Macy and Anna Save Candyland Bite 16
"Bazooka!" Lily, Frostine, Alexander, and Mr. Mint all gasped, shocked at the sight of Prince Bazooka clearly in charge of the evil camp. Anna and Macy covered their mouths, their eyes wide. So this was Prince Bazooka, the man Lily was engaged to. He stood tall and proud among them, not concerned about their shock or horror. His blue shirt complimented his dark complexion and his dark hair, which were a contrast to his fair sister. His eyes flashed with a hardened look.
"Bazooka, why?" Frostine whispered, reaching her hand out to him. He swatted her hand away and replied,
"Why for the oldest reason of all, of course. Money, power, a kingdom!"
"I don't understand," Frostine said. "You had everything you could want."
"Not everything," he responded. "My brother would inherit the kingdom, and I would have nothing. Prince Hershey would never have given me more than a pittance."
"That is not true!" Frostine argued. "Our brother loves you!"
"He is no brother of mine," Bazooka declared. "Isn't that right, Father?" He managed to put a lifetime of loathing into the word. King Kandy hung his head.
"Daddy?" Frostine said. "What is it?"
"Bazooka is adopted," the king answered in a broken voice. "He found out about it last year. Your mother and I meant to tell him but never did and then she got so sick and died..." His voice trailed off. "Please, forgive me, Son. You deserved to know. I should have told you sooner. Much sooner." This sentence was barely a whisper.
"I will not forgive. And I will never forget." Prince Bazooka's face was hard and unyielding. "You are not my father and you never will be. My true father will give me the kingdom in exchange for you."
"Your true father?" Frostine was confused. "I still don't understand."
"Lord Licorice is Bazooka's father," King Kandy's voice was so quiet they all had to strain to hear him. "Your mother and I adopted him when Lord Licorice asked us to. He felt unable to care for the baby after the mother died."
"You were so willing to take me in, you were positively gleeful that my mother died!" Bazooka accused. "You continually try to destroy my real father and you lie, lie, lie!" Each word was punctuated by his finger jabbing in the air. His face contorted with rage. A gargoyle would not look more grotesque. Finally, Lily stepped forward.
"Bazooka, be reasonable. Why would you think these things about King Kandy and Queen Frostine? They've been good parents to you."
"Would good parents lie to their son for years? YEARS? Would good parents exile their son's birth father simply because they couldn't stand the sight of him?"
"That's not what happened," King Kandy protested feebly. Bazooka rounded on him
"Don't you talk to me, old man, You will only speak when I speak to you." He strode over to where Lily was standing. "Come, Fiancee. You and I are going on a little journey. Ninja Guards! Tie the others up and put them in the cages!"
"No!" Cried Mr. Mint as he lunged toward Bazooka and Lily. With a flick of his wrist, Bazooka motioned a group of the ninjas toward Mr. Mint. They tackled him and tied him in a series of swift moves. They put him in the largest of the cages and with rapid movements the others were likewise trussed and caged. Bazooka mounted a horse and pulled Lily up with him.
"Sayanora, family," Bazooka said, sarcasm dripping in every syllable. Anna shivered at the sight of his blue-shirted back as he rode out of the clearing. She remembered another blue shirt...
"What are we going to do?" Frostine was tearfully putting on a brave face.
"We need a plan."
"We need to think." Macy and Anna had spoken at the same time. Anna gestured for Macy to speak.
"We need to think quietly for a few minutes. I have a few ideas, but I need time to work them out in my mind. While I think it through, you guys make a list of our assets."
"Are you kidding?" Anna responded. "We need to act, and we need to act now! We can't just sit here and wait for Lord licorice to return!"
"No, Anna, our sister is right, we need to think things through. There are too many of them and too few of us." Alexander nodded his head at the ninjas which now lined the perimeter of the clearing. Their number had increased to thirty. "We need a plan."
"Fine. She can think. But while she is thinking, I think we need an explanation from Peter about why he was talking with Prince Bazooka who is apparently our sworn enemy?" Her face hardened as she swiveled to the cage where Peter was despondently sitting in a corner. "What's the matter," she sneered, "Unhappy that your ally locked you up with the rest of us?"
"Prince Bazooka is not my ally," Peter responded.
"How can you say that? I saw you talking to him with my own eyes. Are you calling me a liar?" Anna was really mad now.
"When did you see me with him?" Peter asked, confused.
"The night after the Gumdrop Mountains. I was coming to apologize and you were talking to a man in a blue shirt, just like the one Prince Bazooka was wearing. You said you'd 'take care of Princess Anna.'"
"That wasn't," Peter started, but Anna didn't let him finish.
"And what about the other times you've snuck away? Like in the Licorice Forest? How do you explain those? How long have you been working for our enemy? Was it you who betrayed our father?" At her last words, Peter stood up, his face red with anger.
"Because you are my princess, I will disregard your words as the impetuosity of youth. I would never, ever, not in ten thousand years, betray your father. And I would certainly never work with his enemies. I'm afraid you've misread the situation entirely." His voice became more haughty with each word.
"Anna, how could you say such a thing?" Cargo said with surprise. "You know Peter is our most loyal servant and always has been. More than a servant really, a trusted advisor and friend."
"I know what I saw," Anna responded. "And I saw him talking to a man in a blue shirt who looked like Prince Bazooka."
"It was not the Prince," Peter said flatly. "I am not at liberty to say more, but I swear on the grave of your father that you did not see me talking to Prince Bazooka." Anna crossed her arms and glared at him. Her heart pounded. How dare he not answer her directly? Could he be telling the truth? She had been so sure that Peter was involved with the plot. She sat down in the corner of her cage and began to pout. I know what I saw, she thought. She looked over at Macy's cage. Macy sat in the center of the cage eyes closed. Fine time to be taking a nap, Anna grumped to herself. She reached up and fingered the necklace her mother had given her. The tiny gold hourglass was cool in her hand. She remembered what her mother had said when she fastened it around her neck.
"There will be a time for action and a time for patience. Wisdom is knowing which time is which." Anna sighed. I sure could use some wisdom now.
The cages in the clearing were grouped in such a way that no one could touch someone else's cage, but not so far apart that they couldn't hear each other either. Late that night after they had eaten the meager supper the ninjas had provided and the camp fire had died down, Macy spoke.
"I may have a plan of sorts," she began in a hushed tone. "Unfortunately it does require someone to be outside of these cages, and I don't know how we will manage that. I've already tried everything to break the lock. As I see it we have two problems. First, we have to get out of our cages, and second, we have to defeat the ninja guards. Taking the second problem first. Mother gave me some sleeping medicine for our trip. I've watched the ninjas and noticed that they all are drinking out of the same water container. If we could get some of the medicine into their water, we could simply slip past them when they've all fallen asleep. I just don't know how to get out of this cage!"
"Perhaps I can gnaw my way out," Starlight offered and proceeded to try it.
"You there!" One of the ninjas shouted. "Stop gnawing or I'll tie your mouth shut!" Starlight sheepishly sat back down in his cage.
"Those dried out licorice bars tasted terrible anyway," he said.
"Macy," Alexander said. "How many ninjas did you count when we got to this clearing?"
"Thirty," she replied.
"Well, there's thirty-one now." Alexander said. At his words, Peter sat up straighter.
"Is there an extra?" When Alexander nodded, he looked triumphant.
"Princess Macy, I have a hunch your plan isn't doomed to failure after all." The other's pressed him for more information, but he wouldn't say another word.
Soon darkness overtook the little clearing. The once merry group prepared themselves to spend the night on the hard, unforgiving ground. A ninja approached the cage holding Peter.
"You there," the ninja said in a haughty tone. "I suppose you think you will sleep the night away, and things will look better in the morning." as he came closer to the cages his voice lowered and when he was within whispering distance he said lowly, "I'm here to tell you that things look better now!"
"Sire! You've come!" Peter barely restrained himself from shouting aloud. "I never doubted you, but we've had a few harried moments."
"I'm sorry I did not return sooner, my friend." the strange ninja replied.
"I'm afraid it is as we suspected. Your brother..." the stranger cut him off.
"I know," he said. "I was here fro the tail end of things. I thought it best to wait until dark to reveal myself."
"What is going on?" Macy whispered through the shadows.
"Princess Macy and all of you, may I present Prince Hershey, son of King Kandy, future King of Candyland!" Peter said as loudly as he dared.
"Son?!" King Kandy called out.
"Hush, father. It is I." Hershey moved to his cage. "I will get you out of here."
"Hershey! How good to see you!" Alexander reached out to shake his friend's hand, but Hershey waved it away. For the benefit of the ninjas watching them he said loudly,
"Do you think you can bribe me like that? Never! Even if you are a prince." Alexander played along,
"It couldn't hurt to try," he said. More quietly he told Hershey, "Macy has something for you that will help us escape."
"That's great, but which one is Macy?" Hershey looked between the girls in their cages, trying to distinguish their features in the moonlight and fading campfire light.
"She's the tall blonde in the cape. Our mother's cape." Hershey walked over to the cage holding Macy. Admiration lit his eyes as she looked up at him.
"Is the ground hard enough for you?" He called out. Then, quietly, "I am Prince Hershey, what do you have? How may I serve you, Princess?" Macy outlined her plan and slipped him the sleeping potion. "It shall be done. I confess, I knew I could break you out of these cages, but wasn't sure how to defeat such an army of ninjas." He began walking away from the group of cages, and then called back, "No more racket tonight, or we will be forced to inflict punishment!" He walked to the water bucket and quickly poured the potion into it. Then he played waiter, taking a drink to each of his fellow ninjas keeping watch in the dark just beyond the range of the firelight.
Now we wait, Macy thought grimly.