Raina the Gummy Fairy sprinkled handfuls of colorful flavor flakes into Gummy Lake. She smiled as the gummy fish swam over and gobbled up the food. Watching the fish eat made Raina's tummy rumble. She had gotten up very early and had been working in Gummy Forest all morning. When she settled on a perch high up on a gummy tree, Raina opened her backpack. All the animals in the forest were fed, and now she could relax and eat her own lunch.
Raina had an important job in Sugar Valley. She took care of the gummy animals that lived in Gummy Forest. There were many types of gummy animals, from friendly bear cubs to playful bunnies. Raina was fair and kind to each of the animals--and they all loved her.
"Hi, Raina!" a voice called out.
Raina looked up to see Dash, a Mint Fairy, flying in circles above her head. The small, sweet fairy glided down to see her.
"I was hoping to find you here," Dash said. "I need your help."
Raina was always willing to help out any of her friends. She had a heart that was pure sugar. "What's going on?" she asked.
Dash landed on the branch next to Raina. She peered over at the bowl in Raina's hand. Dash was small, but she always had a huge appetite!
"Hmmm, that smells good," she said. "What is that?"
"It's fruit nectar. Berry brought me some yesterday," Raina told her. She watched Dash's eyes grow wider. It wasn't hard to tell that Dash would love a taste. "Do you want to try some?" she asked.
"Thanks," Dash said, licking her lips. "Berry's nectars are always supersweet." Dash leaned over for her taste. Berry the Fruit Fairy had a flair for the fabulous. And she could whip up a spectacular nectar. "Yum," Dash continued. "Berry makes the best fruit nectar soup."
Raina laughed. "I don't think I've ever heard you say that you didn't like something a Candy Fairy made," she told her minty friend.
"Very funny," Dash said, knowing that her friend was speaking the truth.
"Have you come up with any ideas about what to get Berry?" Raina asked.
Dash flapped her wings. "That is why I'm coming to see you," she said. "I was hoping you could give me an idea. I know Berry would love something from Meringue Island, but that is a little too far. She's the only one I haven't gotten a gift for, and Valentine's Day is tomorrow. Since it's also her birthday, I want to make sure the gift is supersweet."
"Sure as sugar, Berry would love anything from Meringue Island," Raina agreed. Meringue Island was in the Vanilla Sea and wasthe place for fashion. Berry loved fashion--especially jewelry and fancy clothes. When Fruli, a Fruit Fairy, had come to Sugar Valley from the island, Berry was very jealous of her. Fruli had beautiful clothes and knew how to put together high-fashion looks.
"The truth is," Raina added, leaning in closer to Dash. "Berry would like anything you gave her."
"But I want to give her something she is really going to love," Dash replied. She swung her legs back and forth. "I want to surprise her with a special gift this year." Her silver wings flapped quickly. "I wish I could think of something with extra sugar!"
"I know how you feel," Raina said. "I've had the hardest time coming up with an idea." She looked over at Dash. "I'll tell you what I'm going to get her, but please keep it a secret."
"Sure as sugar!" Dash exclaimed. She clapped her hands. "Oh, what are you planning?"
Raina took her last sip of the fruit nectar. "Last night I was reading a story in the Fairy Code Book, and I got a delicious idea."
Dash rolled her eyes. "I should have guessed that this would have something to do with the Fairy Code Book," she said.
Raina read the Fairy Code Book so often that her friends teased her that she knew the whole book by heart.
"Well," Raina continued, "there is a great story in the book about Lyra, the Fruit Chew Meadow unicorn."
"Oh, I love Lyra," Dash sang out. "She grows those gorgeous candy flowers at the edge of the meadow." Just as she said those words, Dash knew why Raina's grin was so wide. "You talked to Lyra, and she is going to give you a special flower for Berry?"
Raina laughed. "Dash!" she said. "You ruined my surprise." She put her empty bowl back inside her bag. "I thought that if I got Berry a flower, I could make a headband for her. You know how she loves to accessorize."
"The more the better, for Berry," Dash added. "And those are the fanciest flowers in the kingdom.So mint! Berry is going to love that headband." Dash stopped talking for a moment to take in the whole idea. "Wait, how'd you get Lyra to do that for you? Unicorns don't like to talk to anyone!"
Raina smiled. "Well, that's not really true," she said.
"Let me guess," Dash said. "Did you read that in a book?"
Raina giggled. "Actually, I didn't," she told her friend. "To be honest, I think Lyra is just shy."
"Really?" Dash asked. "Can I meet her? Maybe she'll have another idea for a gift for Berry. Let's go now." She stood up and leaped off the branch into the air.
"I've been working all morning," Raina said. She reached her arms up into a wide stretch. "Maybe we can go in a little while?"
Dash fluttered back down to the branch. Her small silver wings flapped quickly. "Come on," she begged. "Let's go now!"
Dash was known for being fast on the slopes of the Frosted Mountains--and for being impatient. She liked to move quickly and make fast decisions.
Leaning back on the gummy tree, Raina closed her eyes. "Please just let me rest a little, and then we can go," she said with a yawn.
"All right," Dash said. "Do you have any more of that nectar?"
Raina gave Dash her bowl and poured out some more of Berry's nectar. Then she shut her eyes. Before Raina drifted off to sleep, she imagined Berry's happy face when she saw her birthday present. Sure as sugar, Valentine's Day was going to be supersweet!
© 2011 Helen Perelman Bernstein