• Published 22nd Mar 2018
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Pound and Pumpkin Tales 2 - Never2muchpinkie

The continuing adventures of the now seven years old Pound and Pumpkin

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6-9: Into the castle

The six children began their trek to the castle.

Flurry constantly scanned the area as they walked, but nothing attacked them on their way. It seemed like Mayhem had either run out of ideas for new foes for them to face, or, more likely, he was tired of being on the sidelines and wanted to fight them himself.

As they neared the castle doors alternating streams of lightning and fire lit up along the sides of the pathway.

“So this… is it,” said Tree Leaf.

“At least we’re getting a warm welcome,” said Pound with a trace of sarcasm.

“You are indeed,” said a mysterious voice.

The ground beneath them rose up, pushing them towards the door.

“Greetings!” The steel door itself bowed.

“And now a door is talking to us,” said Masky, shaking his head. “I’m not even surprised anymore.”

Hands made of bricks came out of the area to the sides, pointing to the ground where six circles of light lit up. “You may only get past this point with six heroes. Stand on these circles and state your names.”

Pound stayed where he was. “I don’t trust this. How do I know we’re not all gonna be fried when we step on these circles?”

Pumpkin felt that same apprehension.

“Well, someone has to go.” Flurry stepped forward and sat on the circle. “Flurry Heart!” she said determinedly. A circle of light rose up around her.

They all waited, but nothing else happened.

Masky walked forward too. “I don’t think that this is a trap. What would be the point? We can’t fight him if he wipes us out here, and that is clearly his goal.”

He sat in the circle and said, “Masquerade Ball!” Like with Flurry a circle of light rose up.

After a few more seconds of hesitation the other four walked forward.

“Pound Cake!”

“Pumpkin Cake!”

“Tree Leaf!”

“Peppermint Swirl!”

Now all of them were lit up.

“Very good!” said the door. “Come inside, heroes, to your final battle. My master expects you. Don’t keep him waiting.”

The door returned back to normal before opening, the light around the kids fading.

They crossed over the threshold into the castle, and the door closed behind them.

Candles burst into light, and all of them looked around in amazement. It was the oddest thing they had ever seen. The structure of the castle didn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason to it. Most of the décor was stuck to the ceiling or the walls, with some things just floating aimlessly around.

Pink clouds covered most of the floor, raining upward.

“This Mayhem sure has a weird sense of taste,” said Tree Leaf.

“What strange powers,” said Pound. “If he really can do anything then can we actually beat him?”

“Are you just going to give up then?” asked Flurry, glaring at him.

“Of course not! He hurt my sister, and nearly killed you.”

“Then thoughts like those are useless here! It’s all or nothing. Us or him. We have to fight with all we have. It’s the only option available to us now that we’ve come this far.”

“I know, I know!”

Pumpkin grinned. “You’re so cool, Flurry. You’ve become so tough since you helped us take down the Changelings.”

Flurry didn’t smile back. “I have to be! I’m done running and being afraid. I meant what I said before. I can’t ever forget the sacrifice you all made for me.

“That monster is going down! There’s nothing else to say. I won’t forgive him for what he did to you.

“No more talking!” Flurry began walking. “The sooner we end this the sooner I can get you home to your families.”

Peppermint liked this new Flurry. She had grown so confident, and it made her feel like she was going to win too.

They all followed Flurry through the oddest experience of their lives.

They’d be walking forward, and suddenly they’d be walking upside-down as the corridor twisted, or they’d go through a door and find themselves walking sideways on the wall.

While the other children felt a sense of wonder at these things Flurry had no interest in it at all. She was fairly sure there weren’t any traps waiting for them. The only thing she cared about now was stopping Mayhem from causing any more havoc.

After walking for about ten minutes Peppermint asked, “Are we even getting closer to him? This place is so weird I can’t tell if we’re even going up or down.”

“Shoot!” said Pound. “If he wants to fight us so badly then you’d think he’d give us a shortcut or something.”

The ground suddenly crumbled beneath their hooves, and they all landed inside a cart.

“I had to open my big mouth!”

Protective seat belts strapped them in, and they began heading downwards on a track.

What followed was the wackiest and scariest roller-coaster ride they had ever been on.

Spikes barely avoided skewering them, making Peppermint shriek.

The track suddenly broke in front of them, and the cart flipped several times before landing on another section.

A giant shark bit off the front part of their cart.

A dragon barely avoided burning them to a crisp before they turned a corner.

Bolts of lightning danced over their heads.

It finally ended with a nearly vertical fall, the cart going faster and faster to what looked like solid stone.

Flurry kept telling herself that this was just a trick. It was all just to get them riled up. Their lives weren’t in any actual danger yet.

The cart and the ground suddenly disappeared, and it looked like they were in space. Their descent slowed, and they were surrounded by pretty colors and calming images.

They gently landed on a pile of pillows.

Peppermint felt pretty frazzled after all that, so she just took in deep breaths as she focused on the scenery.

“Where are we now?” asked Flurry with a huff. “I think we’ve all had enough of this welcoming party.”

The space scene vanished, replaced with an ordinary looking dining room. The six were lifted into the air and set down gently in the most comfortable chairs they had ever sat on.

In front of each of them was a covered dish. The covers lifted, revealing each of their favorite foods.

“Eat!” came the voice of Mayhem, echoing throughout the room. “You are my honored guests, after all. The least I can do is offer you a pleasant last meal before taking you down.”

Flurry didn’t want to ingest anything that Mayhem created, but she could feel her stomach rumbling. They had been in Mayhem’s world for a few hours now, and though he had restored her energy she had been pretty active. As much as she didn’t want to play along with him she knew she needed to keep her strength up if she hoped to protect the others.

“Is this safe?” asked Pumpkin. As much as her mouth was watering she had her doubts about this.

“He won’t be able to fight us if he poisons us,” said Pound, stuffing some food in his mouth.

“He probably doesn’t feel like he has to do such a thing to win,” said Tree Leaf.

“True enough,” said Masky, also starting to dig in.

Soon enough all of them were stuffing their faces. The food tasted excellent, and more food kept appearing until they were full.

“See now,” said Mayhem. “I am a most gracious host for my guests.”

A door appeared in the middle of the room. “When you’re ready, then please come in. I’ll be waiting for you.”

Pound patted his stomach. “Oh, boy. That was good. I’m ready to fight.”

Pumpkin nodded. “Same here.”

“I think I need a few minutes,” said Peppermint, and her chair suddenly reclined.

Flurry was trying to figure out Mayhem’s intentions. Using his subordinates he had tried to kill them all without any qualms. Now that they were facing him directly he seemed to be too accommodating. Was he being nice to try and get them to drop their guard? Or to get them to hold back?

Most likely, he didn’t consider them a threat, and so he didn’t see any issue in making sure they were at their best. What difference would it make to him? She started to think he just wanted to give them false hope.

For a moment she started to doubt herself, but she shook her head and pushed those thoughts away. As she had said to Pound they had no business here. They still had to fight regardless.

Flurry hopped out of her chair, eager to get things over with. “Come on, everyone! Let’s do this.”

She could see that all of them had some trouble leaving the comfort of the chairs, but they all obeyed.

Standing in front of the door she opened it, seeing nothing but black.

Before she could do anything else a strong gust of wind pulled them forward, and they all began falling.

Flurry growled, tired of these tricks.

As she was about to levitate all of them they landed in something wet. It seemed to be a pool of water. It was perfectly visible even in the complete darkness.

The water only went up to their stomachs, and they all climbed out. Giant hair driers appeared, getting the moisture out of their coats.

“Ugh!” said Tree Leaf. “What is with this crazy place? It doesn’t make any sense!”

They heard the laughter of Mayhem nearby. “Oh, but what fun is there in making sense?”

“Enough of these games!” Flurry yelled. “Come out! Stop hiding in the dark.”

“Are you sure you’re ready for this? After all, you have no idea what I really am.” With every few words his voice seemed to be coming from a different place. “I have merely been toying with you for my own amusement. Are you sure you want to see my true form?”

“It can’t look any worse than the face you have now,” said Pound.

“Ouch! Harsh!” With a laugh he said, “Very well. Gaze upon my true strength.”

The room suddenly lit up, and more of the crazy architecture reared its head. The room appeared to go on for miles, although aside from some pillars and carpeting on the ground the place was barren, making it seem even larger.

“So where are you?” asked Pumpkin.

“You’re in my throne room,” said Mayhem, his voice still appearing to come from everywhere. “Just follow the red carpet.”

“No!” said Flurry. “I’m done playing along with your games.”

“Oh, Flurry.” Mayhem’s voice grew deeper and more serious. “You really should play along. After all… I hold your lives in my hands.

“But very well. Just look up.”

All of them complied. It took them a few seconds to comprehend what they were seeing.

Mayhem was absolutely gigantic, sitting on a throne as large as him. He had to be at least eighty feet tall.

Peppermint collapsed onto her knees. Pound and Pumpkin began shivering, holding onto each other. Masky gulped. Tree Leaf just stared. Flurry blinked several times, her mind having trouble accepting what she was seeing.

“Hello there, friends,” said Mayhem, staring down at them with a pleased expression. “Just listen to all of you, talking so confident.

“Well? Go ahead and attack.”

None of them moved.

He shook his head. “Oh, come on. You guys are too easy.” He lifted his two arms away from each other. As he put them closer together the scale of the room shrunk until it looked closer to the size of an actual throne room. Mayhem shrunk along with it until he was his usual size.

“Well, that was fun. The looks on your faces were priceless.”

Flurry was getting her composure back. It had only been another one of his tricks.

A crown appeared in his hand, which he put on his head. “I’ve been thinking, and the truth is that you guys are pathetic. Compared to me you are mere ants. I could smash you at any time, but that would be boring.

“It really isn’t fair for you to fight me, because there’s no way you can win. Knowing that I’ll win no matter what is also boring, so I need to do SOMETHING to spice this up. Otherwise, this will be no fun at all.”

He hopped off the throne, landing upside-down and balancing on one claw. “So here’s what I’m thinking. If you can force me off my throne in this battle then you win.”

He bounced off and landed upright on the top of his throne on one leg, slowly spinning around like a ballerina. “I mean, come on! You don’t even have to destroy me. Surely you can hit me at least ONCE, can’t you?”

His body parts separated, and one by one they landed in a sitting position on the throne. He lifted his claw and snapped, and a clock appeared reading fifteen minutes.

“However, if you can’t defeat me in that time then it only proves you aren’t worth my time, and I’ll have to start taking things a little bit seriously. The deal will be off.”

“I’ll take it!” said Pound.

“Me too!” said Pumpkin.

“Very well,” said Mayhem. “Then let the battle… BEGIN!” With another snap the clock began counting down.

Author's Note:

Well, they've finally made it. The final battle begins.

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