Dare quest the tiger, p.5
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       Dare Quest - The Tiger, p.5
 

           Brian Smith
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Anthony were all ears.

  “Of course,” Princess Geetu said, “if I help you, then you will do something for me.”

  “We’ll do anything if you can help us ride a real live tiger without being eaten.”

  “Anything?” the princess smiled. “Very well then. I want you to take me with you. I want to see the world, I want to have adventures like you do, I also want to travel into the future and the past and all those wonderful places you’ve seen.”

  The boys looked crestfallen. The magic only worked for them. No one else had ever managed to come with them. How could they promise to do something that was not possible for them? Of course they knew that they could simply lie to Geetu, promise her anything she wanted and then, when the magic took them away again there would be nothing Geetu could do anymore to stop them. But that would be dishonest. It would be a shame on them that would stay with them all their lives. It was out of the question. Geetu was their friend. They had to be honest with her.

  “The magic doesn’t let us take anyone else with us,” Edward objected.

  “Have you ever tried?” Geetu asked.

  The boys looked at the floor. It was true they had never tried, in fact the idea had never occurred to them.

  “What about your dad?” Anthony asked. “Won’t he be angry if you leave the palace with us?”

  “Of course he will,” Geetu admitted. “If he found out he would be very cross, he would be furious. I would be put under close watch and anyone found helping me would be trampled to death by the royal elephants. But he doesn’t have to know, does he?”

  The idea of getting trampled to death by elephants made Geetu’s request sound even worse than before.

  The boys looked at the floor unhappily not daring to look Geetu in the eye.

  Geetu laughed. “What now, I thought you were heroes who weren’t afraid of fighting dragons and aliens? What is there to fear for you? You’re not afraid of taking me along, are you?”

  This was altogether too much for the boys.

  “Of course we’re not afraid,” Edward said piqued. “It’s just, well, how can we promise to take you along on a magic adventure if we don’t know how to do it? It would be dishonest to promise you something we can’t do and we don’t want to lie to you.”

  They hoped this would stop her but she just smiled.

  “All you have to do is take me along with you out of the palace and promise you will allow me to go with you when the time comes. I know how to go with you on your magic adventure, it’s simple really,” she giggled.

  The boys were surprised.

  “All right, we promise,” they said. “But how can you know how to come with us?”

  “You’ll see,” Geetu said mysteriously.

  The very next morning Geetu helped them to get some provisions packed in three rucksacks. She knew it was foolish to embark on an adventure without food and drink and she also brought some weapons. There was a sword for each of them and chainmail which they wore over their clothes. They each picked up their things and Geetu led the way out of her secret room and through the corridor. They came to a long spiral staircase and descended it all the way down. At the bottom was an old wooden door. Geetu lit a torch and then put a large iron key into the lock and tried to turn it. The key wouldn’t budge. The children grabbed it together and turned with all their might and main. Finally, with a loud creaking sound the rusty lock opened. They pushed the door open and stared into a long, dark, narrow corridor that was sloping downwards.

  “Come now,” Geetu said.

  They closed the door behind themselves and walked down the corridor. There were several twists and turns and they walked for more than two hours by the torchlight. At long last they came to another ancient wooden door. They ascended yet one more long staircase past numerous doors till they came out onto a courtyard. Smoke and the noise of shouting filled the air. Just as they stepped out into the courtyard a man fell off the battlements screaming and landed on the ground not far from them. They were in midst of a battle!

  “Where are we?” Edward asked.

  Several arrows came flying over the wall and one almost hit Anthony.

  “We’re in one of the outlying forts,” Geetu said. “From here it’s not far to the jungle where...”

  Edward jumped on her and pushed Geetu to the ground. An arrow missed her by inches.

  “I hate this place,” Anthony complained. “Let’s go back to the palace. It was nice there.”

  Geetu thought quickly. She hadn’t expected any fighting around the fort.

  “Let’s hide and wait until night falls,” she said. “Then we can sneak out of the fort.”

  They were about to creep back into the building when they were stopped by a soldier.

  “Halt!” he cried. “Where do you think you’re going! Up onto the walls and defend the fort or I’ll have you hanged in the name of the raja.”

  Left with no choice the children drew their swords and rushed up a flight of stairs to the battlements. When they reached the top a siege ladder crashed against the wall near them and furious enemy soldiers charged up. The grim faced soldiers would be their end if they reached the top.

  “Quick, help me!” Edward shouted. He started pushing the ladder away from the wall. The enemy soldier came up and grabbed Edward’s wrist. The ladder was now moving away from the wall but Edward couldn’t break free from the soldier who was grabbing him.

  “Help!” Edward shouted.

  Anthony and Geetu grabbed Edward by his legs and tried to hold him. The ladder swung away from the wall and pulled the three children along. An arrow shot from the battlements hit the soldier in the chest and he let go of Edward. Too late! The ladder with the three children on it fell away from the wall and crashed into a tree. Some soldiers further down the ladder fell off, but the children managed to cling to the branches of the tree. The battle was still raging around the fort but luckily no one seemed to care about them or the ladder. When they were sitting safely on a large branch they pushed away the ladder which fell to the ground. Soon after some soldiers came to take the ladder, but nobody noticed the children hiding in the tree.

  The battle raged for several more hours. The children had no choice but to wait patiently until the attack was at last repelled and the enemy withdrew.

  “Now’s our chance,” Edward whispered.

  They quickly climbed down the tree and made for the nearby jungle. The fort was built on a hilltop and it was a long way down. Now they were glad that Geetu had the foresight to bring along ample provisions for all of them.

  When the boys thanked her she simply said “Adventures are no fun with an empty stomach.”

  She saw the boys looking up at the sky. It was getting dusk and soon it would be dark.

  “We lost too much time at the fort,” she said. “We’ll have to camp in the jungle tonight.”

  The Fort after the attack

  The boys groaned. Their first night in the jungle had been a disaster – mosquitoes, a storm and the thuggee temple were still fresh in their minds.

  “Don’t worry,” Geetu said. “I know how to keep off mosquitoes. And as for bears and tigers,” she laughed, “pukka heroes like you won’t mind a little danger.”

  Now what could Edward and Anthony say to that? They had defeated a dragon and aliens and other dangerous beasts and they had told Geetu all about it. And while telling her the stories they had been happy to exaggerate their own heroism a little here and there, so how could they now tell her that they didn’t feel happy at the prospect of sleeping around tigers or bears at night?

  As for mosquitoes Geetu knew just what to do. She found a plant which they all helped to pick. They rubbed the leaves hard on their skin until they could smell a bitter scent.

  “This will keep mosquitoes away,” Geetu said.

  “Let’s make a fire before it gets really dark,” Anthony suggested.

  “Better not,” Geetu replied. “The fire won’t help us but it might attract attentio
n. Remember all the soldiers we saw earlier. They could be around here somewhere and see the fire. They looked like a nasty rough bunch. I wouldn’t want to fall into their hands.”

  “Especially as you’re the raja’s daughter,” Edward said.

  “Yes, but that too we better not mention anymore. Someone might overhear us. Anyway, let’s just lie down under some bushes and sleep. We’ll be out of sight and no one will find us.”

  6

  Somewhere below the hills that our three heroes were descending Mowgli was with his friend Bagheera. Mowgli loved the jungle. It was his home and its inhabitants were his friends, well maybe not all, there were a few exceptions such as Shere Khan the tiger who firmly believed that Mowgli was his prey, and there were a few others Mowgli had to beware of. Yet on the whole the jungle was a safe and happy place for him, safer than many big cities are today with their noise and pollution and the dangerous traffic. But then of course Mowgli knew nothing about such matters. He was content to live in the jungle and never wanted to be separated from his friends.

  Mowgli takes a nap with Bagheera the panther

  On the very same evening that Geetu and her new friends lay down for the night under some bushes Mowgli had found a warm soft spot to rest his head for the night – Bagheera’s belly. Bagheera was one of Mowgli’s best friends and what safer way was there to sleep in the jungle than under the watchful eye of the mighty black cat.

  The following morning Mowgli woke up, stretched and hugged his friend.
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