ISBN 9789899734890-12

2002 Words
'You're just like Emma with Diarmuid,' Lana laughed. Emma looked up and nudged her sister hard in the ribs. 'Oi,' she said. 'Jimble... would you mind please telling us about Ethelle?' 'Ethelle Ethelle,' he sighed again before finally continuing, 'Ethelle is our queen queen. But she cannot leave our home home. If she does, she will perish, perish,' he said, his eyes screwing up and the sides of his mouth dropping. 'She is such a beauty with her white curls and long arms, long arms.' Lana sniggered while Emma nudged her in the ribs again. 'Her eyes are the colour of a foggy day day and her lips lips,' he sighed, 'as sweet sweet as a piece of beetle dung dung.' 'Ewww,' Lana cringed quietly. 'Ethelle is is...' 'Jimble, can you get to the point, mate?' Declan said. 'Oh, oh... my apologies, my apologies... Ethelle, she she is in our home home. You will find her in our home home.' 'But where is that?' Emma asked. 'Oh, of course, of course. Our home, home. It's beneath the ghastly, ghastly tunnel.' 'Which tunnel?' Sammy asked. 'Why THE tunnel tunnel, of course course,' he tutted and shook his head. 'Jimble, we have thousands of tunnels all over the country. You need to be a bit more specific,' Eleanor said, getting very slightly agitated. 'I believe believe you call it the Box Tunnel, the Box Tunnel,' he said shaking his head and looking at everyone as if they were idiots. 'The Box Tunnel?' Declan exclaimed. 'Duh, yes yes,' Jimble replied, crossing his arms inside the bubble. 'But that's where we were this morning. That's where we were when all of this started,' Emma said as she stood up and proceeded to walk up and down the room. 'Lana, you said something about having one of your funny episodes right before the train stopped. I wonder if it was relevant.' 'What happened?' Lana recalled the strange event when she had appeared to have gone back in time. As she told them about it, she felt her body relax and soon she was right back there with the hundreds of men who were busy digging the tunnel. The sounds of the pick axes banging away and the stench of sweaty bodies and urine made her crinkle her nose in disgust. Looking back, she decided to walk into the darkest part of the tunnel. As she walked in, she had to wait a moment for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. A strange, yet almost familiar, voice could be heard some distance away. Tiptoeing through the filthy ground, Lana soon found herself looking at another pixie troll. 'Damn humans wrecking our home, wrecking our home and getting me kicked out. You'll pay for this, you will, you will pay,' grumbled the little creature as he waddled away from a man who was lying motionless on the floor. Lana rushed to his side and felt for a pulse. He was dead. The creature then took something out of his pocket and sighed as he admired it. Lana moved closer. She knew exactly who she was looking at. He was the pixie troll Jimble had told her about: Gordle. And in his hand was the elusive Temporal Stone. From a distance it might have looked like any other smooth rock that could be found on a beach, but as she got closer, Lana noticed that, actually, it was rather unusual. As the pixie troll held it in his hand, it began to glow an unnatural shade of green and the tiny bumps that covered it changed from green to blue to green again. It was like something from another planet. Gordle laughed before putting it safely back in his pocket and then ran out towards the light, whispering something incomprehensible. Lana followed, watching his every move until the sunlight caught his face and the troll became invisible. As she reached the point from where he'd vanished, she looked around searching for some clue as to his whereabouts but there was nothing. Glancing down though, she soon spotted footprints in the dirt, unlike any she'd seen before. 'They must be Gordle's footprints,' she whispered. Following them, she cursed when they disappeared into the grass. So she just stood with the sun on her face watching and listening to the sounds of the pick axes bang, bang, banging away. Soon though, the heat on her face made her feel weary and she closed her eyes. 'Lana? Lana?' asked a voice beside her. Opening her eyes, she found a rather odd looking woman dressed in 17th century clothes staring down at her. Startled, she closed her eyes again before opening them wide. It was nothing but one of the paintings on the wall. She was right back in the drawing room surrounded by her friends. 'That was Gordle alright, Gordle alright,' muttered Jimble. 'Can you recall recall... what he whispered, whispered?' 'Erm, I'm not sure. It was strange, unlike anything I've ever heard before.' 'That matters not, not. I might be able to, able to translate. Could be important, important.' 'Erm, in that case, it was something like Ga...Gaha... Gahamendtreestotnuke... sorry, but it really was all mumbo jumbo stuff. Does it make any sense, Jimble?' Jimble sat with his arms and legs crossed and his eyes closed, deep in contemplation. Eleanor was about to say something when he suddenly opened his eyes and jumped up. His mouth fell open for a moment before he spoke. 'Oh me oh my. He hid the stone stone, he didn't use the stone stone, he hid the stone...' 'But where, Jimble, where did he hide it?' asked Emma from across the room. 'Beneath the Tree of Tonuka Tonuka, the Tree of Tonuka. All this time time, he hid it beneath the the Tree of Tonuka,' Jimble cried, flopping back down on the ground. The others all stared at him as he continued to shake his head. 'The Tree Tree of Tonuka,' he cried again. 'Jimble?' 'Yes, Emma, Emma?' 'What is the Tree of Tonuka?' 'What what?' he yelled, 'You don't know the Tree of Tonuka, Tonuka?' The others all shook their heads. Even Eleanor had never heard of it before. 'Me oh my my. The Tree of Tonuka is a great tree tree.' Declan raised an eyebrow at Saleena who shrugged her shoulders before Jimble continued, 'The Tree of Tonuka is a great, great, tree, tree.' 'Okay, so the Tree of Tonuka is a great tree, I think we get that. But why is it so great? And why would Gordle hide the stone there? I don't get it,' asked Lana. 'Oh my, me, oh my,' he sighed loudly. 'The Tree of Tonuka Tonuka is responsible for giving giving life to the very first pixie troll, thousands thousands of years ago ago.' 'You mean you came from a tree?' asked Emma, confused. Jimble nodded, 'Why of course course! A little like you came from an ape ape,' he said as the others tried not to laugh. 'And this tree is still there?' asked Eleanor who stood up and approached him. 'Why yes, of course, erm, well... I suppose it is, it is, I suppose.' 'Can you tell us where it is?' Jimble nodded, 'The Tree of Tonuka is within within the New Forest Forest.' 'Would you be able to identify it, if we took you there?' Jimble stopped still for a moment before nodding energetically. 'Are we going to to the Tree of Tonuka, Eleanor, Eleanor?' he asked. Eleanor turned to face the others, 'I think we should, don't you agree, Declan?' Declan nodded as he stood to stretch his legs, leaving Saleena curled up on the sofa alone. 'I like your thinking,' he said with a smile. 'Erm and what is she thinking exactly?' asked Lana who was fed up of him reading everyone's thoughts and not sharing with the rest of them. 'I was thinking that the only way we'll find out where this stone is now, is by tracking where it once was.' Jimble clapped his hands in excitement, 'Good idea, good idea. Woo Woo, we're going to the Tree of Tonuka, we're going to the Tree Tree of of Tonuka Tonuka,' he sang. His singing became contagious and soon Emma, Lana, Sammy and Daisy began to sing along with him, 'We're going to the Tree of Tonuka. We're going to the Tree of Tonuka. We're going to the Tree of Tonuka...' CHAPTER 17 Moira's condition was improving. The blood transfusion had been a success. But she remained trapped in time, her body still in the same sitting position it had been in the car when Jimble had changed her. Now she was getting better, it wasn't her that they were worried about, it was Bryn. Jimble had been summoned into the Intensive Care Unit so he could have a good look at the man's condition. Eleanor wanted to know if the trolls had done this to him. Jimble, however, assured her that they were incapable of causing such harm to a human. 'With the Temporal Stone stone in the evil ones hands hands, we can freeze you you, but we cannot harm you you. We are not fighters, we do do not hurt others... well, except for Gordle, Gordle, of course,' he said sadly. 'This is not the work of my kind, Eleanor, Eleanor. This is the work of another supernatural species, species.' Eleanor sank down into the chair besides Bryn's bed and sighed. 'I've never seen anything like this before. It is not the work of the vampires, nor the work of the werewolves, nor any other supernatural being that I have seen before... and I have seen many, believe me. I just really needed to speak to him about the artefact,' she added. 'But, I have told you everything everything you need to know about the artefact, artefact,' Jimble said from inside his bubble. 'I know, Jimble. But I have a hunch that I needed Bryn to confirm.' 'Care to share, share, Eleanor, Eleanor?' he said as she stood up and they both exited the ICU and joined the others who were waiting for them just outside the door. She smiled at him, 'Some months ago, an artefact was stolen from the British Museum. The theft went unnoticed at the time. It wasn't until Lana and Emma bumped into an employee there and recognised her from a recent encounter with the Skulls. I asked Bryn to find out more about this girl at the museum. It was then that the theft was acknowledged. Unfortunately, she was long gone, as was the missing artefact. The strange thing was that all the paperwork pertaining to the artefact was also stolen. Bryn spoke to several members of staff about it and they described the artefact to him. Sadly, we've been so busy lately that I neglected to get a report from him,' she said angrily before continuing. 'With the staff frozen and Bryn the only other person who knows what that artefact looked like, I am now at a loss. I need to know if that artefact is, in fact, the Temporal Stone. If it is, then we know for certain that the girl is the key to finding it. But if we go off on a tangent to try and track her down, only to discover that it's a completely different artefact, we'll have lost valuable time. So now we have no choice but to continue on our original plan and head to the New Forest, tracking down what has happened to the Temporal Stone over the past 177 years.' Eleanor stopped talking and suddenly doubled over. 'Eleanor!' yelled Declan as he rushed to her side, 'Are you alright?' She nodded, 'Yes, I think so... oh dear. I believe it's that time again. I'm at a loss without Wilbur. He always knows when it's going to happen. I'm afraid I won't be able to join you on your travels,' she said as the pain temporarily crippled her. Screaming out, the others watched as the young, spritely woman's hair changed from blonde to white and her previously wrinkle-free skin crinkled right before their eyes. Soon, Eleanor the old lady was back.
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