The Boy Who Was Wanted Dead Or Alive - Or Both by Dominic Barker

The Boy Who Was Wanted Dead Or Alive - Or Both by Dominic Barker

Author:Dominic Barker
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Published: 2007-03-24T16:00:00+00:00

Chapter 31

‘Is there no way we can get him to understand?’ asked Princess Lois, pulling irritably at a loose thread on her red dress.

‘The horse must surely be more intelligent than Blart,’ maintained Beo the Warrior. ‘And he can understand.’

‘It is so frustrating,’ explained an exasperated Capablanca. ‘If I could use a spell then I could explain what we want him to do.’

The questors were sitting by a stream. Pig was nearby drinking from it. They had spent the past few hours trying desperately to communicate to Pig that they wanted him to take them to the place where Capablanca had imprisoned Zoltab. They had flown back to the crossroads where Pig and Capablanca had separated from the other questors – Pig showed no signs of recognising the place. They had reconstructed the way that they had all dismounted and waved Capablanca off before turning their backs so as not to see which way he took. This, too, had failed to have any significant effect on Pig.

‘Is it possible that you cast the Great Spell of Fog on the horse as well?’ asked Beo.

‘I am sure I would not have done,’ said Capablanca. ‘If we could only establish some form of rudimentary communication with Pig, he would take us to Zoltab’s prison,’ said Capablanca.

The questors all looked at Pig the Horse, who, after his exertions of earlier in the day, was still drinking heavily from the stream.

‘Perhaps I could help,’ said Uther.

‘You can talk to horses?’ asked Beo.

Uther shook his head.

‘I am no more than a humble merchant and businessman,’ he said, ‘but I have travelled widely and I have heard men speak –’

‘And women,’ interjected Princess Lois.

‘I do not listen to women,’ answered Uther loftily. ‘In my experience they do not have heads for business.’

Princess Lois fixed Uther with a glare that suggested she disagreed.

‘I have heard men speak,’ continued Uther, ‘of a strange old crone who can shout at horses and understand their replies.’

‘Can she shout to pigs too?’ asked Blart eagerly.

‘Where is this woman that you speak of?’ asked Capablanca.

‘I have heard it said,’ answered Uther, ‘that she dwells in the enchanted Forest of Arcadium.’

‘There is no time to lose,’ said Capablanca. ‘Flying on Pig we may be able to reach the forest by tomorrow morning. Not only does the destiny of Illyria lie in our hands, there is also the threat that Zoltab’s minions will manage to interfere with our plans.’

‘They will surely have given up after being outwitted at the circus,’ said Uther confidently.

‘You are wrong,’ said Capablanca. ‘They will never give up.’

Uther looked as though he were about to disagree with Capablanca but then changed his mind. ‘Let us get going, then,’ he said instead.

As soon as they had all mounted, the great horse once more accelerated and rose into the sky. Already the daylight was beginning to fade and after Capablanca had directed Pig to fly to the east the sun set rapidly behind them. The blue sky grew orange and then red as the sun disappeared, and then the red became purple, and finally the purple turned to black.


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