Macy and Anna Save Candyland Bite 13

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Chapter 26

What Happened at Grandma Nutt’s

    "Don't just stand there gawking," the old woman said, breaking Macy's reverie. "Come in and tell me who you are." They dutifully filed in and Macy gave her usual introduction speech, this time finishing with,

    "And these are my brothers, Prince Alexander and Prince Cargo. They joined us unexpectedly last night." 

    "Well, well, well. The children of King Mattel. What an honor!" The old woman bowed low. "I am Priscilla Nutt, but everyone calls me Grandma Nutt. It is a pleasure to have you in my home."

    "The pleasure is all ours," Macy reassured her. "Our father used to say that you were the best candy maker in all of Candyland. He had a soft spot for peanut candies."

    "King Mattel was one of my best customers and a fine man. I was very sad to hear of his death. Have you found the treasonous criminal who gave away his location?" At this, Anna stole a glance at Peter. He looked unperturbed at the question. 

    "No," Macy replied. "We are still searching for clues. If you know anything at all about those terrible days it may help us."

    "I always think better over a piece of peanut butter pie." Grandma Nutt said. "Let's go to the kitchen and get some. You can tell me all about your adventures." Grandma Nutt led their little band through the house's winding halls. They went up and down over several three and four step staircases.

    "I don't think I will be able to find my way out," Anna whispered to Macy. "I've lost track of where we are." Macy nodded in agreement. They would need a guide to get around. Down three more steps, and they all entered the kitchen. The kitchen was warm and inviting. In the middle stood a long wooden table. A huge stove took up the length of one wall. Golden copper kettles hung from hooks along two other walls. Large wooden paddles hung near the kettles. Grandma Nutt seated them at the table and then bustled over to the fridge. She stuck her head in and rummaged around for a few minutes. 

    "Ah, here we are," her voice had a hollow sound, coming from within the refrigerator. "Two pies, right where I left them. Macy, if you open the cupboard behind you you should find the plates. Anna, forks are in the lower drawer of the cabinet. Peter, napkins. They should be in the left hand drawer of the cabinet." Everyone did her bidding without question. "Now, tell me all about everything." she said when they were all seated once again.

    "Grandma Nutt, this pie is the most delicious dessert I've ever had!" Macy exclaimed. 

    "Oh, pooh." Grandma Nutt waved off the compliment. "Anyone can make a pie like that."

    "Well, I've never tasted one half as good as this one." Macy said. 

    "Your father used to say the same thing," Grandma Nutt responded. "He used to beg me to let him bring one home for you, but I wouldn't let him. The pie is no good if it isn't refrigerated. He never would have gotten it home. I couldn't bear to see him disappointed, but even more I couldn't bear to think of a perfectly good pie ruined because it was carried over land and sea to another country. The last time he was here I gave him the recipe so your cook at home could make it for him. That was right before that awful Lord Licorice sunk his battleship, I don't believe he ever made it home with the recipe." The mention of her father awakened the familiar ache in Macy's heart. She took a deep breath. Comfort food, she thought, this pie makes the best comfort food. 

    The traveling party told Grandma Nutt about all their adventures. She tsked and tutted all the way through the tale. When they had finished, she dished them each another piece of pie. 

    "You all need some more fortifying," she said. "Eat up. You will stay here tonight, and I will pack you some lunch to take with you tomorrow. Tonight we will have chicken stew with dumplings and in the morning I will make my famous peanut pancakes. I have enough bedrooms for each one of you to take a nice long rest." No one argued. 

    "We are very grateful for your hospitality," Alexander told her. 

    "Nonsense," she said in reply. "I'm happy to do it. I've wondered what I could do for your family ever since I heard about your father's tragic death." 

    "Our mother would be glad to know we are so well cared for," Alexander said. "Thank you."

    Their dinner that night was simple and delicious. Afterward Grandma Nutt led them on a winding path to the hall of bedrooms where they would sleep that night. Macy spotted Anna writing something on her arm.

    "What are you doing?" She whispered. 

    "Making a map of the route we took to get here," Anna whispered back. "I don't like feeling so lost." Their bedrooms were situated on the east side of the hall, in an addition that seemed to be devoted to bedrooms. To get into the hall, they went up three steps. The paneling on the walls wore a different shade of brown that the others they had seen. The bedrooms themselves were also done in shades of brown. 

    "I think I now know what it must be like to be a peanut in its shell," Anna confessed to Macy later as they changed into their pajamas. 

    "It is quite different here," Macy agreed. 

    "Different is right! Cozy, but different."

    "Smells good too." 

    "Like the inside of a peanut butter jar. Or better yet, like the scent of peanut butter cookies baking." Anna was drooling thinking of peanut butter cookies.

    "Ugh, let's not talk about food, I'm stuffed." Macy protested. The girls climbed into bed and were soon fast asleep. 

    Anna startled awake in the middle of the night. Unsure of what had woken her, she lay still for a moment. She heard a creak in the hall. Carefully she got out of bed and tiptoed to the door. She eased the doorknob to the left and carefully opened the door a crack. She put her eye to the opening. Someone was moving away from her down the hall. It was Peter. What was he doing up in the middle of the night? She shut the door without a noise and padded back across the floor and into her bed. Unable to get to sleep again, Anna lay there staring at the ceiling until she heard the soft click of Peter's door down the hall. When she finally fell asleep, her dreams were full of mysterious strangers in blue shirts and long winding hallways that led nowhere. 

 

Chapter 27

In the Midst of Lollipops

    The morning dawned bright and clear. Full of breakfast, Cargo declared that all pancakes ought to be peanut pancakes. 

    "No one should ever bother with any other kind." He said. "These were perfection itself. And that chocolate sauce....oooooh so yummy." Grandma Nutt wrote out the recipes for the peanut butter pie, and the peanut pancakes and tucked them in Macy's bag. 

    "That's for your cook when you get safely home. No Mattel should have to go without peanut treats when they are grieving. Your mother will like them." She also packaged up several pounds of her famous brickle candy, some for the traveling party, and some for them to take to King Kandy for his birthday. 

    The group headed out. They hoped to reach Lollipop Woods, and the Lolly estate before nightfall. 

    "It's been a long time since I've been to Lolly Estate," Mr. Mint remarked. "I used to play with little Lily Lolly when our parents would get together." He chuckled, "That's a tongue twister. Little Lily Lolly. Ha! Say that five times fast." Anna gave it a shot,

    "Little Lily Lolly. Little Lolly Lily. Lottle Lily Liloly. Oh, I give up." She said, laughing. They were all in high spirits this morning. Good food and good rest had banished some of the fears of the morning before. Lord Licorice was far from their minds. 

    "The Lollys are often at court." Peter said. "They may be making preparations to attend the ceremonies as well. Perhaps we will have even more traveling companions." They reached the edges of the Lollipop Wood in the late afternoon. Tall, thin, white poles topped with colorful orbs rose out of the ground as far as the eye could see. The candy trees glistened in the waning sunlight. They heard hoofbeats and soon saw the source of the noise. A girl riding a white horse was galloping toward them on the trail. The horse's hooves ate up the distance quickly. Drawing her horse up in front of them, the girl leapt nimbly down. She was older than she had first appeared; a woman really. She had long nut brown hair, wore a flowing pink dress, and had a cute, upturned nose. Her face was dotted with freckles. She put out her hand to Alexander who was at the front of the group, and said,

    "Hi! I'm Lily Lolly! Welcome to Lollipop Woods." Alexander shook her hand and replied,

    "You're Lily Lolly, eh? Not quite what I was expecting! I am Prince Alexander Mattel and these are my sisters Princess Macy, Princess Anna, my brother Prince Cargo, our manservant Peter Awn, the beaver is Starlight, and I believe you already know Mr. Pfeffer Mint. Mr. Mint, come up and say hello." Alexander turned around to gesture Mr. Mint up from the back of the group. He started to chuckle. Mr. Mint was standing there, mouth wide open with a dumbfounded look on his jolly face. He looked stunned. "Mr. Mint? Don't you want to say hello to Little Lily Lolly?" Alexander prompted. Starlight nudged Mr. Mint until he seemed to come back to himself. Moving through the others with a dazed look on his face he approached Lily. He bent down on one knee and offered his hand. 

    "Miss Lolly, it is such a pleasure to see you again after so long a time." His voice cracked and squeaked in the middle of his sentence. "You have, uh, you are quite beautiful." Lily Lolly tipped her head back and laughter pealed out of her throat. Clear as a bell, it was an infectious laugh that soon had the others joining in. 

    "Not quite how you expected me to turn out, eh?" she smiled at Mr. Mint and pulled him to his feet. "When I was young, I was just a little bit of a thing. Tiny and funny looking." When Mr. Mint started to protest, she held up her hand to silence him. "No, it's okay. I was kinda funny looking. And I definitely deserved the name Little Lily Lolly." She laughed again. 

    "I think perhaps it is time to change that to Lovely Lily Lolly," Mr. Mint said with a gallant bow.

    "You've changed a bit since I last saw you, too," Lily told him, almost shy now. "You're taller and much more handsome than I remember." 

    "Yes, well, I suspect I grew out of that teenage gangly-ness and into my legs." 

    "Not only that, but you've begun wearing the clothes you were meant to wear. Red suits you, unlike that black horror you used to put on."

    "I went through such a rebellious phase," Mr. Mint explained to the others. "Long stringy hair, wearing black all the time. I suppose I did look much different than I do now."

    "Your parents must be proud of you, Protector of the Peppermint Forest."

    "And yours of you, Lily Lolly." Mr. Mint gazed into Lily's eyes so deeply the others thought maybe he was lost forever. Macy cleared her throat. 

    "Ah, yes, right," Lily said, breaking her gaze from Mr. Mint. "Let's get you to my home, shall we? Follow me!" With an exuberant laugh, she swung onto her horse and led the way up the path. 

    "Methinks love is in the air," Macy muttered to Anna. "We'll have to keep our eye on this little romance." Anna chuckled and nodded in reply.

    "Not to mention we should bring up Miss Scarlet's name as much as possible, if only to see Cargo turn the shade of his lady love!"