Week 37! I had this story (and the next one) finished yesterday, but I forgot to post it this morning before we left for my grandmother's birthday party. Man, what a drive. For those who don't know, I live in Minnesota and we had a nice freezing rain/snow shower this morning on our way up north. Also, blizzard-like conditions on the way back. Ugh.
Anyway, enjoy this week's story!
After leaving Lord Licorice's castle, I headed west towards the Peanut Brittle Patches. If you've never been there, the patches are a large field of Peanut Brittle Bushes. The place is like a maze. Every now and then, the Cookie Patrol chops out a path that roughly follows the original path of the Candy Land Road, but the bushes grow back quite quickly and travelers can get easily lost in there. I just hoped that I didn't fall victim to that as well.
The plus side of going through the patches was that the food was plentiful. I hadn't eaten since leaving the Gingerplum Forest and I was quite hungry. I picked some brittle and ate it as I tried to navigate the patches, but it was hopeless. Each turn I made looked exactly like the one before it. Pretty soon, I was all turned around and couldn't tell which way I was going. To make matters worse, a fog had started to roll in; hiding the sun from me so that I couldn't even tell which way was west or east.
I found myself trying to decide if I should keep trying to navigate the patches, or wait for someone to try to find me. The only problem with the second option was that no one was looking for me. I stood there for a couple of moments before I heard someone humming. I drew my revolver, and quietly headed towards the person. After a rounding a couple of corners, I saw her. It was the legendary Gramma Nut! I say legendary because not many people have ever met her. She's mostly thought to be a Candy Land Myth, but here she was in the flesh!
I stood there for a moment, not sure how to proceed when she said, "You can come out from hiding there, dearie. I won't hurt you."
I instantly felt foolish and came out into the open. I asked, "How did you know I was there? You have your back to me."
She turned and gave me a big smile, "Oh dearie, this is my patch. I know everything that goes on in them. I know that you've been wandering around in circles for over an hour. I thought you could use some help."
I was still a little suspicious. I didn't know which side of the conflict that Gramma Nut would be on. After all, she did live awfully close to Licorice Castle. I said, "Would you help me find my way back to the road? I need to get to the Lollypop Woods and find Princess Lolly."
Gramma Nut frowned. She said, "That Princess and her army came through here a couple of days ago and cleared out a lot of my bushes. It took me hours to set things right again. I don't appreciate people tearing down my precious bushes."
She sure wasn't what I expected. I said, "Well, Gramma Nut, when I find the princess, I will tell her how you feel about the matter."
Gramma Nut waggled a finger at me and responded, "Now, sonny, if you're planning on bringing that whole army on back to destroy my Peanut Brittle Patch again, you've got to think again. I don't want those ravagers back in my bushes!"
I thought hard for a few moments about how to handle the situation. Finally, I shrugged and asked, "Well, Gramma Nut, how can I convince you to let us through your patches?"
She smiled sweetly at me and replied, "I never said I wouldn't let you through. You'll just have to have me guide the army through so that I can keep an eye on them and you all make it through safely."
"So, if I bring the army back later today or tomorrow, you'll be here waiting to guide us through the patches?"
Gramma Nut smiled and I couldn't help but believe her. "Okay, Gramma Nut. You have a deal."
She smiled at me and indicated that I should follow her. We walked for an hour in absolute silence. I followed her through twists and turns and I knew that without her, I wouldn't have been able to find my way. I might have been lost for days without her help. The most amazing part of it all was that the fog just got thicker and thicker, but it didn't even faze her in the least. An hour or two later, it was hard to tell without being able to see the sun; we reached the northern edge of the Peanut Brittle Patches. I thanked Gramma Nut and followed the road to the northeast towards the Lollypop Woods.
I entered the woods and found myself wondering how to find the army. The woods were quite large and I had never ventured this far along the Candy Land Road before. I also didn't know much about the woods or who might live there. I was thinking these things to myself when I suddenly found myself hanging upside down a couple of feet from the ground. I looked down, or up rather, at my foot and saw a rope wrapped around my ankle. I mentally kicked myself for not paying closer attention to my surroundings. I started to formulate a plan, when I saw movement out of the corner of my eyes. I looked over and saw two gummy bears whispering to each other and pointing at me. I mentally shrugged and called out to them, "Hey, can you help me down?"
They walked over and I saw that they were armed with crude bows and spears. One of them was yellow and one was orange. The orange one said, "No, I don't think we'll do that, quite yet. You'll have to be interrogated first."
"Interrogated?" I said. "For what?"
The yellow one laughed and said, "As a spy for Princess Lolly, of course."
"I don't know what's going on," I said. "I'm not a spy for anyone; I just need to talk to Princess Lolly to bring her to help fight Lord Licorice!"
The bears looked at each other for a moment. The orange one said, "Who is Lord Licorice and why would you want to have the princess fight him?"
I sighed and said, "Lord Licorice is the one responsible for the King of Candy Land's disappearance! We currently have his castle under siege, but we don't have enough forces to take it from him."
The orange bear nodded to the yellow one who pulled a dagger off of his belt and cut the rope. I landed quite roughly on my shoulder and lay on my back for a while trying to breath after the fall knocked the breath out of me. The two bears stood over me for a moment before roughly pulling me to my feet. Orange said, "If you're serious about getting the princess out of our wood, we'll help you. However, if you are deceiving us in any way..." He ran a finger over his throat to make sure I got the message.
I nodded to indicate that I understood and said, "Right. Well, I don't know what possessed the princess to bring the Cookie Patrol out of the Candy Land Kingdom, but I'll talk her down. Where is she?"
The two bears smiled viciously at each other. Yellow said, "You might say that we've got a little siege of our own going. Come on."