Chapter Twelve – The Leprechauns Face the Wizard (Lost Rainbows – Serial)
By Connie Cockrell
Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?
This entry is part 12 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows
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The Leprechauns Face the Wizard
The Leprechaun King’s army exited the magic road one stop away from the ruin where the wizard’s mirror sat. The Captain of the Guard formed three companies of one hundred leprechauns each and posted them across the southern end of the valley where the road continued toward the sidhe. The King’s small pavilion had been erected and the King was inside with Shamus, Becca, and the army Commander when the Guard Captain reported his deployments.
“Well done, Captain. Join us at the map table.”
The King and the others were at a table in the middle of the pavilion, maps spread out across it. The Commander pointed to the spot on the map where the wizard Bannon was still spewing the mechanized soldiers through the mirror. “Spies tell me the wizard has at least three times the soldiers that we do. They come through the mirror, line up in perfect rows and stand there.” He ran his hand across the top of his red hair, pulled back smoothly into several braids that hung down around his shoulders. “We don’t know how to fight these machines, Sire. How do we kill them?”
Becca spoke up. “If you will permit, Sire…” She looked to the King for approval to go on. He nodded. “Machines use power from devices hidden within their chests, usually. The metal of the chest will be very hard.” She looked at the leprechauns, forehead furrowed. “The metal may be too hard for your lances or swords to penetrate. Chopping off legs will cause them to topple, then it would be easier to find the access door to their chests, either on the front or back, open it and destroy the inside.”
The Commander shook his head. “That takes a lot of time, miss. Our men would be killed as they fussed over getting inside the chest. At least the machine would be down, though.”
The group all nodded.
“What about the wizard?” the Captain asked the girl. “Will he have other wizards with him?”
Becca shook her head. “I don’t know. I didn’t know until Shamus came to my house that my uncle even was a wizard. I have no idea what power he has or how many other wizards there may be.”
The two soldiers’ faces were grim. Shamus and the King frowned. The King asked, “And you, Miss Becca, what powers have you mastered since your training with us?”
She took a deep breath. “The Advisors and your daughter, have been very patient with me. Princess Lyeen has been suggesting powers that she’s made note of in the archives. I’ve tried to perform each of the powers. I’ll have to admit, the only one I’ve come close to mastering is the making of fire.” Her hands twisted in front of her and her eyes were downcast. It was a poor showing from her and not helpful in the least. She was surprised by Shamus’s next remark.
“Well done, Miss Becca.” He grinned at the others around the table. “Without someone with the power, it’s very difficult to even attempt so many uses of magic. Well done. No doubt we’ll be able to use whatever magic you can control to great advantage.”
Becca raised her eyes to see the leprechauns all smiling. Perhaps she wouldn’t be useless. She stood up straighter as she resolved to do whatever she could in the fight against her uncle. Since she’d been in the sidhe and the King’s Hall, she’d encountered nothing but kindness and generosity. She and Princess Lyeen, despite the wide gulf in ages, had became good friends. The Princess explained life in the sidhe and Becca told the interested Princess all about life in the modern world. The girl was grateful for the kindness and the friendship. It was so different from her life with her uncle.
The next morning, the King rode to the front of the deployed leprechaun companies. The plan was to approach the castle ruin and prevent the wizard from sending his mechanical army into the nearby Road Gate and on to the leprechauns’ main stronghold.
The day was beautiful with a warm early summer breeze and sunshine pouring out of a clear blue sky. Puffy white clouds floated overhead as song-birds sang from the hedgerows and trees they passed. Wildflower heads bobbed in the breeze in drifts of white, yellow, orange and purple. It seemed unreal to Becca that soon they would have to fight with her uncle. Her heart was heavy. While he had never been fatherly, he had been kind and interested in her school-work and hobbies. The difference between her cold existence at home and her life with the leprechauns was extreme. She understood now that her uncle had been preparing her as a weapon to use against her new friends. Becca pulled on the reins of the pony she was riding as he reached for a bite of grass from the side of the road. Shamus dropped back from the King’s side to ride with her.
“Miss Becca, you look very sad.”
“I was just thinking that my uncle was going to use me as a weapon against you.” She waved a fly away from her face.
“I think he was, Miss Becca.” He looked at her with concern. “But that is not you. We would not fight your uncle if he was not attacking us.”
“I understand.” Becca’s voice grew tight. “But still, he is my uncle. I wish he had not come.”
The sun was high in the sky when the leprechaun army reached the hill overlooking the Magic Road gate. Out of sight of the activity below, they saw rows of highly polished silver man-like machines standing stock still in the meadow in front of the ruined castle. A pale yellow silk tent stood next to the ruin.
“Majesty, there must be six hundred of the machines,” the Commander said quietly.
“What do the spies say?” the King asked.
“Sire, the wizard has been bringing through men that look exactly like the wizard. There are at least a hundred of them within the ruin. The wizard Bannon went into the tent three hours ago and has not emerged.”
The King turned to Becca. “Is it possible for the wizard to copy himself?”
Becca wanted to cry. “I’m sorry, Majesty. I don’t know.”
The King scratched at an ear. “We don’t know if the other men are wizards or not. If they can use magic, we will be in dire straits indeed.” He turned to the Commander. “We need to know where the other men are, wizards or not.”
He turned to Shamus. “Stay with Miss Becca. She is a prize I will not allow the wizard to have. If it goes ill for us, get her back to the sidhe and assist the Princess with the defense of our land.”
King Shadenan spoke to Becca last. “Miss, I’m sorry I must do this. You understand your uncle is attacking us?”
Tears formed in her eyes. “Yes, Sire. I understand.”
He looked on her face with sorrow. “I must protect my land, Miss Becca. I ask that you help me do that.”
She swallowed the lump that formed in her throat. “I will help you, King Mac Shadenan.” A tear ran down her cheek.
He nodded, face grim, and turned back to his Commander and his Captain of the Guard. “Gentlemen. We’ll circle around the ruin, a company each at a third of the way around. I will attempt to talk to wizard Bannon. If he refuses to return to his own land, I’ll give the signal to attack. Use Plan A.” He looked down the hill. “May the wind be at your back.”
To be continued…
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