Chapter 9: What to do Next

 

Jenny gave King Persimmon the rest of her chocolate buttons. Then she walked out onto the landing so that she could think clearly. Molly hurried over to her and Jenny leaned close to whisper in her ear:

‘Molly, I think somebody needs to speak to The Knave Prince. And ask him what the King was doing just before he lost his memories.’

‘And someone also needs to ask him why he told the King that banging his drum would bring back his memories,’ whispered Molly.

Queen Peony moved closer to hear what Jenny and Molly were whispering about. A few of her Fairies were fluttering around her, fanning her with bright Red tulip petals. She shooed them away with her hand.

‘Thank you, Fairies. But I am perfectly cool. Right now I need to speak with Princess Molly and her Sister-witch.’

The Queen turned to Molly and Jenny and smiled bravely: ‘Already, you have been a great help. The King seems to be much better now. But I fear his head is still quite empty. I am going to ask Witch Dewdrop and Witch Cornflower to keep watch over him. Have you any idea what we can do next?’

Jenny glanced at Molly and then she told the Queen, very politely, that it might be a good idea to send for the Knave Prince Sorrel, and ask him if he knew anything useful about the King’s memories.

Queen Peony looked at Jenny and frowned.

Now, Fairy Queens can be quite frightening sometimes, but Jenny knew that the safety of the Kingdom of Raggedy Lyme and of the Real World was threatened, so she had to speak her mind: ‘Queen Peony, Molly and I think that the King’s brother, the Knave Prince Sorrel, does not want King Persimmon to remember.

‘And that is why he told him to make all that noise, so it would jumble up his thoughts,’ said Molly.

The Queen looked dismayed: ‘Do you think it is the Knave Prince Sorrel who has stolen the King’s memories? Prince Sorrel has always been a very loyal Guardian and a KEEPER of the LOST things. I cannot believe he would do such a thing.’

But just then Grandma Lily came hurrying over to join them. She was looking very worried indeed: ‘Your Majesty,’ she exclaimed, ‘I have just received a message from the Roaming Witches. The LOST things are unguarded. The Knave Prince Sorrel has abandoned his duties and is now hiding in his Ebony Palace. He has closed his Palace Doors and will speak to no-one.’

The air became filled with Fairy whispering.

Queen Peony took a moment to consider the situation then she spoke to the air around her: ‘Fairies, alert All the King’s Men. They must go immediately to the LOST things and keep them in order. And send for my Raggedy Knights. For we must travel to the Far Edge of The Kingdom. To the Ebony Palace. Nobody, not even the King’s brother, may hide from the Queen.’

Grandma Lily looked very surprised: ‘Queen Peony, these are dangerous times! Does your Majesty intend to leave the safety of the Castle?’

‘Yes, Lily, I do. The Kingdom of Raggedy Lyme is in danger. And the King is not himself at the moment. So I will take my Raggedy Knights and defend the Kingdom for him. I hope you will all help me.’

Grandma Lily took a small step forward and bowed: ‘Your Majesty, you may depend upon the support of myself and all of the White Witches of Raggedy Lyme. And if it becomes necessary I am sure that the White Witches of the Real World will also offer their support. They have already been told of the situation.’

‘Thank you, Grand Witch Lily,’ said Queen Peony.

Jenny turned to Molly and smiled and together they bowed before Queen Peony: ‘We will help you, Your Majesty,’ they said with a single voice.

Then suddenly a fluttering whirlwind of Silver and Green and Blue filled the air above them. And slowly the fluttering became organised into a single magnificent spiral of Fairies circling around their queen and whispering their support. Jenny watched their tiny wings carry them away, back into the air above.

‘Thank you,’ said Queen Peony. ‘Then let us waste no more time. We will gather in the Old Hall to eat a fine meal. And then we must prepare to leave.’

So Jenny and Molly and Grandma Lily made their way down the spiral staircase, which was a lot easier than going up the spiral staircase. They hurried back to the Old Hall, where the great table was already set with a magnificent banquet. Jenny wasn’t really sure whether this was lunch or supper or even breakfast because time in Raggedy Lyme was not divided into days. But she enjoyed eating it whatever it was. And she only worried a little about the adventure she was about to have, which was really only the next part of the adventure that she had been having ever since she had stepped into THE CUPBOARD UNDER THE STAIRS. Then, suddenly, she remembered her parents, asleep in the lounge.

What if they were awake and wondering where she was?

What if they were wondering where Grandma Lily was!

She had done so many things since she arrived in Raggedy Lyme. And doing those things must have taken longer than the time it takes to have a nap in front of the television.

‘They won’t be worried,’ said Molly.

Jenny turned to her: ‘Pardon?’

‘Your Mum and Dad. They won’t know you’re gone, They’re still asleep, just like you left them. Because no time has passed there. That’s part of the magic of Raggedy Lyme. Time passes differently here. It can all be squashed into a single moment of Real World time.’

‘Oh!’ said Jenny, feeling slightly reassured. Then she frowned: ‘How did you know that was what I was worrying about?’

Molly laughed: ‘Because, Jenny Berry, I can hear your thoughts. And if you listen really carefully, you will be able to hear mine.’