Well, here we go. What started as a single experimental story is coming up on three months running! Time to find out what happens with Morty and Amanda, Mountainlost and Nestra, Amelia and the doctor (who is now a troll). I think I see where it’s going, but I’m as curious as you to find out how it gets there. And we’re off…
KINGDOM FOUND part 12
“Oh, you may not remember it, little interloper,” Amelia said to Amanda, “but go through the portal you did. I sensed someone had gone through already when the doctor and I returned to it. We stepped into the portal and I saw you and your mother. I cast a spell of visions to distract you, but your mother still went through the wall, damn her. I grabbed the doctor and went through at almost the same moment, but it was still two months later in Gold Legend by the time we arrived. I told him to find her and take care of her so she could not foul up our plans. Then I went back to Morty, for I could not spare anymore time at the wall to see what happened to you.”
“That’s not true,” Amanda said, “that can’t be true. Any of it.”
“Nothing could be more true,” Amelia sneered. “But, how could I have known that the doctor’s way of ‘taking care of her’ would be to trick her into a love affair?”
“Love affair?” Amanda cried. “With that awful man? Never!”
“Oh, yes,” Amelia replied. “It took him awhile to perfect the potion to turn people into trolls, but he realized right away that the fealty spell I put on him ran through his blood. He puts a few drops of blood in every bit of troll potion! And he put some of it in your mother’s wine at dinner his first night there in Gold Legend. Where your heart lies is everything, and it is blood that makes a heart beat.”
“My mother disappeared when I was eight,” Amanda said, on the verge of tears. “We didn’t cross your stupid wall; I would remember that!”
“No,” I said, standing up and facing her. “No, Amanda, you wouldn’t. Because you don’t want to. And I don’t blame you. But I still owe you everything. If not for your love of your mother and of Gold Legend, I never would have found my kingdom.” I turned to Mountainlost and Nestra. “Thank you for everything,” I said to them. “Whatever happens, I know where my true home is. I believe I know why the wall fell this morning, and why Amanda doesn’t remember you. I’ll do my best to make things right for her, but I first I have to put things right here.”
The woman I had known as “Mother” looked at me with a hint of surprise and pronounced disbelief. “Trying to claim your destiny, now, are you, boy?” she said. “How quaint.”
Turning slowly, I pointed my finger directly in her face. “You shut up,” I said.
She stood up and grimaced at me. I think she was trying to look hurt, but her anger was getting the better of her. “How dare you speak to me that way!” she shouted. “After all I’ve done for you! I raised you as my own! I gave you food and shelter and had the doctor turn a troll into a man just so you’d have a father here on earth!”
“You kidnapped me and killed my real parents,” I said coldly, “that’s what you did for me. And you have waged war on the only family I have left in two worlds. Because of you, this girl doesn’t have a mother, and can’t even remember why. You may have done all of this to win your father’s love, but that doesn’t mean your heart is or was in the right place. Where your heart lies is everything, and yours is selfish. And evil.”
Amelia’s eyes were wide with rage and her face was bright red. “Who are you judge me this way?” she screamed.
“I am a prince of Gold Legend,” I replied evenly, “and I’m not as frightened of magic as the doctor was, or as dependent on it as the king and queen. I used the simplest power this morning before I even knew what was happening. It may have taken the doctor ten years to believe enough to break down your wall, but he did it, and the worlds are breached. And now my wish can be granted just as his was.”
Mountainlost and Nestra stood, while Amanda remained seated, staring at me. Amelia’s jaw dropped. “No,” she said, but it was too late.
“I wish with all my heart, ” I said, “that these humans were trolls no longer.”
A massive cry went up from the troll army, but there were two different sounds. One was the sound of trolls changing quickly and perhaps painfully back into human beings. The other was a horrifying cry of rage and I suddenly realized that she had already told us that not all the trolls were transformed humans. Part of the troll army had begun as trolls, and they were furious at losing so many of their ranks. As people became human again, some ran away in fear, but most stood where they were, angry and looking ready to fight. Proud of myself, I was about to shout a rallying cry when I heard Amelia scream, “ATTACK!”
The fealty spell. I had forgotten about that. Whatever evil biological twist came from the doctor’s blood in the potion had not been reversed, just the appearance of the army. We now had an army of humans to fight against.
The battle was engaged immediately, and it was brutal. Anything that could be used as a weapon – a rock, a stick, a piece of burned furniture – was picked up from the ground, for troll-sized weapons are of little use to a human. The army of Gold Legend poured up the steps and around the foundations of the burned out town hall and placed themselves as best they could to defend us in the middle of the ruin. One of the soldiers grabbed Amelia, not realizing she still had the potion in her hands. She took a drink and spit on as many people as she could with no care for whose side they were on. Five people began to shrivel and I saw my proud moment slipping away.
I turned to Mountainlost and gave him back his sword. “No, Prince Morty!” he said, “you must be able to fight!”
“I’ll find a weapon,” I said, ” but first I need to make sure Amanda is safe!” I turned to Amanda, still sitting in her chair with fearful tears in her eyes. “Come with me!” I shouted above the melee. “You’ll be safe, I swear it!”
She only took a moment to decide, then reached out and grabbed my hand. As we turned to run for the back of the building, I heard Amelia shout, “you! Get them! Quickly!” I looked back and a man burst from the crowd. It was Amanda’s real father. He had been turned and, while my wish had made him human again, he was fighting on my “mother’s” side. And he meant to kill us.
“Father!” Amanda cried. “What are you doing?”
The only weapon he had was a troll-sized blade, but it was still more than I had. “Get down!” I shouted to her, and swung a metal-gloved fist for his face. He ducked under it and came up with his elbow in the back of my neck. I heard the metallic thud of his arm against my helmet and was doubled over by the blow. It must have hurt him like crazy, but he didn’t seem to mind at all. Without waiting to see if I was out, he turned towards Amanda. I was on my feet in an instant.
“No!” I cried, and leaped onto his back. He was forced to his knees and Amanda scooted backwards. A random man in the crowd tried to grab her from behind and she instinctively punched him in the nose. He fell with a howl and I thought that maybe she hadn’t forgotten quite so much as she’d meant to.
Her father rolled over suddenly and I tumbled off of him. He smashed his hands down on either side of my neck and, even through my armor, it hurt something awful. He jumped up and turned towards Amanda again. Still on the ground, she looked up at him and shouted, “Father!” He hesitated for the briefest of moments and then moved forward with his fist raised, troll-blade still in hand.
I forced myself to my feet and grabbed his arm just before it descended upon her. I wrapped my other arm around his throat and shouted in his ear, “it’s your daughter, man!” Once again, I sensed a hesitation in him, so I pressed the point. “It’s Amanda! Your daughter! Look at her! Look at her!“
And he did. I felt the tenseness in his arms slacken. There, in the midst of a raging battle, a moment of calm swept over the three of us. I let him go and he looked down at her. “Amanda?” he said, and she nodded. “I’m so sorry…” he choked, and then looked over his shoulder. I followed his gaze and saw Amelia staring at us.
“What are you waiting for?” she said. “Kill them!”
And suddenly, he wasn’t waiting for anything. He was running at Amelia. “Monster!” he screamed, raised the little troll-blade over his head and buried it in Amelia’s shoulder.
She allowed herself only one moment of surprise before upturning the doctor’s potion bottle and dumping it all on his head. As he shriveled down to the ground, she pulled the blade from her shoulder and bared her teeth at him. “Bad choice,” she said, and ran him through with his own blade.
“Daddy!” Amanda shouted, springing to her feet. I ran to her and pulled her in the other direction, away from Amelia.
“Everybody loves you so much, don’t they?!” Amelia cried, pointing at Amanda. “You’ve been ruining everything from the very beginning! So sweet! So lovable! HA!” She turned and shouted to her army all around her. “Get her! Bring her before me! I will kill her in front of all of them and then they will fail!”
Upon hearing this, the army of Gold Legend redoubled their efforts to hold off Amelia’s army, but the struggle was fierce. Suddenly a form burst over the heads of all. It was Bibble-kins. Sailing over friends and foes alike, he landed with a great thud just in front of us. Clouds of ash and sheets of burned paper flew into the air around him.
“Get her to safety, my prince!” he said, and turned towards the troops with a snarl.
I had told Mountainlost that I would find a weapon. And so I did. As I ran towards the back alleyway with Amanda, I stooped and grabbed some half-burned paper and a bit of charcoal from the ground. Leaping down the blackened back steps of the town hall, we ducked between two dumpsters and I began writing on the paper as fast as I could. “What are you doing?” Amanda asked.
“Listen,” I said, “Bibble-kins will hold them off, but they’ll be here in a moment. You must let yourself be captured.”
“What?” she said. “No way! You heard what she just said; she’s going to kill me!”
“I heard what she said,” I replied, “but you’re going to have to trust me. Can you do that?”
She looked at me hard for a moment before finally replying, “yes, I think I can. I don’t know why, but I think I can.”
“I’ll be happy to explain it to you,” I said, “but this isn’t the time, and it definitely isn’t the place. It isn’t even the right world.”
“So you keep saying,” she said, and looked at the piece of paper in my hand. “So, what’s that?”
“When you go before her,” I said, handing her the paper, “say this.” She read the paper and looked at me quizzically. “Trust me,” I said.
Suddenly, I heard soldiers coming down the steps. Giving Amanda a quick wink, I rolled behind the other dumpster and watched from a hidden position. Amanda stood as the soldiers approached. I wish I could have seen the look on her face, because it made them stop in their tracks. Without waiting for them to grab her, she strode up the back steps and approached Amelia.
“Daughter!” Mountainlost cried as he saw her approaching. “No!” All fighting died down as everyone turned to see what would happen.
Amelia grinned and evil grin. “Ah, nobility,” she said as Amanda presented herself. “Nice to see you still remember that.” Amanda said nothing. “Now,” Amelia continued, “I will kill you and break the final shreds of spirit in your feeble little army.” Still, Amanda said nothing. “Any last words?” Amelia concluded.
“Yes,” Amanda said. She looked at Mountainlost and Nestra. Then she looked over her shoulder at me. Then she said, in a voice loud and clear and strong, “my mother’s heart beats in me strong; my mother’s heart lives in me long!”
And then she was gone.
TO BE CONCLUDED
Yes, that’s right; I am predicting unequivocably the end of this saga with next week’s story. We’ll all have to wait a week to see if I’m right, though. 🙂
See you in seven,