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As I checked the grounds and said goodbye to our last guests Chester waved good bye and said see you later my friend.
I thought I has better go check on the critters and Charlie and found her fast asleep with her knitting needles laying on her lap so I gently pull the blanket up to her shoulders and tip toed away,
Now to check on PTG better check the Tea Roon first.
Yep there he was looking deep into his tea cup like he would find an answer there.
I did not want to startle him so I called PTG are you okay?
He did not answer me nor ;look up at me.
PTG it;s me Cap are you okay?
He slowly raised his head and said no I am very tired and very worried about Jen
I know we all are have you come with a * cunning plan* any ideas??
“Does nothing change ever change?” I ask myself.
I am vaguely aware of the Cap’n gently extracting my now cold cup of hong cha from my grasp and once again requiring me to come up with a Cunning Plan for our present predicament.
But as far as I can think, there is no solution to our problems. They are too many!
The obvious one of course is the general waywardness of our feisty little female partner Jen.
Goodness only knows what diabolical evils she has uncovered and upset in her wanderings in this deeper and older set of tunnels in this barely explored region of the Realm.
What is certain to me is the true horror of the evil she HAS unleashed, and which is now aware of the fact that we exist and what we are trying to do.
The true purpose of the large stash of explosives that have appeared in this set of tunnels are indicative of our intent.
If set off they will result in the demise of large swathes of any creatures inhabiting this area. AND there are inhabitants here as we have found out.
I don’t even know where she is at the present or what she intends to do about the arachnid foe.
Ugh!!! I still feel the horror of that alien mind touching mine and the reaction of my pet birds to its enquiry as to my intent!
They are still quivering wrecks in the rafters. Birds, after all is said and done, are supposed to catch and eat spiders and not the other way round, as was clearly demonstrated quite forcefully to me!
So we have another implacable foe to counter in our quest for cleansing the Realm.
And in my absence the Cap’n seems to have stirred up a load of trouble with other local inhabitants in the tunnels which he has insisted sealing off. They too need to be placated and not blown to smithereens!
Also in the nether regions of my mind are hidden memories of other evils that I encountered whilst stuck in that giant spider’s web. My memory refuses let these come to surface consciousness so they must be terrible.
I must order all these thoughts and for that I need a fresh brew which is strong (and perhaps fortified!)!
Looking at PTG and getting no answers i decide i need more help and information.
i take PTG to his room and make sure he is secure in bed.
I yell at his Owl and Crow to shut up man what a racket those two can make and I know they are trying to tell me what is going on but I do not understand so yep I need help/
I go back to the Tea Room and sit with my head in my hands.
I am but a simple solder and I know how to fight ,,, protect ... die for a cause... follow orders but these is more than I can handle alone give me a weapon and I can take it apart and put it back together but Magic?? more so evil magic we are facing? I truly need help and this is a very hard thing for me to admit to/
But the very lives of all in Midnight Castle covering all species we have discovered and those we will discover and all the all animals of land and sea and to right the wrongs that have been done here and return the rightful ruler to her throne so harmony can be reatored and the evil made to pay for what has been put upon this land of Midnight Castle.
I call Angel ,,, Pup...Charlie.... Opel and Miss Katt,,,,
I explain what I am about to do and ask them to look after things till I return,,, make sure your Amulets are always with you and I will leave Brulee and Jewel to patrol along with the other critters,,, Smoke will lead the ground areas and Brulee and Jewel will watch the skyies
Pup asks if she can join me and I have to say no she is needed here she pouts but understands.
Okay so clear that we will be red alert until I return with anwers I need so badly right now
Make sure PTG does not wonder off looking for Jen ,,,, Charlie if you would have your Gnomes the moles and Ghost pup keep up the search for Jen?
Opel I do not need provisions I have to travel light and can get what I need from the land,
We join in a group huh (((( very un military))))) but needed by all.
Okay I am going to make a few stops the I will be off.
My first stop is to the encloser and give Doogie fresh apples and carrots,,,,he lays his gead on my chest as I stroke his silky mane I need not speak he understands,,,, om my way to see Blossom Cherry Stump and Fang I see Smoke and his family waiting for me,,, he knows
Smoke my great warrior do not worry I will be back and full of information.
He nods and says all will be safe until your return and they all raise there heads and howl.
I grabbed from behind by a huge trunk,,,, one around my waist and the other around my legs... now now girls you know I have to do this and I will be fine and home before you miss me.
One last stop,,,, I knock and wait,,,
Melody opens the door and smiles well Captain what a pleasant surprise please come in I remove my cap and enter.
I am sorry to show up uninvited but I must leave on a mission and do not know how long I will be gone not long I am sure and hope not long so I wanted to say ado and give you this as I hand her an Amulet may I???
She turns as I put it on.
You must never be with out this it is your link to us all critters include.
Angel and Pup will explain how it works.
It is getting late I must leave before sunset .
I really must go as I take her hand and gently kiss it I turn to leave I feel her hand on my arm and turn to her with questions in my eyes she leans foreward and give me a kiss on both cheeks and whispers be safe and hurry home Captain.
We both blush and I leave with butterflies in my stomach.
I WISH TO THANK YOU MELODY FOR YOUR HELP WILL ALL THESE CRITTERS. I KNOW THEY WILL SOON BE BACK TO THE WAY THEY WERE. WELL SOME WILL, OTHERS WILL SOON FORGET ABOUT ROAMING THE KINGDOM IN SEARCH OF THEIR PLEASURES AND SETTLE DOWN TO THE WORK THEY NEED TO DO TO HELP AROUND HERE.
I DO HOPE YOU CAN WINTER WITH US, IF NOT VISIT OFTEN. IT IS NICE TO HAVE SOMEONE TO TALK TO WHO UNDERSTANDS THESE CREATURES OTHER THAN ME.
NOW I NEED TO SEE TO THE RIDDING THE KINGDOM OF UNWANTED VISITORS. THEY SEEM TO COME EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE AND MAKE IT A MESS.
MY CRITTERS BRING SHEEP AND PIGS TO THE PENS IF THEY SURVIVE THE FALL, THE OTHERS WE PUT INTO COLD STORAGE FOR FOOD FOR THE CRITTERS AND OURSELVES AND THOSE WE KNOW THAT MIGHT NOT HAVE AS MUCH AS WE DO.
SOME OF THE CRITTERS THAT DO NOT SURVIVE BECOME FOOD FOR GRIFF, SUGAR, SPICE AND THE DIRES. WE TRY NOT TO LET GOOD MEAT GO TO WASTE.
OH!!! BLOODY L IT HAS STARTED AGAIN. FINE TIME FOR THE CAP. TO BE GONE.
AT LEAST I HAVE THE HELP OF HIS MEN WHEN THEY ARE NOT HELPING JACOB. AND THANK GOODNESS MOST OF THE CATS ARE UP AND MORE OR LESS THEM SELVES. I NEED EVERY MOUSER THERE IS TO TAKE CARE OF THE HOARDS OF MICE FLYING OUT OF THE SKY AND CRASHING TO THE GROUND.
I SEE FINN AND HIS MEN AND WOMEN ARE ON THE JOB CATCHING THE STOCKINGS AND SNOWMEN UNRAVELING THEM FOR YARN. AND GATHERING THE FALLING CHRISTMAS TREES AND SOME OF THE SNOWMEN FOR PET TOYS.
AND THIS YEAR WE HAVE REAL TOYS AND TREE ORNAMENTS FALLING. IF THEY DO NOT BREAK THEY WILL BE WONERFUL GIFTS FOR THE CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS.
SORRY MELODY, BUT YOU MUST WATCH OUT SNOWGLOBES, ELVES, DWARFS, AND PENUINS ALSO COME CRASHING DOWN. BUT THE TWO LEGGED ONES ALL SEEM TO LAND IN ONE PIECE AND SCRAMBLE BACK TO THEIR HOMES. THEY NEVER STAY ABOUT LONE ENOUGH TO ASK HOW IT IS THEY COME FLYING THROUGH KINGDOM.
MELODY LAUGHED. THEY DROP ON US ALSO BUT WE ARE NOT AS ORGANIZED ABOUT DEALING WITH THEM. WE ALSO HAVE CREATURES WHO CLEAN UP WHAT DO NOT LAND SAFELY, THE OTHERS ARE ROUNDED UP BUT I AM NOT SURE WHERE THEY ARE TAKEN, MAYBE THE PORT TO BE SHIPPED TO OTHER PLACES. BUT WE DO NOT KEEP MANY. JUST A FEW, ENOUGH FOR OUR NEEDS.
I WONDER HOW LONG THIS FALL WILL LAST, HOPE WE GET A REST BETWEEN THIS ONE AND THE ONE THAT SEEMS TO COME WHEN IT STARTS TO WARM UP AND EVERYONE WANTS TO BE OUTSIDE.
GUESS I HAD BEST SEE TO WHAT HAS BEEN COLLECTED AND IF WE HAVE ENOUGH PENS, AND SHELTER AND FOOD FOR THEM. LONG DAY AHEAD.
CAP. ALWAYS SEEMS TO PICK WHEN THIS HAPPENS TO BE AWAY. I GRUMBLE TO MYSELF AS I HEAD FOR THE BARN TO SEE WHO IS READY FOR DUTY TODAY.
SEEMS LIKE IT HAS JUST GOT BACK TO WHAT WE HERE CALL NORMAL AND THE BLOODY THINGS ARE FALLING OUT OF THE SKY AGAIN.
I STOP UNDER THE OVERHANG TO SEE WHAT IF FALLING THIS TIME. YIKES, I SEE LORDS, LADIES, AND SOME NASTY CREATURES. BUT THEY ALL SEEM TO LAND OR FLOAT AWAY. THEY MAKE THERE WAY TO WHERE EVER THEY BELONG I SUPPOSE SINCE THEY ALL CROSS THE BRIDGE TO THE CASTLE SOME GO IN OTHERS DISAPPEAR AROUND THE SIDES. BUNNIES, CHICKS, AND MICE. I YELL FOR ALL THE CATS IN THE AREA, GET THE MICE. DO NOT LET THEM IN THE BARN OR THE TEA ROOM.
THE CATTERY IS EMPTY IN NO TIME. THEY ALL SEEM TO THINK IT A GAME. BUT SOON THEY ARE MAKING QUICK WORK OF ANY THAT THEY CATCH. EAT WHAT YOU CAN THEN MAKE A PILE OF THE OTHERS. THE SKY FILLS WITH BIRDS. SOME LAND SOME FLY AWAY. AT LEAST THEY CAN TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVE.
I SEE SHEEP AND FISH ALSO FALLING. I YELL FOR DINKY, AND SMIDGE. GET SOME HELP INJURED SHEEP TO THE EMPTY PENS. CHATCH THE CHICKS AND GET THEM INTO THE EMPTY CHICKEN RUN. ANY FISH YOU CATCH THROW THEM INTO THE MOAT. ELLIE AND HER BROOD WILL FEAST. THEN I SEE LOTS OF BUTTERFLIES. SO PRETTY. BUT WITH SO MANY BIRDS NOT MAY GET AWAY THAT LAND.
WHAT THE. I EXCLAM AS I AM ALMOST HIT WITH A BIRD HOUSE.
I SEND A SILENT MESSAGE TO FINN. YOU NEED HOUSES THEY ARE FALLING FROM THE SKY. LOOK OUT YOU DON'T GET HIT.
THEN I LAUGH AT FIRST I THOUGH WE HAD MORE ANIMALS CRASHING DOWN. BUT WHEN THE FIRST HIT IT BROKE THEY WERE MERRY GO ROUND ANIMALS. I HOLLERED AT THE GNOMES. KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR FALLING WOODEN HORSES. THEN A BEAUTIFUL WINGED HORSE LANDED. SHOOK IT'S BLUE MANE. IT LOOKED AROUND AND TOOK OFF. AT FIRST I THOUGH OH, NO MORE ANIMALS. IT TURNED OUT TO BE BALLOONS AND CANDY. EVERY CHILD IN THE REALM WILL BE ON A SUGAR HIGH TILL THE STORM BLOWS ITSELF OUT.
WHATEVER FREAK OF NATURE THAT BROUGHT THESE STORMS TO OUR REALM MUST PICK UP THINGS AND CREATURES FROM WHO KNOW WHERE OR WHO KNOWS WHEN.
WE HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THEY COME FROM OR WHEN NOR HOW LONG THEY WILL LAST. WE JUST DO OUR BEST TO COPE. OUR MAIN TROUBLE IS THAT EVERY STORM BRINGS MORE AND MORE THINGS OUR WAY.
LORD I WISH CAP WOULD COME BACK. HE MUST BE HAVING HIS OWN TROUBLES SINCE HE HAS BEEN GONE SO LONG.
I AM NOW GLAD MELODY HAD NOT LEFT. I DID WONDER WHY BUT SHE HAS BEEN VISITING ALL THE FARMS IN THE AREA. SO MAYBE SHE JUST NEEDED A BREAK FROM CENTAURS.
I SAW HER RUSHING TOWARD THE BARN. WHAT IS HAPPENING. I THOUGHT THIS WAS OVER AFTER THE ONE WE HAD LAST WINTER. THAT WAS A NASTY STORM SNOW, WIND, ICE AND THINGS CRASHING DOWN FOR DAYS.
I TOLD HER AS CALM AS I COULD. THAT WAS NOT THE FIRST OF THOSE WINTER STORMS WE HAVE HAD. AND THIS IS NOT THE FIRST SPRING ONE. BUT I AM SURE WE ARE GOING TO NEED YOUR HELP. AS YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED. WE HAVE ANIMALS IN THE SKY. AND SOME CRASH AND GET INJURED. OTHERS ARE OK. WE PUT THE CHICK IN THE BIG COVERED RUN. THE SHEEP IN PENS. YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THEM. SOME OF THE SHEEP ARE INJURED. CAN YOU LOOK AFTER THEM. WHEN THIS IS OVER PEOPLE COME AND COLLECT MOST OF THE SHEEP AND SOME OF THE CHICKS. WE I AM SORRY TO SAY. HAVE TO PUT SOME OUT OF THEIR MISERY. THOSE WE STORE FOR FOOD. SOME THE BIG CATS, GRIFF OR THE DIRES EAT. WE TRY NOT TO WASTE ANY RESOURCE. THE CASTLE TAKES ALOT AS DOES THE HOSPITAL WING. AND THE PEOPLE IN TOWN ARE GREATFUL.
There is someone outside hammering on my door!
“Wake up you lazy oaf in charge this feeble attempt in keeping the Castle clean!
“Can’t you see the mess everywhere is in and all caused by our fee paying citizens trying to enjoy themselves during this festive time”
I groan and turn over once more in my comfortable hospital cot and try to return to the arms of Morpheus.
But the drug that I had been injected with to keep me in stasis seems to have worked its way out of my system.
I am now cognisant of the cacophony outside my room and penetrating all corners of the Castle.
Even worse there is a distinct odour of rotting carrot in the air accompanied by the rich pong of rabbit poo!
Hidden but fond memories of another occasion: The annual Easter Event in the castle when our worthy citizens celebrate (and we all get rich)
Just for a second I seem to see a small furry mammal scuttle through my side wall and disappear under the door into the corridor outside.
“Gotcha!” accompanied by a squeak and then a crash as a large wooden horse is hauled back into my room.
This is then tugged into the wall and disappears!
“WILL YOU PLEASE GET UP AND COME OUT TO EARN YOUR KEEP!”
I don’t much like the sound of that order as it is directed at moi
I know only too well that voice. It is the Sergeant at Arms of the Castle and technically speaking my boss. I may be the Head Sweeper Up of the Castle etc. but HE is second only to our unworthy CEO!
Holding my broom firmly in my hand just in case of trouble I poke my head out of the door.
It is utter chaos outside and where the door to my Repository of unused or redundant stock should be there is another door labelled ‘SPRING ROOM 5’.
It is shimmering with activity as inventory whizz in and out of it.
But that pales in comparison with the battleground that the corridor now is with the Spring Event stock popping in and out of existence closely followed by small furry rodents with gleams in their eyes as they hone in on unsuspecting targets.
Wham! I am assailed by another wooden horse as a gleeful citizen collects an egg as a prize.
The horse disappears into my bedroom wall and a long lost memory floods into my befuddled brain
I spend the next few minutes trying to persuade my broom to venture into the corridor to survey the mess.
It seems to be VERY reluctant to do so. But when it does, I become aware of the problem.
It is plastered against the nearby wall by a plethora of concerned citizens wanting their money back!
It seems that the promised number of coins have not fallen into their pouches and as a consequence the rewards for zapping the ghosts have become less instead of more lucrative.
My broom seems to be the only non-Spring Event item here and they all want redress!
Within seconds I feel an increased bulge in my pocket as my broom has shrunk in size, retreated into the fabric folds and refused to do its lawful duty – that is to say – sweep the mess up!
It wants double pay and a better type of detergent to get rid of the goo and poo!
Then, just when I think that things cannot get more whatever they seem to be getting a WAIL thunders down the corridor.
Somebody or something has tripped the alarm system and we need to evacuate!
But where too?
Only upwards and onwards are possible as the windows to the outside are firmly gummed shut by carrot juices.
The twixt and tween corridor barriers are in place but with the help of a handy stick I manage to pry the lock.
I slip inside.
Clean floors and walls!
But not for long if I do not close the barrier once more so I ease my stick out of the lock and the doors clang shut again.
If anything, the emergency wailing is now louder here than below and red rotating alarm lights twirl from the ceiling.
I rummage in my copy of Midnight Castle Rules and Regulations for further instructions.
I am horrified!
According to the Book we are under attack!!
The corridor suddenly fills with large bulky and armed Praetorian Guards who rush past me and down into the bowels of the Castle.
Our Treasury is being robbed!
Someone is taking advantage of the Spring Event chaos, by introducing alien items into it in the form of strange green vegetables covered in vinegar
They are obviously trying to undermine the currency value of the carrots used by the furry things, and the revenue got by the sweet young things at the moat.
The culprit must be found immediately before we have a citizens revolt!
Cap has been away for quite a while now, which in turn, leaves me more time for my job! So, I decide to go on my own recon mission, looking for my next big story for The Cloud City Times.
I've been all round the East, then scoured through the Town, and head back to the Castle Vicinity when I stop short. There in the distance, at the Castle Gates, I spy Jenny Wren, complete with fishing rod, but something strange as a lure. I get out my binoculars and realize it's a pickle! WHAT?!
So, where did she come from? I thought PTG was on a mission to find and rescue her!? I run toward her, calling her name, Jenny Wren, Jenny Wren, and just as I got within hearing range, she disappeared into thin air! Poof!! Maybe she found one of those "aperture things" PTG is always going on about.
Oh no! I have to find PTG and let him know what I saw and find out what he's going to do about it!!!!!
WELL THAT STORM IS OVER, NOW IT IS TIME TO CLEAN UP.
OK, TROOPS, START GATHERING ALL THE CRITTERS THAT FELL AND DID NOT MAKE IT. DINKY, SMIDGE YOU KNOW THE DRILL. GET SHOVELS AND DIG A DEEP HOLE. GATHER THE NONE SURVIVORS AND GET THEM TO IT AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. THE WEATHER IS GETTING WARMER WE HAVE TO GET THEM COVERED BEFORE THE SMELL GETS INTO THE AIR.
THE CATS AND DOGS WERE TIRED FROM CATCHING AND CHASING THE SURVIVORS AND GETTING THEM PENNED. THE CATS HAD QUICKLY TAKEN CARE OF THE MICE AND FISH THAT HAD LANDED ALIVE. THEY HAVE PUT ON A FEW POUND, SOME WERE LOOKING A LITTLE CHUNKY. MOST OF THE FISH HAD BEEN DROPPED INTO THE MOAT. THEY SHOULD LAST ELLIE AND HER BROOD QUITE A LONG TIME. OR AT LEAST UNTIL THE NEXT FREAK STORM. THE DOGS HAD DONE THE SAME WITH SOME OF THE RABBITS. OTHERS OPAL HAD SKINNED AND PUT IN COLD STORAGE. WE WILL BE EATING VERY WELL.
THE SHEEP AND CHICKENS HAD BEEN PENNED, RANDY'S BOYS AND MY GNOMES HAD WORKED AROUND THE CLOCK.
BUT NOW IT WAS TIME TO CLEAN UP THE MESS LEFT BEHIND. THANKS BE THAT THE HORSES WERE MADE OF WOOD. SO THOSE THAT CRASHED AND BROKEN WOULD BE ADDED TO THE WOOD PILE. THE BUTTERFLIES AND THE BIRDS BEING ABLE TO FLY WERE STILL ABOUT. SUCH A PRETTY SIGHT. BUT SOON THEY WOULD LEAVE TO FIND THERE WAY TO WHERE THEY BELONGED.
THE UNBROKEN DOLLES WERE GIVEN TO THE CHILDREN, SUCH A WINDFALL FOR THEM. THEY DID NOT HAVE MANY TOYS. THERE PARENTS COULD NOT AFFORD THEM. ( THAT BLOOD SUCKER IN THE CASTLE MADE SURE OF THAT.)
SOME OF THE BIRD HOUSES COULD BE HUNG ON THE TREES IN THE FOREST. OTHERS JUST MIGHT MAKE HOMES OR STOREROOMS FOR FINNS PEOPLE. MOST OF THEM HAD COME TO STAY IN THE BARN TILL THE DANGER WAS OVER.
FINN HAD NOT WANTED TO ASK BUT HIS WIFE HAD, OF COURSE THEY COULD USE THE BARN. PLENTY OF ROOM.
THE BALLOONS HAD NOT POSED A PROBLEM EXCEPT NOW THEY HAD TO BE GATHERED UP FROM WHERE THEY HAD LANDED AND POPPED, STUCK IN TREES AND BUSHES.
THE CANDYS WERE NOW TURNING INTO A STICKY MESS. THEY TOO NEEDED TO BE GATHERED UP AND DISPOSED OF.
HOPE CAP COMES HOME SOON. WE ARE DOING THE BEST WE CAN WITHOUT HIM. I AM SURE HE WOULD BE BETTER ORGANIZED THAN I AM. I AM JUST THE KEEPER OF THE ANIMALS IN THE ZOO.
THE SHEEP WILL SOON BE DOWN TO WHAT WE CAN MANAGE. NOT A FAN OF MUTTON BUT OPAL COULD MAKE BOOT SOLE TASTE GOOD.
THE CHICKS WILL GROW FAST AND THE FARMERS MAY WANT THEM OR WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO TRADE EGGS AND MEAT FOR THINGS WE NEED. WHO KNOWS, THOSE IN THE CASTLE SEEM TO STAY IN HIDING WHILE THE STORM BLOWS.
OH, WELL NOW TO JOIN IN THE CLEAN UP, COME ON BEAU INTO THE HARNESS YOU WILL BE PULLING THE CART WHILE THE GUYS LOAD IT WITH THE MESS TO BE BURIED.
BEAU, SEEMED EAGER POOR BOY. BABY YOU WILL HAVE TO HELP LATER, HE WILL TAKE THIS SHIFT BUT TOMMOROW I AM AFRAID IT WILL BE YOU. BUT I PROMISE A GOOD BATH AND BRUSHING.
BEAU HEARD THIS AND WAS EAGER TO DO HIS PART. BABY UNDERSTOOD IT WAS WORK. BUT BEAU IS STILL YOUNG ENOUGH NOT TO. OR HAD FORGOTTEN THE CLEAN UP WHEN THE SNOW HAD STARTED TO MELT.
SO OFF WE WENT TO HELP THE GUY WITH THE MESS.
I WONDERED HOW LONG TILL THE NEXT STORM?????