They sat together in the Great Hall. Now they were seven, Queen Dillberry would have to play keyboards.
Rooty toot toot!
The pondering had long since finished and all seven were now deep in dialogue. Peter was more than happy with his newly acquired underclothing, though a little perturbed at the potential embarrassment and inherent danger of bending over with his rear end pointing up toward the Moon. Greg felt the outcome so far had been successful and quietly fulfilling, though he knew the task wasn’t over yet. This would be nothing more than a temporary respite.
A chance to draw breath.
A chance to draw little stick men in the corners of a book and animate them to produce a very poor cartoon effect.
A chance to ask the King and Queen what is blowing in the wind.
A chance to write and talk in clichés, as it were.
A chance to play strip poker with three lovely young ladies.
The Fairies felt it was time to bring the travellers down to the ground.
They pointed out that despite the pleasure given by the magic underpants it was only a brief measure and to find permanent relief Peter would have to travel deep inside his head, and deep inside the interior of the continent to search for a Permanent Cure.
“Is there such a thing as a Permanent Cure for the Dukes!?” asked Hanny.
“Legend says there is…” said the Queen.
“Well let´s ask Legend then,” said Greg.
“…but the journey is perilous,” continued Dillberry, ignoring the stupidity of the diminutive Goblin. “Many have attempted it, none have returned. It is written that the quest involves a journey Down South to find the Fabled Lake of the Gloompty Fish. There the intrepid explorer must find a Bold Imp with a Sturdy Boat that will take the courageous adventurer out into the middle of the Great Fabled Lake. Then he must sort out his tackle and begin the Herculean task of fishing for the Great Gloompty Fish. After writhing and fighting the Monster fish for many hours he will land the catch on the Sturdy Boat and bas h the fucker to death. At the end of this arduous task the Hero must rapidly get back to the shore of the Town on the edge of the Great Fabled Lake of the Gloompty Fish, find the legendary Imp who extracts potions from Strange Fabled Creatures and persuade this other Hero to extract the oil from the Magical Liver of the Gloompty Fish. Legend then says applying this fresh Liver Oil to the affected parts will lead to a Permanent Cure for the Dukes!”
“Well that sounds just fabulous,” said Peter. “I suppose I’d best be off as soon as I can. It’s me with the sore bottom and me that needs to cure it. So Queenie, if you could just give me a map and a bit of scran to see me through the next few days then I’ll be off love.”
“It could just be a fable,” added the Queen.
The Queen smiled at him, her beast like face almost betraying a touch of childhood beauty.
“No way young Pixy. You can’t undertake that journey alone. I would expect that your facially challenged friend (she grimaced at Greg) at least he will want to travel with you. And I will grant you a further companion. I will send one of my lovely Fairy Maidens with you.”
Hanny, Nouf and Thanthat all looked eagerly toward the Queen. They were all eager to take any chance to get out of washing the floppy flappy flabby bits of the Majestic King.
Dillberry looked from one to the other then back again. She knew that Innocent had more than an inkling in his dinkling for Hanny.
“It will be Fairy Hanny all the way!” declared the Queen,” She will be a good guide for you and is skilled in many tongues; I hear many great compliments regarding her tongue work. Besides she will be able to monitor your use of the Magic Underpants, report back to me on their effectiveness ensuring they are fit for purpose. It´s always important to have standards and meaningful targets, don´t you know! And if you eventually get the Fabled Bum Cure I would hope that Hanny would bring back any spare Gloompty Fish Liver Oil for my experiments.”
Greg bowed. “Majestic Queen Dillberry, I will gladly travel with Peter. He needs my looks and my brains if we are to make any progress.”
“That’s that failed then,” said the King in an aside to Nouf.
“And Majesty I too will be more than pleased to travel on this quest,” said Hanny. “This journey to destroy the burning ring. It will be an amusement; it will get me away from having to scrub the hygienically challenged Monarch, a pleasure I can survive without for as long as necessary!”
“That’s settled then,” said the Queen. “See ya!”
With that the Pixy, the Goblin and Fairy Hanny departed the Great Hall, with its fine columns, its four walls and its roof, to head Down South to the fabled land of the Lake of the Gloompty Fish.
What adventures would befall them?
What fun would they have?
Would there be any shenanigans with two guys and one doll?
Would they meet many strange and interesting characters that seemed too outlandish to be true?
It was time to make preparations.
Hanny took charge of this and put together packs of food and spare clothing. Being a logical and highly intelligent young gal she put each of the prepared goods into packs and labelled them. There were eight packs in all so she wrote down the contents on a list and labelled them from ‘A’ to ‘H’. She then assigned the packs amongst the three of them.
She made sure that Peter was carrying preparation ‘H’.
They left the Great Castle of Setebos via door number three, turned right, went up the road and bumped into Steve of the Guard. Being a nosey Gnome he asked how it had gone, what was happening, any juicy gossip to tell the guys as they stagged on overnight?
“What’s the buzz, tell me what a happening is!” he said.
Hanny explained the scenario and the quest to a scintillated Steve.
“Sounds cool,” said the Head of the Guard, “any chance of coming with you?”
“But what about your duties here?”
“Bored! It’s crap! I’d rather watch paint dry or be eaten by a fabled multi-coloured fish. This isn’t the life for me. I want adventure!”
So it was that that evening Peter the Pixy, Greg the Goblin, Steve the Gnome and the Fairy Hanny headed out of the West Gate of the Great City of Setebos.
They walked several miles before one of them remembered that the quest lay Down South. So turning left they set off on what would be the Greatest Adventure of their lives, a Magnificent Swashbuckling Tale on the Quest to find a Permanent Cure for Piles!