Chapter 12: The Wedding
Celery was ushered to an elevated position on a crag where he could both view the proceedings and rest upon a rounded boulder. He settled himself down and admired the fine artwork that bedecked the wall.
Button Mushroom laughed as she saw Champagne arrive. This creature stepped out of the trees as if stepping out from a Limousine. With eyelashes fluttering as if steeped with mascara, she posed for her admirers before elegantly leaping to her seat on the roof of a barn.
Prunella grunted and pouted. She had been allowed to attend the wedding under the watchful eye of her parents and was dismayed at having to behave herself. What she really wanted to do was search for this crown she had heard of. Screwing up her eyes, she scanned the whole arena. She might yet spot something.
Beautiful sounds drifted in from the neighbouring hills as choirs took to the listening posts and sang in harmony. The crowds joined in and sang along too. There were many misty eyes as Asparagus and Carrot Cake appeared on the wall summit. They made a beautiful couple.
As all eyes dwelt upon the happy couple, Prunella seized her chance and scuttled off. She headed first to the food stores to see if the crown was there. Skulking under low brickwork, she examined the stores. She could see nothing untoward but helped herself to a mighty helping of party food while she was there. Figuring that the barns would be empty because everyone would be at the wedding, Prunella searched them one by one. She was about to give up when she saw Cinnamon and Hickory emerge from Celery’s barn. Her eyes widened as she realised they were each carrying a crown. Sliding behind the nearest rock, Prunella let Hickory go by, then stuck her foot out and tripped Cinnamon up. Cinnamon was so surprised that he let the crown tumble to the ground. Before he could utter a sound, Prunella grabbed the crown and ran.
Cinnamon shouted out to Hickory at the top of his voice.
“I’ve been ambushed! It’s Prunella. Catch her!” he called.
Hickory turned and saw Prunella with the crown, but before he could do anything, she suddenly disappeared.
They did not want to spoil the wedding ceremony by calling it to a halt. However, they were now missing one crown, so they had to do something. Button Mushroom was quick to spot that something was wrong and sped to join them. Trying to think quickly, Button tried to stay as calm as Carrot Cake always did. This seemed to work, as Button realised that the only way Prunella could have disappeared so suddenly was if she had gone underneath the leafy decoration of the wall, using it as camouflage.
“But surely she’d get tangled up in the vines, wouldn’t she?” wondered Hickory.
Button Mushroom nodded her head. Perhaps this was another job for Champagne.
Indeed, Champagne was quick to respond. Silently she sped under the covering, her claws out ready to cut through anything that might entangle her. She had not gone far when she came across Prunella stuck fast. Prunella was terrified as Champagne approached, swishing her claws. However, Champagne decided in a split second that she would leave Prunella stuck fast and return with the crown. Noiselessly she emerged back out of the leaves and tossed the crown to the Cinnamon. He hurried straight on to the ceremony. Hickory had just finished presenting Asparagus with his crown and the crowds were cheering. Cinnamon entered as if right on cue and, brushing off a stray leaf, presented Carrot Cake’s crown.
Prunella’s parents were consulted and they agreed that it would be best to leave Prunella stuck fast until after the celebrations, so that she could cause no further disruption.
There was dancing and singing. The food was wonderful and everyone tucked in with great enjoyment. Ginger and Florentine were presented with a special award for having masterminded the decoration of the wall; they were also asked to stay up at Hadrian’s Wall, at whichever fort they wished, and be directors of Arts and Crafts. Hickory and Cinnamon led a marching display which was so well co-ordinated they received rapturous applause. The choirs of the hillsides drifted in with soft choruses celebrating the marriage of the new King and Queen of Housestead.
Champagne licked a paw and smoothed her elegant whiskers. She would release Prunella when ready. In a few hours, maybe. Or possibly tomorrow.