(A/N): Hello, readers. Here's the last part of Chapter 2, which will be the last chapter of my "Untold Stories" compilation. I won't be posting more stories for a long time, because I've brainstormed an idea for my long BtT fanfic.
Hope you guys enjoy the ending of this chapter! :)
DISCLAIMER: The book, its plot and characters belong to Katherine Paterson. The 2007 film belongs to Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media.
Untold Stories Ch. 2: Siege of Terabithia Part 3
The trembling noises coming toward the courtyard slowly and rhythmically grows louder and louder. The sounds were terrifying even for Jess. The earth below their feet eventually began to shake and the small plants beside him vibrated.
The growing fear within him, and probably Leslie, however, didn't affect their curiosity for witnessing the creature closer. They both took small steps near the Terabithian army, but when the soldiers swiftly armed themselves of unlimited choice of weapons and shields, they stopped. The dark figure has finally appeared itself and the sun below it revealed its true form.
Before the castle courtyard is a ferocious brown giant troll. Through its eyes, Jess could almost instantly tell it wouldn't hesitate to make its first move early once a fierce battle starts… and he was right about it.
With both its uncontrolled spirit and nature, the large creature roared and madly dashed towards the two rulers while easily slipping past the army vigilantly covering them.
They both immediately turned back for the tree house in response to Leslie's cry. "Run!"
Leslie, as usual, quickly outran Jess, which left him feel more uncomfortable in their situation, but didn't once look back, even after a sudden but violent shaking of the ground, fearing that he might separate from her.
Fortune was on Jess and Leslie's side for now; before it could recover from the missed blow towards Jess, multiple Terabithians swarmed the powerful troll and scratched it with a flurry of slashes and thrusts from their swords, spears and bows, giving both of the runners a good start. The army's offensive tactic, however, furthered the troll's anger and frustration which imbued its massive strength. Whether because their numbers were too low or their attacks were not very effective, the soldiers halted their attack and swiftly flew away from the overwhelming frenzy.
A cry of rage soared through the cloudy sky. Before the troll were the rustling trees, shaken in fear. Whatever dust that remained during the fray dissipated out of the courtyard completely; fury on its eyes only focused on the only thing standing proudly in before it from afar, the tree house. Hot fumes shot from both of its nostrils as the angry creature also saw its two targets who were climbing up the tree. Using both hands and feet, the troll trotted, making every fist and footstep intimidating for the empty ground.
Jess could feel most of his adrenaline rushing through him while climbing up to their sanctuary. His heart pumped as fast as a wild stallion running freely in a green meadow. PT, who jumped inside his jacket, whimpered and barked loudly. The frightening sounds behind him grew stronger and faster, and the sight of his shadow being consumed by the troll's larger one scared him even further. He gritted his teeth and looked up at Leslie whose hands are trying to reach for his and the dog.
"You're almost there, Jess. C'mon!" called Leslie, though he barely heard her.
Their hands met firmly when he was more than three-fourths of his ascent, PT quickly slipped out of his jacket and galloped inside the tree house. Once he reached the top, the violent wind from the giant's missed swipe pushed Jess further. His face would've collide with the wall's, knocking him unconscious, if Leslie didn't tightly grasp his jacket sleeve.
"Whoa-" Jess commented, eyes wide open, "…that was so close."
They both turned around to face the fearsome creature, only to see themselves cornered; its size unmistakably outmatched that of their house.
"The rocks!" Leslie spoke first, though Jess was about to suggest the same thing; the box full of rocks brought not too long ago. She entered the house before him, whom she had to drag forcefully towards herself by the time the giant swung its right fist again, causing them to fall to the ground side by side.
"Jess, you're not being helpful by making me save your slow butt," Leslie said as she quickly recovered and helped him up. "Twice…" she added.
"Sorry… H-he was just scary. Well, a little." Jess didn't completely confess his fear of their adversary, so he won't embarrass himself that much.
"You're the King of Terabithia, for crying out loud!" she laughed and handed him the box inside the house. "We can beat this thing. We can beat anything the Dark Master throws at us!" She then immediately headed outside.
"Easy for you to say," Jess muttered and followed her.
"Alright, Jess, give him all you've got!" She took the first stone and lobbed it with a loud grunt, hitting the troll's head. The giant growled in fury.
"It's working…" Leslie said excitedly, "…keep throwing stones at his head!"
The knowledge of the giant's weakness slowly helped Jess . He exerted almost all of his strength into his throwing right hand, continuously tossing many rocks to the creature's head along with Leslie.
Leslie continued, "I told you we can beat it! Nothing crushes us!"
"Yeah," Jess agreed, then faced the giant's direction again and taunted, while hurling rocks at his enemy. "…Yeah. Go away, you freak! We don't want you here! Get your ugly face out of our forest!" Leslie giggled. The excitement he's getting from each taunt and lob of the stones was invigorating.
The troll, however, had its sense of power drained from the multiple number of thrown rocks. Each hit felt intensely painful that it groaned. Its hands kept wiping the eventually bleeding head. Horror consumed the poor creature as it noticed its fingers slightly smeared in red. Finally, one of Leslie's rocks directly stroke its third eye, forcing its whole body to meet the ground, which fiercely shook the earth once more.
The bushes responded to the troll's fall by summoning the Terabithian army lying in ambush, holding a magically imbued, binding rope. Sensing inevitable defeat, the troll didn't bother move at the sight of the swarming soldiers. The noises coming from them stopped after a few seconds; the mighty fearsome giant was bound in chains.
"We actually did it- we beat him!" Jess cheered, raising his hands in the air. Leslie did the same.
"What'd I tell you?" she smiled, "If we can win against one troll, we're definitely not going to lose to this one!"
"Yeah…" Jess looked back at the creature, but the feeling of victory lessened a little from what he saw at its eyes.
The raging fire within it grew dim, and eventually left them. It was replaced with one of a darker light. It was not anger, but rather grief. The newborn fire, followed by the troll's moans of agony, bloomed quicker than its fellow flame of ire.
In his heart, Jess wanted to release the giant away, but the terror was still fresh in his mind…
"Let's release the poor thing." Leslie began descending from the tree house.
Jess felt uneasy while heading down as well, "Uh… That's a little suicidal for the both of us, don't ya think?"
Leslie said softly, "C'mon. I mean I think it learned a really good lesson not to mess with us."
"As you wish, my queen," Jess sighed. She chuckled at his response.
After planting one foot to the ground below her, her voice violently changed, "Terabithians, free him from the magic rope's binds!" The warriors swiftly began swarming again. After a few seconds, the giant was freed from its chains.
Much to his surprise, Jess didn't sense any threat from it as it began to stand up.
It just wiped something that looked like tears from its cheeks with its fingers, then turned to its natural habitat and dashed towards that direction, using both hands and feet, and was never seen again after the trees' dark shadows consumed it.
"Glad that's over…" Jess sat next to the ladder.
"That troll was more challenging than the one we last saw. And a lot more aggressive, too." Leslie stretched her arms forward and swung them playfully. "And more exciting… or at least would've been if you weren't such a scaredy cat."
"Didn't you see how powerful and fast that ugly troll is? It could knock either the two of us with one punch!" Jess shuddered at the thought.
"You were that terrified?" Leslie sat down on the ladder's side opposite to Jess.
"I…" Jess tried thinking of another subject, but decided maybe it was better for her to know and sighed, "Yes…" He shamefully looked down.
"I'm only kidding about the 'scaredy cat' part. It's okay for kings to get scared…" Leslie stared up at a typical cloudy sky, smiling. He didn't know why she was smiling, nor what was so interesting about it.
"I guess, but… did you have fun, though?" Jess asked nervously.
"Why wouldn't I? Best part of being in here is, well, you being in here, too."
Jess could hear her voice echoing through the forest, a very loud one.
"You heard it too, huh?" Leslie noticed him looking back forward.
"Yeah," he nodded, "we're just talking at the same volume and yours just happen to echo."
"Funny how this ancient forest works." Leslie excitingly stood back up and cried, "ECHO!" Her voice called back to her and the kingdom from the sky, and a really loud one that is.
"Try it, Jess, it's fun!" she hurriedly put him on his feet.
"All right, all right," Jess chuckled. Then he inhaled a huge amount of air and shouted after placing his hands between his mouth and cheeks, "ECHO!" His voice called back, though a lot weaker than Leslie's.
"Weak…." Leslie commented.
"Maybe the forest favors the queen more."
"That's not true. It likes us equally," Leslie turned back to the sky above them and shouted again, "Isn't that right!?" Again, her voice was able to reach the heavens, unlike Jess'.
The forest, this time, responded with the sky. It summoned strong winds and leaves from its tallest trees and made them split and flow in several directions. After awhile, they met and danced in unison between the two rulers. They swung gracefully in an arc, passing through Leslie's hair and towards Jess. When she turned to him and gave him that familiar, radiant smile, Jess found himself wrapped in their both warm and cool embrace, then slowly released by the same forces that eventually rose up to the sky before vanishing from his sight.
Jess gently touched his hair with both hands; he knew it became messy, even more so when Leslie laughed loudly at him. He returned her reaction, which lasted for some time.
"…Thanks." He said. The forest has agreed with her.
Silence fell, though it was short. Another sound echoed the forest. Rhythmic chimes came, followed by the vocals of a choir of young maidens. Jess' ears were enthralled by the beauty of the music.
"Quite the beautiful sound, right?" Jess smiled.
"I think so, but it's also odd." Leslie looked around, probably for any means of the music's source. Then, she suddenly gasped.
"Jess, watch out! They're sirens!"
"Yeah!" Leslie nodded, "Other servants of the Dark Master who lure unawares into great peril. There must be-"
"Leslie, the Terabithians!" Jess cut her, pointing at the ill luck that befell her army. The soldiers remained still at their current positions without any reaction from the music at all, not even a sound from any of them, as if dead. They were paralyzed.
Leslie rushed to and circled around them. She now just realized it, too, "The sirens' music must've cast a spell on these warriors." She unsheathed her sword and turned to Jess, "Look for the source, Jess! Take PT with you."
"Got it-" Jess paused. He nearly forgot there were two trolls; the other troll mysteriously disappeared after the first one rushed towards the army earlier. "But what about you? The other troll might attack you and…"
"Jess, I know," Leslie quickly responded as she headed towards the ladder, "But I can't leave my soldiers like this… You go. I'll be fine, the army's my responsibility, anyway." She smiled.
Jess smiled back and held PT, whom Leslie brought from the tree house. Before he dropped PT and ran into the other side of the forest with him, he said to her from a distance, "Be careful," which was not returned with any reply.
She'll be fine… I was wrong to doubt that she could lead the Terabithian warriors. Why should I be worried about her… He shook his head.
Before he noticed, Jess was already lost in the thicker, quieter parts of the forest, yet the soothing music coming through his ears are as loud as they were when he was in the tree house with Leslie. PT sniffed ahead of him while waggling his tail happily. Suddenly, he barked fiercely and galloped towards the largest tree around their surroundings.
Jess followed without hesitation. "PT, what's the matter? PT-" the young dog quickly dashed away from him.
"PT! PT!" Jess' chase went on longer than he thought. After about half a minute, he finally caught up to the dog. "What's the matter with you, boy?" he held him into his arms while taking deep breaths.
When Jess looked up, he saw a small, floating, bright-violet bell in front of him that was conjuring chimes and the supposedly vocals from a choir of maidens.
He set down PT and petted him for the good hunting. The dog panted in response. "Looks like this is the source of the siren's music." He held the bell, looking for any resemblance related to the dark master's features. "Doesn't seem like anything an evil being like the Dark Master would use."
The music from the bell attracted him more while it was in his grasp. He quickly reconsidered his decision of destroying the delicate item. However, PT threw angry barks at him, snapping him out of the acknowledged bell's spell.
Jess quickly dropped the bell to the ground below him, though it drained most of his strength to resist. He drew his sword and smashed the bell in pieces. The sirens' call was no more.
On the way back to the tree house, Jess felt very excited telling Leslie the good news. He smiled widely and thought that this feat, without a doubt, would impress her. The idea vanished for a second as soon as they reached their destination.
The whole Terabithian army was in a state of chaos. The swarming concealed another giant creature similar to the one last met, but Jess' heart pumped in greater fear at what he saw once it drove last of the warriors out of the way.
Its face was completely shrouded in black, and the body was covered in wet, fall leaves. The roar didn't show any anger, but it still frightened both Jess and PT. Underneath the abomination was the unconscious Leslie Burke without her weapon.
"LESLIE!" Jess cried as he immediately tried coming to her rescue, but the creature's quick swipe sent him to the tree house, bashing his back to its sturdy trunk. Flat on the ground, his vision blurred from the impact of the collision and his hearing became disoriented; He could barely hear PT's barks that were usually loud.
"Owww-" Jess struggled to get up, clinging on the tree trunk and covering his ear with his left hand to block the ringing noise. Nothing was on his mind now other than his desperation to save her; he breathed slowly and heavily to prevent himself from accidentally walking away from her. He eventually regained balance, but his view grew darker; he looked up and saw the horrible creature up close again. The end seemed closer to him when it raised both of its fists, ready to slam him out of his misery.
Whoosh! Two of the remaining warriors charged the unaware troll with their lances, and slid its attack sideways. Jess sighed in relief before continuing to reach Leslie. A hint of hope seeped into him when he finally did. He and PT dragged her body and hid themselves out of the troll's sight; he hated himself for not being strong enough to carry her like how his dad does to his mom when he was rarely in his good mood.
"Leslie! Leslie! Wake up!" Jess shouted at her face while tightly grasping her shoulders, "Oh, Dear Lord! Please!"
"Jess… " he thought heard her quiet voice, but quickly disbelieved it and continued shouting.
"Jess!" Leslie shouted back; now it was real to him. He began ridiculing himself for what just happened.
"You overreact over things you shouldn't be worried about, my king." Leslie laughed and playfully knocked Jess' forehead. PT panted with joy.
"Sorry… It just looked so real…" Jess released her.
Leslie stood up and pulled Jess up to her level, "It's called playing possum. Survivalists do this sort of thing to prevent huge bears from actually hurting you… or worse. Pretty cool, huh?" She slightly smiled the same radiant smile in front of him.
"Creepy if you ask me," Jess frowned.
"I could teach you how to do it as soon as-" the tree behind the three of them timbered and shook the earth. Leslie muttered, "-as… we defeat… the…" the fallen tree revealed the black, horror troll.
"Any more brilliant ideas, Leslie?" Jess panicked; he didn't mean to sound sarcastic, but he thought she did.
"I don't know…"
As the huge creature closed in to the two, a small, visible thin air flew through its right arm. Then another one came past its left waist, followed by a third one on the top of its head. It growled at the sight of the constantly glowing and heating body parts. Behind it was a small part of the sun's brilliantly shining rays.
"Leslie, look!" Jess pointed at what could be the creature's weakness. "The sun is its weakness!"
"You're right. It is!" Leslie grinned. "We need the shields of the Terabithians! They'll come in handy."
They both ran in between the moaning troll's legs and managed to slip past it. Then Leslie shouted, "Warriors! Reflect the sunlight towards the troll! Its weakness is sunlight!"
At response to their commander's order, the army swiftly recovered from their earlier battle and armed themselves with clear shields.
Caught unaware, the evil creature was immediately enveloped in reflected sunlight. It was too much to bear; the shields were nearly as radiant as the sun itself, perhaps a little too bright, that they slowly cause the troll to shrink. The very ground below didn't seem eager to grasp it, but it did its job, nevertheless. In time, Jess and Leslie could hear its last moaning of pain, but to them, it was the sound of victory!
"First, really aggressive trolls, then really… weird ones… This is the last time we'll do troll hunting for now…" Jess said, exhausted on their way home.
"Aww… why?" Leslie asked.
"This hunt became a little too scary for me…" Jess lowered his head shyly.
"Scary?" She raised her tone heartily, "C'mon, Jess. That was, like, the best hunt we've ever done and it's because you alone thought of the idea."
"Except the part where you're in charge…" Jess said quietly.
"Well, yeah. But hey! Look at the bright side, you played a huge role even if you're not a leader. Rather, you were a…" Leslie paused. Jess wished for titles, like "hero" or "warrior" coming out of her mouth, though he knew he was neither of them.
"…life-saver." They both stopped and faced each other. Leslie continued, "Jess "life-saver" Aarons… seems fitting, right?" She asked.
"I dunno…" Jess felt his cheeks slightly turning red.
"But it's true!" Leslie insisted, "If it weren't for you, the Terabithian army and I would've been defeated by the Dark Master's most powerful soldiers."
This wasn't helping for Jess, but he knew it was true all the same.
"I think we played our roles perfectly during this troll hunt." Leslie then began her small line.
"The queen leads the Terabithians to victory and then the king marches with the character and poise of a chivalrous knight to make sure the kingdom of Terabithia stays strong and alive, no matter what happens to us…" She sighed a deep breath after she finished.
PT barked, probably for attention, as always; Leslie quickly picked up right at that. "You, too, PT!" She held him tightly in her arms, "You did such an amazing job, didn't you boy?" He responded happily while she turned to Jess again, "So what do you think?"
Words can't express how beautiful her line was to Jess, so he simply smiled widely.
"So, wanna come back to my place tomorrow or you want me to come to yours?"
"Your house." Jess replied.
"That was quick. What's wrong with yours?"
"The usual… Everyone's not getting along."
"Oh… All right. See ya." Leslie hurried to the other side of the road.
"See ya!" Jess called back.
On the way home, Jess started to feel much happier, especially about tomorrow, but guilty at the same time; he lied to her about his reason not to let her stay in his house, so he could spend time with her alone somewhere other than Terabithia.
"Jess 'life-saver' Aarons…" He could still hear Leslie's echoing voice inside his head.
May Belle cheerfully greeted Jess from their front porch.
"Hey, May Belle." Jess waved at her, "Let's go inside." He was about to reach the knob when his sister went ahead and did the honors for him.
"Why is your hair really messy," May Belle asked.
Jess would usually ignore her, but this time he didn't. Instead, he paused to face her. Then he placed his hand on her head, ruffled her straight hair and said, "There… now we're even."
"Jess, that was mean…" May Belle complained jokingly before closing the door.
(A/N): Before I officially, temporarily stop publishing more BtT fanfics, I would like to give big thanks to those who've finished reading this compilation (though it only had two chapters :( ).
Reviews are always welcome.