It’s the last day of spooky season, friends! And that means… it’s finally Pond-O-Ween! Last year, the Pond friends celebrated Pond-O-Ween and dressed up in costumes handmade by our favourite toad, Varian. This year, the Pond friends are back with new costumes, and we are so excited for you to see them.
Seeing that it’s the last day of the month, we thought we would combine Pond-O-Ween with our Monthly Wrap-Up. We haven’t had a Story-Time post in awhile, and Joce wrote this year’s Pond-O-Ween post – and I know all of you are going to love it as much as I do.
You close your eyes, reaching within you for a spell that will save Xiaolong. You remember everyone’s bravery, as they fought and protected and did everything within their power to save the Pond. You think of the warmth of your friends’ love, how their friendship feels like a home that could weather any storm, typhoon, or quake. You think about how you, small as you may be, are here, and that in itself is something incredible.
As all of your memories and your feelings and the immensity of your small power come together, a grand power rises within you. It feels like all the light in the world, the stars and the cosmos bursting behind your eyes. You feel limitless, infinite. You believe.
With the first morning light, its soft glow shining on the Pond, the forest begins to wake – and so does Sprout’s magic.
As the trees arouse from their rest and the flowers unfurl, Sprout can now feel the hum of the forest, the hum of life. Everything in this world is connected, Sprout knows. A young shoot and an old oak may weather different worlds, but they are still connected to one infinite well of the earth – the greatest and oldest magic of all.
For Sprout, magic isn’t summoning or harnessing raw elements into power. Rather, they intertwine their magic with that of the earth. For Sprout, magic is openness, feeling, connection. Sprout inhales, and with their deep and steady exhale (and a slight wobble of the sprout on their head), they branch out with their magic – intertwining their magic with the roots buried deep into the earth, feeling the flutter of a leaf in a distant tree, and the drop of morning dew fall onto the Pond.
You are in the battlefield, casting your spells and swinging your swords and shooting your magic arrows, when, in the corner of your eye, you see Party.
Party, the little otter plush that Cuddle always carries around with her wherever she goes, lies in the middle of the battlefield. You look around – is Cuddle nearby? – but with the sweet otter nowhere in sight, you skid over to Party and hold her close to your chest.
“Where’s Cuddle?” you mutter to yourself. You look around, but it’s difficult to see anyone or anything in the flurry of battle. You decide to return Party to Cuddle, otherwise Cuddle will be scared without her favourite cuddling companion.
You retreat towards the heart of the Pond, towards the place where you found Cuddle last time.
But when you look down at Party to check on her, you stifle a yelp.
If there is anything that Aunty Buaya deserves after many years of service to the ancient order of the Knights of Strongjaw, it is the undisturbed quiet.
Having served decades as a Paladile for the ancient order called the Knights of Strongjaw, defending small critters from all walks of life from cruel and wicked beings, she can now appreciate the peace of simply being. For her, ‘simply being’ means sitting by the river-bed with her wife, tending to her garden (though she is absolutely horrendous at it), and finding cheap fresh produce at the local market with her trusty rolling bag.
Today, Aunty Buaya has decided to harvest her carrots – which took too long to grow and she simply cannot bear to wait for them to grow any longer. Unbeknownst to her though, the Pond friends continue defending the Pond against the darkness’s relentless attacks.