Episode 3: The Great Mystery
„Oh great green spirit of the forest, renew this great land."
A chant sounded at the edge of the Beauvillage forest, where a great number of people gathered to witness something... well... unusual.
A large ceremonial circle was made infront of the forest in order for the ritual, which Mom, Pop, Buba and Bee prepared, once more using the Wizard´s guide to Green sorcery book they found years ago. Due to the not so fruitfull harvest Beauvillage experienced this year, they took it upon themselfs to try and do something about it and thought that the Soil renewal ritual was the best way to do it. Mom and Bee both dressed in pure white druidess outfits were spreading ashes around the cirlce as Pop and Ralph dressed in Gaulish warrior robes with horned helmets, played on the ceremonial drums. Lola and Billy were there too, dressed in ceremonial robes of their own as they chanted half-heartedly along with two people, who no one would think possible of participating in something like this.
"I still can´t believe you talked me into this."grumbled Titus Hubbub, dressed in Gaulish ceremonial robes as well, and now glaring his wife.
"Oh hush Titus. We can´t afford another harvest like this. You know the prices for vegetables and fruits are going up. Besides, it is kind of fun."she whispered, giggling at the site of the two women clapping and chanting.
"I can´t wait for the green dance to start."she said happily and Titus sputtered instantly.
"You can´t be serious!"
As Titus was hushed and being once more reminded in the importaince of the ritual, the two young teens observed them.
"Your Dad is not the only one, who can´t believe he got talked into this."whispered Lola to Billy, who sighed.
"Once my Mom got in the mix, not even I could´ve refused."
Lola let out a low growl.
"Well someone did."
Billy couldn´t help but chuckle.
"Smart guy that brother of yours."
Lola rolled her eyes.
"Tell me about it. The little twerp split as soon as he got wind what was about to go down. He´s probably taking refuge in the Hidehole for good measure so no one finds him."she growled.
"Speaking of which, where is our other participant. With all the enthusiasm he had for the idea, I didn´t expect him to be late."wondered Billy and his girlfriend only shrugged.
"Who knows, perhaps he´s found something better to entertain him. We have all the public embarrassment we need even without him."
Indeed many of the people young or old in the crowd were barely holding in their laughs. Some of the young ones were looking curiously and some of the those, who were around their thirties or older looked oddly reminiscent. Lola and Billy chaught a few of their words.
"Well this sure is a blast from the past."
"Tell me about it. I still remember that ritual thing from when I was a kid."
"What are you talking about Dad?"asked one of the small kids.
"Well, I haven´t seen a thing like this done in Beauvillage, since I was your age, son."he replied.
"Yeah brings back memories of the old Bunglewood era."
This comment drew much curiosity from some of the younger ones of Beauvillage. Most however were paying attention to what they had in their sights. Curious looks were present in half of the cases, with looks of ridicule being the other half. Mia was standing there with April, Chloe, Emily, Oliver, Liam and several other classmates from both Chichi´s and Lola´s class, even Mr Philips,Mrs Starchy and some of the professors were present. When realizing this, Lola would´ve liked nothing more than sink in the ground, never to resurface again.
"How utterly idiotic. Why can´t these people act their own age?"remarked Mia glaring at the ceremonial circle.
"What d´you expect Mia? Its the Tofus afterall."remarked Cherie smirking at Lola, who returned her an icy glare.
"Well, its interesting in the very least."said Oliver, who was clearly conflicted about what to think.
"You can´t be serious, Oli. You actually like this crazy show?"asked Mia amazed as Oliver watched another chant followed by clapping.
"It looks kinda cool. Y´know doing something that´s not been done in decades, perhaps even centuries."commented Chloe, watching everything with curiosity.
April smiled at her before returning the gaze back to the circle.
"It´s certainly something you don´t see everyday."commented Liam smirking.
Suddenly three loud snorts were heared.
"You´re kidding."snorted Nick once more before looking at Tex and Archie.
"Get a load of those stupid costumes."chortled Archie pointing openly at them.
"But there´s people missing in there. Where are the rest of them?"asked Tex noticing Chichi´s absence.
Nick tensed and immediatly reached into his breast-pocket.
"If they are missing from there, something must be up..."he said and pulled out his blue sunglasses.
Tex and Archie nodded with a grin and reached into their pockets.
"This..."started Tex, drawing his pair of blue sunglasses.
"...looks like..."added Archie drawing up his pair as well.
"...a case for..."continued Nick.
"...the brotherhood of the Wise."they finished in unism as the blue sunglasses fell over their eyes.
"All right. Spread out trough the crowd, eyes open, got it?"commanded Nick and the two remaining brothers nodded before the trio split up.
The ritual was going trough another series of chants, claps and animal noises.
"...oh great spirit of the... "
"GREEN!"sounded a loud male voice, causing everyone to turn to the source.
People gasped and started to make way for the newcomer as he was making his way to the circle carrying a large sack over his shoulder.
"Sorry I´m late, guys. I had to pick up something for the ritual."said Michael Miles, dressed in druid´s white robes, a small brown bag-like pouch around his black belt, his ever-present sunglasses on his eyes and a band on his forehead which had several four-leaf clovers in it and a pure white hat on his head.
"Lucky I made it just before the dance. Before that, listen up people..."he called for attention, which was hardly neccesarry.
Everyone was staring on him since the moment he appeared.
"...for the Soil renewal ritual to reach its maximum potential you should join in the dance too."he said gesturing to the people, who looked skeptical.
"You´re right Miles. Come and join us friends and help our land heal with our dance."exclaimed Bee and the people looked from one to the other.
"But without music, there can be no dance, right? Hit if Popsie!"exclaimed Miles pointing to Pop who immediatly started to play in a faster jumpy pace, with Ralph joining in a few seconds later, the music sounding like a ceremonial african drum song.
The athmosphere in the air changed at once. Some of the young ones were instantly pleased, others started to jerk their heads in time with the beat, older ones were smiling, though not everyone. Mom, Buba, Beth and Bee instantly started to dance to the beat, Lola facepalmed and Billy chuckled in an unbelieving way while Titus stood there in a paralyzed way. Miles picked up the bag he brought and faced the crowd.
"Now my friends, whosoever really wants to get in touch with nature, who wants their plantlife to prosper, or who just needs pure good luck, I have the answer right here."
He delved into the sack and brought out a handfull of different amulets.
"These were made especially for these rituals, soaked for 3 weeks in the secret Green spring."
This comment drew a great number of people to Miles, young mostly. Miles gestured to the small pouch on his belt.
"Just 30 cents into the pouch and the Green spring amulet will be all yours. C´mon people, show a little respect for mother nature and help her grow some greed...uh I mean grass."he said correcting himself swiftly.
"Aha!"thought Nick as people started to throw coins into the pouch and grabbed the amulets before pulling them over their heads and joining in the dance. Nick swiftly brought out his cell phone, dialed the number and put it to his ear.
Not a few moments later Beauvillage policemen arrived to the scene.
"What? What´s going on here?"asked the youngest one of the six policemen that arrived and were looking at the scene infront of them.
" Mr Protector of the Law, nothing out of the ordinary is going on here."called Miles over the dancing people, moving towards the policemen.
"Oh no. We´re toast."exclaimed Lola over the crowd, as Titus nodded and started to chew his fingertips.
"What is this turnout supposed to be?"asked the Policeman in genuine curiosity as Miles came to them.
"We´re doing a small ceremonial ritual to help the land of this great village heal, officer. We´re expressing our utmost devotion to nature and paying our respects to it. That´s all, I swear."
The six policemen looked from one to the other.
"But we were reported a riot with illegal enrichment."said the eldest one of the group.
"Oh please. No enrichment here. Only if you count these amulets I´ve sold for 30 cents a piece."explained Miles gesturing to the amulets in his hand.
"What sort of amulets?"asked another one of the policemen.
Miles grinned a bit to himself before making a small show of the amulets in his hands.
"The one and only special spiritualistic amulets. Hand-made by our friends and soaked for 6 weeks in the holy and secret springs of the Green moutians."
The policemen looked from one to eachother completly baffled.
"But Mr Miles, I never heared of the Green moutians."said the youngest of them.
Miles made a dramatic exclamation and gestured for the policemen to create a small sircle including him.
"Boys. That´s exactly the point. That´s why its a secret."he said whispering the last word to them, making all the air of giving out a great piece of information and for good measure placing his index finger infront of his lips.
The policemen looked at eachother once more and nodded as if getting the ultimate point. Not a second later the ritual was going as though nothing had happened with almost everyone present buying the amulets and joining in the dance in either good humor or as the younger ones of Beauvillage craved – something unussual and different.
"WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!"came a voice from the side of the crowd and the three brothers grinned to eachother.
Detective Wiseman had came, looking very pissed as he looked at the ceremonial circle, which was encircled by people young and old.
"Hey there, Wisey-guysey. C´mon in. Buy an amulet and join in the fun."called Miles happily and gestured to Wiseman who looked confused and angry at the same time.
"What amulet?!"he asked frustratedly.
Miles brought out a multi-coloured amulet and showed it to Wiseman.
"C´mon Wisey. It´s the latest fashion in here!"he called still moving to the beat as Wiseman looked completly perplexed at the sight of the amulet in Miles´ palm.
"Is that any good?"he asked as though he was a small child being tempted by an unknown gift.
"Sure it is. Its the best. It´ll make everything you dream come true."
Wiseman looked at the amulet then at Miles.
"Will it make you end behind bars?"he asked sounding like a 5 year old kid.
Miles stopped himself for a second before replying.
"No... but it´ll make cute beautyfull girls apprear right in front of you."he said nodding as though explaining the obvious.
Wiseman looked from Miles to the amulet, to the girls who were trying to catch his interest waving from the crowd. Wiseman turned instantly red.
"NO! I´d rather have you locked up! Officers! Arrest him!"he commanded looking around to the policemen.
Looking around he let out an exasperated exclamation when finding out that the policemen were all dancing to the beat set by the ceremonial drums, all wearing the amulets sold by Miles.
"You can´t be serious! You believe in this garbage?!"he yelled adressing his underlings.
"Of course we don´tdetective."said the youngest of the policemen, though his tone of voice suggested otherwise.
"But since he´s not breaking any law and since everyone is having so much fun..."explained the eldest of the six policemen.
"You´re not supposed to have fun! You´re on duty!"exclaimed Wiseman, completly besides himself.
"C´mon Wisey. Let the boys have some fun. They deserve it."exclaimed Miles standing besides the policemen, all of them still dancing and immediatly nodding and cheering in agreement while continuing the dance.
Wiseman was about to retaliate when a loud, desperate sounding voice pierced trough the ceremonial drums at once calling for silence.
"HELP! THIEF! SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP! THIEF!"
From the side of the street ran a man with a skymask over his head, a pink purse in his hand as he ran in top speed. And after him ran a girl with long brown hair – Lily Robins.
As the crowd gasped, Miles instantly stepped over Wiseman and as the thief ran past him he grabbed the purse by its other end, nearly bringing the thief to his knees as he stopped him in full speed.
"Hey man, what gives?!"yelled the thief, because Miles kept a firm on the purse.
"Dude, slow down! Don´t ya think you oughta let go of it now?"asked Miles mildly as the thug kept yanking on the purse until...
With a loud noise, the purse ripped sending all objects within it flying across the place. The thief gasped looking around his ripped treasure before bringing out a hunter´s knife from his belt, which drew gasps from the people staring around. Miles laughed openly and as the thief made a lunge at him with the knife, he stepped aside allowing the blade to miss him by centimeters before retaliating with his fist.
Miles´ fist made a loud sound as it connected with the masked face of the thief, sending him instantly to the ground. The thief made a small motion to get up, before sliding to the ground clearly unconcious. As Lily reached him, Miles made a small gesticulation to the policemen pointing his finger at the thief.
"Book him boys."he said drawing instant cheers from the crowd.
The policemen looked startled for only a second before approaching the unconcious man and taking off his mask.
"Hey, this is a number we´ve been searching for a while now."said the policeman in wonder as another loud cheer rang from the people looking at them.
"Ol´thunderbolt strikes again."exclaimed Miles pumping his fist into the air proudly as the policemen busily applied the handcuffs to the thief´s hands.
"You´re a hero Mr Miles."exclaimed one of the women in the crowd and the crowd quickly joined in clapping and cheering, the Tofus and Hubbubs included.
"Aww shucks."said Miles shyly while blushing heavily waving his hand neglectigly.
As the people cheered Miles noticed the brown haired girl franticly trying to pick up the belongings which were scattered on the ground and in the nearby bushes. Instantly he moved to the said girl and started to help her.
"Hey, let me help you there, flower-girl."he said as he started to pick up the numerous things on the ground.
"Miles, I can´t thank you enough."she started but Miles waved her off.
"Aww. Don´t mention it, Lil. Always glad to help a friend."he said before looking over at the crowd.
"Yo! Does anyone have a small bag or anything else?"he asked, with most of the crowd shaking their heads in negative.
"Here. I have one."said Wiseman in a small voice, handing Miles a small supermarket bag.
"Thanks Wisey. You´re a great help."said Miles grinning widely showing him a thumbs-up, before taking the bag and putting some of the stuff in his hand into it.
Wiseman blushed and turned to the policemen, who were helping the captured man to his feet.
"Don´t think you´re off the hook, criminal. But since I´ve just chaught a notorious thief, I won´t press any charges for this little turnout."he said, walking to the policemen, who had a hard time trying to keep the thief on his feet.
"Sheesh, he´s completly out of it. I don´t think he´ll be waking up anytime soon, detective."said the policeman as the unconcious man fell down to the ground again despite the Beauvilage´s finest´s hardest efforts.
"That doesn´t matter. We have more than enough wittnesses as it is. Lock him up. Till he ROTS!"he commanded as the policemen sprang to a salute and the crowd went wild once more.
"Here Lily dearest. This should help you calm your nerves."said Mom handing Lily a cup of a special tea, which she took gratefully, still shaking from the events an hour ago as everyone sat down in the Tofu´s kitchen.
"Thanks Mrs Tofu."she said gratefully as she sipped her tea, her best friend Lola at her side, her arm around her shoulder consoling her as she drank.
"It´s all right now Lily."said Lola consolingly.
Lily looked at her and smiled.
"I know it is, Lola. I didn´t have anything particuraly valuable in the purse in the first place."
"But still, it must´ve been a horrible experiece for you, dear."said Buba sitting down at Lily´s other side.
Lily smiled once more.
"But it turned out all right. All thanks to..."
She and everyone else took one glance at the side of the room where Miles was seated on the floor pinning a small amulet on Cracker´s head.
"See Crack? This´ll make you the best rooster in town."he said winking at the bird, who crowed happily and he laughed.
"He´s the only rooster in Beauvillage, Miles."said Lola with a giggle.
"But he´s still the best. Right, Crack? That´s my little partner."he said affectionately patting the rooster.
"You´re the hero of the day, Miles."exclaimed Bee throwing her arms into the air.
"Oh, please Bee. I just thunderbolted the guy nothing more."he said blushingly scratching his head in an embarrassed manner.
"She´s right, Miles. You´re a godsend. The Great Oneness has truly graced us with the greatest of gifts when you came to our small town."said Mom appretiatively.
Miles blushed again, if possibly even more.
"Aww. C´mon guys. You give me too much credit."he said completly red-faced with a hand on his cheek, a broad grin on his face.
"Mom´s right, Miles. As much as I hate to admit it. You´re a real helpfull guy."said Lola in appretiation, her boyfriend nodding.
"Also, you´ve made those people join in the green dance. The ritual was a great success thanks to you."said Pop nodding at him.
"Forget about that. I´ve made serious greed out of it."said Miles grinningly ringing his small pouch which was full of coins.
"At least you´ve got something out of this whole circus."said Titus nodding to him.
"C´mon Titus. The ritual was a great success and let´s be glad for that. That´s the main point afterall."exclaimed Beth with wide agreement from most of the room.
Titus rolled his eyes and moved closer to Lola and Billy.
"No offence Lola, but if my wife starts to practice that zen nonsence, I´m putting my foot down."he whispered as he watched his wife exchanging happy hugs with Mom and Bee, all three giggling like schoolgirls.
Lola laughed and winked at Titus.
"Fair enough, Mr Hubbub."
Titus rolled his eyes and coughed.
"Titus, Lola. It´s Titus."
The comment gained a look of admired approval from Billy and a happy giggle from Lola.
Lily took another sip from her tea, before letting out a large sigh.
"The only thing that saddens me is that, that was my best purse. Now it´s all ruined."she said sighing once more looking at the ripped pieces of the pink purse on the table.
Miles instantly came infront of her and grabbed her by her shoulders.
"Look, Lil. I´m sorry for ripping your bag like that."
Lily fixed him with a look of affectionate appreciation.
"It wasn´t your fault Miles."
Miles nodded, then as though getting the best idea he ever had, turned to the bag he had at the ritual. Intantly he took out the most beautyfull necklace anyone in the room had seen. It was lined with many mineral-like stones with a giant green gem-like stone in the middle of it.
"This is the most precious piece I´ve got from Pierre, when he was giving the bag to me. I was planning to sell to for king-kong cash."he said earnestly as he was hanging the necklace over Lily´s blushing head.
"Consider it a compensation gift from a friend."he said with a true earnest smile.
Though blushing heavily, Lily smiled brightly and she patted his shoulder.
"And a very good friend you are, Michael Miles."
"That was a pretty good turnout."commented Oliver as he and Chloe looked at the remaining ceremonial circle.
Night set on Beauvillage and everyone already went home. Chloe smiled at the ceremonial amulet she bought from Miles.
"And we have something to show for it. Plus it was real fun to just dance it out in the street like that."she said, her fingers running around the amulet.
"And... I´ve got the manly one."she giggled pointing at Olivers, which indeed looked a bit girly.
Oliver blushed and hid his amulet under his shirt and out of sight.
"It´s a love amulet if you must know. Its supposed to help me get the girl I love."he replied blushingly as he remembered how he got it.
Miles had explained the meaning of the amulets to each and everyone of them, when the dance ended, dispite Lola´s hisses of protest.
"And you my friend can use this. This´ll help you get the lady of your dreams, the one you´ve had your sights on for some time now."said Miles quietly to him.
From all the talks with April about her classmates, Miles already knew most of Chichi´s class´gossips. And it proved to be very usefull at times.
Oliver instantly blushed a deep red.
"How... how d´you know?"he stammered.
"I´m a druid, kid. I know these things."answered Miles mysteriously nodding his head along sagely.
"Mine is for strength, though April always says that I have way too much already. Hm...the girl you love, Oli? And just who might that be?"she asked Oliver slyly breaking him out of his thoughts.
Oliver instantly blushed and gazed at the girl wide-eyed.
"Chloe... I...are you crazy? No way I´m telling."he said crossing his arms and turning away from her slightly, still red-faced.
Chloe feigned being insulted.
"Oliver. We´ve been friends eversince we were 6. I thought you trust me with anything."she said with a pout.
Suddenly she grinned to herself and poked Oliver in the ribs. Oliver yelped and jumped.
"Chloe stop that! You know I´m ticklish!"he exclaimed but too late.
Chloe made a lunge at him and tackled him to the ground, tickling him mercilessly.
"Chloe...please...Chloe...stop it..."he managed to get out between the laughs as he was trying to push her off.
Chloe, laughing along however didn´t let him. Even as he rolled a bit in vain attempts to escape.
"C´mon Oli... tell me that name...who´s the lucky girl..."she said teasingly her fingers tickling his ribs even more.
Oliver´s laughs doubled and tears started to form in his eyes.
"Not...telling...Chloe..."he said between the laughs, his face was bright red from laughter right now.
Chloe quirked an eyebrow and instantly stopped and stood up.
"Fine. Have it your way then."she said quickly, trying to sound offended without any success.
Oliver´s laughs subsided and he looked at her with a fond smile.
"You´re a wacko, Chloe. The wackiest girl I´ve ever met."
Chloe turned to him with a smile and winked.
"That´s what they all say."
This drew a laugh from Oliver as he got to his feet. Suddenly Oliver´s mobile phone rang and he quickly answered the call.
"Yeah...yes, Mom. I´m on my way."he replied quickly before ending the call.
Chloe looked curiously as Oliver flashed her an apologetic look.
"Sorry Chloe. I have to go home now. My mom is already worried. You know she frets if I stay out too long after dark."
Chloe nodded at the explanation.
"I know. My mom is always so busy, that she doesn´t mind however long I stay out. I could be out of the house for 6 days and she wouldn´t notice a thing. And since I have no Dad to impose any rules..."she said before shrugging.
Oliver always felt a bit sad for Chloe, whenever the subject of parents came up. He knew very well that since the very start she admired the Tofus precicely because of their strong family ties.
"Chloe..."he started but she waved him off.
"I´m not sad, Oli. I´m used to it by now. We´re 14 and its useless to cry over something like this anymore."though it sounded more like she was telling this to herself, rather than him.
Oliver nodded and touched her shoulder.
"But I´m here for you Chloe. Whenever you need."he said earnestly.
Chloe smiled and swiftly grabbed him in a bear hug.
"You always were eversince we were kids. You´re the best friend I ever had, Oli."she exclaimed sounding completly happy.
Oliver blushed deep red once more, but returned the hug.
"I´d love to be more, than just your best friend though..."he said to himself quietly, but stopped himself.
He didn´t want to risk his lifelong friendship because of his growing feelings for the girl.
"She´s your best friend, Oliver. She´s OFF LIMITS, and that´s that."he repeated to himself the words which had become his mantra over this year.
"You´d better go now. Wouldn´t want you to get grounded."she said with a wink as she let go of him.
"Yeah. See you tommorow in school then."he said quickly before departing.
Chloe smiled a bit as she saw her life-long friend enter their big house, before she started to walk towards her home. She once more looked at the amulet sold to her by Miles and remembered what he told her.
"Ah I can see, that you have it tough. Just like I used to have. Here´s the amulet of inner strength. But Chloe, I´ll tell you a small secret."he whispered to her and motioned for her to stick out her ear.
"You don´t need an amulet when your inner strentgh fails. All you´ll ever need to gain it back is friends."he said quietly as though he was really a sage or a prophet.
But he meant it. From what April told her about Chloe, he felt a bit sympathetic towards the girl.
"I´ll keep that in mind. Thanks Mr Miles."she said before taking her amulet.
"He was right. Still the amulet, whether it works or not is pretty."she thought smiling to herself as she held the amulet.
As she looked at the abandoned ceremonial circle, she realized that she was standing near the place, where Miles apprehanded the thief today.
"He´s a real nice guy."she mused before something chaught her attention.
Poking in the grass near the forest´s hedges was a large fat notebook. Curiosity getting the better of her she approached and picked it up.
"It´s really big. Wonder what´s in it."she thought as she opened the first page.
Inside it was handwritten text or notes, as she scanned the notebook, she realied that all of it was completly full with handwritten text. Chloe realized, that it was a novel - written in beautyfull handwriting. She curiously turned the notebook to the first page and read out its name, which was written above the first chapter.
"The Great Mystery"