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    This is Book 3 in the series - Sophie and Scottie's adventures on a remote pacific island was amazing, but it was now time to return to Shear Heaven Ranch by riding on horseback through their magical crystal picture frame! As the fraternal twin sisters look to the sky, they could tell that a powerful storm was coming and they needed to use their clever skills to help Ma and Pa during and after the storm.

    The storm had passed and the summer sun began to dry out the ranch, but who was the boy helping ranch-hand Jack? Whoever he was, the girls knew this kid must never find out about the magical frame, or would he?

    Sophie and Scottie were ready for their next adventure. Luckily Auntie Jill's instructions were simple to follow. But, oh no, their dog Molly ran through the frame before they could go through to a land consisting of snow covered mountains and massive pine trees. All three find themselves on a boat with their Uncle Drake heading towards a mountain with an enormous rock shaped like a front tooth that was balancing ever so carefuly on the mountaintop! Once at their destination called the Colossal Candy Castle, Sophie and Scottie learn that Samuel McSweet lives at the castle but why is he there? Join the girls as they must interact with the largest grizzly bear they'd ever seen and why a bald eagle is constantly watching them. The curious sisters rely on their bravery and wit along with their trusty map to solve this sugar mystery of Sweet Tooth Rock!

    Chapter Six

    Just Follow Blue

    The sun was about to set as the last Jr. Rodeo fan drove down the long dirt driveway of the ranch to the main road. Pa and Jack had a few more temporary animal pens to take down and they’d call it a day.

    “How are you feeling?” Ma asked Sophie as she began to fluff up Sophie’s pillow.

    “Yeah, can I get your anything? Maybe a glass of water, or a snack, or something?” Scottie asked while setting down the Junior Rodeo crown on Sophie’s dresser.

    “I’m fine, just a little sore,” Sophie described as she got into bed with Ma still fluffing up her pillow.

    “You sure gave us a scare, Sophie, but our prayers were answered and now we have a queen in our room!” Ma said with a concerned smile on her face.

    “Oh, you two don’t need to fuss over me; I’ll be good as new tomorrow.” Sophie said while settling down on her very fluffy pillow.

    “We’ll have to keep it really calm tomorrow; maybe just hang out in the tree house or just watch a movie.” Scottie replied.

    “Oh no you two don’t,” Ma chimed in, “Sophie isn’t leaving this house. A movie will be fine, but not much else. In fact, it will be up to you, Scottie, to check on Fuzzy Mama and her baby tomorrow on your own. You may need to gather all of the signs you kids made and ask Pa if there are other areas that need cleaning up.”

    “Okay, that’s fine.” Scottie replied.

    As soon as Ma left both girls seemed to read each other’s mind and Scottie got up off her bed and walked over to get a long rolled up piece of paper. She walked over to Sophie and gave it to her. Carefully Sophie unrolled Maptrixter and they both began to look the map over. The girls noticed that the arena area was almost cleaned up, with the last livestock trailer leaving on the dirt driveway. Their eyes seemed to look at the same time where the stone house was located and noticed a low glow coming from the house.

    “Oh boy, I think I know what that glow is about; we, no I, need to go get Auntie Jill’s envelope from the stone house as soon as possible.” Scottie observed.

    “I know, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen the envelope,” Sophie agreed while yawning.

    “After I feed Fuzzy in the morning, I’ll walk over there and get it from where I put it.” Scottie suggested, “I don’t think anyone will notice me.”

    “Why does it matter if anybody sees you?” Sophie asked while snuggling down into her bed.

    “Well, I don’t want anyone to ask what’s inside the envelope since we don’t even know yet. Ma and Pa have been pretty good about not asking; I think they see the envelope as a special ‘thing’ between Auntie Jill and you and me.”

    “I guess you’re right,” Sophie agreed while nodding her head.

    “I’m going to check to see if Ma needs any more help and then I’ll be back. Go to sleep and I’ll see you in the morning; I’m glad you’re feeling better.” Scottie said with a smile as she bent over to give Sophie a hug.

    As Scottie left the room, she turned to notice how dim the light was within their room since the sun was now set. From the corner of her eye, she noticed their beautiful crystal frame that was on their large oak table. It was now a calm ocean blue color; first bright and then barely a glow, acting as a night light for Sophie. Quietly, Scottie closed the door behind her to go find Ma.

    “Scottie, time to wake up,” Ma gently nudged Scottie, trying not to wake Sophie at the same time. “You need to get dressed, breakfast is ready and then you can start your chores. Colton can help you with them today too.”

    As soon as Scottie heard the name Colton, her eyes were wide open and she instantly sat up.

    “What do you mean Colt will help me; I don’t need any help. I’ve been doing this for weeks now and I know what I’m doing.”

    “I know that you are good at…”

    “…great!”

    “Okay, great at your chores, but when Jack comes by today, I’m sure he’ll have Colt with him and he’ll need something to do.” Ma finished her sentence.

    “Well, okay, I guess he can help me,” Scottie said while rolling her eyes and getting out of bed.

    Normally Ma wouldn’t tolerate this type of attitude. But under the circumstances, she decided not to say anything to Scottie this time.

    After breakfast, Scottie slowly opened up the door from the screened-in porch to survey the barn area. She didn’t see Jack’s truck, Jack, or Colt. She let out a sigh and began to skip down to the barn. She noticed two blue birds chasing each other from tree to tree and began to giggle. Molly came running up to her and kept her company the entire way.

    “I bet you’re wondering what happened to Shiloh and Brandy,” Scottie began to talk to Molly as she stopped to scratch behind her ears, “don’t worry, they are at two great new homes and will be happy and safe.”

    And as if Molly could understand what Scottie was saying, she let out a bark and stayed by her side. Scottie slid open the barn door, signaling to Fuzzy that is was time for breakfast! Fuzzy began to bleat loudly and Scottie got to work. Just as she climbed back over the fence to get some cleaner straw, something seemed to buzz her head, which made her instantly duck down out of the way. As Scottie quickly looked around, she noticed one of the blue birds perched in the open truss beams of the barn, every now and then stopping to look at her.

    “Well, I guess I need to close the barn door when I come in to keep crazy birds like you out of here!” Scottie said to the bird with a giggle. “I think I’ll call you Blue, since I have a feeling I will be seeing you around the ranch.”

    Blue cocked its head from side to side as birds do, and then flew away back through the barn door opening. This reminded her of when she and Sophie first met Papaya in their bedroom before their Mexico adventure and it made her smile.

    “Well Fuzzy, I think I’m done here, so now I’d better go get that envelope before someone else does.” Scottie mentioned to the large ewe before she put her rake away and headed for the stone house.

    It was a beautiful sunny day and Scottie her eyes had to squint to keep out the glare of the rising sun as she walked over to the stone house. Blue flew past her towards the house and was out of site. ‘Hmm, I wonder where that bird flew to,’ Scottie thought as she and Molly approached the front door. She reached for the door knob and turned it, but it wouldn’t turn the entire way to open the door. Scottie tried it again, but nothing, like it was jammed or, oh no, locked!

    Scottie looked around through the window and of course, no one was in the house. She tried the door, and in frustration said to Molly, “this is so weird, the door is never locked to the stone house.”

    Molly just panted a little bit and wagged her tail in anticipation of some game she hoped would about to start with Scottie. Then, as Scottie looked around and began to tap her foot in thought, she heard something overhead coming from the top of the door frame.

    “Now Blue, what are you doing up there?” Scottie asked in a surprised tone.

    As if blue knew to answer, the bird began to peck at something shiny until it happened to drop onto Scottie’s head and bounce off onto Molly’s back! Molly quickly spun around as Scottie was reaching for her and the shiny object flew off, landing in Scottie’s reaching hand!

    “Well I’ll be, thanks for your help, Blue. It will be much easier to get into the house with this key!” Scottie said with a giggle as she put the key into the lock, which now allowed the door knob to turn and open the door. “I’m not sure why this door is locked, but let’s go get that envelope.” Scottie said to Molly and herself.

    The house looked the same as when they left it after the storm. Scottie went right to the cabinet where she left the envelope, but it wasn’t there!

    “Okay Scottie”, she said to herself, “don’t panic; I know I left it here, but maybe I put it down stairs instead.”

    Scottie started to walk down the stairs with Molly leading the way. She looked everywhere, but no envelope. Now, Scottie was beginning to get a little worried. As she walked up the stairs again, Molly ran up before her and began to bark. Scottie got to the top of the stairs and there in the doorway was Colt.

    “Are you looking for this?” Colt said while holding up an envelope toward Scottie.

    “Oh, there it is,” Scottie walked over to take it from Colt. “Why do you have this?”

    “Your Pa gave it to me to walk up to the main house to give it to your Ma or you; he said he found it after making sure there wasn’t anything left in the house.”

    “I wonder why Pa wants to make sure there isn’t anything in here and why the door was locked,” Scottie said more to herself as she looked at the envelope than to Colt.

    “Your Pa said that he noticed some termite activity in the outer eves of the house and wants to get it fumigated; that’s probably why he locked it.” Colt answered while also looking at the envelope. “I guess your envelope is pretty important.”

    Scottie realized that she’d better play it cool regarding the envelope and replied with a shrug of her shoulders, “oh, it’s just a silly ‘ol letter Sophie and I get every now and then from our Auntie Jill. It’s our way of ‘bonding’ and keeping in touch. She’s our only auntie and travels a lot.”

    “That’s nice,” Colt replied, thinking that the envelope may by more than what Scottie described.

    “Well, maybe I’ll see you a little later today. I need to head up back to the house and see how Sophie is doing. I said I’d watch a movie with her today; you know, keeping it calm and boring while she recuperates.” Scottie kind of announced to Colt while they walking out of the house and locking the door with the key. She tried to reach the top of the door frame to put the key back, but she was a little too short.

    “Here, let me help you,” Colt said as he took the key from Scottie and easily set it on the frame. Just as he did this, Blue swooped down from who knows where and landed on the door frame, looked at both of them, noticing the envelope was in Scottie’s hand, and flew away.

    Scottie looked at Colt, shrugged her shoulders again and said “crazy blue bird,” and walked towards the ranch house. As soon as she got close to the screened in porch, she noticed Sophie was standing there, still in her pajamas. Scottie lifted up the envelope and waved to Sophie with it in her hand. Sophie responded with a wave and a few claps with her hands.

    “Was that Colton I saw talking with you?” Sophie asked as Scottie walked into the porch area of the ranch house.

    “Yes, and you’re not going to believe what he had in his hand; the envelope!” Scottie announced.

    “Why did he have it?”

    “Pa asked him to give it to Ma or me because he found the envelope in the stone house; I guess Pa is going to fumigate the house due to termites and wanted to make sure everything was out of it.”

    “Whew, that would’ve been terrible if Pa or Colt had opened it up. Wait, do you think maybe one of them did open up the envelope?” Sophie asked with wide eyes.

    “No, I don’t think they did or there would be some questions from Pa I’m sure about our next adventure.” Scottie replied while looking at the envelope. “Anyways, how is your head; do you want to watch a movie?”

    “I feel a lot better now; a good night’s sleep is all I really needed. I had some pretty weird dreams that Molly was barking at a bear and we we’re in the woods somewhere.”

    “That is weird,” Scottie agreed, “I don’t think we have any real woods on the ranch.”

    “Oh here you are, Sophie, how are you feeling?” Ma asked as she entered the kitchen and saw the girls in the screened-in porch.

    “I feel much better today, Ma. In fact, I’m starving so can I have lunch?”

    Ma began to laugh, “Why, it’s only 10:30 in the morning. Tell you what, I’ll make us all a pizza and as soon as it’s done, you girls can eat. In the meantime Sophie, how about a granola bar and a big glass of milk?”

    “That sounds good, Ma.” Sophie agreed and sat down at the kitchen table for her mid-morning snack.

    As Ma was getting Sophie’s food, Scottie pointed to the envelope and mouthed that she was going to their bedroom and would meet her in the great room to watch a movie. Sophie nodded her head and Scottie left the kitchen.

    “Where did Scottie go?” Ma asked as she gave Sophie her food.

    “Oh, she went to our bedroom to take off her boots and said she’d meet me in the great room.”

    Ma smiled and nodded and went about with her day.

    As Scottie entered the great room Sophie asked her, “Oh good, you’re back in your pajamas too, where did you put the envelope? We don’t want the frame to go crazy again like it did in the stone house; hopping all over the lower room!”

    “Oh, I was very sneaky; I pretended to only get my PJ’s out of the drawer of my dresser, so as I took them out, I put the envelope in the drawer. I’m sure Maptrixter knows what I did, but since Trixter is rolled up, it can’t show the frame where I put the envelope.”

    “Oh, okay, good thinking,” Sophie said as she started the movie.

    The girls literally lounged around the rest of the day. With Scottie back into her pajamas, they decided that this would be a day-and-night sleep-over party! Ma helped them with board games and let them eat their pizza on T.V. trays in the great room while they watched their favorite movie; Parent Trap. Scottie later came into the kitchen to help Ma with dinner. Pa had to go into town and surprised the girls with their favorite cookie dough ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and walnuts. Sophie definitely felt better once she made her own ice cream sundae, giggling as they all ate at the table.

    “You know Ma; this wasn’t a bad day at all. I was afraid that we would be super board, but maybe a sleep-over day is what we all need once in a while.” Scottie said just before putting a too-big spoonful of ice cream into her mouth.

    “Oh, gross Scottie!” Sophie exclaimed, feeling good as new.

    “All right you two,” Pa began, “help Ma clean up and it’s off to bed for you two.”

    Just as he mentioned bed, Scottie got a fluttering feeling in her stomach. The envelope was in her pajama drawer of her dresser, tucked away from their beautiful frame, and needed to be opened! Quickly the girls cleaned up their mess and walked, no, sort of did a shuffle-jog toward their room.

    Scottie opened their door and Sophie quickly followed.

    “What drawer did you put the envelope in?” Sophie asked while looking around the room and noticing that the frame was still on the oak table in the ‘safe zone’ of their room. She thought it was a little peculiar that the frame was turned around and the front of it was facing the back of the room. As soon as Scottie walked pass the table and towards her dresser, Sophie understood why the frame had turned; to be towards where the envelope was stored.

    “Here you are,” Scottie announced as she lifted the envelope out of her dresser and sat on her bed.

    Instantly the frame woke up with several colors pulsing around the frame; as if the blue, yellow, green, red, and orange where chasing each other.

    “Well, it looks like the frame is ready to go,” Sophie said as she sat next to Scottie.

    Scottie took a deep breath and held it as she opened up the envelope, “there’s three different smaller envelopes in here; I’ll go ahead and open the first one with a number 1 on it.”

    Scottie pulled out a letter from Auntie Jill and Uncle Drake and read:

    Dear Sophie and Scottie,

    Uncle Drake and I are so glad that everything at the ranch was going to the okay or repairable after that crazy storm you had; I knew that you two needed to get back to the ranch from Amelia Island as soon as possible. We are also happy to hear about your great idea to hold a Junior Rodeo to help raise funds to fix you school’s gym.

    “How did they know we’d hold a Jr. Rodeo?” Scottie and Sophie both asked while turning to each other!

    “It doesn’t matter, keep reading.” Sophie urged.

    I knew your Pa would need you two during the storm; great tractor driving to save Fuzzy and her baby, Scottie. Now Sophie, be sure to get plenty of rest before you and Scottie decide to go on your next adventure. When it’s time, open up envelope 2.

    Love,

    Auntie Jill and Uncle Drake”

    “Wow, they sure know what happens on the ranch, it’s weird though, didn’t we get the envelope before all of this happened?” Scottie more stated then asked Sophie while beginning to put the letter back in envelope one. “Oh well, I’m going to brush my teeth, don’t open envelope number 2 until I get back.”

    While Scottie was brushing her teeth, Sophie walked into the bathroom with the next letter in her hand. Scottie began to say something with a mouthful of toothpaste and Sophie said in a confused voice “there’s only three words, Scottie; Just Follow Blue.”

    Scottie almost choked on her toothpaste as she spit it out and rinsed her mouth.

    Review

    "I love, love this book!" Dena Glynn - Poway Unified School District 2016 Teacher of the Year.