Chapter 53: Need For A Plan
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Previously: In Wonderland, Madnes and his group have split up in their search for the 7 crystals of the Terraforming Spell (a dangerous spell currently threatening to destroy their home on Earth, Okinala Island). Cheshire is with Cosmic, Harrey is with the orphans, and Madnes with Alice. They now journey through their individual missions, but the Red King has his own plan to put a stop to them, sending out his knights and Wanted posters. Meanwhile, the story follows Harrey, Ash and Drisel up in the Floating Isles of the Baa people as they hunt for one of the crystals. So far they’ve made a new Baa friend, Thimble, and had a run-in with the strange introvert Wolf (who people have been accusing for the disappearances of several Baa), and met the mysterious trader Man in Moon. But more trouble is brewing as another Baa has gone missing, and the townspeople stormed into Wolf’s cave-home to arrest him. Wolf must now stay in hiding for a crime he claims he didn’t commit. But who then is the real culprit?
“I can’t convince you to stay out of this?” Wolf tried again.
“No,” Thimble reaffirmed, large eyes glinting with a determination too thick for anything to prevail against.
Wolf gave in. “I don’t see how anything can make a difference, though,” he added somberly. “You’d have to convince the whole Baa town I have nothing to do with these Baa disappearances—and if you ask me, that’s plain impossible.”
“But we will! We can!”
“You’re being naïve, Thimble.”
Ash and Drisel watched their back-and-forth talk from the edge of the pond, and after a while Ash shook his head. “I’m not sure it’s possible, either.” At Drisel’s pout he added: “But we’ll still try—No need to glare at me.” He turned back the way they’d come through the woods. “Harrey’s an idiot, but maybe he’ll think of something we can try. We should get back to town and talk with him.”
Drisel cocked her head, then nodded. “Let’s do. He’s got a few tricks up his sleeve.” She cupped her mouth and shouted across the water to Thimble and Wolf: “We’ve gotta go find our other travel partner, now. He might have some ideas that can help!”
Thimble nodded and waved. “Let’s meet at the shop tomorrow!”
Edging down the steep bridge from the woods island was more than difficult, and it felt like forever until he and Drisel made it back to the town’s floating island. It took even longer finding their inn.
Ash swallowed when he spotted Harrey: arms folded, leaning beside the inn’s front doors. Shuffling up to him, and trying not to look guilty, Ash tried to explain, “We didn’t mean to leave without telling you. I— Drisel was missing when I woke up, so I went to find her, and— I thought it’d be easy, so I didn’t bother waking you…” He shifted uncomfortably under the older boy’s blank gaze. “You aren’t…mad, are you?”
Finally Harrey shifted to lean on his other foot, and puckered his mouth in thought. “Mm…kind of,” he said. “After all, you left me out of the fun. I hope you plan on catching me up with everything?”
‘Wait, that’s what he’s upset about? Being left out? Not that we ran off and could’ve been in danger?’ Ash’s guilt sunk away, replaced by irritation. ‘Is he really older than me?’
“While you were off adventuring…” Harrey said,
—‘That’s not what I would call it’—
“…I waited for feedback from Frobbit, but the little guy hasn’t sent me anything, not even a location signal!” Harrey exhaled and groaned. “Something must’ve happened to him. I’m sure he hasn’t malfunctioned again. It must be that Man in Moon geezer’s fault!”
“O…kay. So let’s go back to his ship, then,” said Ash.
“Just so you know, I would’ve already.” Harrey set his hands on his hips. “But I had to stay here and wait for certain kids to get back—make sure nothing bad had happened to them.” One of his hands bopped! Ash over the head, and the younger winced.
Drisel gave a nervous laugh beside Ash, “We’re wasting time talking; let’s go get Frobbit, now!”
Harrey shook his head before straightening. “Kids have no sense of guilt these days,” he murmured, then proceeded down the rickety steps from the inn toward the street. “I’m gonna go grab us a quick snack on the way—unless you’ve already eaten without me?”
“No, we haven’t!” Ash huffed.
With a menagerie of grilled meats and peppers skewered on sticks, Harrey, Ash and Drisel munched as they made their way to the town dock where Man in Moon’s moon-like airship sat anchored. Or at least, where it was supposed to be anchored. The dock lay quiet and empty, now—no sounds but the cool breeze batting back their hair. Drisel gawked, and Harrey tapped the stick against his lips.
“I recall Man saying he would be here the whole week, am I right?” pondered Harrey.
Ash confirmed with a nod, narrowing his eyelids at the bare dock. “Yeah, he did.”
“Hmm,” Harrey hummed, “Me thinks there be trouble about. And that moonship has something to do with it!”
“Why are you speaking weird like that?” Ash muttered.
“Let’s go moonship hunting!”
The moonship is gone?! Share this story with friends and see what they think! #MadnesSolver
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This is my entry for this week’s #BlogBattle challenge by the wonderful author Rachael Ritchey, where the challenge is to write a short story based on that week’s chosen word. This week’s word was: “menagerie.” Check out the link, read other great stories there, and VOTE for your favorite 3 to win!
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