3. On Thin Ice

Fun In The Sun

The Faerie of Sunlight and Moonlight feels she cannot contain herself for much longer. All through the night she had dreams of spending the first glorious day of her vacation at Pixie Hollow getting reacquainted with her old friends, making new ones and having all-out fun without one care to bother her. She flits excitedly about her new home, making rosehip tea and sucking on a honey and pollen cake while going over what she had packed into various cases then once more before she magically shrinks them so they would fit into her dress pocket. She steps outside to watch the rising of the sun and becomes even more excited. She had a wonderful time planned for her friends but none are the wiser except for Tinker Bell who promised that she would have the Tinx assembled at the agreed place at the agreed time.

Finally, the bottom edge of the sun breaks over the horizon then Stella begins her planned monologue.

“Viola, what are you doing here? –

“You say Queen Clarion has summoned us to her audience chamber? –

“Right away? Okay, I’ll let the others know. –

“Yes, we’ll be there right away.”

She rushes into the house and starts banging on bedroom doors.

“Guys, guys!” she calls. “Viola was just here. We’ve been summoned by Queen Clarion.”

“Stella, what’s going on?” asks Bloom, standing in her doorway still half asleep and in her night gown.

“It seems that Queen Clarion needs to see us right away,” says Aisha.

“But doesn’t Viola usually blow her horn to herald her arrival?” asks Musa, looking at Stella with suspicion.

“I was outside watching the sun rise, so there was no need to,” replies Stella, finding herself having to think quickly.

“Well, we had better be on our way, hadn’t we,” says Tecna, who with a wave of her hand has transformed her nightgown into her civil attire.

“Not before I have at least something to eat,” states Bloom.

“There are pollen cakes and rosehip tea in the kitchen. Help yourselves,” says Stella, “but hurry.”

“What do you want us to do?” asks Flora. “Shall we dump the tea into our hands and drink it on the fly?”

“Not a bad idea, Flo,” says Stella grinning. “Maybe you should ask Silvermist how she does it.”

The Winx are soon flying towards Queen Clarion’s palace.

“Wait for us!” calls a voice behind them and the Winx turn to see the Tinx flying rapidly to join them.

“Where are you guys going?” asks Silvermist.

“We were summoned to an audience with the Queen,” says Stella.

“Strange, so were we,” says Tinker Bell.

“It seems that she needs us there so quickly that I wasn’t even given time to pat the wrinkles out of my dress and really fix up my hair,” grumbles Rosetta displeased. “Look at me! I’m in a disgraceful mess!”

When they land in the outer court, they find Viola at her desk going through the day’s dispatches.

“We have an audience with the Queen,” states Stella boldly.

“You do?” Viola begins to ask but then catches Stella’s expression and nervously shuffles through some papers on her desk. “Why yes, it seems that you do,” she says shakily. “How careless of me to have misplaced this notice. I’ll check with Her Majesty to see if she’s ready to receive you.”

“Her Majesty will see you now,” says Viola, flitting quickly back to her desk.

“We know the way,” says Stella and the other Winx and the Tinx are scrambling to keep up with her as she heads for the Chamber door.

They enter Queen Clarion’s chamber where Elixa, her personal Healing Talent, has just finished her morning examination and is packing away her equipment.

Stella and Tinker Bell stand before their queen. “You summoned us, Majesty?” says Stella.

“Summoned you?” questions Queen Clarion, frowning.

“Stella…,” drawls Musa, “what kind of mischief have you been up to?”

“Well,” says Stella, putting her arm about Tinker Bell’s shoulder, “it is the only way we could get you all together to present you with a special surprise.”

“Tinker Bell!” exclaims Rosetta, exasperated.

“Keep your wings on, Ro,” says Tink. “This is going to be worth it,” then moves to join the others in a line.

“Et voilà!” smiles Stella. “Behold Stella’s Exclusive Line of Mini-Faerie Haut Couture Swimwear!” while she spreads magic dust about herself, the Winx and the Tinx.

All are admiring themselves and each other dressed in their gorgeous new attire.

“Wow!” smiles Bloom. “You have really outdone yourself, Stel.”

“Haven’t I, dawlings,” smiles back Stella.

“All very beautiful,” agrees Queen Clarion puzzled, “but for what reason was it required that you be here?”

“Ah,” smiles Stella, “it is because the best is yet to come.”

Another magical wave of Stella’s hand and Clarion’s dress is suddenly transformed into swimwear.

“Eeep!” exclaims Queen Clarion. “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the way you Winx change clothes like that.”

“Our next piece,” begins Stella, sounding like a catwalk narrator at a high fashion show, “is a Queen Clarion inspired swimsuit designed and stitched by Stella Fashions. You will notice that it is made with gold and rare silver Solarian sun-spider silk with a royal motif pattern and light trim about the edges to add that fine touch of femininity without being excessive or obstructive. The back is partly open to allow exposure to the glorious sun but, when needed, Her Majesty is free to add a high collar and covering to protect the rest of her back and neck by attaching this accessory piece which matches and is in complete harmony with the rest of the suit. In either mode, Her Majesty’s wings can be fully deployed with complete freedom of movement….”

“Whoa baby, she’s got it!” thinks Bloom, looking at Queen Clarion in Stella’s fantastic swimwear. “Or, as Sky and the guys would put it, ‘totally babe-a-licious!’ But why does she hide it all under so much lace and taffeta?” Then she begins to think on it. “Yeah, lots of gawking and wolf whistles but no respect – too bad.”

“This will certainly be one of the best pieces in my wardrobe, Stella,” says Queen Clarion to the young fashion designer who is beaming under all this praise.

“I have another surprise in mind, Majesty,” says Stella. “I have planned for us all a fun day in the sun and it would do us great honor if Her Majesty would consent to join us.”

“I’m flattered,” stammers Clarion – surprised indeed, “but queenly duties and obligations call me away.”

“If I may be so bold, Majesty,” says Tinker Bell, “but I don’t believe that you have had a day of rest and relaxation in years.”

“Decades,” admits their Queen, “but…”

“Decades?” echoes another voice and all turn to see the Royal Healing Talent who had not left. “Then this is a matter of the Queen’s health and wellbeing. Therefore, as the Royal Healing Talent, I am ordering Her Majesty to put her crown aside and spend a day of rest and relaxation and having fun.”

“Well,” smiles Queen Clarion, “Elixa is the only one of my court who has the power to tell me what to do. It looks like I’m going with you for fun in the sun,” and there is a loud cheer of happiness and excitement.

It is midday when the Winx, Tinx and Queen Clarion reach the beach. They land barefoot on the hot sand and are oich-ing and ouch-ing as they hurry to make their way to the cool grass under the shade of some trees. However, the golden Faerie of Solaria is smiling as she throws a beach blanket over the burning hot sand then stretches out on it fully exposed to the blazing sunlight.

“Princess Stella,” beckons Queen Clarion, concerned, “come out of the sun and sit with us under some shade. You are going to be badly sunburnt.”

“Don’t worry yourself, Majesty,” replies Stella. “I’m perfectly comfortable and alright here.”

Queen Clarion frowns and still looks worried.

“She’ll be fine,” Bloom assures her. “Where we come from, there are many worlds and each of us has adaptations to live on our home world. Stella comes from a world called Solaria where there are two suns in the sky. Her people have special glands that secrete protective oils on their skin that allow them to withstand harsh sunlight and heat. In addition, she has opaque membranes that automatically slide across her eyes for additional protection. On the flip side, if she does not dress warmly enough when visiting the Winter Woods, she will die from the cold within minutes.”

“I never knew that about her!” exclaims Musa.

“Neither did I until she told me and showed me,” replies Bloom and Stella smiles without moving or opening her eyes.

Bloom folds her wings into their wing sacs and lays back on the grass. “So, what are we going to do besides sit around and chat?” she asks the others.

“Beach volleyball,” says Stella, “when it gets cooler,” this time turning to face the others.

“Silvermist can help me make a rainbow and we can all go rainbow sliding,” smiles Dess.

“I haven’t done that since I was a girl,” says Clarion, stifling a giggle behind her hand. “I believe I still remember how and, being that I’m on vacation supposed to be having fun, I guess I’m permitted to do a few un-queenly fun things.”

“A scavenger hunt!” exclaims Tinker Bell, bright-eyed.

“Tink!” scolds Vidia. “We’re supposed to be having fun not hunting for more junk for you to bring back to Tinkers’ Nook.”

“It’s not junk!” sulks Tink and crosses her arms.

“Now guys,” interjects Stella. “I went to a lot of trouble to arrange this day of fun in the sun and I will not see it ruined by squabbling. I’ll tell you what. I brought some delicacies from Solaria I’m sure you’ll all go crazy for. What about I let whomever who finds the most interesting object have first choice?”

“We could try dune surfing,” suggests Aisha, “if we can find ones that are high enough.”

“Sounds wild!” exclaims Fawn excitedly. “When it is cooler, the dragonflies come here to hunt and drink. Maybe I could persuade some of them to take us riding. It will be safe,” she quickly adds when all look concerned.

“We could build sand castles,” suggests Tecna.

“Fine,” says Musa, “but no cheating by using your ’bots to build them, Tec. We could have a sing-along tonight. I brought my flute and lute. Also, someone told me that Vidia is pretty good at playing faerie-drums.”

“Which one of you snitched?” growls Vidia, but smiling. “Silvermist? Okay then, Silvermist, then you won’t mind me telling them that you have the best singing voice,” then Sil blushes deep red and hides her face between her knees.

“Well ya’ll know that Ah can sing pretty well too,” puts in Ro, not wanting to be left out of the fun.

Silvermist and Iridessa make a rainbow and all go rainbow sliding – at least the Tinx and Queen Clarion do. For the Winx, it is more like rainbow tumbling as they all land at the bottom covered in a mad array of rainbow colors. But Stella, who was screaming and laughing her head off in delight as she tumbled down the rainbow, is soon on her feet still covered in color and raring to do it again. Later, the colors are soon washed away when the Winx go into the water for some wild splashing and a bit of friendly water rough-housing while the others stand on the shore. Then, Aisha goes for a deep dive and just at the moment Clarion and the Tinx are about to panic she breaks the surface holding a large, beautiful and perfectly intact conch shell that she presents to Queen Clarion.

Next is a scavenger hunt that all expected Tink to win. However, when finished, it is Rosetta who finds the most interesting object which looks like interconnected geometric shapes made of steel and gets to claim first choice of Stella’s treats.

“Of what practical use is it?” asks Tinker Bell, scratching her head.

Bloom walks slowly around it examining it from all sides. “It doesn’t have any practical use as such, Tink,” she tells her. “It’s a child’s puzzle. You are supposed to be able to bend the shapes around to make other shapes,” thus she earns second choice for identifying what it is.

“Oh! I see!” Tinker Bell almost squeals. “Come, Vidia, let’s see how many shapes we can make.” In a joint effort, they succeed in creating three different shapes and together get third pick but Tink believes there are many more shapes she can make.

“Maybe if I took it back to Tinkers’ Nook,” she begins.

“Don’t even think about it, Tink!” interjects Vidia and Tinker Bell relents because she already has the design firmly etched in her mind and plans on how she can replicate it in wood.

That night there is a campfire sing-along while they enjoy more of Stella’s treats. The Winx and the Tinx share songs from their realms while Musa accompanies them on flute or lute and Vidia plays the faerie drums. True to their claims, Silvermist and Rosetta have beautiful singing voices. They sing solo, in duet and then as a trio with Musa. Then Queen Clarion remembers songs and melodies from her childhood and sings to all in a clear, sweet but strong voice. The last song Clarion sings is a composition by Queen Rhianna. The melody is beautiful although the words sound a little strange as the song tells of longing for things of the past and almost unbearable loneliness but also of hope for the future. When she finishes, all sit quietly in thought for a long moment. “It is truly beautiful,” remarks Musa in a state of wonder, “but it’s not a Faerie melody. Something tells me that I have heard something like it before but my mind has drawn a blank on it. I’ll have to try to remember,” then stretches and yawns.

“It’s getting late,” yawns Stella, “and I need my beauty sleep.”

“Is everyone here and accounted for?” asks Tecna. When all answer “yes,” she claps her hands above her head and chants, “Night roof.” A transparent dome forms above them and touches the ground. “There!” says Tecna. “Now we can sleep on the warm sand and not have to worry about cold night breezes or any nocturnal predators.”

“This is not going to hurt anything?” asks the Animal Faerie, concerned.

“Not to worry, Fawn,” Tecna assures her. “At worst, anything that touches the dome will be knocked out for a few hours then wake with a splitting headache but otherwise unharmed.”

Silvermist finds a spot next to Flora but waits until she thinks the others are asleep.

“Flora,” she whispers softly and shyly, “are you still awake?”

“Kind-a,” whispers Flora. “I was meditating on the sounds of nature around us. This is the first time I’ve slept outdoors in Pixie Hollow. The sounds here are different from those of the village but still beautiful.”

“Flora…?” asks Sil again shyly and in a tone and inflection that tells Flora that Silvermist wants to ask her a question but is unsure of how it will be received.

“You may ask, Silvermist,” says Flora gently, while shifting onto her elbow to look directly at the Water Faerie. “I promise I won’t bite you.”

“I just want to say I had a wonderful time with you today and hope you will accept my invitation to come to my home for dinner tomorrow evening,” Sil tells her.

“I had a wonderful time too and I would be honored to have dinner with you tomorrow,” says Flora. “I have some bread I baked, and will bring it.”

“Thank you,” says Silvermist and Flora wonders if the Water Faerie is about to start crying. “Oh! And bring your bathing suit. I have a surprise for you.”

“What kind of surprise?” asks Flora.

“Well, if I told you that, it won’t be a surprise any longer but I’m sure you’re going to love it,” she answers.

“Then I guess I’ll just have to wait until tomorrow,” laughs Flora. “Good night Silvermist.”

“Good night, Flora,” says Silvermist through a yawn and soon surrenders herself to sleep.

“Now I’m going to be up all night wondering what the surprise is,” thinks Flora but soon even she is fast asleep on the warm sand.

Stella has all up at the crack of dawn the next day. The Winx stretch, do some warm up exercises then unfurl their wings to shake from them all the Faerie Dust that had accumulated on them overnight in a shower of gold and silver. The Tinx are also up and stretching. Queen Clarion, feeling that her hair is full of sand, unpins it to let it fall red-blonde to her mid-thighs and is brushing and combing it. She thinks to leave it down but then finds that it gets too entangled in her wings to fly, however, she finds it impossible to put it back up without help. Stella sees this as her chance to have Clarion try some different hairstyles and can’t resist trying an Icy-style high ponytail. The results are striking but again Clarion’s long, heavy hair gets caught up in her wings and she complains about the weight of it pulling painfully on her skull. Stella tries some other styles but all turn out to be as impractical as the high ponytail. Finally she does it back up as a coiled tress upon Clarion’s head complaining that it did not look much different than before. Flora looks over the final results then with a wave of her hand adds a crown of flowers that are representative of each of the four seasons. Stella grumpily admits that “It’s very à propose, dawling,” but is miffed at Flora for not having come up with the idea herself.

“It’s statistically impossible for you to succeed every time,” Tecna tries to comfort her but Stella folds her arms and looks more peeved than ever.

“Thanks a lot, Tec,” Stella grumbles, “but at least we can have more fun in the sun,” and brightens a little.

“I’m afraid I cannot stay any longer,” says Clarion. “I have matters to attend to that can’t be put aside any longer.”

“Noblesse-oblige,” whispers Bloom into Stella’s ear.

Queen Clarion is quick to pick up on Stella’s mood and cupping her chin, lifts Stella’s face to look into hers.

“Thank you for a wonderful time, Princess Stella,” Clarion says to her. “And thank you for this gorgeous swimwear,” then Stella begins to smile. “But as a princess, I know that you have had enough training in royal duties and obligations to know that a good queen’s duty is to attend to the needs of her people first even when she feels like just running off to have fun all day.”

“She’s absolutely right about that, Stella,” seconds Aisha fervently. “Maybe next visit, we should have you be Queen of Pixie Hollow for a week and let Queen Clarion go on vacation. It will give you a real taste of what it will be like when you become Queen of Solaria,” then all laugh including Stella.

“Then the next year will be my turn,” puts in Bloom and all laugh even harder as they clean up camp and make ready to lift off back to the village.

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