The fairies fluttered before the golden pear tree and looked at the fountain with interest.
“You’re Fortune Fountain?” asked Hetty.
“Why, yes, the one and only, fortunate enough to be the only fountain with a fortune hahaha,” said the fountain with a laugh as it sent water hurling through the tree branches. The fairies looked at each other for a second.
“Hmmm, you’re definitely not what we expected!” stated Hetitia simply, taken aback by the fountain’s arrogance.
“Haha, interesting,” said the fountain, “and what exactly were you expecting?”
“Ha!” cried Hetitia and turned her back to him, her arms folded across her chest as she fluttered up and down on the spot.
“Interesting! I see your friend has developed a slight attitude in the last few moments that I have made her acquaintance,” said the fountain to Hetty.
“Oh! Oh! The attitude! Oh! Wandering waterfalls! I would tell you that I am her sister!” started Hetitia in a flurry as she turned around and fluttered all over the place in front of the fountain.
“Hahaha,” the fountain laughed as he spurted more water in Hetitia’s direction. Hetty rolled her eyes and sighed.
“Hetitia, we have no time for this. We need to be on our way,” said Hetty impatiently.
“Interesting! Where are you heading to fairies?” questioned the fountain.
Hetty whispered a few more words to Hetitia which made her settle down on the ground. She occupied herself by looking at the golden pears that had fallen from the tree instead. Hetty walked towards the fountain.
“Fortune Fountain, my name is Hetty and this is my sister Hetitia. We’ve come from the Land of the Flowing River and we are the princess’ fairies,” Hetty paused, “We need to get word to the other fairies in the Fairy Council.”
Fortune Fountain spurted water fountains in the air.
"Hmmm, well, now that is quite interesting,” mused the fountain.
“We just don’t know the way,” said Hetty before remembering Ice Mirror’s words about looking for the ice compass. She had said that once they reached Fortune Fountain they would have completed half their journey and should use the ice compass to carry on. Hetty looked up at the fountain. He was busy trying to make sure his water spurts reached as far as he could.
“Fortune Fountain, can you help us? We’re looking for the ice compass,” said Hetty.
“Ahhhh, interesting, the ice compass,” mused Fortune Fountain, “No one has asked me this for many years.”
“Do you know where it is, fountain?” asked Hetty.
“Hahaha know? Hahaha,” laughed the fountain sending water droplets flying in the air, “Fairy, before I tell you about the ice compass you must do something for me.”
Hetitia looked up with a scowl at the fountain on hearing his words and started muttering to herself, “Arrogant, good-for-nothing…”
“Anything! But we must get to that ice compass quick,” said Hetty.
“I have been trapped in this tree for several years,” sighed the fountain, “It was about the time when that awful avalanche happened. The water-wrestlers and that water-form-gone-evil cast a spell on me!”
Fortune Fountain was getting agitated as he spoke and the trickles of water running up and down the tree turned into violent currents. Water gushed from the foot of the tree and more water was hurled from the branches as he spoke. Hetty tried to keep her distance but needed to hear what he was saying.
“Was it Glacier?” asked Hetty.
“Aahhh don’t mention his name!!” cried Fortune Fountain.
Hetty fluttered in the air before him trying to find a way to calm him down.
“It wasn’t only him. There were others too and they cast a spell on me so that I would spend the rest of my life bound to this tree,” cried Fortune Fountain.
Hetitia was listening intently and dropped the pears she had been holding. She wandered towards where her sister was standing and started fluttering in the air listening to the words that he spoke.
“A fountain is not meant to be bound to a tree. A fountain is meant to be free to gush their water in the air, to play with the wind and reinvent itself with every squirt. I had no choice but to try and do that with this tree. It’s never been the same, you know, and ever since then I have only ever felt like half the fountain I used to be. Tell me, what is it that distinguishes me from any other water form now? You might mistake me for a current or a stream that was nudged into this tree. But never the mighty fountain that I once was,” continued the fountain.
Hetitia softened but could not help asking, “Why are you called Fortune Fountain?”
The fountain looked at her sadly, “It’s because I hold the ice compass, well, used to hold it. The compass that would never get you lost no matter where you are. You ask it a question and it tells you which way to go. I have been guardian of this compass since the beginning of time.”
“Wh-what do you mean by used to hold it? Don’t you have it anymore?” asked Hetty in a panic.
“Ahhh, my fairies, alas the water-wrestlers stole it from me when I was captured!” cried Fortune Fountain.
“Oh! Oh!” started Hetitia, looking at her sister in alarm.
Hetty sank to the ground and started wondering what they should do. The Ice Mirror had told them to look for the ice compass at Fortune Fountain. She must have known that it was no longer with him. Hetty had to keep the fountain talking until she could get to the bottom of this.
“Fortune Fountain, you said you would tell us about the ice compass if I did something for you,” said Hetty.
“Ahhh, yes, only a fairy can set me free, a fairy with magical powers unlike any ordinary fairy. Who better than the princess’ fairies! You must have been chosen by the king to be her companions for a reason. If you set me free I will tell you about the ice compass,” said Fortune Fountain.
Hetty thought to herself then looked at Hetitia who was standing with her arms folded across her chest, sceptical that the fountain would honour his word. Hetty knew that she had no choice but to trust the Ice Mirror’s words and to help the fountain.
“Very well, fountain, but you must promise that you will lead us to the ice compass,” said Hetty.
“Oh!” cried Hetitia in defiance and turned around realising that the fountain would get his freedom.
“I promise, fairy,” said the fountain earnestly.
Hetty flew towards Hetitia who was walking away, heading towards a distance from them and picking up golden pears on the way.
“Hetitia!” called Hetty.
“What is it?”
“Where are you going!”
“Oh! Oh! You can go wasting your time freeing some conceited fountain,” Hetitia spun around to face her sister challengingly, “But I have chosen which path to take and I better be on my way now!”
“Don’t be insane, Hetitia! You don’t even know if you’re going down the right path and besides we need to find that ice compass. There is no other way, don’t you remember what Ice Mirror said?” said Hetty fluttering in front of her, trying to stop her from advancing even further.
“Out of my way, Hetty,” said Hetitia as she picked up another pear. She had gathered quite a number of these golden pears that she had placed in a makeshift basket she was holding in her arms. “These pears smell lovely. I haven’t seen anything like them before!”
Hetitia kept wandering away from the path while picking up one pear after another. She seemed to be in a trance and Hetty realised that her sister might have been caught under some spell. She would have to deal with Hetitia later but first she had the matter of Fortune Fountain to attend to.
“Interesting!” said Fortune Fountain, “your sister seems to be under the spell of the golden pear.”
“Nevermind about her now, fountain,” said Hetty. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and dived into the water gushing at the foot of the tree. She fought against the flow of the water until she managed to find the source of the spout. She focused on channelling her magic towards it. After a few moments, Hetty emerged and started fluttering a distance away from the fountain.
At first nothing happened and the fountain wondered whether the fairy’s magic had indeed worked. Then suddenly, he felt queasy. The water trickling along the branches started separating from the tree and there were tens of water trickles flying in mid air. The gush of water along the trunks started separating too and until one by one the water streams were no longer connected to the tree. It was as if there was a water form in the shape of a tree standing next to the golden tree. Hetty’s wings fluttered vigorously, realising that her magic had worked.
“It worked! It worked! I’m free!” cried the fountain.
Fortune Fountain stretched as he tried to find his bearings in his newly found freedom. He forced the water spouting from him to change form until he looked like one tall, gushing, water column that flowed upwards before it branched out in multiple concentric circles that fell back to the ground again.
“You look beautiful!” exclaimed Hetty.
“Fairy! I can’t thank you enough, I owe you my life now!” cried Fortune Fountain as he slowly started to regain his strength and danced in a circle.
Hetty laughed as his mannerisms. He looked like a true fountain now but much more magnificent than any she had ever seen.
“Hahaha, interesting!” laughed the fountain, “Fairy, come we must save your sister from the pear spell!”
They headed towards Hetitia who had wandered down the right side of the fork in the path. Golden pears were piling high like a pyramid that reached her chin.
“Oh! Oh! Hetty, these pears are delightful, they’ve been telling me…” started Hetitia in a daze.
“Hetitia!” cried Hetty.
Fortune Fountain rushed towards Hetitia and crashed into her until Hetitia stood in the midst of the fountain, water gushing from her head and all around her. The fountain stayed like that for a few moments before retreating.
Hetitia’s eyes were wide with shock. She was soaked from head to toe and she looked down at the pears she was holding.
“Oh! Oh! Faltering fountains! What are these?” she cried as she dropped the pears that she was holding. They rolled away on the ground in a tumble. She looked around her not sure what had just happened.
“It’s ok, my dear,” said Hetty as she cleared up the mess and dried her sister with a wave of her hands and a flutter of her wings.
“Haha, you were caught by the spell of the golden pear, fairy. You would’ve spent the rest of your days collecting golden pears until you drowned in them. It would’ve gotten so bad that you would’ve been turned into a pear. I’ve seen many a wanderer drown and turn pear-shaped after a while,” said Fortune Fountain.
“Oh! Oh!” cried Hetitia.
Hetty laughed at the situation and led her sister back to the fork in the path where they had stood earlier at the foot of the tree.
“Remember what Ice Mirror said Hetitia, we must not stray from the path no matter what!” said Hetty. She turned toward Fortune Fountain and said, “I have given you your freedom, fountain, now it’s your turn to tell us where we can find the ice compass.”
“Haha, fairies,” laughed the fountain, strutting about and relishing his freedom as he gushed more spouts of water in the air. “I have something even better than that for you.”
Hetty and Hetitia looked at him in bewilderment. The fountain had stopped moving and had settled into a quiet squirt as he spoke thoughtfully, “The ice compass is with Glacier but that is not where you should be heading. I was always warned that a day might come when the compass would no longer be with me and I thought about all the lost souls who would forever wander through the lands not knowing where to go. That’s when I decided that I needed to give the ice compass a back up.”
The fountain’s spout became livelier as he spoke.
“You mean you have another one?” asked Hetty.
Fortune Fountain gave out a huge smile and in an animated voice said, “I am the back up!”
The fairies fell to the ground in shock.
“You?!” cried Hetitia.
“Yes, it took me years to study the ice compass and learn of its tricks and the magic within it until I learnt them all off by heart. Ask me any question and I will tell you where to go,” said Fortune Fountain as he twirled on the spot, “They don’t call me Fortune Fountain for nothing!”
The fountain winked at the fairies and stood at the foot of the tree ready for the fairies to ask him the all important question. The fairies could hardly believe their luck.
“Alright,” said Hetty, “but you do realise what this means, fountain.”
“Hahaha,” laughed the fountain as she spurted in the air, waiting for his first question in years.
“It means that you will need to accompany us on this journey because without the compass we would otherwise be lost,” continued Hetty.
Fortune Fountain continued to spurt concentric water circles in the air, his face beaming with a wide smile.
“It’s about time I exercised don’t you think?” said the fountain with another wink.
“Very well, Oh! Mister haughtiness, which path do we take to get to the Fairy Council then?” asked Hetitia cynically.
“Interesting!” said Fortune Fountain. He closed his eyes and sifted through the cryptic tricks that he had memorised and committed to memory all these years. He opened his eyes and looked at the fairies gravely.
“We must go this way,” he said pointing to the right path. It was the path that Hetitia had wandered down when she had been under the spell of the golden pear.
“Ha!” cried Hetitia, “If I don’t know any better I’d say you just did that on a hunch!”
Hetty rolled her eyes and shook her head as the two of them followed her down the path. Fortune Fountain letting out a huge laugh at her words, “Watch out for those golden pears, fairy,” teased the fountain as he shouted out at Hetitia.
Hetty smiled as she watched them and recalled Ice Mirror’s words that they would never be alone and how they would find the ice compass at Fortune Fountain. She must have known all along. Hetty flew ahead to catch up with them, comforted with the knowledge that they were on their way.