ISBN 9789899734890-13

2008 Words
'Declan, be a doll and help me up,' she said as he lifted her into his arms and carried her back through the hallway and down into the drawing room. 'Just put me over there, please,' she instructed as he gently placed her weaker body onto a chaise longue by the fireplace. 'Saleena will stay with you,' he said as he stood back up and smiled. 'A group of us will take the chopper and the others can take the car.' 'I think you should drive the car, Declan. They are under age, after all,' smiled Eleanor. 'Good luck.' Declan gave Saleena a long kiss before he exited the room and joined the others back in the large courtyard, where Sara and Amber were already sitting in the helicopter waiting for instructions. 'Lana, Emma and Daisy, you take the chopper with Jimble. You'll obviously arrive there first. We'll be close behind and, remember, I can read your thoughts from that distance so if you need to share anything, just think of me and tell me what's going on. Elliott, Sammy, you're with me,' he said as they followed him into the car. The girls helped Jimble out of his bubble and they all ran to the helicopter just as the blades began to whirr, whipping up a strong wind around them. Climbing on board, they lifted Jimble up and helped him into a seat in the back. Soon, they were airborne, watching the turrets fade into the distance. oOo Jimble sat, curled up, not saying a word, trembling as he tried hard not to look down. 'Jimble, what's wrong?' shouted Emma. 'We're awfully high, awfully high,' he gulped back. Lana grinned, 'It's great, isn't it?' Jimble shook his head. 'You know I used to be terrified of heights too?' she said to him. 'Until I turned 16 and then I got over it. And now, well, now I could jump out of this helicopter and land on my feet.' 'You could, you could?' he cringed. 'Yes, it's my special ability now I'm a Watcher. The higher the better, for me,' she grinned. 'Take no notice of her, Jimble. Just don't look down. You'll be fine. You're perfectly safe up here. We'll look after you,' reassured Emma. He attempted a smile and turned his full attention to her instead, 'What is your special ability ability, Emma Emma? What can you do, do, now that you're a Watcher Watcher?' Emma looked at him and grinned, 'I can swim like a dolphin and hold my breath for a very long time under water. But growing up I was terrified of the sea and of storms. Like Lana, I got over it on my 16th birthday too. The day I became a Watcher.' Jimble nodded before turning to Daisy, 'I'm sorry we were never, never formally introduced, introduced,' he said as he held out his hand. Daisy timidly held out her hand and shook his rather gnarled fingers. 'I'm Jimble Jimble. And you're Daisy Daisy, aren't you? Are you a Watcher, too too?' Daisy nodded, 'Yes, but it happened to me on my 15th birthday, shortly after my mum died.' 'You lost your mother, mother?' Daisy nodded sadly. 'Oh me oh my, oh me. I'm so very, very sorry sorry, Daisy. Tragic to lose a parent parent, so young. Not fair, this life is not fair sometimes. Tragic tragic.' He didn't say anything for a moment before turning back to her, 'Do you have a special power too too?' Daisy, who had been looking very sad, suddenly smiled at him and nodded, 'Yes, I can move pretty quickly and I'm really strong. And, apparently, my voice has changed too, or so I've been told. Eleanor told me that all Watchers are really good singers, regardless of whether they could sing before they got their tattoos.' 'Yeah, I've heard that too,' Emma said. 'I wonder if that's why we have music classes at the Academy, and why we're putting on a show for our families.' 'You know I always thought it was weird that we're taught music. I can understand the self-defence classes, history of the supernatural world, fight night, control class and some of the others, as well as our standard A levels of course, but music? Weird. And now we've got that show to put on, too. I can't say I'm looking forward to it.' 'Me neither,' added Emma. Sara, who had been listening from the front turned in her seat with a smile, 'Many of the world's well known singers are Watchers, you know?' she said. 'Really?' Lana exclaimed. Yep, Elvis, Ella Fitzgerald, Sinatra... some of them have gone off the rails from time to time, but yep, all part angel.' 'But what about famous singers today?' asked Lana 'There are tonnes of them and they're all special, just like us.' 'Wow, that's awesome. Does that mean we can sing as well as they can?' Daisy asked, intrigued. Amber then turned around with a grin and said, 'You're putting on a show aren't you?' before breaking out into a popular song that was always on the radio. The others joined in with her, all laughing and giggling as they sang. When they stopped, Emma turned to Amber, 'So, her too?' Amber raised her eyebrows and winked, 'Her too,' she nodded. oOo Acres of stunning brown and golden woodland appeared before them as they approached the National Park. 'Where should we set her down, Jimble?' asked Amber. 'Erm, I believe The Tree of Tonuka is right in the centre centre of the forest forest.' 'Right,' Amber replied as she searched for a clearing smack bang in the middle of all the trees. They hovered for another ten minutes or so until they found the right spot and then she manoeuvred the helicopter, deftly landing it on a patch of relatively smooth ground. As the blades began to slow, Emma opened the door and she, Lana and Daisy helped Jimble down from the aircraft. 'Okay, it is safe, there are no pixie trolls here here. I wonder where they are are? We haven't seen them them for a while. Strange strange,' he pondered. Sara hopped out too, leaving Amber to monitor the area around them and to explain where they were to Declan when he arrived. The girls followed Jimble as he waddled across the clearing, heading northwards towards a particularly dense area of forest. Climbing over a number of fallen branches, the girls watched as he approached several old and gnarled trees and placed his hands on their trunks. He closed his eyes and waited a moment before moving on, until he stood before the largest tree there. Heavy branches hung low around its massive core which had a large hole in its centre. Standing perfectly still, Jimble placed his hands on it. A moment later, a faint humming sound could be heard from deep within. The girls approached and listened as the tree seemed to take on a life of its own, wrapping its branches around the little pixie troll and giving him a long, deep hug. It was almost like a mother reaching out to her son. It eventually released its hold on him and he stepped backwards, a few tears falling from his cheeks. Brushing them away, he turned to face the girls and blushed. 'This is the Tree of Tonuka,' he said without repeating a single word. 'It's beautiful,' whispered Daisy who walked up to it and placed a hand carefully on its trunk. 'She is, she certainly is,' he said proudly. The other girls also stepped forward to feel the tree that had given life to the pixie trolls. A tree that clearly held a special place in Jimble's heart. 'Can you talk to her, Jimble? Can you ask her about Gordle?' He nodded, 'I can try.' Moving forward, he hugged the tree once more, mumbling something low and unintelligible over and over again. 'She's trying to remember,' he said after a few minutes. 'She says her memory isn't like it used to be,' he smiled. The girls found a comfortable spot to sit down when Emma suddenly gasped as she realised they were no longer alone. 'Er, guys? Guys...?' she said louder as they became surrounded by little creatures, all carrying bows and arrows which were carefully aimed directly at them. Jimble stopped and turned. 'Crackerbilly?' he asked. One of the little creatures scuffled forward, 'Jimble?' It whispered. Jimble's serious face softened at once as the two rushed towards each other and stopped nose to nose. They smacked the backs of their hands together and then grinned, laughing loudly. 'Put yer weapons down, folks, it's only Jimble!' shouted the funny little creature, before continuing. 'What's going on Jimble? We're at a loss to why life has stopped for the humans.' 'I know, I know. Someone evil has got hold of the Temporal Stone. It's them that's causing all of this,' he replied. 'We're trying to track it down so we can stop it.' 'Who's we?' asked the creature. 'Oh, these are my friends. They're Watchers,' Jimble said proudly, with a huge grin. Crackerbilly's eyes grew wide and his mouth fell open. 'I ain't met a Watcher before,' he said in awe as he looked at each of the girls and grinned. 'I'm Crackerbilly!' he exclaimed. Introducing themselves, the girls relaxed again as Jimble and Crackerbilly caught up with each other's news. Intrigued by the little creatures, Lana couldn't help but stare at them. Smaller than the pixie trolls, they had long arms and legs and slim bodies. Their faces were human-like with the exception of their mouths, which appeared to be a bit too big. And when they smiled, it was like sunlight on a dull day. You couldn't help but smile along with them. 'Hello,' whispered one of them who had shyly tiptoed alongside her. 'Oh, hello,' Lana replied as she eyed up the little female who stood playing with her long green braided hair. 'I'm Crackersally,' she said with a grin. 'Nice to meet you, Crackersally. I'm Lana.' 'What are you doing in our forest?' she asked. 'We brought Jimble to speak to the Tree of Tonuka. We're hoping it... she... can help us solve the mystery of the Temporal Stone.' Crackersally nodded and looked away before looking back at her, 'What mystery?' she asked. Lana laughed and began to explain everything that had happened that day. Crackersally was intrigued and soon, many of the other creatures approached and sat down beside her as Lana spoke. 'What are they?' Emma whispered to Daisy who were sat huddled next to each other beneath a tree just metres away from Jimble and Crackerbilly. Daisy shrugged her shoulders and shook her head as Jimble stopped talking and turned to face them, 'They're pixies,' he said before turning his attention back to his long lost friend. 'It's weird that he can speak normally now, isn't it?' Daisy whispered. Jimble huffed loudly and said, 'It's because of the Tree of Tonuka. It happens in her presence. When we leave, I'll go back to the way I spoke before.' Jimble then rapidly turned his attention back again and Daisy and Emma giggled. 'Ouch!' yelled a voice from within the forest. 'Ouch!' yelled another. 'What is that?' said the first familiar voice. It was Declan. The pixies heard something and were immediately on guard. Some had even taken action and fired little arrows at the approaching threat. 'No!' yelled Jimble as he tried to stop them from shooting any more. 'No, no. They're my friends too. Please stop shooting at them,' he said as the pixies stopped, just as Declan, Elliott and Sammy appeared. Declan was pulling three miniature arrows out of his legs. 'Ouch,' he winced, 'that smarts a bit.' 'Jimble?' Declan asked, 'Y'alright girls?' They all nodded, while Jimble looked very apologetic. 'What's going on?' 'Declan, this is my friend, Crackerbilly. He's a pixie. They're just protecting themselves and their home. Crackerbilly, this is Declan, Elliott and Sammy. They're Watchers too.' Crackerbilly's eyes nearly popped out of his head. 'More Watchers? Wow,' he whispered as he approached Declan and bowed down. 'Please accept my humble apologies, Elder Declan.' Declan began to laugh, 'Elder? I ain't that old, you know.' Not knowing how to react, Crackerbilly's eyes grew wide and he cringed, 'Sorry.' 'What's that noise?' said Sammy, with her hands over her ears. 'It's just like this morning. Make it stop, make it stop.'
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