"Wow! A real dragon slayer's stallion," Hope circled the machine in awe, "Look! His name is Tahoe."
The pixies loaded in Tahoe and were lured to rest on Candi's magic ring. Then with a rumble, Tahoe was off. The girls were mesmerized by the shiny stone, it glittered with golds and blues and a touch of pink. For some reason, Avery decided to look up. This was the first time she noticed that Candi's eyes seemed to have a hint of sadness. Avery wondered how something so sweet could feel anything but joy. But there it was again, a flash of melancholy.
"Hope! You get back down here this instant," Faith yelled.
Avery turned her head just in time to see Hope trying to plant a kiss on Skeet and leaving quite the trail of pixie dust in her wake. "I'm serious Hope!" Faith was panicking, "If he inhales, you'll be living out your days in a dragon slayer's stomach!"
"Oh, puh-lease! And you two tell me I have no sense of adventure," huffed Hope and she flitted back towards the ring.
"Candi, do you have some chap stick?" asked Skeet, "All of a sudden, my lips feel like they are covered in sand."
"Now look what you did," said Faith.
Avery watched as Candi pulled some kind of lip potion from her purse. Skeet met her eyes as he took the magic tube. He saw the same despair that Avery did. "Candi, we will have a baby, I promise. We'll find a way."
"I know," said Candi softly. And Tahoe carried the group the rest of the way to the Village of Enoch in silence. When they arrived and Tahoe opened his massive doors, the pixies took one look outside and screamed in horror. There was some kind of golden monster running towards them at full speed. Skeet made no move for some kind of dragon slayer sword, so it looked like the girls would be attacked.
In a flash of fur, the monster lept into Candi's lap and buried his face in her chest. "Hello Callie! Did you miss us?" Candi asked as she scratched the monster's ears.
They all exited the Tahoe with Skeet and Candi heading toward their castle. The girls would have followed, but they were paralyzed with fear. They had locked eyes with Callie, The Golden Monster.
"Don't move and don't cry, Hope!" said Avery.
"Is it me or is that monster's tail moving faster and faster?" asked Faith.
"I don't know," said Avery, "It looks as if it might actually be smiling. I'm moving closer."
"Don't you dare," said Hope. But Avery was curious so she approached the beast. And then in one quick motion, the animal opened its mouth and lunged at Avery. Hope and Faith began to cry out in terror but then Callie's giant pink tongue licked Avery head-to-toe. "Ugh! I'm all slimy!" Avery complained.
"Welcome to Enoch. I'm Callie. What is all the screaming about? Haven't you all seen a golden retriever before?"
"A golden retriever?" Hope was excited now, "Do you steal the dragon's gold while the mighty Skeet battles the dragon to the death?"
Callie looked puzzled, "What?"
"Don't mind her," said Faith, "It's nice to meet you Callie. We are pixies from Lilac Hollow. My name is Faith and this is Avery and the crazy one is Hope. We were on a Cotton Candy Expedition and lost our way. Any chance you could tell us how to get back?"
"Lilac Hollow, you say? Hmmmmm. I know Parowan, Bryce Canyon, even the City of Sin but I can't say I'm familiar with your hollow," said Callie.
Discouraged Faith continued, "We're very tired, it's been quite an adventure. Would you mind if we shared your fur for a nap? We'll get some sleep and try to find our way tomorrow."
"I'd love the company," said Callie as she lowered her head and the three girls snuggled into some of the softest gold fur they had ever felt. Hope and Faith drifted off immediately, but Avery was restless. "Callie, are you asleep?"
"Not yet. I like to wait for the lights to go out in the house before I sleep."
"Tell me about Candi, I think she is the sweetest. Why does she seem a bit sad?"
Callie sighed. "She wants a baby to share all that sweetness with. They haven't found one yet."
Avery was confused, "But they have you and a flying machine and a castle. What more do they need?"
"Yes, they have a lot. But they want to share all of those things with a child. Share their stories, their life. Leave a legacy behind."
Avery thought this was one of the most beautiful things she had ever heard. Goblins in the hollow had great fortunes, but they never shared. They never even enjoyed it themselves, spent all their time guarding it and hiding it. Witches were always trying to steal everyone else's treasures, but for themselves, not for anyone else. Here were these to mortals in the far away Village of Enoch who wanted someone else to enjoy their riches. Avery thought that was a miracle. "Callie, do you love them?"
"With all my heart, Avery! They feed me, play with me, and cuddle me when I'm sad. Candi has the softest touch that makes me feel warm all over. And Skeet sneaks me treats when he thinks Candi isn't looking. I'm lucky to have them. I would do anything for them. I'm the luckiest golden retriever in the Festival City!"
** Some of you have asked if I wrote this story. I wish I were this creative!! No, an amazing friend of mine wrote this story for me soon after we found out that there was something wrong with our baby and that she might not make it. I had emailed her after I started the blog to let her know what was going on and within a few days I received a package in the mail with this story (adorably bound and illustrated) and a necklace, which I will tell you about later. I am so blessed to have some amazing friends that have given me so much. Thanks Myn!! You are the best!**