Saturday, September 12, 2009

Chapter 5 "Dragons!"

Question to Madeleine: Where is the Royal Baby hiding?

Answer: Behind the throne.

Madebonne was having a hard time waiting for the Royal Acrobats to arrive. The excitement of painting with icing on a wedding cake for a real Princess was almost too much to bear. She stretched to the top of the cake to have a look around. The castle grounds stretched away in front of her. She gazed in every direction but she didn’t see any Royal Acrobats heading her way. Madebonne took a couple of hops on top of the spongy cake. She couldn’t believe how high up in the air she could bounce. Suddenly a bird swooped past her and Madebonne lost her footing. She fell with a plop. Luckily the cake was soft and cushiony and she didn’t even skin her knees. She sat up and caught her breath and then noticed the water glass rolling away from her and her mom was flopping around on top of the cake.

“Oh no, oh no,” said Madebonne, alarmed. “I need to find water, right away!” She carefully scooped up her mom and put her back into the glass then stretched back down to the bottom of the wedding cake. Madebonne looked around frantically. She ran as fast as she could down the hallway and found a pantry full of pots and pans of every shape and size on one side and jars and bottles and spices on the other.

“There must be water in here somewhere,” said Madebonne as she tore through the room. She set her mom down and climbed up the shelves, took the lids off pots, foraged behind bags of grain and flour until she finally found a case of bottled water on a bottom shelf near the back. She whipped the cap off the bottle and ran to the glass where her mom flopped around, trying to breathe.

“Here I come mom,” shouted Madebonne as the grabbed the glass and poured the water into the glass until it overflowed. She sank to the ground and watched her mom swim around, letting the water wash through her gills. The tears poured out of her eyes.

“I’m so sorry mom,” she gulped. She couldn’t believe how careless she had been. Her mom swam towards her and bumped her fish lips to the glass. Madebonne laughed.

“You forgive me?” she asked. “I promise to be more careful.” Madebonne kissed the side of the glass and her mom went back to doing laps. A pot on a lower shelf started rattling and shaking. Madebonne jumped sky high. When she landed back on the ground she gingerly walked up to the pot as it rocked from side to side. What could be in there? Lobsters snapping their claws? A swarm of angry bees? She heard a squawk. Maybe it was a chicken. Madebonne crept closer and pressed her ear against the pot. She heard a gurgle and then another squawk. It didn’t sound like bees so Madebonne slowly lifted the lid and peaked inside. It wasn’t a lobster or a chicken. It was a baby wearing a tiny crown. With one giant grateful squeak the baby lifted up his arms and Madebonne helped him out of the pot. As soon as he was free, the baby squirmed out of her arms and crawled away. Madebonne grabbed the glass with her mom and followed him but he crawled so quickly that she had to run to catch up. Just as she was about to grab the baby by the toe she looked up and saw Henry. The baby quickly crawled out of sight but Madebonne was so happy to see her friend that she barely noticed.

“Henry!” Madebonne shouted. He was standing next to a giant ice cream machine and held the crank with his tail. Linda stood on a ladder, pouring buckets of berries into the ice cream mixture.

“Hey Madebonne” said Linda. “Have you already finished icing the wedding cake?”

“No,” she replied. “I’m still waiting for the Royal Acrobats to arrive.” Linda poured in the last of the berries and closed the lid.

“Crank away Henry” she said. Henry gripped the crank and started to trot around the ice cream maker. With each turn of the crank, the berries mixed with the cream and froze into ice cream. Suddenly there was a commotion and a disheveled looking group dashed into the room carrying butterfly nets and pushing a baby crib.

“Excuse me,” said a short man who was out of breath. “Have you seen the Royal Baby? We’ve been chasing him for hours. I wish I could stop for just a minute to catch my breath and have a wee cup of tea.”

“Impossible!” said an even shorter man. “We must find the Royal Baby before the wedding. He will be the one to bring the wedding ring down the aisle. We don’t have a moment to lose.” The short man nodded his head and sighed.

“I saw him,” said Madebonne. “He was stuck in a pot so I helped him out. He crawled that way.” And she pointed towards a door on the other side of the room.

“Thank you” said the short man and the shorter man. The whole group dashed out the door. Madebonne snickered as she watched them go. They were going to have a hard time catching the Royal Baby. She had never seen a baby crawl so fast.

“I better get back to the wedding cake” said Madebonne. Henry continued his cranking and Linda waved a flipper. “See you when you’re done.”

Madebonne got back to the courtyard and was delighted to see that the Royal Acrobats had finally arrived. They were bouncing around on the top tier of the spongy cake, doing double and triple flips. Madebonne balanced her mom on her head and stretched to the top of the cake.

“Hello,” she said. “I’m Madebonne. Chef Pinetop sent me to help ice the wedding cake." Madebonne grinned like a Halloween pumpkin. She was so excited that she could barely talk. The Royal Acrobats stopped their jumps and flips and stared at Madebonne. They peered over the edge of the cake and saw that she was stretched forty feet down to the ground.

“Pretty impressive,” said one of the Acrobats. “We could definitely use your help. My name is Rodolfo and this is Pixie, Trixie, Nick, Ollie and Abigail.”

They all took a bow forward and then did a back flip.

“Stretch on up here and we’ll show you the ropes.” Madebonne snapped herself up to the top of the wedding cake. Rodolfo handed her a bucket of icing and led her across the top of the cake until they were on the other side facing the Royal Garden. They peered over the side and Madebonne could see dozens of people busily icing the cake all the way down to the ground.

“The bottom nine tiers are iced and the decorations team is painting on the flowers,” said Rodolfo. “The Royal Acrobatic Team needs to finish the top three levels. First we put on the base coat of white icing to seal in the moisture in the cake. Then we paint a second coat for extra glazing. The third and final stage is the sparkle coat. If you are ready I’ll send you down to tier three with Nick, Ollie and Pixie to start the base coat.”

“I’m ready,” said Madebonne. She grabbed her bucket of icing and her roller and followed the Acrobats to the edge of the cake. Nick, Ollie and Pixie vaulted over the edge. Madebonne stopped to take one last look before she jumped down to tier three. She could see the Royal Gardens bursting with flowers just past the courtyard where the cake was being iced. Beyond that was a sea of rolling hills where she could see pops of light like sparklers.

“I love it here. How do the hills twinkle like that?” Madebonne asked Rodolfo.

“Twinkle?” asked Rodolfo looking alarmed. He pulled a pocket telescope out of his coat and peered into the distance.

“This isn’t good,” said Rodolfo.

“What is it?” asked Madebonne.

“Dragons! They are trying to ruin the Princess’s wedding. I need to sound the alarm.” Rodolfo somersaulted to the bottom of the wedding cake. Madebonne followed with her mom balanced on her head. He marched over to the wall and pushed a giant green button. Suddenly deafening bells clanged throughout the castle and people started rushing everywhere.

“Where is everyone going?” asked Madebonne.

“We have to report to the folding station. Come on. We don’t have a moment to lose.” Rodolfo grabbed Madebonne’s hand and hurried her along with the crowd. The other Royal Acrobats followed closely behind. After a few twists and turns Rodolfo rushed through a giant door into a huge room filled with long tables and stacks and stacks of paper. Madebonne looked around, confused.

“I don’t get it,” she said. “What’s a folding station?”

“We have to build the army to fight the dragons,” said Pixie. "Here, I'll show you how."

The Royal Acrobats took Madebonne over to one of the tables and grabbed a stack of paper. They showed her how to fold and fold and crease and fold and then fold the paper again until presto! There stood a paper armor knight ready for battle. The room started to fill with knights. The Royal Magician activated them with a swish of her wand and sent them out the gate to battle the dragons.
Madebonne watched for a while and then decided to give the folding a try. Her first knight had three legs and seventeen fingers. Her second knight had no arms and two heads. Her third knight was so grumpy that he bit the Royal Magician. But her fourth knight was perfect. Madebonne was so proud that she walked him over to the gate and gave him a hug as he left for battle.

He marched in perfect formation across the battle field with the other paper armor knights. A dragon flew into view and circled over the army. The knights drew their swords and yelled a battle cry. The dragon swooped lower and with a loud huffening grump breathed fire onto the paper armor knights. They all burst into flame and their ashes floated to the ground. Madebonne couldn't believe her eyes. Her beloved knight had just burst into flames. She was so mad that she stomped out the door towards the dragon. Another army of knights marched out with her. The dragon circled high into the air as they crossed the battle field. He dove right towards her, licking his lips. Then he took a deep breath and was about to spit a fireball right at the new army of paper armor knights.

“STOP!” bellowed Madebonne, little puffs of smoke escaping from her mouth. The dragon was so surprised that he screeched to a halt in mid air and then fell to the ground with a plop. The knights were crushed under his big rump. Madebonne stared at him with fire in her eyes.

“What do you think you are doing?” she scolded the dragon. He stared back at her with fire in his eyes. Then he started to rumble and growl. Madebonne heard a shriek from the castle.

“Madebonne! Run for your life!” screamed Pixie and Ollie. But Madebonne wasn’t going to let any old dragon ruin the Princess’s wedding. The dragon took a deep breath. Just as he was about to breathe fire and burn her to a crisp, Madebonne punched him in the nose. The dragon’s eyes smarted and he looked at her in disbelief.

“Come with me,” said Madebonne grabbing the dragon by the wing. “We need to fix your bad attitude.” Madebonne marched back across the battle ground towards the folding station. The dragon limped behind her. As she neared the gate the Royal Folders scattered in terror and hid under the tables. The new army of paper armor knights quaked at the knees.

“Hold your breath so we don’t have any accidents” Madebonne ordered the dragon. They crossed through the folding station where Madebonne picked up the water glass with her mom the goldfish. Then they went down the hall, past the wedding cake, through the pots and pans pantry and into the ice cream station. Henry and Linda looked up in surprise as Madebonne came through the door with a dragon.

“We need some ice cream” said Madebonne. “And lots of it.”

“Perfect timing,” said Linda. “We just finished this batch. Are you having a fire emergency?”

“Yes. This dragon keeps burning down the army and he wants to ruin the Princess’s wedding,” said Madebonne, exasperated.

“Well that’s very badly behaved,” said Linda putting a large bowl of ice cream in front of the dragon.

“You look like you could use some ice cream too” and Linda put a smaller bowl of ice cream in front of Madebonne who still had fire dancing in her eyes. She and the dragon started to eat and with each spoonful of ice cream the fire in their eyes dimmed a little bit more. When the fire was at a safe level Madebonne asked the dragon why he wanted to ruin the Princess’s wedding.

“Because we are never invited to any Royal events. No weddings, no birthdays, not even to a Royal bar-b-cue. And we’re really good at cooking burgers and chicken,” said the dragon. As he spoke the fire began to dance in his eyes again.

“Pop a few of these in your mouth” said Madebonne, handing the dragon some ice cubes. “Maybe if you promised not to burn things down, you could be invited to the wedding.”

“Do you really think so?” asked the dragon hopefully.

“I do,” said Madebonne. “Let’s go talk to the Queen.” Madebonne, Henry, Linda, her mom the goldfish and the dragon went off in search of the Queen. After wandering the halls for twenty-six minutes and frightening every single person who crossed their path, Madebonne realized that she had no idea how to find the Queen.

“Why don’t you try calling her on your butterfly phone” suggested Linda the Penguin. Madebonne hit herself in the forehead. Of course! This was obviously an emergency. She pulled the butterfly phone out of the pocket of her pajamas and opened it up. The wings fluttered and hummed. Madebonne dialed “Q” for Queen.

“Hello, Operator,” answered the Operator.

“Hello.” replied Madebonne. “May I please speak with the Queen?”

“What is the state of your emergency?” asked the Operator.

“I have captured a dragon who wants to burn down the Princess’s wedding but he just had some ice cream and he’s feeling nicer and he may want to be friends but we need to talk to the Queen,” explained Madebonne.

“I’ll connect you to the castle. Please hold.”

Madebonne held.

“Good Afternoon. Castle of Her Royal Highness, Queen Winifred of Elderberry, how may I help you?”

“Hello” said Madebonne. “I need to see the Queen right away. It’s very important.”

“Hhmmm, yes. Let me see here. I am looking at the Royal Appointment Book and the next available time to have an audience with Her Royal Highness will be in seventeen months and three days from today. Shall I pencil you in?”

“Seventeen months and three days?” squeaked Madebonne. “I don’t think that the dragon will wait that long.”

“Dragon! Are you the girl who captured the dragon?”

“Um, yes” whispered Madebonne.

“The Queen will see you right away. Please wait for an escort.”

Madebonne hung up her butterfly phone and put it in her pocket. A few minutes later she heard a loud rustling and six paper armor knights marched around the corner and stood at attention, ready to lead them to the Queen. They were led into a grand hall that sparkled and shone. Madebonne could see the Queen at the other end of the hall. She took the dragon by the wing and slowly approached the throne. She recognized the Queen from her portrait by the elevator at the Penguin Express train station. Madebonne cleared her throat.

“Good afternoon your Highness,” shouted Madebonne. The Queen winced.

“No need to shout young lady. I am not an elevator!” said the Queen with a wink. “Now what can I do for you?”

“I come on behalf of the dragons your highness,” Madebonne explained. The Queen bristled. She was clearly not a fan of the dragons.

“The dragons have spent the past six months trying to ruin my daughter’s wedding. What could you possibly have to say on their behalf?” she replied indignantly.

“Your Highness, the dragons’ feelings are hurt because they are never invited to the Royal festivities. Since they are not allowed to have fun, they don’t want anyone to have fun.” The dragon nodded in agreement.

“Well that’s a very nasty attitude,” said the Queen. The dragon began to rumble and puff. Madebonne slipped him a few more ice cubes to crunch on.

“Your Highness, how would you feel if you only ever heard laughter from far away or never tasted a chocolate volcano or danced in your favorite party shoes? Wouldn’t that make you a little grumpy?” The Queen softened a bit.

“Go on,” said the Queen.

“The dragons are really quite entertaining. And they are quite talented with fireworks. I bet they would put on a wonderful display at the Princess’s wedding.”

“Oh yes, we’re quite good at fireworks,” said the dragon proudly.

“Hmm,” said the Queen. "I will take that into consideration."

“We’re really very sorry for the trouble we’ve caused,” said the dragon. “We just wanted to be included.” The Queen consulted with her Royal Advisors it was decided that the dragons could indeed be in charge of the fireworks at the wedding reception. The dragon was so happy that he kissed Madebonne and then flew out the window to tell the other dragons.

“You are a very brave little girl” said the Queen. “As a token of my thanks for repairing our relationship with the dragons and for saving the Princess’s wedding, I would like to present you with this necklace.”

One of the Royal Ladies in Waiting approached Madebonne. She carried a plush purple pillow and on it lay a delicate necklace that glinted in the light.

“This necklace is made from golden pink shells from the Caspian Sea on a string of mermaid hair” continued the Queen. “It will bring you luck on your adventure.”

As the Queen spoke Madebonne saw something rustling beneath the Queen’s gown. A tiny foot stuck out and then popped back in. Madebonne saw the Royal Baby scuttle behind the throne. He popped his head out and Madebonne waved. The Royal Baby waved back. Quicker than a flash of lightening, the Queen grabbed him and held him in her arms.

“Have you been hiding behind the throne the whole time you little vixen?” asked the Queen. She smothered him with kisses then turned to Madebonne. “Maxum is quite an adventurer himself. He explores the whole castle and gives us all quite a fright when we can’t find him.”

“I know,” snickered Madebonne “I found him in a stock pot in the pantry and he scared me too.“

“Thank you again your Highness,” said Linda the Penguin. “It has been a great honor to meet you but we must be on our way. We have a train to catch.” They all bowed to the Queen and the Royal Baby and left the Grand Hall.

“Henry and I made so much ice cream that we earned ten fish rubles each,” said Linda. “We now have enough money to buy our tickets on the Penguin Express back to Brooklyn. We even have a little extra for hot cider.” Madebonne twirled with joy. Linda held up their slips of paper for payment.

“Let’s head over to the paycheck window and collect our fish rubles.”

The paycheck window was bustling with activity but the line moved quickly. When they got to the front, Linda handed the Paymaster their slips of paper. He had a friendly smile and golden fish wiggled on his cap.

“What are you going to do with all this money?” asked the Paymaster.

“We are going to buy tickets on the Penguin Express so we can go back home to Brooklyn,” said Madebonne excitedly.

“I am afraid to tell you that there are no seats left on that train until after the wedding,” said the Paymaster. “It’s completely booked for the next two weeks.”

Madebonne couldn’t believe her ears. Another two weeks before she could get back to Brooklyn? By then it might be too late for her Fairy Godmother to change her mom the goldfish back into her mom. She slumped down right there in front of the window and refused to move. Linda the Penguin, Henry and her mom the goldfish sat down next to her as people continued to hand slips of paper to the Paymaster over their heads.

“Linda, what are we going to do?” asked Madebonne with a trembling lip.

Question to Madeleine: How is Madebonne going to get home to Brooklyn?


  1. she should ask the dragon to fly them over the overbooked penguin express, then at the last moment, plop them down on the roof of the train..but then again, that could be too dangerous!

  2. I think that she finds Captain Kirk and he lends her a Fazer.

  3. I love the drawings and the paper soldiers!! I think that she is going to make herself tiny and catch a ride on a leaf on the wind.