The Magic Beans – Page 04


Holding the Giant’s Knucklebones in his hand, Jack is suddenly inspired.

He thinks to himself – what would Red Tom do? His mind suddenly seems to be working more quickly than usual (a property of the Knucklebones, perhaps?)

“You are Garrulon of Hubaro, are you not?” asks Jack. The words surprise him – he has never seen this man in his life. “You are Garrulon who once rescued a she-wolf caught in a hunter’s trap. She took the form of a human maid and kissed your hand with lips that burned like fire. You still bear the scar on the back of your hand.”

The Ice Wizard stares at him open-jawed, any animosity forgotten in utter astonishment.

“That incident occurred in the depths of Exentaser, the Dark Forest, a thousand leagues and thirty years ago, with no mortal man to witness it,” he replies. “I have never told the tale.”

Jack is suddenly unnerved, but clenches the Giant’s Knucklebones tighter and lets the words flow through him. “The she-wolf was none other than the Queen of the Fairies, and I am a knight of her retinue. Her Majesty finds herself in distress again, and only you can help her.”

Garrulon leaps from his high platform and lands beside Jack. He grips the warrior’s shoulder and gazes intently into his eyes. With a gesture that is almost shy, he presents his right hand to Jack. The shape of a woman’s lips can be clearly seen there, scarred into his flesh. “What is her peril?” Garrulon asks. “What can I do to save her? For truly, I desire nothing more than to please the maid who kissed me that day.”

“She is the captive of the Ogre Jack-Knife Jabbar. He keeps her bound in his dungeon with chains that no blade can cut and no fire soften. Only Universal Solvent can dissolve her bonds.”

Garrulon pales, and Jack is startled to see that the Ice Wizard completely believes his tale. Even Jack begins to wonder whether it might not be true.

The Ice Wizard nods. “I have a vial prepared. I will give it to you at once, and waste no more of your time.”

Turn to 83.