Read Friends Forever Online

Authors: Titania Woods

Friends Forever (3 page)

BOOK: Friends Forever
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Feeling bad, Twink squeezed her friend's arm. ‘No, it's great! Honestly, Bimi, a tapestry sounds like a wonderful idea. We'll have loads of fun doing it!'

A shy smile crept across Bimi's face. ‘Do you really think it's a good idea? I mean,

‘Really!' Twink assured her warmly. ‘It sounds completely glimmery! It'll be the best project of all, wait and see.'

Eyes shining, Bimi nibbled on her seed cake. ‘Well, where do you think we can get the materials from? I thought Mrs Hover might be able to help . . .'

Twink tried to forget about the wasp as she chatted with Bimi about the tapestry. It wasn't easy. Her thoughts kept straying to him, alone and hurt in the old stump. Had he understood that she was coming back?

A river of brightly coloured butterflies swept into the Branch, stirring the air with their wings. Twink rose with the others, trying to look casual as the butterflies began clearing the tables. Pretending to finish her last swallow of dew, she hung back, heart pounding.

When she was sure no one was looking, she quickly grabbed the honey pot and tucked it into her petal bag. Slinging it over her shoulder, she flitted across to where Bimi stood with the others, queuing to take off. Phew! She had done it.

‘Feeling hungry?' drawled a voice.


Chapter Three

Twink started. Mariella had sidled up beside her.

‘I – I don't know what you mean!' gasped Twink.

Mariella raised a silvery-green eyebrow and looked at Twink's bag. ‘Whatever.
don't care what you get up to. Why should I?' With a pointed smile, she turned away and whispered to Lola.

Bimi stared at them. ‘What was

‘Who knows!' Her face on fire, Twink pushed ahead and flew out into the trunk. Never mind, she told herself as they flew to their Creature Kindness class. Mariella could think whatever she liked. The important thing was that she had the honey for Stripe.

‘Shall we go and talk to Mrs Hover during our free period?' said Bimi. ‘She might have some scraps we could use for our tapestry.'

‘Um – maybe later,' said Twink. ‘There's something I've got to do.'

Bimi glanced at her in surprise. ‘What?'

‘I – oh, just something.' Twink felt a flush creep up her face.

‘Oh.' Bimi looked hurt for a moment, and then shrugged. ‘Well – maybe we can talk to her after dinner, then.'

‘Great!' agreed Twink with relief. They landed in their Creature Kindness classroom.

Unlike the other teachers, Mr Woodleaf didn't have any drawings or decorations in his branch. Instead, it was filled with all sorts of animal paraphernalia, and even animals themselves. A large green moth sat on top of a bark cabinet, and a pair of grey woodlice lay curled up in a corner.

Twink and the others perched on their mushroom seats, waiting for Mr Woodleaf to finish setting up their lesson. As this seemed to consist of coaxing four fidgeting ladybirds to stand in a straight line, it looked as if they'd be waiting for some time.

‘Now, don't
wander off,' muttered Mr Woodleaf, prodding one of the insects back into place. At the same time, two more ladybirds trundled off across the table. The class giggled.

‘Right,' said Mr Woodleaf finally, clearing his throat. He glanced nervously at his class. ‘These are, um – some very worried ladybirds.'

Twink craned forward with the rest of the class to look at the bright red and black insects.

‘See how they keep pacing, and trying to get away?' Mr Woodleaf licked his lips. His green hair stood on end like a hedgehog's spikes where he had run his hands through it. ‘They're, ah – nervous wrecks, poor things.'

Twink held back a giggle. She thought Mr Woodleaf looked a bit of a nervous wreck himself! Everyone knew their Creature Kindness teacher was terrified of his students.

‘What are they so worried about, sir?' asked Pix.

Mr Woodleaf swallowed, and rubbed his wings together. ‘These ladybirds have all been captured by humans, and ah . . . told to fly away home, because their house is on fire and their children all gone.'

A stunned silence fell over the class. ‘But – that's horrible!' cried Sili. ‘Why would the humans
such a thing?'

‘For a joke,' said Mr Woodleaf. He nodded grimly at their shocked expressions, and seemed to gain confidence. ‘Humans have strange ideas sometimes! And now, these poor ladybirds are all convinced that if they don't keep racing home to check on their children, they'll lose them in flames.'

Twink stared at the fidgeting ladybirds. How awful! The poor ladybirds!

‘But sir, how can we help them?' burst out Sooze. ‘We can't just
them like this!' The lavender-haired fairy's fists were clenched. She looked ready to fly at the first human she saw.

Mr Woodleaf paled and took a hasty step backwards. ‘No, no, of course not!' he stammered. ‘In cases like this, the first thing to try is a . . . a soothing song. And, ah – with any luck, they'll forget the terrible story they've been told.'

Fumbling in his pocket, Mr Woodleaf brought out a reed whistle and blew a comforting note. ‘Now, then, girls – after me.' Turning to the ladybirds, he started to sing:


Oh, little ladybirds,

Don't be blue,

Your houses are safe,

And your children too!

Don't be nervous, don't feel sad,

Dance and frolic – let's be glad!

The class joined in enthusiastically, beating their wings in time as they chorused ‘
Don't be nervous! Don't feel sad!
'. Twink sang along with the others, watching the ladybirds eagerly.

The ladybirds' antennae perked up as they listened. Slowly, they stopped fidgeting and seemed to relax. One or two of them began to tap their feet along with the music. By the time the fairies had sung the tune several times through, all four ladybirds were dancing on the table, flapping their wings merrily.

Mr Woodleaf stopped, a shy smile on his face. The class burst into applause. ‘Well done, sir!' called Pix.

A ferocious blush swept up their teacher's face. ‘Yes, well . . . you see how it works. Let's, ah – set the ladybirds free now!'



The class gathered at the window to wave goodbye. The bright red and black insects flitted away without a care, dancing on the breeze.

‘Glimmery!' breathed Twink. She and Bimi looked happily at each other.

Once they had all perched back on their mushrooms, Mr Woodleaf coughed for attention. ‘Now, girls – the, ah, thing to remember is that similar creatures respond to similar treatments. So if you had another insect, a worried bee, for instance, or a nervous butterfly, you could calm it with the same sort of song.'

Twink's pointed ears pricked up. ‘What about wasps?' she blurted out.

' Mr Woodleaf gaped as though he hadn't heard her right.

The room fell silent as everyone turned to stare at her. Mariella's eyes narrowed. Twink swallowed hard. ‘Never mind,' she mumbled. ‘I was just – thinking of something else.'

Mr Woodleaf shook his head. ‘Yes. Well . . . let's continue, shall we? Who knows what to do about a grumpy earthworm? Zena?'

Twink's mind raced as the lesson went on. Similar creatures responded to similar treatments! So if she could just find out how to heal an injured bee, then maybe she could help Stripe.

‘Twink, you're not still thinking about that wasp, are you?' whispered Bimi. Her blue eyes were anxious.

‘No, of course not.' Twink didn't look up. ‘I was just curious, that's all.'

Bimi looked doubtful, but didn't say anything else. After class, Twink grabbed her things and flitted for the doorway. She had to get to the library!

To Twink's relief, the wasp ate the honey eagerly, licking the pot clean. Once finished, he touched Twink's hand with one of his thin legs and rubbed his stomach with another, his eyes shining with contentment.

‘I'm glad you liked it!' laughed Twink. ‘Now, let's do something about your wing.'

Opening the petal book she'd found in the library, Twink read the brief entry in
The Fairies' Guide to Helpful Insects
again, her pink eyebrows furrowed.



Bees rarely injure their wings, though sometimes the wings of older bees can become frayed with age. When this happens, a soothing salve of honeysuckle nectar, fresh morning dew and dried buttercup flower can be most effective when combined with a healing song.

Twink's mouth tightened worriedly. Stripe's wing was injured, not ‘frayed with age'! Would the salve still work? And what sort of healing song, anyway?

‘I guess I'll just make one up,' she decided.

Stripe's large eyes watched her as she carefully prepared the salve in an acorn bowl. The fresh morning dew had been easy to get, and with a bit of searching, she had found the other ingredients in the cupboard of her Flower Power classroom.

The mixture became a creamy paste as she stirred. Stripe peered into the bowl and sniffed it, his good wing fluttering with curiosity.

‘Now for a healing song,' said Twink.

She thought for a moment, and then started smoothing the salve on to Stripe's broken wing. The wasp winced, but seemed to understand that he needed to keep still as Twink sang:


Heal, wing, heal!

Don't be broken, heal!

Mend together,

Whatever the weather.

Heal, wing, heal!

There was a flash of green light from the salve. Stripe jumped, and craned his neck to look over his shoulder. Twink sank back on to her heels, heart thumping. The salve glowed for a moment, and then disappeared.



Stripe's wing was still broken.

‘Oh!' breathed Twink in disappointment. Had her song not been good enough? Or had she mixed the salve wrong? But it had glowed! Surely that was a good sign?

Maybe the spell just took time to work. Twink gazed anxiously at Stripe's wing, trying to work out whether it was less crooked and bent than it had been. She couldn't tell. If only there was someone she could ask! Mr Woodleaf, or her parents, even.

Twink's spirits leapt as she thought of her mother and father. Her parents were the kindest, wisest fairies she knew – and as Fairy Medics, they dealt with poorly creatures all the time. They'd be sure to know how to help Stripe.

But what if they were just as horrified as everyone else? Twink winced at the thought. No, she couldn't ask them. She couldn't ask anyone.

‘We'll just have to wait and see,' she murmured, stroking Stripe's back. ‘I'll put more salve on tomorrow.'

The wasp nuzzled her hand with his head, humming worriedly.

Twink smiled. ‘You can understand every word I say, can't you? Oh, it's so daft, Stripe – nobody could hate you once they
you. But everyone just keeps talking about the Great Wasp Wars. Neither of us were even born

Her head jerked up as a sudden noise came from outside the stump. Stripe stiffened and stared at the doorway. Frowning, Twink flitted to the door.

‘Hello?' she called cautiously, peering out.

BOOK: Friends Forever
7.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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