The fairies left the Fairy Council wondering how they would make it to the Wallowing Waterfall. They stepped out of the palace gates after bidding farewell to the guards and looked around them trying to find Fortune Fountain. He was nowhere in sight.
“Ha! He’s gone off wandering again,” started Hetitia waving her arms in the air, “Just like a wandering waterfall.”
A wandering waterfall suddenly appeared in mid-air until she brushed it away with her wings. Hetty swooped up in the air, high enough so she could see into the distance, trying to find any sign of Fortune Fountain’s water spouts. But still there was no sign of him.
“This will never do! Where has he gone now?” said Hetty in a frustrated tone.
The fairies backtracked up the path that they had just been on, until they started hearing voices not very far away. Their pace quickened and as they did, the voices got louder. It was Fortune Fountain with an army of snowdrops and fairies encircling something or someone. The fairies edged in closer and fluttered higher to get a better view. They saw him crouched down in the middle – Glacier.
“Oh! Oh!” cried Hetitia.
Fortune Fountain turned around, as did the rest of the crowd, to the sound of Hetitia’s shriek. Hetty had to hold Hetitia back who was all set to fly into a rage at Glacier.
“Patience, dear sister,” whispered Hetty.
Fortune Fountain circled his captive who was being held down by hundreds of snowdrops. They tightened their grip as he squirmed and struggled to escape.
“You’re going nowhere, there’s no use struggling,” said Fortune Fountain calmly, “Now, where is that ice compass?”
Glacier’s mean expression started to turn into one of fear and regret. He was shivering and his ice flakes fell off, until he could bear it no more. He realised his predicament and decided to give in. Something old and familiar suddenly revived within him at the sight of the princess’ fairies. He longed for those days when he would take the royal family on tours in the river; the king, queen and princess on his back and the fairies fluttering nearby. Tears started to well up in his eyes and turned into icicles when they tried to crawl down his face. He wiped them away but found more hurtling forth. He started sobbing openly.
The fairies looked at each other in surprise. This was so unlike the mean traitor that he was known for. They looked at Fortune Fountain who was standing still, watching Glacier closely.
“I am no fool, Glacier! Is this another one of your ploys?” stormed Fortune Fountain, water spurting all over the place.
There was no reply and Glacier found himself overcome by a stream of tears that would not stop. He cried for a full five minutes with the crowd watching and murmuring, not knowing what to make of the situation. Finally, he sniffled, wiped his eyes and nose then looked up at Fortune Fountain.
“I give in, Fountain,” said Glacier meekly.
Fortune Fountain was taken by surprise and blinked a couple of times before finding the words to respond.
“Hahaha,” he laughed loudly in disbelief, “What? So easily? What do you take me for! I trusted you once. I will never trust you again.”
“No, Fountain, it’s true I give in,” said Glacier again with his head bowed.
“No battle? No fight? I have waited for this moment for years!” yelled Fortune Fountain.
Hetty and Hetitia were getting quite agitated as they fluttered on the spot not quite understanding what Glacier was up to. They were sure that he had something up his sleeve but all they could do was watch. Glacier said nothing.
“Speak icicle!” shouted Fortune Fountain while advancing towards him in threatening motion.
“Wait! Stop!” cried Glacier in desperation. He started sobbing again as he tried to explain his situation. “Stop you must believe me. I was wrong. I am wrong. If you plan to kill me then at least listen to me before I resign myself to fate.”
Fortune Fountain stood there, cynicism flowing through his water spouts. He was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt but if he felt any form of deceit he vowed that he would kill Glacier then and there without any warning. He would explain it all to the king afterwards.
“Very well, icicle, speak but first you must give me the ice compass. Do not try my patience any further!” said Fortune Fountain, “If you give in as you say you do then give me the ice compass now!”
Glacier took in the weight of Fortune’s words and nodded in acquiescence. He fumbled around within the deepest ice pockets he had while the snowdrops tightened their hold on him. He produced the ice compass and handed it over to Fortune Fountain. It was such a sight, a million tiny pieces of crystallised ice flakes that had been put together like a work of art. A solid gold frame held it all together. The dial was in solid gold too and it had a thick crystal cover. Fortune Fountain grabbed the compass off of Glacier and quickly handed it over to Hetty and Hetitia. They held on to it for dear life and started admiring its construction. They peered into its face but could not see the dial clearly. The cover was as thick and concave as the bottom of a bottle. They frowned and packed it safely away.
“Now speak,” said Fortune Fountain, addressing Glacier.
Glacier took a moment to gather his thoughts. He gulped and took in a deep breath.
“Many years ago I was a true ally to the king. I accompanied the royal family everywhere they went. I was a true soldier of the king’s army and I fought many battles for him,” said Glacier as he looked around at the crowd.
“Then something happened. I became weak. We all go through moments of weakness but this was unlike any other. It was Storm Blazer’s influence on me. It took years of brainwashing, years of feeding me small doses of poison until I was completely under his spell. He would order me to do things and I would find myself doing them without a second thought. I don’t know how it happened and how I could’ve found it in my heart to do what I did after that.”
Glacier paused as he tried to swallow the tears of guilt and remorse. He went on, “After what happened to the queen, everyone was after me. Oh! Storm Blazer was smart when he left me to bear the brunt of it all. I was the one who was left to face all of the rage and anger and Storm Blazer, well, no one was after him as much as they were after me. You were all after me, you still are. But what you don’t know is that I have been living the past years on the run. Ever since what happened I have been doomed to be a fugitive for the rest of my days. I am not allowed in the Land of the Flowing River because of the king’s spies who would instantly alert the king. Storm Blazer has no longer any use of me and I have resorted to hiding in the Land of the Fairies forevermore.”
Glacier wiped away some more tears that had iced over his face before going on, “The poison that Storm Blazer had given me has slowly started to wear off. The daze I had been under is starting to clear and I recently found myself questioning my existence and all the things that I did in the past.”
Glacier started crying now, “Please forgive me Fortune Fountain. I know now that what I did was wrong.”
“Then why didn’t you come and set me free!” said Fortune Fountain.
“I didn’t have that power within me. You know that only special fairies could do that and besides,” Glacier paused, “I didn’t have the courage to face you while you were all tied up to that tree.”
Fortune Fountain paced around Glacier eyeing him carefully. He was not convinced. He had trusted him once and had paid the price and was not about to do it again.
“Have you finished?” asked Fortune Fountain.
“If you spare me, I promise to be your most faithful ally,” pleaded Glacier.
“Ahh! Famous last words, an icicle would say anything to save his ice flakes!” mocked Fortune Fountain. He turned around to the fairies, “Fairies, prepare for battle we will take Glacier back to the king and he will see the best way to deal with him.”
“No!” cried Glacier, “Wait! I can help you! Wait, I have information about the humans!”
Silence filled the woods as everyone was stunned by Glacier’s last words. Hetty and Hetitia looked at each other in bewilderment. Fortune Fountain stopped in his tracks and blinked several times.
“What?” said Fortune Fountain, “Humans? Wh..what…”
“The humans! I have information about them, the ones who have captured the princess!” cried Glacier again.
“How did you know…” started Hetty.
“The water-wrestlers I found out from them about the princess’ escape from the castle and her venture into the Dark Forest after her encounter with Storm Blazer,” Glacier gulped, “I know about the doctor, his intentions and how he collaborated with Storm Blazer! I know things! I can help you.”
“What doctor? What are you talking about?” roared Fortune Fountain.
Hetty fluttered anxiously on the spot. Glacier had spoken of the exact sequence of events that the princess had gone through. How had he known? She had no idea what humans were or who the doctor was but she felt that there might be a ring of truth to what Glacier had just said.
"Fortune, listen we have the ice compass now and we can find our way to the Wallowing Waterfall. We must be on our way and cannot waste anymore time. We can inform the king of Glacier’s capture as soon as we get there,” said Hetty.
“Fairies, I promised to come with you all the way and I am not about to back out now!” said Fortune Fountain as he winked at Hetitia who rolled her eyes and fluttered away.
“And what, pray, will you do with Glacier? You need to interrogate him and get the information he claims to have out of him,” said Hetitia.
“Interrogation is for the king’s guards, fairy. But what you say might be true. He might know things that may be of use to us and we must take him with us. We have no choice but to trust him at this stage,” said Fortune Fountain thoughtfully.
He turned away from the fairies towards Glacier, “You’re coming with us and you better keep talking about what you know.”
Glacier gulped and nodded, “The princess has been captured by the humans and they are dangerous people. I have heard about one of them, the doctor, who has visited the Land of the Flowing River many times. He met with Storm Blazer who helped him get back home but there was a price to pay and the human made a pact with Storm Blazer to give him what he wanted.”
“And what is it that Storm Blazer wants?” asked Fortune Fountain cautiously, fear filling his water droplets.
"The Amber Crystal…” Glacier’s words trailed off.
Hetty and Hetitia stopped in their tracks their wings fluttering with panic.
“Are you sure of what you’re saying you good-for-nothing icicle?” cried Hetitia.
“Yes, fairy, I swear it!” said Glacier, his eyes pleading.
Fortune Fountain continued to talk to Glacier trying to get as much information about the humans as he could while the fairies’ thoughts were elsewhere. They had secured Glacier and were walking down the path. Every so often, Fortune Fountain would stop and immerse the ice compass in the water coming from his fountains so that he could read the directions. She watched carefully how the compass cover changed to show a three dimensional image on the dial giving out directions. It happened each time that Fortune Fountain immersed the compass in water. That was why she had not been able to read it earlier. Her thoughts went back to Glacier’s words and she held on to her sister’s hand as they walked down the path with Fortune Fountain and Glacier in tow. Ice Mirror and the Fairy Council warned them that they were all in danger and Glacier’s words confirmed it. If Storm Blazer ever managed to get hold of the Amber Crystal with the help of the humans then that would be the end of their worlds. The situation was much more serious than they had first realised. It was not a matter of the kidnap of the princess, it was far more gruesome. They had to get to the Wallowing Waterfall and fast.
“Come on, we have no time to waste,” said Hetty solemnly to the others as she flew high and low along the path.