Ro slept like a rock. Nothing budged her until her eyes popped open all by themselves in the morning.
And that was a serious dilemma for their friend, Tick-Tock as he stood whinnying frantically beneath Ro's window.
Fortunately, Ro's friend BEN Owl, (perched on her headboard) had most excellent hearing. He spun his head half way around and looked at Gary Gargoyle on Ro's night table. "Did you hear something?"
"Sure did," Gary said, and nodded toward the window. Someone's in trouble out there, I think."
BEN Owl flew to the window, looked out and saw the little Dartmoor colt – friend to a Pixie Ro and Jo knew very well – Pixie Avalon. "What's wrong, little horse?" he asked, watching the tiny horse pace back and forth, nickering almost hysterically, his eyes wide with fear and worry.
Tick-Tock reared up, shaking his hooves in front of him, then dropped his front legs back to the grown, neighing, very panicked.
"I'll get her at once," BEN Owl replied, as he leapt from the windowsill and swung toward Ro's bed, pouncing on her, careful not to scratch her with his razor-sharp talons. He was always gentle with his friend, even when jumping on her to wake her up – fast. Tick-Tock needed help. Pixie Avalon was in trouble.
"No, BEN Owl, I'm still sleepy," Ro murmured, turning over, away from the window and morning's first light.
"Now. Tick-Tock is outside," BEN Owl said firmly, and that did it. Ro rolled back toward him, flipped her legs over the side of her bed and burst up, reaching the window in a flash.
"What's wrong, Tick-Tock?" Ro asked, grabbing her shirt and shorts off the chair and wiggling out of her jammies as she waited for him to answer.
She couldn't understand his frightened whinnying (it was hard enough to understand Tick-Tock when he was calm), and said, "Stop. Stop squealing and just think what's wrong in your mind – I will see too."
Tick-Tock nodded, and thought hard.
"Oh, my goodness! We have to go now!" Ro said, thinking the picture into BEN Owl and Gary's minds, as Ro did best. "Gary, please go and get Jo. He and Sir WHIP can follow my thoughts and come too. I'm going now!" Ro said, not even running through the house and out the door. She simply climbed out her window, followed by BEN Owl who landed on the ground beside her and made himself big enough to give Ro and the little colt friend a lift.
Soon they soared high in the sky, and when they neared the place, Tick-Tock tapped his hoof on BEN Owl's wing.
"There!" Ro said, pointing. "There she is! Hurry and land, BEN Owl!"
And so he did. A perfectly smooth landing as usual. "Thank you, BEN Owl. I can always count on you!" Ro said, leaping off his back, landing only a few feet away from Pixie Avalon, who cried – mostly in frustration – in the middle of a really gooey mud puddle.
Ro almost didn't recognize the tiny pixie she was so mud-covered.
"Oh, my goodness," Ro said, (in a soft voice that wouldn't hurt little pixie ears), her hand covering her smile, which threatened to turn into a laugh at any moment. Poor little Pixie Avalon! From her fuzzy hair all the way to her cute little toes, she was covered in grayish-brown, slimy mud. When she tried to pull her feet up and out of the mud, she lost her balance and plopped back on her butt with a squishy plop.
Worst of all for the poor little pixie, her wings were covered in the glop, stuck to her back like plastic wrap Mom used the cover bowls of food, and useless. "BEN Owl, it's a really big puddle. I can pick her up, but it's pretty deep. I might get stuck in there myself."
"Agreed, Princ…er…Ro," BEN Owl replied, almost calling Ro Princess Rosie, as he had so very often when she was a young child. But now she was the Ro part of Team RoJo, and needed his help. "Perhaps I might be of assistance."
BEN Owl looked over at Pixie Avalon and said, "Young pixie, please remain calm and listen. I'm going to fly to you. I don't want to grab you with my very sharp talons, because they might hurt you. When I fly close enough, please grab my ankles and hold on very tight, understand?"
Pixie Avalon nodded, little muddy tears dripping down her cheeks, washing little clean tracks through the mud.
"Don't cry, Pixie Avalon," Ro said gently. "BEN Owl will have you out of there in a hurry!"
"Thank you," Pixie Avalon said in a squeaky little voice as BEN Owl took to the air above her head. She reached up and grabbed his ankles as he curled his toes so that his talons were out of the way of the pixie's itty-bitty hands. When he felt her holding on tight, BEN Owl flapped his large wings and lifted her up and out of the mud with a splerp.
He did not fly very high – only a few inches off the ground – so that if Pixie Avalon's hands slipped, she would not fall very far at all. He sat her down, several feet from the icky mud puddle, and Ro said, "Thank you BEN Owl!" which Pixie Avalon repeated in her tiny little voice.
"You are quite welcome, little one," BEN Owl said, shrinking back to his normal, owl size. And he almost smiled at the sight of the slimy little pixie standing there covered with gunk. Only her eyes were not covered with the goo.
"How are we going to clean you up?" Ro wondered aloud, and then her brother Jo, riding on his giant, glittery orange dragon friend, brought the answer.
Sir WHIP landed every bit as smoothly as BEN Owl had a few moments ago, and Jo carefully climbed down off his back, carrying a large bucket – a very heavy large bucket, for it was filled with water.
"Yay! You read my messages okay," Ro said, hugging her brother happily after he sat the bucket on the ground near Pixie Avalon.
"Sure did," he said, and turned to his little pixie friend, who was beginning to crust over now that she was away from the fresh mud. "Here we go," he said, gently lifting the little pixie off the ground, his own hands mud-covered by just touching her. He smiled and said, "Hold your nose, Pixie Avalon!"
And she did.
Jo dunked her into the bucket, all the way under the water, head and all, held her there for a second or two, then lifted her up.
"Wow," Jo said to Pixie Avalon, trying not to laugh. "That didn't do hardly anything. Hold your nose again," he warned, gave her enough time to get a big breath in her mouth and hold it, and then splooshed her back into the water yet again.
"Well, it's better, but only a little," Ro said when her brother raised the little pixie up out of the bucket – it's water grayish brown by then. "I can see her wings, but they are still stuck to her. Her face and arms and legs are much better though." Ro bent over the bucket, and rubbed away almost all the mud from Pixie Avalon's arms and legs, as Jo held her in the water just right so that she didn't have to hold her nose while Ro bathed her.
"Hold your head back," Ro said, and Pixie Avalon did so that Ro could wash the mud out of her hair. "You have a lot more hair now than when we first found you in that pumpkin patch, little one."
Pixie Avalon nodded, the water making her feel a lot better, even though she still couldn't move her wings. They were way too wet.
"When you get home, you'll still need a proper bath with soap and a washcloth," Ro said.
"And a scrub brush," Jo added, snorting laughter.
"Meanie," Ro said, kidding, because the little pixie was still a little crusty behind the ears. "You really could grow potatoes back there," she said, smiling, trying to make the little pixie, who had only a few moments ago been very scared, laugh.
Pixie Avalon smiled, then let out a little giggle. "I guess I looked pretty funny."
"You sure did!" Jo said, and everyone – humans, pixie, dragon, and owl, even Tick-Tock who'd been so panicked at his friend's difficulty, finally chuckled, relieved that their friend was safe and sound, though a little soggy.
"I think I can help there," Sir WHIP said. "Please stand in front of me, Pixie Avalon."
Pixie Avalon took a few steps and stood exactly where Sir WHIP told her to. "When I begin, you need to turn around and around very, very slowly. You'll see why." With that, Sir WHIP took a gigantic breath, lowered his head, breathing out very gently through his nose. He put just enough fire behind the breath that it was just like warm air from a hair dryer, and very soon Pixie Avalon was dry.
Fluttering her wings, she took to the air, flew up and kissed Sir WHIP's huge, sparkly orange cheek. "Thank you," she squeaked happily, and then flew around to all her friends, kissing their cheeks as well. Finally, she flew over to Tick-Tock, hugged his neck, and climbed on his back. "Thank you guys again! I have to go now, or my mommy and daddy will worry. See you again soon!"
The little pixie held onto Tick-Tock's mane with one hand, as he clip-clopped down the road and waved bye-bye to her friends with the other.
"Bye, Pixie Avalon!" Ro, Jo, Sir WHIP, and BEN Owl called to her.
"She'll be home in no time," BEN Owl said softly, and then made himself large enough to carry Ro. Jo dumped the cruddy bucket water into the grass at the side of the road, hung the bucket on his arm and climbed aboard Sir WHIP.
Team RoJo was home in no time as well, just in time for pancakes with Dad.
TD – 11/27/2016