A few hours later, they reached the inn/tavern where there had been a big fight the last time they passed through. But they needed to eat and drink –well everyone in the group except Alphonse and the Chief- so they decided to go in. But they approached it carefully.
They peered through a window. Everything seemed calm…
“…The name of the Princess of the Land of Ice?”
“Stephanie!!!”several gruff voices responded merrily.
“Ehh, that was too easy”the first voice said. “Ok, how about this?: Who built the Living Windmill?”
“Ymir!” one man said.
“Surtur!” another said.
“Ah, they are playing a pop quiz game” Nantucket said. “That means they are in a good mood. The owner always quiets the customers with games. The rewards are usually worth it.”
The group then decided to enter (except Benedict, who waited outside.)
“The name of the knight whom Stephanie almost married?” was the innkeeper’s next question.
“Alphonse!” a familiar, female voice cheerfully said.
The knight’s group looked in its direction. There, sitting in a table, was Bullet, surrounded by her men.
They made their way over to her.
“Fancy seeing you on land” the writer said.
“Whoa! Tis you people!” she gasped. “What be ye doing over these parts?”
“Our ship got sunk” Cornudo explained. “By a pie hurling windmill.”
They expected her to laugh, but she nodded. “Aye, aye. Me ship was attacked by it as well, when we came close ta the coast ta avoid an enemy of mine. Barely made it away safely, and still had to land fer repairs.”
“So your ship still works?” Cornudo asked. “Would you mind giving us a ride home?”
“Well… what’s in it fer me?”
“The writer produced the philosopher’s stone. “See this? It can turn iron into gold. Help us revive Alphonse, and you can have it afterwards?”
She gave them a look of disbelief, but the writer proved it by touching it to Alphonse’s left glove, turning it into pure gold before her eyes.
“Ok, ya got a deal!” she said happily.
Suddenly, a yell was heard across the room. It was Old Man Nantucket. “WHAT DID YOU SAY!?” he screamed furiously. “I’ll SHOW you what I do with my beard!”
Then, in a matter of seconds, the strands of hair in his beard began to intertwine, effectively knitting into a solid form- two forms, to be exact; a pair of brawny, animated arms! He then charged into the man who offended him, and knocked him with them across the room, into a table, whose occupants took offense to HIS attack, and thus charged at him
“Aw, here we go again” Cornudo lamented.
In a few seconds, the room was a big brawl, with fists, kegs and chairs flying all over, and the innkeeper facepalming.
The heroes, Bullet and her men then dashed outside as fast as they could.
A while later, after Bullet sent her men back to their ship, she joined the group and walked alongside them down a road.
They stopped under an old tree’s shade to rest. The writer read from the Alchemy book.
“Ok, the next ingredient we need for the elixir of life happens to lie in… Ymir’s castle.”
“So, uh… anyone knows where that is?”
Everyone shook their heads.
“I do” a voice like an old man’s said.
“Who said that?” Bullet asked, looking all around her. “Come out so we can see ye!”
“I am here” the voice responded. “Behind you- and above you.”
Everyone looked up-
-and noticed the tree had a FACE on it!
“An Ent!” Cornudo gasped.
“Indeed” the tree said.
“You know the way to Ymir’s castle?” the writer asked.
“Yes, and I will tell you how to reach it.”
“Wait, why?” Bullet said, suspiciously.
“Because I overheard your story as you chatted, and helping such a noble quest appeals to me."
“OK, we believe you” the writer said. “So, how do we get there?”
“Just follow the road along the coast to the south, until you reach a forest. Enter it, then cross it until you reach the snow-capped mountains. The castle is easy to find there.”
“Wait, ALONG the coast?” Bullet protested. “But that’s where that bedamned windmill is!”
“Yes, I fear so. You’ll have to find some way to bypass it on your own.”
“Thanks, Old One” Benedict said to the Ent, and then the group continued walking to the coast.
Not long thereafter, the group was hiding behind some reeds, observing the mechanical windmill as it sat on the edge of a cliff.
“We need a distraction… if only we knew what sets it off” Cornudo wondered aloud. “It could be living beings, or machines, or sounds, or-"
“We need a test” the writer concluded. Suddenly, he snapped his fingers. “Of course! Chief!”
The living Wooden Indian then stared at him.
“Would you be willing to risk yourself for the test?”
(stares at the writer, its expression unreadable)
“Come on, you’re the least likely it would attack, and the most likely to survive if it does attack you.”
(it seemed to be thinking about it. Finally, it nodded.)
“Here” Bullet said, snapping a reed and poking some holes in it with her knife. “Add some noise, it might help distract it.”
“I can play that, give it to me” the writer said. “If it works, the rest of you walk low to the ground. Hopefully the bushes at the base of the cliff will hide you while you reach the forest.”
A few moments later, The Chief, backed up by a rendition of Hail to the Chief
played on the reed, began marching up the cliff towards the windmill.
At first, it did appear not to react.
Then it hurled a pie at the Chief, as if testing its target.
It splattered on its face, but it continued to march in a circle, seemingly uncaring.
More pies cam. Soon the wooden statue was covered in pie stuff.
Meanwhile, everyone except Benedict (who was too large to sneak by) and the writer had managed to cross past the cliff into the forest.
Eventually, the pies stopped coming, as if the mill had decided the Indian was no threat.
The writer stopped playing, and whispered to the dragon:
“Stay here. We’ll be back as soon as we can.”
Benedict nodded, and the writer then snuck past the mill as well.
He then signaled, and the Indian simply walked past the now-quiet mill into the forest.
“Nice job, woody” Cornudo said to it. “Here, let me clean you up. I have a rag and some wood polish that I used on the ornithopter still with me.”
“Okay, things should be easier from now on-" the writer started to said, but was interrupted when Bullet screamed “WINGED SNAKES!!” –and indeed, a bunch of them flew down from the sky on top of them!
Meanwhile, somewhere in the sea, Princess Stephanie continued to run over the waves.
She did not realize the impossibility of this. Or the fact that she had been running FOR DAYS without tiring.
There was only ONE thought that consumed her mind: ALPHONSE! MUST BE! HERS!!
A pie hit her on the face.
Even that might have not snapped her out of her state, if not for the fact that she got cake filling in her eyes and could not see.
She stopped, standing on the water without sinking. She wiped her face clean, as saw a shore with a windmill in the distance. She couldn’t think about her situation however, as MORE pies began hitting her!
“ARRGHH!!” she screamed, her rage returning. She started running again, this time away from the mill, but otherwise, still not even thinking of where she was going.
Now she was heading towards a strange, green storm cloud in the horizon.
A short while later, she reached the storm.
Suddenly, a ship appeared out of nothing!
Two scruffy sailors looked over the side, and saw Stephanie.
“Must be a rusalka” one said to the other, speaking with a Russian accent.
Then he shouted at her: “Oh maiden of the sea! Excuse me! Could you tell me where we be? We seem to be lost.”
But Stephanie ignored them and continued running past them.
“Oh well” the sailor said. “I guess we will have to-“
Suddenly, he stumbled over a wooden object.
“Hey, who put teeter-totter on the deck!?”
“Don’t know” the other sailor said, “we did not even have one on board! It just appeared!!”
Then suddenly, the totter moved by itself, launching the sailor standing on it straight upwards into the sky!
“Nyeeeeeeeet!” he screamed, as he vanished over the clouds....
(End part 9)
edited 19th Mar '13 9:18:25 PM by Sijo
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