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While Evina was standing alone with his back towards the others, he could hear them talking. "I came on this adventure to have fun." said one of the other toons, and Evina didn't know which. "I didn't know Harry would try to take us to some weird, nonexistent place. Why don't we just go home?"
He felt anger building up but decided to ignore it. Once they got to Pete's Palace, he thought, then they would see who's right and know that they were wrong. But a thought arose in his head. What if Harry had gone crazy? What if this is all just a joke? He's nicknamed Hysterical Harry for a reason. Nobody has ever heard of Pete's Palace or dip before. It's not on the map! Has he really gone places that no one has been to before or has he really lost his marbles? Has the Toon Council really been keeping the truth from them?
Evina was getting hungry so he went over to the dinner table where everyone was already seated. He tried to forget all of his doubts. It wasn't good to think that Harry was leading them to certain doom. They all began eating this stew, surprised that it wasn't as bad as it looked.
After a few silent minutes, Princesspinkcat decided to speak up. "Uh, Harry, how far is it to Pete's Palace?" she smiled.
"It's right on the other side of those mountains, you can't miss it." He said quickly.
The other toons looked at each other then back at Harry. Nobody said anything else for the rest of dinner.
Bebop stood up and yawned loudly. "Well I think it's time to hit the hay." He announced. "I can barely walk any farther."
Everyone seemed to agree. They were all exhausted from their hiking and were about to fall asleep standing up. Their sleep the previous night had not been as good as they hoped, so nothing was going to keep them awake now. They were just about to step into the tent when there was a sudden burrowing sound behind them. Everyone spun around to see a small hole which had appeared in the ground. A yellow mole stuck its head out of it.
"Oh it's just a mole!" Rocky smiled with a relieved voice and everyone sighed.
The mole remained motionless for a moment, staring at them with that odd grin on its face before it suddenly darted back underground. The toons watched intently, waiting for it to come back. A few seconds later, there was a loud drilling noise. The hole grew wider and the mole climbed out with a Bossbot suit on. It wiped itself off and proceeded towards them with a wicked grin.
Everyone was jerked awake by the sight of it. They screamed and ran up to the mountain as fast as they could. The molder didn't pursue them but instead took out a camera and snapped a picture of them. He pulled off his rubber yellow mask and put it away, revealing the true evil-looking red mole underneath. He grinned at the fleeing toons, pleased with himself and promptly flew away into the starry desert sky.
The toons continued running for several more minutes. Then when they were finally convinced of their safety they stopped to rest and catch their breath.
"What was that thing?" Rocky cried as he gasped for breath.
"I'm not quite sure," answered Harry, "but I think it was a molder. I warned you that it's a dangerous place out here. It's probably safe to go back now."
They dragged their exhausted selves back down to their camp. They couldn't find a trace of the molder, but its empty hole was still there. Everyone went to sleep.
The next morning they got up late and ate a large brunch. They cleaned up their camp and started walking back up the mountain, determined to make it to the other side. After a few hours or so they stopped at about half way up the mountain. It was much larger than it looked from below.
"I am tired of all this hiking." Goopy gasped. "I wish I knew some sort of glitch to get us to the other side."
Everyone was fatigued, but excited to see what was really on the other side. They were anxious to know if Harry was really as crazy as they all thought he was. Several more hours of walking passed before they reached the summit. There was a large frozen oak tree standing there with acorns all over the snowy ground.
"I'll call this place Nutty Summit," Bebop declared. "Get it?"
Harry groaned and rubbed his back. Nobody was amused; maybe they seemed annoyed if anything.
"I'm just trying to add a little humor." Bebop said.
They walked over to the other side of the summit and looked straight down. They were astonished. There were millions of trees in a forest for as far as they could see. And at the foot of the mountain, in front of the forest, they saw a large glimmering palace.
"You were right!" exclaimed Princesspinkcat as tears welled up in her eyes. "I'm sorry I didn't believe you before! I thought you were crazy!"
"You thought I was crazy?" Harry asked looking surprised, but nobody heard him. They were already jogging down the mountain as fast as they could. Harry grabbed a few large snowflakes from the ground and put them in his pocket. He had a feeling they might need them later.
Evina tripped over a rock and fell. Then he went tumbling painfully down the mountain. Everybody else seemed to trip too.
"Ouch! Ah! Oof!" They all cried with each bump until they hit the bottom. Harry arrived a few minutes later.
"What a painful way to descend a mountain! It couldn't hurt to just walk!" He gave them each a snowflake to replenish their laff points.
They saw ahead of them a huge white marble wall going around the neighborhood. There was a tall gate that opened through it. They ran over to the gate. It opened automatically to let them in. They entered and examined the old street that they were in. They were fascinated by the old fashioned houses and stores.
"This place must be older than Harry!" cried Zany.
"Uh, I highly doubt that." Harry responded.
They continued walking cautiously through the street. There didn't seem to be anyone around. Then they saw the tunnel that led to the playground.
"Are you ready?" Harry asked.
"I guess we're as ready as we'll ever be." Evina replied. Then they cautiously walked into the dark tunnel.
They reappeared on the other side a moment later and witnessed a majestic sight. There was a sparking fountain in the middle of the playground. Carefully trimmed shrubs were placed all around and made to look like toons standing in ridiculous positions. A few benches were also seen scattered around and everything here had a fancy looking "P" engraved on it. There were several streets connected to the playground and the massive palace on the north side. There was an HQ, a Clothing shop, a Gag shop and a trolley. However, there were no toons to be seen anywhere. They could only hear the splashing of the fountain and the chirping of the birds. It was quite charming and somewhat resembled Daisy Gardens. There was something magical that made them want to stay forever, but the silence was awfully foreboding.
"I wonder where everyone went to." Rocky wondered.
"It doesn't matter," Harry insisted, "we just have to find Pete and talk to him as soon as possible."
They jogged over to the giant golden doors leading into the palace. Harry opened the door and went in as the others followed behind. The main hall was empty too, but they could tell that the floor was recently polished. At the other end was the elevator to Pete's throne room. They shuffled inside and the doors closed.
"Uh, Harry," Evina asked.
"I've heard some stories of Pete. Isn't he a little, you know, selfish and mean?"
"Yes, he does have a short temper and he's really greedy," Harry admitted as they began to ascend, "but he can be a nice toon when he wants to be."
The elevator reached the top in no time. The doors opened to reveal the face of a huge Big Cheese.
"Hello toons," he said with a malicious grin. "I hope you enjoyed your trip."
Before the toons could react to anything, they were tied up by other cogs hidden behind them and hauled to the center of the room where there were several other Big Cheeses. Pete sat on his throne gazing at them with madness in his eyes.
"May I?" asked the leader of the cheeses.
"Fire away." Pete said proudly.
"Ok, here's the first question." The cog sneered in their faces. "What are you doing here?"
"We will never tell you!" Evina answered him without hesitation.
"Oh really? Then maybe you need some time to reconsider. THROW THEM IN THE DUNGEON!" he commanded the other cheeses who promptly went to pick them up.
"B-b-but that's not part of the deal!" Pete stammered.
"Not part of the deal, eh?" the Big Cheese chuckled loudly.
All of the toons including Pete were now locked in the cold, stony dungeon. Harry got the last snowflakes out of his pocket to replenish all their laff points.
"So... what is all this about, Pete?" Harry asked him quite calmly, but the others could notice that he was very frustrated.
"Well I uh... It all started when those Big Cheeses came in with this mole guy. I was scared out of my wits, but then the mole guy showed me a picture. It was a picture of you toons running up a mountain. The boss of the cheeses said that the toons in the picture were coming to see me and that they were going to ask some questions. I was going to refuse until they offered me five million jellybeans! I couldn't resist; I told them that all they were allowed to do was ask questions, and now we're here. Those dirty, cheating, two-faced..."
"Okay, I've heard enough," Harry interrupted, "You must remember that the cogs are our enemies. They could never be trusted!" The other toons were amused seeing Pete sob like a baby. "Did they tell you why they wanted to talk to us?" Harry continued to ask him.
"No, I guess they think there's something special about you guys."
"I think it's because they know about our quest." Harry said with a smile.
"What quest?" Pete said with a perplexed look. "Because whatever it is you are doing has caused my whole neighborhood to shut down!"
"I am Harry Oldman and this is Evina, Princesspinkcat, Goopy, Zany, Bebop and Rocky. We are going on a quest to find out where the cogs came from."
"That's very interesting, but I don't really know what the big deal is. They almost never come around. I personally have never seen a cog until today, but the Toon Council still ordered me to build a gag shop in the playground."
"YOU'VE NEVER SEEN A COG BEFORE?" Harry shouted.
"No, have you?" Pete continued.
"Well as a matter of fact, I have. Where we come from, there are lots of cogs."
"And just where might that be?"
"Over the mountain."
Pete gasped. "Over the mountain? But nobody's left the map before!" Pete took out his schticker book and showed them his map. It was just like their books, but the map had completely different locations on it.
Everyone was confused until Rocky interrupted. "Uh Pete, do you have any burritos here?"
He didn't answer but gave Rocky an awkward look.
Harry broke the silence again. "I have another question please, how are we going to get out of here?"
"Oh... uh... I always leave a key under the doormat in case something like this ever happened." He looked embarrassed. "I guess it came in handy after all."
He groped under the bars and the doormat directly outside. Soon he had pulled out a large rusty key. He quietly unlocked the door.
"Wait a second!" he said, "There are five level ten cheeses in there!"
"Its snow big deal." Harry laughed, "I think you worry too much; maybe you should come to my crisis management sessions every Thursday at seven. We are experts at defeating cogs."
Pete watched them jump up and rush out of the dungeon. "You could have kept the cogs on your side of the mountain, you know!"
Goopy swung the door open and all the toons ran into the throne room.
"THEY ESCAPED?" a Big Cheese hollered with disgust.
"Obviously," said the molder in a strangely low voice, "but we can handle them." Then he cracked his knuckles and smiled. The toons noticed his razor sharp teeth.
Pete ran and cowered behind his throne. The other toons lined up on one side of the room and the cogs lined up on the other side. Suddenly Princesspinkcat threw a Birthday cake at the leader of the cheeses. Cream splattered everywhere around the pristine room.
"You want a fight? I'll give you a fight!" he bellowed as he took out his golf club. Golf balls flew everywhere. Some of them broke the windows and knocked paintings off the walls. The other Big Cheeses started running straight at them.
Harry took out several trigger boxes and tossed one to each of them. "Press it now!" he said.
The big cheeses were stopped in their tracks and fell into several trap doors. The toons got out fire houses before the cogs fell down. They splashed water everywhere and all the big chesses slid around the slippery floor. It wasn't long before they short circuited and exploded in a fury of smoke and gears. The only one left alive was the molder.
"I'm immune to gags so don't even try to waste your time..." he mocked.
As the molder was talking, Rocky sneaked up behind him and pulled off his head.
"AHHHHHHHHH!" the molder yelled and his Bossbot suit fell down. It was completely hollow.
"Let go of me you fluffy freak!" he screeched as his head was stuffed into a plastic bag by Bebop. He wrote:
Send to Bossbot HQ
Then he dropped it in the mail chute.
"Good job Rocky!" Harry cheered, giving him a pat on the back. All the toons were slightly hurt but none of them were sad.
"What an amazing suit!" Harry exclaimed as he examined the Bossbot suit with great detail. "This looks like it's almost in perfect condition! We might need it later." He folded it up and put it in his bottomless pocket. "Oh, and Pete, you can come out now."
"Is it over?" he asked frightfully.
"Yep, you're safe now. Let's go outside." The group walked over to the elevator while trying not to slip on the wet floor.
"We're really sorry about the mess." said Zany sincerely.
"Oh, that's really no problem." Pete replied, "You guys saved my life! I'll offer you each ten thousand jellybeans."
"That's not necessary." Harry replied, "We were glad to help."
They exited the palace and marched out to the playground.
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