“You still have the gem?” Kamal Kamock plead.
And Poepi stopped hugging, stunned, and said,
“Y-yes, it is here, next to my bosom,”
And pulled out her chain, as if a kings ransom,
Hung on its end, down and dangled,
Oval cut, with polished angles.
Set by Pixies trailing light,
The gem hung bright, a star in the night.
Gar’s cheeks reddened, full of hope,
He sat up quick, he coughed he choked.
Then he stood up next to Poepi,
Forgetting their moment, and said abruptly,
“We have no time” and took her hands,
”We must flee, fast as we can!”
Once outside, Poepilandia stopped,
And pulled away hard, and Gar’s hand dropped.
Her face frowned pain, and furrowed strain,
Her fist clenched tight, and her brain,
Held images, of all she’d seen,
On the island, where she’d been,
Of wonderful breakfasts, and lovely clothes,
Of garden paths, and planted rows,
And where she lived, in the castle,
With Perlameen and their vassals,
Existing with out stress or strife,
Enjoying all the best of life.
Then she thought of all her loss,
If the Giant’s will be crossed.
“I am now a grand princess”
She listened to herself confess.
Then for a moment, leant back far,
She stepped from Gar, and pushed him hard,
Eyes open wide, watching his face,
Seeking any sign, or trace,
From him of thought or understanding,
What of her he was demanding.
“Gar let’s go back to the Giant.
He’ll pardon you, if undefiant,
You pledge to serve him once again.
Think of it Gar, you and Bar can be friends!
And we can live happy, all together,
Here on the giant’s island, forever!
Come with me now, and I promise true,
Gar, no harm will come to you!
See it Gar! How grand it will be!
Bar and Perla, you and me!
Living here, problems unfurled,
Not bothered by the outside world!”
But in response, Gar’s face went red,
His happy eyes, went grayed and dead.
He backed from her, with painful sneer,
And said “My Poepi! Oh Poepi, my dear!
What are you saying! Have you left,
All of your people to misery and theft?
What of their wealth, and health, and breadth?
Would you leave them, slaves to their death?
Have Giant’s riches, corrupted your senses,
Forgetting your morals and consequences,
Of living large, under Giant’s reign,
While all the world, suffers his pain?
Have you forgotten, for best or for worst,
A princess puts her people first?!”
And painfully, a silence grew,
Heavy and thick between the two,
Until with spite, and not a word,
Still muttering at what he’d heard,
Kamal Kamock grabbed Poepi’s hand,
And forced her along, and together they ran,
But to Poepi’s surprise, they ran not up,
Long winding hallway, back to top.
Instead they turned the other way,
To final path of stairs that lay,
Wound and wound and wound and wound,
Down and down and down and down,
Further and further, underground.
Then breaking hands without a sound,
He took the mapstone from her neck,
And put the pixie at its back,
Until a bright light generated,
Through the gem illuminated,
And passed straight through its chrystal core,
And lit a fire there and what’s more,
Projected out, a fuzzy image,
On the dark hewn dungeon stoneage,
Gar stood up tall, with breath of air,
And a steady piercing stare.
Clasping her hand, he plunged ahead,
Down the stair way, taking the lead.
“Where are we going?” Poepi said.
Gar did not speak, but jerked his head,
Putting a finger over his lips,
Looking above, with a quiet “shhh!”
As they listened overhead,
The sounds of shouts and scuffles fled,
Down the dark steps to their ears,
“Humrecs and Reywal!” she whispered in fear.
Gar tugged her arm and resumed running,
Anticipating pursuers coming.
The air became darker, and wetter, and smelly
Dank like a lake, in the earth’s belly.
Distancing from soldiers boots,
The stairway split, into three shoots.
“The gem again!” Gar demanded,
And unsteady Poepi handed,
The bright blue stone into his palms,
As if she was giving alms,
While the sound of soldiers’ steps,
Echoed loud and footy slaps.
Searching quickly the darkish walls,
Gar found a hole, like a ball,
That was the same size as the gem,
And held it out, and put it in.
The mapstone’s blue, brightly beamed,
Again the same lit map she’d seen.
But unlike on the Captain’s boat,
In his cabin, glowing afloat,
Or when the light of little pixie,
Shone an image, smeared and fuzzy,
The map was focused now in air,
Sharp and bright and crystal clear.
Press it like this!” Gar said to Poepi,
Putting her hands, upon it, hopey,
That the image would keep still,
So he could read it without ill.
He looked it over up and down,
Screwing his face, in urgent frown.
Starting again at the very top,
Gar moved his hand and let it drop,
To the room of the Giant’s throne,
His fingers tracing, until they honed,
In on the winding corridor,
And went on down below the floor,
To the dungeon chamber cell,
That he had come to know so well.
From there he traced down further more,
Far below, the dungeon’s door,
To their present intersection,
That forked away in three directions.
On the map each tunnel snaked,
Back and forth so they could make,
No headway as to which one went,
To destinations downward sent,
Along recrossing windy paths,
At the bottom of the swaths.
There three symbols glowed in red,
Undeciphered in Gar’s head.
His fingers traced the tunnel marks,
Palms all sweaty, in the dark,
From top to middle and side to side,
Then at their end, stopped inside,
Dashes and lines that might be stairs
Leading wide to an open square.
There were also funny markings,
That looked like leggy monsters, stalking.
She wondered wild what those might be,
Hoping her they’d never see.
Looking mean, and bad, and deadly.
She did not think they would be friendly.
Gar put his fingers on the signs,
And they lit up a brightish line,
On the map right from the fork,
Taking left-most passage mark.
In the dark it crissed and crossed,
Over swaths, on map embossed.
“Come on Poepi, this is the start,”
He said quietly, tracing chart.
Pulling mapstone from the wall,
He gave it back to her and called,
“Hold it up and it will show,
True the paths for us to go!”
Poepi did and bluish ray,
Like a compass showed the way!
Down the left forked path they fled,
Just as soldiers, angry sped,
Arrived on flat stone steps, and stopped,
At the fork, and looked and lopped,
Into each dark stoney passage,
Seeing not a hint or message,
Of which way escapees went.
“Split up and search through each beast vent!”
A large commanding Reywal barked.
His soldiers did so, and embarked,
In groups of three down each path,
Tiered, and with growing wrath,
At being forced to chase so far,
The dangerous escapee Gar.
And not a one, thought it fun,
That their commanders made them run.
“Where are we going?!” again Poepi panted,
While behind them, the Reywal ranted,
Baneful curses, and screams to stop.
Suddenly, there came a “Pop!”
As the map stone’s shining gem,
Changed to point at left of them,
To a passing corridor,
Where they rushed, cross jagged floor.
They crossed again from left to right,
As two more pops made beam change height,
To point at other hidden ways,
For which both Gar and Peopi made.
Pop pop, pop pop, pop pop, pop pop,
Back and forth they zigged and zagged,
Pop pop, pop pop, pop pop, pop pop,
Down dark stairs they slipped and slagged.
Far down in the tunnel way,
They heard foul sounds, most evil made,
And stopped to hide, all in a row,
Shielding tight, the map stone’s glow.
That was when a forceful wind,
Starting weak and whisper thin,
Grew up louder as they cowered,
Until it wailed and wildly showered,
Gar and Poepi and the Pixie,
Forceful as a gale at sea.
And then a massive snaking bulk,
Of hundred legs, skitting and skulk,
Rushed right past them and again,
Up the stairs, to the domain,
Of the Giant ’s coming soldiers,
Leaving tunnel chilled and colder.
Screams soon came that made them balk,
Poepi and even Kamal Kamock,
Torturing their straining ears,
Chasing them quick, down the stairs.
And when a second monster came,
Like the first but not the same,
From a different corridor.
Again the trio dropped to floor,
Flat atop the glowing wings,
Of Pixie and her tinklings,
Just as the thing fast past them rushed,
And its wind, which all sounds crushed,
Left them deaf with ringing ears.
Quick they mastered all their fears,
And held the map stone’s beam aloft,
Where it pointed to the soft,
Darkness of another tunnel,
Which was a metaphoric funnel,
Of desperation they should follow,
To save themselves from being swallowed.
“Where are we going!” again Poepi yelled,
As Gar laughed loud, but could not tell,
If he was well or had gone madd.
He looked at her, with wide eyes glad,
And kissed her full hard on the mouth,
Holding hands and body south,
Then tugged her arm again and went,
Further into monster’s vent.
Down and down and down and down,
The three fled fast amid the sound,
Of howling wind and screams and shouts,
Until they all came stumbling out,
Of a full faced flight of stairs,
Straight into a stench filled lair.
And what they saw next made them stare:
Another monster waiting there!
Its leggy, snaky, blobby bulk,
Blocked their way, and snuck and skulked,
With coils wound wide, and flat, and full,
And thick at least as ten men tall.
Piled up high, five coils to sky,
With massive jaws and hooded eyes.
The trio stopped short in the holt,
And turned around and made a bolt,
Straight back to the tunnel's entrance,
Terrified out of their senses,
Eyeballs bulging, voices screaming,
Wild arms waiving, legs a-leaving.
But then thing’s eyes caught quick the sight,
Of the map stones’ compass light,
And with its super snake like speed,
It flashed, and moved, and hissed and breathed,
A venomous breath, for poisoning,
And them encircled in a ring,
While skitting quick across the floor,
Blocking out the exit door.
That was the instant Poepi found,
The map stone’s light was pointing down,
Not left or right to corridors,
But straight down, into the floor.
The pixie faerie flew up high,
Fleeing, fleeing, monster’s eyes,
But its snapping head hard hit her,
And knocked her down, and stunned her glitter.
Gar leapt up upon the coils,
And cast a spell and fireballs roiled,
From his hands and broke apart,
Upon its scales in burning darts,
But did not slay the horrid bite,
Of the creature’s appetite.
Poepi frantically searched the floor,
And found what she was looking for,
The map stone’s light showed a chink,
Into which the gem could sink.
But then the creature’s leggy tail,
Knocked her sprawling and she wailed,
In pain and dropped the gemstone down.
Gar dove to save her at the sound,
And as he did the monster munch,
Swallowed him up like a lunch,
So that a struggling, flexing, bump,
Slipped down its gullet, a sliding hump,
That was when the other brood,
Of monster’s having eaten food,
Came back to the happless cavern,
And saw more morsels for the having
Pushing past the first one’s body,
Straight at Poepi, drooling slobby.
One struck the monster, that swallowed Gar,
While other skirted round to mar,
The cavern spot where Poepi sat,
And struck at her and hissed and spat,
But missed as she dove back to where,
She had been standing unprepared,
When she lost the map stone gem.
To her relief she saw it then,
And started crying desperately,
Breathing weeping on her knees,
Hoping hoping hoping hoping,
Arms out wide, fingers groping,
As she felt fast for the slit,
Into which the gem would fit.