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golden hare

(A Xanth Thread Original)
Part Two


!!!Scene Ten... Ned-Scamp Webb BrowSer's Route to Humfrey's Castle

Good Magician Humfrey Our trio stood before the rose path in befuddlement. "What we need is a come-pass!" says Bink. "What kind of pass?" queried Mina with a look of bewilderment. "A come-pass! Unlike the faux-pass, a come-pass will always lead you in the direction you need to go!", Bink explained in excitement. "But, Bink, we don't have a come-pass! We have a rows path! We need columns! What are we going to do?" "Wait! Look at those bugs on the ground!", exclaimedBink, "Those are magne-tics!" "How can they help?" "They can make a come-pass for us!" said Bink excitedly. "See how they are all facing the same direction! Their combined power makes a come-pass for the rows-path to point in a parallel direction! This whole area is actually a magne-tic field! We just have to get them to change their direction long enough for us to get through!" "Ohh! they're kind of cute!" giggled Mina. "Yes they can be attractive at times. But they can also be repulsive!", explained Bink. Esk had an idea. He hates it when this happens, because it makes his head heat up and sometimes his hair gets singed. "Me no whelp! Me can help!" he said, and suddenly he jumped into the air, landing with a resounding THUD!!! knocking Mina and Bink over and causing the magne-tics to scatter wildly. "Go bug! Me thug!" he roared. At this, the magne-tics came to their senses and tried to run away from Esk, which also happened to be the direction of the good magician's castle! The rows slowly started turning as more magne-tics started running away."Hooray for Esk!" shouted Bink. Mina jumped up and down with delight. They immediately dashed down the newly formed come-pass before the magne-tics could forget what they were running from. Soon they were through, but then, a huge grey fog blocked their path! "Oh no! cried Bink, "This must be a second challenge! How are we going to find our way through that!" Almost in answer to his question, a large brown spider steped lithely out of the fog. Mina screamed in fright. "Sorry to alarm you so, young lady! I certainly mean no harm to you! I'm only here to help." said the spider. "Wh-whhere d-did y-y-you c-come f-f-from?" Mina asked the spider nervously. "Oh, pardon my rudeness! My web is just inside the fog. The threads of it connect to all sorts of interesting places in Xanth. I built it before the fog rolled in just to make my travelling a little easier. Now that the fog has rolled in and blocked my vision, I depend upon it! Its the only way I travel!" "Whats your name?" Mina asked comforted by his friendliness. "My name is Neddly Scamperson Webb, the Brown Spider. You can call me Ned-Scamp Webb BrowSer for short." "Oh! Ned-Scamp! Could you help us! We need to get to Good Magician Humfrey's castle!" "Why certainly! Whats his URL?" "What?" asked Bink, "We don't know anyone named Earl!" "Oh no!", laughed Ned-Scamp, "I mean his address!" "Earl wears a dress?? How weird!" exclaimed Bink. "We don't have any dress to give him anyway!" added Mina. "Okay then," said Ned-Scamp, "we'll just have to do a search! It may take a little longer, but we'll find him! Just hop on my back and we'll be off!" The trio hopped onto Ned-Scamps back. "How will you search?" asked Mina. "By gliding across the surface of my web," Ned-Scamp said, "I call it web surfing!" With that he jumped into the fog and onto his web and started skimming across its surface at break-neck speed! "YAHOO!! what a way to search!" shouted Bink, "Web surfing is fun!" Before they knew it, they were standing before the good magician's castle. In front of the castle stood a man with a weak chin, wearing spectacles. Beside him stood a huge wooden gate leading into the castle. "Who are you?", Bink asked him. "My name is Phil," The man said, "and this is my gate." "Your gate? Doesn't it belong to the good magician?" Mina inquired. "Nope, its mine. I'm just letting him share it for awhile, and no one gets through unless they're a registered user!" Phil said with a smug look on his face. "Well," Bink said to the other two, "if we want to get in, we've got to get past Phil's Gate!" Phil grinned. Esk felt a strong urge to punch him, but Mina shouted "No Esk! Don't! I know he's a jerk, but we have to deal with him anyway!" "How do we get registered!", Mina asked Phil, "We've got to see the good magician!" "Your soul and your signature on this lie-sense agreement is all that is needed!", Phil replied. "Lie-sense? What's that?" Bink askd. "If you can't make any sense out of it, I lie to you!" Phil replied again. "No way!" Mina said, "We can't agree to giving up our souls or accepting your silly lie-sense!" "Then you don't go through!" Phil hotly replied. "Wait a minute!" Bink said, "What about Good Magician Humfrey? He didn't agree to your terms, did he?" "Well..er..um..er..uh not *those* terms." Phil stammered. "That's right! You said he was sharing it! Can't we do that?" Mina asked. "Well...yes...I suppose you *could* do that." Phil stammered again, and then said quickly as he opened the gate for them, "Not for more than thirty days! Otherwise I get your soul!" The trio ignored his last remark as they hurried past him into the castle.

Inside the castle:

"Well well!" the good magician exclaimed, "I see the three of you made it! Good! I can send you on your way again before it gets here!" "Before what gets here?" Bink askedwith a start. "Nevermind. Whats important is that the key cHaMeLeOn is carrying be used on the right lock!" "How can we find the right lock?", Mina cried fretfully, "Where's cHaMeLeOn and the others?" "This answer should cover both questions." the good magician said, "The key will fit many locks! But only one lock is the right one! To find the right lock and cHaMeLeOn, you need to find the golden locks of hare!" "Hair?" Mina asked. "Hare!" said the good magician. "Hair??" Mina asked again, getting more confused. She looked at Bink. He shook his head. She turned back to ask Good Magician Humfrey again...

...he was gone...


!!!Scene Eleven... Teleportation Takes A Role

Instince the Teleporter Just as fast as the Good Magician disappeared, a new person appeared before them. "Hey, where's Humf? He said he'd be here!" said the man. "Pardon me, but who are you?" inquired Mina. "Why, don't you know?" said the man, shocked. "As a matter of fact we don't." replied Mina. "I'm Instince, third in line for the throne, and royal teleporter." "Oh, well how'd you get here so fast?" asked Mina. "Does it matter?" Instince replied. "Mina ask how, so say now!" rhymed Esk. "Oh, didn't notice you there big fellow. Kinda hard not to though. If you must know, I teleported. It's my talent." Just then the Gorgon walked in. She was wearing her usual thick veil, and carrying a plate of Gorgon-zola cheese. When she saw the group, her expression turned a little sour. "Glad you could make it Instince, and looks as if just in time. I see Humfrey already disappeared." said the Gorgon. "Huh?" said all but Instince. "You see, Humfrey knew he would disappear, so he sent for the one person who could help speed up your quest. Instince will take you straight to the three golden hares." she explained. "Wait, if he teleports, couldn't he be responsible?" asked Bink. "No Bink, because the Good Magician wouldn't have sent for him." answered the Gorgon. "Plus I have to touch in order to teleport someone else." added Instince. "Everybody form a circle." said Instince. "Wait. What exactly are the three golden hares?" asked Mina. "They are mythical creatures, now go!" said the Gorgon. They all formed a circle. When they were set, there was a slight out-of-focusness in their vision, then they were in a cavern. Before them sat cHaMeLeOn, StormWing, Grundy, Wolfgang, Murphy, all asleep, and Humfrey wide awake. "Hey, my talent never fluked before. What happened?" exclaimed Instince. "My talent! The Gorgon said the three golden hares were mythical creatures, so seeing as we would teleport to nothing, my talent took control and brought us here!" said Bink. "Yes, now quickly we must rouse the others and leave," said Humfrey. They woke the others up and quickly explained. They were starting to form a circle when suddenly:
"HALT!" bellowed a voice, as a huge robot appeared in the corridor.


!!!Scene 12....Cyborg

Nir "Cyborg" Solomon When the robot got closer, the group saw his full appearance. It was a large scale robot, holding a flat slab of wood with many key-rings on it, each holding a few dozen keys. "Why, how nice of you to drop by!", said the robot. "Let me introduce myself; I'm Key-Board Cyborg, the evil, newly born general of the army of Com-Pewter. Now lets talk business. You have something that I want, and I have something you want. Let's exchange" "Wow, this 'bot is maniac!" whispered cHaMeLeOn, "I can't imagine Pewter having an army!" "I think so too." said Instince "Let's all form a circle quick! Lets teleport away from here!" "Let us consider this for a while." Stormy cried to the twice-as-tall-as-Esk robot. As they were forming a circle, Cyborg said restfully, "By the way, I think you all need to know that..." When they started the teleportation , a frightening "zzzZZZAP" sound was heard, and the group popped up from nowhere two feet high and fell on their backs. "This cavern is protected by a one-way shield, which prevents teleportation" Cyborg completed. "That was hurt, you eat dirt!!" shouted Esk, and he ran toward Cyborg, screaming something Ogreish. "STOP WHERE YOU ARE OR YOU WILL SUFFER DIRE CONSEQUENCES!" cried Cyborg, not impressed by the frightening look of an Ogre charging fiercely. The moment Esk hit him, he started to blur, looking like a reflection on the surface of the ocean. Esk was stunned; He passed right through him! "Us not kill, you not real!" rhymed Esk, confused. "That's a smart Ogre you've got there." said Cyborg, talking about Esk as if he were a house pet. "He is right! I am a 3D hollow-gram! My body is really at the Com-Pewter control room, while my mind is right here! But since your lovely Ogre has insisted, I will have to come all the way here. But I have a friend who will help me. RIGHT, INSTINCE?" The poor Instince, when


!!!Scene 13....The Blunder

"Prince Harold Harpy"

Suddenly, a portal opened and a harpy was flung into the chamber. The harpy, a clean groomed male, prime for his species, exclaimed "What in Roogna's name am I doing here?"
Seeing her chance, cHaMeLeOn jumped at Cyborg, who was in a state of distraction, and unlocked the hares. The three Golden hares leapt from Cyborg's chest and scattered.
Cyborg turned his attention to cHaMeLeOn as another portal appeared. Out popped a female goblin. "Where am I?" she asked. Gwenny, the goblin girl, saw the monstrous Cyborg and screamed. Cyborg oriented on her, as Esk ran up behind him and bashed at his head. "Me crunch, you bunch" he yelled. The head of the robot dented and it crashed to the floor.

"Hurry and grab those hares. I have a bag we can put them in. We shocked that robot, so let's use it to our advantage. We don't know for how long or how bad." said Humphry, in a very authoritative tone. The group scattered, except for the harpy and the gobliness. "You too." Humphry said. The harpy and the gobliness ran off to catch one particular hare that decided to dash off in the opposite direction of the other two.

Bink was the first to chase one hare down. He grabbed the hare and was instantly covered in gold light. Humphry hustled over and stuffed it into a sack. The other two took more time. As Esk chased one his temper finally exploded. "Me jump, you stump" and Esk jumped and flipped one of the hares into the air. Stormwing neatly caught it in midair, as he was also engulfed in golden light. Stormwing placed the animal in the bag.

As Esk silently congratulated himself he felt a tap on his shoulder and heard a metallic voice. "Oh ogre, did you forget me? How careless of you." and the Cyborg bashed Esk across the room. Esk slammed into a wall and blacked out. "Well, that's that. Now where are those hares? I will really get upset if I don't get them back."

As the harpy and goblin girl chased down the last hare, an argument began. "Look green skin. I don't need your help to grab this little guy, so make yourself useful and split." the harpy said to the goblin. "We'll see." said the girl.
Suddenly, as if the word "see" had activated his thinking, he noticed something that he hadn't noticed before. The gobliness was wearing glasses. Well, he didn't have to much time to worry about that. "Oh, harpy. Are you chasing one of those vermin? Here let me help." The harpy heard the voice of Cyborg, as a gun appeared out of his arm. It shot the harpy squarely, and knocked him out of the sky, and into the goblin. As he crashed into Gwenny, a book fell to the floor. It dropped open to a random page which the harpy's wing fell upon.

As Gwenny reached down to pick up the book, she touched the page on which the harpy's wing was resting. A man in Power Ranger like armor, riding a floating platform, popped out of the book. "How can I help you Miss?" the man asked, through a helmet. Gwenny pointed to the hare that had disappeared around a corner. "Catch that." she replied.
"Roger." said the man, and he zoomed off to catch the hare.
"Well now. That's not fair, calling in extra help." the Cyborg said as he raised his gun port level to the gobliness. Suddenly, Humphry ran up and threw a bow tie at the robot. As it touched the robot it began to bind him up, like a mummy.

"What was that?" Mina asked, as the man on the platform handed the hare to the gobliness. "That's a Bow-a-Constrictor." Humphry answered, matter of factly. "They like to tangle things up. Now lets get out of here, but first we need Instince."
The Man, as if in reply, looked down and asked "Can I be of any service? What is the problem?" As he stepped off the platform, Esk piped up in his usual rhymes. "Me thank" he said to the Man. Then he pointed to Instince, who was standing like a zombie. "He blank."

"Oh that's no problem." The man walked up to Instince and waved a little box near his head. Instantly Instince's eyes flared back to life.
"Anything else?", he asked. Gwenny looked up from the unconscious harpy. "Can you help him?" she asked. "Of course, little lady", and with that he walked over and waved the same box near the harpy's body. The harpy groaned.
"Anything else?" he asked once again. "No." Gwenny said. Then the man disappeared.

"I hate to interrupt, but the bot is almost through the bow." said Humphry. Then the group huddled together near the prone harpy and vanished as Cyborg burst free of his bondage. "&#%^&!" he yelled.

Another voice was heard in the room. NOW CYBORG. WHERE ARE THOSE GOLDEN HARES? I ASSUME YOU HAVE CHAMELEON'S KEY BY NOW.
"She and the hares have escaped." Cyborg replied.

THEN FIND THEM. THE KEY AND THE GOLDEN HARES. WE NEED THEM BOTH.

"Yes master" and the robot disappeared.

The group appeared in Humphry's tower. The harpy pulled himself up from the ground, and began to clean his feathers. Finally, Esk asked the question they all wanted to know. "Who, you?"
"I am Prince Harold Harpy. I have been released from the Brain Coral, thanks to a warrior named Dor who saved Xanth from total destruction."
"So you are from the past. At least, from where we stand." said Humphry "Now Gwenny. What was that book you were carrying?"
"It's a Mundane coloring book. I have a bunch. Of course, the pictures don't usually jump out." Gwenny replied.
"You and Harold share the talent of animation of coloring book pictures. Why don't you both touch another picture?" Humphry suggested.

Harold reluctantly touched the same page that Gwenny was touching, but nothing happened. "Try one that is colored." Humphry prodded. So they repeated the process. The colored picture of a Hawaiian beach scene popped out and Humphry's dreary tower room became transformed into a tropical beach.
"Enough!" shouted Harold. The picture disappeared. ""What does this mean, old man?"
"It means that you and she each have 1/2 of a talent." Humphry explained.

"Let me bandage your back, Harold." said Gwenny. Suddenly their eyes met and everything else seemed to stop for just a moment. Then Harold gruffly said "Alright."
Wolfgang whispered to Stormwing "I think they like each other, but the harpy is afraid to admit it."
"That could be true, but only time will tell." Stormwing whispered in reply.

Then he piped up so that everyone could hear him. "Now what? We have the hares, but what do we do now?"


!!!Scene 14....A Golden Ending

"Darius"

Bink turned to Humphrey. "What are the Hares for? What is their purpose?"
"Well, Bink, these hares have the power to grant one wish each. There are three of them, so that means that there are three available wishes. There are two catches, however: The Hares must be used together, by one person. A wish cannot be granted unless all three Hares are together."
"What about the second catch, Humphrey?" Asked Chameleon "Didn't you say that there were two?"
"Yes," Answered the Magician "But I cannot tell you the other one. You must find out for yourselves. Now, you have bigger problems. The evil Com-Pewter is building up an army of robots that will overrun Xanth if we let it. Fortunately, they are locked away, and we have the key. All of you are needed to protect the key, and use the hares to stop Com-Pewters army."

So, Bink, Chameleon, Instince, Esk, Stormwing, Wolfgang, Gwenny and Harold all left the castle together, looking for a way to stop the impending robot army.
"If we need soldiers, we could go to Goblin Mountain." said Gwenny "I could get us a small army there."
"No," replied Stormwing. "I think that Humphrey meant for us to stop Com-Pewter's plan before it started. We need to neutralize the army before it is set loose on Xanth. Good thing we've got that key!"
"How are we going to do that?" asked Wolfgang.

"Well," began Bink, "Maybe one of us could wish on the Hares that the army had never existed. Then it wouldn't be a problem!"
"No, that wouldn't work." Stormwing looked pensive. "There is this thing about wishes. An animal called a parrot-ox. No-one knows why, but it makes up rules about wishes. We couldn't wish that the army never existed, because then we would have never gotten the Hares. If we had never gotten the Hares, then we could never have wished that the army had never existed. See? The parrot-ox won't let us do that."
"Maybe we could talk to the parrot-ox and change its mind." stated Wolfgang.
"We might not be able to reach it in time. It lives just below Mount Parnassus, and we might not be able to get there before the robots broke forth." said Stormwing.
"Hold on," replied Instince. "I can just teleport us there! It will only take a minute!"

They all agreed that it was a good Idea, so they joined hands and were teleported to the base of Mount Parnassus. They looked up, and everyone said something along the lines of "Whoa!" or "Wow!" or "Geez!"
Harold said, "I'll fly up and see if I can spot the Parrot-ox." And off he flew. "Wait up!" shouted Stormwing. "Maybe I can help!"
When the flying creatures had returned, they reported that they had spotted what might be the parrot-ox's lair just a short walk (or trot) away, so off they went.

When they arrived, Bink turned to the others and said, "Now remember, we want to treat the parrot-ox with the utmost respect, so that it might allow us to make this wish. So, put on your best manners, everyone!" After everyone had taken out and put on their best manners, they were ready, and knocked on the door. It was opened by the strangest animal they had ever seen, kind of like a cow mixed with an exotic jungle bird.
"Hello, folks." said the parrot-ox. "How may I help you?"
"Well," replied Wolfgang bluntly, "We were wondering if you would let us make a wish that might contradict your nature."

"WHAT??" screeched the huge bird-thing. "That is totally out of the question. There is no way I can allow it. I would be in BIG trouble if I let folks just go around breaking the rules of the parrot-ox. Do you know what would happen? There would be chaos, total chaos!"

All this was too much for Chameleon, who broke down in tears. "Oh, no!" she cried. "Now how are we going to stop the evil Com-Pewter? Please help us, Mr. parrot-ox, please."

Now, when Chameleon is in her pretty phase, the sight of her crying and begging is too much for any mortal male to take. The parrot-ox was suitably moved. "Well, maybe I could make a suggestion," he said sheepishly. "Why don't you wish your selves up to the top of Mount Parnassus, and ask the Simurgh?"
"Oh, thank you, thank you, wise parrot-ox," said Chameleon. "You have helped us so much." Then she planted a kiss on his cheek. "Don't mention it," mumbled the parrot-ox gruffly.

The group joined hands, took out the hares, and Instance said "Hares: Take us to the top of Mount Parnassus." Everything was consumed in a sheet of white light, and then they found themselves on the top of the mountain, face-to-face with the Simurgh.

"WHO DARES DISTURB MY REST?" asked the great bird.
"It is just us, a few loyal Xanthians, striving to save Xanth from the evil Com-Pewter!" shouted Stormwing.
"NO NEED TO SHOUT, I CAN HEAR YOU ALRIGHT FROM HERE. I WAS WONDERING HOW LONG IT WOULD TAKE FOR YOU TO FIND YOUR WAY UP HERE. THIS IS WHAT YOU MUST DO: USE THE SECOND WISH TO FIND OUT WHAT TO WISH FOR. HUMPHREY CANNOT HELP HERE, HE IS BOUND BY THE PARROT-OX. YOU MUST USE THE HARES TWICE MORE. HURRY, COM-PEWTER IS VERY IMPATIENT, AND WILL SOON RESORT TO DESPERATE MEASURES. THAT IS ALL I CAN TELL YOU."

"Is that truly all there is to it?" asked Bink, but he received no answer. Apparently their meeting was at an end. Suddenly, a group of rocs appeared on the horizon. "Is this our ride?" asked Gwenny, and the huge Simurgh nodded. When they had finished exclaiming over how wonderful the ride to Humphrey's castle with the rocs had been, Esk abruptly said "Must make wish, not coish." At that, everyone became very serious, and Stormwing asked for the hares. "Hares," he said, "what must we wish for in order to stop Com-Pewter for good?"The same light enveloped them all, and a voice said "YOU MUST WISH FOR COM-PEWTERS PLANS TO ALWAYS GO WRONG. THIS WON'T CONTRADICT THE PARROT-OX, AS THE PLAN DOESN'T HAVE TO HAVE GONE WRONG YET, AND THIS WILL ENSURE THAT THE EVIL COM-PEWTER'S SCHEMES ALWAYS BACKFIRE, MEANING THAT HE WILL NEVER HARM XANTH AGAIN. THERE IS A CATCH THOUGH. ONE THAT COM-PEWTER CAN NEVER LEARN. IF HE PLANS TO BE GOOD TO XANTH, IT WILL BACKFIRE, AND HE WILL HARM IT. HE MUST NOT KNOW OF THIS WISH, OR HE WILL FIND A WAY AROUND IT. GOOD LUCK."

The group stared at each other for a long while afterwards. After a few hundred years, Stormwing said "Well, it seems so obvious now. I guess we may as well get it over with."
So, the wish was made, the Hares disappeared, and Com-Pewter was stopped once again. The world of Xanth was made safe from his machinations (get it? MACHINE-ations? Hee, hee!)... unless, of course, he learns of the wish, and finds the loophole.


For those of you with vibrant imaginations, you might be able to picture a cave far away, surrounded by the stink of an invisible giant, with a small lump of metal's screen flashing madly, and question marks flying across it. Then, suddenly, there is a picture of the most evil grin imaginable.
THEY THINK THAT THEY HAVE OUTSMARTED ME. appears on the screen. THEY DON'T REALIZE THAT I AM HOOKED UP TO THE MUSES COLLECTION OF THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF XANTH. SO I HAVE TO BE GOOD, DO I? WELL, EVEN THE MOST EVIL MACHINE CAN FAKE 'GOOD' IF NEED BE. THEY'LL NEVER KNOW WHAT HIT 'EM. *MANIACAL LAUGH*
Then the monitor goes dark. The lump of metal seems to be plotting... Of course, for those of you with less vibrant imaginations, you might not have seen anything at all.


The End?


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