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part three.


Poppy is hardly a difficult person to trace. Just follow the path of destruction.

In the hallway of the castle is the still unpatched hole through the ceiling which Poppy had fallen through into Bryce’s arms (quite by accident); just outside the castle doors is a burnt patch where Penguin hiccupped and sent flames shooting out of his mouth. From there it’s a simple case of following the bent shrubbery (from Penguin charging through), scratch marks on the trees (from Penguin attempting and failing to scramble up after Poppy) and, occasionally, little patches of flat, depleted soil (from Poppy falling out of a tree after Penguin knocked it). Once past the copses, it’s harder to follow the path – since in the Shady Labyrinth, most things have already been destroyed by the path – but if one looks closely enough, one can see the shape of large paw prints meandering through the mud. Once these prints are observed, the thick layer of mud smothering everything in sight – as if something has exploded – is easily explained. The real giveaway, however, is the 20-foot high purple toothbrush which seems to be growing out of the ground. The toothbrush, of course, which followed the loud BANG several minutes ago.

“Curiouser and curiouser,” Poppy stares innocently up at it, shoving her hands in her pockets. This is definitely one of the weirdest things her magic has done recently.

She’s so busy trying to think of the best spell to ward off purple toothbrush-trees that she doesn’t hear the footsteps squelching in the mud behind her. It’s not until it’s too late – when a pair of strong arms have folded around her – that she realises she’s not alone. Even if a rough palm hadn’t covered her mouth, Poppy wouldn’t have the presence of mind to scream. She knows those arms, that touch – and the truth of it shocks her into silence.

    • part two. -
    • part one. -

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