The next move was a sudden one that resulted in a jolting bang, and then closely following, a young girl's scream as she realized that her pet balloon had been murdered.
And then, before anything could happen, everyone stopped and blinked in unison.
Damn, declared a voice in everyone's heads. I hadn't expected that. I was just going to deliver the seeds nicely and all, but now you've gone and let me out of my balloon body. Without that structure, my soul will finally dissipate into the air...well, goodbye world...I mean, hello world and goodbye me...
Janey continued to cry as the woman kneeled to the ground to fetch the magic seeds. "They were in the balloon animal!" she cried to her friends.
What was left of the once telepathic balloon animal fell to the ground with Janey's tears. Then the woman stood. "Tie them up," she said with a sudden cackle.
Ralph, still stunned at having realized he'd been talked into this by a balloon animal, was easily subdued, but Janey was spitting with rage. When they were finally tied and placed in the back room amongst the archery targets, the woman left them to go join her witch friends so they could get on with their fire-ring dancing and, of course, the planting of the magic seeds. Ralph hoped to god that a giant bean stock wasn't about to grow out of the fairytale kingdom.
And while Ralph was silently wondering what fate the yogurt had in store for him, Janey got to work on escaping. A few seconds later, she was standing over Ralph with a childish grin on her face.
"How...?" murmured Ralph. "You escaped," he stated. "How did you escape?"
"I made my wrists all slippery with dish detergent and then slipped free."
"Really? Can I have some dish detegent?"
"No," Janey replied. "It's all gone. But there are some other old bottles here. Let me see if anything else here will work...Ah ha, here's some..." she paused, carefully forming the difficult words off the tip of her tongue: "Mango butter massage oil," she said.
Ralph snorted. "Ha, right..." he said and then paused, "Is that the only option?"
Joseph was still in the bathroom even now, which was lucky for him because the park was closed and the swordsmen on patrol. The reason he was still in the bathroom however, was because he had just realized that a stow-away had somehow gotten into his bag, and 'grazed' on his 'luggage'. Most of his stash had been wasted, and the stow-away, well, he was even more wasted. Now, Joseph had a very erratic weasel on his hands. It seemed that Ralph had picked up the stow-away from his trip to the zoo. Now the escapee had found its way into Joseph's stash.
Joseph finally hid the luggage in the bush beside the restroom and then wandered through the park in a dismal mood. The weasel stumbled after him.
After Ralph had been freed from his bonds, he decided to let Janey do the leading. Janey seemed far more experienced with these tricky story-book situations. They crept past the bonfire just as the witches began their chant, they crept past a group of knights who were singing songs about whiskey, and then they crept past the solitary man wimpering on the bench. Then they stopped and doubled back.
"Joseph?" asked Ralph.
Joseph turned around. "My valuable possessions," he whined. "Your weasel ate them all."
"My weasel?" asked Ralph. "What are you talking about?"
But Joseph didn't answer for he was now sniffing the air. "Ralph," he said in a taken aback voice of accusation. "Are you wearing...perfume?" He wrinkled his nose. "You smell like mango..."
Ralph went red. "Some sacrifices had to made in order for me to escape. But escape we have."
"From what?" asked Joseph.
"From the witches. They're doing a ceremony," whispered Ralph uneasily.
And just at that moment, there was a terrible cry from the fire-ring.
"The palm tree seeds!" came the cry. "That rat has eaten the sacred seeds!"
"That would be your weasel," commented Joseph. "I'll have you know that he's rather crazed at the moment."
Janey frowned. "I think we better get out of here because the weasel is coming this way."
"Where to?" demanded Ralph.
"Well, let's check the map."
After a moment of hurried finger stabbing, Janey finally said, "We have to head to the ocean. Then we can catch one of these ships out to sea."
"Those are pirate ships. And the sea looks a little too dangerous."
"Dangerous?" asked Janey. "Not for me. And besides, this giant octopus here is only for show. They draw sea monsters on olden day maps just for fun, didn't you know?"
"Right," Ralph said. "Well then, what are we waiting for?"