Exercise Your Imagination! Do you like stories with mystery and suspense? Well, if you do, keep reading and enjoy Eggcentricsagas. If you are just joining Eggcentricsagas, start from the beginning: A La Mano: Part 1-The Treasure
“As soon as the entrance to the mountain had closed, the Dagaz Diamond hidden in the prince’s backpack became silent.
Observing that the door to the lair had trapped the hand of the nasty troll to the ground, Goban sang out merrily, ‘Well done, m’lord, well done!’
Exposed to sunshine, the body part immediately blackened, shriveled up, and turned to fine dust. Out of nowhere, a breeze sprang up and scattered the dark particles into the forest.
The gnome had already started towards the stairs. ‘Let’s go before they bring their shadows and back up forces!’ Not realizing that Thaddeus suffered from a troll bite, Goban quickly ran ahead and disappeared into the forest.
The teeth of the troll had torn the prince’s pants in his attack. Thaddeus studied his bared leg and noted that it was already bruising around the puncture marks. Around the holes, an unwholesome blotchiness had appeared on his skin. A network of black strings, curlicues, and spirals tinged with green and brown. It reminded him of the draping webs of the Eido-Arachs, giant, poisonous spiders that lived deep in Banish Woods. Hiding under toadstools, they waited for their prey to become snared in their nightmarish mesh.
It appeared as though the tendrils of an evil vine were wrapping themselves around and constricting his leg. His foot felt cold and tingled as Thaddeus ran away from the entrance. The troll poison had penetrated his foot. Soon, he was limping from the pain in his frozen foot. Pausing, the prince looked again. The abnormal discoloration had spread outward like the tributaries of a river on a map. It feels like a shackle of ice around my ankle. It’s holding me back, Thaddeus thought. Then, suddenly, his foot became afire, stinging with a fierceness that he had never encountered before.
Tightening his fists and setting his jaw, Thaddeus dragged his wooden leg. He continued forward, following the gnome through the forest until he got to the stairs. Then the prince collapsed. ‘Come on, you can do it,’ he told himself. Mustering all his strength, Thaddeus crawled slowly up the stairs as the vile liquid coursed through his veins. Ultimately, the venom reached his heart. ‘Goban! Goban! Help!’ he cried out weakly before succumbing to the toxin.
Goban had made it to the top of the staircase. Uncertain that he had heard something, the gnome turned around. The prince was not behind him. Concerned about the lad, his guide retraced his steps, looking for him. When Goban spotted the limp form of the prince slumped upon the stairs, he hurried down to him.
‘Ach! M’lord, what happened?’ he cried in dismay when he saw the condition of the boy. The prince’s face and neck were ashen, but his arms had turned an awful brownish-green, the color of bile. The gnome immediately spotted the torn pants and examined the prince’s ankle and the bite wounds. A troll must have bitten him and injected his poison! Goban thought. It must not flood his brain, or he will be lost! I need blessed water! Then he exclaimed, ‘The Sacred Well!’ He flew up the stairs to the well. Using the pulley, he raised a bucket of water. Then Goban ran down the stairs with the jostling water.
Pulling the prince’s head up, he opened the boy’s mouth and poured a measure of liquid into it. Then Goban doused the malignant area on the teenager’s leg with the magic water. Sizzling when it hit the skin, it coursed straight into the wounds. The black vines disappeared, and healthy flesh reappeared. Color had returned, and reviving, Thaddeus’s eyes flickered open.
Helping Thaddeus sit up, the gnome urged the boy to drink more of the sacred well water and then spoke. ‘You almost died from troll poison! That is evil, evil stuff! Thank heavens we had a Sacred Well close by. Drink more, m’lord. It must completely purge the toxin.’
When Thaddeus had consumed all the contents of the bucket, Goban asked him if he could make it up the stairs. He nodded, and so the gnome helped the prince climb to the top. Leading him to the bench, Goban told him, ‘You can rest here for a few moments.’ He left the boy there momentarily to peer down the stairs, looking for any trolls. Since there were none, he went and sat next to the prince. His brows knitted together, Goban thought. I am worried about the prince. If the trolls come after us, how will we escape? The gnome chewed on his knuckle to stop himself from pacing. He turned to Thaddeus. ‘Are you alright?’
With a dazed look, Thaddeus replied, ‘I had a strange dream. There was a chain of freezing metal around my ankle. It pulled me down the stairs and back into the troll cave. Dragged through the darkness, yellow eyes staring at me from every corner and doorway. I couldn’t get free of the hold. It was too powerful. Then I was standing in a room with an old man that looked like an insect. He was sitting on a large chair, like a throne, and was staring at me with his big buggy, dark eyes. He was beside a black hole that had swirling, noxious green vapors coming out. He wanted to see me get sucked into it. I was afraid, but then I saw a pure white bird. It swept down and sat on my shoulder. Then I was in a bright world with a beautiful, babbling brook of crystal-clear water. Pegasus was there. Waiting to take me to the Sun Queen.’ The prince looked at the gnome. ‘Then I opened my eyes and saw you.’
‘That’s it!’ The gnome clapped his hands together in glee. ‘We must call on the birds to fetch the Royal Horse Pegasus to rescue us!’ Goban pulled a wooden flute from his tool belt and blew a few notes. He waited and blew some more. From the surrounding forest came several birds. They landed nearby, and Goban made bird noises. They seemed to understand and flew away in a hurry.
While they waited, Goban made Thaddeus drink more of the sacred well water and continued to check the stairwell, looking for trolls. Finally, Pegasus arrived, and they climbed up onto him. Soon, Thaddeus and Goban were on their way to Coal Mountain and the Sun Queen.”
Ravenna stopped and looked at Herman. “That’s enough story time for today. Don’t you think?”
“Yes, kids, let’s get home and straighten up the house for your mom.” Standing up, he gathered the children to him before asking her, “How much more of this story is there?”
“Why? Are you bored?” she said jokingly.
“Not at all. I was just curious.”
“Well, the riddle needs to be solved and the kids need to achieve their Supreme tasks.” She reached down and scratched behind Magic’s ears. The big, black cat was rubbing against her legs. Ravenna returned her gaze to Herman. “But not much more, I suppose.” Getting up from her chair, she offered, “Let me walk you to the door.”
The Stanley family put their coats on, and Myrtle said goodbye to Zerlinda. Then, pressing her lips together, she glanced down at Magic before following Mason out the door.
Herman paused on the doorstep and smiled at Ravenna. “Maybe there’s another story when you finish with this one.”
Next: The Myth of Madame Mariposa No. 2: Part 9-Solving the Riddle