A Human Experience
by D. Herder
June 19, 2000

          It was a beautiful day as usual in Gummi Glen and all was well. The Princess of Dunwyn, the lovely maiden Calla, was taking a peaceful walk in the forest with her friend and temporary bodyguard Cavin. The two had been walking for almost an hour through the green lands and decided to rest on a large, flat rock. Cavin was about to unroll the lunch that the royal cook had made for the two when he heard a rustling in the trees above him. Unsheathing a small sword the page was forced to wear when escorting the princess, Cavin rushed to the tree, though nervously.
          W…Who's there?" He asked, waving his sword around randomly. Calla wandered over to him, wrapping her dainty arms around Cavin's loose garbs.
          "You heard it too, Cavin?" She asked,
          "Yeah. Don't worry, Princess. I'll root out all…" Two figures jumped out of the tree and landed on the ground. Cavin stumbled back over the ground and he tumbled to the ground with Calla, soiling her sky-blue dress. Cavin hurried to help her to her feet and glanced to see what had startled him. When he saw it was only two small bears, one pink and one yellow, he relaxed.
          "Cubbi, Sunni! You scared us!" He laughed. The two bears giggled. "Sorry, Cavin. What are you two doing? Cubbi asked, sitting down on the rock. Cavin and Calla sat down as well, continuing to unpack their lunch.
          "Just taking a little walk in the park." Calla said, beckoning for her friend Sunni to sit down next to her. The yellow bear smiled and obliged. The princess offered her a muffin, which Sunni gladly took.
          "Yeah, Sir Tuxford said it would be good for me to get to know the Princess whose life I'll soon be guarding." Both humans giggled at the thought of the aged, rough Sir Tuxford giving such an order. Cubbi began munching on an apple.
          "So how's it feel to be almost a squire, Sir Cavin?" The little bear asked, struggling to grip Cavin's sword and swing it around. Cavin dodged one of Cubbi's swipes in the air and set the blade down. Cavin laughed.
          "I'm not Sir Cavin yet, but I'm getting closer." Sunni grimaced. "Who'd want to be a knight and have to wear all their heavy armor? It looks terrible." The others laughed and continued to eat. Twenty or so minutes passed of the four friends making small talk and chatting until they all started hearing horses in the distance. On instinct Cubbi and Sunni dove behind a mossy, overgrown tree to avoid being seen by humans. Cavin and Calla prepared themselves for any kind of confrontation. They were met by ten or so boys their age on horseback, and also guiding two horses with no riders. They hopped off their horses and bowed and curtsied to the Princess, who giggled.
          "You don't have to do that here. We're the only ones out here." The others, realizing what Calla said was true, straightened themselves out. One of the boys, a tall one of about 17 years began speaking.
          "Sorry, Princess. Say, Cavin, they're having a fighting tournament for pages and squires under 18 years old. The winner gets a personal training lesson from one of King Gregor's knights! If we hurry we can get back in time for it to start. What do you say?" He asked. Cavin hesitated, looking to the tree where Cubbi and Sunni were hiding. Finally he turned back.
          "All right, Cedyeus, if you're sure we'll get there on time." Cavin said.
          "Great! Come on, you two."
          "We'll catch up with you guys later. We just need to pack up."
          Cedyeus shrugged. "All right." He turned towards the others. "Leave the horses here. We need to get back to the castle! The tournament starts in half an hour!" The boys galloped back to the castle. When they were gone Cavin turned towards the tree.
          "It's all right, guys. The coast is clear!" Cubbi and Sunni walked out from behind. Sunni had a confused look on her face while Cubbi looked angry. He jumped on the stone Cavin and Calla were packing on.
          "I thought you two were going to stay here longer! Why don't you?"
          Cavin looked embarrassed. "Sorry, Cubbi, but I need to go to that tournament. I'll look really bad to the knights if I don't even show up to fight."
          "I have to go, too. If Father finds out I was in the forest alone, he'd be very angry. I hope you understand, Sunni." The Princess hugged her friend, gathered the basket she was carrying and let Cavin help her on the small horse. The two took off back to Dunwyn. Sunni waved, though she had a hurt expression on her face. When she turned around Cubbi was already storming back to Gummi Glen. She ran to catch up with him.
          "You heard what they said, Cubbi! They had to leave!"
          Cubbi wheeled around and glared at Sunni.
          "I don't care! They totally left us in the dust! That wasn't nice at all…" Cubbi's yelling dissolved into a steady stream of tears as he hopped into Gummi Glen. Rushing past the main room, he raced up the stairs into his room. Grammi saw the event from the kitchen with awe and walked to Sunni as soon as she entered the huge tree.
          "What happened to Cubbi, Sunni? He just ran to his room faster then a wolf chasing a chicken! What's wrong?"
          "Oh, he's just mad because Cavin and Calla left us behind to go back to the castle for some contest." Sunni said sadly.
          Grammi crossed her arms and shook her head. "Well, that's just not nice."
          Sunni shrugged her head and walked up to her room. Grammi frowned. Though not related to Cubbi or Sunni by family in any way, Grammi still almost thought of herself as the mother to the children and it broke her heart anytime she saw them sad. Suddenly an idea popped into her head and she rushed into the library, where Tummi and Zummi were examining the Great Book of Gummi.
          "Isn't there ANY way to make cookies out of nothing?" The oversize Tummi asked. Zummi continued to flip through the pages, but finally stopped.
          "I'm sorry, Tummi, but that's just too select for the Great Book." Zummi turned his head. "Oh, hello, Grammi. Is there something I can help you with?"
          "You're darn right there is. I just saw Cubbi and Sunni running through here, and they were heartbroken because they couldn't go with Cavin and Calla to some contest or something they're having there. Is there a way you can make them undetectable around humans, Zummi?" She asked.
          Zummi took off his large hat and scratched his head. "Well, there is one spell that I know of, but if it goes wrong it could be absolutely horrible."
          "What would it do?" Grammi asked eagerly.
          "It would….It turns Gummi Bears into humans." He said quietly. Both Tummi and Grammi gasped. It was the first time they had ever heard of such a thing. "Would it be permanent?" Tummi asked.
          "Oh, of course not! I think it would just last…uh…" Zummi glanced at the book. "24 hours."
          "Well then, let's try it!" Grammi said.
          At that moment the two remaining members of the Gummi Glen family walked into the library, arguing like they always did.
          "But Gruffster, don't you think it would be great if we started getting some new pictures around here? I could paint pictures of all of you, and we could frame them all around the eating table, and…"
          "Enough, Gusto! The pictures we already have are just fine, and even if we did need new ones, we would NEVER use yours! And…"
          Gruffi, who was not paying attention to where he was walking, crashed straight into Tummi's belly. Gruffi fell over and rubbed his nose.
          "Why can't you move over, you big oaf?"
          Tummi helped him up. "Sorry, Gruffi, but Zummi's going to make Cubbi and Sunni human!"
          "Hey, that's great! Then they'll be able to go to Dunwyn and…" Gruffi clapped a hand over Gusto's mouth. The sky blue bear got the message and shut up. Gruffi swung around and pointed a finger at Zummi.
          "I don't know what kind of crazy idea you have, Zummi, but you are NOT going to try any more of your crazy magic to try something so dangerous!" He shouted. Zummi stared back at him angrily.
          "I resent the fact that you don't think my magic is good, Gruffi. I think that this would be a very interesting experiment." The elder said. Grammi clapped her hands and rushed out of the library to get Cubbi and Sunni. Gruffi, on the other hand, was ready to explode and climbed up the three stairs. He grabbed Zummi and carried him down to the ground.
          "We are not going to try this, Zummi. If it goes wrong, those two may never become Gummi Bears again!"
          "But don't you see, Gruffi? Those two will be miserable if they never get to experience life with friends. Besides Cavin and Calla, they don't have anyone but each other."
          Gruffi shouted back to Zummi. "Well, Tummi never had any playmates until Sunni was born, and he turned out fine!" They both turned to Tummi, who was too busy shoving pie in his mouth to care about the conversation. Gruffi shook his head.
          "Then again, I could be wrong."
          The door swung open and Grammi walked back in with a huge smile on her face, followed by Cubbi and Sunni, who were still rather sad but curious as to what this surprise would be.
          "Cubbi, Sunni, I've brought you in here so that Zummi can try a brand new spell on the two of you. For 24 hours, you two are going to be…" She paused for dramatic effect. "…Human."
          For a moment Cubbi and Sunni were in shock. The mere thought of them being able to walk in Dunwyn freely was too much for them to contemplate. Finally they burst into a fit of cheer and starting dancing around, yelling and screaming happily. Even Gruffi lightened up at the sight of seeing them so happy. Zummi climbed back on the steps, looked over the spell and turned back to the others.
          "All right now, I hope this works. Mummake ummus humm mumman nummow!" A bright bolt of energy shot from his fingertips and a thick cloud of white smoke enclosed the entire room. Several of the bears opened windows to let the smoke out so they could see the effects of the spell. When it finally cleared, they all closed their eyes so it would be a complete surprise.
          Zummi had his hands over his eyes. "Okay, everyone, at the count of three, open your eyes. One...two...three!"
          Seven pairs of eyes opened. For a moment, silence ensued. Then, seven mouths began screaming.
          "Oh no! I can't believe this!"
          "This can't be real!"
          "No no no!"
          Finally the sound of a spoon clanging against a pot was heard and everyone "Quiet! We've got to get this figured out!" The voice of Grammi was heard, but it sounded slightly different.
          "But…but…Grammi…" Tummi stuttered in a voice that was also somewhat different. "We're ALL human!"
          Indeed, it was true. All seven of the Gummi Bears had changed forms and were now human beings. They spent several minutes simply examining their new hands and legs. The sense of being a human was simply incredible to some of them. Tummi rushed out of the room, grabbed a full-length mirror and stuck it back in the library. The bears took turns looking at themselves.
          "I can't believe this! This is awesome!" Cubbi shouted in a slightly deeper voice. He had grown quite a bit and was now just a tad bit shorter then an average nine-year old boy. He had bright, rosy pink skin almost identical to the fur he had had before, and his posture was much better. He had light brown hair that fluttered under his cap and covered a bit of his face as well. He had probably grown the most out of all seven, but his clothes still fit well, like all the others did.
          "This is absolutely terrible! Zummi, you have to change us back immediately!" Gruffi shouted. Gruffi had become a stout man with deep, dark brown skin, and his voice was much deeper then it had been. His former slightly chubby body had disappeared and he now had a fine body specimen, with muscles showing at every angle. He had nearly no hair, but instead black roots where hair seemed to have been. Gruffi was probably the Gummi Bear who had changed the least.
          "Put a sock in it, Gruffi! I kind of like this!" Grammi said, admiring her new body. She was now a slightly taller-then-average middle-aged woman with mostly brown hair but more then a few grays sticking out. She had long, strong hands from carrying cookware so much, and her very light brown skin looked rather odd against the blue smock and white apron.
          "Yeah, Gruffster! Imagine how easy it'll be for me to hold a paintbrush now that I have five fingers!" Gusto cried happily. He had become a young man of medium height with long blond hair in a ponytail behind his head. Like Grammi, he had long, strong fingers from gripping items for so long, and his skin was rather pale. Gusto walked out of the room to find another mirror to admire himself in.
          "Besides, Gruffi, we have a full twenty-four hours before we have to change back." Zummi said smugly. Zummi was now a hunched-over old man, who now needed a cane to walk around. He had long, stringy, white hair that fluttered over his face and he had withered white skin. He also had a long white beard that nearly went down to his chest. Nevertheless, Zummi thought he looked marvelous.
          "Oh, just think of this! Just for one day, we can go into Dunwyn and not worry about getting caught at all! This is fantastic!" Sunni cried happily. She was now a very attractive young girl, with flowing blond hair and a pretty face. She had a very nice figure and was of medium height, though she couldn't stop posing in the mirror. Finally she ran out to join Gusto to find another one. Her transformation was by far the best, at least in the eyes of the others.
          "I don't know. I don't think I look very good as a human." Tummi frowned as he looked at himself in the mirror. Of all the different transformations of the bears, Tummi had probably gotten the worst one. Where Gruffi had gained a set of muscles, Tummi had just gained more fat and his belly was now enormous. He had grown several inches and was still the tallest of the bunch, at about 6'3". He had light brown hair that was cut very short, and his skin was a fairly healthy shade of peach.
          Gusto and Sunni ran back into the library. "Come on! Let's go to Dunwyn and surprise Cavin and Calla!" Sunni said.
          "No way! We could get caught!" Gruffi said.
          "Gruffi, don't worry! We ARE humans right now and any time we need to be changed back all we need to do is…OH NO!!!" Zummi cried out.
          "What?" Grammi asked.
          "I just remembered. The spell won't work unless it's cast by a Gummi Bear!" Zummi covered his face, ashamed.
          "And with all of us humans…" Cubbi voiced the concerns of everyone else there. Silence ensued for several minutes. Finally Sunni began speaking again.
          "I don't care right now! Right now I just want to get to Dunwyn and see everything without worrying about getting caught!" Sunni leaped out of Gummi Glen and ran as fast as she could out of the forest. Racing down the forest, the others couldn't close to containing her.
          "Well, as long as she's going to have fun, why not the rest of us?" Grammi shrugged and hopped out as well. Soon she was on her way to Dunwyn, followed by Cubbi, Gusto and Zummi. Soon only Gruffi and Tummi were left in Gummi Glen. Gruffi glared at Tummi.
          "Well, why don't you join them all?" He asked.
          "Um…Well…The hole looks kind of small now." Tummi blushed with embarrassment. Gruffi groaned.
          "Here, I'll push you out."
          Tummi tried to get out of the hole, and he was right. His new, fatter body couldn't get through the hole by itself. From inside the tree Gruffi charged into Tummi's backside. With his new muscles Gruffi shoved Tummi's flab with all his might. Finally Tummi squeezed through and Gruffi followed. Without a word between them they hurried to catch up with the others.

          "This is just amazing!"
          "I know, just walking around is so…easy!"
          "I have to admit, it is kind of refreshing to be able to do this."
          The seven had decided to take leisurely walk down one of the roads in the Kingdom of Dunwyn. Just as they had hoped, no one gave the wandering group a second thought. There were eager whispers of excitement from the children, while Zummi still was struggling to think of a way to get them back to normal when the time was needed.
          "Zummi, how long has it been now, anyway?" Grammi asked.
          Zummi looked at the medallion tucked under all of his robes so no one could see it. It was glowing faintly, but it could still be seen. "About an hour, Grammi. We still have plenty of time.
          "Well, I don't know about you guys, but I'm going to find Cavin at that contest!" Cubbi took off in the opposite direction. Sunni and Tummi ran after him to catch up. Gruffi groaned, but was met with a pat on the back from Gusto.
          "Ya gotta admit, Gruffmeister, it has made those three a heck of a lot happier being human."
          Gruffi snorted. "Yeah, well…They better not like it more then being a Gummi Bear."

Half an hour later…
          "There's Cavin!" Cubbi cried, rushing towards a big mob of people. In the middle of town meeting center a large ring had been put together. With ropes strung around it to keep the fighters in, it much resembled a fighting ring. Inside two young men a little older then Cavin charged with cleverly-disguised fake swords. One tripped the other and pointed his sword directly to his opponent's neck, a symbol of automatic victory.
          By now the three cubs had managed to get moderately far into the crowd. Finally they were standing next to Cavin, who was armed with one of the swords. Cubbi giggled for a second, then tapped Cavin's shoulder lightly. The page turned around to see three people who looked strangely familiar. A small boy, an attractive girl and a fat guy. After studying them for several seconds, he shook his head and went wide-eyed.
          "Cubbi?" He asked in a hushed whisper. Hs grabbed Cubbi and threw him into a pile of hay.
          "Is that you, Cubbi?"
          "Yup! Zummi turned us all into humans!" He grinned.
          "No, just for 24 hours."
          "Oh, well…How are you going to get changed back if there aren't any Gummi Bears to cast it?" Cavin asked. Cubbi's cheerful expression darkened a little.
          "We don't know yet. We're…"
          "Sorry, Cubbi, but I've got to do this. We'll talk after this is over."
          Cavin armed himself and walked into the ring where his friend was opposite him. Cubbi, Sunni and Tummi sat by and watched, cheering on.
          A bell rang and the two charged at each other. Darven made an early swing, but Cavin swung behind and got him in a headlock. Knocking him to the ground, Cavin pointed his blade to the neck of Darven.
          "CAVIN WINS!!! HE WILL FACE CEDYEUS FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP!!!" The crowd went crazy at hearing that. The three Gummi Bear-turned-humans cheered loudest of all. They were soon met with their elders sitting down next to them.
          "We saw Cavin in that ring beating someone. Is that good?" Gusto asked.
          "Yeah! Now Cavin's in the finals! He just has to beat someone named Cedyeus to win everything!" Tummi said happily.
          Cubbi suddenly remembered where he had heard that name. "Cedyeus was the guy who made Cavin leave…" He started shouting random things to Cedyeus.
          "Shhh, Cubbi! The fight's starting!" Grammi said.
          Cavin and Cedyeus took their positions, fighting for the championship. The entire crowd was in awe, for it was down to just those two fine warriors. The bell rang and the two charged. Cavin tried to end the fight early by swinging, but Cedyeus leaped back and tried swinging. He missed as well, and Cavin seized the opportunity. He kicked Cedyeus's leg and tried to deal a death blow, but Cedyeus rolled away. Finally Cubbi could stand it no longer and ran to the ring.
          "Beat him up, Cavin! Come on, you can do it! I know you can!" Cubbi wouldn't stop shouting until Gruffi dragged him back to his seat. Nevertheless, it was enough to distract Cedyeus. He moved for a split-second towards Cubbi, and that was all Cavin needed. He knocked Cedyeus over and pointed his sword to the neck of Cedyeus, an instant defeat.
          "CAVIN IS THE WINNER!!!" The announcer shouted.
          Cavin celebrated in the ring while several knights joined to congratulate him. Cedyeus gathered a few of the knights, however, and pointed towards a certain area to the crowd. They nodded and hopped through the ropes and grabbed Cubbi. Gruffi leaped to his feet to pry them apart.
          "What's the meaning of this?" He asked. The knights pushed him aside.
          "This boy is under arrest for interfering in the match. If you don't want to be thrown in yourself, I'd suggest you let us do our job."
          "I'll do no such thing!" Gruffi pushed one of the knights, but he was soon outnumbered. Tummi and Gusto nodded to each other and joined in to help Gruffi and Cubbi. Before long a huge brawl ensued between the groups and eventually even Sunni got involved, pushing a knight over. Before long, the fight was over and a winner was declared.

          "Great way to help Cavin, Cubbi." Gruffi snarled, laying back down on his hard bed.
          "I'm sorry, Gruffi, but I didn't want him to lose to that other guy."
          "Well, we wouldn't be in jail now!"
          The situation looked pretty bleak for the seven humans. They had been all locked up in a single cell, and being the next morning, time was running around out for them to change back.
          "How much time, Zummi?" Grammi asked again.
          "Just two hours. We need to get out of here." Zummi said wearily, dusting off his cane.
          "I'll say! I'm starving!" Tummi said, yawning as he struggled getting his fat body on his feet.
          "Come on, Tummi, you know that if we don't get back to being Gummi Bears soon, we'll be like this forever!" Gusto cried. Tummi shuddered at the thought of that.
          "I wouldn't mind so much. I like being able to fit in." Sunni said. She saw Gruffi's eyes turn red, though, and sat back down. It wasn't enough to stop what had been building in the leader of the group for some time now. He pointed at Cubbi and Sunni.
          "Listen, you two, you may be happy now that you're human and able to fit in, but do you think it's worth it to sacrifice everything you have? Would you be willing to give up Gummi Glen, and Gummi Berry Juice, and all of us?"
          "What do you mean, Gruffi? Why would we lose you guys?" Cubbi asked.
          "Think. You would try to become a knight, Sunni would stay with Calla, and every one of us would leave each other! Would you really want that?"
          Cubbi looked away for a moment. "No." He finally said.
          At that moment they heard a clanging noise and a metal door slamming shut. Cavin was leading two knights to the cell containing them.
          "There they are. Please let them go. They're my friends and they just wanted to help me win." Cavin pleaded to the guards, who looked at each other. They nodded heads and opened the lock.
          "I suppose since they truly meant no harm, staying here overnight was enough of a punishment." The instant the key was turned Zummi raced through without using his cane and the others followed crazily. During the wild dash the knights simply looked on in wonder. Even when Cavin joined in they were too dazed to do anything about it.
          "Yes, Dumas?"
          "Did that seem a little strange?"
          "Not at all."
          "I didn't think so."
          The two guards returned to their posts.

Nearly two hours later…
          "Hurry, hurry! Get in!" Zummi shooed the other humans into Gummi Glen with sweat pouring down his brow. Soon only Tummi and Gruffi were left outside. Gruffi groaned again.
          "Get in, Tummi."
          After another heroic struggle, the two joined the others in the library, where all of the others were beginning to get hysterical.
          "Only a few more minutes! I've got to try the spell!" Zummi yelled. "Everyone, get in close to each other!"
          With Cavin waiting outside the door, Zummi grabbed his medallion and shouted out the spell.
          "Tummurn ummus bummack nummow!" He shouted. Nothing happened.
          "It didn't work!" Tummi cried. He and many of the others began crying at the realization that they would be humans forever. Cavin rushed in.
          "Did it work…" He didn't have to finish, for he saw seven humans frenzied. When he saw the medallion laying on the great book and Zummi running around, screaming, he knew what he had to do. He grabbed the medallion, glanced at the book, and started shouting.
          "Tummurn ummus bummack nummow!" He roared. Instantly a bolt of energy flew from his fingertips and a cloud of white smoke ensued. Through a bit of coughing, the windows were opened again to let the smoke out.
          "Cavin! Are we back to normal?" Zummi asked.
          "I'll let you see for yourself." Cavin took off the medallion and held the mirror up high. The seven beings stared for a moment, and once again, bounced around in a wild fit of happiness.
          "We're back to normal!"
          Gruffi pulled Zummi and Cavin together. "Now, why was he able to use our magic? He's not a Gummi Bear."
          Zummi scratched his head. "To be honest, Gruffi, I don't know. And I don't think it will work for Cavin again. But…" Zummi smiled, placing the medallion around his neck again, "I suppose when we get a miracle, we shouldn't ask questions."

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