“What does that mean?” Montgomery the Moose confronted the orange dragon in front of him. “The chocolate invasion will take over the world? What does that mean?”

“Well, okay, I was being a bit dramatic…” the dragon replied, backing down a little.

“Whew,” Montgomery the Mouse replied.

“…I just mean that everything on this planet will turn to chocolate…”

“Uh,” Montgomery the Mouse revised his judgment.

“Creatures too,” the dragon continued. He looked at the dumbstruck faces of the moose and mouse in front of him, and then turned to see Bobby and the frogs, who shared in the shock. After a pause he said, mainly to himself, “okay, maybe I wasn’t being a bit dramatic after all. I mean, that is all gonna happen.”

Montgomery the Moose and Montgomery the Mouse looked at him in disbelief. Then they noticed that there was a small green creature with three eyes standing next to the dragon, and what seemed to be a large round metal flying vehicle of some kind stuck in the trees above them. Somehow, given the news that the world was about to be turned into chocolate, these other things didn’t seem quite so surprising.

The chocolate spread further around them, and Montgomery the Moose noticed something odd. Or rather, something normal, which in this case seemed odd. He was standing in the path of the chocolate metamorphosis, but he was not turning to chocolate himself. Until a few minutes ago, he wouldn’t ever expect to turn to chocolate himself, but his world was upside-down, and suddenly not turning to chocolate was, in fact, confusing to him. He looked ahead, and saw that everything else the chocolate was touching was slowly turning to the same dark brown hue itself.

The dragon picked up on Montgomery’s confusion. “You’re immune,” he said. “After all, the magic is responding to you. You sure like chocolate a lot, huh?” This confused Montgomery and Montgomery even more.

The green creature asked the dragon hopefully, “Am I immune too?” and was disappointed to find out the answer was no. The frogs didn’t even ask. They looked longingly at Montgomery the Moose, who saw them and walked quickly over to them as the dark chocolate crept closer. He lowered his head to the ground so they could hop up and join Montgomery the Mouse, who gave them as much of a hug as a mouse can ever give a frog.

Montgomery the Moose walked over chocolate leaves and chocolate twigs to a chocolate fir tree. He sniffed at the needles, and after considering it all for a moment, he took a nibble. It was, as he had thought from the smell, his favorite kind of chocolate. He had only eaten this kind of chocolate a few times. It was the gourmet rich dark chocolate that immediately brought to mind memories of the last time he’d tasted it – when he had met his best friend, Montgomery the Mouse, just weeks ago. He wondered if that meant something. Was this chocolate invasion somehow happening because of him?

Up above, the large round metal vehicle woke Montgomery out of his thoughts by making a low whirring sound, before a mechanical voice from the vehicle spoke, as if finishing a sentence, “-so exciting to be on this adventure… uh… oh. No. I crashed again, didn’t I? I’m so sorry, Bobby.”

The green creature with three eyes seemed relieved to hear the voice, as if it was a friend coming to aid in a situation where he felt lost. “Spaceship,” the creature called Bobby replied quietly, with three teary eyes. “Spaceship, we found him. I don’t know how, but we found him.”

“Run for it, Bobby!” Montgomery the Moose called. Bobby was so distracted by the sound of Spaceship waking up that he hadn’t realized he was standing right next to the creeping chocolate. But Montgomery’s call was too late. As he ran to try to knock Bobby out of the way, the chocolate reached the green creature, whose movements slowed and stopped as his whole body became a chocolate statue. The look on Bobby’s face – while hard to fully understand with his three eyes – was a mixture of shock and sadness, looking directly at Montgomery for help.

Montgomery touched Bobby with his muzzle, hoping that somehow he could fix it. He couldn’t.

“What’s going on?” Spaceship asked. “What just happened to Bobby?”

“Magic is broken,” the orange dragon said, as if that answered everything.

“Yeah, but what happened to Bobby?!” Spaceship asked with more desperation in its mechanical voice.

“Bobby…” Montgomery the Moose tried to explain, before realizing he didn’t have the right words.

“He has become chocolate,” the dragon said, “as will everyone and everything else on this planet unless this Moose does something about it.”

“Wait, did you know that was going to happen?” Montgomery the Moose asked angrily.

“Yes of course, he was standing right next to it,” the dragon replied.

“Why didn’t you do anything to stop it? Why didn’t you tell him?” Montgomery shouted.

“Montgomery,” the dragon answered gently. “Bobby is just one creature. You do understand that this is going to happen to everyone, everywhere, if you don’t fix it, don’t you?”

Montgomery looked at the dragon, then at Bobby, frozen in chocolate form, and then at the ground.

“Why me?”

The dragon looked at Montgomery’s forlorn expression. With as much of a shrug as he a dragon can produce, he replied “Who knows? Anytime anything like this happens, a prophecy is always involved… I guess someone hundreds of years ago said that when magic breaks, a moose called Montgomery, with a mouse on its head, would be the one to fix it.”

He saw the disbelieving look on everyone’s faces.

“Or maybe not, who knows?” he continued. “I mean, what, you don’t try, and instead your whole planet turns to chocolate?”

“But that place,” Montgomery the Mouse argued, “that place was making us forget our life here. And Fred the Chocolate Lab and that toucan seemed to have forgotten their lives too.”

“Let me guess,” the dragon replied. “Fred the Chocolate Lab – he was chocolate when you found him?”

“Well, yes,” Montgomery the Moose said.

“Figures,” the dragon continued. “He took the form of the thing you like the most. This whole thing is,” he pointed to the chocolate, which at this point had spread all around them.

Montgomery the Moose looked at how the chocolate had spread. He didn’t understand it, but when he looked up, he realized the trees around Spaceship were starting to turn also.

“Spaceship!” he shouted. “Get away from the trees!”

“It’s okay,” Spaceship replied. “I have a force field around me, I’m not actually touching anyth-” And just then Spaceship’s force field fizzled in and out. Branches which had been held at bay bent back to their natural shape, and came within a few inches of touching Spaceship before the force field powered up again. “Oh. Yeah. It’s powered by magic…” Spaceship didn’t waste any more time, and decided to hover up above the treeline as long as she could.

Montgomery the Moose gave a sigh. A moment later resolve seemed to fill him. Looking directly at the large orange dragon, he declared “Okay, I’ll fix magic and save the world. But I’m gonna want to eat a lot of chocolate on the way. And if I find out that I’ve eaten something that was actually a living creature – especially if it was a friend of mine – I’m gonna be pretty upset!

“I think I can handle that,” the dragon said with a slight smile. He looked up at the large metal machine above them. “Spaceship, would you care to join us?”

“If it will help Bobby, of course I’ll come,” Spaceship replied. “But where are we going?”

“To my homeworld,” the dragon replied.

Spaceship immediately thought about how much her pilot and friend would like to see it himself. “Can we bring Bobby?”

“Um,” the dragon thought for a moment. “You know at the moment he’s just solid chocolate, right? He’s not even alive.”

“He’s DEAD?!” the others shouted, almost in unison.

“No no no, he’s not dead. He will come back to life when Montgomery fixes everything. But he’s not alive now.”

“Schrödinger’s chocolate alien…” Spaceship said, without explaining to anyone what she meant.

Montgomery the Moose stomped on the ground around Bobby, eventually freeing him enough to be picked up. Spaceship lowered herself carefully close to the ground, and the dragon, who had now introduced himself as Trevor, picked Bobby’s chocolate body up and placed it inside Spaceship’s domed cockpit.

“Now, to all arrive at the same time and place, we’ll need to go as one group, connected together,” Trevor explained. The small creatures climbed inside Spaceship’s cockpit, but there was no way that Montgomery or Trevor could fit inside. Instead, once Spaceship closed her cockpit, Trevor suggested Montgomery the Moose sit on top, straddling the dome.

What?!” Montgomery replied.

“I’m sorry, I don’t see any other way,” Trevor giggled.

“But I’ll slip off. Or break the glass or something.”

“No, you won’t,” Spaceship interjected. “This isn’t glass anyway, it’s a sophisticated polycarbonate and can withstand the strength of a thousand flengels.” No one knew what flengels were, but since Spaceship paused for effect, Montgomery tried to act impressed. She continued. “Remember I go into space? You think my cockpit could handle the vacuum of space but would break because a moose sits on it?”

“Okay,” Montgomery said, before wondering how he could climb on. With Spaceship close to the ground, Montgomery could lift his front feet onto Spaceship’s curved metal body, but he needed a push from Trevor to get himself entirely on. Spaceship seemed to groan a little – well, a lot – before saying, as if to convince herself, “oh, this is so wonderful. Such an exciting adventure to save the world and bring back my friend. And I have a moose sitting on top of me. How… unusual.”

Spaceship rose up much more slowly than she was accustomed to. Montgomery felt surprisingly stable on top, but wondered how they could be accurate enough to fly directly into the portal and into the magical world. As if sensing the question, Trevor looked at the clump of now-chocolate grass and closed his eyes. With intense focus, he let out a small breath of fire directly at the clump. A tiny orange glow in the center of the clump expanded, getting larger and larger until it was wide enough to easily hold Spaceship, moose and all.

“There – now it’s big enough,” Trevor said with exhaustion clearly showing.

He flapped his wings and lifted himself up in the air, looped once high in the air, and circled around with his small arms outstretched towards Spaceship. He hit with a thud – the first time Montgomery thought he might fall off – but then they all flew forward in one connected group at high speed, straight into the center of the orange glow.

Click here for Chapter Thirty-One.


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