As you may remember from the end of last week's story, Kid Joey had met Almost-Fairy Ashlyn who is an itty bitty fairy-in-training who has been cursed by a farting wizard named Farty Leroy the Smelly. Farty Leroy the Smelly, in addition to tormenting Almost-Fairy Ashlyn, is also holding beautiful Princess Nanette in the tower of his farty castle. She might be able to enjoy the view if the whole top of the castle, including Princess Nanette's tower weren't enveloped by a giant, grody fart cloud.
Kid Joey and Almost-Fairy Ashlyn want to help the princess, but first, Almost-Fairy Ashlyn has to earn her fairy wings, and the magic fairy dust that comes with them.
Last week the story ended with Almost-Fairy Ashlyn flying over to the tower to talk with Princess Nanette to see if she had any helpful advice.
Almost-Fairy Ashlyn came back with oodles to tell her friends.
"Princess Nanette needs help too. That mean old wizard, Farty Leroy the Smelly is at the bottom of all of this! He's the one who changed Alexander into Grando! And he's not the only one! And he cursed my wings! He is holding Princess Nanette up in that stupid tower!"
So she's in the most trouble. We should help her first, right?" Kid Joey asked.
"Not yet. He won't hurt her because he loves her, I guess, in his own twisted way. And besides. He's not exactly Merlin – most of his powers are in his farts," Almost-Fairy Ashlyn explained.
"What?" Kid Joey said.
"They are actually deadly. But he turned Alexander into a farting dragon so Princess Nanette thinks it's normal – that all guys fart – so she won't be so disgusted by Farty Leroy the Smelly's gas and then he can be her boyfriend."
"You've got to be kidding! What a jerk!"
"Welcome to my world," Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said, agreeing with her new-found friend.
"So you want us to help you find your brother first and help him?" Kid Joey said.
"I can't help anyone until I'm a full-fledged fairy, and Princess Nanette said there is a special fruit I have to eat – I have to eat a lot because I have a lot of impatience."
"So let's go to the store. What's the fruit, and what store can we find it in?"
"What?" Kid Joey's eyes got big with the surprising thought of traveling to a foreign country, even though he'd flown around the world – twice! – with Sir WHIP on Christmas and on New Year's. But this was different. A lot different.
"You've seen me, Kid Joey; I'm lucky if I can fly all the way around a tree without losing my wings! How am I going to fly all the way to Greece? And how will I walk there if my wings disappear? Greece is across the ocean!"
Kid Joey smiled. "I have an idea."
He looked up, his eyes scanning the sky, or so Almost-Fairy Ashlyn thought, and sang out, "Oh Grandma Crystal!"
Suddenly the whole place went all swirly-twirly and Kid Joey grabbed Almost-Fairy Ashlyn's hand as they tumbled through the air.
In four point two seconds they landed upright in Grandma Crystal's attic, with a smiling Grandma Crystal sitting at the table before the crystal ball, just as she had been when Kid Joey had poofed into it.
To Grandma Crystal he'd only been gone for a few minutes even though half a day had passed in Farty Leroy the Smelly's forest.
"So young lady, Farty Leroy the Smelly got to you, huh?" Grandma Crystal said to Almost-Fairy Ashlyn.
Ashlyn's eyes flicked back and forth between Grandma Crystal and Kid Joey, who petted a shaken-up Kato by his side.
"Farty Leroy the Smelly…how do you know…" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn stammered,
"He's well-known in the magical realm. His curses are mean-spirited and a pain in the neck to break. But there's a way. First of all, you have to get your Golden Wings. But thanks to that wonky wizard, the wings, though they are yours, made just for you by fairy goddesses, and no one else can ever wear them or take them from you once you have them, the wings must be earned."
"How do I earn them?" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn asked softly.
"Fairies are not grumpy and impatient, young lady. You have to do a little growing up – but Farty Leroy the Smelly baits you with that ornery old disappearing wing crap. That would make anyone grumpy and impatient! So here's the deal. I can't just give you the wings. That you have to do for yourself because it's a real fairy test, made up by the Fairy Goddesses that make the wings. However, there are no fairy rules that say you can't take a train or plane – or travel by my crystal ball. And you're allowed to have friends with you who can help you with outside influences. Do you know what that means?"
Almost-Fairy Ashlyn nodded. "They can help me with things that go wrong as long as it's stuff that's not the fairy wing test itself."
"Precisely! No one can put a spell on you to make you calm. You have to do that yourself, but if Farty Leroy the Smelly tries putting you in a magical cage, or something like that, Kid Joey or Gramps Blaze or I can destroy it. If we have power enough to do it."
"Can't you break the disappearing wing curse?"
"Well, that's tricky. See, Farty Leroy the Smelly made it into a never-ending curse and made every little frown or "humph" of yours disappear your wings. He took the fairy spell, meant to remind you about patience and help teach you about being a good fairy, and made it a punishment so much harder – almost impossible – to do. The fairy goddesses live on Mount Olympus in Greece and the special tree with the fruit of peace and wisdom grows there. I can't tamper with the fairy spells but I can get you to Greece and keep Farty Leroy the Smelly busy so he can't torment you and make your wings disappear every five seconds like he has been. The creep.
"When you arrive in Greece you must find the golden tree of peace, and eat its magical fruit. You must eat a lot of it because you have extra problems – like Farty Leroy the Smelly's curse."
"How much do I have to eat? I like fruit."
"Your weight. You have to eat your weight in the fruit, to break the curse. And once the curse is gone, the Fairy Goddess will appear and, well, you'll see. Now off with you!" Grandma Crystal wiggled her fingers and Kid Joey grabbed Almost-Fairy Ashlyn's hand and Kato's collar as the trio began tumbling through the mists inside the crystal ball again.
They didn't tumble for long, for soon they stood on solid land again. Greek land. In a grove of beautiful trees.
The whole place felt peaceful and calm.
Almost-Fairy Ashlyn took a deep, cleansing breath while Kid Joey petted Kato, figuring he would be all discombobulated again from being tossed about inside the crystal ball.
But Kato surprised Kid Joey, standing in the midst of the orchard, Kato was perfectly calm, his nose cold, his tail wagging. He was a happy dog indeed. He licked Kid Joey's hand and took a couple of steps toward a nearby tree and began to lift his leg.
"Really?" Kid Joey said in a disapproving tone. "On a tree of peace? You can't hold it for just a little while?"
And suddenly there were giggles all around them.
Several glowing bubbles that floated around the trio of friends seemed to be where the laughter was coming from. The source of one of the giggles said, "That's okay, Kid Joey. Dogs pee. It will water the tree and besides, while olive trees are symbolic of peace, this one is not the one you seek. You are seeking the Golden Olive Tree in the center of this grove."
"Wait," Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said. "Olive tree?" The grimace on her face, as she stared at the little sprite, showing her horror.
"Sure! Olives are the fruit of peace – haven't you ever heard the saying "offer an olive branch?" It means to settle an argument, to make peace. Google it!
"Fairies Google?" Kid Joey asked.
"Of course! How do you think we learn stuff?"
Almost-Fairy Ashlyn and Kid Joey exchanged amused glances and then set off for the magic tree.
Almost-Fairy Ashlyn whispered to Kid Joey, "I hate olives. I have to eat my weight in them? I'll never get my wings!"
Kid Joey said softly, soothingly, "Don't get all upset, Ashlyn. Especially here in a peaceful olive grove in Greece. Let's see what happens. Grandma Crystal, Gramps Blaze, and Nana Terri all say, "You never can tell how things will turn out. Wait and see.""
Almost-Fairy Ashlyn listened and nodded. "I hope they're right. One olive would be bad enough, but my weight in them? I'll puke for sure."
"Don't panic. It's a magical place, full of goddesses and fairies. I get nothing but good feelings here. I'm sure puking won't be involved."
It didn't take them long to reach the middle of the orchard.
"It's the most beautiful tree I've ever seen!" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said softly, her eyes beholding the magic Golden Olive Tree. It glowed all on its own, and then the sun reflected on each glittery leaf adding even more beautiful light. The whole tree shimmered.
"Prettier than even Christmas trees with all their lights and tinsel!" Kid Joey said, smiling. Kato whimpered in excitement, knowing this was something really, really good. Very special
"But where are those ugly little green olives?" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said, confused. I don't see any and I need to eat a lot of them to earn my wings." She began to feel worried.
"Stay calm, Ashlyn! Things have worked out okay so far, right? Let's see how this works out. Nana Terri always says, "Don't cry before your hurt.""
Almost-Fairy Ashlyn closed her eyes and took a deep breath, thinking happy thoughts like that the olives might taste like peaches or Skittles.
"Look, Almost-Fairy Ashlyn! Up there on that branch that's bent low. An olive! A Golden Olive!"
The branch was bent down low to the ground as if loaded with fruit, yet there was only a single, sparkling olive on it.
"C'mon, Ashlyn! I'll help you pick it!" Kid Joey said, running around to the branch that had the olive. But when he got there, he found he couldn't move! And he looked over at Kato when his blue tick hound buddy barked, and saw that he couldn't move either.
At just that moment another bubble showed up, and a moment later, POOF! A little fairy literally popped into the air from within the glowing bubble.
"Almost-Fairy Ashlyn has to do the olive thing all by herself," the tiny winged creature said, but then she winked at Almost-Fairy Ashlyn. "But there are easy ways to do things, and sometimes a thing is not what it appears to be."
The little fairy landed on a fallen branch that was pretty long and Kid Joey got her message as she flew off.
"Use that stick to shake the branch with the olive! Maybe it will fall off. I do that with Mrs. Levy's peaches sometimes."
Ashlyn grabbed the long stick and poked the branch with the olive.
Lo and behold, the little Golden Olive fell! With a big THUMP!
"Wow; for a little olive, I could swear I felt the ground shake!" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said, and Kato barked as he stood, still unable to move, the same as Kid Joey. But Ashlyn could move alright. She hurried over to the shiny Golden Olive, reflecting the sun there in the grass, with butterflies swooping and loop-de-looping all around it, so Almost-Fairy Ashlyn wouldn't lose sight of it.
Not much chance of that, I'll tell you! Almost-Fairy Ashlyn was closer than she realized to earning her glittery Golden Wings.
"Oh, my! "she said, bending to pick the little olive up off the ground, the butterflies, up close, carrying teeny weeny little fairies on their delicate backs, watching to see how Almost-Fairy Ashlyn reacted to her final test – to see how creative she could be, and just how far she would go to earn her wings.
They were surprised when there was confusion, but not a trace of anger or impatience, in her voice as she said, "Kid Joey! I can't lift it! I can't even get my fingers under it! It weighs so much! It's such a tiny little thing. I'll bet it weighs as much as…"
"You," Kid Joey said. "It weighs as much as you! Get it?"
"It's my weight in olives!" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn caught on, grinning hugely. "So I only have to eat one! Yay!" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn jumped up and down, clapping her hands. Then she stopped, and wondered out loud. "How in the world am I going to get it into my mouth? I can't get it off the ground."
No crying, no stomping of feet, no yelling, no pouting or sulking, just wondering.
Almost-Fairy Ashlyn was not angry, just confused.
When the Fairy Goddess saw that Almost-Fairy Ashlyn was acting more like a grownup fairy and controlling her childish temper, she decided to let one of her friends help.
Kato barked, still unable to leave the spot he was in, but he could move on the spot. He barked again and when Almost-Fairy Ashlyn and Kid Joey looked at him, he stretched his front legs before him, lowering his mouth to the ground. Then he picked up a leaf with his mouth, clearly hinting to Almost-Fairy Ashlyn how to get the olive. Kid Joey laughed. "I think Kato is telling you something – giving you some doggy advice."
"Huh?" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said.
"Well, I think he means, if you can't get the olive to your mouth, then you should get your mouth to the olive," Kid Joey explained.
Almost-Fairy Ashlyn laughed. "Oh! I get it! Thanks, Kato!"
Kato basked happily, his tail wagging frantically, so happy to have helped his new little fairy friend.
Almost-Fairy Ashlyn dropped onto her hands and knees, then leaned forward, her butt in the air like Kato's when he got a drink of water out of his bowl. "Only your butt's cuter, Kato, because it has a friendly waggley tail," Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said.
The little fairy leaned her face to the soft grass where the Golden Olive lay, and opened her mouth. She took a deep breath, knowing she was not fond at all of olives, but very relieved that it seemed she would only have to eat one – how bad could that be?
She closed her mouth around the beautiful, shiny Golden Olive.
While she hadn't been able to lift the olive with her fingers and hands, because it had weighed as much as she, Almost-Fairy Ashlyn found that the little Golden Olive weighed almost nothing in her mouth. She stood up, her tongue starting to push the little olive between her molars to chew, then swallow it, but before she could chew it, it simply melted in her mouth like whipped cream.
It tasted like olive, of course, but not strong and vinegary like the ones in the jar, just olivey.
"Hmmm. Not so bad. Actually kind of nice," Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said, pleasantly surprised.
With her task completed, Kid Joey and Kato could move and come over to where she stood beneath the olive branch. Without its heavy olive, the branch was higher up now, where all the rest of the tree branches reached up to hug the sunshine.
"I wonder how long it will be before I get my magical, Golden Wings?"
Before she'd even finished the sentence a glowing cloud moved toward Almost-Fairy Ashlyn and her friends. Closer and closer it came down from the sky until finally it floated and shimmered right before them.
Upon it sat a beautiful lady in a shimmery golden gown – the Greek kind that hung from one shoulder but not the other. The lady sort of glowed too, a bright, sunny glow, and she smiled down at the trio of friends then turned her attention to Almost-Fairy Ashlyn.
"Good job, Fairy Ashlyn! Even though that mean old Farty Leroy the Smelly made things so difficult for you, you kept it together and finally learned how to control your temper. Good for you!
At that moment, the Fairy Goddess stood up, but not in the human way with her feet on the ground. No, goddesses stand differently. The cloud moved to beneath her feet and kept her floating about six inches above the ground.
Fairy Goddess held her arms out before her and a glowing, golden bubble appeared in her cupped hands.
The bubble slowly, gradually got larger until it was about the size of Almost-Fairy Ashlyn, a little bit smaller than a basketball, but of course see-through. The bubble sparkled like shiny glass with glitter in it, but Almost-Fairy Ashlyn and Kid Joey and Kato could all see right through it.
And they could see something inside it, fluttering all by themselves.
"Fairy wings!" Kid Joey said.
"Golden Fairy wings!" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn exclaimed.
The Fairy Goddess laughed, feeling Almost-Fairy Ashlyn's joy at even the sight of her wings and said, "Yes, and even better still they are your Golden Fairy Wings. You've certainly earned them today."
With that the Fairy Goddess shoved the glowing bubble toward Almost-Fairy Ashlyn and when it bumped against her it popped in a swirl of glittery fairy dust. In that split-second two things magically happened:
First, the fairy wings instantly attached to Almost-Fairy Ashlyn's shoulders and back, making her a full-fledged fairy.
Second, the Fairy Goddess shimmered and shrunk into her cloud until she'd vanished altogether.
Kid Joey and Fairy Ashlyn jumped up and down and danced around in a little circle, Kato between them, barking happily, his tail going a hundred miles an hour.
"That was so cool!" Fairy Ashlyn said. "And the olive wasn't so bad after all, either! You were right, Kid Joey; I shouldn't cry before I'm hurt. I will write that down when I get home."
"Speaking of home…" Kid Joey said, looking around at the orchard all the way in Greece, far from his home in the United States.
"I wonder when Grandma Crystal will bring us back?" Kid Joey started to say, but before he could even finish the sentence he and Kato and Fairy Ashlyn began to tumble (though Fairy Ashlyn could sort of keep her balance now that she had wings).
Within a moment the trio stood before Grandma Crystal in her attic.
"Congratulations, Fairy Ashlyn!" Grandma Crystal shouted in glee when the friends appeared before her.
Ashlyn giggled and bowed in mid-air, her Golden Wings fluttering, sending a bit of fairy dust cascading through the slightly stale attic air onto Grandma Crystal's shoulders, making her feel sort of glowy and tingly-happy.
"Thank you. Can you do us a favor and aim us toward my brother? I have a quest to complete before I can help Princess Nanette."
"My pleasure," Grandma Crystal said. "Oh! And here! I used my crystal ball to look inside Farty Leroy the Smelly's head. I got that mean old spell for you – the one that made your brother into a farting dragon."
"Thank you, Grandma Crystal! Thank you! This will help a lot!" Fairy Ashlyn said, hugging Kid Joey's grandmother.
With that, Grandma Crystal waved her hands over Kid Joey, Kato, and Fairy Ashlyn.
POOF! They shrunk and tumbled within the mists of the crystal ball again.
And just like that they were on their way to their very important quest to break the Farting Dragon Spell and rescue Alexander.