, “escort these people back to the water and see that they are well fed and their needs are met.” Harry and Molly walked back to the water from where they came and six fairies carried the three mermaids back to the water. “We would have like to have carried you to the frog kingdom,” one of the fairies carrying Wendy said, “but you are to heavy to carry that far.” They sat the mermaids down at the waters edge and flew back to the castle. 042 Very soon they were all surrounded by fairies who seemed very interested in the mermaids. Harry and Molly were pretty much ignored as the fairies were far more interest in the three mermaids than they were in the frogs. Several were concerned about Molly once being a human and asked many questions about what it was like. In a few minutes a table had been set up along side the water and a feast prepared for them. Mermaids and fairies eat about the same thing with certain amounts of meat set up for the two frogs. “Do you know how to use silverware?” Molly whispered to Harry. “I think so,” he answered, “I watched you eat when I was in the aquarium. I often wondered why humans went through such a bother.” “Just watch me,” Molly said, “and I will guide you through.” Harry did very well with a knife and fork, after a few moments one could not tell that this was his first time with silverware. They were all seated around the table as the servers cleared the dishes. Wendy was explaining how great the flight was on the backs of the eagles. “They’re ready to take the table and chairs,” Raindrop said, “shall we go for a swim?” That was the only invitation the mermaids needed, they all smiled and turned sideways on their chairs. This gave them enough clearance so when they pushed themselves back they would not hit the table or chairs. With a flip of their tails the three mermaids done a perfect back flip dive into the water, hardly forming a ripple. “They’re really good,” Cloudy said as he and Raindrop flew up in the air, folded their wings and dived into the water. “Aren’t we supposed to wait a bit after we eat before we go swimming?” Molly asked. “That’s just for humans,” Harry answered as he smiled at her, “care to join me?”

Harry made a long dive into the water and was followed by Molly a few seconds later. Frogs are notorious swimmers but not as good as mermaids but certainly as good as the water fairies. Frogs also had the ability for great distances without tiring out, this attribute was at least equal to the mermaids. “Tell us about the Frankenfish problem,” Molly asked Raindrop as they swam side by side. 043 CHAPTER SEVEN “The Frankenfish are vicious creature that tend to eat everything in sight,” Raindrop said. “They came in from the sea as near as we can tell, we have always had a few but of recent there have been an increase in their numbers. We put up a magic shield near where the lake drains but it takes a lot of energy and time to keep it active, and some still get through. We are hoping the eagles will help keep them a way.” “They will eat fairies?” Molly asked. “If they can catch us, they will,” Raindrop answered, “but if we can get out of the water and fly quick enough we are ok.” “One of them caught Harry in the mermaid lake,” Molly said, “I thought I had lost him but they have guard fish that drove them away.” “Harry actually got bitten by one?” Raindrop said in astonishment. “Yes,” Molly answered, “but I drug him ashore and the mermaids healed him up.” “We think they may have a king somewhere,” Raindrop said, “but King James thinks that much of the human activity has opened the water way to the sea and let all sorts of creatures into the water ways.” “If they have a whole kingdom of frankenfish some where,” Molly said, “that would be awful.” “I think King James wants to have a meeting with King Max of the frog kingdom and see what he has learned about them,” Raindrop said. Suddenly there was a soft splash nearby as another fairy dived into the water. Cloudy and Harry was swimming nearby and turned to see who it was. The three mermaids were off in the distance enjoying the clear blue water of the lake. “Time to come back,” the fairy who had just dived in said, “they found the Wizard Ronan and he will be here soon.” All of the frogs, fairies and mermaids turned and started to swim back toward the castle. In a few minutes they were all back at the same area

where they had enjoyed the feast. The three mermaids sat on the edge of the bank with their tails in the water with Harry and Molly setting beside them. Raindrop and Cloudy sat next to their new frog friends. I was then they saw the fairy wizard Ronan approaching. 044 Ronan was an aged fairy with a long beard and dressed in a long, blue cloak with gold an silver symbols of the sun, stars and moons all over it. The three mermaids sat at the waters edge as Ronan approached. Molly and Harry stood next the mermaids, with Raindrop and cloudy next to them. Stardust and Meteor stood on the other side next to Penelope. “Hello,” Ronan said in a sharp crackle of a voice. His face broken into smile with amazingly good teeth for someone of his apparent age. Where his skin was exposed it was wrinkled so much that even the wrinkles had wrinkles. Everyone smiled and nodded but no one spoke. Most had never saw Ronan in person before and had no idea how to address the great legendary wizard. “So,” he continued, “let us get started, First you,” indicating Harry and Molly, “I can do nothing for you at this time. The magic that caused your change is that of frog realm and old Frogulous will have to sort you out. I may be able to do something for you later but but not until he is done with you.” “Excuse me,” Molly said in a meek voice that was little more than a squeak, “but what did you say his name was?” Ronan gave Molly a piercing look with his bright silver blue eyes that were deep set behind an aged face coated with a long white beard. He then leaned forward a bit and cocked his head to one side, cocked one eye up and stared into Molly’s large golden eyes. His gold wings quickly fluttered like a hornet that was about to take flight. “Frogulous,” He said as he broke into a smile, “and not to worry everyone finds his name unusual. Some even break into laughter, but not in his presence of course. Please try to remember that when you meet him.” “Yes, I will, Molly said as she smiled back at the aged fairy wizard. “Now, you three,” he said as he pointed toward the Mermaids. “into the water, we must get started.” The three girls looked at each other and then quietly slipped into the water and disappeared below the surface. Ronan leapt into flight and then dived into the water near the mermaids. When the girls saw him he was very young and had no beard. “What happened?” Wendy asked, “you were so old out there.”

“Just for show,” he laughingly said. “we wizards do not age.” 045

“Now,” he continued, “first off, I cannot give you wings just yet. I can, however give you legs, you will be like the fairies but without wings. You must, after you get those two frogs to the frog kingdom return here and then we can see about the wings.” All three of the mermaids stood in silence and watched Ronan, he gathered them close together and had them hold hands. He then put both his hands on either side of Wendy’s face, she stood between the Penelope and Melissa and all three held hands. Ronan muttered a few words that none of the mermaids understood. The three mermaids could feel something happening, they all looked down and saw their bodies changing. It was a most unusual feeling for them as their tails split and became two separate parts. “That tickles,” Penelope said, laughingly as she moved her legs separately. They were completely formed with prefect proportions to the rest of their body. “Now,” Ronan said, “comes the difficult part. I want you to picture yourselves as were when you were mermaids whisper these words. First you say your name and then say ‘I wish to be a mermaid’. It is important that you picture yourself as a mermaid in your mind. They all nodded in agreement as Ronan took his hands away from Wendy’s face and the three girls let go of each others hand. “You first, Wendy,” he said smiling at her. Wendy closed her eyes and concentrated, “Wendy, I wish to be a mermaid.” She whispered. The transformation went well and all she had to do to change back was to say the same thing but wish to be a human. Ronan made them practice several times until he felt they had it right. Each one of them had a few failures. Melissa had one human leg and one mermaid tail at the same time but it was easy to sort out. The main thing was to concentrate and keep the picture of what they wanted to become in their mind. “Well,” Ronan said, “you have all done quite well and my job here is done for now. Make sure you come back after you have gone to the frog kingdom.” Ronan promptly disappeared leaving the three girls staring at each others new body.

046 Wendy, Penelope and Melissa swam up to surface and climbed out of the water on unsteady legs. None of them had ever had legs to walk with and it was a new experience. Even swimming without their familiar tail was a bit of a problem. They tried to propel themselves with their new found legs but soon found it was easier to paddle with their hands. Molly and Harry hurried to their side and steadied them as they took their first few steps. By this time the area was full of fairies with Stardust and Meteor hovering close by. Raindrop and Cloudy were alongside Molly and Harry. The three girls stood unsteady on their feet as they got used to their new legs. “I thought you were supposed to wear clothes?” Raindrop said as she and Cloudy flew up a alongside of Stardust and Meteor. “I thought they were supposed to get wings,” A tall dark haired fairy named Moonbeam said. “He said he would get us wings later,” Wendy said, “and where do we get clothes?” “Here they are,” another fairy said as four rather large guys, (for fairies anyway) landed with a large book that it took all of them to carry. “The humans that were camping here last year left this in book, it is full of pictures of clothes and stuff.” “It’s a catalogue,” Molly said as she and Harry sat down next to it and opened the front page. “Humans order stuff from it.” The three mermaids were now just like humans except they were no taller than they were before and looked as though they were in their late teens. All slim and exceptionally well built. They all gathered around the catalogue and marvelled at the pictures as Molly turned the pages. Soon they had had picked out the clothes they wanted and everyone advised them to wear. They had selected blue jeans and white snug pullover shirts. Since they were going to walk with Molly and Harry to the frog kingdom this seemed the best along with white sneakers except for Melissa who selected pink sneakers and a pink blouse that had buttons rather than a pullover. The fairies worked a little magic and the clothes appeared before them. Soon they were dressed and ready for travel. They could transform from human to mermaid and the clothes would still be with them when they turned back to human form. 047

“Oh look,” Penelope said, looking at the catalogue, “they have make up and all kinds of stuff in here.” Soon they were gathered around looking at the pages in the giant book that was longer than they were tall. harry and molly loved away from the crowd who were excitedly talking about styles and all the neat stuff in the catalogue. “They are all just like human teenagers,” Molly quietly said to Harry. “Let’s go see king James and Queen Jillian,” Harry said, “we should start on our journey soon.” “Yes,” Molly agreed, “perhaps tomorrow.” Harry and Molly spent a short time with the king and queen and they all agreed that tomorrow would a fine time to leave. The weather was good and if all went well they should be in the frog kingdom by sunset tomorrow. “Do you think the mermaids will go with us?” Harry asked, as they left the king and queen. “Oh yes,” Molly answered, “I don’t think they would miss it for the world. They are just excited about their new legs and that human catalogue.” They made their way back to where the mermaids were and there were fairies everywhere. The three mermaids were there and all were looking at the catalogue and discussing all the styles make up equipment. even the boys were there but they didn’t seem as excited as the girls. “Hey, there you are,” Wendy said, as Harry and Molly walked up, “we missed you where did you go?” “We were talking to the king and queen,” Molly answered, “we are going to leave in the morning.” By this time Penelope and Melissa had joined them and were standing along side Wendy. They were adapting to their legs quite well and hardly staggered at all. They looked like three beautiful teenagers at any high school. “I wonder how they would do with heels,” Molly said to herself as she smiled. “Where will we meet?” Melissa asked. “How about right here?” Harry said. “Sounds good,” Wendy said, “we want to spend the night out of the water to see what it is like.” “We’re heading for the water for the night,” Molly said, “we will see you tomorrow.” 048 Molly and Harry found a nice soft muddy spot by the shore with an over hanging rock that protected the area.

“This looks good,” Harry said, “is it ok with you?” “It’s fine,” Molly said as she put her around Harry and gave him a hug. “What was that for?” Harry asked, giving her a crooked little smile. “Because I like you,” she answered as they burrowed into the mud. “I like you too,” he whispered to her as they curled up together for the nights sleep. It seemed like no time at all and there was a movement over head and Harry was wide awake. There was more light overhead and he couldn’t figure out what had happened. Who was swimming by and why was the sky so light? Molly was still sound asleep beside him. Suddenly it dawned on him what had happened, they had slept soundly through the night. Most likely the girls were looking for them. “Molly,” he said as he gently shook her awake, “it’s morning and I think they are looking for us.” Molly groaned loudly and sat upright with sleep still in her large yellow eyes and bits of mud falling away as the water washed around her. In a few minutes they were swimming toward the surface. Once on the shore they saw all the fairies but the three mermaids were not there. “There you are,” Stardust said, “The mermaids and the water fairies are looking for you.” “Sorry,” Molly said in her most apologetic tone, “we overslept. It is so peaceful and relaxing that we just didn’t wake up.” Just them the water broke open and the three mermaids surfaced. This time they had tails. They swam to the shore and swung themselves out of the water. Molly heard them whisper a few words and their tails turned into legs again, completely dressed. “We were so worried,” Wendy said, “we thought something had happened to you.” “Yes,” Melissa added, “we knew you wouldn’t leave without us.” “Especially at night,” Penelope said. “Of course we wouldn’t leave without you,” Molly said, “but we should leave as soon as we get a bite to eat.” 049 CHAPTER EIGHT King James and Queen Jillian saw that everyone was well fed before they left and King James explained that they needed to go upstream until they came to the waterfall. On their right side there would be a trail that would

lead them around the waterfall and up the cliff to the frog kingdom above. “The waterfall is quite high,” the king explained and the water is really fast. That makes it very dangerous, I’m not sure what it is like up in the lake but stay away from where the waterfall starts, if you get caught in the current and swept over the falls it will be the end of you.” The king’s face was very stern when he gave them this warning. Breakfast was soon over and it was time to leave. They would take the river upstream to the waterfalls and go on foot from there. The three mermaids transformed back to mermaids as soon as they hit the water. The two water fairies, Raindrop and Cloudy would accompany them as far as the falls. The three mermaids were standing in the water with their upper torso’s out of the water. The fairies were hugging everyone and saying good bye. They were flying to the three mermaids near the edge of the water and were hugging them. Soon they were in the water and swimming up stream, the high pitch calls of the fairies wishing them the best of luck was still ringing in their ears. The three mermaids, two water fairies and two frogs swam side by side upstream to their destiny. After a few minutes the fairies started to sing a song melodious song and were very soon joined by the mermaids. “I know that song,” Molly said to herself, “but I can’t think of the name of it.” Suddenly it dawned on her what it was, it was ‘Old Mac Donald Had a Farm’. Molly laughed to herself and joined in, her bass voice joined the higher pitches of the mermaids and fairies. Harry smiled from ear to ear (Yes, frogs have ears, they just don’t look like human ears) and joined in. His deep bass voice complimenting the rest of them. He had learned the song from the human kids around the farm where he grew up. One of them was probably Molly. 050

After an hour or so they noticed the water was a bit agitated and had more bubbles in it. They knew they were getting close to the falls. Plus they could hear the roar in the distance and it was getting much louder. The group stopped singing and became rather quiet as the approached the turbulent area below the falls. Soon the water became to violent to swim in. “I suppose,” Harry said, “that it has came time to walk.” The group came ashore not far from the falls and Molly thought what an

awesome sight it was as the river came crashing over the cliff in its drop to the bottom. “The king was right about this,” Harry said as they all looked at the waterfall. Everyone silently nodded in agreement. The three mermaids had transformed into humans again and stood beside Harry and Molly. “Now we need to find the trail,“ Wendy said as she swung her long red hair around behind her head. “It’s right over there,” Raindrop said, pointing to an area close to the falls. “We saw it from the air when we flew out of the water.” “Shall we get started then?” Cloudy said as he and Raindrop slowly started to fly toward the trail. “We?” Wendy said, “you guys are coming with us?” “Of course,” Raindrop shouted over her shoulder, “it’s a quest and we want to be a part of it.” “Are you sure?” Penelope said, “you won’t get in some sort of trouble, will you?” “This is coming from you guys?” Raindrop laughingly said as she and Cloudy turned and flew back to the group standing on the shore. “I doubt if we will be in as much trouble you will when your fathers and mothers find out you’ve ran away.” “I suppose you’re right,” Wendy said, “So let’s get started.” Harry and Molly said nothing but only smiled at each other as they all started toward the trail. The three mermaids were getting used to their legs again and in a few minutes they were on the narrow trail that ran back and forth across the face of the cliff. It wasn’t bad at this level but higher up it looked somewhat treacherous if not down right dangerous in places. 051 At first the trail was easy and they could walk three abreast as the two fairies flew overhead. As they progressed the trail became narrower and steeper. The three mermaids held hands as they moved into single file. Molly and Harry both worried about them, in the water the mermaids were excellent but on the ground with unfamiliar legs they could easily have an accident. Harry was in the lead and Molly followed him. She was holding his hand and Wendy was holding Molly’s other hand. Penelope held Wendy’s other hand and Melissa brought up the rear holding Penelope’s other hand. They all formed a line as they carefully worked their way up the steep slope. Cloudy and Raindrop hovered close by but sometimes they had to fly

farther away as much shrubbery had over grown the trail. After nearly an hour they came to a wide area where the trail once again switched back, but this one had a wide area. “This looks like a good area for a rest,” Harry said as they all let go of each other and sat down on the ground. No one got close to the edge because it was a cliff and the drop was straight to the bottom with nothing to stop anyone if they fell. Everyone was quiet and showed signs of being tired, even the two fairies looked as though they had been flying for days. “It’s a nice view from up here,” Wendy said as she looked out over the lake below. “Yes,” Penelope said, “just don’t look down.” In a few moments they were ready to start again. there were only a couple more switch backs and they would be to the top. The trail had narrowed even more and became rocky and rough from the rocks and debris that had fallen onto it over time. Harry and Molly’s feet were becoming sore from so much walking and the rough trail, of course. The three mermaids were going very slowly and clutching each others hands tightly. They stayed as close to the bank as possible. Suddenly Wendy stepped on a small pebble and turned her ankle. She collapsed in a heap and slid over the edge of the cliff. Penelope and Molly held her hand tightly and everyone struggled to pull her back on the trail. Raindrop and Cloudy even joined in and pulled her up from her shoulders. Their wings beating furiously and their hands clamped around her upper arms. After a great deal of stress they managed to get her back on the trail. 052 Wendy’s eyes were wide with terror as she pushed herself against the wall of the of the cliff. This was something Wendy and her friends had never experienced, they realised they could die here. Wendy went into a right state as she sat with her back against the wall with tears streaming down her face. Penelope and Melissa hugged her tightly and tried to calm her down. Raindrop and Cloudy joined them along with Harry and Molly. After a while Wendy settled settled down and they were able to proceed onto the last lap of their climb. Everyone stayed close together and Wendy stayed very close to the wall, Penelope and Melissa stayed very close to Wendy as Raindrop flew very close to her also. Harry and Molly were quite nervous and said little as they approached the top of the cliff. “Don’t squeeze my hand so tight,” Molly whispered to Harry, “it is starting

to go numb.” “Oh sorry,” Harry said as he eased his grip, “I’m just nervous, I guess.” “Almost there,” Molly said the trail spread out and they stepped onto the long shore by the large lake. Molly and Harry helped the others as they came off the trail onto the shore line. Raindrop and Cloudy flew over the lake for a bit and then returned. “It looks good,” Raindrop said, “the under current doesn’t look bad, just don’t go toward the falls.” “Great,” Wendy said, “I really need a swim.” “Us to,” Penelope, Melissa, Harry and Molly all said in unison. They all dived into the water, the mermaids transformed as they hit the water. Harry and Molly were still frogs and the cool water felt good on their sore feet. Raindrop and Cloudy swam alongside all of them as the mermaids went into their usual acrobatics. “I’m glad they are doing ok,” Harry said, “I was worried about Wendy.” “Me to,” Raindrop said, “All of us are going to have some real adventures to talk about the rest of our lives.” “Let’s go ashore and find out where we are,” Molly said “I wonder why we haven’t seen any of the native frogs.” “They probably don’t want to get to close to the waterfall,” Harry said as they all turned toward the shore. 053 In a few minutes they were all on the shore line where a few rocks jutted out into the water. The three mermaids remained mermaids and sat on the rocks with there tails hanging into the water and moving lazily back and forth. “Are you doing ok?” Molly asked Wendy as she put her arm around her. “I think so,” Wendy answered as she smiled at Molly, “it was a terrible fright, but once I got back in the water everything was ok.” “Great,” Harry said, “we were really worried about you.” “We’ve made it this far,” Wendy said, “I think the worst is behind us, in fact this quest must be about over.” Raindrop settled down next to Molly and with a sad look on her face she looked into the large yellow eyes of Molly. “You’re not going to leave us, are you?” She asked. Harry was very quiet as he still held Molly’s hand. Everyone sat in sad silence as they waited for Molly’s answer. “We will still love you,” Wendy said, “even if you leave.”

“I know I will love you forever,” Harry quietly said, as he gently squeezed her hand, “Even if I never see you again.” “I will never leave any of you,” Molly said, choking up and tears streaming down her cheeks. “I may have to leave for a short time, but I won’t leave if I can’t come back or take you with me.” Everyone gathered close and hugged Molly tightly, especially Harry. “Well,” Molly finally said, “I think it is time to move on or start looking for a place to spend the night.” By this time everyone was smiling and laughing and soon they were back in the water swimming toward to upper end of the lake. “You know,” Molly said, “I want find some nice soft mud and soak my feet all night.” “I know what you mean,” Harry agreed as they swam close together, “that walk in those stones nearly killed my feet.” “I wonder,” Molly said, “do suppose Raindrop or Wendy could cure them?” “Let’s ask,” Harry said, “the mermaids did wonders on your hip.” In a few minutes they were at the surface and everyone gathered around to discuss if they could ease the soreness of the frogs feet. 054 “We’re not very good at this,” Wendy said, as she and her two friends tried to heal the frogs sore feet. “Most of us are born with special talents but none of us seem to have anything special.” “Yes, you do,” Molly said as she looked at the three mermaids, “you are all very brave. No one else would have risked their life to come with us, especially defying their own father. Except these two fairies, of course. You were very nearly killed on the cliff trail but you are still with us. I am proud to call you all our friends.” “Thank you,” Wendy quietly said as the three mermaids smiled broadly and put their hands on Molly’s legs. She could feel the relief flowing into her body and the pain disappearing. In a few minutes they did the same to Harry. The sun was nearly behind the mountains and darkness was quickly approaching. Soon there would be nothing but moonlight shining across the lake. “I wonder where all the frogs are?” Molly quietly said to Harry as they curled up together in the soft mud by the bank. The three mermaids had slipped beneath the water lay under the overhanging rock. Raindrop and Cloudy flew up to the top of a nearby tree who’s branches were overhanging the lake. Harry didn’t answer as everyone was drifting off to sleep, it had

been a very exciting but tiring day. The next morning brought a brilliant sunrise and all the noise of a forest wakening to a new day. Harry and Molly were soon up along with Raindrop and Cloudy. “Greetings,” Cloudy said, “how was your night?” “Great,” Harry answered, “we slept like a log.” About this time the three Mermaids surfaced. Wendy gave out with a large yawn and stretched her arms outward, she then flipped her long hair back and the water flew from it. She then hopped upon the rock where they had sat the night before. In less than a minute she was followed by Penelope and Melissa. “Well,” Penelope said, “should we walk of swim?” “I’m not sure,” Molly said, “we don’t know what’s in the water, but we don’t know what is on land either.” 055

The decision was made to swim in the lake but stay close to the shore. They stayed close to the surface and watched for anything unusual. “There’s no one in the air over the lake,” Raindrop said as she and Cloudy flew up from the lake. They would leave the others every little bit and fly about to see if anything had changed. “But we heard lots of birds this morning,” Molly said. “But they were in the woods,” Cloudy said, “there isn’t anyone flying over the lake.” “Perhaps,” Wendy said, “the lake is enchanted by the frog kingdom for some reason.” “I suppose it could be,” Raindrop said, “but I haven’t noticed anything.” “Me either,” Penelope said, “but maybe it is designed to let us through.” “There is only one way to find out,” Molly said, “that is to go on until we find the castle and the king.” “I think it is straight ahead,” Harry said, “if I remember the enchanted maps correctly.” “I think you are right,” Wendy agreed, “the castle should be under water at the upper corner of the lake.” “We should be there by night fall,” Melissa said. They had swam onward close to the shore until about noon and still they had saw no one in the lake. They heard noises in the woods but saw no creatures. “I’m getting very hungry,” Harry said, “let’s rest for a bit.”

Everyone agreed and they sat on the shore and enjoyed the noonday sun. Raindrop and Cloudy flew into the woods to harvest some berries and nuts for their lunch. The three mermaids swam deep in the lake to get them some fresh under water plants that they could eat. Harry and Molly moved up the shoreline a bit where there were some reeds growing. As soon as they rattled the weeds, mosquitoes flew every which way. In a few moments they had a great meal. Raindrop and cloudy soon returned with a few nuts and berries, having already eaten they brought a few back for the others. “Thanks,” Molly said, “we may be able to handle the berries but I don’t think we can eat the nuts.” About that time the three mermaids surfaced, each with a handful of different type plants. 056 Molly and Harry tried the bright red berries the fairies had brought, to them the the taste was a bit sour but they were very juicy. The mermaids had them try some of the plants but since they had no teeth to chew with they had to crush the plants with their fingers and them suck the juice from them. The reed like plants were very sweet and they enjoyed them very much. The fairies and Mermaids shared each others food all had a wonderful noon meal. Harry and Molly explained they had already eaten a lot of mosquitoes while they were away. “I suppose,” Harry said, with a reed dangling from his lips that we should get started if we want to get there before dark.” “I suppose so,” Molly agreed, as she reached over and picked the reed off Harry’s face. Raindrop conjured up a small bag and put the left overs in it along with the Mermaids plants. “Just in case we get hungry along the way,” she said as she swung the bag over her shoulders. “Yes,” Cloudy agreed, smiling at Harry and Molly, “not all of us can live off live mosquitoes.” “By the way,” Harry said, “did you guys see anything alive in the woods?” “No,” Raindrop answered, “it was weird, we heard some sounds off in the distance but saw no movement at all.” “I tell you this place must be enchanted,” Wendy said. “Or cursed,” Cloudy added. “I don’t think it’s cursed,” Melissa said, “nothing bad has happened, in fact nothing at all has happened.”

“Spooky,” Raindrop quietly said. “Does anybody feel anything unusual in the air?” Everyone sat in silence and concentrated on the area to see if anyone could detect anything unusual. Soon they all agreed that they could detect nothing out of the ordinary. “I still think it is some sort of enchantment,” Wendy said. They all agreed that there was something wrong in the frog kingdom. The only thing to do was locate the castle and see what was happening. 057 CHAPTER NINE They all dove into the water and started their swim on toward where they thought the frog kingdom castle would be. They must have swam for nearly an hour before they decided to go ashore and rest for a bit. Raindrop and Cloudy wanted to scout a bit from the air, maybe they could see something below the surface from above the lake. “There it is,” Raindrop excitedly said to Cloudy as they circled high above the lake. “Down there,” she continued as she pointed to and area below the surface. Cloudy strained his eyes to look where Raindrop was pointing, suddenly a smile came on his lips. “I see it,” he said, “just barely as the light reflects just right.” “Let’s go get the others,” Raindrop said as Cloudy nodded in agreement and the turned in flight and headed for shore. When they landed by the others they were both so excited they could hardly speak. “What are we waiting for?” Wendy said, “let’s go.” Everyone dove in the water and followed Raindrop and Cloudy as they swam toward the area where they had saw the castle, shimmering in the subdued sunlight that shined through the water. “It’s beautiful,” Molly said as the silver and gold castle started to become more visible. There were giant domes that sat upon the buildings that acted as a roof. They appeared to be made of diamonds and glittered in light. “There are still no frogs,” Harry suspiciously said, “something is amiss here.” Slowly they made their way into a great hall with a large door at the opposite end. There were a row of square tables along each side with six chairs at each table. “This must be the great hall,” Wendy said. “Or the dining room,” Penelope added.

“Or both,” Melissa added also. Then the throne room should be through those two doors,” Raindrop said as she pointed toward the double doors at the far end of the room. Harry and Molly only nodded as they knew nothing about the layout of royal castles. The three mermaids swam up to the door and Wendy pulled on the gold door handle and the door swung open with ease revealing the throne room on the other side. 058

The throne room was quite large with a set of golden thrones located against the far wall. The thrones were solid gold and stood quite high as they were elevated above the floor by means of a two step rise. Both chairs were trimmed with mother of pearl with deep blue cushions. Behind the throne on the wall overlooking the room was a picture of King Maxwell and Queen Margaret. They both wore the royal purple robes and had a gold crown trimmed with silver and set with many jewels. The crown that the king wore was a bit taller than the one the queen wore. “Still no one about,” Molly quietly said as they all looked about. “We are here,” a deep voice croaked as a side door opened and in walked the king. “We have been hiding until we found out who you were.” King Maxwell swam into the room and took his place on the throne, before anyone could speak Queen Margaret swam inside and joined her husband on throne. Both wore the royal robes and each wore their crown. They were a handsome couple as far as frogs go, he was quite large but not fat, she was tall and thin. “At least they aren’t wearing thimbles,” Molly thought as she remembered that crazy King Warticus. “We are please to enter your kingdom, your highness” Harry said as he bowed low. Molly did not know what to do so she just did what Harry had done but said nothing. King Maxwell said nothing but only nodded as the room began to fill up servants court personnel. Seems once the king appeared everyone came out of hiding. “Excuse me,” Wendy said as her, Penelope, Melissa and the two fairies stood hovering nearby, “but why were you all in hiding?” “Because of a sprite queen,” Queen Margaret said as one of the aides handed the king a silver and gold trident, he then bowed low and backed away

as the king took the sceptre. “She has gone to the dark side and made life rather disagreeable for us here.” “And we need your help,” the king said, “we think it is prophecy that you all came here.” 059

Everyone waited in silence as the king spoke. They were all thinking the same thing. “Why were they waiting for us for help.” Molly silently said to herself. “How could we possibly be of help?” “The sprite queen,” Queen Margaret continued, “whose name is Wanda has by some means came to power in the woods east of here. We believe that she has came into possession of a dark wand of power, or ‘the black wand’. With this she has taken over the wood lands and all the creatures within.” “But,” Molly finally got the nerve to ask, “your majesty, how would we be part of any prophecy?” “That would be best explained by the Royal Sorcerer,” the king said in a deep voice that seemed to echo about the room. “His name is ‘Frogulous’, and please do not laugh at his name, he is rather sensitive about it.” “At least in his presence,” the queen said as she said with a broad smile. “He should be here anytime,” The king said as he motioned with the royal trident toward one of the guards. The guard left to room with idea that he was to locate Frogulous and see what the hold up was. “I have sent for him a good bit ago.” ‘Enough of this,” the queen said, “Let us retire to the dining room and have some food, we can wait for him there.” “Yes, indeed,” the king agreed, “ we can explain some of what has happened while we wait for him.” The seven friends stayed close together as they were escorted to a large dining room just as food was being brought in. There was food for fairies, frogs and mermaids. “The incident that changed you into a frog,” King Maxwell said to Molly, “seems to be directly linked to the dark wand, that is now unfortunately in the hands of of the evil witch ‘Wanda’.” “I assume,” Raindrop said, “that we will have to get the wand back before Molly can become human again?” “Well sort of,” Queen Margaret said, “but that can best be explained by old Frogulous, if he ever shows up.”

“How am I linked to the wand?” Molly quietly asked. 060

“That will be explained by Frogulous,” King maxwell said, as he ate a large well prepared water fly that was on his plate. Soon the meal was over and the servants were swimming about cleaning up the table and removing the dishes. It was at this time one of the guards returned with and aged frog along side him. The guard was helping him along as he appeared to be limited in his motion. Either walking and swimming appeared to be difficult problem for him. “He looks like he may croak any minute,” Molly thought to herself, smiling at her own pun. “Welcome,” the king said as the sorcerer Frogulous bowed as best he could. “I bid you a hearty hello,” the aged frog said in a voice that was broken with age, but I fear time has taken it’s toll on me and I can’t move as fast as I used to.” “That is fine,” the king said, “have a seat next to our guests. These are the ones we have been waiting for. I think you already know who they are but they have never met you. Ladies and Gentlemen, frogs, fairies, mermaids and whoever else is present, this is the sorcerer Frogulous.” Everyone smiled and nodded as frogulous sat down at the table next to Harry and Molly. “Now,” the king continued, “we will leave you all to your business, the guard will stay with you in case you need anything.” The king and queen left the dining room along with everyone else except one guard who stood well behind Frogulous. “Now,” the aged sorcerer said as he looked into Molly’s eyes, “You are the one who got caught up in the magic spell a while back.” “Yes,” Molly softly answered, “what really happened?” “Well,” Frogulous answered, “that was very old magic and it was supposed to work the other way around if it worked at all. Unfortunately Wanda has tampered with it and not only activated it but also reversed it.” “But why would she do that?” Molly asked. “She may not have done it deliberately,” he said, “but she may have been experimenting with the wand to see how it worked. Now the wand is linked to you and she can never get full power from it.”

061 Frogulous leaned back and began his story of the enchanted wand. “Centuries ago,” he said, “the wand was created as a central power for all our kingdoms. The mermaids, fairies and frogs were all ruled under one power structure. The wand was left in each kingdom for one year and was then moved to another. But once, long ago it was stolen by the snake alliance. They carried it away and it was never seen since.” “Interesting,” Molly said, “but how did it wind up linked to me?” “I’m coming to that,” Frogulous quietly said. “The snake alliance could not make the wand work for them so they abandoned it somewhere in the forest. We have been searching for it for centuries. Now, it appears that a sprite called Wanda has discovered it. She has had it for nearly a year and has been able to use it some. But as she practices she will get more power from it. My sources in the woods tell me she wants to eliminate all the frogs and replace us with water sprites. That is the reason we are all in hiding.” “How does she do that?” Wendy asked. “With the wand she can just make objects disappear,” he answered. “The wand is also linked into the human world. When it was built they believed that a link to the humans was necessary because the humans could physically change the earth. With the wand we could alter their thoughts a bit and have them build here or not build. We could in other words, alter their decisions. When you and Harry were together she must have been trying to do something with the wand and it locked in on both of you and changed Molly here to a frog. You two now have the ability to use the wand at its full power. Wanda is a Sprite and the wand can never serve her at full power because the Sprites were not part of the original group that made the wand.” “Then we have to get the wand,” Molly said. “Yes,” Frogulous said, “any one of you, or group can use the wand to most of its power. But Molly and Harry can use it to its full power.” “I see,” Raindrop said, “where is this wand at now?” “In forest,” he answered, “in the sprite kingdom. Wanda has it and the land of the sprites will be easy to find but to find Wanda and the wand may be perilous. She is not going to surrender it easily.” “What can we expect?” Penelope asked. “Lots of dark spells, curses and dangerous animals,” Frogulous replied, “but for now we need to get you prepared.” 062

“Prepared?” Molly said, “what does that mean?” “First,” aged frog said, “I must give you the ability to transform. I can allow you to be anything you wish except being a full size human. That requires to much power and you would no longer be able to see most of us.” Molly and Harry said nothing and only looked at each other. They blinked their large yellow eyes and looked back at the old frog wizard that sat in front of them. Everyone else sat in rapt attention wondering what they had gotten themselves into. “If you are ready,” Frogulous continued, “we can begin.” Harry and Molly only nodded as the wizard reached across the table and place his aged gnarled hands on top of their heads. He then muttered a few words that no one in the room could understand. Harry and Molly could feel a warm tingling sensation sweep through their bodies as the old frog continued to weave his magic. In a few minutes it was over and Frogulous sat back in his chair and smiled at the two of them. “Now,” the wizard said as he smiled at them, “we need to practice a bit. First, let’s see if you can turn into a fairy. Concentrate on what you want to look like and then say these words, ‘I want to be a fairy’. But make sure you keep the picture in your mind of what you want to look like.” Suddenly there was small bright flash as molly turned into a fairy that looked exactly like the little girl she used to be. Except she had wings of course. Harry had a bit more problems, he couldn’t think of any human types of fairies. His transformation came out with several different facial features and odd limbs on his body. Once he had done a good job but forgot picture the clothes and wound up naked in front of everyone. Everyone thought this was quite funny as they were laughing and giggling. Molly was very embarrassed and insisted he do it again and remember his clothes. Harry and Molly got the fairy transformation down quite well and proceeded to do other creatures. They did Mermaids very good, Wendy and her friends were impressed. “Now,” Frogulous said, “it is time to send you on your way. You must go upstream in a small river that the guard will show you. There will be a fork in the river several miles up, take the right on, it will be smaller but it will take you into the realm of the sprites. From there on I fear you will be on your own.” 063 “What sort of creatures are we likely to encounter along the way?” Harry

asked. “Yes,” Molly added, “are we encounter someone like old King Warticus again?” “Warticus,” Frogulous said, his eyes widen with shock. “You know him? Where did you meet him at?” The old frog wizard looked as though he had touched his tongue to an electric fence. Harry and molly told him the story of meeting the toad king and how he wore a thimble for a crown. “Do you know him?” Harry finally asked. “Yes,” the frog wizard said as he cocked one eye stared into Harry’s yellow eyes. We grew up together, or at least in the same area. The way he became king was a rather colorful story.” “Oh tell us,” Raindrop said as they all gathered around. “Oh, very well,” he answered, smiling at all of them. Frogulous always liked to listen to a good story but he loved telling them even more. “It seemed that young Warticus at the time was on a adventure of his own not far from where we all lived. He found his way onto a farm on a warm summer’s night, the farm house had the door open so the evening breeze would cool the house. The humans that lived there welcomed Warticus because they thought it was good luck to have frog in the house. The family dog ignored him as soon as the humans told him to leave the toad alone. The family cat only sniffed at him once and left with its tail and nose in the air, as though it was far to superior to even acknowledge Warticus’s existence. This one evening the air was cooler as the fall season was setting in and Warticus hopped in and sat on hearth by the fireplace, but this time it had a gentle fire going that gave warmth that Warticus found very to be very nice. The mother of the house sat in front of the fire and was doing her sewing. She smiled down at Warticus he looked up at her, the daughter was sitting to one side playing with her doll. Suddenly the fire popped and a large cinder flew out and landed on Warticus’s back.” “Ouch,” Molly quietly said, “that must have hurt.” “Yes,” Frogolus continued, “it did and he let out an awful croak and leapt into the air.” 064 “He landed nearly in the lap of the mother as she tried to move backward and spilling her sewing onto the floor. Warticus missed her lap by several inches and landed with a splat on the floor. One of the mother’s thimble had landed close by and rolled in front of him, bumping him on the nose.

Warticus grabbed the thimble and clutched it tightly, it seemed to ease the pain in his back. The daughter shouted that he was hurt as she could see the cinder still stuck to his back. She put her dolly aside and scooped up Warticus, she brushed the cinder from him and got some ointment, she spread it on his burn which made the pain ease even more. She then tried to take the thimble from him but he clutched it even tighter. The mother told her to let him keep it as she had plenty more. The daughter took Warticus to the door and set him outside in the cool night air, this felt good to Warticus as he hopped away still clutching the thimble under one arm. He was never saw at the farm again.” “Did you ever see him after that?” Cloudy asked. “Only once,” Frogulous answered, “he told me this ridiculous story about fighting fire dragons attaining the silver crown he wore. I ventured to the farm and talked to the cat, she told me the whole story.” “Cats don’t eat frogs do they?” Raindrop said as everyone sat and listened wide eyed. “No,” the wizard said, “we taste terrible to them, anyway the cat had quite a laugh when we told her about the crown. She told me it was a simple sewing device called a thimble and there were several of them around the farm house.” “So that is how he got he thimble,” Molly quietly said. “But how did he get a following?” “Well,” Frogulos said, “you saw the types that were with him, they weren’t the brightest sparkles in the water.” “He seems to think he owns that section of the stream,” Harry said, “and the newt said he heard that they were talking of trading the captives to the snakes if they couldn’t pay the toll.” “I will get with the other magicians, kings and queens of the other realms,” Frogulous said. “We need to decide a course of action to take with him.” 065 “You guys can stay around here for a while and lay out some sort of plan,” Frogulous continued, “but when you do get the wand please bring it back to us. We will put it back the way it used to be.” Everyone agreed that it would be a good idea to go slow from this point onward. They needed to talk to more of the frogs and possibly some of the creatures from the realm. They also needed to practice their magic so they could transform easier. The three Mermaids were could not transform into fairies so they could not fly.

“I wonder,” Molly said when the seven of them were alone, “do you suppose if we all concentrate we could help the mermaids become fairies? It would be much better if they could fly.” “Let’s seek out old Frogulous,” Harry said, “we don’t want to do something wrong and have them really messed up.” After asking many questions to the few frogs that had came out of hiding they finally located him in a small cave near the edge of the lake. “Well,” the old wizard frog said, “what brings you to my door step, are you ready to leave already?” “Not quite, Molly said, “ we need some help, or advice anyway.” They explained the problem with the mermaids as Frogulous stared intently at them. “So.” he said smiling, “old Ronan couldn’t transform you to fairies, you say? Just wait till I see him again.” “You can do it then?” Wendy said excitedly. “Of course,” He answered, “and so could old Ronan.” “But why didn’t he?” Raindrop asked with a puzzled look on her face. “It was a test,” the old frog said as cocked one up and looked at raindrop. “If you were determined enough to fight your way over all the obstacles to get here, them you were most likely the ones who could get the wand back and save us all from the evil that is trying dominate us all.” “Then you will give us the power?” Penelope said. “Of course,” he answered, “the three of you put your right hand on mine do as I say.” Frogulous took their hands in his and muttered an incantation which the girls repeated. 066 In a few minutes it was all over and the three mermaids transformed into water fairies. They looked the same except they had wings. The odd part was that Penelope still had her fish bottom. Everyone laughed at how she looked. “It will be ok,” Frogulous said, “you will all get better with practice. While I still have you here, there are a few more things to tell you. I have sent word into woods with a friend to find some help for you. There are things that will harm you, especially things that fly. You will be met by two small foxes named Fannie and Freddie, they will guide you deep into the Pixies realm. They can also tell you about things that are harmful what Wanda has done. I am sure she has recruited new allies into her dark realm.” “These foxes,” Wendy said, “are they the only friends we will meet?”

“No,” he answered, “I am sure there are others but Fannie and Freddie will know who trust. In fact they may have help with already. Understand this Molly, you will be the only one who can touch the wand, it has not bonded with Wanda yet but since she discovered it she can wield it to a degree. You will be much stronger than her once you have attained it. When you have the wand in your hands the rest of you may touch it and although none of you may be able to use it you can still handle or carry it.” “And we are to bring it back here, to you?” Raindrop said. “Yes,” Frogulous answered, “but if not here any of the three kingdoms will work. Once inside the kingdom the wand will find its rightful place.” After a few moments discussion they decided it was time to start their odyssey into the woodland. They bid the old frog wizard goodby and he wished them luck and hoped to see them soon. The seven friends swam to the surface of the lake as water fairies and broke into flight in the late afternoon sky. They headed up the stream that emptied into the lake and after an hours flight over the water they decided to rest for the night as twilight was setting in. “Where should we sleep?” Molly asked as they all flew close together. Molly, Harry and the three mermaids were getting much better at flying now. Earlier they dipped swayed and flew into each other a couple of times. Wendy even crashed into the water once. They all decided to remain fairies and sleep in a dense bush that hung over the stream. “This is comfy,” Wendy said as they curled up tight together in the leaves. 067 CHAPTER TEN Daybreak brought the new born sun with great brilliance as it shined through the trees and the thick shrub that the seven slept in. Harry yawned and stretched as he came awake. He was still trying to get used to this new body, to him it felt weird. He was very hungry hungry but he didn’t seem to want to eat mosquitoes or bugs. “How do I feed this body?” He thought as he looked at everyone else who was still sleeping. The three mermaids were huddled together as were Raindrop and Cloudy. Molly lay curled up next to him and he hated to wake her but it was time they started. Gently he put his hand on her shoulder moved her back and forth. “Wake up,” he quietly whispered into her ear, “it’s morning and the sun is

up.” “What?” Molly said as she blinked her eyes and looked sleepily up at Harry who was looking down at her. Molly sat up and looked around as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. She yawned loudly shook her head. “I really slept soundly,” she said as she put her hand on Harry’s shoulder. “Shall we wake the others?” Harry said. “I suppose,” Molly answered, as she gently shook Wendy to life. Soon everyone was awake. “What do eat,” Harry asked, “I see a lot of mosquitoes around but they don’t look very appetising in this body.” “Berries,” Raindrop said, “there are lots of them around.” Cloudy was still falling asleep as he laid his head on Raindrop’s shoulder. “Wait a moment,” Raindrop said excitedly, “look at the bush we are in.” “What about it?” Melissa said sleepily. “It’s a sleepy eyed john,” Cloudy said as he was still trying to wake up. “we didn’t recognise it in the dark last night. It makes people sleep, Harry must be immune to it. That’s why he was the only one that woke up.” “Is it dangerous?” Molly asked. “We would sleep for a long time,” Raindrop said, “the real danger is the predators that come during the daylight.” 068 “We’ve got to get out of here quickly,” Raindrop said, “there will soon be all sorts of birds going through this brush looking for things that hasn’t woke up.” The seven friends lifted into flight and left the Sleepy Eyed John behind. They soon spotted a very thorny berry bush that seemed to be loaded with large blue berries. “Watch the thorns,” Cloudy said as they landed on the upper level of the bush. In a few minutes they had worked their way into the berry bush were enjoying the large sweet berries. “Now we just need some nuts for dessert,” Raindrop said and took a bite of the large juicy berry. “What are we going to do now?” Harry asked as he leaned back on the limb that he and Molly shared. “Yes,” Penelope said, “where are these foxes we are supposed to meet?” “I don’t know,” Wendy said, “but I suspect that they will find us, and have

you noticed that there are still no birds or forest creatures about?” “I wonder,” Melissa added, “if ol’ Frogulous told us everything or if he actually know what is going on? “It could be,” Molly said, “that he doesn’t know that the rest of the woods are in hiding also.” “This wand of darkness, that we are after,” Harry said, “Do you suppose it is what is scaring everybody in the woods?” “Once again,” Cloudy said, “Frogulous may not know all there is about the wand. It had been lost for centuries and suddenly surfaces in the kingdom of Sprites. All that Frogulous, or anybody else for that matter knows is from legend.” “And,” Molly quietly said, “I am the only one that can control it. You know this trek could become very dangerous.” “Yes, we know,” Wendy said, “but none of us are turning back. We are with you till the end because what has happened in this woods will happen every where.” Everyone nodded in agreement as they prepared to leave. “We must find the two foxes,” Harry quietly said. 069 “Just a moment,” Cloudy said as he pointed to the Sleepy Eyed John bush they had left in the distance. “look at that.” The bush was under attack by several long beaked black birds that dove continuously into the thick shrub. They would emerge with and insect or some other tiny creature clamped in their beaks. “That’s why we should be more careful about where we sleep,” Cloudy continued. “What are those things?” Molly asked. “They’re called Tenbill’s,” Raindrop said, “they were once described as having a bill ten times its length. It isn’t of course, it’s only about twice its length. But the name stuck anyway.” “Will they attack us in flight?” Wendy asked. “I’ve never heard of it,” Cloudy said, “they seem to only go after small creatures or ones who are asleep.” “I suppose we should start on our way,” Harry said, “maybe we can find help along the way.” The seven friends flew through the trees and soon came to the edge of the woods. They all rested in a large tree and looked over the treeless landscape that lay ahead.

“Now what?” Molly quietly said, mainly to herself. “Wait, what is that,” Raindrop said, pointing across the plains to a movement in the distance. Everyone was straining their eyes to see what was coming. After a few minutes they could make out the shapes coming toward them. “I think it is Fannie and Freddie,” Melissa said. “Looks like two red foxes,” Penelope agreed. In a few minutes the two foxes had arrived at the tree the seven friends were in. They all flew down to meet them. “Hello,” Molly said, “are you Fannie and Freddie?” “Yes,” the red fox closest to her said. Both were young and about the same size. They looked very much alike and were difficult to tell apart. “I am Freddie,” he continued, “and this is my friend Fannie.” Molly introduced everyone to the foxes and they soon became fast friends. Fannie would talk so fast it was sometimes hard to understand her, much the way Wendy was. 070 The two foxes explained to them where they needed to go. The stream made a hook in the woods came into the Sprites realm across the plains. They were wise to come to the edge of the forest because there were dangerous creatures in the woods. With the foxes they could cross the plains and come into the Sprite’s Realm without so much danger. “We will probably meet some of the birds that live on the plains,” Fannie said. “They’re not dangerous for the most part,” Freddie said, “except the Whickerbill birds will probably talk us to death.” “Whickerbill birds?” Molly asked, “what are they?” “They live on the plains,” Fannie said, “they are sort of like roadrunners in the human world.” “Except,” Freddie said, “they talk and they talk a lot as they run along side of you.” “Perhaps if we flew,” Wendy said. “They fly also,” Fannie added, “but don’t worry, they’re harmless. They may even help us if we need it”. “What are the dangerous ones?” Raindrop asked. “There are snakes out here,” Freddie said. “but we can avoid those. “And,” Fannie added, “you can just take flight for a little bit if we see any.” “But,” Freddie said,” There are hawks out here and they are truly

dangerous, that’s why we would rather you not fly unless you have to.” “What are the dangerous ones in the woods?” Harry asked. “There are snakes in the woods also,” Fannie said, “but not as many. There are also Tillywigger’s in the woods. They are sort of like snakes but have many legs.” “Yes,” Freddie added, “they are fast and vicious. But the big danger in the woods are the owls. Most of them hunt during the night but sometimes the come out during the day.” “Well,” Fannie said, “shall we get started?” Molly, Harry and Wendy sat on Freddies back with Melissa, Penelope and the two fairies rode on Fannie. “Ok, hang on,” Freddie said as they took off in a fast run into the plains. They should be in the Sprite’s Realm by nightfall. 071 The two foxes took off in loping run that had a gentle rocking motion to the riders. Wendy and Molly were discussing how they were going to deal with Wanda when they finally met her. “What is she like?” Wendy asked as they travelled through the high grass that was nearly half as tall as the foxes. “She’s tall,” Freddie said without missing a step, it seemed the foxes could travel long distances without tiring. “And has ivory colored skin with jet black hair and blue eyes.” “She used to be nice,” Fannie said, “until she found the wand of power.” “Where did she find it?” Raindrop asked. “No one seems to know,” Freddie said. “Oh my,” Fannie said as they saw a movement to their left, “the Whickerbills are here.” “I was hoping we could sneak through here without being noticed,” Freddie added. In a few seconds they were surrounded by several long legged birds, they were brown with small yellow eyes and long sharp beaks. Not entirely unlike a larger version of the Tenbills they had left at the lake. “Hi,” the one closest to Freddie said, “I’m Bill. Who are you and where are you going in such a hurry?” “We are on our way to the Sprite’s Realm,” Fannie said, “to get the wand of power.” This set off a conversation among the whickerbills as they were all talking at once. They had heard that some one was coming to try and take the wand but no one was sure if it was true or not.

“I bet Wanda knows for sure that we are coming by now,” Molly whispered to Harry. “Why are you whispering,” on of the birds said, “is there something you don’t want us to hear?” “No,” Molly answered, her face turning red with embarrassment, “I just said that Wanda probably knows we are on our way.” “There is a oasis not far away,” one of the birds said, you can rest there for a while and we will tell you all we know.” “Are you two water fairies?” one of them asked Raindrop and Cloudy as they ran close beside Fannie. 072 The grass was getting shorter and they were approaching and area where the ground was wetter. They were approaching the oasis. The grass appeared to be eaten down by the wildlife of the area, Molly was curious as to what sort of animals there would be around the area. The Whickerbills were talking constantly and asking all sorts of questions and them moving on to something else before anyone could answer. When they were out of the higher grass Harry and Molly noticed that the way the birds ran gave them the appearance of not having any legs at all. They took shorter steps but but their legs moved much faster giving them the appearance of floating. “Those are cows,” Molly said as she pointed some large animals in the distance, “Are there humans here?” “Not here,” one on the birds said, “but there is a farm not far from here.” “Don’t worry,” another said, “they won’t be able to see us.” “And the cows are harmless,” another said as they returned to their meaningless chatter. In a few minutes they were at the oasis which was no more than a small pond fed by a canal that flowed nearby. “Their will be snakes around here,” Freddie said as he stopped. Wendy, Molly and Harry flew into the air and joined the others who were now flying over the pond. The Whickerbill’s ran around the shore and carried on and endless conversation with themselves. Molly and her friends had soon guessed that the birds did not swim. “Is there any reason we can’t swim,” Penelope asked. “I can’t think of any,” Fannie answered, “there’s nothing in here but frogs. The snakes may be around but they will only be on the surface.” “Great,” Wendy said as the three girls turned back to mermaids. Harry and Molly turned back to frogs, all were in mid flight when they changed.

Everyone hit the water and disappeared beneath the surface with hardly a ripple. This was the only time in history that the Whickerbill’s were actually speechless. They stood on the shore with their beaks hanging open staring at where the seven had dived into the pond. “Frogulous said there would be magic,” Freddie said. The Whickerbill’s them all started chattering at once to each other. 073

The seven friends enjoyed the swim and frolicked in the water. “It’s good to be back in the water,” Penelope said as they all did a back flip. Harry and Molly agreed and swam lazily about. Suddenly there was a couple of rather large frogs came swimming up to them. “Who are you?” The first one asked, who was rather large. Molly and Harry introduced themselves and all of their friends. “Mermaids and fairies,” the larger one said, “My name is Bob and this is Belinda. We’ve heard of the fairies before but not of the mermaids.” “Yes,” Belinda agreed, “our folks came up from the east of here along one of the streams that run down the mountain. Bob and I were hatched here.” “We would like to go back to the area where our folks came from but it is to dangerous with Wanda patrolling the country,” Bob said. All of them swam to the surface and lazily swam about as they all told their story about how they happened to be in the area. “Wow,” Belinda said, her wide yellow eyes sparkling with excitement, “that is some adventure.” “Yes,” wanda agreed, “and it isn’t over yet. We would ask you to join us but not being able to transform it would be to dangerous for you.” A certain look of sadness came over Bob and Belinda’s face as they really would have liked to join them. They had little more information about the Pixie’s Realm than they already knew except that everyone had become more fearful since Wanda had came to power. She had not visited the creatures of the oasis yet but they expected her to anytime. “I think it is time to go” Freddie shouted from the shore. The seven friends transformed back to water fairies and lifted into flight. They said good bye to an astonished Bob and Belinda. who only waved to them as they flew back to shore. “We will part from you here,” one of the Whickerbills said as they all stared at the seven water fairies.

“We have never saw anything like that before,” another one said. “We wish you luck and if there is anyway we can help please call us.” They said good bye to the Whickerbills and soon they were on there way, they could see the wood line in the distance. Soon they would be in the Pixie Realm. 074 The sun had slipped low on the western horizon as they came into the edge of the woods. Fannie and Freddie only took them a small distance into the woods. “This is where we will leave you,” Fannie sadly told them, “from this point on you will all be on your own.” “Yes,” Freddie added, “the woods are to dangerous for us and we would only attract attention to you.” “What can we expect to find?” Molly quietly asked. First,” Freddie replied, “you must make your way toward the light. You can see it just barely in the distance.” Everyone squinted their eyes and looked hard into the forest. Sure enough in the distance they could make out a slight glow. “That would be wanda’s castle,” Fannie said, “it will be guarded by the Tilliwiggers. They are like the snakes but have many legs on each side which they can be used as hands if they need them.” “They also have sharp teeth,” Freddie added. “Are there any defence against them?” Harry asked. “No,” Freddie answered, “except they are fairly slow and quite dim. They are a boisterous lot and tend yell and make awful threats but you should be able to out manoeuvre them easily.” “However,” Fannie added, “if they do get a hold on you they can really hurt you. They are quite strong.” “Anything else?” Wendy asked she brushed her long red hair back from her face. The mermaids hair was blowing slightly about in the light breeze that was coming from valley they had just crossed. None of the others had this problem as they all wore their hair in a ponytail. “Owls,” Fannie and Freddie both said together. “Owls will are in the woods also?” Molly said. “No,” Fannie said excitedly, “they are here now. Quick, hide beneath us.” Everyone dived under the foxes as the two owls passed by in the forest, not giving the foxes a second look. “You can come out now,” Fannie said, “they’re gone.”

“They will be your greatest danger,” Freddie said, “so you should travel only in the day and hide in the evening, and at night for sure.” 075 “Are their any others in the woods we should watch out for?” Cloudy asked. “There are some blackbirds with an attitude,” Freddie said, “but they are about your size and most likely will not come near you.” Freddie answered. “But,” Fannie added, “they will tell Wanda everything they see.” “Are there any friends in there?” Raindrop said as she looked into the forest, which was getting quite dark now. “Anyone who did not bend to Wanda’s commands have either left the forest or are in hiding some where,” Fannie said. “Eliminating the Tilliwiggers and the blackbirds,” Freddie added, “anyone else you meet should be friendly but it is unlikely you will meet anyone.” “What of Magic?” Penelope asked, “will we encounter any of that?” “Probably,” Fannie replied, “but we aren’t sure what, we don’t know how far she has learned to bend the wand to her will.” “Well,” Harry said as everyone became silent and asked no more questions about the woods and the mysteries within. “I suppose we should get camped for the night.” “We will camp near the oasis,” Freddie said, “if there is a problem send someone to us and we will do what we can.” The seven friends flew up and hugged the foxes neck as best they could, and thanked them for the help. With a sad good bye the two foxes turned and sped off into the fast settling darkness. The seven of them flew up into a large spruce tree that had very close and sticky limbs that would hopefully protect them during the night. There was a small area that they could peer through and see the light of Wanda’s castle deep inside the dark forest. “What do you think we will find down there tomorrow?” Wendy whispered to the rest of them. “I have no idea,” Cloudy whispered. Nor had anyone else. “This such a great adventure,” Melissa said, ‘I can hardly wait.” “I think the adventure started when we left home,” Penelope added as she started to laugh. Soon everyone was laughing at the situation they had gotten themselves into. After a few minutes they got themselves under control and got into a comfortable position for the night.

076 CHAPTER ELEVEN The night was cool and the tree afforded them much safety during the hours of darkness. They had gotten a good sighting on the light was coming from Wanda’s castle. The next day they would know which direction to take to find Wanda. Morning found them wide awake inside a quiet forest, the breeze whispering though the large spruce tree. In a few minutes they were in flight between the trees in the dense forest. “Look,” Raindrop said pointing off in the distance, “is that a Tilliwigger?” “Let’s take a look,” Harry answered, “but let’s stay far enough away that they can’t see us.” They flew higher up between the trees and tried to come in behind the two giant worms. They were a glossy dark brown color, almost like chocolate color. They had a row of legs full length along each side of their bodies, each leg appeared to have a hand on the end of it. “It looks like some sort of centipede,” Molly said. “Centa, what?” Wendy said. “Centipede,” Molly answered, “they are a land creature, lot’s of them around the farm but they don’t have hands like that.” Suddenly one of the Tilliwiggers turned around and looked up toward them. It was then that they noticed that it had a vertical mouth that was lined with some very large and sharp teeth. “Centipedes don’t have teeth like that,” Molly said as they all flew higher. “There be something there,” the Tilliwigger said in a deep guttural voice, as the other one turned and looked up toward the sky trying to get a fix on the flying creatures that he saw earlier. “Are you sure, Willie?” the other one asked. “Yes Wilma,” he answered, “me sure.” “Mistress Wanda has sent all the others away,” Wilma said, “Can’t be anyone except blackbirds here now.” “I tell you, Me saw some flying creatures, small though and not like anything me have seen before,” Willie said in a gruff voice. “I think we should tell mistress Wanda,” Wilma said. Her voice deep and resonant. “So that is what they look like,” Melissa said as they all hid in a tree and watched through the leaves. 077

The four of them cautiously flew from tree to tree trying to stay out of sight of the two large worms. The Tilliwiggers walked with a rolling gate, as though they were walking on jello. They walked side by side in rhythm with each other, it appeared that they were dancing. “How odd they are,” Wendy said as the others smiled at the sight of the worms. They made good time and were soon near the gates of Wanda’s castle. There suddenly appeared a flock of shiny black birds that was nearly the same size as the seven fairies. “What’s going on?” The head of the flock asked as he hovered near the heads of the giant worms. “Willie thinks he seen some one,” Wilma said. “Me see,” Willie said loudly, “me see, I did, something small and flying, like yourselves, but not black, they were like mosquitoes only much bigger.” “Where?” The blackbird demanded. “Back there,” Willie said, “along the trail in the air, they were.” “A good ways,” Wilma added, “maybe fifteen minutes or so.” The lead blackbird knew that the Tilliwiggers were none to smart and had little concept of distance. They would have to just check it out, since the only one to see them were one Tilliwigger did not give the blackbirds much concern to hurry. “Very well,” the lead blackbird said, “we will check it out.” The seven fairies had hidden in the leaves of a large nearby tree and watched as the blackbirds and Tilliwiggers talked. Soon all the birds raised into flight and flew back down the trail from which the Tilliwiggers had came. “Now,” Molly said, “Let’s fly to the castle, hopefully without being seen.” They all flew up to the tree tops and looked toward the castle, they were close to it and could be there in a few minutes. The castle was a beautiful affair with several golden spires stretching into the sky. The trail below soon turned into a gold colored brick road that crossed a wooden bridge over a moat. It continued on through the castle walls into the court yard. The seven water fairies flew over and landed on the wall above gateway. When the bridge was pulled up it formed a gate that sealed the castle wall. They all sat on the edge of the wall wondering what to do. Them they saw the two Tilliwiggers come into view from the woods swaying their way toward the castle. 078 The black birds all flew down the trail toward the area where the Tilliwiggers had described the sighting, the two worms continued their travel into the

castle. The seven water fairies slipped back out of sight and waited to see where Willy and Wilma went. All seven of them moved to the other side of the wall and watched as the two Tilliwiggers passed under the wall and continued on to the main entrance way. They still could not get over the way the giant worms walked, with a rolling gate and row of legs down each side . Attached to each shiny chocolate brown was a white hand. It looked as though it was a glove, more so than a hand. They stood up at the front with approximately five legs and hands that never touched the ground. These appeared to be used as arms and hands. Willy reached up and lifted the large brass handle on the door knocker and let it fall. There was a loud bell sound that could be heard around the area. In a few seconds the large doors opened and they could see two sprites motioning the worms to enter. The sprites were like fairies, but a bit taller and these two did not have wings. They both gave a nervous look around the area and then swung the large doors closed. “Well,” Molly said, “now what?” “They don’t have any guards,” Cloudy said as they all leaned against the wall and looked at the castle. “This Wanda,” Wendy said as her long red hair blew gently in the wind. “Probably doesn’t think she needs any. I mean who here would confront her?” “Most likely,” Harry said, “but right now we need to go over to the castle and see if we find out what is going on.” “Yes,” Raindrop agreed, “there must be a window somewhere we can watch what is going on.” The seven of them lifted into flight and circled the castle where Willy and Wilma had entered. On the west side the saw a row of small windows high up on the wall. These, they soon found out had no panes in them and served not only to let light in but also to vent the main room. The seven of them gathered around the four windows and peered in with great caution. They saw that this was the throne room and the two Tilliwiggers that were stretched out in front of a golden throne on which sat a tall, black haired beautiful Sprite. This was Wanda and in her right hand she held the wand of power. 079 “I assume,” Molly whispered to harry, “she is holding the wand we have to take.” “Looks like it,” he answered. If they thought the worms looked curious from the back they looked even

more odd from the front. The vertical mouth was lined on either side with a row of sharp pointed fangs. The mouth was surrounded by thick lips the color of dark chocolate. Above the mouth were four, shiny small black eyes all in a row from side to side to side. The four windows they were at was located behind the throne and they could see Wanda from the back and the Tilliwiggers from the front. Wilma and Willy never raised their heads to look over the queen but instead looked at the floor in front of them. Molly thought this was good as there was less chance of them being seen. “We need to get inside,” Molly whispered, Harry only nodded and motioned for everyone to go away from the windows. Soon they were on top of the throne room and it was time to lay out a plan. “We should go in right away,” Molly said before they figure out the Tilliwiggers were telling the truth.’ “I agree,” Wendy added, “if we wait out here much longer the black birds will be back and they will certainly find us.” “Let’s fly in behind the throne,” Cloudy said, “and hide there. The tilliwiggers may not see us as they have to avert their eyes from the queen and the throne.” “And if we are saw then we can make a run for it,” Harry said, “back out here. The Tilliwiggers can’t fly and we will have to deal with the blackbirds as best we can.” “I wonder if there is a lake near here,” Raindrop said, “if we can get to water we can avoid them.” “Let’s take a look,” Penelope said as she and Melissa flew up above the castle, soon joined by the others.” “There,” Melissa said, pointing off to the north, “see the blue water in the distance. “Yes,” Harry said, “in the event of trouble we must try to get there.” “Now,” Molly said, “let’s sneak in and try to get the wand.” 080 They all quietly flew back to the windows and one by one entered the throne room, unseen by the giant worms and Queen Wanda. Willie and Wilma were still explaining that they thought they saw something flying in the woods. “I will have the black birds check it out,” Wanda said in an icy voice. “You may go now.” The two worms silently nodded, turned about and left the throne room. “what and odd race,” Wanda said to herself, “still though, quite loyal and

sometimes useful.” Wanda sat quietly for a few minutes and twirled the wand about in her hands. Her deep blue eyes staring intently at it. “I wonder how I can make this thing works for me?” she said aloud. The wand would do certain things for her but it would not perform with its full power. She had managed to the sprites realm with but still there was so much more that she desired. Those that had not sworn allegiance to her had either left the realm or went into hiding. “I suppose,” she quietly said, “that I could try to capture the frog kingdom, they should be rather easy.” Harry’s eyes widened a bit as he and the rest of them hid behind the throne. They had considered making themselves smaller but rejected the idea thinking that if they got a chance the grab the wand they wanted to be big enough to hold on to it. Wanda had balanced the wand in her hand and thought that it felt lighter than it usually did. She began to wonder if the power was changing in it. What she didn’t realise was that the wand had sensed Molly close by, one of its true owners. “I wonder,” Wanda said, as she held the wand in front of her, “show what the Tilliwiggers saw in the woods.” The wand started to glow with a golden color and a large silver cloud formed in the throne room. “No,” Molly silently shouted in her mind, “do not show her.” The silver cloud continued to roll and tumble, they could see Wilma and Willie looking back down the trail but nothing in the air. “Thanks,” Molly thought. “You are welcome, Master,” a voice came into her mind with a vision of the wand. 081 “Apparently,” Wanda thought as she held the wand pointed the the silver cloud that still showed no vision. “I was right, there was nothing there. But why would the Tilliwiggers say that if it wasn’t true? Perhaps Willie just made a mistake, they aren’t the smartest things around,” Wanda made the cloud disappear and raised herself from the throne. The seven of them clustered tightly next to the back of the chair hoping that she would not spot any of them. Wanda then walked to a side door and left the room. “Now what?” Raindrop asked as they all relaxed and sat down on the floor.

“I’m not sure,” Molly said, “but I can talk to the wand,” “What?” Harry said, “you can talk to it?” “Yes,” Molly replied, “I told it not to show her what the Tilliwiggers saw and it didn’t, and that’s not all.” Molly explained how she had heard the wand speak in her head how she had talked to it. “Wow,” Wendy said, “maybe you could speak to it from here and find out how we can get it from her.” “Maybe,” Molly said, “here, everyone hold hands and I will try.” They all gathered closely and held on to each other. Molly concentrated on the wand and soon she had made contact. When she spoke with her mind to the wand everyone could here. “Who is with you?” The wand asked, “I sense you are not alone.” “They are my friends,” Molly answered, “three are from the Mermaids Realm, Two are from the Fairies Realm, one is from the Frog Kingdom and I am from the human world. We have came to take you home.” “That would be wonderful,” the wand answered, “I helped Wanda a bit but that was just enough to keep me away from the Empire of the snakes.” “Can you come to us?” Molly asked. “”No,” the wand answered, “I cannot move on my own, but I can unlock doors and guide you to me.” “Where are you now?” Molly asked. “I am in the queens bedroom,” the wand answered, “but do not come here yet. I will guide you to me when she is asleep. That will be several hours yet so just stay in hiding for now.” “What happened to the original king and queen?” Molly asked. 082 “Wanda tried to have King Richard and Queen Rianna killed,” the wand said to Molly, but everyone of course could hear as long as they held hands. “But they escaped and are in hiding now.” “How did she do that?” Raindrop asked. “She had me banish them,” the wand answered, “Wanda does not have the power have them killed but once they were banished she told the Tilliwiggers to hunt them down and finish them off.” “There is no way you could stop this?” Melissa asked. “No,” the wand answered, “I can only do what I am commanded, and that depends on the power and understanding of the owner who wields me. Obviously Wanda does not have much power or understanding for this sort of thing.”

“But we do?” Cloudy asked. “You represent the kingdoms I was created by and for,” the wand answered, “the Sprites were not part of the original pact as they were not a kingdom at the time. This area was known as ‘the wilds’ back then.” “But how did you get the name of dark wand?” Penelope asked. “That didn’t get started until after I was kidnapped by the Snake Empire,” the wand said. “They wanted to impress everyone with their power, unfortunately I didn’t work to well for them as they weren’t part of the Kingdoms that manufactured me. They did require me to create a lot of havoc, but one day a snake named Winston had me in the woods trying to put a spell on the frog kingdom. Suddenly out of the blue an eagle dropped out of the sky and snatched us both up. Winston had me curled in the tip of his tail and was trying to curse the bird as he lifted us high in the air. I resisted casting his spell as long as I could and as the eagle’s grip tightened and Winston weakened I slipped free and fell back to earth. That was the last I ever saw of the snakes.” “Then Wanda found you in the woods?” Molly asked. “Much later,” the wand answered, “I landed in an oak tree not far from here. I stayed lodged in the tree for centuries until the tree grew into a giant oak. Wanda happened upon me one day when she was feeling hurt because she was rebuked by the sprite king for being rude, and bossy to her fellow sprites.” 083

“Frogulous told us to bring you back to him,” Molly said, “or one of the kingdoms.” “Yes,” the wand quietly replied, “that would be great. But old king frogulous is still around? he must be centuries old by now.” “He’s still around,” Harry said, “and doing quite well.” “Anyway,” the wand, silently spoke to them, “Wanda is considering trying to destroy the frog kingdom. She is waiting for the black birds to return, then she will fly to frog lake and put a curse on it.” “What type of curse?” Molly asked. “Probably something simple,” the wand answered, “like turning the water sour and everyone will have to leave. She can’t do anything extreme because I cannot perform powerful magic for her.” “If I order you not to perform any magic for her,” Molly said, “could you do that?”

“Sorry,” the wand answered, “unless you are touching me I cannot perform for you. Once I have felt your touch and you have used me a few times I can then come to you on command, but until that time I can only talk to you.” “Then,” Molly replied, “we must come to you.” “Yes,” the wand answered, “but not right now, she is awake and pacing the floor with me in her hands. Stay hidden and I will call when it is time.” They decided it best to wait for now and the connection was broken. The wand would call them when it was safe. The seven of them decided it would be safer for them if they left the castle as the cleaning people would be in shortly. The day had turned into late afternoon and the seven friends sat on the tower above the throne room watching the sun set in the west. In the room in another part of the castle Wanda was making plans for the frog kingdom. She would fly with the black birds tomorrow to Frog lake and cast a spell that would drive the frogs from their home. “I think,” she said to herself as she lay the wand on her night stand, “I will give that kingdom to the black birds. They have served me well and deserve a place.” She snatched the wand back up from the table and headed downstairs to the dining room. A good evening meal, a conference with the birds and all would be ready for tomorrows invasion. Yes, the frog kingdom would be hers by tomorrow night. 084

The blackbirds were still deep in the forest and the seven water fairies had no where to hide yet. They knew the birds would be searching the woods and the Tilliwiggers would be scouring the grounds for them. The tower where they were was occupied by some bats and they would soon be waking up for the night. “We can’t trust the bats,” Wendy said as her red hair blew in the gentle breeze that swept across the area. They sneaked a look inside the bell tower and saw the bats still sound asleep hanging in the overhead. “If they are still here that means they are friends of Wanda.’ “But where can we go?” Melissa said with a frown on her face. “The lake,” Molly said, pointing off in the distance. “if we can make it there we can hide in the water.” “Yes,” Harry agreed, “I see it in the distance and we really don’t have a choice.” Everyone nodded in agreement. “To the lake it is,” Cloudy said as he took Raindrop’s hand they launched themselves into flight toward the northern lake.

The sun was nearly set before they reached the lake that lie north of the Sprite castle. They had not encountered any hostile wild life along the way which they thought was odd. Especially the hawks who hunt more at this time of day. “I suppose,” Penelope said as they started to descend toward the water below, “that Wanda has everyone looking for us in the woods, including the hawks.” By this time Harry and Molly had became frogs, Wendy, Penelope and Melissa had became mermaids and were diving for the water below. Raindrop and Cloudy remained as water fairies and dived along side of them. “It’s great to be back in the water again,” Wendy said as she and the other two mermaids swam circles around Harry and Molly. The two water fairies swam close by. “We must be careful,” Molly said, “we have no idea what what lives in this lake.” “True,” Cloudy agreed, “but we haven’t saw anything. In fact the lake appears to be empty.” “True,” Harry said, “but let’s stay close and be ready to leave.” 085 CHAPTER TWELVE The seven friends swam to shore and sat on the sandy beach near some rocks. They were well disguised and even the sharp eyed hawks would have trouble spotting them. “The wand told us,” Molly said, “that Wanda was going to the frog kingdom soon, if she has a meeting with the black birds and Tilliwiggers tonight that means it will be late before she retires for the evening.” “But she also may leave tonight,” Wendy added. “Possibly,” Harry said, “but unlikely since the birds have been busy all day they will want a bit of rest before such an adventure.” Suddenly they heard a distant hooting of an owl flying through the woods. This was a warning that they may need to get closer to the water. The owls may be able to see them if they come closer to the shore line. This would be unlikely also since the prey the owls were after didn’t generally hang around the water at night. “I suppose,” Molly said, “that we should be ready to leave early in the morning. Wanda will probably be up and about as soon as she thinks the birds have had enough rest.”

“Yes,” Harry agreed, “we need to get some rest also, we may have to leave at any time.” They all huddled close together, hidden in the rocks and tried to get some much needed sleep. The night was very quiet with a large silver moon reflecting off the still waters of the lake. “We must an unusual sight,” Molly thought, smiling to herself, “two frogs, two fairies and three mermaids hiding the rocks by a lake in the middle of the night.” It was about midnight with the full moon high in the night sky casting a silver glow across the lake and the surrounding woods. There suddenly came a loud mournful wail from the woods. Everyone sat bolt upright, jarred awake by the loud cry. “That’s no owl,” Molly whispered. “Sounds like a wolf,” Cloudy said. “And it’s close,” Wendy said. “And there it is,” Raindrop said in a terrified voice, as they all saw the creature coming over the rocks sniffing the air. 086

There on the rocks above them was a large gray wolf with very long back legs. He was sniffing the air as if he were looking for them. Suddenly he stood up on his back legs like a human and let out a mournful cry at the moon. “It’s a werewolf,” Molly whispered, “we need to get back in the water, quickly.” Silently they dove into the lake and disappeared beneath the surface. “That was close,” Wendy said as they all slowly came back to the surface a good ways from shore and the giant werewolf. He was climbing around on the rocks by this time and sniffing the air where they had been. “Perhaps we should try getting back to the castle,” Molly said, “we we still don’t know what dangers may be hiding in this lake.” “Yes,” Raindrop agreed, “once the moon sets it will also become very dark and we won’t be able to see at all.” They transformed into water fairies and left the lake and the werewolf behind. They were high in the night sky and the silver moon afforded enough light that they could see Wanda’s castle in the distance. If they could avoid the owls they would be back to the castle soon. They could hear the owls hooting as they did their hunt through the forest below.

The flight took them nearly a half an hour which passed rather quickly. They had been most fortunate and the owls had not thought to look to the skies as the seven water fairies winged their way southward. They flew around the tower to the windows that led into the throne room where they had been before. The windows had remained open they soon were in the empty throne room. They all sat out of sight behind the throne and waited for a call from the wand. “Doesn’t she ever go to bed?” Wendy said as they all huddled tightly together. They were excited but also tired, they hadn’t gotten much sleep since the werewolf had showed up. Suddenly the wand had entered Molly’s mind, “At last,” it said, “she’s fast asleep.” “Quick,” Molly said to everyone, “take my hand, the wand is speaking.” In a few seconds they were flying through the castle following the wands orders. Doors were opening for them as the wand directed them to where it lay on the nightstand beside Wanda’s bed. 087 Wanda lay face up on her large white bed, her long black hair scattered over the pillow. Her large blue eyes were closed and she gently breathed in and out like a child in the dark. It was hard to imagine someone who was as beautiful as Wanda could be so evil. The seven water fairies held hands and flew as a line toward the night stand by Wanda’s bed. Molly reached down with her free hand picked up the wand as they all hovered over the table. The effect was immediate, they could all feel the warm power flow through them from the wand. “Quickly,” the wand said, “go back the way you came.” In less than a minute they were back out in the passage way, shortly there after they were back in the throne room. “Leave the castle through the windows above,” the wand said, “then we can work a little magic. If we do it here she will wake up, there isn’t a lot she can do but best to avoid it as long as possible.” Molly lead the rest of them through the window outside into the night air. “Now,” the wand said, “everyone hold tightly to each other and Molly can say the words, ‘make us invisible’ and we will see what happens.” Everyone held hands and Molly quoted the phrase. There was a sparkling effect around them and although they could see each other no one else could. “You can let go of each other now,” the wand said, “you will be able to see

each other but no one else will.” Molly and the rest of the fairies rested on the bell tower, it was empty now as the bats were all out hunting. This did not really matter as they would not be able to see the fairies anyway. “Hold me tightly in your right hand,” the wand directed Molly, “and point me straight out in front of you. Say this phrase four times, once in each direction. Start with the south and then to the east, then north, then west. Let things be as they were before Wanda found this wand.” Molly did exactly as the wand had directed and when she finished with the west direction there was a short gust of wind that shook the land. “It is done,” the wand said, “now it is time to go. If she wakes up she will send everyone she has against us. I don’t think she can see us but I don’t know for sure.” Suddenly a loud scream emitted from the halls below, Queen Wanda was awake. 088 “Oh my,” Molly said as they all lifted into flight and headed west toward the frog kingdom. To say Wanda was upset would be the understatement of the century. Her scream had brought the night staff to her room to see what was the matter. “Someone has stolen my wand,” she screamed at the night servants who were cowering in fear. “Who could have gotten in here?” one of the maids asked, “the door was locked from your side.” “Silence woman,” Wanda said as she strode back and forth across the room. She knew none of the staff could have gotten in without waking her. This had to be magic, there was no other way. But the only magic lay with the wand. She could work a little bit on her own from being around the wand so long. Wanda stared at her terrified staff which consisted of the ground sprites, none of them had the ability to fly. They stood shaking as Wanda’s gaze fell across each one of them. “I wonder,” she thought, “perhaps the Tilliwiggers did see something, but the wand did not show anything unless they were bewitched and the wand did not pick them up.” Needless to say she would have to recover the wand if she intended to stay in power. By this time the daylight was breaking over the eastern mountain and soon it would be time to head west with the black birds to the frog kingdom. She dismissed her staff and sat at her dresser and looked into the

mirror. Wanda put both hands on each side of the looking glass and concentrated on the wand. “Mirror’ mirror,” she quietly said, “show me the wand.” There was a foggy mist appeared in the mirror and then she saw the seven water fairies flying west toward the frog kingdom. Wanda now realised what had happened. The wand had been stolen by the water fairies and was being returned to the frog kingdom. She had no idea how they had gotten into the castle, but there had to be magic involved to get through the locks on all the doors. Wanda called all her black birds, hawks and as many owls as she could get, they had to try to recover the wand before it got into the wizard Frogulous’s hands. 089 Wanda did have enough magic to see the wand and locate the seven water fairies that carried it. Although none of her servants could see them she could direct them. She only hoped that the fairies had no idea how to use the wand, if they did her chances of recovery would be lost. Wanda knew little of the history of the wand, only what she had heard through legend and what she had learned from using it. Molly was in front of the rest of them and carried the wand. Hopefully they would be in the frog kingdom by noon. They were very fast flyers and none of the hawks could se them. “They are after us,” the wand said to Molly. “What?” Molly asked in a loud voice, “they are after us?” “Yes,” the wand answered, as the rest of them joined up and Penelope took Molly’s free hand so they could all hear what the wand was saying. “She has gotten all of the birds, the hawks and as many owls as she could find and they are coming toward us.” “What should we do?” Molly asked. “Just make sure you hold on to me,” the wand answered, “I will tell you what to say when she gets close enough. She has enough magic to see us but none of the others can, she will have to guide them.” “How far away are they?” Raindrop asked as they all continued to fly to the west. “We should see them in about fifteen minutes,” the wand said. “At that time I will tell you how to make a shield.” “But what is to stop them from flying right into the frog kingdom,” Harry asked.

“You must get me to the wizard Frogulous,” the wand answered, “he will know what to do.” As the seven water fairies winged their way to the west with Wanda in hot pursuit. Below them the forest below was starting to come alive. All the sprites and forest animals that were in hiding were coming come out. Even the king and queen were on there way back to their castle. Everyone except Wanda new that her reign was over. King Andrew and Queen Alice were back in their castle and the old order would soon be restored. 090 The water fairies continued their flight into the west. By this time they could make out the forest line of the of the frog kingdom. Frog lake would not be far. “They’re here,” the wand said as the fairies looked back and saw the sky becoming dark with a cloud of oncoming birds. Wanda was in front leading them straight to ward them. “What should we do?” Molly asked. “Stop,” the wand directed, “and face them. Form a line with you in the middle. All of you must hold to each other, Penelope will put her hand on your right shoulder and Harry will put his hand on your left shoulder. The rest will join hands and you will hold me with both hands, and hold tightly.” The fairies did as they ere told and stood hovering in the late morning sun as Wanda and her minions attacked from the east. “Now repeat these words, and hold tightly to me,” the wand said. Molly nodded in agreement and clinched the wand tightly in her hands. “Protect us,” the wand continued. Molly stood silent for a few seconds and wondered if she had the strength to do this with Wanda and her army of birds approaching. Almost instantly an inner strength welled up in side her and she repeated the phrase. “Protect us,” she said in aloud voice. The wand vibrated a bit in her hand and a soft, nearly clear silk like vapor emitted from the tip and disappeared into the air around them. “Well done,” the wand said, “now we wait, she will try to get the wand but do not give me to her no matter what.” Wanda was close enough to make contact by this time, she could see the seven fairies and a few of the birds who were close to her could see them also. Especially the hawks who had excellent vision. Those who were farther away from Wanda could not see them no matter whether they were hawks,

black birds or owls. “Give me the wand,” Wand shouted as she got closer, her voice was more of a screech than a shout. “Never,” shouted molly as the entire air force of birds were rapidly closing on them. “Get them,” Wanda shouted pointing toward Molly. the birds then dove toward them. 091 The seven fairies clutched each other tightly as the wand told them not tom let go of each other. They all stood terrified as Wanda and her group closed on them at great speed. “Brace for impact,” the wand quietly whispered as Wanda was very close and they could see her fierce blue eyes set against her ivory face and long black hair blowing behind her. “Oh my,” Molly thought, and at just that moment Wanda and her entire group crashed into an invisible shield in front of them. Molly and the rest of them were quite surprised and she was reminded of a time when a bird crashed into the window of her room once. Molly was still hovering in the air with the wand held straight in front of her and watched as the Wanda and her birds crashed into the shield. The attacking force seemed paralysed for a few seconds in the air crushed up a against an invisible barrier. Then they started to slide slowly down the face of the shield and fell toward the earth. “Let us go,” the wand said as the remainder of the birds turned away, “without Wanda none of them can see us.’ The fairies turned and continued their flight toward the frog kingdom. They could not help but see Wanda and many of her birds tumbling toward the earth. Molly could not help but feel a bit of sorrow for her as she disappeared out of sight below. “In a few minutes they had made over the woods that surrounded frog lake. They lowered their altitude and were soon flying through the trees. “There it Is,” Harry said as he pointed off in the distance. Sure enough, there was the lake coming in to view. They also noticed that there was a lot of wildlife appearing in the woods. There were birds everywhere, but unlike where they had just left, these birds were friendly. “Well,” Molly said, “time to dive into the lake. Can you go under water?” “Of course,” the wand answered, “that is where I was made.” In a few minutes they were greeted by a vast array of frogs and escorted

to the castle where King Maxwell, Queen Margaret and of course the Wizard Frogulous stood waiting. “Welcome back,” the king said smiling, as Frogulous came forth to receive the wand. 092 CHAPTER THIRTEEN Molly smiled as he handed over the wand with a certain amount of reluctance. Frogulous smiled an aged and crooked smile as he took the wand and gently held it in his hands. Molly could not sense it’s presence and could no longer communicate with it. “Now,” Frogulous said, looking up at Molly, “I suppose you would like to return to your human form and go back home?” Molly said nothing as she looked around at her friends and they eagerly awaited her answer, especially Harry. “No,” Molly answered in a soft voice, “not now anyway. I wold much rather stay here with my friends, if they want me.” “Great,” Wendy said as they all gathered close and hugged her tightly. Harry put his arms around her and squeezed her to him. “I’m so glad you decided to stay,” Harry quietly said. “You guys can live with us,” Wendy excitedly said. “Or us,” Raindrop and Cloudy both said at the same time. “First,” King Maxwell interrupted, “we need to explain a few things that I’m sure you are all wondering about.” “Yes,” Harry said, “what happens now? I mean everything sort of changed when we got the wand. “Yes,” King Maxwell answered, “we felt it here and everyone came out of hiding. But we aren’t sure what will happen to Wanda now.” “What about the Sprite kingdom?” Penelope asked, “what will happen to them?” “They should be back to normal shortly,” Frogulous said as he continued to look lovingly at the wand. “King Andrew and Queen Alice are back and without the wand Wanda does not have enough power to overthrow them.” “But she does have some power,” Molly said, “she could see us though the wand had made us invisible.” “Yes,” Frogulous said, “She has learned a lot from the wand, but just how much I am not sure.” “Is she still a threat?” Wendy asked as a frown crossed her face and her

bright red hair drifted in the gentle water current. 093 “Well,” Frogulous said, “since you haven’t decided where you are going to live or what you are going to become, I suggest you take a vacation somewhere and decide.” “What I am to become?” Molly asked, “what do you mean?” “Do you wish to be a frog, a mermaid, a fairy, or perhaps a bird. Frogulous said, “You can be any of them, or all if you like.” “Wow,” Molly said, “I never thought of that.” “Let’s all go back home for a while,” Penelope said as her long dark hair settled slowly around her shoulders. “Oh please come with us,” Raindrop said to Harry and Molly. “Let’s all go to the fairies realm for a bit,” Cloudy said, “them we can all go to the mermaid kingdom.” They all agreed to go to the other kingdoms for a while and meet back here, in the Frog Kingdom in the fall. “Perhaps we could all fly by my old home where I first met Harry,” Molly said. “Yes,” Harry agreed, “we could meet our old friends. Do you suppose Fenton and Fiona are still down there?” “We met them,” Wendy said, “it would be nice to see them again.” “As long as we don’t meet up with a snake named Henry,” Harry said. “Or that crazy old King Warticus,” Molly added, “with that silly thimble on his head.” “All of us together have enough magic to deal with them,” Cloudy said. “That might be kind of fun,” Melissa said smiling. “We could make him afraid of water,” Raindrop said, “that should fix him up.” Everyone laughed and pretty soon they decided it was time to leave. They said good bye to Frogulous, King Maxwell and Queen Margaret. They promised to come back before winter set in. “They better,” King Maxwell said as the seven friends lifted into flight, “or we all may just be in hibernation.” “To the human world,” Molly said as they all flew laughing into the afternoon sun. “This friendship will last forever,” they all thought at the same time. 094

EPILOGUE Wanda had crashed into the bushes after her encounter with Molly’s force field, and although rather stunned she was unhurt. The birds realised that the chase was over and Wanda had lost. They returned to their normal activities. Wanda was very upset, everything she had dreamed of was gone. She had no idea where to go or what to do, she had all the kingdoms angry with her and if she returned the Sprites would probably put her in jail for a long time. Suddenly from the brush sprung and old friend, it was Wally the werewolf. They agreed that she could stay with them as no one every came around them and no one would find her. Wanda had retained much of her power she had learned from handling the wand and in time she could rebuild. First she had to build a wand of her own and that meant travelling into fairy’s realm. Wally and Wanda started on a secret trek of their own to find the tree of life which was located in the very center of the fairy’s realm. This tree was base for all magic, both good and evil. The trip would be long, difficult and filled with danger but Wally and Wanda would persevere. She would, in time become a force to be reckoned with. So it was as a tall, beautiful sprite witch with ivory skin, large blue eyes and long black hair set off with her large grey wolf in search of the ‘Tree of life’ in center of the fairies realm. 095

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