TEAM ROJO & FRIENDS
GRAMPS BLAZE AND POPPY'S SURPRISE
Sir WHIP swooped over Ro and Jo's house, circled, and came into the back yard for a smooth landing, touching down so gently that Kato didn't even realize for a second, that they were back on solid ground. He always kept his eyes shut tight as Sir WHIP was landing, though he didn't shiver in fear quite so much anymore, especially curled up between Ro and Jo with their arms all wrapped around him.
He gave a happy and excited little yip when the kids leapt up and de-dragoned, (that means, getting off of a dragon, sort of like you get off a plane after it lands), leaping to the ground, safe and sound.
"How big will it be?" Jo asked, looking at the back corner of the yard.
"Big enough," Gramps Blaze said quietly, a mysterious little smile on his face, and Nana Terri gave him a playful little nudge. "Get busy, slacker!" she teased, and he nudged her back. Their nudges were very gentle, because both of them had booboos inside their bodies, and sometimes Gramps Blaze got a little dizzy when he walked and had to sit down to rest for a few minutes.
But that didn't have anything to do with their magic. Their magic made them strong and powerful. Ro and Jo had seen Gramps Blaze's magic before, first when he'd "caught" their Kraken float when he'd taken them fishing, and then, of course, last night at the very important family meeting.
"Where are you going?" Ro asked as Gramps Blaze headed inside the house, but just before he got to the back door, Grandma Crystal came outside, carrying the crystal ball. She walked over to the picnic table and sat it down. Everyone gathered around the table, including Kato who leapt onto the bench for a better view of the ball. He didn't quite understand that thing, but he knew if he waited, it was sort of like a teeny weeny little round TV.
But it didn't have the same stuff inside as the TV – like dog food commercials that were his favorite shows. This had other stuff inside – like people who knew just where to scratch his belly to make his back leg shake with pleasure.
Sure enough, as he waited patiently, sitting there on the bench between Ro and Jo, swirls of mist inside the little ball faded and a face appeared.
"Poppy!" Ro and Jo exclaimed, delighted to see their grandfather again so soon.
"What's goin' on?" Poppy said, a twinkle in his eye.
"You know!" Ro and Jo both said at once, laughing, and Poppy's face laughed right along with them.
"Wow, I can't keep any kind of secrets from you anymore, Ro!" he said, still chuckling. He looked over at Gramps Blaze and said, "I take it you're ready to get started?"
"Sure am," said Gramps Blaze, who stood Ro on the bench in front of him and wrapped his arms around her, bent his head forward and touched his forehead to the back of her head. To Poppy he said, "Go ahead and think the plans to Ro and she will think them to me."
And that's exactly what happened. Within thirty seconds, Gramps Blaze knew exactly how to build the fort. Ro jumped down off the bench as Gramps Blaze walked to the center of the yard, facing the back corner of it.
"Don't we need to go to Lowes for the supplies?" Jo asked, as he, Kato and Ro flanked Gramps Blaze.
Their grandfather looked down at them at his sides, Kato between Jo and him, and smiled. "Really? Lowes?"
"Well, you need wood, nails, screws, tools and stuff, right?" Ro said. "Poppy always needed all that stuff. We used to go with him sometimes. He'd put us both inside one of those big carts, and spin us in circles. He was crazy sometimes! It was fun!"
"Well, as much as I love to be crazy and fun too, we have a job to do. So we'll go to Lowes another time, maybe."
"Where are you going to get the supplies, then?" Jo said.
Gramps Blaze just smiled and shook his head side to side. "Do you not remember last night?" he said, again, with a hint of mystery in his voice.
Ro and Jo stepped back, Jo snapping his fingers to clue Kato in. All three sets of eyes widened as Gramps Blaze finally went to work.
Or perhaps I should say, went to magic.
As Gramps Blaze began, Ro turned toward the house to go and get the Team RoJo Journal. She wanted to make sure she got the story down just right. Before she could even take a step, Grandma Crystal handed the book and her pen to her. "So much for shielding your thoughts," her grandmother teased.
"Thanks, Grandma Crystal," Ro said, and dropped onto the bench, facing the back of the yard, the journal on her knee. Soon she scribbled away in the book, getting every detail just right.
Jo moved to stand near Nana Terri. "Can Gramps Blaze really build a fort with magic? Just by wiggling his fingers around like last night?" He had a strange look on his face. "I spent lots and lots of time fishing with Gramps Blaze over the summer. I've seen him do cool stuff, but I didn't know his magic was this big."
"Yep, bigtime magical, not like magicians on TV or at carnivals." Nana Terri asked, and Gramps Blaze blushed, not being one to seek out all this attention.
"I know he caught us the Kraken float we wanted from the store when he didn't have any money. He caught it just like a fish, and I know he did that with magic."
"Pish posh!" Nana Terri said, scoffing at her grandson. "That's the easy peasy stuff he can do! Keep watching, sweetie."
As they watched, Mimi and Poppop, Gary Gargoyle, Nana Rose, Mrs. Levy, and BEN Owl came out the back door and into the yard. Ro wrote in the family journal that everyone, all of Team RoJo and their friends were present for the building of the fort.
"Nana Rose, how did you get here so fast?" Jo asked, taking hold of her hand.
"BEN Owl came to my house on Knight Island and flew me here! What fun! Even better than Dad's truck!"
"Hey! You love riding in my truck!" Dad kidded, placing an arm around his grandmother.
"Yeah, but the view is better from the sky," Nana Rose said, reaching up to kiss Dad's cheek as he leaned down to make it easier for her.
Ro looked around the yard and noticed that the sun was getting lower and lower in the sky, and the back end of the yard where all the trees were was getting very shadowy. "He'd better hurry, huh, Nana Terri? It's getting dark."
Nana Terri just smiled and nodded toward Gramps Blaze, who had raised his powerful arms into the air, and was beginning to moved his hands around as he had at the kitchen table the night before.
Suddenly the shadows started to lighten up a little bit, as if someone had lit a lantern back there.
Ro felt Gramps Blaze's mind connect with hers again, going over the plans that Poppy had planted inside of her head.
Poppy's face got a little smaller, and then his shoulders and arms could be seen inside the crystal ball. He waved, gestured, and pointed, and Gramps Blaze kept looking back over his shoulder at the ball on the table. Poppy looked a little cramped and uncomfortable.
"Oh, this is silly," Grandma Crystal said after a moment, and rubbed the crystal ball with her hands. It glowed and got warm as Poppy grew inside, and finally pushed through into the yard with everyone else. He walked over to Gramps Blaze and said what he had to say in Gramps Blaze's ear, then both of them moved their hands around.
Suddenly, glowing boards appeared, moving around in concert with the old men's hands. Poppy and Gramps Blaze were both moving stuff! The boards moved together and suddenly a container of nails appeared, and the nails floated up to where the boards had come together to form a fort! The nails punched themselves into the boards at just the right places to hold them together. All that the wave of the grandfathers' arms!
Before their dazzled eyes, Gramps Blaze and Poppy had put together the whole fort, right there in the air above the back end of the yard!
Both of the magical men lowered their hands from the air above their heads to the ground, and the fort settled in the back corner of the yard as if it had been meant to be there all along.
Ro and Jo ran to Poppy and Gramps Blaze, taking turns hugging them both. Then Poppy kindof shimmered and faded in and out, near Gramps Blaze, but he sure had a big smile on his face when Ro and Jo ran to him, excited to see their beloved grandfather after so long.
"I love you, Ro and Jo!" Poppy said to his grandchildren, sort of inside their heads and hearts. "I had been planning to build you a playhouse before I got sick. I had even drawn up some plans for one. Gramps Blaze found those plans and helped me build it. But I hear you need a fort more than a playhouse with dollies and such, because you have very important business to attend to. So fort it is. It's a strong little building big enough for you and your friends to plan your adventures. And it's special because Gramps Blaze always has a magical trick or two up his sleeve. It's built with lots of love from Gramps Blaze and me, so I know you will be happy and safe whenever you are inside it.
He knelt down then, and hugged Ro and Jo and whispered inside their heads, "I love you two, you know. I watch over you all the time and when you are smiling and happy and having a good time, I smile and am happy and have a good time. I am always in your thoughts and in your hearts, get it?"
"Got it," Ro said softly, Jo nodding in agreement.
"Good," Poppy said. "I know you are happy and that many people love you and keep you safe and cared for. Gramps Blaze is one of them. He helped me keep my promise."
After one more hug, Poppy shimmered away, promising he would come back into their minds every now and then to say hi. Within seconds he was back inside the crystal ball sitting on the picnic table.
"Well, how come you're just standing there? Don't you want to go inside and make yourselves comfortable?"
Ro and Jo glanced back and forth between each other, and each took a step toward the fort, but not before Kato darted between them from behind, at full speed, and dove into the door of the fort. Team RoJo giggled and hurried into the little building behind their goofy dog.
"Wow!" Jo said, looking all around. "This is cool!" There was a sturdy table in the center of the floor, big enough for meals and for spreading out their notes and maps when making plans for their adventures. At the end of the table on the floor was a fuzzy dog bed for Kato to nap in, and on the back wall were bookshelves on one side, and a miniature house for Sir WHIP to use as a guest house. On the other end wall was Gramps Blaze's foot locker from when he was in the Air Force. It was really big, and it gave the kids a place to put away their toys and belongings when they were busy with important quests.
There were coat hooks on the back of the door and on the wall beside it. And because Gramps Blaze was a powerful wizard, and Poppy was a great planner, there was even a little bitty bathroom through a door at the end of the back wall.
Now Dad and his dad Poppop too, were plumbers and they knew that there had to be pipes in order to have a toilet and sink. But Gramps Blaze just gave them a mischievous wink that sparkled with magic, and they knew that somehow everything would work. Especially since Mimi and Poppop gave little waves of their arms toward the bathroom door. Water filled the toilet tank and pipes going to the sink and the shower.
"Now this is a place worthy of your plans for amazing quests!" Gramps Blaze said.
"Thank you, Gramps Blaze!" Ro and Jo said, hugging their new grandfather. Then they turned to Poppy's face, and placed their hands on the crystal ball where he resided again and said, "Thanks, Poppy!" Both grandfathers said, "You're welcome!" at the same moment, and then everyone chuckled.
"Remember the something special I mentioned last night?" Poppy said from within the crystal ball.
"Yeah," Ro and Jo said, nodding.
"Well, it's like this. You know how when you're playing tag with your friends there's base, and if you standing on base or touching base, no one can tag you?"
"Yes," both kids said, nodding.
"Well, this fort is sort of like base. Gramps Blaze and I put a really cool magical spell on it so that when you are inside it nothing can harm you. No animal, no person, no alien, no monster, no meanies. You are one hundred percent protected when you are inside this fort with the door closed. And when you guys are in here, your thoughts become magical. You can make things happen just by thinking them, you understand? Now you have to practice this, because it's like learning how to use any other tool. You don't get the hang of it right away. And you have to learn how to use it correctly, because if you're not careful you can hurt people with your thoughts when you are magical."
"You can?" Ro said, alarm in her eyes.
"Yes. But I don't want you to be frightened, sweetie. It's like learning to use a knife. If you're careful a knife is a helpful tool you can use to peel an apple or slice up a cake to share with your friends. But if you play with it the wrong way, you can cut yourself or someone else. Understand?" Poppy explained from inside the crystal ball.
The kids nodded, Ro still looking a little unsure. Gramps Blaze chuckled.
"It will be fine. You have a house full of grownups with powers all ready to help you learn to use yours."
Everyone around the table – Mom and Dad, Grandma Crystal, Poppy, Mimi and Poppop, Gary Gargoyle, Sir WHIP, Nana Rose, Nana Terri, Gramps Blaze, BEN Owl, Kato, and Brie all nodded at Ro and Jo. With all the love there in that magical fort, Ro knew that she and her magical brother would have a whole ton of fun learning how to use their powers.
Gramps Blaze got up and went to a table by the wall where there was a coffee machine. Ro and Jo giggled. He snapped his fingers and 'poof!' his Marine mug was in his hand, having appeared out of thin air.
Soon he was back at the table sitting next to Nana Terri. Ro and Jo laughed at his loud slurps, knowing that he usually only made the noise when they were around and no one else. It was kind of a competition when they all had something to drink. But Nana Terri would nudge him when she heard it and tell him not to egg the kids on into bad manners. He would wink at them, and they would wink back, and giggle under their breath. Gramps Blaze could be so silly!
He did one enormous slurp, everyone else around the table laughing quietly. "I guess you get away with one good slurp, after the wonderful magical work you did today," Nana Terri said, kissing Gramps Blaze's cheek and linking her arm through his.
"Training starts tomorrow morning, bright and early," Gramps Blaze said to Ro and Jo, and everyone around the table nodded. "You guys have to learn how to use your powers. I have something to teach you, first thing, Jo. It's about how to use your powers on the fort. I think you'll have a lot of fun."
Jo gave a proud smile. "I can do magic on the fort?"
"Oh, you guys have only just begun," Gramps Blaze said, and all the rest of Team RoJo's friends and family around the table smiled even bigger than Jo, knowing all that he and his sister would learn.
Training was just the beginning, for after training there would be quests!
Be sure and come back next week to read all about Jo earning his first scale!!