Ro almost couldn't sleep for the excitement! Hanging out at Grandma Crystal's house for a week was fun all by itself, but this would be a working vacation for Ro for she had a scale to earn.
Finally she drifted off, dreaming of what amazing adventures lay in wait for her as soon as her eyes popped open in the morning. She heard Mom and Dad downstairs talking and laughing with Grandma Crystal, she heard a spoon clinking in a cup, she heard Dad let the dogs outside. She tried listening in with her powers, not to be rude, but just to see if Grandma Crystal told Mom and Dad anything about what she had in mind for Ro in the morning.
"Hush and go to sleep, Ro, or I'll make you wait an extra day!" Grandma Crystal said, inside of Ro's head. She giggled, closed her eyes, and snuggled down into her pillows and covers.
Just then Dad let Kato back inside and he cycloned up the stairs and down the hall then WHAM! Dove onto Ro's bed, giving her a big, wet, slurpy kiss goodnight with his tongue that was almost as long as his tail.
He plopped himself down next to her, scooched all up, curling himself to fit perfectly in against her belly, and sighed, getting down to some serious sleeping. Ro's arm wrapped around him, loving his warmth, and his goofiness. He was Ro and Jo's best friend, constant companion, and Super Snuggler.
Come morning, Ro and Jo both beat Grandma Crystal up into the attic, even after loading the dishwasher. Of course, Jo's powers made short work of that chore, let me tell you! Just by flicking his fingers, he opened the dishwasher door, slid out the racks, and sent dishes floating through the air to settle gently into their places in the machine. Then the door to the under-sink cabinet flipped open, a dishwasher soap packet floated into its little compartment, the lid closed behind it, and the dishwasher door closed itself when all was ready. When Jo poked his finger in mid-air, the start button pushed in on the dishwasher and the machine whirred into life. Jo smiled over at his sister who wiped the table, rinsed and wrung out the dishrag, hung it over the sink faucet, and turned to him.
"You're getting really great with your powers, dude," she complimented her little brother.
"Been practicing all week. I do everything with them. Getting my socks on is tricky. I still have to wiggle the pointer finger on both hands. But I get 'em on faster than Gramps Blaze gets his on!
"He's old with boo-boos inside his knees like Nana Terri!"
"He's a wizard with all kinds of powers!"
"Well, yeah, I guess you have a point," Ro giggled.
By the time this conversation took place, Ro and Jo were in the attic, and they were there first – Grandma Crystal was nowhere to be seen.
"Wow! She must have been tired last night to sleep in. She's usually outside pulling veggies out of the garden by now."
"You guys are lame!" Grandma Crystal said, and Ro giggled, thinking the voice was inside her head, but Jo giggled too, and Ro had not shared the thought with him.
"You heard that?" Ro said to her brother.
"Yeah!" he said, looking around to see if Grandma Crystal was hiding in a corner somewhere and they just hadn't noticed.
"Really? In a corner? You think I can't find a better hiding place than that?"
"Whoa!" Jo said, spinning around, his eyes scanning every nook and cranny where his grandmother might be. They even looked up on the ceiling, thinking Gramps Blaze might have spelled her and stuck her up there somehow. No dice.
"Oh, come on! Give me some credit! I don't need Gramps Blaze to simply play hide-and-seek with my grandchildren!! Like I said, though, you guys are lame!" by then Grandma Crystal was giggling, and loving messing with her powerful grandchildren.
"Jo look!" Ro said, pointing to the crystal ball on the table, which they leapt toward, laughing.
"'Bout time!" Grandma Crystal said, rising out of the crystal ball in a swirl of cloud.
Ro and Jo hugged their grandmother, still giggling at her antics, and then Grandma Crystal got right down to business.
"You, my darling granddaughter, have a big day ahead! First, BEN Owl is going with you," she said, and as if on cue in a play, BEN Owl flew up to the attic window, outside, and perched on the sill.
"Joey Ow…I mean, BEN Owl!" Ro said, excited to see her dear friend. She had a feeling he would be around today, and put on one of her special shirts Grandma Crystal had made with shoulder pads. Wearing the special shirts, BEN Owl could sit on Ro's shoulder, dig his talons in for balance, yet not scratch or otherwise hurt his friend.
He landed on Ro's shoulder and nuzzled her face with his soft feathery one. She reached up and scratched the scruff of his neck, and he leaned into her fingertips, enjoying the treat.
Then all eyes were on Grandma Crystal. Ro asked, "What am I learning about today, Grandma Crystal? I can't wait!"
Grandma Crystal hooked her index finger, and the kids and Kato, who had caught up once he'd finished gobbling up his morning food in the kitchen, joined her around the table on which the crystal ball sat.
"I've enjoyed our conversations all week, Ro," Grandma Crystal said, smiling. You are getting very good at sharing your thoughts."
"So much easier and faster than using a phone!" Ro said, giggling.
"You are getting great at describing with sending visions, like pictures from your head to mine. That takes some effort, and extra power. Very good, hon!"
Ro beamed in the praise, and Jo smiled.
"And you, Jo! You have done all of the housework all week!'
"I can do chores and watch TV at the same time!"
"He's been doing all my chores too!" Ro said. "I love when he practices using his telekinetic powers!"
"Wow, Ro, that's a big word!" Grandma Crystal said, impressed.
"I asked Gramps Blaze what the official, magical term was, and he told me. It's easier than saying, my brother moves stuff by wiggling his fingers."
"Yes, I suppose it is! You get extra points toward your Research Scale!"
"Awesome!" Ro said.
"Okay, ready for an adventure?" Grandma Crystal said, and both kids shouted "Yeah!" and Kato yipped, his tail wagging.
"You are going to take a little trip," Grandma Crystal said, her voice all mysterious. "Ro, I want you to relax and take a deep breath, breathing in light and clean, fresh air, then breathe out all the old, stale air, and any troubles that might be hiding inside your head. This is called a cleansing breath, remember?"
"I remember," Ro said, closing her eyes and filling her lungs with fresh air, then releasing it slowly, then breathing normally again.
"Okay, Ro. I want you to concentrate on shrinking you, BEN Owl, Jo, and Kato down really small. Small enough to fit inside the crystal ball. But first, I want you to think about ancient Greece where the goddess Athena lives. Remember we talked about her?"
Ro felt her tummy tighten with excitement. She loved Athena! She'd been reading all about her all week! She hoped Grandma Crystal would tell her some more about her. Maybe she would teach her how to read library books while they were still on the library shelves, without ever leaving the house. That would be so cool!
"Hey! Where are you?" Grandma Crystal put her thought right inside Ro's head.
"Sorry, I was just thinking about Athena. Are you going to teach me how to study in the library in my mind?"
"Maybe," Grandma Crystal thought to Ro, and Ro sensed a smile on her grandmother's face, though her eyes were still closed tight.
Grandma Crystal rubbed her hands over the crystal ball gently, like you rub a tiny puppy's head. Soon the foggy swirls appeared, and then kindof cleared up. As they did, Ro, Jo, BEN Owl, and Kato began to see shapes, Ro in her mind, and everyone else with their eyes. There was a mountain with clouds at the top of it. "Mount Olympus," Grandma Crystal said aloud so that Jo, Kato, and BEN Owl could hear, as well as Ro.
This was Ro's scale to earn, but BEN Owl was eager to go on this adventure, and it was a good opportunity for Jo to learn some history. Kato, of course would go along because he followed Jo everywhere.
"Okay, Ro. I want you to hold hands with your brother. BEN Owl will remain on your shoulder, and somebody needs to hold onto Kato's collar," Grandma Crystal instructed. Jo reached down and did so with the hand that wasn't holding onto Ro's.
"Everybody ready?" Grandma Crystal said.
Nods from everyone around the table, and of course a tail wag from Kato.
"Okay, Ro, remember all the stuff you've read about Athena? About Mount Olympus, about how it looks, and about life there?"
"Yes," Ro answered, picturing all of it in her mind.
"Well, I want you to picture it all inside the crystal ball."
Ro concentrated harder than she had ever concentrated in her life. Soon she could see it all inside the ball, everything – all the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus, what they were doing, even what they were saying to each other.
"Very good, sweetie," Grandma Crystal said, admiring her granddaughter's detail. "Okay, here's the final part: Now I want you to picture yourself, your brother and your friends inside the crystal ball, on Mount Olympus."
"How do I get us all back?"
"But the crystal ball will be here."
"You can't see the crystal ball with your eyes shut, right? It's all about what you create in your mind, Ro. All about what you envision."
"Oh! I get it! I can be anywhere and create the crystal ball in my mind and it still works!"
"Exactly!" Grandma Crystal said, squeezing her hands together, excited for her granddaughter. She would have so much fun with her powers! "Now put your mind on creating Mount Olympus again. Get all the little details right, sweetie."
Ro focused again, and soon had a clear picture of Mount Olympus in her head.
"Okay, when you're ready, think yourself into the crystal ball," Grandma Crystal said. "Do you have the family journal!"
Ro nodded. It was in Jo's magic backpack along with her way cool Starry Night pen. After answering Grandma Crystal in her head, she put her mind back on Mount Olympus.
"You guys should stand up," Ro said, standing. "There won't be any chairs under us when we get to Mount Olympus."
When everybody was ready, Ro concentrated once more, very hard, with her eyes squeezed shut.
A moment later Jo said, "Wow!" and when Ro opened her eyes, she gasped.
"I did it! I actually thought us to ancient Greece!!" she clapped her hands in excitement while BEN Owl, on her shoulder, gazed at her face with pride swelling in his heart.
"Well done, my friend! It's remarkable how well you imagined this place. Let's walk around a little, and get our bearings."
BEN Owl pointed the way, and the children and their friends passed people who nodded politely, though cast uncertain looks at the way Ro and Jo were dressed.
"Why are the guys wearing dresses?" Jo asked softly in his head.
"This is a place called ancient Greece. That means this is the country Greece, but the way it was way long ago. They didn't cut cloth to make clothes, they hung big squares over the person, then tied it with belts and hooked it together with pins. The main dress thing underneath everything else is called a chiton. Men and women wear them," Ro answered right into everyone's heads, happy she'd been reading up about Greek history while reading about Athena.
"Do they all wear the same underwear? How do they keep it on?" Jo thought another question to Ro, who smiled at his curiosity about ancient Greek undies, and shook her head.
"It's sort of like a big cloth diaper. A little hard to explain, and I couldn't find a name for it."
"Just the same shape, but bigger, and it's folded around the waist sort of the same way. But it's made out of cloth, not plastic like the diapers you used to wear. We can look it up later," Ro explained, all between her and her brother's minds. Then BEN Owl was leaning forward, pointing the way for her to go. "Okay, to the right now, Prin…I mean, Ro."
"You still want to call me Princess Rosie, huh?" Ro said, smiling, fond memories of her childhood rolling through her mind.
"It's a habit I will overcome as we spend more and more time together. You are not a tiny girl anymore. You have grown powerful, my dear friend," BEN Owl answered, then nuzzled her face with his own. "We're almost there, he said. "Just up these steps here…"
They turned a corner into the throne room of Mount Olympus. Ro and Jo stopped in their tracks, stunned.
"Wow!" Ro whispered, unable to make her legs move, though BEN Owl nudged her – twice. The children and Kato saw a room full of thrones, with a few gods and goddesses sitting in them, chatting. Over half of the thrones were empty, as the gods and goddesses were very busy, of course.
"It's alright, Ro. These are all of Athena's friends and family – the Greek gods and goddesses," BEN Owl said softly in Ro's ear. "Athena's throne is to your right, the fourth throne in, and…"
Before BEN Owl could finish his directions, Athena stood, and approached Ro and her brother and friends. Athena didn't smile, but she looked pleasant enough. She stopped a few feet from Ro and offered her arm up.
"Bellerophon Euclid Nicodemus! What a pleasure to see you! How are your parents, my friend?"
BEN Owl flew over to visit with Athena, and after nuzzling her (much like he nuzzled Ro in greeting and affection) he turned his head to introduce his new friends to his goddess.
Jo shook her hand, remembering to keep it firm, but not crushing, like his dad had taught him. "Hi, I'm Jo," he said, and Athena smiled. "I'm Athena. It's very nice to meet you, Jo."
Kato sat and offered his paw, which Athena, amused, also shook. She patted his head when he gave a little yip and wagged his tail.
But Ro stood, awe-struck. Her eyes were wide, her mouth a little open, and she couldn't make the words come out. Athena took her small hand in her large ones, and shook it, gently, and said, "so you're the young one who Bellerophon speaks so highly of."
Ro blushed all the way to her toes, and cast her eyes downward. "It's nice to meet you," she managed to squeak out to her idol.
"It's very nice to meet you too. I think we will be good friends. Would you like refreshment?" Athena led the four mortals to her throne, where there were pillows strewn at its foot, and everyone sat. "I wove the fabric for those pillows, you know," the goddess made a little small talk…
…and Ro found her voice.
"They're beautiful. You are the goddess of crafts! Along with the goddess of war and wisdom." Ro stared at Athena, liking her powerful build, and confidence.
"Yes, that's right, I am. Would you like to see some of the things I've made?"
"Sure!" Ro said, excited, and Athena led them to a room full of baskets and pottery, and woven fabrics. "Have you ever spun wool into yarn?" she asked Ro and Jo, who both shook their heads no.
"Come; I'll show you. It's rather fun."
Ro and Jo each got a try at the spinning wheel, and came away with a small skein of yarn.
"Have either of you used a potter's wheel? I invented that too. Want to give it a spin?"
Ro made a little bowl and Jo made a vase, which turned out very well, though just a little teeny bit crooked.
Athena looked at the children and smiled. "You've accumulated much to carry," she said, and turned toward the wall where there were some baskets stacked. To the left of that pile was a basket that was softer, like a tote bag. "Here – put your things in this, so they'll be easier to carry," she suggested, and the children tucked their crafts into the basket, which Athena handed to Ro.
"Was there something that you wanted to ask me?" Athena turned to Ro, and thought the question right into her mind. Ro's eyes widened as she nodded, suddenly shy again.
"Well then?" Athena said, waiting patiently.
"I thought you wore a helmet," Ro said very softly.
"Oh! The whole goddess of war thing! Well, young one, I only wear the helmet and armor when I'm fighting a battle. And that's not my favorite thing, you know. I'd much rather everyone get along – but sometimes wars happen. Would you like to see my armor?"
Jo nodded right off, but Ro, hearing that Athena wasn't fond of war, thought about it for a moment, and said, "If it doesn't make you unhappy."
"Oh, Ro, it's fine. I don't like war, but my armor protects me when I have to be involved in one."
Athena took them into another room where armor was stored, and soon stood before her own. Athena held her helmet out for Ro, who reached to touch it, but looked to Athena first. "Go ahead," the goddess said softly, and Ro ran her fingertips over the smooth metal. Her whole hand tingled. She was touching the helmet of a goddess! And the goddess Athena, her idol.
Athena caught her thoughts and smiled. She lifted the helmet up and placed it on Ro's head. BEN Owl gasped, and Jo smiled. "Wow!" he whispered. Ro said nothing, she was too shocked and excited to think of words. Athena caught that too. "I'll be watching you from up here on Olympus. You are going to have wonderful adventures, little friend, and doing amazing, good things with your powers." Athena said.
When the goddess took her helmet off of Ro's head, she saw the envy in Jo's eyes, and couldn't disappoint him. She placed the helmet on his head, and though he was thrilled, because – goddess helmet! – he didn't get the tingly sensation Ro did.
There was a true connection between Ro and Athena. BEN Owl had felt it when Athena clasped hands with the girl.
As all good things do, this time with Athena came to an end. Athena shook everyone's hand again, saving her goodbye to Ro for last.
She went to her throne and lifted something from beside it, then returned to the small group of mortals and stood before Ro. "There's one last thing I have for you, small friend." She shook the bundle in her arm, and it opened into a sort of cloak. "This is called a himation, Ro. And it's a very, very special one. If you ever find yourself in trouble, wear this, and it will make you very, very powerful – unbeatable."
Ro smoothed her hand over the fabric, sort of like a sheet. "Thank you," she said.
"I sense that you are a good spirited girl, and will only fight on the side of justice. I trust that you will always honor me when you wear this himation."
"Oh yes, Athena! I will always make you proud!"
"Very well then," Athena said, stooping to place a kiss on Ro's forehead, and Jo's as well, though again, while Ro felt a definite tingle at Athena's touch, Jo just felt a little kiss.
Athena bent down and patted Kato, who licked her hand, then she nuzzled BEN Owl, stroked his feathers, and then returned him to Ro's shoulder.
"I think the whole day has passed in your time, my small friends," Athena said softly. "Travel safely."
Ro and Jo thanked Athena for their remarkable day, and then, Ro, wrapped in the himation that Athena had given her, closed her eyes and concentrated with all her might, first on picturing Grandma Crystal's attic inside the crystal ball, and then on her, Jo, Kato, and BEN Owl in the attic inside the crystal ball.
Suddenly there they were, inside the crystal ball with Grandma Crystal peeking inside it. Ro thought them out of the ball into the attic, and turned to peek back inside the ball. She could see Mount Olympus, and just make out a teeny tiny Athena waving to her. She waved back just before the swirls of fog filled the ball.
She hugged Grandma Crystal, and said, "I love my power! I love Athena!"
"You can tell me and everyone else about your adventure while we have dinner. The whole family is here. Hurry and wash up!"
Ro placed the himation in the basket – the goddess basket that Athena had made! – and went into the bathroom to wash her hands before dinner. Then she hurried downstairs, with the basket, to show everyone.
When she got to the kitchen, she was surprised to find it empty. There was a buzzing of voices in her mind. Not words, exactly, but very excited. Suddenly, it came to her – they were all in the fort! Of course!
She started to run out the door, and then had an idea. She concentrated very, very hard, and pictured everyone in the fort, and then pictured the fort inside the crystal ball.
Upstairs in Grandma Crystal's attic, the crystal ball began to glow and become warm. Ro smiled. Once she had the fort inside the crystal ball, she imagined herself with everyone inside the fort and poof!
She opened her eyes in the midst of her Team RoJo family. Everyone was there – Mom, Dad, Grandma Crystal, Gramps Blaze, Nana Terri, Mimi and Poppop, Nana Rose, Gary Gargoyle, Sir WHIP, BEN Owl, Brie, and Kato. She could feel Poppy hovering next to Grandma Crystal, too. And then they surprised her by standing and clapping.
"What?" she said, not understanding, really, what the big deal was.
"You, honey bear," Dad said, "Really did a great job today, and so did your brother. Come and sit down and tell us all about your adventure!"
Ro took her seat next to Jo, Kato between them, and the two of them told the rest of the team all about Athena, how she taught them to use a potter's wheel, and a spinning wheel, both of which she'd invented.
They showed everyone the pottery they'd made, the yarn they'd spun, and of course, Ro modeled the himation that the goddess Athena had given to her. Grandma Crystal came over to Ro as she stood in the ancient Greek clothing, and smiled, running her fingertips over the fabric very gently. "This isn't like any cloth I've ever seen or felt. It kindof glows, doesn't it?"
"Yes. Athena told me it will protect me if I'm ever in danger."
"Wow!" everyone said, all eyes on Ro.
When Ro started to take off her himation, Gramps Blaze stood up. "Wait, Ro. Leave the himation on. While you were at Mount Olympus we were all back here watching, of course. When Athena gave you the magical himation that will protect you, we all talked it over and decided that rather than your vest, your scales will be attached to the himation. Whenever you're on a serious mission, you will wear the himation, and very soon it will be covered with scales that will protect you from all harm, because you will have the magical scales and the power of a goddess protecting you at the same time. Also, if you and Jo should ever be in trouble, the himation is big enough to wrap both of you inside it. Very cool!"
Ro nodded, smiling. Very cool indeed!
"Now," Dad said, standing up and smiling a huge, proud smile. "Ro and Jo, come over here."
When Ro and Jo stood before Dad, Kato between them, of course, he lifted three sparkly orange scales from the table. Ro could see behind him, that there were more than just the two. She couldn't see how many though, but she would have been surprised.
"Ro and Jo, and you too, Kato, for using your very best manners in the presence of a goddess, you each get a Manners scale."
Dad attached the scales to Jo's vest, Ro's himation, and Kato's doggie vest, that Grandma Crystal had made earlier that morning and brought with her to the fort.
"Ro, for learning to use the crystal ball for time travel." Dad attached the scale to her himation.
"Jo, for using your powers to do chores," Dad said, smiling at Jo's surprise.
"I didn't know that got a scale!" Jo said, a big, proud smile on his face.
"Yep!" Dad said, and stuck the badge on his vest.
"And both of you get a Crafts scale for creating pottery and yarn with Athena's inventions!" Dad said, placing a scale on each of their vests.
"And one more for Kato," Dad said, leaning down to attach the scale as Kato sat very still – except for his tail of course, that was wagging at least seventy miles an hour. "For being very brave and not freaking out when being transported through time."
Even Ro and Jo had to clap hard at that one. Kato was growing up and with every adventure he was less nervous, and very much more brave. Ro and Jo hugged Dad, and then Kato, then each other, and then everyone else.
"What's for dessert?" Jo asked, smiling, because scales are nice, but strawberry shortcake was fit for – well – fit for a goddess. He wondered if there was strawberry shortcake in ancient Greece. Maybe Ro would take him back in time someday soon to ask Athena.
Later on, when everyone had gone their separate ways for the evening, Ro wrote everything down in the family journal with her way cool Starry Night pen, and when she finally closed the book, sat the pen on top of it, yawned and stretched, ready for a good night's sleep, she broke into a huge smile.
What a wonderful, fun, day! She had traveled through time using her own amazing powers, earned three scales, met the goddess Athena and learned to use her inventions, and had been given a magical protective himation! What could be cooler than that?
She could hardly wait for her next adventure!
And Team RoJo will be back next week with more fun and adventures! Come join in!
TD - 6/11/2016