Raina the Gummy Fairy was enjoying a quiet afternoon in Gummy Forest. The sun was beginning to set, and she was feeding the gummy fish. Twice a day she sprinkled the flavor flakes into Gummy Lake. Raina loved taking care of the animals who lived in Gummy Forest.
All of a sudden a loud voice startled her.
“Raina!” shouted Dash the Mint Fairy.
Dash whizzed down to the ground as if she were in a race. She nearly knocked Raina over when she landed.
“I am so happy to find you!” Dash cried.
“Whoa!” Raina exclaimed. She stumbled backward as Dash hugged her. When Raina saw her friend’s face, she gasped. “What’s wrong?”
Dash pushed a lock of her blond hair out of her face. Her small silver wings were beating superfast. “I really need to talk to you,” she said, panting.
Dash was one of the fastest fairies in Sugar Valley. Raina could tell that Dash had just made the trip to Gummy Forest in record time.
“Okay, okay,” Raina said. “Slow down. There’s no race today.” She smiled. No one loved a race more than her friend Dash.
Dash put her hands on her knees and took a few deep breaths. She took an extra-long breath in and out before she spoke. “It’s Mallow,” Dash finally said.
“The frosted white owl in Marshmallow Marsh?” Raina asked. She looked very concerned. She put her feeding bucket down. “Is he all right?”
Dash shook her head. “I am not sure,” she said. Dash’s blue eyes were wide with concern. “He was acting very strange when I saw him.”
“What do you mean?” Raina asked.
“I think that he may be hiding something,” Dash replied.
Raina looked at Dash carefully. Mallow was an owl, so he spent his days sleeping and his nights exploring Sugar Valley. “Wait a sweet second,” Raina said. “What were you doing in the marsh so late at night?”
“That is what makes this all so strange,” Dash told her. “I just saw Mallow! In the afternoon! And he wasn’t sleeping.” She took another deep breath before continuing. “I was getting some marshmallow frosting for my racing sled, and there he was!”
Raina looked up at the darkening sky. “Well, it is close to nighttime now,” she said. “Soon it will be Sun Dip. Maybe he was getting up a little early?”
Dash leaped up in the air. “I don’t think so. He didn’t look like he had slept at all. He
wasn’t very chatty, either,” she said. “You know Mallow loves to tell stories. But just now he rushed off and barely had time for a quick hello.”
“Let’s sit down over here,” Raina said. She guided Dash over to the dock by the lake and they sat down on the edge.
“I’m not just upset by seeing Mallow,” Dash said. “There’s something else that’s worrying me.”
Raina watched Dash carefully. “What else?”
“Well,” Dash said, “before I was at the marsh, I noticed broken candy canes in Peppermint Grove along the Chocolate River shoreline.” She tilted her head. “Do you think that might be part of the reason Mallow is acting so strange?” She wrapped her arms around herself. “Do you think maybe there is something or someone haunting the marsh?”