Macy and Anna Save Candyland Bite 19

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Chapter 37

The Final Showdown

    "Lord Licorice will be in the throne room," Alexander said. 

    "And it will be there that we will need to defeat him once and for all," Hershey agreed. Macy became aware of movements along the wall, following them toward the castle. She glanced up. Sure enough, there were men moving along the wall overhead. Ninja, she thought. She caught Hershey's arm and motioned up with her eyes. He nodded. He too had noticed the men. for now, the ninja seemed content to follow their prey, shadowing them through the castle courtyard.

    "I think we are headed into a trap," Macy said in a low voice. Hershey looked at her with a strange look, as though he admired her intelligence.

    "We are most certainly headed into a trap," he said. " The question is, can it still be considered a trap when you are prepared for it?" She felt a strange feeling in her heart and her head. Her heart beat a little faster, her head felt a little swimmy and she had a tingly sensation in her whole body. She had never felt that way before. The feeling became worse every time Hershey looked at her, especially when he smiled at her.

    "Erm," she said, desperately trying to think of something to say. "I think we need a plan." Hershey threw back his head and laughed. The laugh echoed across the cobblestones. A flock of birds took flight at the sudden noise. Macy couldn't help herself. She too began laughing. A warmth spread through her reaching her toes and giving her strength.

    "A plan is just what we need," Hershey said when he caught his breath. "And I have just the thing." The group gathered around him as he outlined his ideas. When they had gone through it a few more times, Hershey declared them ready. 

    They walked through the hallway.  At the end of the corridor stood the massive double doors which opened into the throne room. Alexander, Cargo, Anna, Starlight, and Peter melted into the shadows. A rustling noise came from behind as the ninja horde filled the spaces they had just vacated. Hershey paused only at moment at the doors, and then threw them open. He strode into the throne room full of authority and bluster.

    "Who dares sit on my father's throne?" He called. For, indeed, there was someone sitting on the throne. Macy saw the man sitting there. He was dressed in shades of black and very dark purple. His face was lined with ropy wrinkles, and his nose was hooked. There was a faint odor of anise in the air. Licorice, she thought. She knew in a flash that the man sitting with one leg casually thrown over the arm of the throne was Lord Licorice. 

    "Hershey, how good of you to visit MY castle," Lord Licorice stood up in one fluid motion. Macy couldn't tell how he had gotten his leg off the arm of the chair so quickly. He spread his arms wide. "Welcome all of you. Welcome to my kingdom." He started toward them and snapped his fingers. The double doors behind them swung shut. They heard a great thunk as the bar dropped into place, locking them in. "Welcome to my little trap." Licorice sneered. 

    "Thank you," Hershey said with a bow. "but I think you will find that it is you who is in the trap." Lord Licorice's sneer grew wider.

    "My ninja's will prove you wrong." he said with an evil sounding chuckle. He snapped his fingers again. Immediately ninjas surrounded them and moved closer and closer until the little band was standing shoulder to shoulder. 

    "Um, Lord Licorice," Hershey started to say.

    "Quiet!" Licorice shouted. "You will speak when I tell you to, but now you will listen. I, Lord Licorice am now King Licorice, and my son, Bazooka is my prince and heir. Bazooka, come." From behind a tapestry, Bazooka came, dragging a struggling Lily behind him. Prince Bazooka was wearing his crown and an evil grin. Lily's eyes were wide and frightened. She was gagged with a red rag. "As for you," Licorice went on. "You will each be thrown into the dungeon to rot until the end of your lives. And you will be glad to know that I haven't left the land of Chutes out of the equation. After I am firmly established here, I shall go there and conquer that land as well. It is my due. Your pretty mother," he pointed at Macy. "Will be my wife."

    "She will never agree to that!" Macy said, hotly.

    "She will if she ever wants to see her children alive again!" 

    "Licorice," Hershey said. "Once again you've miscalculated."

    "Nonsense," Licorice's voice dripped with contempt. "I've thought of everything. My plan is flawless."

    "Actually," Hershey spoke again. "I meant you've literally miscalculated. Take a look around." Licorice paused, then took stock of the room.

    "Bazooka," he began. "How many did you say the ninjas captured last night?"

    "Ten, father." Bazooka replied.

    "Then why are there only five in this group?!" Licorice roared.

    "Now!" Hershey shouted. The friends pulled weapons out from under their cloaks, and five of the ninjas tore off their masks. Alexander, Cargo, Anna, Starlight, and Peter had all dressed in the ninja garb. They turned and attacked the evil ninjas. Hershey pointed his sword at Lord Licorice.

    "Surrender." 

    "Never." came the reply. "My men still outnumber yours."

     Macy ran to the door and heaved the bar out of its lock. She opened the door. Standing just outside, weapons ready was Hopkins and fifty other men, dressed in the garb of the king's men.

    "These were the men I could rouse on short notice," Hopkins said. The men rushed the room. They subdued the ninjas in short order. 

    "Surrender," This time the speaker was King Kandy. He stood on the throne dais and his voice commanded attention. Lord Licorice melted instantly.

    "My lord," he whined. "Have mercy. I just wanted what I deserve. Don't I deserve to be happy? Don't I deserve something?"

    "Not anymore." King Kandy answered. "Now all you deserve is my pity and the pity of all men who are brave and courageous. You will be thrown into prison for all you have done. You should count yourself lucky your punishment is not worse. Take him away, men!" Several soldiers grabbed Lord Licorice and dragged him away. They could hear him as he went down the hall begging and whining. King Kandy turned to Prince Bazooka.

    "As for you, son. Your punishment should be the same as Lord Licorice, however, I will have mercy upon you if you only repent of your actions and declare Prince Hershey as your king."

    "Father!" Bazooka said in remorse. "Forgive my foolish actions. I was jealous of Hershey, and hurt that you didn't tell me who my real father was. That's why I acted out. I will consider Hershey my king, and I will follow him with all my heart."

    "I am sorry too, my son, that we did not tell you of your parentage sooner. Much of this heartache could have been avoided. All is forgiven now. There will be a few changes however, you will no longer be known as Prince, and you will release Lily Lolly from her engagement to you." Lily looked relieved. Mr Mint held out his hand to her and she took it. He drew her close to his side. Anna grinned to herself. No doubt there would be another engagement announced soon. "Now, I'm beat." The King said. "Let's get some rest this evening, tomorrow is my birthday!"

*****

    A fanfare sounded, drawing a halt to the dance. The party was well underway. There had been dinner and dancing, and a piñata was planned for later. Macy stood in the middle of the dance floor arm in arm with Hershey whom she had been dancing with. All the guests turned toward the thrones at the end of the hall. The king stood there with Princess Frostine. 

    "I have an announcement to make," his voice carried over the crowd. "As you all know, last evening we captured Lord Licorice and his ninja warriors. These past few weeks have shown me what I never wanted to admit: I am getting old." Everyone began to protest, and the king held up his hand for silence. "Now, I certainly do not have one foot in the grave, however, I am feeling every one of my eighty years. In light of this, I believe it is only appropriate for me to step down from the throne and make my son, Hershey King of Candyland!" The crowd broke into riotous applause. 

    "Three cheers for King Kandy! Huzzah!" They shouted. "Long live the king! Long live King Kandy! Long live King Hershey!" 

    "Now everyone, pipe down," King Kandy called out. "Hershey, come up here." Macy looked up into Hershey's eyes as she let go of his arm. He winked at her and started up toward the raised throne platform. When he reached his father, King Kandy grasped his hand and held it high in the air. "You are all invited to the crowning of Prince Hershey three weeks from now. I think we may have a few more announcements at that time."

*****

    King Kandy was right. By the time of Prince Hershey's coronation there were three new engagements. Mr Mint had proposed to Lily Lolly, Prince Hershey had asked for Macy's hand in marriage, which she readily agreed to, and Alexander surprised no one when he asked King Kandy for permission to marry Princess Frostine. They all declared it a time of great peace and prosperity for the kingdoms of Candyland and Chutes. Starlight was given the charge of protecting Gumdrop Mountains, and Jolly was made to be his servant. Hopkins and his wife took over Lord Licorice's castle in the licorice forest and slowly began replacing the black licorice with cherry whips. Gloppy was so repentant he shed great big chocolate drop tears, and King Hershey decided to let him off easy. For penance, he had to give away all his chocolate to anyone who asked for some. And even now, if you need a bit of chocolate, you can go to Gloppy's chocolate swamp and eat until your stomach aches. As for Anna, she would tell you what she's been doing, but then she'd have to kill ya. 

The End