The Magic of Sparkles : Chapter 5

The Magic of Sparkles : Chapter 5
And before I knew it, we were rock climbing near the edge of the waterfall without haste, Bowski on my back urging me to keep up the pace.
"You're lucky I grew up climbing, " I pause to catch my breathe.
So many questions are running through my mind. Where are we headed and who might be on the other side. 
"Almost there Ø," Bowski's voice echoes behind me.
After a few hours of climbing and resting, we finally make it to the top - a stark contrast from the luscious foliage beneath us as I survey the Humble Park landscape from above.
"It's best to look forwards, not backwards, " Bowski slowly climbs down to the desert ground. "Welcome to Buckstaff Bluffs Ø"
I turn around and quiver at the desolate ghostly nature of the desert landscape before us. "Are you sure we're headed in the right direction?" I mention nervously.
"We're visiting an old friend," Bowski takes a seat surveying the awkward rock formations and thick musty air. "There's beauty in even the darkest of places," Bowski smiles. "You'll see." After a moment to catch our breath, we head up the hill, past ugly trees with no leaves.
As the sun begins to set, the sky is a painting of red, orange, and purple-ish hues that I must admit is a wonder to see amongst the desolate grounds.
"Look! Over there," Bowski points their paws down to a stream glistening orange-blue with a few bushes surrounding the boulder surrounding the area. I notice a creature standing above the surface of the water seemingly blinded by the wonders of the sky.
"Is that your friend?" I proclaim while we make our way down. 
"That's Mr. Sparkles all right, " Bowski limps in joy, hopping from one rock to another.
After reaching the bottom, I am immediately overtaken by the beautiful red, orange, greenish hues of the leaves on the bushes and trees surrounding the stream. The light from the rays of the sun providing a nice sense of comfort.
"Hamlin, is that you?" Mr. Sparkles Emerson turns their gaze towards us, their eyelids glowing in the dark.
"My, you've grown up," Bowski leaps forward to embrace their friend. "More the wiser I presume?" Bowski Laughs.
"You haven't changed a bit," Mr. Sparkles mentions. "How bad is it?" Emerson points to Bowski's leg. 
Bowski shrugs and turns towards me, "Ø I'd like you to meet an old friend of mine, Mr. Sparkles Emerson."
"It's a pleasure to meet you," I wave politely, before Mr. Sparkles puts their arms around me in tears.
"Thank you for taking care of my dear friend Ø. We are lucky to have you, " Mr. Sparkles puts me down. "You both must be tired and hungry."
Not soon after, we are sitting near a campfire by the stream having eating all the best pickled herring I could muster, drowned by a few pints of this delicious buckwheat farmhouse ale loaded with shiso and lemon balm.
"Where did you get all these ingredients?" I ask in wonder.
"I'm glad you like it Ø," Sparkles grins. "The shiso and lemon balm grow near the stream here, and the buckwheat comes from Lady Flucom's farm. It's the only grain that grows around these parts, unless you can make the trek down to Cole Thumper's estate, but you'd have to pass Sambuca's gravesite to..."
"Nevermind that," Bowski interrupts Mr. Sparkles, who is visibly distraught. "It's really good to see you Emerson."
"You too Hamlin. You two get some rest. Lots of terrain to cover ahead of you, " Mr. Sparkles rises and puts out the fire.
Late into the night, I open my eyes and notice the full moon above us, but the stream is also glowing much brighter, almost neon like. I turn to see if Bowski is witnessing this marvel, but they aren't there. I sit up to look around in a bit of worry.
Amidst the burst of color from the waters, I catch a glimpse of what appears to be Mr. Sparkles standing at the foot of the stream, eyes closed, muttering to themselves. Suddenly, Bowski appears, limping into the glistening waters, only to be completely swallowed calmly into the abyss.
I scream in panic and horror, shaking with terror.
"Ø wake up, wake up!" Bowski pats their paws on my back. I open my eyes and hug Bowski in relief.
"You're okay, you're okay. I thought, I thought," I finally come to my senses, realizing it was all a terrible dream. 
"Here, drink this," Bowski hands me a cup of hot apple cider, which has a soothing calming effect. 
Not soon after we are up and ready to head out. We say our goodbyes to Mr. Sparkles Emerson, who thanks us for visiting, and head for the boulders ahead of us.
As I follow in Bowski's footsteps, I notice they are no longer limping. Was it really a dream?

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