Mikolay and Julia live in the same neighbourhood and go to the same school every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Every other weekend they attend the Magical Weekend School for children of magical creatures. Julia really likes school, and she is one of the best students.
But Mikolay wouldn’t mind if there weren’t as many Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. He doesn’t mind the weekend school because he can do lots of magic, which he really likes and is very good at.
When Mikolay and Julia aren’t at school, they usually go exploring and adventuring, which Mikolay is also very good at.
Mikolay’s and Julia’s mommies are both witches and oversee fixing things. The kids don’t quite know what their mums’ do when they are at work. But it must be important because both mommies don’t spend much time at home, which gives Mikolay and Julia plenty of opportunities to explore.
- “How long do you think mommies are going to be gone for?” – Julia asked before closing the book she was just reading.
- “My guess would be…hmm… until bedtime,” – said Mikolay, looking at the invisible planets with his magical extendable glasses.
- “I don’t understand why we have to come here every summer. There are so many other amazing places to explore.” – Julia pondered aloud.
- “I like it here! We have two crystal clear ponds to swim in and can eat as many delicious fruits from the garden as we want,” – replayed, while keeping a close watch over the planets.
- “Speaking of ponds… I’ve heard people in the village saying that those ponds are magical.” – Julia shared with her best friend. “How would you feel about exploring one of them?”
- “I don’t think there is anything “unusual” in any of them. Maybe just some overgrown fish,” – said Mikolay while putting away his extendible glasses.
- “Why don’t we check out if something besides overgrown fish lives in those ponds?” – Julia’s curiosity was growing.
- “Do you know something I don’t?” – Julia knew how to tickle Mikolay’s curiosity.
- “The Local Book of Legends…”
After hearing about yet another book, Mikolay rolled his eyes and lost interest. But Julia paid no attention to that, only stood up and began walking towards the lake.
- “…says that there were two towns in the places where the two ponds are now. The residents of both became so vain and ungrateful that Gods released water creatures to flood both to set an example for other towns,” – finished Julia.
- “And you are telling me all this only now!” – Mikolay exclaimed with a huge smile on his glowing face. He surely wasn’t bored any longer.
- “I thought you knew.” – Julia replayed with a cheekily innocent smile.
- “No, I did not!” – Mikolay shouted and picked up his pace to keep up with Julia.
- “I’ve made us two swimming bubbles, which will allow us to breath underwater but only for an hour, so we must be quick,” – announced Julia solemnly before disappearing between bushes leading her up the hill.
At the top of the hill, to Mikolay’s huge surprise, Julia vanished inside an enormous tree. He followed her inside.
The inside of the tree trunk reminded Mikolay of their mums’ office with loads of enchanted devices, magical ingredients, and herbs in large quantities.
- “This is my little workshop. I brought some of the stuff from home and managed to collect lots of herbs from the local forest,” – explained Julia, grabbing two tiny bubbles that sat on the shelf.
Her workshop was exactly like Julia’s: impressive, well organised and very neat. However, there was no time to explore the space. They were out of the tree trunk quicker than it took them to walk up the hill.
Once outside, Julia passed Mikolay, his breathing bubble.
- “Is this really supposed to keep us breathing underwater?” – Mikolay wondered aloud while carefully examining the small bubble.
- “Yes, of course.”
- “Looks rather small to me.” – Mikolay said with slight concern in his voice.
Since Julia didn’t respond, he knew that asking more questions was pointless.
- “Did you take your wand?” – she asked, completely ignoring Mikolay’s concerns.
- “Seriously? Do you even have to ask?” – Mikolay always had his wand with him, even when he wasn’t allowed to have it.
But Julia was on a mission and needed Mikolay to be ready. She wasn’t going to let any silly mistakes, such as forgetting the wand, compromise her quest. For which they only had an hour to complete successfully.
On the mellow bank of the bigger pond, Mikolay and Julia put their bubbles on. To Mikolay’s greatest relief, both bubbles stretched so well that fitting inside wasn’t a problem.
When the jelly stretch covered their bodies, the two of them dived right into the lake. Inside the bubbles, Julia installed speaking devices and a 3D map, which was set for the direction she was aiming at.
- “You planned everything, didn’t you?” – Mikolay was full of admiration for Julia’s cleverly executed plan.
- “Of course, I did.” – Julia indeed, was pleased with herself. “Oh, one more thing. We may run into some unfriendly creatures in these waters, so have your wand ready at all times.”
They didn’t have to wait long before the first troubles arrived. Two large round fishes with enormous tails appeared within their sight, and indeed they didn’t look too friendly.
- “Let’s swim faster and see if they follow us?” – Julia suggested.
The two young wizards picked up their pace. As expected, the fish followed them. In no time, many more abnormal-looking fishes with huge or small tails, huge eyes, small fins, or large heads began emerging from every part of the lake.
- “We have to…” – Julia started, but Mikolay interrupted her repeating three times: “Adamo spedato. Adamo spedato. Adamo spedato”.
Everything behind them became blurred within seconds, and an invisible wall separated Mikolay and Julia from the fish.
- “Quick! Hurry up!” – Mikolay urged Julia while swimming as fast as he could.
They swam for about four minutes before Julia pointed to a swirly tunnel, which was sucking in the water, together with everything else that came close to it.
- “The map shows that we have to go down through this tunnel.” – Julia said while getting closer to the tunnel.
- “Julia! Julia! Wait! If we go too deep beneath the sea level, our oxygen will run out faster!” – Mikolay shouted.
- “Then we have to be really quick.” – Julia was already disappearing inside the tunnel.
- “Julia, is there something you aren’t telling me? Why are you so determined to find the town?“ – Mikolay wanted to know.
But when Julia didn’t reply, he knew that she was hiding something from him. However, instead of pushing for answers, he decided to keep quiet and trust her. They swam through the tunnel for a long time before emerging at the bottom of the lake.
- “Just remember, the clock is ticking.” – Mikolay urged.
- “ I need to find the town!” – Julia cried before re-examining the map.
Mikolay could feel that Julia was leading them both into trouble, but since she was his best friend, he wasn’t going to leave her.
Suddenly, he noticed Julia frantically looking around. He looked in the direction she was looking and noticed out-of-place, tall, thick trees, which, after closer examination, were surrounding the town’s tall walls.
For the mission to succeed, Julia needed to find the book, which meant looking high and low through the tree branches.
Unfortunately, the trees and the town were guarded by grimly looking Foottoppers.
Foottoppers were nasty lake animals with two feet at each leg, falling eyes and square noses. Foottoppers never swam, only jumped, and they could jump exceptionally high and far. On top of that, the Foottoppers were abnormally long and covered with seashells.
- “So, it is true,” – gasped Mikolay, who was spellbound by the town’s glow.
- “Of course, it’s true.” – Julia snapped at him.
- “Do you know how we can get inside?” – Mikolay asked but didn’t wait for Julia to reply. Instantly he made his way towards the town’s gate as if some invisible force was pulling him in.
- “Mikolay! Mikolay!” – Julia tried to catch her friend’s attention. Regrettably, before she did catch his attention, the Foottoppers have already noticed the two of them: “You can’t just go inside the town. Once you are in, you won’t be able to get out. Try to keep the Foottoppers occupied for me, will you?” – Julia ordered before disappearing amongst the trees.
- “What on earth are you doing?” – Mikolay screamed, struggling to escape the Foottoppers, which somehow knew where he wanted to go – “Julia, let’s swim back. Julia! Julia! Hurry up! The time is running out! For me, at least, it is! I don’t think I can keep them occupied for much longer! Did you know they have wands?” – Mikolay screamed in desperation.
But Julia wasn’t answering. She was too busy searching for the book.
- “Try to hold on; I still haven’t found …” – she shouted back a moment later.
When the Foottoppers were almost all over Mikolay, Julia whooped -“I’ve got it! Let’s run!”
- “I can’t! I’m surrounded. Don’t mind me! Save yourself!” – Mikolay cried out.
Julia took her wand out and started aiming at the Foottoppers. However, unexpectedly the Foottoppers set off running back towards the town. At first, Julia thought she scared them off. But soon enough, she realized that a terrifying monster was approaching the town, and Foottoppers had to go back to protect the people trapped inside its walls.
- “We have to swim as fast as we can,” – commanded Julia leading the way towards the tunnel.
- “Really? You don’t say,” – panted Mikolay.
The two of them swam unusually fast. Neither Mikolay nor Julia dared to turn back to look at the monster. Though they tried to be quick, it took almost all their oxygen before reaching the surface and arriving safely on the dry land.
- “Why didn’t you tell me about the book and the monsters?!?” – Mikolay screamed while trying to catch his breath. He was furious that Julia didn’t trust him enough to share her plans.
- “I thought if I told you, you wouldn’t want to come with me,” – she confessed quietly.
- “So, you lied to me instead?” – Mikolay asked as calmly as he could, which wasn’t easy for him because anyone could easily see when he was very angry.
- “I’m sorry I lied to you. I’m sorry I got you in trouble and you almost got imprisoned in the water town. But I had to find “The Power of Ancient Plants,” – pleaded Julia, visibly feeling horrible about being so secretive about their mission.
- “Promise you won’t lie to me again,” – mumbled Mikolay.
- “Double promise with sugar on top.” – Julia smiled faintly before crossing her heart three times.
- “So why is this book so important?”
- “The book is full of ancient recipes that could help to heal many diseases.” –Julia was already flicking through the book.
- “What do you need it for?” – Mikolay was curious to know.
- “I’ll have to read it first…”
- “…of course you do…” – Mikolay smiled under his breath.
- “…then I’m going to give it to our daddies. I just thought that it might be a great help to them. If they already knew how to cure many diseases, they could spend more time with us instead of doing research all the time.” – Julia explained.
- “Sounds like a grand plan,” – admitted Mikolay before putting his arm around Julia’s shoulder and walking back towards the house, leaving a trail of wet patches behind.