Of my book.

And so they made their way down the aisle, Scarlet telling Lena about the very boring human candy, and Lena pointing out the infinitely more interesting magical candy in the stalls they passed. By the time they’d reached the end of the aisle, Scarlet was beaming, for she was hyper-aware that she’d just received her first unofficial magical lesson. She was also just hyper. After all, with many a stall passed comes many samples of candy ingested, and as a girl unused to eating so many sweets, she was positively buzzing.

She’d tried candy pacifiers, which had made her throat feel wonderful, like a waterless waterfall was massaging it—it was apparently best for those with sore throats, but as hers wasn’t sore, it just made it feel extra slippery and lovely. Then she’d tried Nerds, which had given her the odd desire to ask Lena to please ask her how to multiply six hundred and forty seven by three hundred and seventy two, and numbers of the like over and over again for six whole minutes. Then she’d tried some fruit chews, which were supposed to make her skin glow due to the so-called antioxidants infused in them—this she wasn’t so sure about. After that she’d tried a veggie chew that was brilliant green, thinking maybe this one would give her the glow the pomegranate chew had not. Well, it didn’t either. “Scam,” she’d muttered at the time. Then she ate a corner of a pillow mint, because it was really a very big mint the size of a pillow and she couldn’t very well eat the entire thing now could she?

She’d even played with a candy: a sunset pastel dinner candy. It worked like this: in the evening time when the sun was low but not quite yet in its bed at rest, you could throw one of these candies into the sky. Then you simply had to stand back and watch as a brilliant sunset became etched into the dark blue sky. Whenever it faded, you could throw another one, and another after that, until the sun went down and you were cut off. Because when the sun went down it was ready for bed and suddenly the sunset pastel dinner candies could not be budged from their tin, for they were created to know that the sun would not be willing to continue stretching itself across the sky any longer.

There was but one candy she was disallowed from sampling and even Lena’s beauty couldn’t get her any freely: bubblegum. She had no idea bubblegum was of such high value. She could never have guessed by the way it was strewn all over sidewalks back home. Here though, it was next to gold. The reason for this, she’d found out, was that it was not just something to occupy your mouth with when you were bored of doing your homework, or when your teacher was droning on and on in history class, but it was a transporter. Truly. When blown into bubbles, here in Adalira anyway, those bubbles would grow with the help of a simple spell that sounded like “Kresska.” The one more utterance, of something that sounded like “Patenta,” you could pop yourself right in and be off on your journey. And these two charms did not require much magic, which was very important to the Adalirans, only she didn’t know it yet.

Now before we move on, there is one last thing to know about what Scarlet learned, because it goes to show that nowhere is perfect, not even Adalira—no matter what Charlie says. So, here it is.

There is one candy Scarlet had opted not to taste-test when offered, and these were Runts. In case you have never seen a Runt before, this is an unmarked hard candy, officially used to treat wounds. One just has to break it up into a powder and sprinkle said powder over the affected area and watch it shrink into oblivion. However, often, she learned—and this is what deterred her—Runts are also used illegally by competitive athlete types. Sometimes the Runts would be swallowed whole by the wrestling bears and ogres, to cut weight. Other times, more sinisterly, an athlete would sneak powdered Runts into his competitor’s food, in order to weaken him.

Once upon another time, there had been a tradition where one would give one’s opponent a bag of sweets before a game—a sign of good sportsmanship. But when it had become popular for athletes to hide Runts in these gift bags, in the hopes of shrinking their opponent drastically in size…well, the tradition had, let’s just say, come to an abrupt end. Yet, strangely Runts were still sold, which was something Scarlet inquired about after making it clear she would not try one, thank you very much.

© 2018 Mackenzie Belcastro All Rights Reserved