The Amazing Tales of Princess Amelia – Chapter 1

The Amazing Tales of Princess Amelia

Chapter 1

Once upon a time, in a land very far away, beyond the Big Pirate and Mermaids Sea, across the Shining Light Desert and the Dragons Teeth Mountains, in a secret hidden magical valley, full of beautiful green hills and winding streams, lay a happy little village surrounding a tall sandstone castle on top of a hill. The village was called Apple and the little paved streets started from the edge of the farms, wound up through the houses and children’s play areas, through the markets and shops, across a strong wooden drawbridge, to the large open gateway, called Nod, the only known entrance through the smooth polished steeply sloping outer walls to the Castle. Through this gateway Nod, one could glimpse the large courtyards and gardens beyond and the radiating glow from the warm golden sandstone walls of the most beautiful castle in the world. It was called the Jewels Castle, because within its walls were the most glorious sparkling rooms and decorations. It is rumoured by distant travellers that the village of Apple has the wisest rulers and is the happiest place to live in all the kingdoms.

Last year the brave, wise and beloved King Jay, who had a young and equally handsome five year old son Sebastian,  had finally decided to marry his young sweetheart Princess Emma and the wedding was celebrated throughout the kingdom for seven days. There was great joy and singing in the streets and all the village folk were invited into the castle grounds for the feasts and entertainment. There were performances by singing groups, gymnasts, clowns, trapeze artists, magicians and many others, throughout each day and late into the evenings. All this joy drew special good magic into Apple and the fruits of such love and happiness were sown. Nine months later the King and Queen declared to Apple and their Kingdom that they had borne a child, a most beautiful and radiant daughter, whom they named Amelia, for the work and fertility of the land and people of Apple. Another seven days of celebrations were held and word of the birth of Amelia spread across to all the kingdoms. Many wondrous gifts were brought to castle Jewel, but the greatest gift to the King and Queen was holding Amelia and looking lovingly at their miracle. She looked so pretty and peaceful and content. Jay and Emma looked into each other’s eyes, and thanked the stars.

Seven mostly wonderful years later…

“Grandpa Ant, what are you making” Amelia gasped breathlessly after climbing all 54 steps up to her grandfathers workroom in his tower. He always seemed to be making something crazy to fly, or pull up water from the moat, or to show if plants were happy, and even swords that could cut through rock;- she was never allowed to tell anyone about that invention, except mummy and daddy in secret, in case bad people came.

“ This will be for you when it’s finished, miss nosy, now you can watch but don’t touch and don’t interrupt ok?”

“Ok, I promise Grumpy.. I mean Gramps” she said with a cheeky grin. She noticed that he was putting something glittering and gold into a tiny hexagonal locket. But it was glowing on and off and suddenly shot up with a screaming noise toward the ceiling, knocking grandpa Ant off his chair and scattering bits of paper all over the room. Amelia felt a blast of warm air blow her hair back and she almost fell over. “Grandpa are you ok?” she yelled in panic and rushed over to him. “Yes, yes thank you angel” he replied scrambling to his feet. He rushed over to west wall worktop and grabbed a grapple pole with a strange metallic dome on the end of it. The glittering gold object was spinning and bumping up against the ceiling still making a loud shrieking noise and pulsing a blue light on and off.

“Amelia, you must listen; go out and close the door ok? This could be dangerous. I’ll call you as soon as I’ve captured it. Quick now. I can’t risk it with you standing there” Grandpa Ant shouted.

“And you say that’s for me? Ha! Ok I’m going, I’m going. Be careful ok?” Amelia yelled running out and slamming shut the outside door of the tower. She stood there shivering a little. “please be careful” she whispered to herself and then heard clamouring footsteps and yelling coming up the tower stairs. “oh no” she thought. She knew that there would be big trouble if Mummy and Daddy thought that she was exposed to any danger. She opened the door again and rushed inside, closing it quickly behind her. At that moment the sound from the pulsing object stopped, as Grandpa trapped in inside the dome and lowered it down to his workbench. A few seconds later the door crashed open and two guards stood in the doorway looking stern but dumbfounded. Shortly afterwards King Jay pushed his way past them and asked what on earth that noise was?

“I was just testing some annoying noises son” Grandpa Ant said cheekily but Amelia could see that he was nervous, having exposed her to potential danger.

“Um Dad, it made such a loud annoying noise” she stammered, looking quickly at Grandpa “ that I’m afraid I dropped it out the window into the moat. So sorry again Grandpa” she cried running over and giving him a hug.

“Sorry son, I didn’t know it would make such a racket. I’ll let you know next time I do a similar experiment” explained Ant with an inner sigh of relief and full of wonder at Amelia’s quick thinking.

“Ok Pops. Come on little one, time for dinner. Special treat for pudding” King Jay said bending down and picking up his daughter. He would discuss this ‘experiment’ issue a little later. “You coming Pops?”

“in a few minutes son. Bye angel” Grandpa said closing the door behind them. That was close. He should never have risked inserting it with Amelia in the room. This time he concentrated carefully and inserted the last known ancient protection charm into the specially designed locket he made for his granddaughter. He sealed it fully and fed through the delicate golden chain, each link imbued with special properties, unbreakable and frequency-linked to the charm. He was worried deeply about the journey Amelia was about to undertake with her father King Jay, to the Outlands to visit King Elton of Oz. Even with the protection of the 50 or so Royal Guards, with their legendary fighting skills and armaments on horseback, they would be passing through the Mountain Pass of Folly and the Dark forest. Rumours were again circulating of the dreaded Fire Bees, fifty years after the last creature was thought to have been destroyed. Grandpa Ant decided to send message via his two best hawks, to his talented ally and son, Marshall Matthew of Star Lake. He worried that there may be something even more sinister lurking in those woods than even the Fire Bees. Perhaps he would accompany them on the journey after all.

The beautiful Queen Emma glowed with pride as she moved gracefully into the throne room toward her husband and Amelia. Five year old Grey, Amelia’s younger brother She was thrilled with the results of her work and knew that King Jay loved the tastefully vibrant interior décor, especially in the majestic throne room. She felt happy that he also loved her firm but caring handling of the castle staff. The staff loved their queen and she respectfully listened to their concerns or suggestions. She had also greatly increased the variety of trade routes from all across the known world which had led to new interesting spices;- new recipes which brought gasps of delight at meal times. Increasing the trade routes also led to discoveries of new technologies from far off places, to improve the lot of the kingdom.

Grandpa Ant had shown special interest in one strange old man, Merklin, who had discovered a treasure trove of ancient artifacts in caves, deep in a mountain side. He had disappeared with him for over three weeks, two years ago, and had kept secret contact ever since, but visits from the strange man were rare. Grandpa Ant and King Jay had spent many a day and night discussing and developing new ‘seemingly magical’ devices, including a corkscrew tube to lift fresh water from the moat into a large storage tank on the roof, which then fed back down through pipes, when required, into the bathing pools, kitchen basins and to flush through the toileting boxes. Also they developed new methods of mixing various minerals at specific temperatures, and created stronger shiny colourful cutlery, pots and pans which never showed signs of rust or wear, swords that were light, strong and stayed sharp far longer than the bronze swords known before.

Only a few special people knew of the very latest new swords they made, which were so sharp that the cutting edge glowed. Merklin and Grandpa Ant had discovered a strange, powerful high-energy material in those special caves, and experimentally added tiny bits of it to the forging process. After many dangerous exploding mishaps they perfected the recipe. Amelia’s pendant was finally made with the largest of these little chunks of material, once Grandpa Ant completed the experiments.

These new secret swords they called ExCaleebra swords. These swords could slice through other sword blades with ease, and even the toughest rock, and yet remain sharp. They made a high singing noise when moving through the air and had to be carefully sheathed in special scabbards. A few daggers and pikes had been made in the same manner, but King Jay feared that if word got out about this invention, some Kings, pirates and scoundrels would do anything to claim them for themselves, and that would place the whole kingdom in danger.

Queen Emma felt such pride in her men and adventurous daughter, as she sat alongside them at the meeting table, brought in to the throne room for the last minute discussions about the trip her daughter and husband were to embark on, the next morning.

The Royal Guard’s captain Paul laid out the large map and little princess Amelia stood up in her chair to get a better look. “Pretty” she said pointing at the castle on the map. Queen Emma decided that it was time to take Amelia to bed because tomorrow was an early start, and she didn’t want her to overhear some of the discussion at the table, which might be disturbing. Everyone stood to say goodnight to the princess as her mummy carried her to her room. Nanny Mishe always slept in the adjacent alcove between the door and her bed, and cared for her like her own granddaughter. After kissing Amelia goodnight and asking Nanny Mishe to keep the bedtime story short, Queen Emma then returned to the meeting.

The rumours of the Fire bees were being discussed. Everyone knew that they couldn’t be true as many a visitor had passed through the Pass of Folly and the Dark Forest without incident, so why was there any discussion on the subject, she asked. After a moments silence her father-in-law Grandpa Ant explained that with the many rumours persisting from the outer kingdoms, it would be prudent to be prepared. The Fire bees weren’t the common flying bees,  but were named after the deadly hot stingers, shot from the mouth of a large lizard- like creature, which made a buzzing sound moving through the air and would poison a person into paralysis if hit. Unless treated within about an hour, that person would likely die. The treatment medicines would be taken along just in case. Amelia would be kept safe within one of the supply wagons which were covered in a material that King Jay and Grandpa Ant claimed would be totally resistant to any such attack.

The fact that they were discussing any such rumour unsettled Queen Emma and she asked “Should we be letting our daughter go on this trip?” King Jay laughed “She is so looking forward to seeing her cousins and I’m sure that she will be totally safe under our protection. I have 48 well-armed men and we would easily dispose of any such creature, as did our forefathers back in the day. I couldn’t say no to her now; she would make our lives a misery. In any case it is just rumour and I’m sure ill founded by folk just wanting attention. Remember that we sent three expeditions over the last few years to investigate such rumour and found no sign that such a creature still existed.” Queen Emma felt a little more relieved with her husband’s reassuring tone and they continued with further discussion about the two -day journey. They would be away for eight days in total.

After the meeting King Jay and Grandpa Ant sat in the small study having a drink of grape liquor. “A fine wife you have there, son. I couldn’t be prouder of you both and I don’t know what I would do without having little Amelia in my life. She is so mature and the brightest five year old I’ve ever known. I’ve decided to join you on this trip tomorrow if that’s ok, and I’ll ride on the wagon with Amelia.”

“That’s great Pop, I’d hoped you would change your mind. El hasn’t seen you for over a year so he’ll be thrilled, as will Reese and Harry”

“Well, I’m going to bring along three ExCaleebra swords and daggers, one for each of us and one for El. Matt’s I’ve kept aside for when he visits. I’ve also completed the special pendant and necklace for Amelia which I will give her before we set off, with your blessing.”

“ Hmmm… ok! I’m not sure how likely it is that such a device could work in the way you describe, but so happy you’re coming along. It’ll be a blast catching up with El and his clan. I guess we’d better be heading off for our beauty sleep. You need it haha!”

An hour after sunrise the next day, the Kings men were all saddled up and ready to go. The three supply wagons were positioned in the middle section of the cavalry and King Jay led the procession out through the village to the cheers of the village folk, standing either side of the cobbled streets and lanes. Once in the farmlands, King Jay moved back through the line of royal guards, to check on his little princess and father in the front wagon. Grandpa Ant was sitting with Amelia and the driver on the cushion covered platform seat at the front of the wagon, enjoying the view and waving to the workers in the fields.

“Enjoying the ride Amelia?” King Jay asked Princess Amelia, moving his beautiful white steed up alongside the wagon.

“Grandpa says I have to move inside when we get to the hills. I want to stay out here. It’s so pretty with all the flowers. Please can I?”

“You must listen to Grandpa darling. He knows best and will only make you move inside when he thinks it’s important, ok? I will keep coming back to say hi too. Are you ok pop? In three hours we should hit the pass. I’ll rely on your judgement with Amelia’s safety but can’t imagine there’ll be any problems. Our men will ensure the road’s kept clear up ahead. I’m moving back through the lines now to check on my men. Be good Amelia. Love you, listen to Grandpa”

“Cheers son. She’ll be fine.” Grandpa Ant replied “Look angel, see that eagle in the sky? That’s Beady eye returning from her flight to uncle Matthew. Let’s see if she has a message for me.”

Grandpa Ant slipped on a thick leather arm sleeve and held up his arm. The bird swooped in and landed on his arm much to the alarm of the driver but to the whooping joy of Amelia. “Ok sweetheart, take out the scroll from the canister on his leg as I’ve shown you before. That’s it; now close the lid again. Good girl. Okay Beady, off you go.” The eagle swept gracefully back into the air and headed back to the castle. Grandpa Ant unravelled the scroll and perused the message. It was mixed news. His third son King Matthew of Star Lake (Matt) mentioned that the rumours of Fire bees had been given some credence by local doctor Quin, who claimed to have seen three fatally stung people brought to him on a open pan wagon three weeks earlier from the village of Kitten; that was just thirty miles north of the Dark Forest. Matthew would be sending twenty knights to meet us at our first night’s base camp, between the Pass and the Forest. They would bring their own supplies and accompany us through the Dark forest. They would then return to scour through the forest and the village of Kitten to get to the bottom of this rumour. He wished us good fortune and best wishes for our family gathering. He hoped to join us three days from now at King El’s castle.

Grandpa Ant was thrilled to hear that Matthew would be joining them. If only daughter Jen had been able to bring her family, but that would only be possible in a few years time. They lived almost three months journey away by land and sea on a large sunny island. The family were born adventurers it seemed and had spread out across many kingdoms and lands. Adventure was in the blood and Grandpa Ant was sure that young Amelia would want to see the world but hopefully would always stay close.

When King Jay passed by again, Grandpa Ant handed him the scroll from his brother Matthew. Jay was also shocked by the doctors claim, but pleased that he would see his brother again so soon. He felt relief that they had brought the medicines, just in case. So the rumours may true be after all. However the Fire Bee lizards are not too difficult to kill.

The trip through the Pass of Folly was stunning to the eye. The forests of Plain trees had autumn leaves of gold, brown and red. The steep mountain faces just behind, on both sides of this wide valley, rose high up into the sky, touching the clouds, the northern face glowing red in the sunlight. Thankfully the valley ran due east west so the sun stayed with them right through to the other side, where the plains of golden grass, waving in the wind, swept out openly on all sides as far as the eye could see. As their wagon rode the rough curved road to the right, Grandpa Ant looked back towards the Pass and caught a glimpse of what looked like the dark silhouette of a giant man-like creature standing in the road but then it suddenly leaped at a great height toward the northern ridge. He felt a distinct chill travel up his spine. It couldn’t be! The setting sun behind the shape must have distorted his vision and was surely playing tricks on his mind? The wagon trail now ran north towards the Dark Forest and Grandpa Ant felt relief that they would be stopping soon to set up camp, and only travel that forest during the daylight hours tomorrow.

King Jay had just reached the rear of the cavalcade and was pleased with his men and horses. All looked in order and the rearguard looked superb in their red and silver armour and the horses wore colourful leather chest and flank guards and most had their manes braided with ribbon and beads. Each knight, often with the help of their families, had the freedom to add decorative items to the basic leather protective gear of the horse, resulting in a most stunning display. It also reminded each knight, guard and soldier, of their family and village they fought to protect. King Jay missed not having his wife accompany him on this journey but there were just too many pressing issues to resolve with the coming of harvest. As he directed his horse around the rearguard, in order to ride back up the other side of the calvalcade, he caught movement back at the Pass, out of the corner of his eye. He swung around in the saddle to get a better look but it was gone. He felt a little uneasy but told himself that it was probably a goat or some animal although it seemed much larger against the setting sun. He was not a man to take chances, especially with his precious daughter on the trip, and instructed the rearguard to keep an eye out behind them at regular intervals. He canted up the left flank of the soldiers until reaching his daughter and father, still both sitting up front.

“Is the little monster behaving Pop? he said with a big smile.

“I am not a monster!” Amelia squealed with a mischevious flash of her eyes.

“We should be at camp in about half an hour then you can stretch your legs. Is everything ok on board? Good. I’ll see you once we’ve settled in at the main fire” he said and moved on up the line. He could sense from his father’s eyes that he had something on his mind to discuss. Meanwhile he must get back to the front and welcome brother Matthew’s soldiers who may already be setting up camp.

As they rode over the last hill toward the wide open camp clearing, King Jay could see that the large fires had already been lit, creating beautiful bright orange glows against the purple light of the dusk sky. The woodsmoke smell of the burning logs brought back many memories of his early years, and the many stories told by his father and friends around the camp fires. A loud ‘ahoy’ rang across the clearing and Matthew’s soldiers came forward and bowed to greet the King and his men. Captain One-eye reported that they had arrived two hours earlier and passed on the messages from King Matthew and updated them on recent events in Star Lake.

Soon all had dismounted, fed and watered the travel weary horses and swapped stories. Amelia and Grandpa Ant came over to join the noisy laughing main party of men sitting on logs around the main fire. After drinks and a hot meat and vegetable meal, Amelia finally admitted she was tired and was carried warmly by her father and tucked in to her bed in the wagon. Two guards were on shift duty throughout the night to protect her wagon and another ten kept constant vigil around the camp throughout the night. It was a clear mild evening with just a sliver of moonlight rising in the eastern sky and the stars were extra bright. King Jay and Grandpa Ant quietly discussed the sighting of the creature in the Pass and decided not to alarm the others at this point but would speak to the group leaders first light before moving on. A bright shooting star shot across the heavens. Some wolves howled in the distance. Both men secretly kept an eye on Amelia’s wagon and slept alongside it that night.

Amelia awoke to the sound of laughter and a warm beam of sunlight sparkled merrily through the front opening of the wagon. Daddy climbed aboard and decided to tickle her out of bed. “Come on sleepy head. Time to get up; breakfast is ready. No nanny for you today so I’ll brush your hair. No bath either until we reach your uncle’s home. Now your Grandpa has a special gift for you so just sit there a moment. Hey Pop she’s ready” he called out. She felt the wagon move from side to side and Grandpa Ant popped his head through the opening. “Close your eyes” he said “and put out your hands together”. Amelia held shut her eyes tightly and held her hands out. She felt so excited as something cool like sand poured into her hands. “Ok, open your eyes”. “Wow! That’s pretty! Is that.. What is it?” she asked in wonder. Grandpa explained that it was a magic necklace and charm that she must wear at all times, and that it would protect her from harm. But she should keep it hidden under her top for now. “ If Harry tried to hit me or if someone shot an arrow at me would it save me?” she asked. “ Yes” said Grandpa but it is a very big secret and only mummy, daddy and grandpa knows about it at the moment and you must… ” “And me!” Amelia interrupted proudly. “Yes and you know about it too” daddy confirmed “But it’s the same as the special swords; you must not tell anyone else outside our close family darling. If anyone asks, just say it’s a pretty gold necklace that Grandpa gave you. Only you know it’s really magic”. Amelia looked up at Grandpa and he gave her a secret wink. She knew that this was the pendant with that spinning thing in it and she still wasn’t going to get him into trouble. She leaped up and gave Grandpa and daddy a big hug and kiss and said thank you at least three times.

Before setting off through the Dark Forest, there was discussion about the giant creature Grandpa Ant and some other soldiers had seen, and also glimpsed briefly by King Jay.

Back when Grandpa Ant was a young prince, he had been with his father and over three hundred men fighting against the Fire Bee dragon lizards and the giant creature they called Terraloon, who seemed to have control over the lizards. The Terraloon was so powerful that it just leaped in amongst the knights and soldiers, with one giant jump from fifty feet away, scattering and killing them with mighty blows, whilst the Fire bees attacked from all sides. King Kenneth Paul realised that their only hope of survival was to lead the creature into the traps they had set near the high cliffs and the calvalcade raced away, leaving the slower dragon lizards in pursuit, but the Terraloon was faster than any of them, and just before the cliffs it had bounded high over the heads of the riders landing thirty feet in front of them, facing the King and his Knights including Grandpa Ant. The Terraloon just stood there, towering at twice the height and size of the tallest man, knowing that no sword or arrow could hurt him. He was just basking in his own power, waiting for the dragons to catch up. He stared challengingly and mockingly at the King.  Arrows swept in from the archers but bounced harmlessly off his tough dark hide. A brave group of three knights attempted to attack with swords and pikes but he grabbed one and threw him fifty feet right over the cliff into the ravine rapid below. He smashed both other knights aside with great blows of his fists, stepping forward toward the King, who stood his ground in fear but unflinching. Suddenly the great steel trap was sprung, by the Terraloon stepping down on it, biting into the sides of the Terraloon’s calf muscles. The creature roared in discomfort and realised that the trap was also chained to large iron weights, each the size of a large rock. It backed away, dragging the weights with ease, and saw men approaching with similar traps on long chains, held before them on wooden poles. Before they could reach him he leaped back with a tremendous leap, snapping off the chains, but to his surprise he landed on a teetering rock right on the edge of the cliff. Before he could jump away the rock collapsed under his weight and with a terrifying scream he plunged down the thousand-foot drop into rocky rapids below. The army whooped in joy and celebration. King Kenneth ordered his men to fan out, hunt down and kill every Fire Bee lizard no matter what the cost. These fire spitting dragon lizards had now lost interest in attacking, and were all trying to escape back toward the long grasses and bush scrub. All were destroyed.

Three days later that Terraloon’s left arm was found two and a half miles downstream. Its skin was almost impossible to cut through even with the most savage attacks with sword or axe. The rest of his body was never found, and there was growing confidence that it could never have survived such a fall onto such jagged rocks and the wild and dangerous rapids below.

That was over forty years ago. Grandpa Ant and King Jay had not prepared for a creature such as the Terraloon. There were no traps made and they could not risk going back through the Pass, even if they decided to head back home. They must move on rapidly through the forest and hope that the silhouette some witnessed was not the monster they feared.

An hour into the forest there were loud yells from the front. The ten forward rider scouts and their horses had been found, dead or paralysed on the dirt track. King Jay spurred his great white steed forward and rushed to the scene. As the cavalcade caught up behind him, there was a loud crash through the thick snapping branches above, and suddenly there he stood, in the middle of the track, not twenty feet from the King, the terrible Terraloon. He was even more terrifying than his father had described, and King Jay realised the folly of an immediate attack. He ordered his men to hold fire and whispered to his sergeant at arms to inform his father Ant urgently. On hearing the news, Grandpa Ant realised with horror that the rumours about the Fire bees were true after all. Amelia would not be safe, no matter how many soldiers tried to protect her, so he decided that the safest option was to take her with him to join the King. He strapped on his ExCaleebra sword and dagger and similarly a dagger and sheath on the inner lining of Amelia’s jacket. “Remember what I taught you angel. Don’t pull it out unless you have a clear shot at using it. You will be scared, as all of us are, but stay by my side ok? Quick now!”

Amelia almost fainted with fear when she saw the montrous Terraloon. Grandpa Ant noticed that the creature’s left arm had almost entirely grown back. It was definitely the same one that had fallen over the cliff! Her father was angry that precious Amelia was brought up so close to the creature, but was about to discover why his father had made that choice, rather than leaving her in the wagon. She stood behind them both peeking through the gap between them at the giant dark-skinned creature, which was standing fearless and making some strange clicking noises with its tongue. Two large Fire bee dragon lizards, twice as long as a man, silently glided out of the bushes and waited silently each side of the Terraloon.

The soldiers readied their weapons but again the King instructed them to hold fire. He desperately hoped that this creature would just move on and let them get to safety. What was it waiting for? “What do you want of us?” he asked loudly, not knowing if it had any understanding of language. The Terraloon then stared menacingly at Grandpa Ant and he wondered if it could possibly remember him as a young man from so long ago. Amelia stared and then saw the monster look at her and her heart sank. He made another clicking sound, while still staring into her eyes. She froze in fear and desperately wanted to hide. Suddenly loud screams and pandemonium could be heard all along the calvalcade, as Fire bees attacked from both sides. The soldiers fought back bravely refusing to run. However the dragons either side of the Terraloon remained motionless. The forward knights and archers awaited the Kings orders to attack. Amelia saw her father and grandfather look at each other and they drew their special swords. The blade edges glowed blue and sang. With a sudden blood freezing bellow, the monster leapt forward, smashing aside knights as well as her father and grandpa Ant, before they had time to raise their swords, and grabbed Amelia in a giant fist around her waist, and leapt back to where he had stood before. He made a single loud click, like a snapping bone, and the Fire bee attacks stopped and the dragon lizards all backed away, into the forest scrub either side of the road. By then, a third of the men were dead or paralysed, and only fifteen of the scores of dragons had been slain or badly wounded.

King Jay shouted that his men again hold fire, and his orders echoed down the lines of soldiers. Medicine was urgently given to the injured. King Jay looked in horror at the Terraloon holding his beautiful but terrified Amelia right up close to it’s face. “What do you want? Put her down! I’ll give you anything you want” he yelled. Looking directly at the King, the Terraloon slowly licked his lips and bared his teeth, moving Amelia up close to his mouth. A knight that came up too close to the monster, was kicked into the branches of a tree 20 feet away, and died instantly.

The King again warned his men not to attack, in case his daughter was harmed, even though he was so enraged he felt he would explode. It was just too fast and strong, but if it hurt his little princess he would willingly die to try and save her. “Amelia, remember your lessons” Grandpa Ant yelled. Amelia was not yet hurt by the giant monster’s grip and for some strange reason now felt quite calm as she looked at the creatures revolting tongue, massive mouth and sharp yellow teeth. She certainly did not like its horrible breath. Both her hands were free but she knew she was never going to be able to break free from the Terraloon’s grip. Grandpa’s words about remembering her lessons helped her focus on the things she could possibly do and to push aside all fears of what she could not do. She was not yet close enough to use her knife, except on his giant hand and arm, but that was not a good option. She knew his neck or eyes might at least get him to drop her and then her father and grandpa would use their ExCaleebra swords which could cut through rock, and chop his horrible head off.

The Terraloon was enjoying it’s power over these humans and would kill them all, and then move on to the villages and castles. It remembered the pain it felt falling onto those rocks, where a jagged section half way down the sheer cliff face, had ripped off his arm, and he watched it tumbling down through the air after him as he fell. He woke up finally near the bank of the raging river, tangled in the branches of a tree that was being washed downstream. Up river he could see the high waterfalls that he must have plunged over. He had been washed down river some three hundred miles. He was filled with hate and anger but couldn’t remember why. He tried to move but the pain was great. After some days he had found a sheltered cave area behind the falls, and was hidden from the outside. He survived on fish initially while his injuries and his body started repairing itself. His thoughts were simple and his memories came back in dreams. The Terraloon was not intelligent like a human being, but had powerful survival instincts and abilities. His contact com was down, so he couldn’t link with his mistress or the others of his kind. For many years he survived in the wild and then the Fire bees found him and came to him. He remembered his abilities to work with these dragon lizards, and over many years they attacked and totally wiped out the small groups of people and tribes in the jungles. Through the many years no one escaped to tell others of this approaching monster and his Fire bees.

Somehow the Terraloon had found his way back after some forty years, and Grandpa Ant realised that it still looked as young and fit as when he was a boy. The situation was dire, and perhaps he should have run away with Amelia into the forests, but then his son would not have the critical support of having the two ExCaleebra  swords to defeat the monster. He had to balance all options and this seemed the best of the worst ones; well, that was until the Terraloon grabbed his angel granddaughter princess, and now he feared the very worst. This was probably the last day of life for many if not all of them. He could see that the creature was not open to any discussion or options apart from absolute revenge. No one was willing to move against the monster while it held the princess daughter of the king. He hoped frantically that Amelia would know what to do with her dagger when the time came, and that he and his son must be ready to attack the instant she makes a move, if she has the opportunity.

Glaring again at King Jay the Terraloon bared his pointy teeth in an awful smile, opened his enormous jaws and very slowly lowered Amelia’s legs into his mouth. She screamed and kicked and struck out frantically with her special dagger, at it’s hand, lips and tongue but it didn’t seem to bother it much, even though the dagger cut deeply. It didn’t yet close it’s jaws and seemed to be savouring the moment of upsetting the humans. She heard the loud frantic shouts of the men, her daddy and grandpa. Out the corner of her eye she saw her father and grandpa attacking its legs with their glowing swords and that finally did register with the monster. He collapsed down to his knees in surprise and used both arms to smash the attack off him. Amelia was still being gripped in his one hand, and she felt the mad exhileration of flying through the air in its giant fist. She had never moved so fast against gravity. But as the monster started squeezing her, and lowering her back into his mouth, there was a sudden bright blue radiance that covered Amelia’s body, pushing the creature’s fingers apart, and then the same glow moved rapidly across the Terraloon’s body and it froze in position, eyes in shock, and then toppled over onto the ground. Amelia jumped to safety just as the monster’s body turned to sand and the men just looked on in totally silent shock and surprise.

Dad and Grandpa then cried out with joy, ran up and hugged her tight. They felt such overwhelming relief that she had survived. The secret protective charm had worked. Grandpa was so excited and yelling out “I knew it! I knew it would work! What did I tell you son? Oh my goodness you wonderful girl. Come give your Grandpa another hug”. King Jay knew that Grandpa knew no such thing for sure, and must be secretly kicking himself for placing her in danger, but he was incredibly thankful that he had created such a marvel that saved his precious daughter’s life. Amelia would be so proud of this moment for the rest of her life, as would they and all the kingdom. Many of the soldiers would remember the sight of the swinging ExCallebra swords and the loud crystal singing sound of their glowing blue blades, as they cut through the air into the legs of the beast like butter. Most memorable for many though, was the sparkling blue light surrounding the little Princess when she screamed, like little flying stars or fairies, and then seeing that light brightening and exploding out over the monster, turning it to stone, before it crumbled with a slight hissing sound into mounds of what looked like coloured sands.

King Jay ordered half his own men to remain, to hunt down and kill all the remaining Fire bee dragons, ten men to remain to bury the dead, and the remainder of the army, with the wounded, to move on to King El’s castle for a well- earned rest. Marshall Matthews’ men insisted that they join the hunt for the Fire bees too, and would join up later at the castle. There would be great celebrations this night and many emotional toasts to honour the brave, especially for princess Amelia, who just couldn’t stop smiling her beautiful smile at everyone.

The End of Chapter 1

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