Nutlidge ~ Chapter Eighteen

Nutlidge ~ Chapter Eighteen

Perry and Winkle to the Rescue

Podsinia had turned the local bathing cave into her own home. The look of its natural beauty had mostly gone, leaving it dull and unexciting. She had managed to be strong enough to create herself some furniture. A root covered chair, a table with candles and a goblet.
There was a pile of dirt and leaves for her bed and she had captured two nutleys already!
Long roots tied up Lord Nutwood and Lady Acacia back to back to a protruding root.
They both looked at their capturer as she made a large water ball rise from the water’s depths.
There in the ball was Sky, still fast asleep. Then there was a picture of Yellow Flower having breakfast and talking to Dusty.
Elm was the next one she zoomed in on. He was discussing the plan for the visit to Canberra with his helper Lobes.
Nutwood didn’t want her to hear this so tried to get her attention.
“Podsinia, you won’t get away with this you know!”
“What!” She said, “You don’t think I am capable of taking over Nutlidge?” She stared at him, trying to intimidate him. It didn’t work. “I have already captured the most popular couple in the tree! What makes you think I can’t get exactly what I want?”
“Because, the power of the people will override you. Their love will be too strong for you to live.”
“Well we’ll just see about that!” She said loudly, getting angry now. “By the look of the state of things, I don’t think I’ll have any trouble at all. Those humans won’t change! They never will!” She paced up and down quickly, grinning wickedly because of her attitude towards them. “They are too stupid to know how to stop themselves!” Podsinia laughed, then stopped and glared at Nutwood. “The Atlantians were the same!” She said quietly and resentfully. “Only they were one step ahead of me! Not this time!! I have no faith in humans and their ability to think anything other than hatred and fighting!”
“That’s not so,” said Nutwood keeping her from the water ball, “The human race has the capability to turn themselves around. They know the laws. They have just forgotten them, that is all. They only need reminding.”
“Reminding! How many times do you think it will take to remind them? I have watched them from my prison over the last twelve thousand years, and the many teachers they have been sent have been ridiculed and ignored! Or killed!” She laughed, a wicked tone deep in her throat. “Their intelligence leaves little to desire. I am not concerned about all this! Nutlidge is my home now and I shall rule from your palace. But first, I have to take care of some business… Don’t go away!” She mocked, while playing with her scraggly hair with her bony finger. The witch took off up to the entrance like a cat at full speed.
“Oh Nutwood, are you all right?” Said Acadia, distressed.
“Yes, and you my darling?” He replied, feeling totally helpless.
“What are we going to do? We can’t let her get Sky!”
“Sky is well protected my love. But it won’t stop Podsinia from trying. She may even go for Yellow Flower or Elm. Don’t worry, we will be safe.” He found her hands and held them tight.

Sky had just surfaced, having had a wonderful sleep. The young girl felt great! She came out into the dining room where her grandmother sat in the sun reading the local paper. The elderly woman saw her granddaughter entering and put down her glasses and news article.
“Hello little magic fairy! How are we this morning?” She said, with a huge grin on her face and thoughts of the night before flashing though her mind.
“A bit nervous, but good thanks Grandma.” Said Sky, giving her a warm hug.
“Oh yes, you have a mighty task to undertake don’t you my dear! Are you feeling all right about it? Is everything planned and ready to go?”
“Yep!” She said, getting herself some toast from the toast rack, “I have lots of support Grandma, so you don’t have to worry. But Yellow Flower did ask if you would please watch the broadcast this morning of the Summit in Canberra. And if you can record it on video too… Also to get everyone you know to watch it and do the same. The more people that tune in the better!”
The young girl told her grandmother all about her adventures the day before, and all the new things she learned and realised.
Grace was stunned and listened to all the details knowing most of it in her heart, but taking in the new with openness. Beverly came in with breakfast and they ate well on bacon and eggs, fried potatoes, tomatoes and more toast.

Meanwhile Elm was getting ready to meet Sky at Yellow Flower’s home. Lobes had gone on ahead to set things up in Canberra with several pixies in tow. They had the television station to deal with.
Yellow Flower was speaking with fifteen other nature spirits, seven fairies and eight more pixies. Two wagtails were lined up to take messages; two kookaburras were called in to keep an eye on things in the political car park and certain political vehicles.
A flock of rainbow lorikeets had already flown off to pass on the message to their bird folk. If you needed a news bulletin called out, call the rainbow lorikeets! The parrots were well known for their big mouths and loud talk! But this would ensure that the birds’ connections would take care of any outside interruptions.
“Alright,” said Yellow Flower addressing the group, “Now the fairies need to help make sure Sky gets to all the drinks in the room, even the large containers of water. It will be a big job for her, but we must watch out for signs of interfering individuals who threaten our plan. You girls know what to do. Just have fun!”
They all laughed and giggled and looked forward to this adventure. They didn’t get out into the human world often, but when they did, look out! Fairies could be very cheeky, but were also very intelligent little beings!
“Now, you pixies will be looking after the wiring and the people controlling the telecast. They mustn’t be able to cut anything out of this. Most of the time, they only broadcast what they want the public to hear, so you fellows are to take care of them. And Perry,” she said to one cheeky pixie, “No biting.” He looked at his other companions and went all red with embarrassment.
The fairies were all beginning to chat amongst themselves when they heard footsteps coming up the tree.
“That will be Sky now,” said the gold fairy and she walked to the end of her garden with fairy dust in her hand.
“Good morning!” Chirped Sky, who seemed taller than ever!
“Hello Sky. You look positively vibrant this morning! All ready for your journey?”
“Oh yes! I feel great!”
Yellow Flower handed Sky the tea and she poured it under her tongue. Green sparkle glittered around her and she shrank down to a more ‘normal’ size.
Today she had her jeans on and a t-shirt, with her runners. She thought it would be more comfortable for the job. No one was going to see her, so it wasn’t like she had to dress up or anything. However, she had brought her other fairy dress for afterwards.
Yellow Flower introduced the fairies to her.
“Sky, I would like you to meet some good friends of mine who are going to assist you today. This is Blue Bell, Fuchsia, Rosemally, Jasmine, Daffydil, Gerbarina and Lillyput.” They all floated off the ground just a touch as they said “Greetings Sky” to her. They were beautiful! Their delicate dresses and wings and silky locks decorated with the tiniest of flowers and feathers was just like a book Sky had, that her mother had given her. ‘Someone else has seen these fairies too, perhaps in their dreams’ she thought. Even though they had their cheeky funny side to them that always showed, they were always gentle and innocent.
“I’m so happy to meet you. This is an honour,” she said sincerely.
The seven fairies all blushed and giggled at their compliment.
“The fairies are going to help you get through your task with the Honestea and the potion Merlin gave Elm. They will make sure you have no one interrupting what you are doing.”
The pixies were chatting amongst themselves and showing off a little in front of their guest.
Yellow Flower smiled at them and said to Sky, “These cheeky fellows will be coming along too. This is Perry and his brother Winkle, Prickles, Bud, Rocky, Pod, Splash and Nobby. They are helping with the camera and telecast side of things.”
“Pleased to meet you all!” she said grinning at them. It was hard not to, they were funny little people that was for sure!
They all said “Hello Sky” together but in their own ways and went all embarrassed, hiding behind each other until they were bumping into the branch behind them, which actually looked like a tree trunk with a garden around it. Then they came shyly hopping back, tripping each other up as they went.
Sky and Yellow Flower and the fairies were all laughing at them.
Yellow Flower suddenly looked at where the sun was coming from and said, “I wonder where Elm is. He’s usually very punctual when it comes to things like this.”
“Maybe he’s having trouble with his powers, like he did the first time I saw him. You know with the bats and all,” said Sky seeing the look on Yellow Flower’s face.
“Mmm.” Hummed Yellow Flower, and she stared into the tree trying to focus on something.
She couldn’t visualise anything but as she changed her point of focus she spotted a web with her friend Cilia the spider busy at work on one of her captures. Yellow Flower watched her wind the web around this particular fly, who wasn’t actually fully dead yet. It was buzzing as it was turned around and around.
“Oh that’s it!” She said, springing to attention! “That’s it. He’s tied up! Podsinia must have kidnapped him!”
The little folk around her were following her lead. They read nature too. It was natural to them to do so.
“I’ll go and see if I can find him!” Said Perry, and Winkle piped up and said, “Me too! Me too!”
Yellow Flower thought for a moment. “We have to get the potion! Perry, Winkle, you go and find Elm. I believe he is under the tree. Try the mulch fields or the bathing caves, and when you find him be very quiet. Get yourself to him unseen and get the potion off him, do you think you can manage that okay?”
They nodded, itching to do something heroic.
“Off you go then, and get Elm to send you straight to Canberra where the Summit is being held.”
They ran off as fast as their short little legs could take them to the nearest Nird station, to start their mission.
“Well, I don’t think Podsinia realises who she has caught there, and I dare say Elm will keep her busy!” Said Yellow Flower, “We will rescue him after the Summit is over. That way I can be sure Podsinia doesn’t get up to too much mischief. Alright now, are we all ready?” She looked around to check that they were all there.
“Right then!” She said, trying to think of anything she had forgotten. “If any of you get stuck anywhere, just chirp like a cricket. Remember…it is very important that Sky gets to all the drinks; otherwise it may not work properly. I have the Honestea powder here in my cocoon. Sky you take this, have you got the spoon for measuring?”
She had it in her own bag, of which she got out and placed it in the cocoon with the tea. She checked to make sure her crystal was still there around her neck, and even though she wore it outside her clothing, she paid it a lot of attention, holding tightly onto it.
“Alright everyone, whilst the Nutlidge folk have been instructed to put all their thoughts towards a positive outcome, it’s our job to help Sky. Okay, you all know what to do?”
They all nodded, excited about their adventure. “It’s time to go… gather around…” Yellow Flower threw a handful of magic powder and it showered the group completely. They began to fade as glitter and sparkle took over and then ended in a puff of green mist.

While this was all taking place, Elm had been caught and tied up in Podsinia’s cave. He had been entertaining his captor much to her disgust, and she was beginning to get very short with him. Nutwood and Acacia knew what the wizard was trying to do; so they kept quiet and let him do his thing. Question after question he asked her, testing her abilities and trying to make her use up her stored energy. She was much stronger than he had imagined. But he continued never the less, trying to distract her. She had found the potion and had sat it on her ‘table’ to keep an eye on it. Elm was tied up to another exposed tree root. His hands and feet were wound very tightly. He could only move his head. But he could see her every move and was content to just wait a while before doing anything too drastic.
“Well, I must say the ball is impressive!” Said Elm quite honestly, as he watched her bring it out of the water again.
“That’s nothing!” She snapped, “Look at this!” She waved her arm towards the ball and a picture appeared. It was Yellow Flower and the others in the mouse house talking between themselves.
“You don’t think I know what is going on do you!” She said slyly. “I know your young friend Sky is there somewhere…Ah yes…” She whispered, and held her ugly hands together in delight.
There was Sky in the toilet block, waiting for Yellow Flower to come back.
“It would seem that your little human friend could be locked up for some time!” She said, and dissolved into a wicked throat laugh.
Nutwood had run out of things to delay Podsinia for the time being and was getting tired from standing. Acacia was beginning to fidget and trying to use her tail to untie the vines that were tied nearby. It would be a slow task but she would eventually achieve something, she was sure.
Nutwood motioned to Elm to get her attention away from the water oracle and Elm did just that.
“Podsinia, where are all your friends today?” He said, “I would have thought you would have a few friends or family arriving to celebrate your coming victory!”
Podsinia took offence straight away and almost flew over to him, coming eyeball to eyeball.
“I don’t have any family!” She said nastily to him through her one tooth, “But I do have lots of friends! They are attempting to rule the world! They control the people and keep them small and insignificant! They do what they like just like ME!” She screamed and flew up, and backward to the ball and landed next to it on the landing.
“Those idiots will keep the energy going for me to survive the next fifty thousand years! By the time they drop their weapons there will be nothing but devastation everywhere! Then, I will breed myself a family and I will make you all my slaves. I will build a new world! I will create disharmony and discord everywhere! None of you stupid tree folk will ever smile again!” She said wickedly, laughing at the ball with a picture of the politicians still socialising in the hall.
As she glared at the scene before her, Elm caught sight of some movement behind her. Two little bodies were quietly darting from cover to cover, behind rocks and roots and plants, peeking around the corner to keep eye contact with Elm and to watch Podsinia.
Quickly they made their way to Podsinia’s strange looking table where the potion sat.
Podsinia flew around to look at Nutwood and the two pixies disappeared behind the nearest boulder.
“It’s brilliant!” Yelled Podsinia, “I didn’t think it could be so easy! Without the potion, you have no hope of ever getting your stupid city back. It’s mine, all mine!” She said, sweeping the potion from the table as fast as she could go and holding it up above her head.
She was preparing to throw it and smash the precious syrup when Elm called out to her.
“Stop! You are wasting a valuable potion there! I’m surprised at you Podsinia! A bright witch like you, not keeping it for your own plans! Why I really am disappointed! Here I was thinking I was going to get a really intelligent show…” Carried on Elm, taunting her growing ego.
“What!” She screeched, suddenly holding it to her body like a child holding a doll for security. “What do you mean? What would I possibly want with it?”
“What! You don’t know! Oh! Well you know you could use that to make yourself more powerful! But you must drink it with some nutley tea to make it work properly.” He said mocking her.
She put the potion back onto the table and demanded to know which tea she should use for her benefit.
This plan had worked well. While Elm was telling Podsinia all the different teas she could use, Perry hopped over to the table to grab the bottle while Winkle kept and eye on her. The pixie took hold of the bottle and ran behind the rock where Winkle was crouching. They waited there for a sign to move again.
Podsinia’s eyes were more open now than they had ever been before. Her vision of herself being all-powerful gave Perry and Winkle time to hide behind a bush near Elm. While Podsinia looked at herself in the waters reflection, Winkle cut at the vine with his knife, but the vine was so tough it didn’t make a mark.
While they tried to think of something, Podsinia threw herself around and tried to act like a queen. She definitely wasn’t the queen type! But it took her eyes away from her valuable guests.
The pixies were behind Elm, still fiddling with the ties but with no luck. Winkle managed to get near Elm’s ear and whisper to him, “Get us to the Summit! We’ll come back for you!” He stepped back down to a crouch position with his brother.
Elm had his two pointer fingers free and managed to line them up even though they were quite far apart. He closed his eyes and a quick flash of light came from his fingers and the brothers were surrounded with green glitter. A transformation took place, but not the one Elm had hoped for. There they were, both Perry and Winkle, hosting huge bat wings! They managed to duck their new attachments out of the way before Podsinia turned around.
“What was that?” She said, glaring at the wizard and the nutley couple.
“Oh, just a bat finding it’s way through into the next cave. Nothing to worry about!” Replied Elm, and rolled his eyes at his silly mistake.
Nutwood and Acacia had trouble hiding their smiles and both turned their heads to hide it.
When the witch turned her head and looked at her long hair in the reflection and said, “I must do something with my beautiful locks!” She curled some of the long ragged hair around her finger, and some of it broke off, it was so brittle! She bunched it up and put it on her head trying to look glamorous.
Nutwood and Acacia had to look away again; they felt so embarrassed for her. She really was the most ugly, bedraggled thing they had ever laid eyes on. They felt compassionately sorry for her. Elm made the bat wings disappear and then concentrated harder. He tried it again and this time it worked, leaving a clear space where the pixies had been.

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