CHAPTER 6 - THE RICH AND REGAL
If only one word could be used to describe the town of Honeycomb
, it would have to be regal. Wild flowers of pastel shades fluttered away from the forest entrance and arranged themselves in neat little rows besides the posh, white mansions and dainty, noble buildings. Neat architecture, with designs of gold and silver were present all over the town, covering the elegant hexagonal-shaped gardens, which had no leaf out of place. As they were crossing the sparkling golden bridge into the town, Mint and Evan found themselves severely out of place - dressed in common clothes while the citizens of Honeycomb dressed to impress; posh long dresses of non-offensive colour for women, and tuxedos of white, grey or light blue for men. Mint felt like she was overstepping social rules, sporting a black cropped t-shirt and a high-waisted white skirt with a bright blue hoodie (which donned cute animal ears too) - she may be deemed too impolite or immature for such a fanciful and noble society such as this. And Evan - oh Evan, how dare he be wearing JEANS
in a place like this?!
So the two wandered through the town in the late morning sunlight, looking for the elusive Honeycomb Manor, feeling intrigued and fascinated by the beauty and architecture of the town, yet more than a little-bit self conscious. Whilst many citizens smiled their way, and Mint and Evan feebly smiled back, others simply felt simply too
disgusted by their presence that they opted to scoff or turn their noses up at them instead, as if they were some street punks simply looking for trouble. But the two teens tried to ignore the social negativity around them, instead focusing on the positive natural aspects of the town. At least it smelled really good. No offensive aromas; simply the smell of honey and cherry blossoms that wafted through the air. Mint breathed deeply. It felt good to be in an atmosphere this pure. Suddenly, Evan's stomach rumbled - they hadn't eaten in quite a few hours now!
Before trying to find the manor, the two looked for cafes to eat in. But they realised that $5 wouldn't get them that far, and gave up.
"Urghhhhhhhhhh..." Evan moaned, feigning stomach injury. "I'm staaaaarving! I think I'm gonna collapse..."
Mint rolled her eyes. "Yeah, yeah, you're not the only one." She said. Her stomach did a large rumble that attracted the attention of a passing couple. "Maybe we could buy a pot of honey or something... or honeycomb... ha, ha...."
"Urrgghhh!" Evan moaned again. Mint tilted her head at him and lifted one eyebrow. "That was an AWFUL pun, and NOW I'm even MORE hungry!"
But Mint was right. They did manage to buy themselves a small honeycomb each - rather fittingly - with the little money they had. They were by no means full, but satiated for the time being. And after they had finished, hands licked clean and small drabs on honey on the corners of their mouths, they found the allegedly popular Honeycomb Manor. And boy, was it huge and expensive-looking.
The giant building, so tall yet so elegant, overlooked the rest of the town with its tall, expansive windows and large corridors and ballrooms. Ornamented with real gold and silver, the mansion shone a brilliant white that simultaneously illuminated the town and shadowed it with its great glory. Upon approaching the large silvery gates, they learned that the giant house homed the single and childless Lord Honeycomb, an extremely wealthy man with a lot to show off.
"Do you have an appointment with Lord Honeycomb?" The guard at the gate sneered disapprovingly.
"No, but," Mint started. She panicked. An appointment... they didn't make an appointment!
"It's really urgent!" Evan continued. "We need the-"
"I'm sorry, but you need to make an appointment to see Lord Honeycomb, no matter the situation. But if I really is urgent, perhaps I would let you in if you two were dressed more... modestly." He turned his nose up and stuck with staff in front on him, communicating that the conversation had terminated. Feeling rather flustered and frustrated, Mint pulled Evan along with her and walked away. But she soon came face to face with a stranger that looked suspiciously like Katie the drugstore employee, except they donned a curious moustache and a top hat. The mysterious stranger was grinning wildly.
"I say, old chum, if it's modest dress you'll be needing, come to on the street across from here." Said the mysterious stranger in a forcibly lowered voice, before winking and disappearing behind the corner. Left with no other options, Mint and Evan followed the stranger's instructions and found the equally mysterious Drugstore, this time with blue glowing letters and a blue tiled floor.The drugstore
was extremely small, and consisted of simply one fridge with soft-drinks, a door leading to a storage room, and a counter bearing the mysterious stranger that looked a lot like Katie, equipped with top hat and all, grinning right at them as Katie usually does.
"Mint, I gotta feeling..." Evan whispered into his friends ear, still making eye contact with the mysterious clerk. "I think this 'stranger' might actually be Katie."
"You don't say." Mint replied, slightly louder. The clerk was still smiling.
"Ah! The lady and gentleman from before! Come in, come in!" The clerk said enthusiastically, still with that low force that sounded forced. "Have I got just the modest attire for you!" They handed Mint a long, pale blue dress and Evan a black tuxedo with a green bow-tie. Directing them towards the back room, which turned out the be two dressing rooms, they started to get changed separately.
Mint cautiously took off her clothes, putting them in her bag, and fitted on the long dress. She struggled into it at first, but with some kind of miracle, managed to zip the dress up by the back herself. She looked into the narrow, full body length mirror. She looked considerably similar to a baby blue wedding cake, with the waist being small and the dress positively puffing out at the hips, with blue and white ruffles flowing all the way down to the floor. Though she felt rather silly, she did regrettably feel a sensation of excitement due to looking like a princess. Cautiously, she stepped into the similarly adorned high heels that the drugstore clerk gave her, and felt rather wobbly and unstable. She did feel rather tall, and pretty though. She looked at the makeup pack beside her. Does she dare? It wasn't often that Mint wore heavy makeup, opting to use mascara and eyeliner, possibly some lip-gloss if she was feeling adventurous. Curiously, she picked up a brush and applied some foundation. It felt nice of her young skin. She continued, dotting concealer on her face, gently contouring and highlighting. She bronzed up her face before applying some soft eyeliner. She stared at the mirror as her face changed. It feels good to be this pretty...
As a final step, she gently applied some peachy-coloured lipstick and she was done. She was by no means a professional, but she felt accomplished and dainty, as if she finally fit in with the town around her. Nervously, with a flush of red in her face, she shuffled out of the dressing room, to find Evan looking smart with a plain black tuxedo and a bright green bow-tie. Both feeling rather out of place, Evan nodded at Mint, and she nodded back. Nothing brings two people closer together platonically than having to endure the same awkward hardships. Together they stepped out of the back room and came face to face with the mysterious stranger again.
"Marvellous! Absolutely stunning! Don't worry about paying me, this is a gift." The stranger said, ushering them out of the shop all whilst grinning wildly. "Now go! Off to your meeting with Lord Honeycomb! Good luck!"
*The manor was fancy.
Incredibly fancy. There seemed to be an event going on, with crowds of intelligent and equally fancily-dressed individuals gathered on the expansive marble floor, appreciating the marvellous decor whilst tasting wine and eating hors d'oeuvres presented by the host himself. The wide marble ceiling was painted with a brilliant starry scene and in the middle was a globe depicting the world, full and complete, resting and floating through space. Was that what the world looked like before it was split apart?
Wondered Mint. The main hall was adorned similarly to the rest of the town, sporting a large golden fountain with flowers delicately placed around it. But the manor didn't smell like honey, it smelt like something different... like cool, empty halls, with a touch of a pungent feminine fragrance. It didn't make Mint smile. It made her feel rather lost and alone.
After having appreciated the decor for long enough, Mint and Evan sought out to find Lord Honeycomb. Allegedly, he was a rather round, large man, dressed in a white shimmery tuxedo with a yellow bow-tie and top hat. Due to having such a recognisable image, the two of them found him quickly. He was standing by himself, appreciating the glory of people all around coming to marvel at his house. His face was as round as his bulging stomach, and he had large bushy white eyebrows and a feathery white beard. Since he was only sipping red wine and grinning to himself, Mint felt the opportunity to speak was as good as it was ever going to get.
"Excuse me, Lord Honeycomb," Mint asked, curtsying awkwardly. "I'm Mint, and I... would like to enquire about your Old Charm..."
"Hm?" He grunted, turning to face Mint. "And what charm would that be? If you're talking about my Cleansing Charm, it's not for sale."
"Please, m'lord, there is a crisis in Seedling town. Zombies - the undead - are appearing out of the ground every night and disrupting the lives of the citizens." Mint urged.
"Lord Honeycomb, it would only be for a short while. You can have it back, like straight- I mean - shortly. " Evan added, flustered.
"No, no way." said Lord Honeycomb as he shook his head disapprovingly. His thin feathery beard moved from side to side as he moved his head. "How do I know that you are not thieves and bandits? My family and ancestors have been in possession of the Cleansing Charm for generations now. Do you know how hard my family worked to keep it intact and away from everyone, from the commoners? I haven't had an easy life, you know - people like you always try to come to scrounge off of my possessions, for one reason or another, and I've always told them the same thing - NO! Now, away with you! Go deal with your own affairs and leave me out of them!" He demanded, red in the face. Disgusted, he turned around. Mint looked crestfallen. Evan got angry.
"Now listen here, 'lord', the people out there in Seedling are suffering, and-" Evan started to say, but Mint stopped him, knowing that it would lead nowhere. They were about to turn away, but there was a crash in the hall.Some screams.
Sirens. Edging closer.
Mint knew it all too well.
"Duck Evan, now!" She said, crouching suddenly. Evan did the same. Crowds of people broke away and several men and women screamed, running out of the way. Mint narrowed her eyes and withdrew her hammer. She took off her heels, laying them sprawled on the floor. It was time to fight. Suddenly, several robots tore through the halls of Honeycomb Manor, their crimson metallic skin gleaming in the dusty sunlight. They were headed towards Mint and Evan. One by one, they flew towards her, and with Evan still crouching behind her, she whacked them one by one with her hammer as they flew past, causing them to spiral out of control and become dented and deformed. But it wasn't over.
They started coming back, and now it was Evan's turn to rally. He stood up strong, equipped his spiked gloves and punched the flying robots as they came towards him, following suit of Mint. Whilst they spiral out of control again, Mint felt the embers forming at her fingertips. Time to dance! The fires sparked and grew and danced and glowed. Evan kept punching. When it was time, Evan ducked out of the way and let Mint shoot at one of the robots...
Evan watched intently. The fire grew, expanding into a fist-sized fireball. More people, though panicked, watched with amaze as the fires came out of Mint's palms. Suddenly, the fire burst out of her palms, firings out into one of the crimson robots, hitting its metallic frame. BANG. It exploded into pieces. But the battle wasn't won yet; there were still three left!
Evan's time to shine now. He focused his mind, and leaves grew in the air above his palms. People still watched from the sidelines in amazement. Even Lord Honeycomb himself was watching! The leaves grew and grew, larger and more plentiful. But Mint had another idea too. Whilst the robots around the two heroes readied their weapons, Mint set up the embers in her hands again, and Evan blew on the leaves he created, causing them to spiral out in all directions. Mint blew on her own flames and they followed suit of the razor sharp leaves, eventually catching up with them and setting them on fire. One by one they pierced the bodies of the metallic robots.
BANG. One down.
CRASH. Another, gone.
BOOM! A robot that was about to shoot Lord Honeycomb, blasted into smithereens. It was over.
Mint and Evan got up, regained their composure and looked at Lord Honeycomb. The people around them started to clap and cheer as crimson robot pieces lay smoking on the floor. The two heroes smiled feebly, Mint looking down on the floor and Evan staring on the crowd, grinning. Appearing very flustered and concerned, Lord Honeycomb approached them.
"I am so, so sorry that I underestimated you. My dearest apologies go onto you." He said, extremely taken about and gratuitous. "Please, as a gift for saving my manor from destruction, take the Cleansing Charm." He retrieved it from his blazer pocket and gave it to Mint.
"And and a bonus reward," He said, facing the crowd, trying to entice them "I will grant you $100 dollars for causing minimal damage to my property!" Lord Honeycomb said, as a surprising generous twist. He handed Mint a hefty sum of money. "Let us celebrate!" The crowd cheered.
By the time Mint and Evan had finished they stay at the Manor, changed out of their fancy clothes and trekked back to Seedling
, it was the evening time. Mint placed the peculiar charm, shaped like a lamp with a long ribbon attached, on the podium on the town centre. Lighting red embers on her fingertips, she drew a deep breath and said a meaningful prayer in her mind.Oh Cleansing Charm, please calm the spirits of the undead, so that the townspeople may lead a life of peace, and the undead be granted eternal rest once again.
Mint lit the fire, and Evan smiled. Suddenly, the town was enveloped in a bright light that headed towards the graveyard. After a few moments it subsided, and a warm breeze drifted through the town like a long sigh. Several onlookers at the town square smiled at Mint and Evan. They smiled back. Looking up the stars, Mint appreciated the newfound beauty of Seedling at night.
But suddenly she felt very uneasy...
As she looked up at the twinkling evening stars, she felt like someone was calling her for help...Anyone, someone out there... please help me!
ooo, spooky... who could it be??
+also sorry for the long wait!