The Golden Reef is the eighty-sixth issue of the Winx Club Comic Series.
The evil wizard Neruman begins to exact his plan to regain his original body by sending out his shadows all over the Magic Dimension to absorb as much suffering as possible. Hearing about the absurd amounts of suffering that happen on a planet called Earth, Neruman sends his shadows there to cause as much trouble as possible. Meanwhile, the Winx still try to figure out what has caused Morgana to fall ill.
The story begins in the dark lair of Neruman. He snaps his fingers and one of his shadows comes to him in that instant. Neruman declares that it is time and orders for his shadow to bring the potion. His shadow slips under a door across from Neruman's throne and urges for two creatures inside to hurry as their master cannot wait any longer. The oldest creature demands for patience as he just needs to add the last ingredient but the younger creature does not even know what they are doing. Believing that his subordinate is stupid, the older creature decides to explain their reasons once more:
Neruman was once a member of the Fortress of Light Council. He was a great scholar of all things black magic, which caused him to be opposed by everyone around him. Just as he was about to master his most important spell, the other Counselors discovered Neruman's deeds and threw him into exile; stripping him of his status. Despite all of this, Neruman became more determined to continue his studies and did so in secret.
The younger creature then asks what Neruman's spell was supposed to do and whether or not it worked. The older creature reveals that the spell was supposed to give Neruman vital energy that would keep him young and from aging, however, part of the spell had failed. Neruman's mind may have become more powerful and full of ambition but his body was ravaged by a disease that reduced the wizard into nothing more than a shadow. With the potion now finished, both creatures make their way to Neruman to deliver it.
The older creature hands Neruman the potion with the promise of it being an upgraded formula and Neruman pours it on himself. After soaking enough of it, Neruman removes his gloves, only to see that the potion did not work. Angered by their incompetence, Neruman plans to have the two creatures devoured by his shadows but the older one pleads for mercy, believing that it is not his fault since he was just following the instructions. He then claims that Neruman has not accumulated enough negative energy for the potion to work and proposes that he gather some more. Just then, two of Neruman's shadows arrive and claim that they have brought a good harvest. A planet called Iberian experienced a huge flood and even though rescue was quick, many of its people still suffered. The two shadows laugh about being so full from all of the negative energy generated from Iberian until Neruman orders for them to merge with his shadow. The two of them do so and Neruman begins to feel better. Neruman realizes that he will need to gather as much negative energy as possible if he wants to heal completely so he sends out masses of his shadows towards a planet called Earth, believing that humans are weak and prone to suffering.
Meanwhile, on Earth, the Winx are visiting Klaus and Morgana in Gardenia to see if Morgana's condition has improved. She claims that she feels better now that Roxy is with her but she is still very weak. Roxy promises to protect her mother and believes that she and the Winx will be able to banish the forces of evil for good since they were successful in banishing the Wizards of the Black Circle. Morgana tells Roxy that evil can never fully be erased as it is part of and even necessary to the universe. Without evil, no one would be able to understand what good is and she believes that the two forces are intertwined; their balance being the force that moves all things in the universe. Despite this, Morgana assures Roxy that they must continue fighting, even in the toughest of battles, and she has faith that her daughter and the Winx can defeat this new menace. Roxy turns to Bloom, asking if they will never stop fighting, and Bloom promises her that she can always count on them.
Just then, Klaus cuts in to propose that the Winx take a break since they have been doing such a good job protecting the people of Gardenia. He suggests that they check out the harbor since a new aquarium had just opened there and the girls all agree on it. Roxy asks if there is anything more that they can do for her mother, but Morgana insists that Roxy go out and have fun. The Winx head off to the aquarium as they say goodbye to Klaus and Morgana.
Outside, Roxy is eager to go to the aquarium but Stella would have liked it better if they decided to go shopping instead. Bloom asks Roxy about when Gardenia got an aquarium and Roxy claims that the aquariums were built around the same time that the city decided to build a harbor area. The girls all run for the harbor as Aisha hopes that there will be a large variety of fish there.
After a while, the seven fairies exit the aquarium with smiles on their faces. Bloom is surprised to see how much her hometown has changed and Aisha was happy to see many different kinds of fish only found on Earth. Though Stella is upset over how hard it was to breathe in the aquarium as there were too many people gathered there. Roxy proposes that they take a break by the boardwalk as there should be a wonderful breeze blowing in from the ocean and the girls follow closely behind. They quickly catch sight of a boat and notice that there is only one man onboard steering it. The girls all cheer for the lone steerer as he makes in impressive turn into the pier without crashing his boat. After tying his boat to the pier, the man thanks the girls and tells them that the Kriss - Sails for Hire boat welcomes them. He quickly recognizes Roxy and asks if she is the daughter of the Frutti Music Bar's owner. Before Roxy can say anything, the man introduces himself as Kriss and claims that Klaus often speaks of her but she has never seen him around due to him being a sailor. Kriss then guesses that the six lovely ladies accompanying Roxy must be the famous Winx Club and offers them a ride on his boat. The Winx are eager to experience riding a boat and run down to the pier to do so.
As Kriss helps Roxy onto his boat, Stella admires how beautiful it is. Once they are all onboard, Roxy formally introduces them all to Kriss. However, when Roxy gets to Bloom, Kriss finds himself taken aback by her. He snapped back to his sense when Roxy asks if the boat belongs to Kriss or not. As he tells Roxy about how he has restored his boat, Stella asks Bloom if she noticed how Kriss was looking at her as it seems that she made quite the impression on him. Kriss finishes his explanation by telling the girls that he now uses his boat to take tourists around the bay. Roxy asks if his business is going well and Kriss claims that he cannot complain as her father, Klaus, has helped him with advertising around the Frutti Music Bar. Roxy then asks if there is anything to see out in the bay and Kriss assures her that there are lots of beautiful places to see; remembering that he came across a beautiful reef underwater. He offers to take the Winx over to the reef and Stella promptly changes everyone into scuba diving gear with her magic. Kriss tells the Winx to make themselves comfortable as he unties his ship from the pier and he announces that they will be arriving at the Golden Reef in less than a half-hour.
Soon enough, Kriss stops his boat in the middle of the bay and throws the anchor over. He tells the girls that the Golden Reef is just below them and rushes inside to change into his wetsuit. Stella eagerly dives into the ocean as she urges for the rest of the Winx to follow. They all dive into the ocean after her and, once he is changed, Kriss follows suit. He asks if they are all ready and, once they have confirmed that they are, Kriss advises for Bloom to stick close to him as he is sure that she will see many wonderful things underwater.
And so the group dives into the bay waters to get a look at the reef below. As they swim around and take in the sights, a small school of fish swarm around Stella. Kriss also takes notice of something flowing in the ocean's currents before everyone resurfaces.
Once everyone resurfaces, Bloom notices that Kriss was the last one to come up and asks if he saw anything. Kriss reveals that he noticed that the currents were pushing additional sand which could cause dangerous shoals to develop near the shore. He claims that he needs to warn the coast guard but Stella does not want to leave the reef just yet. That is when Aisha tells the rest of the group that Flora is not feeling so well and urges that they get out of the water. Bloom and Roxy swim towards Flora to help her aboard Kriss' ship as they ask her what is wrong, where the sickly nature fairy claims that her head suddenly feels like it is spinning and that her stomach hurts. Kriss advises for Flora to be more careful while out in the ocean and Bloom eases Flora onto a nearby seat, asking again if her friend is okay. Flora assures Bloom that she is feeling much better but she felt like they were in impending danger while underwater. Kriss claims that they can come back to the Golden Reef some other time as he steers his ship back to the shore, however, unbeknownst to the group, a pack of shadow creatures were spying on them just a few feet away. These shadow creatures are none other than Neruman's minions and the three shadows plot to keep the fairies at bay before they can hinder their master's plans.
That evening, the Winx settle at Roxy's house as they check up on Flora one last time. After Flora assures everyone that she is alright, Bloom's cellphone begins to go off. As she heads for a quieter part of the room to pick up her phone, Stella bets with Tecna that it may be Kriss who called and she playfully asks if any of the girls noticed how he looked at Bloom earlier that day. However, it turns out that it is Sky calling. Apparently he has been experiencing a couple of terrible days and has been trying to contact Bloom all day hoping that she could lift his spirits. Bloom apologizes for not being there to answer his earlier calls as she had turned it off while they were out on a boat. Sky asks why they were on a boat and Bloom summarizes that they met a guy that was already acquainted with Roxy who let them go diving with him. Suddenly the call becomes an argument as Sky seems to be upset that Bloom was off enjoying herself while his days were terrible. Bloom insists that even she and the Winx deserve their own days to have fun every now and then but Sky continues to be rather snappy so Bloom calls him out on being obnoxious. That is when Sky claims that he needs to get going and hangs up on her.
Bloom looks disappointedly at her phone as the rest of the Winx look on in confusion. Just then, Bloom's phone goes off again and, when she answers, it is Kriss on the other end. Stella brags to the rest of the Winx that she was still right but she happened to be one phone call off. It turns out that Kriss wanted to call Bloom in order to thank her and her friends since he ended up having a great day earlier. Bloom thanks Kriss as well for inviting them and Kriss invites Bloom to his boatyard if she wants to see him restore another old boat. Still flustered by her earlier argument with Sky, Bloom tries to decline Kriss' offer but she stops herself and accepts his invitation.
The next day, Bloom makes it to the address that Kriss had given her the night before and catches sight of him with another young man farther out in the boatyard. Kriss tells his co-worker to keep stirring so that the pitch does not catch on fire as he rushes towards Bloom to greet her. When the two meet up, they shake hands as Bloom confirms that she came on her own but her friends all say "hi" too. Meanwhile, Neruman's shadows creep up on Kriss' co-worker and tempt him into turning up the heat. Their tempting whispers cause the young man to become angry as he hastily adds more gas to the fire which quickly becomes too much for him to handle. The young man then flees in a panic as a fire begins to erupt from their workplace!
Kriss and Bloom take notice of the rapidly growing fire and Kriss rushes for any nearby fire extinguishers. As he hastily tries to put the fire out, Bloom is swarmed by Neruman's shadows as they taunt her and try to take her magical energy. In retaliation, Bloom goes into her Believix and beats back the shadows with a powerful Supernova blast. The shadows are able to escape and, luckily, Kriss and his co-worker were able to put out the fire. Kriss then rushes to Bloom's side and demands to know what the strange creatures Bloom was fighting against were. Bloom recognizes the shadows as a special type of shadow being and decides to call up the rest of Winx in order to figure out what is going on this time.
Shortly afterwards, the rest of the Winx arrive at the shipyard and Bloom immediately tells them that she and Kriss were attacked by monsters. Stella asks Bloom about what kind of monsters they were and Bloom explains that they were shadowy monsters that disappeared into thin air. Kriss then adds that his boat was damaged badly when the fire broke out and Bloom tells the girls that it also happened when the shadow monsters arrived. Aisha suspects that the monsters were trying to make sure they could not use the boat and Flora connects the attack to the horrid feeling she got down by the reef, believing it to be a kind of warning of something ominous approaching. When Bloom asks if she is sure of such a claim, Flora affirms that she is and so Kriss takes it upon himself to prepare another boat for them to return to the reef.
Later that afternoon, Kriss and the girls hop aboard the boat and make their way over to the reef. Once they arrive to the same spot, Kriss lets the girls know that he will he able to dive much deeper than before thanks to the air tanks he brought. Bloom tells Kriss that she and the Winx will stay onboard the ship to look out for any incoming shadow monsters until she is interrupted by Stella and Kriss when they notice a large ship just nearby.
Once he is properly suited up, Kriss dives into the bay waters and, to his surprise, finds an old mine floating near the surface! Acting quickly, Kriss swims back to the surface and notifies the Winx of the old war mine that he believes was freed thanks to the movement of the sand. As he climbs aboard, he claims that they need to leave the area immediately otherwise they will risk coming into contact with the mine and triggering it to explode. Flora begins to suspect that the undersea plants may have been trying to warn them and Stella worries for the larger ship, wondering if they can get its captain to turn around.
Unfortunately for them, however, the shadow monsters from earlier have already begun to manipulate the ship's crew, starting with the driver!
As Kriss and the girls begin to take notice of how the ship shows no signs of turning, Bloom demands that she and the girls transform.
Meanwhile, with the ship's captain sick with the flu and its dozing off at his post, the shadow monsters go on to manipulate a young crew boy into rushing the ship to port under the promise that his boss would be so impressed that he would give him a raise and even make him captain!
- Supernova - Used by Bloom to scare off Neruman's shadows.
- Super Prism - Used by Tecna to deflect the shadows' attacks (accidentally deflecting the attack towards Musa).
- The yellow ombre streaks in Roxy's hair often tend to go missing in some panels.
- The Winx Club
- Earth Fairies
- The Specialists