"Things that go bump in the Night"
by John Pirillo
The Jungle Lord was able to leap over the wing in one bound and land lightly on the back of the Cremarg, which enraged it further. The creature smashed into the arch, causing it to begin to break apart in huge splintering cracks that snapped and exploded violently as the arch began to crumble apart.
"To me!" Holmes shouted to Watson, who ran furiously to make it past the separating sections, with Challenger, Conan and Harry hot on his heels.
A huge chunk of the arch severed away, plunging into the crevice miles below. Splinters of red and golden rock shattered and sprayed in a shotfun of pellets at the adventurers, who flailed helplessly at the pellets smashing into their exposed necks and heads. Flying creatures screamed and hurled themselves to the right and left from positions that they had been hidden on the sides and underbelly of the arch, making the dash for safety even crazier than it was.
A second SNAP!
Professor Langston looked on in horror as a gap broke apart before his feet and tumbled into the void below. His feet slid down the suddenly widening and deeping slope of the break and he was about to fall into the void himself, when a hairy hand clasped his and wrenched him to safety.
He landed facing Larry, whose face was now a werewolves.
Larry grinned at the shocked expression on Professor Langston's face. "Put your hands around my neck and hold on for dear life."
Professor Langston hesitated and a third SNAPPING sound exploded from beneath their feet as that section began to fall apart.
Larry threw Langston over his shoulder, gathered his leg muscles and leapt like a wolf might, haunched over and leaped across the widening void between the breaking parts of the arch.
Langston screamed the same time as Watson and the others screamed, making their own leaps to the far side, as the arch began to fall apart beneath them. Larry landed on a falling part of the arch and without hesitation or lack of balance immediately sprung again. He reached out one clawed hand and clasped the other side of the arch just before the rest of the arch tumbled away from his clawed feet.
Several hands reached out to help pull him the rest of the way up and he effortlessly dropped Langston to the safety of the firmer rock.
Langston gasped for air a moment, as if he couldn't breathe.
"You okay, Professor?" Larry asked, his hairy face transitioning back to a normal human's once more.
"I shall never, never again climb a mountain in this life!" He uttered with due solemnity.
Larry grinned and turned to the others. He sniffed the air. "That way!" He pointed with a hand still clawed.
Watson turned back. "Where's Lord Graystone?"
Holmes pointed to the Cremarg which was now flying high in the air, in ever widening spirals. "I suspect he is making a new friend."
Harry shuddered. "Let's pray he does so, before his new friend decides it's hungry or bored of playing."
"Amen to that." Challenger growls, then hitches his belt tighter and begins advancing up the slope to the cavern entrance. "I suspect we shall soon discover who flung that blasted weapon into our midst."
Harry gathered some of his magical dust in his right palm and blew on it. It lifted off from his hands and snaked through the air, pointing upwards. "Follow it. And we shall not get lost."
Chapter Forty-Three Lady Shareen and Madame Curie inclined their heads to Queen Mary of Scots as she entered the office she maintained in the Tower of London. A view of the city was visible through a large window behind her desk. She gathered her gold and red skirts and swept into her chair, a very nicely carved spruce decorated with royal symbols.
She spread her delicate hands on her large desk, which dwarfed her dimunitive figure. "So how can I help you two?"
Lady Shareen looked over at Madame Curie who pulled a small sheet of paper from her purse, then spread it on the Queen's desk. The Queen leaned forward and examined the paperwork, her neutral face turning solemn. She looked at them. "How came you to this document? It is protected by the Royal Seal!"
Lady Shareen stepped closer. "You have not been honest with us, Mary."
Queen Mary of Scots rose as if shot out of a cannon, her face furious with anger. "How dare you call me by my common name?"
"By the right of friendship. Which till this day, I thought we had."
Queen Mary of Scots tiny fists uncurled and she spread her fingers on the desk and eyed them both sternly a moment, then her face began to soften and she sighed with weariness. She rubbed her eyes, then sat down at her desk again, but kept her eyes on the city visible through he window. "When you reach a position such as mine, sometimes friendship is a commodity you dare not risk."
"This is not such a time." Madame Curie interjected. "Your Majesty. Mary, my sister."
Queen Mary of Scots turned her face towards Madame Curie. "So you have learned that as well. How much more do you know?"
Madame Curie reached out and placed a warm hand over Mary's. "Every night since I was a child I dreamed of one day being able to meet and embrace my younger sister. The one who had been abducted from our home and taken from the country to Scotsland."
"And you believe I am that one?" Mary asked, a hint of plaintiveness in the tone of her voice.
"Mary, I forgive you for ignoring me all these years, but I can not forgive you now if you insist on playing these royal games with me. For if you are royalty, as surely as my blood and yours are of the same lineage, then I also am of Royal Blood."
Mary sighed again and shook her head. "It's been so long since I've had a normal conversation."
She looked at Lady Shareen. "Your husband to be has known for years, but said nothing?"
Lady Shareen looked shocked. "He knew?"
The Queen smiled, her lips curling at the edges quizzically. "Surely, a man of such renown abilities would have no trouble in smelling two sister's common fragrance."
Lady Shareen shook her head. "And just when I thought I was coming to know him."
Queen Mary shrugged. "Men are no better or worse than ourselves, dear heart. They use whatever tools God gave them to make their way in the world, and if that sometimes requires them to forget...temporarily...some items of interest...?" She spread her arms, as if enfolding the world. "Then so be it."
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