‘Let’s have a party!’  The bears, particularly Angela, had been asking for a party for days on end and finally their demands were to be met.

After all they had worked very hard on the sacred mapping project and London was complete. It was almost a week later and Pippa’s demons had been successfully eliminated.  It had freed her to be her real self at last and she seemed to be lit with a light from within.  Everyone noticed it.  People on the street looked at her and this was taboo in a big city like London.  Bank tellers talked to her with smiles wreathing their faces.  Prior to her transformation they had always glowered at her and been rude.  It was hard to put a finger on exactly what happened but standing up for herself and taking firm action seemed to have been the trigger.

Pippa and Nigel had reached an accord of sorts.

‘It does make sense,’ Nigel had said the last time he called into the bookshop, almost grudgingly, even though he of all people knew about magic. ‘In the area of the supernatural, anything is possible!’

Pippa knew that all that he wanted was to continue and strengthen their relationship, that much was obvious. Pippa realised that she missed his large presence in her life, but an elf, now that was really being ridiculous.

Time had literally flown. In the secret room of Mr. Paddy’s Bookshop all was well. The STT were singing in harmony as they finished the final pieces of the sacred map of London. All they were doing now was increasing the vibrancy of the colours. Angela was dancing around the secret room; her big black and white paws hardly touching the ground she was so excited.  Mr. Vinny was trying to keep some sort of order but it was getting much harder.  Biggles had already left for the secret destination where his yellow helicopter was hidden.  He had instructions to ferry the bears over in relays there were so many of them.  And now, back at the bookshop the bears were vying for positions in the helicopter.

None of the bears, except for Teddy and Tina of course, had ever been to Ireland.  As for having the opportunity to go to a giant’s special retreat, well that was certainly too much excitement for Angela.  The smaller bears were more reticent about it, but between them the auxiliary team were choosing special outfits.

Merle their official dressmaker had been brought in on a special assignment to help. The smaller bears were going to wear matching outfits, despite Shitzu’s protestations.  She had originally wanted to wear traditional Japanese dress, but she changed her mind when Merle showed her the gorgeous material made of live silver stars that she was going to use.  Cawfield and his band of crows had been flying all around the place delivering special rainbow engraved invitations.

Nigel was preparing to make the drop of the last map to Books and Bears. It was to be his last trip to York.  He had not told Pippa how he was going to get there.  She still wondered how he was able to appear and disappear so very quickly.  He had promised to bring Rufus back with him and probably even Jimmy and Rose.  Jimmy and Rose loved a party especially if there was Guinness to be drunk, so Pippa felt that Nigel would probably hit it off with them very well.

Then it was time for the well-deserved celebration.  The London master map was ensuring that the newspaper reports on the homeless, or their steadily decreasing numbers, were increasing daily, a sure barometer of the changes happening in the city. The Oceanic map of the Atlantic Ocean was now the priority so that the dolphins, seals, whales and other incredible sea creatures had a sanctuary in which they could rest and revive before facing the open sea again.

Pippa’s layered rainbow dress was an instant hit. Underneath the rainbow layer was a gorgeous silver slip of a dress, which appeared as a glittering shape of silver tissue.  A wide hip sash sparkled in the light – emerald and jet. She was floating around on cloud number nine.  Merle had excelled herself.  Merle was planning to circulate through the gathering crowd to see her creations being shown off by many of the guests.  She was dressmaker to the stars as well as being the star Titanium herself. No doubt as soon as she reached the magic precincts of Gerry’s castle her form would change to that of the Queen of the Fairies herself.

Blackie rolled along on his short black legs with a polka dot bow tie as part of his new cream suit. Christopher was there in new aqua coloured trousers with a bright shirt in a matching shade. Merle and Abby joined them now as they made their way towards the entrance hall of the huge castle. The girl bears, Tina, Angela, and Honey, in particular, were all sporting her special creations and Merle revelled in seeing them come alive on their furry bodies. The smaller bears looked extraordinary in their star outfits. Everyone was happy.

Tina walked a little way ahead anxious to see inside the castle.  She was sporting a beautiful creation made of butterflies all linked together.  The butterflies were real and had given freely of their time.  When the party was over they would fly away but for now they were content to work with Tina to show off her unusual beauty to the assembled guests.  Angela bounced up and down on her back paws.  She wore a black velvet number that showed her white glossy fur up in a wonderful way, cut a little daringly in the front, Pippa thought. As for Honey, her dress was of pink roses, all fresh and all dancing around her body.  The roses had also given their services freely and Honey gave off a perfect scent as she bounced along on her honey brown paws.

In the lane outside Gerry’s castle of dreams at the Bridges of Ross were some red post vans and some tractors parked in unruly lines. Pippa, on her way in, guessed that the Tractor Men and at least some representatives from the English postal fraternity were going to be present.  That was a surprise in itself. She wondered how the green Irish Post group felt about that. And then she noticed that there were some green vans too.

‘Oh, co-operation, what a wonderful thing it is,’ she hummed to herself.

They were, in fact, the first group she saw after she and the STT had greeted Gerry.  She had been right.  Once the bears and the members of the Holy Alliance entered the magic precincts of the castle they changed into their true forms.  The bears elongated overnight delivery Spellbinder bodies showed off their garments splendidly.

Pippa was intent on speaking with Mr. Paddy who was in one corner of the magnificent entranceway in deep conversation with Ennis, King of the Elves. When Pippa approached they stopped their earnest exchange and greeted her with pure delight.

Mr. Paddy kissed her on both cheeks. ‘Pippa, you look absolutely beautiful.  It matches with the person you have become.’

David Toddhunter was there in his real form as king of the elves. Ennis nodded his head sagely looking at her with deep and luminous elvin eyes.  He seemed to be waiting for something as he continued to regard her and nod and smile.  Pippa knew what it was.  She handed him a bundle of Louisa’s letters all done up in a beautiful rose patterned paper.  He accepted them almost reverently and simply smiled at her again. Pippa spent only a little more time chatting with them before walking off to explore the beautiful interior of the magic castle. She felt that Ennis wanted to be alone with the letters at least for a time.

It was a gala occasion and every one who had participated in the sacred re-mapping project was there.  Pippa saw Cawfield and the black Crows who had played such an important role fostering the communication network.  Cartland and Candy, his cousins, were there too, resplendent as were all their relatives, sporting black ties with little white bibs, which gave them a certain ‘touch of class.’  Cawfield Company as their publicity represented them, escorted the guests on guided tours around the castle and for a time Pippa joined in, wandering at the back of the tour and  feeling elated. Shitzu and the members of the Asset Team had decided to come to the party on roller blades.  They were still small even in their spellbinder form and they needed help to get around.  Every time she turned about, Pippa saw one roller blade by.  She was horrified at the sight but soon gave up and joined in the fun spontaneously.

A new member of the alliance, the Orchid Lady of Singapore was there, notwithstanding  the long trip, talking with Merle who had completely transformed into Titanium.  Pippa was introduced and stayed to chat and to admire Merle’s metamorphosis. She was formally dressed in a rich shine of blue satin, heavy silk, the genuine article, and definitely no modern synthetics for her.  The sleeves and the high-netted collar seemed from an earlier century and emphasised her slender form perfectly.  Lace cascaded down the front of her outfit that had obviously been woven on fairy looms.

Pippa’s attention focused on the Lady of Orchids. The trip between Singapore and Ireland was a long one, but she looked superb.  Pippa just did not see how she could use the regular airlines.  But then she still only knew some of their magical secrets. The Deva had thoughtfully supplied fresh orchids for the castle from Singapore. They were in every possible position, decorating the high ceilinged rooms with the tang of the exotic richness of the East.  They hung in magnificent strands down the staircase balustrades and they were at least partially contained within a string of Tang Dynasty vases that decorated every floor of the multi-storied castle.

Pippa’s first impression as she took part in the guided tour was that the colours of the orchids matched the magnificent colours of the rainbow dress that she was wearing. There was a strong affinity between the orchids and the dress that she could feel as she walked. The creation was so magical it looked and felt just like a real rainbow. What a celebration!  Pippa had not neglected to wear her eye, the beautiful piece of jewellery that Mr. Paddy had given her both as a protection and a present.  Only tonight it was on public display winking and blinking brightly as it clung gently to her throat.

And then she felt rather than saw him.  Nigel Patrick Moloney had entered the castle. Nigel captured Pippa immediately and led her away.  It was time for them to be able to spend some private time together after all the comings and goings.

They spoke of faraway dreams and the project just completed.  ‘I don’t need a bodyguard anymore, Nigel.’  Pippa sounded slightly tentative and sorry because she was certainly going to miss him.

Pippa could feel Nigel’s body language change almost imperceptibly as if she had dealt him some sort of body blow.  Soon after that they parted company agreeing to meet about half an hour before the light and sound show on the balcony scheduled for 11p.m.

As the party progressed Pippa became introspective and quiet for a time trying to analyse her unusual situation. The pace of the change had been so fast and incredible.  She withdrew from the throng on the first and second floors of the castle and wandered to the upstairs area.  Here it was quieter and she sat in a beautiful chair in the video and sound room and simply relaxed in letting her mind wander along free and untrammelled.

‘Well, what have I learnt from this lot?’  Too much had happened, there had been too many events tumbling over one another in her life.  She had been on some sort of immense roller coaster.  She had been flung from pinnacle to pinnacle, never daring to stop.  There was simply too much at stake for her to even think of pausing. She sat still for a time and then went downstairs again as she particularly wanted to experience the view from Gerry’s incredible balcony, which hung out cantilevered across the wild Atlantic Ocean that pounded below.  This was the very ocean that was being remapped so it was fitting that Gerry lived right above it.

‘The down side,’ she thought as leant out over the startling huge balcony, ‘what was it?’  Certainly not the party and not tonight.  Here she was on a balcony that seemed to hang over the ocean suspended in the middle of the air.  It felt anything but gentle – it tipped and swayed in the wind making her feel as if she was flying.  The sensation was incredible and she felt the strength of her compassion for the world flow through her veins, pushing out anything left there that was intrinsically still self-centred.

The clouds did their usual thing.  They moved in a slow procession across the moon, so that the light changed, dimming and brightening alternatively.

She remembered one of her Aussie friends saying to her on the phone a few days previously. ‘You don’t want to come back to Australia.  You are alright and you don’t really care for anyone here anymore.’  It was not exactly true but she couldn’t tell him this on the phone.  She needed to talk to her friend face to face.  The game was much bigger than anyone could have imagined.  She had sacrificed plenty in the choices she had made.  And there was definitely no way that she could tell them by phone or relay the information by mail.   They would have to experience the huge changes coming into the world as a result of the sacred remapping process for themselves.  This made her a little sad.  She would have loved to include her old group of friends in her new life but this was not to be, at least not yet.

The wind whispered in the branches of the trees that flowed to and fro around the castle, by a trick of the moonlight seeming to move closer and closer to her balcony.

‘It will rain before morning,’ she said to the trees, and  they seemed to answer. ‘ But that is how Ireland remains so green.’

Meanwhile back in the streets of London something was happening that no one at the party knew about.  Outside Pippa’s flat an enormous black cat, looking as if he had been living in the London drains, waited patiently.  His tail was the only sign of life.  Sometimes it pointed up at the starry heavens. He was ready for the time that Pippa returned home.  Big Arthur had decided to wait for as long as he needed to wait for her ultimate return.  He was a patient cat.  He knew his own mind.  And now that the game was up he knew what side he should be on.  It was just a matter of convincing the gullible Pippa, or at least that was what was going through Big Arthur’s mind as he cased the environs leading up to the flat.  His eyes were glazed over as if he was in deep contemplation. It was free of helpers and caretakers because Ben the Barrowman, Milo the caretaker and Aggy, the bruised and beaten Bag Lady were all at the celebration in Ireland.

At this exact moment, Pippa was talking with Ben the Barrowman who was telling her that the caretakers had been part of her line of defence.

‘Good and deep,’ Ben was saying to her. ‘ You could certainly blackmail me good and deep.  If anyone found that I was selling magic fruit and vegetables, what do you think they would do?’

He grinned his cheeky toothy grin at her. ‘I hope you realise, Pippa,  that you could blackmail me for years.  If my so-called customers heard about this -‘.

Up until this very moment she had not known the extent of the protection that had been afforded to her by these brave people.  Milo was telling her about all the fun and games they had trying to keep tabs on her.  Pippa was laughing at the antics they had performed in order to keep their presence secret from her.

And then she met Aggy, the Bag Lady who had sat outside the supermarket and performed so beautifully.  She looked so completely different that Pippa hardly recognised her. The bruises, she was told, had been real. They had gone away.  There was a glint in the Bag Lady’s eyes as she too told Pippa her tale.

Aggy stabbed Pippa playfully in the ribs with her finger. ‘Get on with you.  You never knew what was going on did you?’  Aggy cocked her head on one side and looked at Pippa.

Pippa laughed with her, Milo and Ben. ‘Thank you. What an amazing trio you are!’

‘Ben knows everything there is to know round there,’ said Aggy in a stage whisper, ‘everything and everyone.’  With that the golden dog Anubis from Yorkshire rushed into the party, alert and happy to be part of this wonderful scene.  Aggy was frightened of dogs after all her experiences on the London streets, but it was not long before the two of them had become friendly and indeed ambled off together.

Pippa saw Jimmy and Rose standing together looking around the castle with anticipation etched on their faces.  Jimmy was outfitted in his green leprechaun suit.  She admired Jimmy as he strutted his stuff as Liam the Leader of the Leprechauns.

‘Over here, Pippa,’ they hailed her enthusiastically and Pip had her glass of champagne refilled by a faery attendant as she approached them.

Pippa wanted to know who Rose really was. Rose had changed too, but Pippa did not have time to work out exactly how. One thing she did notice was her glorious hair.  Rose had braided her hair, which hung in a thick shiny rope down her shoulders emphasising the curve of fabric across her slim body.  The gently gathered green skirt that she wore belled out becomingly.  In fact she looked gorgeous.

‘Thanks you two for all your help to me in York,’ she said as she approached.  ‘Rose, I have to ask, who are you?’

‘Why, Pippa, you may have to wait a while to find out.’  Rose simply was not going to tell her.

The three of them decided to take a special tour of Gerry’s furniture and artefacts.  Pippa had heard rumours about his extraordinary carpets.  Apparently it was possible to press a small button underneath the carpet and they came alive and even flew.  This applied to some of the furniture as well. She and Liam and Rose had great fun playing with a set of oak chairs that obligingly grew wings and were about to fly out of the room when the happy threesome stopped them. At the same time they exchanged confidences.

But Pippa was called away abruptly when she noticed Big Rufus walking by with Angela Bear both of them sipping champagne.  Angela had stars in her eyes.  Pippa knew that was a bad sign with Angela, whether she was in her spellbinder form or not. It simply meant that Angela was playing up and likely to go too far. Angela broke into gales of high-pitched laughter as she and Big Rufus disappeared out of view with Pippa hot on their trail.

But Pippa never actually intercepted her target. Nigel came to claim her then.

‘Nigel,’ she called to him, delighted at how magnificent he looked in his dinner suit. ‘Liam and Rose are here.’  They turned and retraced Pippa’s steps and found them. ‘We are old friends,’ said Nigel as he shook hands with Liam and kissed Rose on the cheek.  ‘Remember those trips I made for you to York, Pippa,’ he reminded her and she nodded in agreement.  ‘Liam and Rose helped me too.’

Nigel took Pippa away. And for the first time Nigel and Pippa really talked.  Pippa started off determined to reject his advances. His pose was confrontational but his eyes were as miserable as those of a child who had been told it was dreaming.

Pippa relented ‘mm-hmm.’ Nigel kissed her long and hard and murmured as they both came up for air. ‘My emotional reactions are becoming abnormal because of you.’

She said nothing.

‘Hell’s bells, woman, surely you’ve noticed you’re driving me to distraction.’

Pippa found it hard to stop him now that he had begun. ‘What kind of emotions?’ she enquired glibly. ‘ Rage. Lust. Desire.’

‘Oh, I see’ A deep gurgle burst from within her.

Nigel quelled her with one look.  ‘I kept hoping it would pass, but it hasn’t.’

‘You have a very peculiar way of showing it.  Some of the things you’ve said to me.’

‘Oh, shutup, Pippa,’ Nigel kissed her again.  ‘Another overreaction you see,’ he said as he came up for air.

The crowd ebbed and flowed around them and they returned to the party.  They ate and drank as the fairy and elf waitresses and waiters offered unknown titbits and unusual drinks.  Mr. Paddy approached, noticed their intimacy and moved away in the company of the Deva of Singapore.  The emotions that were being evoked inside Pippa’s tender heart were bittersweet.  A magical fantasy rose up in Pippa’s imagination that night, a fantasy she knew she had to discuss with Nigel immediately.

He seemed to move closer to her even though his physical body was standing in exactly the same place as before.  She voiced her thoughts.  Pippa always surprised Nigel, even though he was part elf and could often read her innermost thoughts. He never strayed in that direction unless the knowledge came to him unbidden – a sudden thought, an intimate feeling here and there.  He knew he was supposed to be here.  And he also knew that Pippa was supposed to be with him.  A silver moon shone above them.

‘What are we going to do, Nigel? ‘Elves and humans cannot be together.  It’s just impossible.’

This was a quieter time when all the guests were mingling and talking and listening to the magic up-tempo music, all from Irish groups that flowed endlessly from the large sound boxes in the special sound room on every floor.

There were video screens everywhere for those who wanted to see the musicians as well as hear them.  Bono and U2 seemed to project themselves through the screen and to be there in person singing ‘Peace on Earth’.  Bono’s voice showed the strength of the feeling he had inside him as he sang.  He transported all those who listened up a pathway soaring to a state of bliss, to a level of enhanced experience.

He began to influence the way Nigel and Pippa felt about one another. Nigel and Pippa stood looking at one another a new respect for one another’s enormous contribution readily apparent in their eyes.  They swayed to the magnificent sounds and began to dance with other couples.

‘Your question about Rose,’ Nigel said into her ear, tickling it with his breath. ‘She is a human married to a leprechaun.  So there.’

Pippa knew now why she had been so interested in who Rose really was.  And she certainly looked happy. Together they saw the wonderful music spirits all dressed in filmy blue gauze floating around the band members as they gave their all to this special performance. As the music finished huge clouds of bright colours shot past the band members and the crowd that had gathered to hear them called for an encore.  And so they played another few numbers, including ‘Leave it all behind’, one of Pippa’s favourites. And then Bono spoke to the assembled guests.  He toasted the success of Project London before handing over to the Cors, another other group of marvellous Irish musicians.

The spellbinders, alias the bears, must have known that Pippa was about to allow her emotions to get the better of her and it was the gang of five, Teddy, Tina, Mr. Vinny, Blackie and Big Billy Bear who danced light footedly into her vicinity interrupting Nigel and Pippa’s private reverie.  As the most senior members of the STT this group could not help but be filled with their own sense of self-importance.  They wanted Pippa to accompany them on a personal tour of the castle.

Nigel and Pippa could not ignore them as they danced around waiting to show her some special parts of the castle.  Nigel made her promise she would meet him on the balcony for the light and sound show before he would agree to move along. And so the spellbinders captured their human friend for a short time at least.  Teddy led the way as the small but personable contingent covered each and every floor.

‘Rufus is here too,’ Tina whispered to Pippa. ‘You haven’t been properly introduced.  And with that Pippa felt herself looking once more into beetle brown eyes on the elongated silver face of the extraordinary Rufus who held her hand for a moment longer than necessary before moving off on his own. Angela looked longingly after him but Rufus had his mind on one of the fairy beings who was serving dainty fairy cakes.  Last seen he was chasing her through the doorway into the next room.

Gerry had opened his whole domain up; nothing was hidden from his honoured guests.  The castle was at once opulent and severe.  More magic carpets adorned snow-white marble floors throughout.  The spellbinders, alias the bears, happily informed Nigel and Pippa that this was how Gerry and his special cat, Miss Bandit, moved around together in such a hurry.  This was new and delightful information and Pippa revelled in the thought of Gerry atop one of the beautiful Persian  carpets flying through the sky.  But she had not met Miss Bandit. No one had.  Miss Bandit was watching the proceedings but was too reticent to appear. Massive crystal chandeliers hung from the ceilings of this remarkable structure producing prisms of light energy that energised anyone who passed beneath them.  Pippa  felt her energy dazzling as she took in their magnificent radiance.

All the guests now gathered on the balcony of the giant’s magnificent castle as they had been promised a fantastic sound and light show. And then it was 11p.m.  The show began with fireworks, but fireworks far different to the usual.  Great whirls of light hit the sky burning through the slight haze of cloud cover and illuminating the countryside for miles around. Rainbows of light shimmered their way across to the far horizon.  Moonbeams leapt from the site of the moon and rained down on the earth.  The intensity of the colour and light show was there for all to see. A flotilla of insects floated by humming collectively.  And then it happened.  There was a hush whilst everyone on the balcony held their collective breath. With a burst of brilliance the Blue Star itself projected on its own special pathway through the heavens.  It was shooting smaller eight pointed blue stars in an extended river down towards the earth.

Pippa did not know anything about the Blue Star.  But when she saw it she felt a strong affinity with its wonder and delight. It looked as if it was circling their venue, forming some extraordinarily intricate patterns in the sky above them as it did so; the show put on simply for the party’s participants. The Blue Star performed a series of impossible cartwheels as it moved closer and closer to its dedicated band of watchers.

Huge searchlights operated from the top of Gerry’s castle by the Tractor Men suddenly illuminated the blue and black waters.  The searchlights swept across the bay below illuminating a unique procession.  Mermaids, mermen, dolphins, seals, whales and sea creatures of all kinds progressed past the castle.  The searchlights were interwoven with lights that seemed to have been turned on by some form of incredible remote control underneath the green and black waves of the Atlantic Ocean itself.  The waters rose in a swell interweaving with the patchwork green of the adjacent Irish countryside.  In the immediate environs of the castle an integrated team of elves, dwarves and fairy folk had set up new and different set of streetlights in honour of this special occasion.  The night sky was filled to overflowing with brilliant rainbow colours and shooting stars.

The balmy night sky had a few clouds in it, so Gerry, to the delight of the assembly blew them away slowly and carefully, simply using his huge lungs and his sacred breath.  Everyone laughed and clapped enthusiastically and the celebratory party continued.  Unusual perfume permeated throughout every floor of the castle and every aspect of the party, natural jasmine perfumes intertwined with the fresh scent of the Singapore orchids.

And for the benefit of the party’s many guests suddenly from behind the Blue Star three magnificent creatures emerged flying directly towards the watchers on the balcony.  It was a startling and stately formation consisting of three mythical red and yellow coloured Phoenix signifying success. The sacred mappers and their helpers and friends had succeeded in creating the new from the old.  With a burst of dazzling wings and trails of sparkling fire, the phoenix shot past the assembled guests, flying in a radiant formation. A new legend was created by the appearance of three birds as traditionally only one phoenix existed at a time.  But tonight three beautiful reddish dark purple and gold plumage creatures dazzled the spectators as the triangle of these three mythical birds flew closer and closer to the watching throng of spectators who were avidly watching every movement. As they approached the watchers below they toned a single note which swept through the throng sending a signal of success to the world.  It signalled the end of one phase, but it foretold of wonders to come as a new phase began.

The water below had returned to its normal status, a black twirling mirror, and a vast pool of water reflecting only the lights of the castle towering above it.  The phoenix turned then, flying off to their next port of call in Asia, growing smaller and smaller as all the  guests watched, their collective amazement tangible.

Pippa and Nigel held hands and watched it all to the very last moment.  They were secure and content in their relationship as it stood.  Their unspoken agreement was to let events take their natural course.

Then suddenly the phoenix were gone leaving Gerry and his guests triumphant.  The etheric identity of London had been washed clean. Its vibrations were high and a new life was possible for all those who lived there.  And London’s newness would reflect outwards to the world.  This was a fact that all those present recognised. The world, it could certainly be said, was at this moment in very capable hands.  The new Golden Age had dawned at last.

Back in London Big Arthur solemnly licked his fur and waited in Russell Square for Pippa’s return. As he sat there patiently an incredible downpour occurred.  The hailstones rumbled around Russell Square cutting through anything in their path.  Big Arthur was smart enough to be out of their line of fire.

‘It’s only the spellbinders throwing rocks from heaven,’ thought Big Arthur.  Then he waggled his head pleased with himself for thinking such a profoundly positive thought.  He was content that he had managed to change sides so admirably.


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