Chapter 4: The Strawberry Garden

Jed sat in his garden as the passion faded away and ice filled his mind. The garden rested just outside the bear forest. A tree stood there, with a swing and letters 'NMJ' carved into the bark inside a heart. The wind blew passed coming in from the bear forest as it shook the leaves on the tree. Jed closed his eyes as he sat cross legged in the center of the field, surrounded by blankets and a sleeping polar bear near the large rocks. Everything seemed quiet, but in Jed's mind, a darkness began to grow. The Clouffant and Heart Candy monsters were cuddled together on one of the blankets, just watching Jed as he battled thoughts in his mind. He knew they came from the darkness of the ice wall, that dark energy surrounding his home. In the back of his mind, he thought maybe he would never see Meta again, doubts that they would never embrace, worries that they would never kiss, a hopelessness that devoured his soul, torn apart from his lover. These were not his thoughts, they came from somewhere else, invading him. His pink glow turned black and the anxiety and worry created a monster out of the abyss of this dark magic. In his mind, he could see a heart being split in two, as evil goblin emerged from either side of the broken heart. They made a piercing shriek as it almost deafened the fire nymph. Jed opened his eyes and suddenly was face to face with the monster. They were floating there together, tiny dark skinned goblins with wings and a pointed fin on their head and beady little yellow eyes staring back at him.

"You caused this, gremlins..." Jed said.

The brokenhearted goblins circled around Jed, whispering dark thoughts, things that Jed did not want to hear. The words pounded against his mind, trying to break his will. He didn't want to hear anymore and dug down deep in his heart, knowing the love, trust and connection he had with his love. He got up and spun around as pink flames danced and knocked the goblins backwards, singing them both. The monsters were relentless as they reformed themselves and went after the cloud and heart on the blanket. They both flew over and grabbed either end of the Clouffant by it's feet and carried it away just as the Heart Candy woke up and leaped into Jed's arms. The cloud struggled, trying to break free from their clutch. Jed held the Heart Candy out in front of him as the heart on it's chest glowed bright pink, releasing a beam of fire at the goblins. It knocked one out as the other still had the Clouffant dangling in the air. The heart candy monster leaped out of Jed's arms and attacked the one holding on to his cloud buddy. With one strike of a fist made of hearts, sent the cloud flying into the sky. Jed watched as it soared above towards the lake. Jed flew up and grabbed it just as he saw one of the goblins come at them while the Heart Candy battled it out with the other on the ground. The Clouffant gathered some wind energy as clouds formed around it, then hurled a bluster of air at the goblin, sending it backwards. Jed let out a hand as he threw a pink fireball at it next, exploding on impact. The broken heart was destroyed and the goblin was left defenseless with no shell. Jed motioned for the Clouffant to go help the Heart Candy with the other goblin as Jed finished off the naked goblin himself. He flew forwards with pink fiery energy in each fist at his sides.

"Do not doubt us, monster!" Jed shouted.

With both fists coming in close, Jed slammed against the goblin in one swift strike. Particles of black smoke poofed as the goblin vanished back into the darkness where it came. Jed watched through the smoke as he saw the Clouffant ram the goblin on the ground with it's puffy cloud head. The heart Candy released another heart beam from it's chest, exploding on impact as it hit the goblin, letting out a screech as the broken heart shell shattered to the ground. Jed comes down landing behind his two monster pals, looking down at the wounded goblin. It was too damaged to fight anymore. Jed kneeled down at the small creature and picked it up in his hands. It coward in fear as it looked up at Jed, but Jed just smiled at it and brought it up to his face. The two monster friends looked up at the nymph, in this act of kindness and mercy.

"Do not be frightened, little monster. Let me help you now." Jed said softly.

The goblin let out a soft cry as Jed's nose touched it's forehead. A glow surrounded the little guy, bright pink and it's skin turned from black to a light pink as a year ran down it's eye, being channelled with compassion and love. Jed's fire magic grew more and more as the darkness faded. The pink goblin touched Jed's cheek with a small hand as the flame of love was returned, brighter then ever. Pink roses began to grow around them as the magic surrounded the garden with love and light. Jed's new pink heartgoblin was happy and filled with joy. It leaped up on Jed's shoulder as Jed picked up the other two monsters in his arms. Two of the elements were now gathered, ready to break the ice wall. Jed wondered where Nicholas was as he looked around the lake and towards the beach. So, he headed back to the ice wall again to tell Meta that he gathered enough fire power to fight the darkness.

"I'm coming babe..."