It was the start of Becky’s magic lessons and she stood on top of a small table while Gretchen watched. The little girl pointed the wand at herself and she floated off table and onto the floor.
“Very good,” Gretchen said.
“Thanks,” Becky replied, “do you think I could use magic to fly?”
“That’s an advanced spell; it takes a lot of energy and concentration,” Gretchen explained.
“Ok,” Becky said, feeling a little disappointed.
“This next spell will help if you ever find yourself against a nightmare attack,” Gretchen stated, “just hold your wand out in front of you and think of a shield.”
Becky did what her teacher said and a small, blue forcefield appeared around her.
“You can use this to protect yourself or anyone around you,” Gretchen continued, “just think about who you want to keep safe.”
“Could I also use it to attack?” Becky wondered.
“Yes,” Gretchen replied, “if you point your wand at an enemy, you can. But you need to be careful with that spell because using it too much can drain your energy. And magic like that can only be used to defend yourself or help others.”
“Don’t worry,” Becky said, “I would never use my wand to hurt anybody.”
“That’s good,” Gretchen stated, “because if you do use your wand only to harm others; it will do nothing.”
“So, what’s my next lesson,” Becky asked.
“I think that’s it for today,” Gretchen said, “why don’t you take the rest of the day off?”
“Ok,” Becky replied, “and thanks for the lesson.”
The eight-year-old waved goodbye to Gretchen as she dashed out the door of the Library where Bendo and Amri were waiting for her.
“Hi guys,” She said.
“Hi Becky,” Bendo replied, “how was your first lesson.”
“It was good,” Becky answered, “I learned a few basic spells.”
Then she felt Amri brush his head against her blue T-shirt.
“It’s nice to see you too Amri,” She replied as she started to pet the goat.
“We want to show you more of the Grotto,” Bendo said.
“Ok,” Becky stated as she climbed onto Amri’s back.
Bendo jumped onto Amri and sat in front of Becky. Then the green goat took off while Bendo showed Becky various trees and animals.
“This really is a magical place,” Becky said.
“I know,” Bendo agreed, “is that why you keep coming back?”
“It is,” Becky answered, “the Secret Grotto is like a beautiful nature reserve.”
“What do you like about it?” Bendo asked.
“The majestic trees and the wonderful animals,” Becky said as she patted Amri’s back.
“Is your home similar?” Bendo wondered.
“Sort of,” Becky replied, “I have my own share of fun activities.”
“Well, here we are,” Bendo said as Armi came to a stop.
Becky looked around at the area filled with large green trees and a sparkling blue lake.
“This is my own special place,” Bendo explained as he leapt off of Amri.
“It’s beautiful,” Becky said.
Then she climbed off Amri and walked over to the nearest tree.
“Amri and I are going to get a drink,” Bendo told her.
“I’ll just stay here,” Becky replied as she sat down.
The eight-year-old felt herself being drawn in by the wonderful sights and the cool feeling of the grass against her legs. She took her socks and shoes off and placed them next to her. The she took her recorder out of her bag and started to play Hot Cross Buns. The little girl continued to play and found herself lost in her dream-like surroundings.
“That’s sounds nice,” Bendo said.
Becky quickly snapped out of her daydream and noticed that she had drawn a crowd of chipmunks, rabbits, a small fawn, and even a bear.
“Wow,” She stated, “you guys really like my music.”
“You’re very good,” He told her, “and all these other animals agree.”
“Thanks,” Becky said as she started to blush, “but I only know some short, basic songs.”
“Can we hear them?” Bendo asked.
“Sure,” She replied, “I’ve always wanted to perform for an audience; I just didn’t think they’d all be animals.”
Becky continued to play while the animals anxiously listened to her peaceful music. The songs filled the air and everyone within range came over to listen to the little girl’s music.
“Enough!” A voice shouted.
A dark cloud emerged and a woman emerged for it. She had long black hair, dark blue skin, green eyes, and was wearing a dark purple witch’s dress.
“Who are you?” Becky asked as she started to put her socks and shoes back on.
“I am Demara,” The woman stated, “the ruler of this area, and you have broken my law!”
“The area has no ruler,” Bendo replied, “and what law did Becky break?”
“Music is not allowed in my area,” Demara replied, “and those who break the law become my slaves!”
“I won’t let you do that!” Bendo said as he used magic to create a shield around himself, Becky, and Amri.
The other animals stood in front of them ready to defend their new friend while Bendo jumped onto Amri’s back.
“Climb on,” Bendo told Becky.
“But what about them?” She asked.
“We’ll go get help,” Bendo explained, “we can’t do anything for them now!”
Becky wasn’t too sure about leaving the animals behind, but she did what her friend said and climbed onto Amri. The green goat took off and all Becky could do was look back as the animals fought against the witch.
“Is she a Nightmare?” Becky asked.
“Yes,” Bendo replied, “I hoped you would never encounter them.”
“And we’re going to help the others, right?” Becky stated.
“We will,” Bendo sadly said, “but we need a plan and more power. Gretchen ordered me to protect you and right now, that’s my main job.”
Becky could only watch in sorrow as the animals who listened to her concert fought against Demara in what seemed to be a losing battle. She kept her eyes on them until Amri was out of their sight.
“Follow me,” A voice called out, “I can help you escape!”
Bendo and Becky looked toward the woods and saw a short, plump, dark blue-skinned man wearing a red top hat, a red tailcoat, and yellow pants.
“I’ll lead you to a hiding place,” He said.
Bendo and Becky weren’t too sure what to think about him, but they figured they could trust him and followed the man into the woods. He led them to a large, hollow tree with a small door made of vines in front of it. Inside the tree was a room filled with cupboards, chairs, and a table.
“Wow,” Becky said as she climbed off Amri, “who are you?”
“My name is Orville,” The man explained, “I heard you playing that wonderful musical instrument and it sounded great.”
“Thank you,” Becky replied, “it’s called a recorder; I take mine everywhere.”
“But I’m afraid not everyone thinks the same way,” Orville continued, “the witch Demara hates music and imprisons anyone she catches playing music to be her slaves.”
“That’s terrible!” Becky gasped.
“I know,” Orville said, “she’s done it to my friends the Gomas.”
Just as Orville finished saying that, three small creatures (one red, one blue, and one green) appeared around him. They had long ears and short, stubby arms and legs.
“They’re so cute,” Becky stated.
“These little guys used to fill this whole valley with music,” Orville explained, “until Demara came and imprisoned them in her cave. Now they are afraid to sing because they’ll be caught.”
“Why didn’t you get help?” Bendo asked.
“She kept a close watch on this area,” Orville explained, “I’m afraid she’ll notice and imprison me too.”
“She must be clever,” Bendo said, “it sounds like she’s been doing this for a while.”
“She has,” Orville added.
“We need to do something,” Becky said while she knelt down and started to pat the Gomas on their heads.
“I don’t know what to do,” Orville replied, “I have no magic.”
“Is she working with other Nightmares?” Becky asked.
“None that I know of,” Orville answered.
“Maybe we can launch a counter attack against her and save the Gomas as well as the other animals,” Becky suggested.
“Are you sure?” Orville asked.
“She sounds like a typical bully,” Becky replied, “and bullies can’t take it when people stand up to them.”
“I have no magic,” Orville stated, “I can’t fight.”
“But I do have magic,” Becky said as she took her wand out.
“She could be too strong for you to handle along,” Bendo told her.
“I only want to distract her,” Becky explained, “then you guys can free the other animals and they can help me.”
“I can’t agree with that,” Bendo said, “I was told to protect you and that’s just what I’m going to do. I have strong shield magic, so, I can help you against her magic. And Amri’s can hold is own in a fight; not to mention he’s quick. We’ll help you while Orville frees the others.”
“Perfect!” Becky cheered, “do you want to help us Orville?”
“I’m tired of living in fear of Demara and so are the Gomas,” Orville stated, “you can count me in.”
“Great,” Becky said as she stood up, “do you know where her cave is?”
“The Gomas have special calls that let them detect others,” Orville explained, “they can track the others and find their friends.”
“Then I guess we’re ready to go!” Becky stated.
“Just a minute,” Orville said, “I have someone else to get.”
He walked outside of his tree, took out a whistle, and blew into it. The others followed him and were quickly joined by a large snail with a rainbow coloured shell.
“This is Rita,” Orville stated as he climbed onto his snail, “she’s the quickest snail I know.”
“She looks just like the racing snail,” Becky said.
“A racing snail,” Bendo asked.
“I’ll explain later,” Becky replied as she climbed onto Amri.
Bendo jumped onto Amri and the animals ran into the forest. The Gomas started to make a nice, musical call to detect their captured friends. They started to twitch their ears when they stopped calling until their ears stood straight up.
“It’s in that direction,” Orville said.
The animals ran as fast as they could while the Gomas directed them using their call.
“Thanks for agreeing to this,” Becky told Bendo.
“You’re welcome,” Bendo replied, “but I don’t think it’s a big deal.”
“Well, you did say that Gretchen wanted to keep me safe,” Becky explained, “and I am going to face a Nightmare.”
“You don’t have to worry,” Bendo said, “you are doing it for good reasons. Besides, if she heard about this; she’d want to help too.”
“But won’t you get in trouble?” Becky asked.
“While Gretchen does want to keep you and all her students safe; she wants everyone to be free to make their own decisions,” Bendo explained, “and I can’t keep you away from the Nightmares forever.”
“That’s nice,” Becky said as she patted Bendo on the head.
“And it’s like I said, I’ll make sure nothing happens to you,” He added.
“We’re getting close,” Orville stated, “I can hear the other Gomas.”
Orville’s words made Becky even more anxious than she already was. She was used to playing a hero in video games, but this wasn’t a game and the villain was a real sorceress. They soon made their way to a cave inside a large mountain.
“Are you guys ready?” Orville asked.
“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” Becky replied.
“We should go in first,” Bendo suggested, “that will make it easier to distract her.”
“Do you have an attack plan?” Becky asked.
“For now, we stay on Amri,” Bendo said, “he’ll help us outrun her magic.”
“That’s fine with me,” Becky replied.
Amri slowly walked into the cave while Bendo and Becky kept their eyes pealed for Demara.
“Ug!” The heard a voice shout, “don’t those creeps ever shut up!”
They knew it belonged to Demara and Amri carefully made his way toward her. They quickly found her in a large room that had a big, black, throne in the middle of it.
“Who are you?” She demanded.
“My name is Becky,” The eight-year-old replied, “and I want you to release the animals you have captured.”
“And why should I listen to you,” Demara taunted.
“We’re friends of the Guardians,” Bendo said.
“You don’t look so tough,” Demara replied, “but you do seem interesting.”
Demara started to float around and stare at Becky and the others while they looked on. The group wasn’t sure what to think, but went with it for their distraction plan.
“You’re that girl!” She stated, “the one the Dark King is interested in.”
“How do you know about Becky?” Bendo demanded.
“One of our spy birds noticed you,” Demara explained as a black bird landed on her shoulder.
“What does the Dark King want with me?” Becky asked.
“Why don’t I take you to him and we’ll find out,” Demara taunted as she fired a magical blast at Becky.
Amri jumped out of the way as the attack spell landed on the ground. Demara shot more magic bolts while Bendo used his shield and Amri continued to dodge. Becky raised her want to attack and fired a magical bolt of her own, but Demara easily moved out of the way and returned fire. The attack hit Bendo’s shield, but the shield was hit hard enough to stun Amri. Bendo kept shield spell up to protect his friends from Demara’s magic bolts and Becky used her own wand to counter-attack while the green goat regained his strength. Amri got back up and continued to dodge and keep his riders safe from Demara’s attacks while Becky did her best to fight back. But the evil witch was too quick and managed to escape and deflect Becky’s magic attacks.
“Give it up,” She bragged.
“No!” Becky said, “I won’t let you capture any more animals!”
“Are you feeling tired?” Bendo asked Becky.
“I’m fine for now,” Becky told him, “but I don’t think I can use any more attacks for a while.”
“Take this!” Demara shouted as she fired multiple blasts at them.
Bendo used his shield, but the witch’s magic was starting to become too much. Another blast knocked both Becky and Bendo off Amri; luckily Bendo’s shield kept them from being hurt too badly. Demara shot another magical bolt at them, but Becky was able to use her wand to blast the other spell away.
“So, you do have some talent,” Demara teased, “but do you really think you can beat me.”
At that point, the cave started to fill with the Goma’s call.
“I might not be able to do it alone,” Becky replied, “so, that’s why my friends are going to do it with me!”
“What do you mean?” Demara asked, “those two are just as weak as you.”
“I have more than two,” Becky stated.
Then various Gomas jumped onto the evil witch and a bear started to punch her with its paws. Finally, Amri stood back up and charged at the witch. The green goat butted Demara and knocked the wand out of her hand.
“How did they get out?” Demara wondered.
“You could say that we were just a distraction,” Becky explained.
Then the eight-year-old shot a magical blast at Demara’s wand; damaging it quite a bit.
“No!” Demara cried.
“I suggest you leave the Gomas and all the other animals alone,” Bendo warned, “unless you want me to bring the Guardians.”
“You haven’t seen the last of me,” Demara said as she picked up her burnt wand and used it to fly to the Nightmares’ land with the spy bird following her.
“You guys did it!” Orville said.
“It was no problem,” Bendo said, “now let’s head home.”
All the animals agreed and made their way back to their forest home.
“This calls for a celebration!” Becky cheered as she took her recorder out of her bag, “and I think I’ll finish my concert for all of you.”
Becky started to play on her recorder for all her friends. Then she looked down and saw the Gomas standing by her ankles.
“They really like your music,” Orville said.
“Do you guys want to join in?” Becky asked as she knelt down.
All the Gomas made some various, upbeat sounds while hopping up and down.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” The eight-year-old replied.
Becky continued to play and the Gomas started to sing along to her tunes. Bendo, Orville, and all the animals listened as the music filled the forest.