Where The Paths Lead by Yoon Jeong: Part 6

Chapter Twenty-One

 

Goblin KingAt just that moment, we heard a thundering voice. It was so loud it almost gave me a heart attack.

“Ah, finally,” the voice boomed. “You brought me the book.”

We all tensed. The voice was loud, hoarse and grumbling, too. It gave me goose bumps, like the sound of fingernails scratching a blackboard. I frowned.

Jason whispered to me, “That might be the goblin king.”

For a second, I was terrified. The goblin king, who had led all those goblins to this city? The one who forced the wolf king out? Who had locked Silvia in a hallway with thousands of doors? I could imagine him sitting in the wolf’s throne, ordering other goblins to do his hateful bidding. I trembled at the thought. What could we do to this terrible, cruel creature? What if it didn’t work?

 

Silvia grabbed my hand, murmuring, “We can do this. Don’t be afraid.”

I breathed deeply, trying to calm myself down. We heard no sound at all, but I pictured the goblin king reaching for the book.

Suddenly, Jason cleared his throat and said, “I’m going to climb up and peek out.” He looked around, took a deep breath, then jumped to the closest coconut palm. The trunk looked unbelievably smooth—I guessed that’s because it was a picture—but Jason didn’t seem to have any problem climbing. Suddenly, when he was just a few yards up from the ground, he stopped, rubbing his head, and frowning.

“What is it?” I asked.

Jason seemed confused. “I’m not sure, but something is blocking my way. It’s like…an invisible wall.”

The wolf king seemed to be thinking, and Silvia said, “Do you think you can break it? Like using a rock?”

Jason grabbed a coconut, twisted it free then climbed off the tree. He threw the coconut toward the sky, but it hit the invisible wall and fell to the ground. Jason put his hands in his jean pockets, staring at the sky. I spoke to the wolf king. “What do you think the goblin king will do to us?”

The wolf king answered, “I don’t think the goblin king knows we’re here, except for Jason. This trap was set for him, so that might be to our advantage.”

Jason suddenly shouted, “Hey! Look at this!” He was on the tree again, hugging the trunk tightly. His eyes were bright and he was smiling. When everyone was staring at him, he began to rub the invisible wall. No. He wasn’t rubbing it. I squinted and saw a white eraser in his hand. As he erased the wall, something magical happened. The blue sky disappeared. Instead, I saw something brown. As Jason erased more, I gasped. It was a ceiling. Then Jason poked his head up! He shouted, “Wow! This is amazing! I think the goblin king picked up the book from the forest and brought it to his room. ” But it was quickly followed by, “Uh oh.”

He jumped down from the tree. His face was pale. When he landed on the ground, he grabbed my hand, shouting “Run! Everyone run! He saw me!”

Jason was a fast runner. My legs weren’t fast enough. I panted. I shouted, “Jason, help me!” His eyes were full of fear. Just when I was going to ask him what was going on, I heard a loud voice thundering above us.

“You little rascal! When that damned sorcerer gets here, you’re dead as a fly!”

 

 


Chapter Twenty-Two

 

The wolf king and Silvia, Jason and I were all silent, ready to run again. But after a few grumbles, there was no more yelling. I realized that I had been holding my breath. I exhaled and looked at the others. Silvia sat beside the wolf king, and Jason leaned on a tree. I lay down in the grass and closed my eyes. Too many things were going on in my brain. The silence stretched long. I became impatient, so I opened my eyes and stood up.

“What are we doing now?” I said, “I mean, we can’t just sit here doing nothing.”

Jason glanced at me. His eyes were apologetic. He sighed, then said, “Promise me that you will do whatever I say.”

I frowned. “Why?”

“Please, Just promise me, will you?”

I hesitated. I worried that if I said yes, Jason would make me do something terribly dangerous. But his eyes were so desperate. I couldn’t say no. I said, “Fine, okay, yes. Now, what’s the plan?”

Jason put his hand into his pocket, then handed me something. It was his eraser. “I’ll distract the goblin king. You erase the wall, and see if anything will attract the bees we’re going to draw into the goblin king’s room, okay? It’s a big room, so look very carefully for honey, fruit, candy, whatever you can find that’s sweet. But do it quick. I can’t distract the goblin king forev….”

“What do you think you’re doing, Jason?” I snapped at him. “You’re risking your life!” He was crazy! I was angry, but at the same time, worried about him. He was my only family. What if the goblin king harmed Jason? My eyes were wet. I bit my lips to avoid crying.

Jason patted my head gently. “Don’t worry, I’ll just shout and run. The goblin king will never catch me. Now, be brave.”

I blinked, trying to get rid of the tears. I forced a smile, then nodded. Jason smiled too. He patted me again, then started to run. He shouted, “Hey! You filthy goblin, I’m here! Try to catch me!”

My brain went blank with worry, but I shook my head, trying to get rid of it. I had to concentrate on my mission. I could feel Silvia and the wolf king watching me. I picked a tree, then jumped onto it. A few yards up from the ground, I hit the invisible wall. Carefully I held the eraser, grabbing it tightly in my hand. I rubbed it against the invisibility.

TreeIt felt the same as erasing something on a paper. As I erased the wall, a brown ceiling came into view. I erased some more, making a hole big enough for my head to pop through.

I gulped, then carefully pushed my head out of the book. The room was enormous. The walls were brown, like the ceiling. There was a fireplace, though there was nothing burning. There was a big bed and beside it was a small wooden table. Two tall bookshelves full of books were standing on two walls. At one corner, a desk with many drawers.

The room was nice, but one thing ruined it. There was trash and dirty dishes all over the place. The stench of rotting food filled the room like a bad perfume.

I was about to climb down when a different scent flowed to my nose. It was hidden behind the rotting smell, but my nose caught it. It was the smell of honey. Sweet, sweet honey. I looked around. It seemed to come from the direction of the bed. A ray of sunlight danced across the room and a flash of something golden jumped at me from under the bed. I looked closer. A jar. A jar of honey? The sun flashed again, and I saw what could be the shapes of many more jars in the shadows behind the first one. Excited, I dropped down and landed beside Silvia and the wolf king, who were watching me anxiously.

Just then, we heard the goblin king’s voice. “You, you, you tiny, itty bitty rascal! Are you scared now? Why don’t you run like that, huh? You wait and see. The sorcerer will lock you there forever!” It was the voice of the goblin king.

We all held our breath, but only silence remained. I crossed my fingers, hoping that Jason had found a safe place to hide.

 

 


Chapter Twenty-Three

 

Just then, there was the rustling of leaves, and Jason appeared. His face was red, and he was panting. “Did you, find, anything, useful?” He gasped.

“Yes! I saw a jar of honey under the king’s bed, maybe more."

Jason plopped onto the ground, panting.

Silvia came close to me and put her hands on my shoulders. She said, “So. What are we doing now?”

Jason answered, “We should draw bees.” He stood up. “And find a way to get them to smell the honey.”

The wolf king interrupted. “But wait, Jason,” His eyes were uneasy. “When you draw a bee, it comes to life in a second, right? And to raise the possibility of the goblin king getting stung, we should draw more than one. A lot more than one. But what if the bees sting us before they go outside of the book into the goblin king’s room? I have a thick fur coat, so I might be okay, but what about you?” He stared anxiously at Silvia, Jason, and me.

The smile disappeared from Jason’s face, and I felt the hope seeping out of me. We were surrounded by awkward silence until Silvia cleared her throat.  “Well, yes,” she began. “Bees can sting us. But if they can’t fly…” She started to draw on the ground with her finger. She was drawing a bee, but she only drew one wing. When the bee came to life, it stumbled on the ground, fluttering its single wing. Silvia looked up at us. “Then we draw erasers to erase the ceiling, then draw a tube so the bees can climb to the king’s room. He’ll try to save his honey and they’ll sting him.”

Hope filled me again. Jason’s smile returned to his face, and I smiled back.

A minute later we were all drawing single-wing bees. Jason, Silvia and I used our fingers and sticks, and the wolf king used his sharp claws. The bees came to life instantly, but they couldn’t fly. A few minutes later, we had at least a hundred single-winged bees. The bees were stumbling over each other, shaking their useless wings. Then, we went to the second part of the plan.

We drew the erasers. Big ones. Then we each grabbed a giant eraser and scrubbed until a giant hole appeared in the ceiling. As we made the hole bigger and bigger the bees fluttered their single wings faster, as if they wanted to fly out.

But just as we finished the hole, a booming voice rang out. “Ha ha!” The goblin king chortled. “The sorcerer is knocking at the door now! Can you hear that? You better hide in that book of yours, you little rascal. Not that it will do you any good!”

We all froze in place. We had to finish the plan fast. If we didn’t, the sorcerer would get Jason and the rest of us in a second!

Jason picked up a stick and shouted, “There’s no time if the bees crawl. Just draw the wings! They’ll smell the honey and just fly out!”

We all began to draw. I wasn’t aware of anything. Not the buzzing or the goblin king. Not even the wings I was drawing. I was only aware of saving Jason.

Saving me.

Saving the wolf king and Silvia.

Saving the city.

A moment later, I realized the bees were all gone.

A moment after that, we heard a loud, long scream.

 

 

Chapter Twenty-Four

 

The scream lasted for a few seconds. It wasn’t like a scream in a horror movie. It was more than just fear. Fear, pain, and insanity combined into a single deadly shriek. It died out, and the buzzing of bees became the loudest sound. Goosebumps covered my body, and the scream echoed in my brain. I shivered, suddenly cold. Silvia’s white face was paler than ever, and Jason was muttering to himself with his eyes closed. Only the wolf king seemed calm, though his eyes were closed.

I moved my stiff limbs and grabbed a tree. When I carefully peeked out of the hole, the bees were crawling across the bed and under it, making a loud buzzing with their busy wings.

I had to cover my mouth so I wouldn’t scream. Right there, on the carpet, was an olive-green body. The body was the size of a five-year-0ld, but it was very, very fat. It was covered with bumps, even on its short legs and arms. Its small, black eyes were staring into the air without any sign of life. The lipless mouth was open, showing its sharp, yellowish teeth.

 The creature was wearing pants and a red cloak. The pants were ragged and dirty, covered with all kinds of stains. The cloak was in a similar condition. But its face and body were repulsive. The mouth was twisted, like the creature was in extreme pain. Its arms and legs were twisted with agony.

I didn’t feel pity for the goblin king, only horror.

I slowly climbed down the tree. I knew I was shuddering, but I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop thinking about the dead body. I felt too weak to stand. I crouched down and whispered, “It’s dead.”

Three sets of anxious eyes stared straight at me. I stood up and sighed. Now the goblin king was dead, and the city was safe. But…what we should we do now? We could climb out of the book, but then what? What about the sorcerer?

Suddenly, the buzzing sound faded away. We all froze again, straining to hear. And then we heard a voice.

It wasn’t the goblin king. This voice was softer, and gentler. The voice said, “Jason. Get out of there right now.”

A moment later, Jason disappeared.

I panicked.

What had happened?

Then, I heard the voice again. “All of you. Get out of there.”

Suddenly, I couldn’t see the green trees anymore. I was in the room that I had seen outside of the book. Silvia and the wolf king were with me. In front of us stood an old man with white hair and a beard. His eyes were blue as the sea, and had something in them I couldn’t quite understand. Beside him stood Jason.

The old man was smiling.

I smiled back. I had a feeling that this man would help us. The old man spoke. “I’m Dr. Sage, the sorcerer. I was a sorcerer of this city but now…Well, I had been forced to help the goblin king. If I didn’t, he would kill my beloved ones. It’s a long story.” He sighed deeply. But then, his voice became more cheerful. “But, what I see now is the dead body of the goblin king, and I also see my old friend.” He smiled at the wolf king. “Good day, my king, how are you?”

The wolf king laughed gently.  “You didn’t change much, Dr. Sage. Always calm, always.”

Dr. Sage rubbed his chin. “Well, a few goblins can’t steal my sense of humor.”

The two of them chuckled together. When Silvia cleared her throat, they became serious again. Then the wolf king nudged me. “Why don’t you tell Dr. Sage about your little adventure?”

I startled. “Me? B-b-but I…”

“It’s okay, Just pretend you’re talking to your old grandpa. Relax, just relax.”

The old man’s blue eyes stared into mine. I thought for a second, and then started to tell him my story.

 

 

Additional Info

  • Author Bio:

    Yoon Jeong is an 8th grader who loves writing on computer, but not with pencils. While reading books, she imagines what happens next for days, even after she’s finished it. She can’t decide what to be when she grows up, but she sure doesn’t want to be a professional wrestler.

  • Illustrator Bio:

    Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 16 year old internationally award winning artist. Her photography has  been published in the Telegraph , The Guardian, BBC News Website and on the cover of books and magazines in the United states and Canada. See more of her photography at www.eleanorleonnebennett.zenfolio.com

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