Macy and Anna Save Candyland Bite 12
"As it turned out it wasn't Miss Scarlet at all," Cargo concluded. "Instead it was Col. Mustard in the conservatory with the revolver."
"Much to Cargo's relief," Alexander teased. Cargo blushed a deep red until his neck and cheeks matched Starlight's fur. "Isn't that right, Cargo? Our brother here developed a bit of a crush on the young Miss Scarlet."
"Knock it off," Cargo growled. "She's just a friend, that's all."
"Just a friend? Then why did you take so long saying goodbye?" Alexander kept teasing. Cargo ducked his head.
"Well, she is quite beautiful," he admitted, turning an even deeper shade of red.
"So after you solved the mystery of who killed Mr. Boddy, you set out after us?" Anna was getting a little tired of how long it was taking to hear this story. She just wanted to know how the boys had shown up at just the right time to save the rest of them. Cargo cleared his throat.
"We went home and mother told us you had left to go to Candy Castle. We couldn't believe it at first, why would she let you go when it is so dangerous? She tried to convince us you would be okay, you could handle yourself, but soon we realized she didn't know."
"Didn't know what, sir?" Peter asked with concern.
"Lord Licorice has escaped." Alexander jumped in to say. A chorus of 'what's?' and 'how did this happen?' rose up from the group. Alexander raised his hands in a gesture to quiet down. "We heard about it just after we left Boddy Mansion. Apparently he tricked his jailer and escaped the jail in Monopoly. He has completely disappeared." Cargo picked up the story from there.
"We checked into the reports, and it seems it's true. Lord Licorice has escaped, and his whereabouts are unknown. We knew we had to come find you and bring you home."
"What? We can't go home now!" Anna cried.
"This road is much too dangerous with Lord Licorice lurking about." Cargo insisted. Anna opened her mouth to argue further, but Macy intervened.
"We can talk more about that later," she said. "Right now I want to know how you found us so fast. How did you get here?"
"We came over the Rainbow Trail." Cargo answered.
"Isn't that illegal?" Macy said.
"Only if you don't have the right card. Mother talked to every ambassador she knew until she found one who would sponsor us. She was then able to send us with the right card to allow us to pass." He pulled a small white card from his pocket. Displayed on the front of it was a purple square. In tiny letters Macy read 'Permission to travel the rainbow trail.' "This is the card we needed to travel here. On the way back we will need an orange card."
"That answers one part of the equation. What about how you came to be right here, right when we needed you?"
"There is only one answer for that," Cargo pointed heavenward. "Divine intervention. We knew we were ahead of you on the road, so we headed back toward the Licorice Forest. It was God and God alone Who caused us to be right where you needed us, right when you needed us to be there."
"Cargo packed the tranquilizer darts as we left home. We'd heard stories about the gummy bears of Gumdrop Mountain. We didn't know if we would have to come back that far to find you, but we wanted to be prepared. That's about it, the whole story." Alexander finished. As they talked the sky was growing darker. Soon night would be upon them.
"Let's camp here for the night." Macy suggested. "We can begin again in the morning.”
Foot Race to Adventure
That evening, Anna took Alexander aside and explained her fears about Peter.
"Could he be the one? Could he be the traitor?" she asked her brother. They stood near the horse and cart. Snickers had escaped the ninja attack that day unscathed. They had found him just outside the grove of trees, contentedly munching the grass at his feet. The horse seemed to be a bit miraculous. Even the load he pulled was protected. This time he hadn't lost a single peppermint branch.
"Impossible." Alexander responded. "I don't believe he would betray our country or our father. It just sounds too incredible."
"But what about the man in blue?"
"I don't know, but there must be some explanation. I'm sure of it."
"Will you at least talk to him? Maybe see if he will tell you what he knows about the other man?" Alexander agreed and Anna felt better, for a time anyway.
They posted a watch that night. Two of them remained awake in a rotating schedule to guard the camp. The night passed uneventfully. In the morning they packed and began again on their journey to King Kandy's birthday celebration. Anna had convinced them to keep going.
"He is expecting us," she argued the night before, during supper around the campfire. "He was father's dearest friend. We have to be there. Besides, now that the two of you are here, we will be perfectly safe. There have only been four ninjas and with seven of us now we can easily fight them, especially if Cargo uses his tranquilizer darts. Please say yes, oh please, please, please!"
"She's not going to give up. She did this for a week when we first received the invitation." Macy said wryly. Alexander finally raised his hands, palms outward in his calm down gesture.
"Fine, fine. You are right. King Kandy's birthday is an event not to be missed. Plus, I'd love to see my good friend Prince Bazooka. We will continue this adventure." Anna leaped from her seat and dashed to her brother. She flung her arms around him and squeezed.
"You won't regret this, I promise!" But Anna was wrong. Alexander did come to regret it very much.
The sweet nutty scent of peanut brickle filled the air as they topped a low rise in the road.
"Peanut Acres," said Peter, somewhat needlessly as all of them could see the fertile farmland stitched before them; and there was no mistaking the aroma of sugar cooking and peanuts baking. In the middle of the fields was a funny structure. It looked as thought it had begun its life as a little brown cottage, and then grew additions some to one side and some to another, there were even additions added to the roof. It was difficult to see where one floor ended and another began. The entire thing was covered in tan stucco. There were seven chimneys, and each one was puffing smoke. Windows were haphazardly inserted, seemingly regardless of which level it was on. The whole effect was enchanting. It looked as though the home was held together with peanut butter.
"Last one there is a rotten egg!" Macy shouted and took off running. She laughed in delight as the wind whipped her hair. She heard pounding footsteps and turned to see Cargo and Anna running behind her. Facing forward again, she ran faster. They'll never catch up, she thought. Finally, gasping for breath, she ran into the front yard of the Peanut home. Seconds later Anna and Cargo ran in. Laughing and panting they patted each other on the back and complimented each other's running form. Or maybe complimented isn't quite the right word.
"You run like a chicken with its head cut off," Cargo teased Macy.
"Oh yeah," she returned. "Well you run like that great big gummy bear. Stomp, stomp, stomp. A herd of elephants have got nothing on you!"
"That is true," Anna agreed. "I, myself run like a gazelle on the plains of Africa."
"Yeah," Cargo kidded. "A three legged gazelle. Two steps and a hop, two steps and a hop. I didn't know if you were running or playing a super fast game of hopscotch." Anna punched him in the shoulder.
"Watch it Buster, or I'll tell Miss Scarlet about your running skills." She teased. Cargo blushed again at the name of Miss Scarlet. Hmmm, maybe he really does like her, Macy thought. The others arrived in the yard at a much more sedate pace. They tied up the horse and then went to the front door, or what they presumed was the front door. There were several doors and windows on the lowest level of the building, but this one was most prominent, not to mention it had the sidewalk running straight up to it. Macy rang the bell and prepared her introduction speech she now kept on the tip of her tongue.
"Come to the front door," someone called from within.
"Which one is the front?" Macy called back.
"Third from the left," the voice called again. They dutifully counted doors until they found the correct one. This door was painted red and was only four feet tall. Other than the paint, it was the most unassuming door, and the wall it was set in was at an angle to the rest of the house, so if they weren't looking for it, they may have missed it altogether. Macy knocked on the door and it opened to reveal a stumpy little woman dressed all in shades of brown, a dark brown jumper style dress with a tan shirt underneath, and a almond colored apron over it all. She had brown tights and brown shoes. Even her eyes were brown. Her white hair stuck up all around her head, except for some in the back which was wound in a tight little bun. She wore spectacles on the tip of her nose which were connected to a beaded chain around her neck. As she opened the door the sweet scent of candy cooking wafted out. Macy inhaled deeply. The scent reminded her of her father and the treats he used to bring her. A feeling of sadness and longing swept over her.