Part 7: Follow the Lollypop Guild"Where are we?" Abby asked while lying on her back in the middle of a green field of grass beneath a bright blue and white sky. She was still dizzy from the transport and the kaleidoscopic colors still danced at the corners of her eyes. Her ears still rang with, "miles and miles..."
"Shh,"Troy Green, Associate Professor of Ethnology and Comparative Religions scolded his buxom companion, Abby Bancroft, Krav Maga instructor, "We might be on the ramparts of the Wizardess' fortress."
Dartegnan Pneumann, father of abducted daughter, Susan, managed to stick his head up. With his long neck he managed to barely glimpse over the tops of the grass and saw an adorably quaint village to his right, "Do you think her fortress is in that village?"
"What?" Troy sat up and immediately wished he hadn't. "That's the last time I pick a song spell from the 60's" he moaned and flopped back down.
"Troy," Abby said with some urgency.
"No, leave me be a moment. My head is spinning, but the kids will be alright."
"Troy," there was even more urgency and Dart had joined in.
"No." Troy said emphatically and managed to slur the short word, "I need rest. The Wizardess' fortress is in fact a castle, which is, as I saw from my very quick, but thorough, long distance recon, all the way over there." He waved over his head in the opposite direction from the village.
"Troy, the village is - "
"Of no concern to us. Our goal is the castle, though I admit I expected it to be much closer." He propped himself up on his elbows, but let his head hang down to look backwards as the castle. "Much closer and less pink."
"Troy!" Both Dart and Abby yelled.
"Troy? Troy Green?" A small, high, wizened voice crackled.
"Where?" Troy sat up. "Who else has my name?"
"Who else indeed?"
The trio all sat up and looked around themselves. They were surrounded by small people, each carrying a drum or flute. They looked ready to use them.
The musically armed posse were each brightly dressed in shades of a single color, but none exactly like another. One particular drummer seemed better fed and perhaps more muscular than the others. He wore a star on his blue jacket. The woman beside him carried a pan flute and wore a red sash over the red jacket of a reddish suit. Beside her was another woman, taller, thinner, younger, with wild blond hair all dressed in yellow. She alone had a national guitar.
It was from behind these three that at elderly voice came, fragile yet playful. It laughed.
"Who are you and why did you come here?" The man in blue demanded.
"Troy Green, I told you," the still invisible voice said.
Troy got to his feet slowly and cautiously, more because that was the only way he could move than from a fear of the villagers. He looked around the field they stood in, "This is public land, isn't it?"
The woman in red puffed her chest and looked sternly. The woman in yellow arranged herself like she was about to do a Pete Townsend windmill and lay some serious power chords on them. The man in blue looked irritated and hooked his thumbs in his belt, "Listen here. I'm Sherriff Rufus and this is Mayor Sallee and Wizardess Areelee. Although you are on public land we reserve the right to question any transdimensional travelers within a five mile range of our village. Who are you and why are you here?"
"Troy Green!" The invisible voice shrieked.
"Sherriff Rufus, I am indeed Troy Green, and my companions are the lovely Abby and the dashing Dart."
"Why are you here?"
"Let me ask you a question, if it has nothing to do with your village then why do you care? Why the armed band, what has you so concerned?"
"Do you know where you are?" Rufus asked.
"Some land primarily administered by the Brixies, I imagine a valley tucked away somewhere. It's delightful by the way."
The mayor smiled and said, "Thank you," before she regained her composure and returned to her stern gaze.
"Is that the way it works?" Dart asked.
"Primarily," Troy turned to speak to Dart. He wobbled quite a bit when he did and the group surrounding them all raised their instruments to the ready. "Sorry," Troy said to them, "I was just going to explain to my companion that most Brixies prefer to keep to themselves in far off corners of the world, either that of hidden parts of cities. Did you ever notice how most buildings don't have a thirteenth floor? Or do they?"
"This is not a valley, or even Earth." Wizardess Areelee said, he voice was surprisingly beautiful and musical despite her look which conjured up images of a screaming banshee.
The old voice finally broke through the three officials and he brought a face with him. An ancient looking Brixie poked his mostly bald head between the hips of Mayor Salee and Wizardess Areelee, "It's a pocket universe, created by the Witch," the old man pointed a crooked finger toward the castle, "Hello Troy, my boy. Good to see you again."
"Bukus, my dear old friend!" Troy scrambled over and got on his knees to hug the old Brixie. "How did you get here? I thought you were living in Patagonia like a king."
"I was, but the village here needed help so I followed them here, though they don't appreciate my help." He shot a sneer at the Brixies around him.
"We don't need another Wizard," Areelee said.
"It's not like you've been any help anyway. We're still here," Mayor Salee said.
"Where is here, what is here, what's a pocket universe and why are you in it?"
"A while back the Witch created this pocket universe as her own personal domain."
"Or discovered it," Areelee said.
"The Wizardess has her own theories, which may very well be valid. Regardless of the universe's origin, the Witch has made it her headquarters and fortress. She ripped a chunk out of Earth to make it more habitable and stole this village to help keep the land."
"To be her slaves," The mayor said.
"More like serfs," Bukus said.
"But why?" Abby asked.
"We think she's in league with the Guns of Brixton."
"Isn't she human? What do the Guns want from a human witch?"
"She has a very powerful army -"
"See!" Dart said, "She she's probably kidnapped Susan to try to get the Hammer of the Gods. I'll be she doesn't even want you."
Troy shrugged, "Some women do."
"There's another thing, "Sherriff Rufus said, "She has a fleet of flying monkeys."
"Of course she does," Abby said.
"Flying monkeys?" Dart asked.
"Yes," Bukus said, "Just like those." He pointed to the group flying in tight formation from the castle.
"That looks bad," Troy said.
"It is," Rufus said, "Run!"
As they were running the villagers played their instruments haphazardly. It was more cacophony than music and had little effect. Before they made it to the village the monkeys were above them. Rather than having separate wings they looked like a cross between flying squirrels, bats and baboons. They all wore helmets with spikes on them.
One of the monkeys had three bright metal pips on his helmet. He carried what looked like a megaphone.
"I see you're prepared to pay my ransom, even though I hadn't told you what it was," a woman's voice came from the megaphone.
"In case you didn't know, this is the Witch, Kirke and I am very pleased with my ransom reward, however since you did not pay him to me you forfeit your daughter."
Troy pulled out an harmonica while he ran. He turned and planted his feet to play, but as he took a deep breath a monkey swooped down and knocked it out of his mouth.
Dart drew his sword.
Another monkey hit Troy in the chest and knocked the wind out of him before he could even sing.
Two more hit Dart and Abby in the back, tumbling them to the ground in surprise.
Three monkeys swooped onto Troy before he fell and carried him away, one on each arm and one holding his mouth.
The megaphone laughed, cackled a moment, then resumed laughing as Troy was flown off in the direction of the castle.