Deep within the hideous, shriveled forests of Drekmore, an enormous castle stuck high into the air several hundred feet, totally void of all life surrounding it. The castle itself seemed dreary, as though nothing would come to close to it except an incredible network of towers and crevices within the ground. Huge, colorless clouds covered the air above the castle, reflecting the dull orange color of the sky that had resulted from no care in the earth below it. At the very top of the monument to dreariness stood a single tower, higher then all the rest. It was within this little room that nearly all the noise in Drekmore could be heard.
"Toadwart, you incompetent imbecile! How am I supposed to rally the ogres, conquer Dunwyn and become the king of the world if you keep getting in my way!?" A man dressed in several layers of blue tunics yelled, knocking around a midget ogre. The ogre scrambled off the table, regained his senses on the floor and smiled through a waterfall of sweat.
"O masterful master Dukie, Toadie here to give moral support in time of need." He said, trying to sound reassuring. The Duke grabbed Toadwart by the ears.
"The only thing I need from you is to catapult yourself off the castle walls!" Igthorn kicked Toadwart out of his room literally, and the little green beast found himself curled up in a ball, rolling down the stairs, frantically. Toadwart crashed into a huge purple ogre passing the stairs and both fell over. The massive creature picked him up.
"Oh, goody! Now we have 'nother ball to play with!" Several ogres ran with him into what could barely be considered a courtyard and began kicking him around like a soccer ball. Igthorn had a view of the spectacle from his room and put his book down to watch his lackey get kicked around for a while.
"AAAAHHHH!!! Me thinks Toadie needs to apply for new job…AAAAHHHH!!!" Toadie muttered to himself in between kicks of huge ogre feet. He finally collapsed from being rolled around for so long and the ogres simply stared at him. Finally the green and yellow ogres tried to get him rolled back into a ball. The purple and orange ogres all started jumping up and down.
"No fair! No fair! You use hands! We get ball!" They ran to grab Toadwart as well, but soon all four types of ogres were yelling and pushing each other. Through the mess they began to stomp the ground so much it actually lowered under all the pressure. Toadwart rolled away and fell unconscious during the mad rush. Igthorn, who himself spilled a cup of water from the shaking, preparing to hurl out orders from his window, but suddenly a light went on in his head.
"Wait…That's it…That's how we can get the Gummi Bears and their juice! Toadwart, you're a genius!" Igthorn yelled from his room. The ogres stopped their fighting and stared at their leader.
"What Dukie talk about?" An orange ogre asked his friends. They all shrugged.
"Toadie do something smart." A green one answered.
"But Toadie there!" A yellow one shouted, pointing to the knocked-out Toadwart. Silence ensued for several seconds and the ogres, after realizing they couldn't solve the mystery, resumed their fighting. Any good mood Igthorn was in dampened at the sight of his warriors.
The forest adjacent to Dunwyn was truly a marvelous one. Deep, high-rising trees sprang from the ground every few feet and there was an essence of life one could feel as they passed through the peaceful meadows and colorful thickets of trees. Crickets chirped constantly, birds sang overhead, and the peasants of the castle were hard at work making their day's work.
One particular area seemed a bit strange compared to the rest of the forest, however. There was a single, huge tree in the center of an open field, and directly flowing from it was a small stream. Surrounding the tree were various stumps and other pieces of forest, but they seemed to be strung together as if they were actually connected to the tree. Any passer-by would simply have noted this as an unusual tree. They would have been very right.
"Please, Gruffi? We've been stuck in here for days! If I don't get outside soon, I'm gonna go crazy!" A small, pink bear said, wearing a large blue hat with a red feather sticking out of it and nearly hanging in the bear's face.
"Nothin' doin', Cubbi! Igthorn has his full troop of ogres out there and they're doing something strange! All that stomping around every where in the forest, they're probably trying to find us!" A larger brown bear in a dull-colored tunic and green head-cover said. He looked quite a bit older than the pink youngster, probably old enough to be his father.
A huge, rather overweight blue bear in a dark brown tunic waddled down the steps, hearing what the two had said. He sat down at the dining room table near them and searched for a roll. Not finding one, he sighed and looked at Cubbi and Gruffi.
"What if we promise to stay close to the Glen, Gruffi? Can we go outside then?" He asked in a pleading tone.
"NO! If any ogres see you they'll know this is where we live!" Gruffi yelled. An elder purple bear in equally colored robes wandered into the main room of the hollow tree as well. Strung around his neck was a golden medallion with a bear's head carved into it, and then a G coming forth from the head.
"Gruffi's right, Tummi. If anyone of the ogres sees you anywhere around here, they'll know plis is the thace, er, uh, this is the place. We can't go out right now until they leave."
At that moment a younger bear walked in with a black bird perched on his shoulder. He appeared about as old as the blue bear, if not by a few years, but his skin was a much lighter shade of blue, resembling sky blue.
"Come on, Zummi! Where's your sense of adventure? The thrill of getting discovering! The hope of not! Hey, this sounds like a line from a play! I'm getting an inspiration! I'm…"
"Keep quiet, Gusto! We have enough crazy heads around here without you!" Gruffi said, shaking Gusto and snapping him out of his trance.
"Aw, come on, Gruffamundo, the kids need to get out more. See the world!"
The final two members of the clan, a young, yellow bear in a green outfit and a middle-aged brown bear wearing a kitchen smock, walked into the room where everyone else was arguing. As the only two females of the group, they felt it was their duty to give the man some sense.
"Gruffi, you old coot! Let the boys out for five minutes! They'll suffocate if you don't let them! Besides, we're out of Gummi Berries." The brown bear said.
"Who are you calling old, Grammi?" Gruffi sneered. When he saw her frying pan raised, however, he fled from her range. The yellow bear cleared her voice and spoke in a high, sweet voice.
"Come on, Gruffi. Just let the three of us go out and look for more Gummi Berries. If you don't have any juice and the ogres do find us, we'll be in even bigger trouble. Please?" She gave Gruffi her sad, pitiful look and Gruffi sighed.
"That was low, Sunni. All right, you three can go out for fifteen minutes, tops! After that, we're all going to come looking for you." The words were hardly out of his mouth before the three youngest members of the Glen had eagerly bounded out into the free world.
The four remaining Gummies walked back into the kitchen to check on the supply of Gummi Berry Juice, the secret to their super power. Without a healthy stock, the bears were little more than…bears. The men were shocked when they saw what Grammi had to show them.
"FOUR bottles left! With the three that the kids took, that's only one for each of us! We can't thive off lat, er, live off that!" Zummi cried.
Grammi nodded sorrowfully. "That's what I was trying to tell you. With the ogres stomping up there, I can't get out long enough to get some good berries. Sunni was right, though. If we get caught without juice, we're goners." She said.
Zummi scratched his head. "You know, the Great Book of Gummi may have information on where to get more berries outside of Gummi Glen."
"Then let's get going!" Gusto cried, knocking both Zummi and Gruffi over to get to the library first. Gruffi got up, ready to wring Gusto's neck, but both Zummi and Grammi were there to restrain him.
Cubbi, Sunni and Tummi had all taken to swinging around the treetops with the precious few minutes they had outside. Smelling the sweet spring air, the three sat lazily, resting and talking to each other and enjoying the cool breeze.
"It's sure great to get out of Gummi Glen, isn't it?" Sunni asked.
"I'll say. We're running low on food in there." Tummi said simply, grabbing a handful of berries and stuffing them in his face.
"And Gummi Berry Juice, too! These could be our last bottles for a long time." Sunni said, staring at the round bottle filled to the brim with purple substance sloshing around. Cubbi laughed.
"Don't worry, Sunni! With me here, we can get out of anything that happens to us!" Just then they heard another rumble out of the ground. Cubbi and Sunni fell out of the tree and banged their hands, but Tummi remained on the branch and climbed down himself. The three young bears were soon met with an army of ogres, watching their every step.
"Dukie! We get Gummies!" One yelled. The others began grunting in happiness when Igthorn peered out from among the masses. Upon seeing them he burst into applause, and soon Toadwart was seen running behind him when several long pieces of rope being carried in his palms.
"This if just perfect, Toadwart! Three Gummi Bears, and their home can't be far from here! Bag those Gummies!"
Acting on instinct, all three Gummi Bears immediately drank all of the Gummi Berry Juice and bounced as much as their little legs would take them. Bopping everywhere in sight, they soon disappeared behind several trees. The ogres chased them down, and soon Igthorn and Toadwart were left alone. Toadwart laughed.
"This perfect, Dukie. Even if bears escape, you know where they live!" He cried happily. Igthorn laughed as well.
"Yes, I do believe I…"
Igthorn fell over. Toadwart stood motionless for several seconds, analyzing what had happened. He saw a huge lump on Igthorn's head, then looked behind him. Grammi was there, holding her frying pan high for another blow.
Toadwart joined his boss in unconsciousness. Gruffi, Gusto and Zummi soon joined Grammi. She smiled.
"And you thought I couldn't hold my own in a fight, Gruffi."
"Yeah, well…" Gruffi blushed with embarrassment. Gusto dove between the two.
"Can you two cut the chit-chat? We gotta find the cubs!" The four started running in the direction they had seen the ogres run.
Several hours later…
Cubbi swung around a branch and kicked a purple ogre in the head. The helmet fell over his head and the ogre fell over, unable to see. Sunni and Tummi couldn't run just as fast as Cubbi and the ogres soon were close behind. Sunni seized the opportunity to knock out an ogre. Leaping from high in a tree, she kicked an ogre's legs over. The ogre tripped and knocked several other ogres as well. Soon, after a great chain reaction, the ogres managed to fall over like dominoes. The Gummi Bears then realized just how far they had wandered off. They were in an area of the forest they had never seen before. The trees were shorter and stubbier then in the rest of the forest, and instead of normal Gummi Berries, the berries were a much brighter orange color. The three looked around, confused.
"How long were we chased by those ogres?" Cubbi asked.
"It had to have been an hour to two." Tummi said.
They simply stood, looking at their strange land when the other members of Gummi Glen came bouncing around. Zummi saw the berries and recognized them immediately.
"Oh my stars! These are the fabled Wundarberries from the Great Book of Gummi! These could be the answer to all our problems!" He exclaimed.
"Let's get picking, then!" Gruffi said.
"NO!" Zummi cried.
The others all turned to him.
"There were several pages in the Great Book about these Berries. I'll copy them tonight and we can harvest them tomorrow after we know everything about them."
Early the next morning the seven Gummies emerged from Gummi Glen. After dumping the bodies of Igthorn and Toadwart on the other side of the forest, they decided that they were safe enough to spend the night in the Glen. Armed with several wheelbarrows and fruit pickers, the bears turned to Zummi.
"So what do we need to know about these Wundarberries?" Tummi asked.
"Well, Tummi, I actually haven't read the papers yet. I was able to magically copy the words onto paper in seconds. Isn't that fantastic?"
"I just hope you read the papers. These berries may be dangerous." Grammi said.
"Don't worry. I'll read these paper on the thay were, er, way there."
With all the added cargo and tools the Gummies took, the journey to the exact spot took several hours to reach. They were all beat and tired by the time they reached the rare bushes. Zummi folded the papers and related what they read.
"Okay, fellow Gummies! These Wundarberries could be the solution to everything that has been a problem to us. These berries have ten times the power of the berries we're used to, and they would give us the strength to move mountains! But there are several drawbacks to these berries as well. For one thing, they grow at a much slower pace then our berries, probably each bush growing only a few berries a year. We're lucky this place is so deserted. Also, there is one very important thing you must remember about these berries…"
At that moment a sudden wind kicked up and blew the hat straight off Tummi's head. Running as fast as his fat legs would carry him, he wandered behind a tree to find his hat. He missed what Zummi said, as the others were concentrating too hard to even notice he was gone.
"…When not in a juice form, these berries actually increase your appetite if you eat them. So the more you eat, the hungrier you get. It was the bush's way of protecting the berries against animals and the like. And not only that, but since these berries have ten times the power of our berries, they also have ten times everything else-including fat. So do NOT eat these berries until they are as a juice."
At that moment Tummi managed to grab his hat. He scurried back to the meeting place and took his position. Zummi folded the papers back up and put them in his pocket.
"Okay, Gummies, let's get gathering!"
The Gummies all scattered around the bushes to try and get as many as they could. Before long Cubbi and Sunni had engaged in a contest over who could get more in an hour, and not long after the bet was made Gruffi and Gusto were arguing again. With Grammi making barrels and barrels of Wunder Gummi Berry Juice and Zummi continued to read up on the special berries, Tummi found himself the only one doing nothing but gathering berries. He wandered away from the rest of the Gummi Bears, as they were all in the sun and Tummi was already very hot.
Wiping sweat from his brow he realized that it had been several hours since they begun their picking of the berries, and even more hours since they had embarked on the journey. He reached into his knapsack and found he only had one muffin left. Almost inhaling it, he discovered he was still hungry and he was also thirsty. It was then he noticed how sweet the berries really looked. He reached for one, then remembered how important the berries were. He began talking to himself.
"What do I do? I know that these berries are really rare, but I'm so hungry…Well, just one or two couldn't hurt." Tummi chuckled and reached for one, chewing it and reveling in its rich liquids and tasty texture. When he finally swallowed, he immediately reached for another. After all, no one even noticed the bush. No one would mind if he had just a few more…
"Faster, you disgusting excuses for grunts! How am I supposed to find out where all the Gummi Bears went if you can't even remember where YOU went?" Igthorn snarled to his troops. He had begun down the path that the ogres had taken to chase down Cubbi and other others the day before. All the ogres were arguing, though, and many suggested different routes as to where they went.
"This way!" One shouted, pointing to the left.
"No, that way!" Another shouted, pointing to his right.
"THIS way!" A third shouted, pointing the way they had come. Igthorn groaned.
"Let's just split up then. There's left, right and straight ahead. Green ogres, take the right path! Yellow and purple ogres, the left path! You few orange ogres will go with Toadie and me straight ahead!"
The ogres did manage to understand the order and tramped off in the direction they were supposed to go.
Tummi was just starting to lose control now. Grabbing almost entire handfuls of sweet Wundarberries and wolfing them all down, he would swallow and soon realize that he was even more hungry then before. After only a few minutes he had devoured every berry on the entire bush, and it now showed terribly. Tummi's formerly plump body had now expanded greatly, and Tummi now had several new rolls of fat covering his body. His legs had grown wider and Tummi was having just a bit of trouble walking now, and his arms were heavier as well and harder to move. None of this stopped Tummi, though, and he dove into another bush, eating berries as fast as he could.
About halfway into the second bush a wave of temporary control came over Tummi. He looked at his bloated body and again began to think out loud.
"What's going on? Why am I so hungry? And how am I getting so fat? It couldn't be just from these berries, could it? I'd better talk to Zummi about it before it gets even worse…"
Tummi again smelled the tantalizing aroma of the berries, and he didn't even try to resist it. Shoveling fistful of berries into his mouth, one after the other, he soon sat down, as standing required too much effort. He could quench his hunger if he just ate a few more berries, he though to himself.
An hour later…
"Where's Tummi?" Grammi suddenly asked, shelving her eighth bottle of Wunder Gummi Berry Juice. She turned to Cubbi and Sunni, who were resting after just completing their race to collect the most berries.
"I don't know. He kind of wandered off." Sunni stammered through tired gasps for air.
"Yeah, I think he's out behind the bushes on the other side." Cubbi said.
Gruffi threw his wheelbarrow down. "I guess I had better go check on him and make sure he isn't eating the berries."
Gruffi navigated his way through the bushes of berries until he saw a scuffling in the bushes in front of him. He thought he saw a giant blue figure ruffling through it, but he wasn't going to take any chances.
"I…I don't know who you are, but you had better come out from there!" Gruffi shouted. He first heard a strange muffled noise, then a familiar voice.
"Gruffi. Could you give me a little hand over here?" The voice of Tummi could be heard.
"Sure, Tummi. Let me just…AAAHHH!!!"
Gruffi saw his friend, only he hardly looked a thing like he did before. Tummi was sprawled on the ground, resembling a giant blob of fat now. He had huge legs that would now hardly move. His arms could barely lift up as well. Tummi's cheeks were now very puffy and it was a bit of a struggle for Tummi to speak. But it was his belly that was the most staggering. Spilling out over his tunic, Tummi had been forced to remove his belt to make room. It stuck out a good three feet in front of him and wobbled at the slightest movement. After Gruffi got over the initial shock, he blew up.
"WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING!!! Zummi told you not to eat any of the berries!"
Tummi stared at him, confused. "No, he didn't."
"You mean you didn't hear him? Oh well, it doesn't matter. We've got to get you fixed up!"
After retrieving the other Gummies, the six other members of the Glen had collectively managed to hoist Tummi onto a wheelbarrow, but there was no other room for berries. Giving Tummi all the excess food to try and calm his hunger down, Grammi paced nervously around the camp.
"Is there any way to reverse what happened to Tummi, Zummi?" She asked frantically.
"Well, let's see here…"
Cubbi and Sunni had climbed onto the cart next to Tummi's enormous belly.
"What does it feel like to be so big?" Cubbi asked.
Tummi thought for a moment. "I feel like I ate a few too many muffins."
"About ten thousand!" Cubbi laughed.
Suddenly the Gummi Bears felt a huge rustling from the direction they had initially come from.
"Well, well, isn't this a pretty sight?" A maniacal laugh erupted from the other direction. Six faces turned to see Igthorn, Toadie and four or five ogres standing before them.
"Such an interesting side effect of these incredible berries, wouldn't you agree, Toadwart?" Igthorn asked.
"Oh yes, your Dukieness!"
"Perhaps we could take this little crop of juice for ourselves!" Immediately the ogres lunged forward and each grabbed one of the Gummies. Grammi, Gruffi, Gusto, Sunni and Zummi were all held in the hands of the ogres. Igthorn and Toadwart made their way to the juice and grabbed all eight bottles. However, he did miss one bottle that was still in the vat of the juice. And two Gummi Bears had been missed. Of course Igthorn hadn't bothered to catch Tummi. And Cubbi had found a handy hiding place under Tummi's huge belly. He carefully filled up the open bottle and downed the contents. He felt an incredible surge of power rush through his body, as though he could do anything. He rose onto his feet.
"IGTHORN!" He thundered. Igthorn, Toadwart, the ogres and the other Gummies all turned to him. The Duke laughed.
"You think you can stop me, little child! Ha!"
"Fine, Igthorn. Eat my dust!" Cubbi kicked each of the ogres in the legs and they all collapsed to the ground, releasing the Gummi Bears. Igthorn and Toadwart prepared to run, but Cubbi lifted the huge mass of Tummi and hurled him forward. Tummi sailed through the air and crashed onto both of the villains, smashing all of the bottles of Wundar Gummi Berry Juice.
"What is this…A Gummi…Bear?" Igthorn muttered to himself before passing out.
"Toadie thinks…this one…eat too many Gummi…Berries…" Toadie said before joining him.
The Gummi Bears quickly surveyed what had happened to all their harvests.
"They destroyed all of our Wunder Gummi Berry Juice!" Gruffi said.
"And they smashed the rest of the bushes." Grammi sighed.
"So we don't get any special berries?" Sunni asked, disappointed.
The others all turned to Tummi, who was resting peacefully on the ground and trying to rub his huge belly.
"I'm kind of hungry." He grinned.
"Hmmm…Let's see here…"
The Gummies had returned home after dealing with Igthorn, and were hoping nervously that Zummi could find some kind of antidote to what had happened to Tummi. They gathered around a particular page the elder bear had selected.
"If I'm right, this should make all the weight that Tummi has gained in the last twenty-four hours disappear."
"Well, what are you waiting for? Get Tummi in here, Gruffi!" Grammi shouted. Gruffi sighed and grabbed a rope attached to a platform. Pushing with all his might, he soon brought Tummi in, who was snacking on some of Grammi's cookies. Zummi faced him.
"All right, let's try this out. Tummus, vammus nummus!"
A bright light appeared from Zummi's hands and eventually settled on Tummi's huge body. Before long the other bears started cheering.
"Tummi's getting back to normal!"
After several minutes of shrinking Tummi soon found he was able to sit up again. He stared at his rapidly decreasing belly and smiled. Within another few minutes he was back to normal, chubby body.
"This sure feels good." He said, smiling.
"I'll say! We could hardly get you back to the Glen!" Gusto said.
"Well, if you'll excuse me, I've got something to finish." Grammi said, wandering out of the room.
"What is it, Grammi?"
"Ooh, let me help!" Tummi scrambled to his feet and followed Grammi into the kitchen. The others simply laughed.