When Bloom was in seventh grade, she had a really strange dream.
That evening before she had the dream, she had helped her mother bring in the groceries while her father was watching "The Ring." While she was taking eggs into the kitchen, she got a glimpse of the famous scene of Samara crawling out of the télévision and into the living room of a man in the movie.
She tried not to pay attention to it. It had worked, until Bloom fell asleep at night.
That night, Bloom dreamt that Samara crawled out of her television, into her living room, and chased her all over the house and then out into Gardenia. They ran for a long time, Samara screeching and groaning and Bloom in a state of utmost panic.
They knocked over stalls selling fruit, potted plants, and signs on the sidewalk. Finally, Bloom whirled around and slammed her hands on haut, retour au début of Samara's shoulders.
"Stop!" she cried. "Stop!" Samara writhed weakly at her, and Bloom got her first glimpse of her hideously deformed face, hidden under long, clumpy, wet black hair.
There was another screech. "Calm down!" Bloom cried again, trying to use a soothing voice. "Just calm down. It'll be all right. Calm down."
And she really had calmed down. Slowly, Samara stopped writhing and then stood there, looking at Bloom disdainfully. Then, she turned around and began walking back towards Bloom's house. Bloom rushed to catch up.
In her dream, Bloom watched in wonder as the deep, craggy, hideous scars on Samara's face disappeared as her hair dried up and grew shorter. The ugly stains on her white dress went away. Soon, she looked like any other Asian girl from Bloom's school. Harmless. Innocent.
They walked back into Bloom's living room. The télévision flickered on to reveal a long path, lined with cerise blossom trees. Sunlight slanted through the trees and into the living room. cerise blossom petals landed on her couch.
Samara climbed back into the pretty scene on the television, actually waved at Bloom, and ran away.
When Bloom woke up, the first thing she did was look around to see if Samara was still there. Then, she tried not to think about her dream as she continued through the day.
When she told her mom about the dream, her mom stomped over to her dad, and Bloom heard them fighting.
"Why did toi let her see that stupid horror movie?" yelled her mom. "It gave her nightmares last night!"
Bloom had burst into the room. "It wasn't a nightmare!" she cried. "I wasn't scared. Don't be angry at Dad."
Bloom had the dream for several nights. Sometimes in her dream the télévision would be mounted on haut, retour au début of a shelf, and when Samara crawled out of it, she would go plummeting headfirst onto the hardwood floor. That gave Bloom some time to get out of the house. Then Samara chased her, then the whole thing would happen again, and Bloom would wake up.
Bloom thought about the dream as she rested with Musa, Sky, and Riven. Maybe the universe was trying to send her a message. But what? Maybe the universe was saying that she could do the impossible if she were Rebelle enough. Bloom knew, after all, that if Samara did come crawling out of her télévision and chased her all over Gardenia, she would never have the courage to grab her shoulders and calm her down. And besides, the impossible had already happened. Bloom had discovered that she was a fairy. A fairy princess who could save the universe if she were Rebelle enough.
Bloom realized that the impossible was yet to happen. She could do the impossible. She could save the entire universe. All she had to do was believe in herself.
Faragonda had told her earlier, "The amount of belief a fairy must have in herself to earn her Lunarix is nothing compared to the amount of belief a fairy must have in herself to overcome her largest obstacle: herself."
Only now did Bloom truly understand what Faragonda had meant. If she really, truly wanted to save the whole universe, it would have to take a whole lot of believing. Overcoming a weakness was nothing compared to overcoming yourself.
It was finally approaching dusk in the realm of Iris.
The Winx and Specialists decided to walk around for a little bit when they stumbled across a couple of vendors selling vegetables and fruits from two gigantic woven baskets.
The products in the baskets were absolutely stunning. Fiery red tomatoes, sunset-orange mangoes, neon yellow lemons, jade-green lettuce, eggplants so purple they looked painted.
Flora recognized the young girl sitting behind the baskets with who appeared to be her parents. It was that same girl she had talked to earlier who knew everything about the Iris royal family, the girl with blue-black hair and arc en ciel powder on her body.
The girl remembered Flora, too. She smiled brightly at her. "Hello again," she said. "Would toi like some vegetables?"
"We should take some for the island, anyway," Timmy murmured. "We'll need food."
"Right," a dit Flora. They pooled some of their spending money and got some mangoes, apples, lettuce, celery, eggplant, and berries.
"Can I ask toi something else?" Flora asked to the girl after they had made their purchases. "You know for sure that they're coming here, right?"
She nodded. "Yeah," she said. "You know, if they don't let toi into the royal library, I can sneak toi in." She smiled mischievously. "Seriously. They'll be gone the whole night. You'll have hours. I know how to nab the key from watchman."
Flora's eyes widened in disbelief, and Stella muttered, "Girly, your life has gone straight to hell."
The girl snapped her head in Stella's direction and frowned. "Don't toi say that. I already know why toi want to get in there so desperately."
"Oh yeah?" Brandon challenged. "How?"
The girl grinned at them. The suivant time they all blinked at her in disbelief, the girl was not sitting before them.
Instead, there was a young woman, petite, wearing a flowing robe filled with ribbons. The robe was filled with so many different vibrant couleurs that it hurt their eyes to look at her. Her eyes were rainbow, and her lips were bright red. Long, ornate earrings of various colored birthstones dropped from her earlobes down to her elbows. Her cheeks were bright red, and her long hair appeared to be dark reddish-purple but shone with glints of millions of other colors. Sparkling, colorful stacked bangles shook and sparkled on her wrists with every movement of her hands, and her smile was one of exceeding smartness and wit.
When they blinked again, the girl was back.
"That's right," the girl a dit to them. "I'm a messenger of the great Stalene. Here I go par Scarlette, but my real name is Iris. Just like this realm. I'm the goddess of color."
"Iris," Tecna murmured. "Aren't toi also the goddess of mischief?"
"You couldn't have figured out sooner," the girl said, standing up. "Now come with me. The royals are too snobby to let toi into their so incredibly protected library."
She pulled an ornately embroidered pouch out of her pocket, opened it, and scooped out a handful of arc en ciel powder. She smeared the powder over her eyes, cheeks, and forehead, tucked the pouch back into her ceinture and strode forward. the Winx and Specialists rushed to follow.
As they walked, Helia hissed to Flora, "Are toi sure we can trust her?"
"Well, we saw who she really is, didn't we?" Flora whispered back. "Let's just try this for once."
Scarlette/Iris led them to an open golden gate. A big, fancy sign stood suivant to it, stating, "PALACE WORKERS ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT. TRESPASSERS WILL BE ISSUED SUITABLE PUNISHMENT par ROYAL FAMILY OF IRIS."
She pulled out the pouch of powder again and shook half of it over the sign. It disappeared immediately.
They all walked through the gate and into ornate gardens. They were admiring the vibrant fleurs when suddenly...SLAM!
They were all too scared to turn around. The suivant sound they heard was Scarlette/Iris swearing quietly to herself.
"Holy mother of Stalene!" she barked. They turned around to see that the gate had shut right between the group and the girl.
"I forgot," she a dit sheepishly. "The gate closes after the royals leave."
They were trapped.
This sent Layla completely over the edge. She flew to gate and slammed into it so hard that the rhinestones flew off of her indigo jeans.
"We trusted you!" she yelled. "We trusted you!" How can toi do this to us?"
"I tried!" the girl cried. Suddenly, she gasped and cupped one hand to her ear.
"Watchman!" she squeaked before quickly diving behind some bushes.
Before the Winx and Specialists had time to hide, the watchman, decked out in a bright, dignified blue uniform with shiny brass buttons, strode up to them with a disapproving expression on his face. They saw the keys dangling on an open hook attached to his belt.
He had a small, pinched-up face and had a delicate look to him. He spoke in a nasal voice.
"What are toi doing here?" he asked in accented English.
Stella stepped up right away. "We were admiring your palace gardens. They're very pretty, toi know." She nervously picked at a or button on her orange jeans.
"Didn't toi see the sign?" he demanded.
Stella crossed her arms. "Um...what sign? We didn't see any."
Layla reached into her pocket and squeezed the bottle of Andros ocean water.
"What do toi mean, young lady?" he snapped. "There was one right-" At that moment, he looked around and noticed that it was gone.
The girl crept out silently from behind the bushes. Her eyes, they saw, were glued on a key made of polished carnelian.
"Well, anywho, you're not supposed to be here. It is against the royal policy for trespassers to be..ahem...admiring the gardens."
"Are toi saying that we fellow foreigners are supposed to think that your gardens are ugly?" Tecna retorted.
The girl made a grab for the key right as the watchman shifted uncomfortably. She missed par inches.
"Of course not," he said. "These gardens are admired by...er...people from all over the universe. People are not allowed to admire them!"
Another grab. The key swung right out of her fingertips. The girl twisted her jaw in rage and shook her fists at him.
"There's a difference, toi know!" he snapped. "To admire means to look at something and think to yourself, 'Why, that's nice...'"
She made another grab as the watchman started pacing. She missed it par a millimeter. She looked ready to explode at this point.
"And to think that something is ugly is to not like it!" he snapped. "Basically toi are not allowed to be just strolling in these exclusive gardens and just staring!" He began waving his arms wildly, almost slapping the girl in the face.
"Why, of course not," Tecna a dit politely. "We're not from around here and there was no sign. toi can't blame us. Now let us go."
"THERE WAS A SIGN!" he burst out.
They stood still, staring at each other. The watchman looked like he was about to burst.
Quickly, the girl made another grab for the carnelian key. It slipped smoothly off of the hook. She grinned at them.
"And so, I'll be off now. I'll let the royals deal with you." He stalked off with his head high.
As soon as he disappeared back into the crowd, the girl quickly leapt over the gate and handed the key to them. "When the gates open again tonight for the royals to go back to the palace, just put an invisibility spell on yourselves and slip out. Don't forget to lock the bibliothèque doors after you're done. The gate is magic proof, so toi won't be able to teleport out. I wish toi all the best." She winked at them, leapt back over the gate, and was gone.