Hello everyone! Sorry about the post being a day late, the family and I were out of town for the weekend. As you probably know, we bought a new van and this weekend it was scraped by someone at the hotel we were staying at. Ugh. We've only had the thing for six days!
Anyway, enjoy this new installment of the Candy Land storyline!
After I left Mr. Mint's Royal Peppermint Forest, I headed north around an arm of the Gumdrop Mountains and up into them following Candy Land Road. I arrived at the predetermined meeting place where Gumdrop Mountain Pass met the road a couple of hours before dawn. The platoon was nowhere in sight, so I decided to catch a catnap while I could. I chose a spot not far off of the road so that the sounds of the platoon marching would wake me.
The sound of a deep rumbling woke me and I was startled to find a giant standing over me! The rumbling had been the giant laughing. As I was trying to figure out how to not be eaten by the giant, he bent down towards me and said, "Not to worry, little one! I am Jolly, the Official Gumdrop Mountains Greeter!"
Confused, I sat up and leaned against the tree that was behind me. "Official Gumdrop Mountains Greeter? I've never heard of that before."
Jolly stood up and nodded. "Yes, I get that a lot. Or, I would if more people took the road through the mountains rather than taking the Rainbow Bridge. It's a rather new position. I just signed a treaty between my people and the King of Candy Land last week. We are to guarantee that the Gumdrop Mountain Pass and the Candy Land Road stay clear and our people will maintain good relations and trade with the King."
"Okay, Jolly," I said as I stood up. "I think that I will have to invoke that alliance right now, then. The King has disappeared, along with his castle, and the Kingdom is in danger."
Jolly looked taken aback. He stuttered as he said, "Um, well, you see... W...we're not exactly the w...warrior types. We're peaceful Gumdrop Giants. We've never fought anyone before."
I had an idea, but it wouldn't work without the giants. I said, "Well, Jolly, if all goes well, there won't be a need to fight. All I need is for you and your tribe to get together and follow the platoon and myself to Lord Licorice's castle."
Jolly looked a little skeptical, but he nodded all the same. "Follow me, then and..."
He didn't get a chance to finish as another Gumdrop Giant came running up calling his name. When he arrived, he was out of breath and tried talking, "Jolly! There's been...an avalanche...in the pass!"
Before Jolly could answer, I said, "Do you know if the platoon from the garrison in the pass made it through?"
The other giant shook his head and said, "No, but the avalanche is blocking their path."
I turned to Jolly and said, "Do avalanches happen a lot in the pass?"
He shook his head. "Not really, one every couple of years, I guess. They almost never block the entire path. We've already had one this year too, so this is strange."
I was wondering if Lord Licorice could be involved, but I didn't have any ideas on how to find out. I said, "Let's go to the pass and clear it out."
Jolly and I headed for the pass and the other giant went to their village to get more help. As we walked, I spent the time trying to figure out how Lord Licorice seemed to be staying one step ahead of us. Before I could figure out the answer, we arrived at where the avalanche was blocking the path. Jolly started grabbing large chunks of ice and snow and moving them by hand. I waited and watched until the other giants arrived with shovels. They even had one my size. With the whole tribe working, it didn't take long at all to clear out the path. Sergeant Snick Ers and the rest of the platoon were waiting on the other side. I shook hands with Snick when the path was clear.
He said, "I was about to suggest to Colonel Crunch that we start back and go around using the Candy Land Road when we heard you all digging."
He led me over to where Colonel Crunch was giving orders. "Congratulations on your promotion from Captain, Colonel," I said.
He thanked me and asked, "What's going on, Ap? I see you have the giants with you."
"Yes I do. The Gumdrop Giants have agreed to escort us to Licorice Castle. If there's any fighting though, they haven't agreed to that. We'll just bring them along for the intimidation factor," I said.
He nodded and said, "Let's move out, then. Sergeant, give the order."
We marched out of the path and to the Road. A couple of hours later, we arrived at the castle. It was obvious that the Lord had prepared the castle for a siege. There were Bitter Chocolate Bats and Black Licorice Crows flying above the castle; Black Jellybeanmen on the ramparts armed with bows and spears; and the drawbridge was up.
Colonel Crunch, Sergeant Ers, Jolly and I spoke while the platoon and tribe were getting arrayed on the field outside the castle. I said, "I don't think that we have enough forces to take the castle."
Colonel Crunch nodded his agreement and said, "We'll array our forces in a siege around the castle, well out of range of their bows, mind you, Sergeant."
I nodded and said, "Good, I'll head up the road to the Lollypop Woods and see if I can convince Princess Lolly to come back here with the rest of the Patrol."
We all agreed on the plan and I continued on the road to the west. Before I got too far the sound of the drawbridge of the castle coming down stopped me. We all turned and saw Lord Licorice standing alone on the bridge with a white flag in his hand. Colonel Crunch indicated that I should come with and he and I walked to the edge of the bridge. Lord Licorice and I just stared at each other, contempt on our faces for a few moments. Finally, he said, "It looks like you all have decided to pay me a little visit. What, pray tell, has brought you here?"
I had had enough of his pretentions. I said, "You know full well what has brought us here. The King is missing and you know where he is. Tell us where, or we'll level your castle with you in it."
Lord Licorice glanced over my shoulder and laughed. "With that pitiful rabble? You wouldn't even get to the walls."
I glanced over to Colonel Crunch and he said, "You might be right about that, Licorice, but we're going to siege you anyway."
The Lord glared at him and growled, "You do that. It won't make any difference and it won't help you find the King. We're done here."
Colonel Crunch shrugged and turned back towards camp. I said, "You won't get away with this, Licorice."
He smiled evilly at me and said, "I will see you soon, Mr. LePie."
He turned his back on me and walked into his castle. I growled and turned away in frustration. Colonel Crunch and I returned to the army and relayed what happened to Snick and Jolly. I told them that I had to get on my way and said my goodbyes. I knew that I would have to go through the Peanut Brittle Patches to get to the Lollypop Woods. I hoped that I could navigate my way through the patches without too much trouble. They were like a maze and the Road wasn't clearly marked.