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Thursday, 11 May 2017

Dark Rainbow (Part 7)

There was a wet sensation on her hand. At first she couldn't see what was making her hand wet. Then realised that it had grown dark, and darker than she noticed it was. The wolf Totem's wet nose touched her hand.
"Hello, boy!" Dorothy was pleased to see her wolf friend.
The jade disk opposite on the wall seemed curious.She pushed her fingers through the bars and managed to touch the jade disk, with her hand snapping the fine bars. It was very strange but the bars were like twigs. The disk had come away into her hand and felt soft and it was only a leaf. The cell was made of grass and spider weeds. The ceiling had gone and the open sky was full of stars. Three moons shone. The cell's little room was an outdoor space.
Startled, she gazed all around her. Totem sat beside her all the time.
Star Corn, Stannum and Icarus were sprawled across the floor in deep sleep, and all three of the men snored heavily. A soft breeze covered them in petals.
The city was empty. The moons shone enough light for her to see that the city was a beautiful ruined city overgrown with poppies. The people were gone. The animals gone. Food and music gone. She stood up. So it had all been just an hallucination, even the sights, sounds, smells, dancers, harpists, children, animals, guards, the feast.   
"Hey! Guys! Wake up!" Dorothy shouted. Alarmed and creeped out, she wanted to get out of here. The place was haunted.
Slowly the three men woke up dazed. King Icarus stood up yawning loud. He remembered the events of yesterday and how he acted like the king. He sighed with embarassment.
Star Corn was revolted that his mouth was full of weeds and dirt. He spat the muck out. Stannum was cold and shivvering at the idea he was duped by all the make-believe.
"What was going on here yesterday?" Star Corn asked. "You were the king Icarus!"
Icarus slumped down on his enormous behind and growled.
"Yes I was!" Icarus said. "The poppies made me king of my city. This has always been my city. I've been ruler of Olympia ever since I was a boy. My father didn't like me coming out here alone. I knew the poppies made the ghosts appear."
Star Corn swore and went away.
"So it was a lie?" Dorothy asked. "We all hallucinated it?"
"Yes and no," Icarus replied. "The poppies grow here and allow the spirits of the lost city to show themselves. What you witnessed was Olympia a thousand years ago. Except I'm king here, because I'm alive and have been playing here alone for my entire life."
Star Corn shouted, "You're very sad! Get a life, big man!"
Stannum laughed.
"Icarus," Dorothy wasn't amused but felt sorry for Icarus. "Are you saying that all those people were ghosts? And you've been living here since you were a kid?"
"Yes," Icarus responded sadly. "I was a lonely boy. The spirits made me feel powerful."
Coward!" Stannum shouted."You had us fooled! I'm a knight of the Fruit Mountain and by my authority I'm arresting you for deceit and..." he looked at Dorothy."Conspiracy to murder!"
Dorothy remembered. "You wanted to execute me, didn't you?"
Icarus growled but in sadness. "No," he said. "of course not, little girl."
Dorothy, Star Corn and Stannum were very annoyed with Icarus for lying about being a king in a dead city, populated by ghosts. Stannum had Icarus, Dorothy and Star Corn were all under his arrest. He confiscated Icarus's sword now.
"We march along the red path to the West. Hurry up!" Stannum ordered.
The golden path ended at Olympia. Three other paths left it the other side, a blue one headed north, green south, and a red one towards the West.
Dorothy felt overcome by sadness. Nothing was at Olympia except a ruin and everyone she saw had looked real but were spirits of the ancient city. And her journey ended there as the golden path stopped here. There was no Kansas. Helen lied to her.
Other roads started at Olympia. The red path made of red foliage turned blood colour by the morning dew. They walked for miles, and the land became a desert with tall natural structures covered in luminous desert flowers. Cactus everywhere. The party stopped to eat some of the wild vegetation, Stannum caught a bird. Star Corn built a small fire and was able to gather some recourses to make a cooking stove out of rocks and grass. Icarus brooded as a fallen king, if ever he really was one.
Totem caught a little marsupial type of creature with stripes. Dorothy chewed on sweet roots plucked from the orange dirt. There was a perfectly round cactus in front of her that she hadn't noticed before. It's massive spikes were closer to her than she realised. It was odd. She knew she would never have sat so near a cactus like that. Dorothy moved away.
Then as she was feeding, the round cactus appeared beside her. This time it wasn't fun. The cactus opened two enormous eyeballs and exposed a gaping mouth filled with razor sharp teeth. "Look out!"
The men got up and were surrounded by many ferocious cacti with faces. Stannum (the one loaded with weapons) unsheathed his own sword and brought it down. With a squelch, the cactus was chopped.
"There's another one!" Star Corn shrieked and two more cactuses with faces appeared. Stannum cut them with his sword. The whole thing started all over again and Stannum sliced the cactus heads until more appeared and he cut those down. Star Corn and Icarus wanted to join in. Stannum returned their weapons.
"Give my sword back too!" Dorothy called out to him.
"No Dorothy! It's the property of princess Meng!" Stannum told her as he chopped the cactus villains. Star Corn and Icarus were lopping away at many more cactus fiends and no matter how many they cut, more appeared.
It was getting tiresome. The men had been at it for ages, and the cactus monsters were always appearing in vast numbers. Totem was nervous and he was afraid of the spikes.
"Give me my sword, Stannum!" Dorothy shouted.
Stannum ignored her, but she went to him and pulled the sword from his belt. He was too busy chopping cactus to stop her. She held the sword up in the air and the sun flashed across the precious metallic blade. Before she plunged it into a cactus face, the sword turned into a bright blue light and sent a shockwave all around. The shockwave mashed the cactus monsters into pulp. None of them returned and no more cactus faces appeared.
"The sword did it!" Star Corn said.
"No I did it!" Dorothy said, feeling hurt that whatever she did was unnoticed.
"Give it to me now!" Stannum demanded and pulled it from Dorothy's hand. "You're still under arrest! All of you are! We shall press on and no funny business!"
(End of Part 7. To be continued in Part 8).

This story was written by me and it's loosely based on the "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" adventures by L. Frank Baum.

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