CHAPTER 1

It's just a seemingly ordinary day at the Enoch Pratt Free Library here in good old Baltimore City - mundane and boring as always in these times, though.

Inside, a young woman in her mid-twenties is sleeping head-down on a book she was reading before dozing off. It's obvious that it wasn't a good book to read as her subtle criticism.

Suddenly, what appears to be a fairy flies onto the scene over to Sleeping Beauty. She has a fire theme going on, with her colored three-tone flame-like hair and her wings being transparent red, orange, and yellow respectively. She also looks cartoony compared to the lady with her mature, Japanese anime look.

"Ah, here she is," the mysterious fairy says happily as she gently tugs at Sleeping Beauty's golden blonde hair, which reaches down to her thighs. It works, with Sleeping Rapunzel herself waking up frantically.

"What the?! Oops, I'm sorry if I slept on the book, miss," the beautiful lady says sheepishly, assuming her surprise visitor to be the librarian.

When the sheepish woman looks over to the fiery winged humanoid, she yelps in surprise just before calming down. "Uh . . . eyes are playing pranks on me. Must not be getting Z's lately."

"Uh, no. I'm real, dear. A real life fairy standing before you," the fiery fairy chuckles amusedly.

The young woman's eyes grow wide in awe before she faints backwards on the floor. Five seconds later, she gets back up and looks around for anyone who might be seeing this. Not wanting to make a commotion in such a quiet, public place, she silently motions her magical visitor to follow her away from the scene, which the mysterious fairy does without making a word.

"Now we're in a safe place, we can resume. Now then, who and what are you?" the Rapunzel lady asks in a calm, cool manner once she and her fairy guest are behind the library.

"My name is Seraphina, Queen of the Fire Fairies. I have chosen you to be our guardian – and protector of Earth," the fiery fairy replies courteously.

"Eh? Me? Well, all right, if you insist. I don't have much of a life, so I'm open for evil-crushing," the interested young woman replies with a smile. "I assume that villains are after powers or treasures you and your subjects possess?"

"How do you know?" Seraphina asks in surprise. "We came all the way from the planet Venus and no one has any knowledge of our species before."

"I have heard of such stories before – magical beings coming from another dimension/planet to Earth in search of someone who will protect them and Earth from the forces of evil. This screams of such a cliché, gal," the genre savvy woman replies pleasantly.

"I don't know what you're talking about, but I'm glad that you've responded to our plea for help. Of course, you'll need magic yourself to fend off such villains," Seraphina replies gratefully, just before giving our new heroine a golden necklace with a fiery red ruby on the locket. "We transferred all of our magic into this so our new guardian can do her task."

"All of it? Then how will you deal with any dangers by yourselves?" the woman asks concernedly.

"Don't worry about it. We're fine martial artists who can fend off minor creeps - in groups, that is. The Japanese always fight in groups, as I've heard," Seraphina assures pleasantly. "Oh, you never told me your name, dear."

"Kimberly Sullivan," our new magical heroine introduces herself, plain and simple. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Your Majesty."

"The same with you, Kimberly. Now then, activate your new powers by just saying the phrase that activates it," the Fire Fairy Queen explains short and sweet. "Which phrase would you like to input in your new locket, dear?"

"Huh? Well, can I activate it before I confirm it? I'd like to see my magical form before deciding," Kimberly asks curiously.

"But of course," Seraphina says as she gets out a wand from hammerspace and lightly taps it on our new heroine.

Just like that, roaring, swirling flames with accompanying glowing yellow stars and pink hearts surround Kimberly for at least three seconds. When said sequence is done, her new guide gets out a mirror for her to see.

The transformed magical woman looks at her own reflection - with her eyes closed for some reason. "I don't look goofy or overly flashy, do I? Because sometimes, magical heroines would often wear such costumes," she asks nervously.

"No, of course not. You look lovely in your new dress, Kimberly. Open your eyes and see," Seraphina assures cheerfully.

Kimberly does as she's told and sees that she's wearing a plain white dress with a yellow star-shaped gem on the stomach area, a jeweled belt with angel wing-shaped ribbon bows on the back, white bloomer pants underneath her skirt, and dark brown leather boots with golden buckles. Nothing special and flashy indeed – except for two large phoenix wings reaching a 20 feet wingspan on her back.

"Whoa . . ." Kimberly says pleasantly while admiring her beautiful new phoenix wings. "These are super cool! Wait, won't they set anything on fire upon touch?"

"No – except for evil people and objects. Other than that, they're harmless," Seraphina assures simply.

"That's a relief," the relieved phoenix angel replies before flapping her new wings gently. "Well, as for the phrase for my locket, how about . . .'Phoenix Angel, Rise'?"

"Ah, that's a nice one. It suits your new form as well," Seraphina says as she taps her wand on Kimberly's locket to enchant it with all her and her many subject's magic just like that. "There, you're all set now."

"So, I guess I'm going to undergo some training, am I right?" the genre-savvy Phoenix Angel asks.

"Oh, your new powers aren't hard to perform. You only have three special attacks, plus the ability to conjure and manipulate fire and smoke," the Fire Fairy Queen replies confidently with accompanying hand wave. "Now let's be off to find my subjects. They're so excited about this city that they went on their own separate ways behind my back."

"Well, of course. Wouldn't you be immensely and idiotically curious when arriving at a new planet?" Kimberly points out.

"Hmmph. I see you have a rude and snarky smudge in your personality – but you're right. Let's go before trouble runs amok sooner than we expect it to be," an annoyed Seraphina replies before exiting the scene with our new Phoenix Angel.

"Uh, tell me something, Seraphina. How am I able to fly so well without training?" Kimberly asks curiously.

"It comes with your new magic, of course," the Fire Fairy Queen points out matter-of-factly.

"Stupid me," our new heroine says while smacking herself face-on while Seraphina snickers amusedly.

Upon arriving at Patterson Park, the fiery ladies land before the nearby public pool and then see another young lady with an ice theme regarding her appearance - icy white hair, blue dress decorated with snowflakes and sapphires, etc. She has an evil, sinister grin on her face as she holds a cage containing another fire fairy inside.

"Well, this is to be expected," Kimberly says while rolling her eyes annoyingly before walking forth to confront this evil ice lady. "Excuse me, but I'll have to ask you to hand that fire fairy to me if you know what's good for you."

"Huh?" the icy lady asks before shifting her focus to the Phoenix Angel and her fairy guide. "Who are you to boss me around, idiot?"

"The Phoenix Angel, of course. Smiting evil is my new purpose in life, but I won't do a messy job doing so. We can do this the easy way, or the hard way - your choice," Kimberly replies sternly while dramatically crossing her arms.

"Oh, go give yourself a haircut, Rapunzel," the frosty villainess taunts belittlingly just before pointing her fingers at our heroine - magically shooting out a shower of several icicles just like that.

Our new heroine quickly swipes her super-long curly hair at said icy projectiles, catching them just like that as if they were baseballs. "Nice try, but you'll need to do MUCH better than that, lazybones," she taunts back while sticking her tongue.

"Fine," the icy lady grunts annoyingly as she throws her cage aside and starts getting this battle starting – with a massive blizzard from her hands.

Kimberly simply yawns at this and conjures up a fiery barrier sphere around herself and Seraphina in a split second. Afterwards, she bounces toward her opponent like a rubber ball and pounces on her head just like Super Mario would on a Goomba. This, of course, squishes the frosty villainess flat like a pancake as the number '100' floats upward to drive the video game shout-out home.

Not one to waste an opportunity like this, the Phoenix Angel grabs the cage containing the captive fire fairy and flies away casually with Seraphina at her side.

"Curse you, Phoenix Angel! I'll get you yet – and your little fairies, too!" the icy lady shouts angrily while raising her fist.

Kimberly simply sticks out her tongue in response before releasing the other fire fairy from her prison. "You okay, gal?" she asks politely.

"Hey, you're the chosen Phoenix Angel! You've found her at last, Queen Seraphina!" the rescued fairy exclaims cheerfully.

"Of course. She does wonderfully - faster than I expected too," the Fire Fairy Queen replies with a nod.

"Oh, by the way, my name is Fajra. I'm the fastest of the lot, so if you have any problems with fast baddies, bring me along on your trek, Miss," the freed fairy informs Kimberly in a confident, if a bit bravado, manner.

"Really? Well then, could you shake that icy witch off our trail, then?" the genre savvy heroine asks as she points at the frosty villainess – who's just healed herself and catching up with a vengeance.

"No problem. It's payback time, anyway," Fajra replies confidently as she rolls up her sleeves and zooms off, circling around her former kidnapper like a pesky gnat while conjuring up several flames in the process.

Just like that, the icy witch melts down into water Wicked Witch of the West-style. "Oh no! I'm . . . I'm . . ." she shrieks in horror upon realizing this.

"Melting, Melting, Melting?" Kimberly chuckles amusedly. "Yeah, looks like it."

Fajra returns to the fiery duo laughing all the way while the sentient water blob falls down to the ground. "That should take care of her – until she gets frozen, that is. She's hard to defeat since she can restore herself in cold temperatures," she informs Kimberly.

"She'll be quite a pest from here on out, I'll reckon. Thanks anyway for getting her off our trail, though," our new heroine asks with a nod.

"No problem, Miss Phoenix. But there are more fire fairies to rescue, so let's get a move on," Fajra points out concernedly.

"Duh. Lead the way, gal," the Phoenix Angel agrees as she and Seraphina follow their new partner outta there.

The fiery trio arrives at Essex Community College a minute or so later - and comes across your typical giant rock monster walking about in the premises while several students run for cover, as expected. Just then, several more fire fairies arrive from out of nowhere and circle above said rockie like pesky gnats to keep it occupied for the time being.

"Shoo off, stupid fairies!" the burly rock man says angrily while swiping away at his tiny tormentors before realizing something. "What am I saying?! These pests are why I'm here for! Come here, you!"

"Oh, great! I was hoping he didn't realize this," one of the fairies says nervously as she flies away from the rock monster's clutches with her fellow subjects.

"Oh, dear . . . A monster made of stone. This will be a problem, since they have resistance against fire," Seraphina says concernedly.

"Ha, this is still no problem. Watch and see, fairy gals," Kimberly assures confidently as she flies off to take on her new opponent.

Upon reaching the rocky bully, the new Phoenix Angel flies down to his feet and conjures up several flames to roast them, increasing the temperature with each spin.

"Huh?" the rock monster asks while sniffing the smoke surrounding him at the moment. "Hey, what's cooking?"

The fire fairies above their pursuer stop what they're doing and look down at his feet with chuckles all around. "Uh, it's you, idiot," one of them says sarcastically while pointing downwards.

The dumb rockie looks down – just before shooting upward to the sky while screaming Looney Tunes-style. Upon landing back down, he breaks up into a giant pile of rubble instantaneously. A hand suddenly sticks out from said pile with a brush to sweep it away from the scene, just like a cartoon character would in the same state.

With that done, the rescued fire fairies fly over to Kimberly and gratefully shake her hands one by one.

"Thanks for keeping that dumb rock monster occupied before I got here," the Phoenix Angel says with an appreciated smile.

"THANK YOU for taking him out and saving us from a crushing fate," one of the fire fairies replies gratefully.

With that, Seraphina and Fajra arrive in a heartbeat and give each of their liberated sisters a big hug.

"Thanks goodness you all are okay! Next time, don't go flying off so recklessly in such a brave new world like this," the relieved Fire Fairy Queen says.

"Sorry, but we can't help it. Curious, we are," one of the fire fairies replies nervously with accompanying sweatdrop.

"Sorry to interrupt this happy reunion, but are there more of your friends about?" Kimberly asks concernedly.

"Yes, of course. Let's be off now, darlings," Seraphina replies affirmatively as she leads the group with no time to spare.

"How many are there of you, by the way? 30? 50? A hundred?" the Phoenix Angel asks casually.

"You're correct with your third guess," one of the new fire fairies replies matter-of-factly.

"We'll be out here for a while, aren't we?" Kimberly asks nervously with the same fairy nodding annoyingly. "Groan . . ."

It isn't long before the fiery ladies have come across yet more fire fairies, this time at the Hamilton Bakery relaxing - as if waiting for someone.

"Ah, the Hamilton Bakery - one of the best bakeries in Baltimore," Kimberly says to her new friends. "But I guess your fellow fairies have learned that already, eh?"

"Well, it looks fancy and cozy for a bakery," Seraphina replies amusedly while observing the place's interior, which is like one of those fancy restaurants you would find in Baltimore County and beyond. "But it's best for us to leave now before something bad . . ."

"Shhh! Don't tempt fate! You'll jinx us by doing that!" the Phoenix Angel replies frantically while quickly covering the Fire Fairy Queen's mouth.

As if fate has just answered, Kimberly falls face-first on the floor after getting kicked from behind. She quickly gets up while rubbing her head to encounter a young woman with sea-green skin, ocean blue hair, and a seashell-decorated dress standing before her. Like the icy witch before her, she sports an evil expression on her face while chuckling.

"Rats," Seraphina grumbles while bringing her head down in embarrassment - since she's just tempted Fate, of course.

Kimberly isn't deterred and prepares to fight with hands blazing literally with flames, much to her new enemy's amusement.

"Go ahead and do your best, angel gal, but fire have no effect on me," the water lady giggles amusedly.

"Oh, I know that. But fire can create steam, and well, you know what happens when fish is exposed to steam . . ." the Phoenix Angel replies before blowing a literally-flaming kiss at her opponent.

Upon landing on the water witch's cheek, the fiery smooch instantly produces a cloud of scorching-hot steam.

"Ack! Ouch! Yowch! Stop this! Stop this now!" the watery villainess screeches as she jumps about rapidly like a Mexican jumping bean.

"Gladly," Kimberly chuckles mischevously as she casually walks over - and kicks her opponent out of the bakery to return the favor. She then looks out to see the watery witch disappearing into the sky with an anime-style twinkle. "Hmm . . . can't tell if she's made it into the ocean or not. Oh well."

With that, the fire fairy bunch flies out of the bakery and gratefully glomps their new guardian all at once.

"I know, you're all welcome," Kimberly says pleasantly as she gives her many new fiery friends a big hug. "So, how many are there of you now?"

"At least 30, I think. We'll stay here at the Bakery, all right? We're still waiting for our order, you know," one of the fire fairies replies casually before re-entering with her fellow brethren - except Seraphina and a very fat fire fairy who's as big as a beach ball.

"I'm coming with you this time, Miss Angel. The name's Nina, and I'm the brawn of the lot. You'll have an easier time with baddies with me around," the big fire fairy replies in a macho fashion.

"Very well, if you insist. Think you can fight with those teensy weensy limbs of yours, though?" Kimberly asks amusedly.

"Just trust me on this, okay?" Nina assures as she motions her queen and new guardian to follow her away, which they do.

The new fiery trio's next destination turns out to be the nearby Wal-Mart - where there's a catastrophe going on about in the parking lot. Several tiny white dots are chasing more fire fairies about while freezing anything they come across in their path - obviously not caring about the chaos they're causing in the process.

"Wha? What are those odd dots?" Kimberly asks curiously while scratching her head.

"Living snowflakes, they are. Be careful, one touch from them can freeze you in a snap," Seraphina warns concernedly while snapping her fingers.

Suddenly, the chasers zip right past the fiery trio with the snowflakes not far behind - freezing them instanteously along the way. All three bursts out of their icy prison five seconds later with their fiery might.

"This is getting annoying now. I have an idea, though," Kimberly says annoyingly as she flies off after the chasers ASAP.

Upon reaching the pursued fire fairies, the Phoenix Angel silently motions them to follow her over to a nearby SUV with its windows open for some reason with the frantic snow dots approaching rapidly.

When the fiery ladies reach their destination, they just stand there as the arctic pests still in hot – on in this case, windy – pursuit close in with lightning speed. Then, within a split second, they shoot upward just as quick while the foolish snowflakes enter the truck and collide with the closed window on the other side – instantly freezing the entire SUV and trapping themselves inside.

"Well, that's the end of that," Kimberly says amusedly as she and the fire fairies fly back down to the scene.

Just then, a glowing blue energy blast hits the unsuspecting Phoenix Angel right at her hair and freezes it instantly. Surprised by this, she looks over to see the same icy witch from earlier already restored and ready for more. And she's not pleased either, what with her face glowing red and smoke coming out from her ears and all.

"Came back for seconds, huh?" Kimberly asks while rolling her eyes annoyingly.

"Actually, I was just watching my snowflakes doing their work until you showed up and tricked them into trapping themselves in that infernal vehicle. I'll teach you for messing with my frigid friends like that!" the icy witch shrieks angrily while conjuring up a massive snowball in her arms just before hurling it at our magical heroine.

Kimberly simply counters by throwing a massive fireball from her arms AND another fiery barrier around her opponent and both incoming projectiles – before flying away for dear life.

"Ah, excellent strategy, Kimberly. You sure know your elemental physics," Seraphina says complementally as she and her fairy subjects follow suit.

Sure enough, as the fiery and icy projectiles collide with each other, a massive explosion suddenly occurs – and is thankfully contained within the super-strong barrier. While this goes down, a puddle of water slides out from underneath and quickly takes the form of a wheel. Before the fiery ladies would notice, it speeds into the horizon complete with screeching sound effects.

"Even after an attack like that, I doubt she's dead that easily," Kimberly says, being the genre savvy heroine she is.

"You think? Well, ice witches have regenerative abilities and all, so she'll be back soon enough," Nina agrees logically.

"Now that this catastrophe is settled, we can continue our search. Let's be off, gals," the Phoenix Angel says as she motions the fairies to follow - only to notice them staying put for obvious reasons.

"Uh, what about these frozen human contraptions? Can't leave them like this, you know," one of the fire fairies points out matter-of-factly.

"What am I, a magical janitor? It's not my fault these snowy pests caused such a ruckus. They should clean up their own mess," Kimberly groans annoyingly when she suddenly smiles – meaning she has an idea.

With that, the Phoenix Angel flies over to the snowflake-filled SUV and defrosts it on the spot with a single touch. Once the pesky white dots themselves fly out, they simply stare at our fiery heroine right at the face - and then kneel before her desperately, as if they're begging for their lives.

Defrost these cars now or I'll melt you into water, you reckless frozen dots," Kimberly says sternly as she points over at the other frozen cars.

With that, the elated snow dots nod frantically before zooming off to do as they're told.

"Take your friends to the Hamilton Bakery, Your Majesty. Nina and I will be fine from here on out," the Phoenix Angel says to Seraphina, who nods agreedly.

Upon arriving at Golden Corral - the best buffet place to go - Kimberly and Nina enter and then gasp in horror upon witnessing something so rude and immature – several fire fairies gorging away at the food stations like pigs at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

The Phoenix Angel is NOT pleased by this as she stomps over to these bingers – only to see one of the staff members walking over to her with an angry glare.

"Excuse me, miss. Are these fairies yours?" the angry worker asks Kimberly, who looks at the readers with a nervous giggle and sweatdrop on her head.

Five seconds later, the Phoenix Angel and the fire fairies accompanying her are in a kitchen cleaning several towers of dirty dishes to make up for all the food said naughty fairies ate just now.

"Well, I expected to fight a villain to save you gals, so here it is – the dreaded Soapy Sink Monster," Kimberly grumbles angrily.

"Not funny, Miss Kimberly," Nina replies annoyingly while wiping the clean dishes dry.

"My point exactly," the Phoenix Angel says sternly while looking over to over THIRTY dirty dish towers next to her – yep, the fairies from the buffet have eaten that much. "Looks like this is going to be a long, epic battle indeed."

Just then, the staff worker from earlier shows up and walks over to Kimberly with a big smile. "You can go now. Someone who claims to be your mom has paid the bill for the lot of you," he announces to the fiery gals.

"Queen Seraphina!" Kimberly whispers to herself happily before replying out loud, "Thank you, sir. I'm truly sorry for my sisters' rude and atrocious behavior, for they're new to the whole buffet thing. Let's be off, gals."

And with that, the elated Phoenix Angel walks away - with the fire fairies following slowly with their heads down in shame, knowing they're in hot water with their queen.

Sure enough, Seraphina looks down at her subjects shamefully while they're in a military-style line.

"Well, since you've eaten the entire restaurant house and home, I'll have to punish you by relinquishing your privileges for a month. Now follow me back to the Hamilton Bakery," the Fire Fairy Queen announces sternly.

The naughty fire fairies nod sheepishly in response before following Seraphina to their destination.

"Thank you for finding them, gals! Continue your search as usual!" the grateful fairy queen calls out to Kimberly and Nina as she passes them by.

"Will do, Your Majesty," the Phoenix Angel replies while waving good-bye with her fairy sidekick following suit.

"Hopefully, we won't come across any more trouble," Nina says dreadfully. "Every time we go to a new planet to visit and/or hide from villains, our brains take a brief holiday."

"Tell me about it. If only there's a way to gather the remaining fairies without running all over the place like maniacs," Kimberly groans while banging her head softly against the restaurant's entrance doors.

"Hey, hey, hey! Don't give yourself a concussion while thinking!" the brawny fire fairy cries out frantically while pulling her new guardian away. "I think I know how we can do that. There's two things about us fire fairies – we have an extreme sense of smell, and we love sweets to the Nth degree."

"Hmm . . . that gives me an idea. Come on, let's get something to exploit such facts, shall we?" the Phoenix Angel says amusedly as she motions Nina to follow her.

Eventually, the fiery gals are back at the Hamilton Bakery with a giant apple pie – wide as a rose garden - in front of them.

"Whew! I hope this pie is big enough for whatever you're planning to do with it, Kim," one of the bakers says while wiping her forehead.

"More than enough, Tanya. I'll make up for this big time, I swear," Kimberly replies with a grateful smile.

"This is quite a day, no doubt. First, you're now a magical super-heroine, and then there are these fantastical beings running amok in the city, and now this. Yeah, I'd say you owe me big time," the female baker says amusedly. "I have to say this though, there's finally SOME excitement going down in Baltimore."

"Duh," the Phoenix Angel agrees as she gets out a Japanese paper fan from hammerspace and rapidly waves it up and down to send the pie's delicious aroma into the sky. "This better work, 'cuz I ain't going to get in more hot water like just earlier."

Just then, the ladies hear fluttering from out of nowhere, almost to the point that it sounds like bumblebees. "Do you hear that, gals?" Tanya asks, getting a bit nervous.

"If I think it's what – or who – I think it is – RUN FOR COVER!" Kimberly cries out as she and her friends run back into the bakery, locking the doors behind them on the fly.

Sure enough, several fire fairies show up with the speed of a certain roadrunner and devour the giant pie like birdseed. When they're done eating, our heroic ladies walk out and carry as many fattened fairies as they can inside, exchanging high-fives in the process.

Inside the bakery, Kimberly and Tanya are busy chatting away while the fire fairy group is enjoying their order of cream cheese and blueberry pastries. The Phoenix Angel herself is enjoying a blueberry muffin, which is delicious and not soggy as the ones you would find at the nearest supermarket.

"So, you're a Phoenix Angel, eh? Why did they choose you, Kim?" Tanya asks curiously.

"I don't know. You know about fate – you never know what it throws at you. And I'm glad in this case, since I was getting bored out of my mind," Kimberly replies matter-of-factly.

"I told you that being alone for the whole summer while your parents are on their business trip wasn't a good idea. Not so fun anymore, is it?" the friendly baker points out.

"Well, yeah. But I'm now glad that I stayed home after all, eh?" the new heroine replies while shrugging her shoulders.

Just then, Seraphina flies over to the ladies and bows down courteously before them. "Thank you so much for the delicious pastries, Tanya. Give my regards to your fellow co-workers," she says gratefully.

"Now that the whole group has been rounded up, what's next for us?" Kimberly asks before taking another muffin bite.

"For one thing, the reason why the invaders are here is because this city is full to the brim of Burning Rubies. They want to convert these precious gems into Snowy Sapphires so they can turn the world into an arctic wasteland for their species to live in. Fortunately, they're not so bright and have no clue where to start searching - but they're sure to follow and ambush us at every opportunity they have," the Fire Fairy Queen explains briefly.

"Is that so? What about for us – as in, what advantage do these Burning Rubies give us?" the Phoenix Angel replies curiously.

"To increase your magic powers, of course. For every seven gems you collect, you go up one level of experience," Seraphina replies pleasantly.

"That's cool. I'm sure the alien creeps will be bringing out the big guns soon, so you'll need every bit of help you can get, Kim," Tanya says with an understanding nod.

"But of course. Well, since they're recovering from the thrashing I gave them just now, it would be a good time to find these gems ASAP," Kimberly agrees as she gets up from the table while motioning Nina to follow her.

"I'm going too. We're best buds to the end, so I ain't going to watch you get beaten to a pulp," Tanya insists pleasantly as she follows as well.

"You sure you want to come along, Miss Tanya? These space creeps are bad news for normal Earthlings like you," the big fire fairy asks concernedly.

"I'm not a weakling. Trust me on this one, I'll be fine with you two around," the friendly baker assures with a wink. "Let's get a move on, Kim."

"Right with you, B.F.F.," Kimberly agrees as she and her friends begin their gem quest on the double.

"So, how do we find these Burning Rubies, anyway? Do you fairy gals have some sort of sixth sense or something?" Tanya asks Nina, who nods her head in response.

"Of course, we shouldn't let anyone know what we're doing - I mean, baddies can watch over us when we least expect it, you know," Kimberly points out, being genre savvy again. "Of course, we should test this out. Sense any gems nearby, Nina?"

"Yep. Follow me," the balloon-like fire fairy replies as she flies off with her new allies at her side. "Just cover me, will ya? I just HATE ambushes, you know."

"Take comfort that you're not alone," Tanya assures, with her best friend nodding agreedly.

Once the fiery trio arrives at Patterson Park not long after, Nina flies over to a nearby patch of glass and digs it up with lightning speed.

"Whoa, she's sure one mean speed devil, isn't she?" an impressed Kimberly asks amusedly while looking around for anything suspicious.

"Well, they're no ordinary fairies, that's for sure," Tanya replies as she gets out a metallic Bo stick from hammerspace.

It isn't long before Nina is done digging up several glowing red gems from the ground that glow on and off like Christmas tree lights. Not one to waste time, she pockets every gem she can - just as footsteps are suddenly heard approaching from the distance. Thus, Kimberly goes into a flashy kung-fu pose with hands literally ablazin' with Tanya joining in with her metallic Bo stick in a defensive position.

Sure enough, the same stone bully from earlier stands before our heroines while smacking his fists against each other. To him, it is ON – as in, payback for his previous defeat.

"A rock monster, eh? Nothing I can't deal with," Tanya says amusedly as she swiftly slides in and brings her rocky opponent down with a powerful leg sweep. Surprisingly, the impact doesn't affect her legs whatsoever, since you know what happens when you try to kick a rock THAT hard.

"Whoa, you brought him down just like that?! Your leg must be bruising like crazy by now," Nina exclaims in awe.

"Nope, it's just fine thanks to the steel padding and gel cushioning for my thigh boots. My mother tells me to always be prepared for occasions like this," the sudden martial artist replies with a smile. "You can take it from here, Kim."

"With pleasure," the Phoenix Angel replies mischievously as she walks over to the rockie's face and then kiss him on the lips – while hers are glowing white-hot.

This makes the rocky creature himself glow white as well while a gigantic cloud of steam emits from his body. Kimberly simply stands aside as he suddenly shoots upward from the scene just like déjà vu.

Once the hapless monster lands back on the ground, Tanya runs over and crushes him into another pile of rubble with just one swipe of her mighty Bo stick.

"Guess this isn't your day, isn't it Rockie?" Kimberly giggles teasingly, only to get whacked by a pebble in return. "Well! Let's see how you like this, then."

And with that, our fiery heroine starts spinning around on the spot ballerina-style – while a giant inferno of a tornado suddenly engulfs her much to the horror of the rock monster, who instantaneously reforms himself pebble by pebble just like a cartoon character would in the same situation.

Just before he hightails out of there, the rockie realizes himself being whole already and attempts to grasp the tornado to cease it . . . only for Nina to fly right at his head with the force of a wrecking ball to blow it into rubble once more.

"Whoa, you're one heck of a living wrecking ball," Tanya says amusedly as she grabs Nina out of the tornado's way just as it's now speeding toward the rock monster in a frightening rate.

"Uh, that wasn't necessary, Tanya," the fat fire fairy assures annoyingly. "But thank you for your concern anyway."

"Oh yeah, you fairies are immune to your element, right? Which technically make Kimberly immune as well, obviously," Tanya hypothesizes with Nina nodding affirmatively.

Kimberly flies back over to her friends and looks over just in time to see the fiery tornado she's just created speeding off with the stone bully's remains tossing about inside like popcorn in a popper machine. "Don't worry about that thing, it only affects bad people and objects," she informs Tanya assuredly.

"Ah, that's cool. So, now that you've found some of those rubies, how do you use them to increase your magic?" the martial artist baker replies as she puts her Bo stick away.

"Queen Seraphina knows for sure. For now, let's keep a-lookin' for more Burning Rubies, shall we?" the fat fire fairy replies while shrugging her shoulders.

"Lead the way, then," the Phoenix Angel says with a nod as she allows her fairy sidekick to do so.

"That was impressive of what you done by the way, Miss Tanya," Nina complements pleasantly.

"Well, my mother trains me in martial arts for self-defense and helping others in trouble. It also helps that my family are descendants of several famous martial artists from Japan - which I came from, obviously," the martial artist baker explains briefly.

"Plus, she's wickedly cool with both a Bo stick and a boomerang, since she requested her parents to teach her to use those. Should be obvious why, eh?" Kimberly adds in while winking at her B.F.F.

"Same with you using those Japanese paper fans, Kim," Tanya points out with a chuckle. "Well, enough chit-chat. Sense any more rubies around here, Nina?"

"Yeppers. Up in this tree, to be exact," the fat fire fairy replies affirmatively as she flies over to a nearby apple tree and starts shaking it up vigorously.

Thanks to Nina's immense strength, several apples – along with several Burning Rubies – start falling down like pennies from Heaven. The lady warriors waste no time in running over and catching as many stuff as they can – Kimberly with the glowing gems, and Tanya with the apples for obvious reasons.

"Planning to make apple pies with those, right?" Kimberly asks amusedly.

"Well, of course. I'll be making a Dutch Apple Pie for us when we're done for today. How's that, gals?" Tanya asks excitedly while Nina smacks her lips hungrily in response. "I'll take that as a 'Yes'."

Suddenly, all three gals are frozen on the spot by an out-of-nowhere blizzard. Turns out that pesky icy witch is back – and reformed for the third time today. Without making a word, she scoops up all the gems from the scene and teleports herself out of there in an eye-blink.

Five seconds later, Kimberly bursts out of her icy prison and defrosts her allies ASAP. "Gals, you okay?!" she asks concernedly.

"Whoa, yeah Kim. One thing for sure, now I know what people go through during cryogenic sleep," the martial artist baker assures sheepishly while regaining her composure. "Guess that icy witch got to the gems while our guard is down. Dang."

Kimberly stomps her foot down in anger while silently pouting. "STUPID ME!" she screeches angrily.

"Don't take it hard on yourself. Every super-heroine has her failures as well as her victories," Nina points out logically.

"Yeah, I know. At least let's go on one more search so we can end today's quest on a positive note," the Phoenix Angel grumbles annoyingly. "What about your apples, Tanya?"

"Since they've got frozen as well, I'm not sure if I can use 'em for pies. The bakery only uses fresh fruit for its pastries, not flash-frozen," the martial artist baker replies unsurely.

"Huh? Even for ten seconds? Give me a break," Kimberly says while rolling her eyes annoyingly.

"I'll take those off your hands then, Miss Tanya," Nina says cheerfully as she gulps each and every apple in the martial artist baker's arms in ten seconds even as her allies watch on in awe with typical wide eyes and jaws dropping.

The Phoenix Angel shakes her head to snap out of her daze and then shakes her best bud out as well. "Impressive sight and all, but let's be on our way again, shall we?" she insists casually.

Upon arriving at Herring Run Park, our heroines see the water witch from earlier already picking several Burning Rubies from a nearby bush.

In response, Tanya uses her Bo stick as a vaulting pole to travel a great distance toward the oceanic villainess, kicking her down to the ground just like that.

Meanwhile, Kimberly and Nina fly over and pick up every single Burning Ruby in the scene. "Thanks a whole lot, best bud!" the Phoenix Angel herself calls out to her B.F.F.

"No problem, Kim. So we have a water-based opponent here, eh? Think you're up to it?" the martial artist baker asks while doing a Fan Zi (Chinese martial arts) battle pose.

"But of course. I have worked around my weakness before," Kimberly replies as she cracks her knuckles.

"Not this time, idiot. This time, I've wised up and I ain't failing again," the water witch growls angrily as she gets back up and instantaneously conjures up a giant blob of water the size of Essex Community College.

Just before the watery villainess can drown our heroines, a sudden blizzard comes out from out of the blue and freezes said entire blob into an ice globe in a cold snap. With that, our heroines zoom from the scene just as the gargantuan iceberg fall down on its conjuror, squishing her like a pancake on the stop.

"Whoops," the icy witch says nervously as she suddenly appears on-site and flies over to the iceberg.

Meanwhile, the water witch slides out from underneath said ice monument as a literal cartoon pancake. She then puts her thumb in her mouth and blows herself back to normal cartoon-style in just seconds.

"Sorry, I was aiming for those meddling imbeciles," the frosty villainess apologizes nervously.

As her response, the oceanic villainess encases her icy counterpart in another watery blob and places it down on a nearby tree stump. Summoning a plastic golf club in her hands from hammerspace, she then swings the blob out of there like a golf ball and watches in satisfaction as it disappears into the horizon already. "FORE!" she cries out suddenly, having forgotten to say so beforehand.

The water witch then hears hand-clapping nearby and looks over to see Kimberly, Tanya, and Nina applauding amusedly, apparently admiring her golfing skills. She bows down courteously to show her thanks, only to realize something.

"Hey! Don't distract me from my goal, will ya?! Just give me those Rubies and I'll leave, okay?" the oceanic villainess pouts angrily before being tackled in the head by Nina.

With the whiny witch now unconscious, the big fat fairy grabs her by the hair and spins her around until it becomes a blinding blur. There, she lets go to send the oceanic witch into the horizon in the same direction as her icy counterpart.

"Well, that was unexpected. I was looking forward to kick some butt, but it's clearly becoming apparent that these witches are losers," a slightly disappointed Tanya says as she puts her Bo stick away.

"Tell me about it. It's actually pathetic, if you tell me," Nina agrees as she flies over to the lady warriors. "Now then, let's go back to the bakery before any more bums show up."

"Agreed," Kimberly replies before leaving the park with her friends just like that.

When the search team returns to the Hamilton Bakery, they find the fire fairies cleaning and polishing the entire interior - leaving no microbe and speck of dirt in their path.

"Whoa, what's going on here?" Kimberly asks as she walks over to the counter, with one of Tanya's co-workers taking over for the time being.

"Since they love our pastries so much, they're showing their dedication and love by cleaning our workplace spotless," the co-worker replies short and sweet.

"That's nice of them. But how come they're doing this when they have a lot of money to pay for all of that stuff they've just ate?" Tanya asks while shrugging her shoulders.

"Just humor them for now, okay?" Kimberly whispers mischeviously while the fire fairies fly over to her.

"Besides, we don't know how to convert our gem currency into Earthling money just yet," Nina adds in before changing the subject. "Hi there, gals! Everyone okay since we've been gone?"

"But of course, Nina. How about you three?" Seraphina asks warmly as she hugs our heroic trio.

"We're okay, of course. We came across those three pests from earlier again, but they're still dumb and pathetic as ever. Here are the Burning Rubies you requested, Your Majesty," Kimberly explains casually as she hands all the Rubies she and her allies have collected so far.

"Ah, thank you, dears. You've done very well on your first gem quest," the Fire Fairy Queen replies happily as she accepts the precious jewels.

"So, how do these gems determine the fate of the entire planet? Do they bring about a gigantic power of destruction or are they needed to keep the Earth's molten core from going out?" Tanya asks curiously.

"Well, to tell you the truth . . . they don't do any of those things. We need them because they're our food source – and the enemy's, should they convert these gems," Seraphina replies nervously with accompanying sweatdrop.

" . . . What?" Kimberly asks flatly on the verge of a literal-fiery rage – as evident by her phoenix wings blazing with white-hot flames flying out. "You lied to me about these gems being essential for Earth's survival, only to reveal that they're just snacks for your kind?"

" . . . Uh, yes. I'm sorry for lying to you, dear. If there's anything I can do to make up for this, we're willing to do it. Name your terms, and we'll do it in return for your continuing service," the Fire Fairy Queen replies apologetically.

"Hmm . . . since I enjoy doing this super-heroine stuff with my friends, I'll keep doing it – under two conditions," Kimberly says pleasantly as she cools down on both senses. "First off, everyone - don't worry about my wings, they'll only burn evil people and stuff. Now, first condition – I get paid for my services. I happen to know how to convert gems into money."

"And second condition – uh, you have to pay for all the pastries you eat with either money or janitorial work. No freebies from here on out, okay?" Tanya adds in sternly.

"We didn't take any pastries from here, Tanya," Fajra assures casually. "So rest assured, it's all cool."

"Oh . . . well, the second condition still stands," the martial artist baker replies with a smile.

"You have yourselves a deal, girls. I'm not lying about these Burning Rubies increasing your powers, though," Seraphina says as she casually siphons the glowing red energy from said gems and transferring it into Kimberly's locket, which also glows a bright red during this.

"Well, I'm glad there's something useful out of those glowing trinkets," the Phoenix Angel says happily. "So, is it okay that we call it a day?"

"Of course, dear. You must be exhausted from all that hunting and crime-fighting earlier," the Fire Fairy Queen replies pleasantly as she returns the necklace to Kimberly.

"If you need any help with any creeps, let me know and I'll be there faster than you can say 'Bojutsu'," Tanya assures as she hugs her best friend.

"Same with you, gal," our fiery heroine smiles as she returns the hug.

Eventually, Kimberly and the fire fairies have arrived at a fancy house with an ordinary exterior and an extravagant interior. Probably to avoid attracting attention from robbers, but that's not important right now.

"Welcome to my humble abode. Well, my parents and mine's, but they're out for the entire summer, you know. I'm glad to have some company for now," the Phoenix Angel says to her summer guests. "Make yourselves comfy, gals."

"Thank you, Kimberly," Seraphina replies happily as she sits down on one of the couches and lays her head on the pillow. "Ah, so cozy and soft . . ."

With that, the Fire Fairy Queen falls fast asleep on the spot. Nina and Fajra accompany Kimberly while the other fairies follow suit with their queen.

"Not sleepy, you two?" the Phoenix Angel asks her fairy allies. "In that case, I'll give you a short tour."

"Uh, I'll pass. Tours are boring and comprised of such dull, time-consuming descriptions in novels," Fajra replies annoyingly while rolling her eyes.

"I see you're of the attention-deficit type, Fajra?" Kimberly asks as she walks up the stairs to the second floor. "That's cool, because I'm not into such descriptions as well."

"Then how are we to know what your house is like?" Nina asks sadly with the inevitable puppy-dog eyes.

"Just follow me around and you'll know the inner ins and outs of this place soon enough," Kimberly assures casually.

"Sounds good to me," the balloon-like fire fairy replies cheerfully with her hyperactive counterpart nodding agreedly.

And with that, Fajra and Nina follow their new guardian around the house as she goes on the Internet via laptop in her bedroom, playing guitar in the music room, playing Wii in the living room, and taking a nap in the master bedroom while watching cable TV in a span of four hours.

Upon waking up from her nap, Kimberly walks out of the previous room and stretches her arms with her fairy friends following suit. "So, what do you gals like to eat besides the usual?" she asks curiously.

"Helloooo! We've just arrived on Earth! So far, we haven't had a sample of authentic Earth food besides those pastries at the bakery," Fajra replies annoyingly while rolling her eyes.

"I see you're quite rude. Then again, so do I - Not So Different applies," the Phoenix Angel smirks while shrugging her shoulders.

Just then, a beautiful white cat shows up from out of nowhere and jumps into Kimberly's arms while purring happily, since she's happy that her owner is back home.

"Oh, hey there, Melanie. I see you were waiting for me, eh? Then again, you were taking a nap yourself, I presume?" the Phoenix Angel asks while rubbing her cat's back.

Said cat is white (as I already said) and has big slanted eyes with small blue pupils, purple eye highlights, and long eyelashes. She also has a red neck collar with fake jewels engraved on it to make her look all fancy and nice and all.

When Kimberly finishes rubbing her back, Melanie looks over to Fajra and Nina while raising one eyebrow curiously.

"Hmm, this must be a cat - one of those creatures Earthlings like to keep as pets, guardians, and/or companions. They tend to be extremely curious when it comes to strange beings and objects, such as us," Nina says, also curious about Melanie.

"These are my new fairy friends, Nina and Fajra. They'll be staying with us from here on out, since their queen chose me as their new guardian/food collector. I'm sure you all will get along nicely, will you?" Kimberly says pleasantly to all three. "And before you think about it, no. Rest assured that you'll all be given my equal attention."

Melanie nods happily and then shakes paws/hands with the fire fairies to cement their new partnership.

"I assume you want to come with me on my new job too, right?" the Phoenix Angel adds in with her cat nodding excitedly to confirm her answer. "Very well, but you'll be needing powers like mine – wings, in particular."

"Whew, that was close. At first I thought this animal would see us as food or playthings. I saw movies involving such situations before," a relieved Fajra replies with a smile.

"Don't tempt fate, all right?" Nina asks annoyingly. "You're just asking for it, you know."

"Cats aren't stupid. They know about and adapt to situations faster than you can say 'Meow'." Kimberly assures amusedly. "Anyway, how do I change back to my normal form?"

"Me don't know. Only Queen Seraphina does," Fajra asks nervously while shrugging her shoulders.

"Might as well get comfortable for the time being, then," the Phoenix Angel replies as she takes off her boots. "Oh, and make dinner. Care to join me, gals?"

"Oh yes, please! I'm so hungry I'll eat anything! A planet, even!" Nina exclaims happily while flying around in circles.

"She HAS done that once, actually," Fajra whispers to Kimberly and Melanie, who are both completely stunned by this. "Whoops. They're statues now. Guess dinner will have to wait."

Our fiery heroine suddenly shakes out of her stunned state and replies, "No, it's happening now. You're kidding about her eating an entire planet though, right?"

"Nope. Well, partially. Why do you think they labeled Pluto as a dwarf planet now?" Fajra replies matter-of-factly. "She's like one of those Earth creatures you call a goat. She can eat anything – and I mean ANYTHING."

"Whoa. I'm sure Sailor Pluto will be after her with a vengeance if she finds out," Kimberly chuckles nervously.

"What? Who's she?" the hyperactive fire fairy asks while scratching her head.

"Nothing. She's just a comic book character, so don't worry," our heroine assures before looking down at Melanie, who's still doing her best impression of a statue. "You can drop the act now, Mel."

Shortly in the kitchen, the gals walk up to the refrigerator to check out its contents inside. Just as Kimberly opens it up, Nina suddenly zooms right in and gobbles up everything inside in just fifteen seconds.

When the obese fire fairy finishes her feast, she flies out only to see the other gals covered in chewed-up food – and staring at her with angry, flaming eyes. "Oops, heh heh," she says nervously with accompanying sweat drop.

"Oh, forget it. I guess we're eating out tonight. Chinese, anyone?" the Phoenix Angel asks the fire fairies, much to her confusion. "Stupid me, I forgot. Well, you'll like it anyway."

And with that, Kimberly walks over to the phone nearby to start ordering.

"Nina, we HAVE to do something with this appetite of yours," Fajra says to her literally big fellow fairy.

"Well, as you just witnessed earlier, being big is useful when you're fighting the forces of evil," Nina replies proudly while crossing her arms.

"Heh? I wasn't with you gals when you went ruby hunting," the hyperactive fire fairy says while shrugging her shoulders.

"What? Oh yeah, you were staying with the others while Kim, Tanya, and I were out. Well tomorrow, you'll see," the obese fire fairy replies while sticking her tongue out teasingly.

"This argument is going nowhere. See ya," Fajra grumbles as she leaves the scene to find something to do in the meantime.