The Magic Beans – Page 46



Outside the GreenShaft leading to Xerxes’ arena, Perilous Jack marches purposefully up to the nearest Giant.

“My weapons,” he demands.

Startled, the Giant hands over Jack’s sword and dagger. As Jack girds his weapons again, Stump the Gigas emerges from the arena, holding the limp body of Xerxes the Indomitable. An uneasy murmur goes through the crowd of Red Ghurka Goblins watching from the nearby platforms.

“Hold the body up,” Jack says to Stump, and the Gigas raises the corpse above his head for all to see.

“Behold Xerxes the Indomitable!” Jack cries. “Behold Xerxes the Defeated! Behold Xerxes the Dead!” Many of the Goblins cry out, and the Giants fidget and look at each other anxiously.

“And who shall rule the Red Ghurkas now?” Jack asks them, and the Goblins lean forward. “None other than the slayer of Xerxes himself!” Jack gestures to Stump, who is as astonished as anyone. “I give you King Stump of the Red Ghurkas!” He steps menacingly toward the nearest Giant, who flinches away as if he has been struck. “Kneel to your King!” he snarls at the Giant.

The Giant complies uncertainly, and the other follows suit. Taking their cue from the more powerful Giants, the Goblins kneel as well. Jack draws his sword with a flourish and raises it to Stump, who stands as if paralyzed, still holding the body of Xerxes over his head.

“Hail King Stump!” Jack bellows, and the Giants and Goblins repeat his cry, a little unenthusiastically. Twice more Jack cries his hail, and each time the Red Ghurka Tribe replies with more zeal. By the third cheer, even King Stump has come to terms with the idea. As the cries of the Goblins die down, the Gigas issues a tremendous roar and flings the corpse of Xerxes the Indomitable contemptuously aside.

“Me King Stump!” he yells, flexing his biceps. “Me rule all Red Ghurka!” His eyes light up. “Me find biggest Red Ghurka of all and make him pet! He be new Klickak!”

At this the Goblins, who are insanely fond of the giant poisonous centipedes they have adopted as their totem, unleash a wild cheer. Doubtless there can be no greater quest in their eyes than hunting the biggest Red Ghurka of all.

Jack sheathes his sword and bows to the newly-crowned King of the Red Ghurkas. “May you rule long and well,” he murmurs under the tumultuous cries of the Goblins, although he does not think King Stump can hear him.

King Stump would have Jack stay and advise him on running his new kingdom, but Jack insists that his quest must come first – although he promises to return as soon as he is able. The Gigas agrees and arranges a troop of Goblins to escort Jack through the remainder of Red Ghurka territory, and even into the TowaShroom Forest and to the very edge of Foldoron Lake. And there they part ways; Perilous Jack dives into the Lake and again enters the lair of the Druid.

If Jack has not already struck one of the Singing Stones at the bottom of the lake, he may do so now. Turn to 82.

If Jack has already struck one of the Singing Stones, or if you would rather just continue into the Druid’s Lair, turn to 10.