The Care Bears
The Confidence Secret
The way to the Paradise Valley was not the easiest. For starters, it was on an island in the north of the Bahamas, an island that was of good size, but far from everything. Beyond this problem, there was the fact that the whole island, except for its central valley, was covered by endless snowstorms, making that place one of the greatest climatic mysteries of the earth. It had been more than fifty years since this had taken place, day and night without ceasing, almost completely preventing the communication of the outside world with that place. Few people in the world could have imagined that someone lived there, but a thriving community of natives had their home there.
All this was no problem for Goodluck Bear, who always took his time off to go to the place. First, because he lived there when he was cub, and so it was a way of being close to the place where he was born although he was not quite sure of his history.
Secondly, because he liked to go there too because the brothers Perfect and Polite Panda lived there. They were the guardians of the valley, preventing the freezing of the site with the warmth of their hearts. And since both had not adapted to life in Care-a-Lot, they did not even think of moving away from where they lived.
And the main motive that made Goodluck go there, facing all the dangers and a tiresome journey was the fact that Polite was his girlfriend. Ever since he had known her, his heart had learned what it meant to love someone else. It is certain that before he had a flirtation with Wish Bear, but now his heart was from Polite Panda.
The presence of the bear was already common, so that the human inhabitants of the valley, a people of Mongolian or Oriental appearance, sunburned skin and a gentle manner of speaking, no longer freaked out when they saw Goodluck's cloud car arrive. In fact, they were even happy with the visit of their friend, who always brought news.
On that day, Perfect was helping his friend Tumi to fish in the lake near the village. Meanwhile, Polite was with Tami, Tumi's sister, helping the girl to make a basket. The friendship between the Panda brothers and the brothers Tumi and Tami was immediate, once they met. And, of course, that was how the two isolated bears fulfilled their mission of helping humans.
- What do you think we put a flower on the edge of the basket when it's ready? - asked the girl with a smile on her face.
- It would be lovely to see. So, one of these, I want to, too - the female bear replied in rhyme.
- Do not you get tired of talking in rhyme? - Tami joked, glancing sideways at Polite - Since we met, I've never heard you speak in another way.
- I can't get enough of rhyming. If not, how will I express myself?
- Same as me, speaking normal.
- I don't think I can be that way. It's easier to rhyme for me.
At that time, the two of them saw a cloud car descend and park in front of the hut where the brothers lived together with their grandfather Kriskun, the village leader. Polite smiled as she saw Goodluck coming down from the car. And this one also smiled at seeing the female panda and her human friend.
- Hello to you two - said the green bear with a big smile of joy.
- Goodluck, my boyfriend! - exclaimed Polite, coming down from the porch of the hut. - You've been delayed since your last visit.
- Always talking in rhyme, are not you my darling? - asked the lucky bear, opening his arms and receiving a big hug from his girlfriend.
- You know that's my way. Now I want to give you a kiss.
- And that's the way I fell in love for you - he said, kissing her girlfriend's cheek - And you Tami, how are you?
- Very well, Goodluck - said the girl, who had also gone to meet the bear - Have you brought something for us?
Goodluck looked from one side to the other, ran in the car and took a lollipop for the girl, who smiled at the delicious present.
- Oh, thank you - Tami said, starting to suck the candy.
- You're welcome - said Goodluck with a smile - And your brothers, where are they?
- Tumi and Perfect went fishing, but they'll be back soon - the panda answered, taking the green bear's hand - And now I want to walk you.
The bear couple then went for a walk through the small village in the middle of the valley, holding hands and looking around. Goodluck Bear loved those moments, in which he felt immense happiness. Polite Panda could say the same, they did not stop looking one for the other, smiling and caressing.
- And how are our friends? Are you facing many dangers? - asked the female panda.
- You know our life is full of dangers - the bear replied with a smile - Every day we face new adventures to help humans, always running the risk of finding someone who doesn't like us.
- I don't know why there are humans who do not like us. Maybe they'd rather be alone.
- Or don't have love in your heart. Another day even Champ Bear and Confidence Heart Fennec were almost killed by a madman of hatred against us.
- I hope they are well, such a situation I wish no one!
- Stay calm, Confidence gave a spanking in the opponent. She is too good to fight with her hands. As good as Shimmeringstar Bear.
- You could bring Confidence here, I'd like to meet her - said the female panda.
- If she wants to come, all right - agreed the bear - I think it would be good for her to meet someone like you. Especially because she has strong personality.
- Each one has its own personality, just as our tummy symbols are different. And how are our other friends? Do they still care about Perfect and me?
- Of course yes, everyone is always asking about the two of you - said Goodluck with a giggle - Even though Perfect and you do not live in the Kingdom of Caring, you are an integral part of our Family. And you could enjoy of the Care Fair to pay a visit to Care-a-Lot.
- I would like very much to go, but you know that Perfect and I can't leave from here - said the young panda sadly - We can't let the Paradise valley freeze, or we and our friends will have no place to live. Why don't you do the Fair here? Certainly the children would have many games...
- If it were not for the fact that we had to take care of the Caring Meter, in case there is an emergency on Earth, it would really be the perfect place for a fair. Maybe we can plan something for next year.
- That would be great, all the children would be happy. I am ready to help in whatever is necessary to make this a reality. Games, candy, toys... All that is necessary for children to feel happy and never forget that day.
Goodluck smiled at his girlfriend, and kissed his forehead.
- That's why I like you, you know how to say such beautiful things - he said - I love you, my dear girlfriend.
- I love to date you, too, and I can't wait to get married - said the panda with a little smile.
- Marry? - asked the bear, surprised.
- Well, is not this what passionate couples do? And I will not rhyme right now.
Several times Polite had said that she would like to marry Goodluck, leaving the young man unanswered. On the one hand, he also wanted to have a family one day, but he knew his girlfriend would never leave the valley, and it was not his wish to leave Care-a-Lot, at least at that moment.
- You know deep down... - he began.
- I know what you're going to say, that we both live in different worlds, that I will never leave here, and I will not, that you do not want to leave your friends, but that you love me and ask me to understand your position - interrupted the female panda seriously. - Actually, I do not understand! If you really loved me as you say, you would not be in that unfortunate doubt. It's been years that we dated and long I wait for our union. So enough of indecision, I want an answer now.
Goodluck looked sad and embarrassed at his girlfriend. Deep down she was quite right to charge him a position.
- You're right... - he said, overcome - If I love you, I have to decide what to do. And deep down I know what I have to do.
Saying this, he and the young woman went back to the village where she lived. Perfect and Tumi had just returned from the fishery, with two baskets full of fish, which would feed the two kids, their grandfather and a few friends, and the couple of pandas. It was the boy who noticed Goodluck approaching.
- Goodluck Bear, how's it going? - he asked.
- It could be better - answered the lucky bear unhappily.
- Why are you so sad? Open your heart and tell me - said Perfect, approaching.
- It's just that I... - began Goodluck, but was interrupted by Polite.
- Goodluck has a dilemma, a great supreme doubt - she said maliciously - He doesn't know if he stays away from his friends, or if he ends his courtship with me.
- What do you mean, my dear Polite sister? Our friend doesn't know anything else?
- I asked him to make a decision. Or marry me or not. He'll have to get away from friends, or he will not date me anymore. He said he had decided, but...
- But that's why I've come to talk to you - interrupted the bear, with a small mischievous smile, and turned to Perfect - I've already decided what I want to do, but it has to be the traditional way. Since you are Polite's closest relative, I wanted you to authorize me to marry her.
The female panda opened her mouth to say something, but when she realized that her boyfriend was asking for her hand in marriage, she had no reaction of so much happiness. Perfect frowned, looking at Tami and Tumi first, then at the future brother-in-law.
- You can even marry her, but you will not take her out of here - said the panda seriously - If you really want to marry her, you'll have to live here.
- I know I do, and I don't want her or you to leave the valley, unless you want to - the lucky bear replied with a big smile - I'll talk to Noble Heart and True heart so I can leave Care-a-Lot and come here.
- I'm glad to hear this. You made a very fine gesture. But we still have to hear the opinion of the sister of my heart.
- You're right, Perfect - and turning to Polite, Goodluck got to his knees and took his girlfriend's hand - Polite, will you marry me and live by my side until the end of our days?
- I accept! Of course I do - shouted the female panda, giving the bridegroom a big hug and a kiss on his lips.
- My congratulations to you two - they all heard a low, old voice say.
When they turned around, there was Kriskun, the village leader and grandfather of Tumi and Tami. The old man had a large white beard and no hair on his head. Although he was almost eighty years old, he did not look so old or weak.
- Grandpa! - exclaimed the two kids, running to the grandfather and giving him a hug.
- How's it going, Kriskun? - Goodluck asked excitedly - I see you're well on time...
"I'm very happy to see you and Polite love each other and marry," the old man replied - You'll be renewing a cycle that was almost lost once.
- Are you talking about when we were orphaned puppies in the care of Noble Heart and True Heart?
- Yes I am. Certainly it was one of the worst moments his species had to face, as did all those who lived on the island at the time. Thankfully Noble Horse and True Bear managed to escape and take you along.
The bear was curious about that. Kriskun spoke with a familiarity about the history of the bears and cousins that no other inhabitant of the valley had.
- Did you get to meet Noble and True when they were younger? - he asked curiously.
- Yes, I met they and you, too, when cubs," replied the old man, smiling - The years have been erasing our memory and silencing many languages in our village, from those who knew you. But I still remember everything clearly.
- Is it a story, Grandpa? - Tami asked.
- Tell us! Tell us! - Tumi pleaded.
- Yeah, tell us, Kriskun, please - said the lucky bear, while the old man continued to smile, and they all sat around him to hear what he was about to say.
Anna was in the Halifax Municipal Library, looking for some interesting literature to read. This was one of his passions, beyond biology. It was in literature that she had forgotten the problems that surrounded her. And that day was many.
Jacob was in custody, no longer because of what had happened at the airport, but because he assaulted the Police Chief at the time of leaving the station. Thompson, who had done everything to free his brother after his first arrest, now struggled to get a lawyer for him. And Norman had begun to search the port of the city to see if there was any ancient reference to what they were looking for.
So the biologist was alone in the library, vast establishment, with several books, some of them very old. After much searching, he found something she found interesting reading, titled "The First Dwellers." It was a historical research done by the University of Toronto on the first inhabitants of the Eastern region of Canada, having several old photos and European paintings that portrayed some old explorers. It was a very interesting thesis, although deep down Anna did not understand much of history.
But her eyes widened as she passed by a photo from 1852, in which portrayed an old cave in the mountains, and she saw that the same symbol she had found on the weights was on the wall of the cave.
When she saw this, she got up and ran to the librarian on duty.
- Please, where is this place? - she asked, trying to control her emotion.
- Let's look at the caption on the last page - the clerk said, checking the book's bibliography - Here it is, Long Beach cave, next to our town. There is a map on page 80 that shows the places quoted in the book.
- Can you take a copy the photo and the map for me?
- Of course, just a minute. The funny thing is that you are not the first person who is interested in exploring this cave precisely because of this photo. About six months ago, a man showed the same desire.
Anna heard this with some concern.
- Did he leave the name? - the girl asked.
- No, but he was tall, with black hair and big eyes. He spoke English perfectly, but he had an accent, and by the color of his skin he was not Canadian. Ah! Copy is ready. Fifty cents.
Without blinking and without wasting time, the biologist paid the money and left with her copies from inside the library, calling a taxi in the street. Looking at the map, she asked to go to the Long Beach cave.
- It's not too close, lass - said the taxi driver - And the road doesn't get there, you have to walk along a trail another nine hundred feet...
- No problem, let's go! - replied Anna, not interested in detail.
After half an hour along the country roads, another ten minutes of solitary walk, the biologist reached the cave. It did not seem to be a crowded place, but it had several signs for visitors not to get lost, as well as a radio communicator to call for help, which was serviced once a week by the mounted police.
Taking her flashlight to clear the path, Anna entered the natural portal and followed the cave inside. She took only three steps when saw the painting that appeared in the old photo. With his camera in hand, she began photographing that painting from every possible angle, until noticed that a second painting, just a little smaller, was surmounting a small rock formation in the middle of the cave floor. Observing this formation well, the biologist noticed that it was not natural, but human work. On a nearby sign was a caption saying that the first white men entering it thought it was an Eskimo altar, and the symbols had something of magic to the ancient people.
But there was someone who knew what it was. And surely the secret she was looking for was stored there, and had to find him at any cost. Looking around to make sure she was alone, picked up a rock and destroyed that rock formation. She knew she was committing a crime and could be arrested, but no one would ever let her do it with permission.
As soon as the first blow was laid, that "altar" collapsed, revealing a small wooden box almost equal to ark she and her brothers found in the family's wine cellar in England. Just much smaller. With her hands shaking, Anna took the box and put it in her backpack to see its contents after, quickly returning to the road and for the taxi waiting for her.
Already in her hotel room, the biologist washed her face to take some of the anxiety she was feeling. Looking at the mirror, she straightened her hair and pressed lipstick to her lips to regain her composure. Done it, she went to the door of the room and locked it inside. Did not want any interruptions. And only after that, she took the backpack and took the box from inside.
Engraved in a metal strip on the top cover, it was dated 1680 and the name Gresgon in well readable letters. Anna knew she was on the right track. Sweating of emotion, she used a small hammer to break the lid lock, which was already well rusted and was of a very old type. Opening the box, she was surprised to see that it was entirely massive in gold, so it was heavy. But that was not what caught his attention. It was another heart-shaped weight, with a new map, and a manuscript, that occupied the inside of the ark.
Gently she took the paper and opened it, reading what was written there.
Your persistence has been rewarded.
Find this box follow the map
He will take you where we keep our secret.
In a valley of dreams where the sun shines
Where there is no anger and fear
The Sweet Island lives up to its name
She was chosen to be a new home
The best way to protect our people
Go and find what you are looking for
And be sure that with you there will be love and gentleness
- Sweet Island - Anna repeated, looking at the manuscript and the map engraved on the paper weight - I've heard that name but I can't remember where.
That's when she heard someone opening the door. It could only be Thompson.
- Hello, my dear sister - said the younger brother - How you...
His eyes widened at the gold box, the weight, and the manuscript with his sister. Livid, he had to hold onto the wall so would not fall hard on the floor.
- You did! - he exclaimed - Good God! You found! How was that?
- I'll explain it to you later, but now tell me, have you ever heard of Sweet Island? - asked the young woman as her brother approached and began looking at the weight - This name is quoted here in the manuscript. I remember hearing something like that, but I don't remember where.
Thompson read the manuscript and was thrilled. Looking at his sister, missing only faint from emotion. His face was white, his hands trembled more than sticks in the wind. He did not even remember saying that he'd gotten a lawyer for Jacob and that they were already trying to free him.
- It doesn't matter if the name of the island is the same or changed - said his brother after a few minutes - This map will take us there, it looks very well done. And see! It has the geographical coordinates of the island. Anna! We are about to discover the secret.
- Certainly - said his sister, still thoughtful - But I wanted to remember where I heard that name.
- Maybe we'll find out when we get there. Who is this Terry Heartom? A good poet, from what I see. And very sarcastic.
- The Heartom family is not one that leads the B & H Company?
- Yes, the president is Frank Heartom. He was born in 1903 on the island of San Martin, which is located... Wait! Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries this island was called Sweet Island because of its sugar and banana plantations!
- We must meet Mr. Frank Heartom immediately! - exclaimed Anna - Maybe he has some information about it to supplement our search."
- But we can't leave Jacob here - Thompson protested - He's our brother.
- And we can't waste time. I already know! Norman and I are going after Mr. Heartom, and you're here helping Jacob. And tell him to stop fighting with everyone, otherwise he will never leave Canada.
- But that's not fair, Anna! I know deep down you doesn't really like Jacob's way, but you can't just leave him and me behind just to satisfy your curiosity. In addition, I heard that Mr. Heartom is in Brazil after he opened a railroad and announced investments in the solar panel plant that he set up in that country.
Anna gave a deep sigh, rolling her eyes and making a sullen face, looking at her younger brother as if she had no arguments.
- Well, okay, I'll stay, but it's because of you, not because of Jacob - she countered - Besides, I need to explain to Norman about all this and...
- And tell me how you found this new clue, since you have not yet - Thompson said with a big smile - Or is it a secret thing you can't talk about?
- In a way, yes, and you'll understand why - Anna said, sitting on the bed next to her brother and telling him what she'd done that morning.
Cheer was very upset that she had quarreled with Champ. It was not the nature or the custom of the Care Bears to quarrel with each other, although this sometimes occurs, as anywhere in the world. But generally everything went well, with forgiveness and friendship resumed and the episode seen as yet another lesson that life gave to them. But for the young female bear, that would only be over when she finally discovered the secret of Confidence and keep it well away from her boyfriend.
While Treat Heart and Bright Heart went out on a new mission on earth, the young female bear went to look for True Heart to vent once more. She needed someone who understood her, not that she thought she was jealous and crazy. And the matriarch was the only one who was not doing it. When she reached the door of the house, she was in doubt whether she beat or not, but since she was there, she went ahead.
- Ah, Cheer Bear, how are you? - asked Noble Heart, surprised to open the door - Do you need anything?
- I'm doing very well, Noble, thank you - said the vain young female bear, embracing the patriarch and entering - Could I talk to True Heart?
- Of course, she's in the kitchen.
The matriarch was preparing dinner, but only for her. She was still sulking to Noble, meanwhile he tried not to demonstrate how he felt about it. His wife avoided him to the utmost, and when she saw him enter the kitchen, she put her hands on her waist, frowned, and her face went angry.
- What do you think you're doing here? - she asked very angry - I did not tell you to stay away from me or...
- Cheer Bear is here and he wants to talk to you - Noble Heart interrupted gravely - I'll leave you two alone, I realize my presence is not welcome.
And saying this, he opened the way for the visitor and walked out the front door. Cheer stared at him and then at the adoptive mother, not understanding.
- Let's just say we're in a bad phase - True Heart explained when realized the confused look of the young female bear - And you?
- I am, too - she confessed - I fought with Champ earlier again because of Confidence. True, I can't take it anymore! All the time he's just talking about Confidence! I can’t stand to see that cynic next to my boyfriend, with those almond-shaped eyes staring at him and devouring him totally. If I could, I'd go there and beat her up...
- Great. And you'd be kicked out of Care Bear Family - True Heart retorted as the young female bear sat down in a chair - If you start off with the assault, I can not protect you. You would be driven from here by your act. Now, if she starts the aggression, everything changes...
- That's not a bad idea. I have seen that she has had to control herself several times not to fight with me...
- It would be a dirty, but effective game.
Cheer looked at True Heart with wide eyes. She had never thought to hear this from her foster mother, who had always said that love and truth were the supreme gifts, and that one could not lie or play dirty, for it would always bring pain and suffering.
- You playing dirty? - asked the young female bear.
- What's the problem? - True Heart asked - If it's for our common good, I'll do it. It does not matter what it is.
- Even if it's a bad thing?
Cheer Bear asked with concern. She had had an idea the night before of how she could make Champ speak all she knew, but she was afraid to say it to True Heart. But after what the matriarch had spoken, the young female bear decided to take a chance. The friend realized at once the meaning of the question.
- Did you have an idea? Tell me - said True Heart.
- Swear you will not scold me for that? - Cheer asked.
- Yes, I promise I'll listen to it without judgment.
- All right, I'll tell you. The following is...
- Honestly, I don't know why you chose this color to paint the walls of my house! - Proud Heart Cat complained at the foot of the stairs - I preferred a lighter color, like yellow or even white.
- I thought you told me you liked the color blue - Loyal Heart Dog said quietly, with a small smile - It's a cool color, it's meant to make the environment cozier and soothe people's spirits.
- You mean, in your opinion, I'm as irritable as Grumpy Bear?
- Well... Enough for me to continue to like you, my dear.
The female cat could not hide a satisfied smile at that. It was no secret to anyone that Loyal and her, even though they were a dog and a cat, were deeply in love with each other. The boy, always very kind and polite, had great patience with his impetuous and self-seeking suitor, and deep down he was the only one besides Noble, True and Grams Bear, whom the female feline truly respected, despite pretending otherwise.
- I think you'd better stop thinking about me and pay more attention to what you're doing - she teased again - Don't forget you're painting my house, and I do not want her to be the same as the Gentle Heart's house.
- But I was not to blame that Playful Heart Monkey threw two sacks of colored paper while the ink was still fresh. In addition, Noble and True have already talked to him and made him clean up all the damage at Gentle's house. Luckily today he and Funshine Bear are busy on a caring mission, and will not have time to joke with you.
- I wonder how two clowns like Playful and Funshine manage to get their caring missions to fruition. They never take anything seriously! What kind of person would need to be attended to by them?
- Maybe some circus worker has a hard time making his audience laugh, or just someone whose heart needs support to regain joy for life, but from what I hear their mission today is to brighten up a birthday party.
- It could only be something like that - the female cat said, rolling her eyes - And you should not use security equipment? In a moment you fall from above.
- And why do you think that... Arghh! - Loyal began, turning to look down just as he lost his balance, falling backwards onto Proud Heart's couch in the living room - Phew! Saved by the gong!
- Look, did not I? - Proud asked sarcastically - Fortunately I decided to leave the couch there, otherwise you would have hurt yourself ugly. Now you owe me your life.
- Oh, do I owe my life to you? - asked the dog with a small chuckle, still sitting the same way on the couch - Okay, but you could help get me up too.
Saying this, he reached for Proud Heart, who took a deep breath before reaching for his friend's arm. But before she could do anything, Loyal pulled the female feline over the couch, and with ease that surprised him, gave him a long kiss on the lips.
The world practically ceased to exist around them both while that kiss lasted. The female cat gave herself totally to the dog, and as they walked away, both were red with shame, breathing deeply and literally feeling in the clouds.
- You kissed me! - Proud said with a surprised smile - I never thought you would kiss me like that!
- I did not think either... I mean... - Loyal blushed as he thought about what to say - Do you want to date me?
- So, all of a sudden?!?
- What do you mean, "suddenly"? I thought you felt something for me.
- Of course I felt! It's just that I... I did not think you were going to be that fast. I always imagined you were going to prepare a candlelight dinner, so we would go for a walk in the moonlight, you would take my hand and confess your love for me, so we were just going to brush our noses...
- If you want to, I can arrange this romantic evening as soon as I finish painting your house...
- Oh, forget it, Loyal. I accept to date you, okay!
And they kissed each other again, laughing and wondering how the others would get the news, which deep down was so expected by all.
Dawson was apprehensive. Generally he did not easily show his feelings, perhaps a little by custom, and a little by the profession he was practicing. But the young man did not know what to expect that day. He had been summoned by Charles to his apartment, which was in the luxurious penthouse of one of New York's largest residential buildings. Something very fine, which was funded by the organization.
This would be a private meeting, where the redheaded young man would meet the great UGARE leader and hear his role within the group. In fact, Dawson would not need introductions, for he already knew with who he was dealing with, from earlier times, when he himself was walking the path of evil. Now it was all different, he knew the difference between good and evil, and the only reason to be here again was to act as a spy to help his friends whom he owed so much.
When the elevator stopped and the doors swung open, Dawson stepped out into a small hallway, which opened on only one door. Beating, he was immediately attended by a classic-style butler, who quickly led the visitor to Charles's office, which was already waiting for him.
- Ah, my dear Dawson, how are you? - asked the manager.
- I'm doing very well, thank you, Mr. Charles - said the other - Did I arrive very early? I'm not seeing anyone...
- Don't worry, you're well on time - and with a signal, the butler respectfully withdrew - Jayme does not know about our organization, and deep down I don't trust him fully to reveal our plans. You know, we have to be wise about these matters.
- Perfectly, Mr. Charles. For my part you can be sure that no word will come out.
- Please, call me "you". There is no need for so many formalisms. But please sit down. Would you like something to drink? Whiskey? Vodka? I have an Italian wine from 1943 that you will love...
Dawson felt his stomach flutter when he heard that date of 1943, but he made a great effort not to show his displeasure.
- I want only water - he said sharply - By medical advice, I can't drink alcohol for a while.
- Is this serious? What's the problem? - inquired the businessman curiously as he prepared a glass of water for his guest - I hope this doesn't mean that you have problems with alcoholism...
- No, it's just a gastric ulcer.
- That's better. Our boss is not against the use of alcoholic beverages, but he refuses to have in our ranks men with problems related to drunkenness or the use of illicit drugs. He feels that this is a sign of weakness, and can make the person talk more than he should... Ah! Looks like he's arrived!
There was a knock on the window of the apartment, and Charles quickly rushed to open it and not leave his guest waiting outside, where his person could draw unwanted attention for being in the middle of the day, with all the residents and employees of the neighboring buildings being able to see who it was.
- Mein Herr, was für eine Freude, Sie wieder zu sehen (My Leader, it is a pleasure to see you again)! - cried Charles cheerfully, giving way to a figure Dawson knew very well, though he had to pretend to be surprised.
- Ich bin froh, dich zu sehen, Charles (I'm glad to see you too, Charles) - said the newcomer shaking hands with the businessman - Damit ist unser Neuzugang (So this is our new recruit)?
- Ja, es ist (Yes, it is him). John Dawson, allow me to introduce you to our leader, General Klaus.
- It is a great pleasure, sir - said the spy respectfully, trusting that his disguise would not be recognized by those eagle eyes of Klaus.
It was not just the eyes, but General Klaus was really an eagle about six feet tall. His arms were his wings, which he could move as much to fly as to do anything simpler. His yellow legs ended in three strong, nimble fingers with deadly claws to his prey. His beak showed a perpetual malicious grin that matched his fiery, evil look. And to complete that sinister figure, he wore a cap with the swastika, a red band on his right arm also with the Nazi symbol, and a gray military coat that covered his chest and gave him enough mobility to fly.
- I have not heard of a man of his qualities for a long time - said the general, turning to Dawson - When Charles called me about it, I was sure you was the right man for us. It usually takes me a little while to reveal myself to our new recruits, and you can easily see why, but in your case I made an exception.
- Honestly, when they told me the General was someone special, I did not imagine it was that way - the red-haired boy said, pretending to be surprised - I'm honored to know that you personally approve of my letter of recommendation.
- I liked you, boy, and I know when I'm in front of someone who has great potential. Besides... - Klaus stopped and stared at Dawson for a few seconds - His eyes have something familiar for me, but I can’t describe it. Well, Charles may have already explained some things about UGARE, but I'll give you a complete picture of our history and our actions.
- So I wish, mein Hërr.
- I see you're already training German, that's very good. It's almost our official language within the organization, and it will be great to have some knowledge of it. Would you like some chocolate?
Quickly the eagle took a chocolate bonbon from the pocket of his coat and offered it to Charles and Dawson, before he himself ate the candy. Sitting in an armchair, the bird silently savored the chocolate for a few seconds, before displaying a satisfied smile.
- That's my only vice, I like chocolates - he said with a wink - Now we're going to business, Mr. Dawson. Our organization was founded at the end of 1944 on the initiative of the Führer himself at the time, so that we would in the future have a chance of revenge against the reds of the east and the Americans to the west. Hitler could be everything, even maniac like some say today, but he was not stupid, he knew that the war was long lost since Stalingrad and San Martin, but he also knew that if he admitted, it would be the end of everything. But for me, he had no secrets, and he told me the whole truth of the situation and ordered me to organize the UGARE, saving projects, equipment, soldiers, weapons, and whatever else was needed to get us back together. For three months I visited all the bases, all the factories and all the front lines behind the best men and the best materials. Finally, in February 1945, we began the evacuation through the port of Bremen, using our fleet of submarines and several camouflaged ships.
- Well, I don't have to tell you what happened next. Germany capitulated, was divided among its enemies, occurred the Cold War, and members of the Nazi party were persecuted, convicted and often killed. My name was on the lists of missing leaders, but was soon withdrawn because they considered that I had died during the last days of battle in Berlin, and no one ever really suspected that I am an eagle and not a human. Much less that I am still alive and I was acclaimed new Führer by the surviving soldiers. Contrary to what many people think, our secret base is not in Antarctica, but in the middle of the Amazon jungle, far from any kind of civilization. There we built an extensive network of tunnels under the forest, and there we set up our new armament factories, barracks, military schools and lodgings.
- The first move for the continuity of our movement was to look for entrepreneurs and politicians who sympathized with our cause, but it took us a long time, and it forced us to reformulate various ideals of UGARE in relation to original Nazism and neo-Nazi movements. Meanwhile, some of our soldiers infiltrated the Chinese, Indochinese and African wars to keep up with the new war tactics, also allowing our group to enter the black market for arms smuggling, which guarantees us a good source of Income, as well as the exploitation of blood diamonds, illegally extracted gold from the Congo basin, and the financing itself through entrepreneurs and politicians around the world. Our organization has begun to sponsor civil wars around the world, and conflict in the Balkans is just one example of our strength. Today UGARE is made up of 25,000 active soldiers, all ready for combat.
- That does not sound like a very high number - Dawson dared to say - Just enough for an initial attack and for guerrilla tactics.
- It really is not the ideal number for a major action - the General agreed with a sigh - But it represents a great leap from ten years ago when we had only 11,000 men in our ranks. As we can’t attack directly, our work is limited to funding these regional conflicts and trying to strengthen us politically in Africa and South America. In a way, this is easier than it sounds, since UGARE does not preach group extermination or religious intolerance, nor approve the persecution of Jews and homosexuals. They will only be considered second-class citizens as well as the rest of the slave population, who will produce the goods necessary for their own subsistence and for the first-class citizens, that is, us and our coreligionists and supporters around the world. First will be South America with its raw materials, the Argentine coal mines, the iron mines and oil wells of Brazil, and then it will be Africa, and then the world!
The businessman nodded and smiled. Dawson, for his part, listened to everything with interest, for he did not know how much the organization had grown and how dangerous it was.
- Initially our intention is to strengthen ourselves politically, for a maximum of a decade to take power in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. When this occurs, then we will unite the three countries and declare the IV Reich. Today we have come to power in several cities in the Argentine states of Misiones and Corrientes, as well as cities in the interior of the Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and Santa Catarina, and two prefectures in Mato Grosso do Sul. For this year's elections, we have launched a governor for Rio Grande, and we are already working to get seats in the legislature of the state of Itapua, in Paraguay. And best of all, without spilling a single drop of blood, only through "democratic" elections. It is easy to fool the masses in our favor, and this since the days of Pericles.
- Who is he? Charles asked in a surprised tone - Any friend of yours?
- An Athenian legislator of the fifth century BC, the supreme representative of democracy in ancient Greece - Dawson remarked quickly, receiving a look of approval from the eagle - I like to study history, not to make the same mistakes as past people.
- That's very good - Klaus said with a wicked look on the businessman - I'm very surprised that you, with your age, no know that, Charles. Did not you take lessons in Latin when you were young?
- I always hated this or anything about classical Greece - the other replied with disdain and annoyance - Robert is the one who liked to study this so he could do his spells with Dark Heart. I preferred mechanics and chemistry to work on my ice inventions.
- What? - asked Dawson turning to Charles and forcing a surprised air, although he knew very well what the businessman wanted to say - Dark Heart? Spells? Ice inventions?
- It's a long story, but to sum up a bit, our friend here and his brother Robert are sorcerers, having been apprentices of an evil being called the Dark Heart - said the bird with a wide malicious grin, just watching Dawson's reactions - I know that sounds strange to you, and I had this same reaction when Dark Heart came to me it the first time. Too bad he betrayed us and left the organization, but at least his apprentices remained with us here. By the way, Dawson, have you heard of Care Bear Family?
- Only vaguely - the redhead boy said slowly - But you are one of them, are not you?
A faint air of annoyance appeared on the eagle's face, which snorted uncomfortably at the question. For a few seconds, no one said a word, and Klaus stared at his new companion seriously.
- I don't like being compared to them - the General finally declared - I have nothing to do with them, only birth. They are our greatest enemies and the group we most need to destroy. In fact, there was a time we tried to summarily do that. I personally commandeered a real invasion against the place where they lived, but I could not fully defeat them and the men I lost on that occasion were missing on the Soviet front, which provoked our defeat. It was my greatest defeat! Worst of all was having to deal with the desertion of Dark Heart.
- You have quoted twice that this so-called Dark Heart defected during an operation against such Care Bears - the spy said quietly and curiously - Would it be indiscreet of me to ask you to tell me more about it?
Klaus stood for a few seconds in silence, in his usual attitude, which in itself was enough to strike someone's soul. At last he laughed and looked at the spy.
- I don't have to hide it from you - said the bird - Although it was my failure and the whole Reich, it's something I use to give me warning and experience. I'll tell you everything.
Dawson leaned back in the chair to hear that story from Klaus's mouth. In fact, he would not need it because he already knew her very well, for he, John Dawson, was once Dark Heart, before regenerating thanks to the help of Care Bear Family, to whom he owed his life.
That was why he was there, to keep the UGARE from destroying the bears and cousins. And that was why Klaus had thought there was something familiar about him, without ever recognizing him. For all that the boy had been and done when he was an evil being, he knew who he was dealing with, and what he had to do to save his special friends, even if they did not know what was going on.
Slowly Frank sat down in an armchair in the small living room of the inn where he was staying at Santa Gertrudes, with James, Hector, Champ and Confidence as his company, all waiting for the old businessman to begin his story. However, it was necessary a bit of diplomacy to convince the innkeeper to allow the bear and fennec to enter his house. At first, the landlady had thought they were pets, after they had been costumed children, and only then did she realize that they were both real, at which point she almost had a panic attack. Fortunately, the Care Bears knew how to deal with situations like that, and quickly the sportsman and the fighter managed to calm the owner of the pension in the best possible way.
- You must go through a lot of these situations - James pondered, looking at the two athletes – Hasn’t anyone ever called the environmental police or some authority wanting to catch you under the claim of being wild animals?
- Of course, that's why we avoid working with adults - Champ said with a wistful smile - The children marvel at our presence, listening to our advice and putting them into practice, while adults only see us as threats. There are few who understand that we also have feelings, discernment, soul, sports spirit...
- I didn't imagine you were running such a risk like that - Hector said in a low voice - I thought only my father was annoying and had threatened you.
- Fortunately cases like Calvin's are hard to come by - Confidence added - Most of the time we just have to deal with hysterical adults who for the first time ever find talking and cuddly animals.
- It's a characteristic of the human being to be afraid of new things - Frank argued thoughtfully - At this point children really have an advantage over adults, since their curious spirit is much stronger. That is why we must feed our inner child with games, friendships, trips or dreams, so that she never dies and we do not become cold, sad, rancorous people with the world around.
- You should have been a philanthropist philosopher, not an entrepreneur - James said.
- Life teaches many things, my dear James. Including how to endure the pain of loss and the joy of gain. Although that today I almost died of happiness when rediscovering so dear friends that I have been looking for so long...
- Well, Mr. Frank, since you've talked about it, I think it's time to tell us what you know - the sportsman bear said amiably.
- I'll tell you everything, but first I'll ask Hector not to tell anything about what he's going to hear to your father. There are many things in this story that involve the Kayson family and Calvin himself, and most are not very good.
- I will not say anything, I promise - said the boy with an enthusiastic smile.
- That's very good - and saying that, the old man took a world map out of his pocket - Have any of you ever heard of San Martin Island?
- Of course, that's where you were born and the original headquarters of our company, before being evacuated in the early 1940s - James commented quickly - Moreover, there is a climatic phenomenon surrounding the island and to this day it is a conundrum for the Science, because nowhere in the world is there anything like it, where an eternal snowstorm covers that territory and caused changes even in the Gulf Stream.
- It is also the island where is the Paradise Valley, where live our friends Perfect, Polite, and the natives led by Kriskun.
- Kriskun? The leader of the natives? - Repeated Frank with a surprised look - You mean he's still alive?
- Yes, and he's a close friend of Care Bear Family. Do you know him?
- Of course yes! We had been friends since childhood. He taught me how to fish using trawls.
- Do you know how to fish using trawls? - James asked, staring at the boss - And what else do you know and do not tell me?
- I've heard Papa talking about this island of San Martin - Hector commented thoughtfully - He once said that my Grandpa was born there, but he does not like to talk about it, and he gets angry when I ask something.
- Is not that the name of a general who fought in Latin America's independence? -Confidence asked with a small smile.
- Jose de San Martin, who liberated Peru and fought in northern Argentina - Frank clarified - When he left for Europe in exile, he made a stopover on the island, which was called Sweet Island, and the then President of Parliament decided to pay homage to our illustrious visitor giving his name to the island. After all, after Haiti, our country was the second to become independent in the Caribbean region.
- So that's the place portrayed in the photos of those old albums - Champ said, looking at Confidence - That confirms what we know in part that the Care Bear Family originated in the Paradise Valley.
- I just can't understand how bears and cousins got in that place - the fennec mused scratching his chin and turning to Frank - Could you tell us about it?
- It's a long story, and it involves the island's colonization form. When the first colonists arrived there in 1650, they have already found a community of natives with their own characteristics, completely different from the tribes of other islands in the region. You yourself know that the people of Kriskun, despite calling themselves "Caribs", have Polynesian and Mongolian traits, and their legends say they came from islands to the west, where the sun sets in the navel of the world, and so on. From the beginning of the European colonization, the island was an English colony, despite the presence of Spaniards and Portuguese in the region, besides the natives. When the United States broke with the United Kingdom, San Martin did the same and asked for protection for the new nation, which administered us for twenty years, until we adopted parliamentarism. It was at this time that the bears and cousins arrived.
- But where did they come from? - Confidence interrupted impatiently.
- This is a point that has never been clarified. They just arrived, with a fleet of boats and some humans assisting navigation and contacts between peoples. But they didn't explain where they came from, just that their old colony had been destroyed and they had to flee to a new place where they could live in peace. And where better than in San Martin, where all peoples lived in peace and harmony?
- More mysteries... - said Champ, rolling his eyes - I have seen that our history as a people is more complicated than making Grumpy laugh.
- Surely - agreed the female fennec with a small smile - But how did you know me, Frank? Or rather, how did you get into this story?
- I was born in San Martin, like you two. I was born in 1903, and my family already had prestige at B & H, so it was easy for me to go up to the company and also to the politics of the island, where I had several friends, including those of their kind.
- Then tell us what we want to know - Champ said.
- Are you sure you want to hear it?" Ignorance is a blessing, and in this story it might be best if you did not know what happened...
- We are sure! - replied the fighter incisively - It's our right to know how we got here and what our past was.
- Confidence is right - agreed the bear - And you must know of many things we do not know and have searched for a lifetime.
- I didn't want to give you an opinion, but if it is something that interferes in the lives of you and the company, then you had better say so - James said with a serious face.
Frank stared one at a time with a small smile, and then closed his eyes for a few seconds. When he opened them again there was an unusual glow in them, which led to the past. He no longer saw anyone before him, only what he had seen and lived. His mind had returned to San Martin.
- San Martin was a paradise on earth - he began - And everyone who lived there was proud of it. Certainly there was no land more beloved by his people than that little island, eighty kilometers wide by sixty, covered with forests, valleys, and streams that hummed happily by their beds as the flowers grew round. The population lived in small towns, cultivating love and friendship, being the capital of the country was the city of Heartown...
(End of 1st Part)