Search for the Golden Egg (Part 2)

Chapter 2

Thomas Goes to Work

Throughout the next week, Thomas Puddlespoon partied, toured, and mailed souvenirs to friends and family back home, but as the week neared its end, Thomas began looking for his next target. Security in the capital had tightened after the noble realized that he had been had. Fortunately, the mud and shaggy hair from traveling, and the additional height and sinister atmosphere that the noble’s imagination had supplied, prevented the guards from getting an accurate description. Thomas was short, thin, and had light tan hair, and after getting cleaned up in his room, he looked nothing like the tall, dark gangster that had boldly attacked the noble last week.

Still the police patrolled the markets with more diligence these days, and the nobles had all started traveling with a cloud of bodyguards that barely let their servants through. Thomas was not heartless enough to steal from the servants and leave them to deal with the nobles and their wrath, nor was he foolish enough to mess with that many bodyguards. So, effectively, the nobles’ money was off-limits now. That left the peasants and the craftsmen. Neither one offered nearly as large a target as the noble had — especially the peasants, who kept most of their wealth in the form of turnips and radishes.

So Thomas Puddlespoon began working daily and skimping when necessary. His old village would never have believed he was capable of such dedication and restraint. His brothers would have teased him incessantly. Thomas shook his head and took comfort in the fact that they would never know.

The Queen Presents a Problem

The Queen of Dreamland was a beautiful lady with long, flowing blond hair, ruby-red lips, emerald-green eyes, small ears and feet, and pristine manners. She was also somewhat spoiled. In fact the only ones who dared to not spoil her were the King and their one-year-old son. The King continued to go to war each summer despite her begging him to stay home, and their son cried promptly at one a.m. each night in a that shrill screech that mothers always hear, even when hiding behind meters of solid stone walls.

The Queen was resigned to waiting out her son, but she was determined to find a way to convince the King. That is why each summer, after the King left for war, the Queen summoned all the advisors together so that yet another plan could be hatched and enacted as soon as the King returned.

Two years ago the Economist had suggested that they empty the royal treasury by funding charities and schools. That way the King would not have the money required to fund his war. Unfortunately, the King brought back enough bounty to restore and then double the Royal Treasury. Last year, the Tax Collector had suggested raising taxes in order to create a rebellious populace which the King would have to put down instead of going back to war. But the peasants simply paid the taxes with the charity money they had been given the year before. In fact, they even had enough left over to plant extra corn and feed extra pigs, and there was a feast awaiting the King when he came home. The King thanked the people by lowering their taxes.

The Wizard Provides a Suggestion

This year, it was Wizard Glimmer’s turn to suggest a plan.

The Queen gathered the advisors, and they all turned to look at Wizard Glimmer. Under such pressure, Glimmer’s mind went blanker than usual. He had never been good at thinking outside of the box. Now if it had been one of the servants, or even a rebellious teenager, Glimmer could have solved the problem with a simple Staying Spell, forcing the King to stay within the castle walls. That seemed very much like house arrest, however, and Glimmer was relatively certain that it would be treasonous to put the King under house arrest.

But if there is anything that a wizard is good at, it is inventing ideas on the spot and worrying about applying them later. It is one of the first skills they learn and perfect — much like any group of royal advisors. And so, Glimmer started to reason.

“What we need is something here which the King wants more than the glories of war out there.” Glimmer waved vaguely, casting a murmur of agreement into one of the corners of the room.

Not wanting to seem dull, the advisors quickly added their murmurs of agreement to the corner’s, and Glimmer, forgetting that he had caused the murmur, was encouraged by it.

“So we must find something too wonderful to resist,” Glimmer continued. “I have recently come across the perfect object for producing this effect: The Golden Egg.” All eyes in the room widened as Glimmer described the fabled egg’s power to make anyone too beautiful to resist, and the ferocious roosters that guarded it. “Now,” Glimmer said, “what we need is a thief to retrieve it for us.”

A noble in bright red robes stepped forward. “There is such a thief in our very own market place. I’ve already told you all of how brutal he was when he robbed me.”

 

To be continued…

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Search for the Golden Egg (Part 1)

In the land of Childhood Dreams, there is a legend that tells of a Golden Egg. Whoever eats this egg becomes incredibly beautiful and will live a long, happy life. The Golden Egg lies hidden in the ancient Chicken Temple deep in the rainforest and guarded by angry roosters, who love nothing more than gouging the eyes out of careless opponents and anyone else who walks by…

Chapter 1

Thomas Puddlespoon Visits The Capital

Thomas Puddlespoon entered the capital in high spirits. After walking along dusty roads for the past week, nothing could be more appealing than a soft bed at the nearest inn — unless it was a tall glass of iced water. First, however, he would have to raise the funds to pay for the bed, so he went straight to work.

He found the marketplace easily enough. It’s not the sort of place that is normally hard to find, and since it was late afternoon, the market was filled with a crowd trying to finish their shopping before the stalls all closed. In the marketplace, he started browsing — only he wasn’t browsing the stalls selling jewelry, foods, and clothes. He browsed the shoppers around him. There were mothers trying to herd their children through the crowd, boys looking for trinkets to give to their true loves, and men looking for a snack after a long workday.

Thomas found what he was looking for when he saw the noble meandering through the crowd. The noble’s robes held a million shades of blue, and his fingers held a million rings. A lone servant in a plain brown tunic, leggings, and worn boots followed along after the noble. As Thomas watched, the lord reached into a pocket and pulled out a coin. He gave it to the servant, who ran off towards a stall selling roasted nuts.

Thomas smiled. Could there be a more succulent prey? He ambled up beside the noble, bumping him slightly as he passed. The noble turned red and whirled on Thomas.

“Oh, I am so sorry, m’lord!” Thomas exclaimed before the noble could cause a commotion. He wasn’t really sorry, but the commotion would have made it harder to escape. “I am sooo clumsy,” he continued, bowing and scraping before the noble. “I must apologize. I was deep in thought and didn’t see your lordship standing there.” Thomas pulled a coin out of his own, now heavy, pocket. “Perhaps I could buy you some roasted nuts as a token of my deep regret.”

The noble stammered and hesitated a moment, not sure what to do. This peasant was clearly regretted the great offense of  bumping into nobility and didn’t need the usual talking down to. As the noble tried to decide what to say, his servant appeared with the nuts.

“My thanks to you lad,” said Thomas. He handed the coin to the servant, whose eyes grew large, and he took the nuts. Before the servant could protest, Thomas handed the nuts to the noble. “Here you are, m’lord. And may I again convey how deeply regretful I am to have inconvenienced you?” With one last bow, Thomas slipped back in the crowd, laughing to himself. The nobleman might just be baffled enough to let the servant keep the coin.

Thomas Finds A Room

Thomas found a tavern near the city gate. After eating supper and renting a room for the night, Thomas sat down on the bed. It was hard, and the sheets probably hadn’t been washed, but there was a roof over his head.

Thomas pulled the noble’s money pouch out of his pocket. He knew from the weight that he had scored big, but he preferred to know how big before he planned his next move. The pouch contained five gold coins and twenty silvers, plus a small golden ring. Thomas slipped the ring onto his left pinky. It fit perfectly. The ring didn’t have any etching or adornments. No wonder the noble hadn’t been wearing it. It would be too plain for a lord. But why carry it in the first place?

Oh, well. It didn’t really matter. The coins would be enough to last Thomas for a week, a month if he was responsible, but who wanted to be responsible on their first visit to the capital?

As Thomas fell asleep that night, his mind planned an itinerary for the next week. It was full of food tasting, sight-seeing, and buying souvenirs to send back home to his mother and brothers. He could even buy himself a new outfit if he got ambitious.

To be continued…