STARKLITERARIA 

                                                                        By Marilynn Stark          

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

                                   

                                                                                                
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Giant Little

Giant Little Part Two

Catster's War Poem

Political Commentary

On T.S Eliot      

On Shakespeare

On Goethe

On Latin Inspiration  

Miscellany  

On Skiing  

 

            Giant Little: An Adventure

                                                                             By Marilynn Stark (Aunt Marilynn)

                                      

                               Part Two

Recapitulation:      Nota bene:  This adventure story continues at Part 2 now with the Battle of Bohan forming in Honey Valley between the arch general and the black-clad outlaw with his gang.  Once that battle is fought, this recapitulation will be updated.  For your instant replay, please click onto the link here for the latest developments as the two commanders prepare for actual battle.

 

        As the adventure story continues, the Battle of Bohan is about to take on a secondary place of happening.  Giant Little, Drona and his masters and the two messengers are bravely holding out in Municipal Woods in Arbor Park adjacent to the town governing complex.  The two heroic messengers wait for the battle to break in favor of their safe delivery of the messages to the Council of Elders in the town as the Grandmaster Drona skillfully leads his martial arts masters in their ultimate defense.  Drona poses as non-violent a resistance as possible in defense of the messengers so as to tactically quell the uprising Durydon poses.  Giant Little has been shown by him a secret tunnel which will lead the heroes safely to the Municipal Building when nightfall arrives if all goes well; B. Tiger, the psychic Chienne and their respective troops are presenting an encroachment in their plan to confiscate at least the messages if not the messengers, as well.  Chienne, the wizard, is in secret possession of a magic potion which will kill instantly on contact with the skin, and only Drona and Giant Little know of this new development which came out of Chienne's alchemy.  Durydon is thriving on the political rumor that he is disabled due to remarkable injury earlier in the day when Giant Little and the great dragon had fought him at the exit trail to the runway leading to Strong Pond.  Little do the townspeople know that Durydon is actually descending now from Cherry Ridge several miles past the town limits and south of Bohan Pass.  At this pass Cherry Ridge converges closely with Cobble Ridge.  Up on Cobble Ridge the great, historic Arch General Borders has been making battle plan to obstruct what is now threatening the town and all of Bohemia, indeed; Durydon is attempting to take any hostages necessary in order to overthrow the plans to  write a contract in the favor of a music concert by our great-armed hero, Giant Little, the weaponless warrior of truth.  Durydon will then try to seize the governing complex of the town of Bohan, but he is unaware that Arch General Borders has been studying him in his hiding place up on Cobble Ridge.  

     Borders is leaving with his thirteen infantrymen for the valley that lies between the two ridges, Honey Valley, where he will give resistance to Durydon's encroachment.  At Bohan Pass closer to the town limits there are five men of Borders already posted for defense, and they conducted a decoy signaling to two of Durydon's scouts as they passed southward through the pass earlier in the day on their way with an intelligence report for Durydon.  It is thought by Borders that if the enemy fails in the town to prevent the delivery of the two messages, then that enemy will retreat towards Bohan Pass in false show, hoping to regroup with Durydon and take a new phase of battle into their hands in overthrowing the town government and confiscating its coffers.   

     There is no telling how far the wicked Durydon will carry forth his concept of making an example out of the town of Bohan.  Not only could he prevent the concert from ever happening there, but also perhaps he could even make the town an open hostage point ultimately for his use in overthrowing all of Bohemia and taking over the nation's government itself.  Durydon is attempting to make a comeback from having lost his famous hostage, Radhita Roundhouse, daughter of the prime minister of Liberty Love Forest, Ker Roundhouse, whom Catster and Giant Little had so bravely rescued.  Arch General Borders is well stocked with the five troops who are mobilizing north well ahead of him and his thirteen infantrymen plus two scouts; the two scouts await his descent down the ridge along Miner's Side Trail.  These five moving north ahead of time should probably join the four troops under the command of General Chittling at Bohan Pass.

     The success of this battle will have drastic effects on the security of Radhita, Giant Little's own beloved wife-to-be.  If Durydon succeeds in blocking the concert, then there is less hope for closer ties to be made between her father's nation of Liberty Love Forest and Bohemia.  If Durydon also succeeds in taking the town of Bohan itself hostage, then Giant Little fears that the battle to keep Radhita safe will escalate, as well.  The victory for the side of good in this Battle of Bohan cannot be measured in its ultimate importance towards the destiny not only of Giant Little and Radhita towards one day marrying, but of all of the nation besides.  Indeed, the destiny of the entire nation is suspended to the Battle of Bohan.  This war-torn nation has for too long born the terror, the reign of crime of the rebel Durydon, the black-clad outlaw.  In fact, this despicable character Durydon shows no face in any hall of justice ever, yet he takes prisoners and keeps them in prison camps up in the hinterlands of Bohemia with no existing hope for them to ever return.  Oh yes, they might return, alas, as miserable, mercenary rebels who have no choice but to bend to his cruelty and take indoctrination and training for an attempted rebellion.  Now is the chance, now is the hope that the power of the terrible Durydon will be immeasurably challenged and weakened.

     Word that Arch General Borders has come back into active duty in the military is about to reach the streets of Bohan by a local town crier.  As the fate of the town of Bohan sits on edge, the great Arch General Borders fearlessly and methodically leads his men to defend the values, the peace, the people, the nation together: this is a great forging of justice towards the security of all if Bohan is kept free and peaceful through this memorable Battle of Bohan.  

     Chapter 10

 

    

      Border Park, which is visible from Bogdhan Bogdhan's back porch on 10,000 Small Street in the town of Bohan, is home of a central square where the town criers usually begin their rounds throughout the town at various meeting points.  At these various meeting places the people can expect to hear the delivery of the news.  Bogdhan's maid happened to be on the third- story porch that day in the late afternoon where she was watering and preening the hanging plants.  The park was only a few hundred feet from her view, and Bogdhan had once told her that hearing the news each day was quite an easy task since the porch made the crier's square quite available for easy listening.  In this Border Park news meeting place there was actually a platform for the town criers.  Surrounding the platform were plants and shrubs geometrically arrayed in a small square at the borders of the area where people might gather.  There were even lanterns which could be lit up at night for late-day reports in times of critical news.  

     As Miss Peters heard the beginning of the loud, vibrant voice of the town crier that was so familiar to her ears, chills were sent up and down the skin of her arms and legs.  This told her immediately that the danger in the town that day had not passed, and she dreadfully feared report of another robbery or hostage-taking event.  The rumor that Durydon had been disabled due to injury in battle had taken root in the minds of the townspeople although the town crier had not reported upon it as of yet; this meant that it was probably not official.  She heard the loud voice proclaim, "Hear ye, hear ye!  Hear ye, hear ye!  Gather 'round and hear the next round: history walks.  Hero returns!  Hear ye, hear ye!  Hear ye, hear ye, oh brave people of the town of Bohan! Gather 'round now and hear this!  Now hear this!  History now walks! Our hero returns! Come hear.  Come here.  Brave people, fear not!  Now hear this!  Borders' prophecy comes true!  As he said of old, he will ride again with clouds in his hair!  He now rides again!  Bohemian history has been made on this day as we are told: Arch General Robert Borders' prophecy comes true!  Hear ye all this, for 'tis true.  Arch General Borders rides again.  Arch General Borders is back to defend the nation and to defend the town of Bohan after the robbery of the Wheightski's Jewelry Store earlier today.  Borders is back!  He is back -- I tell you this: the new head of the National Army of Bohemia is now none other than our fearless and great Arch General Borders!  He will ride again!  He rides again!  The clouds are in his hair!  He rides again!  Rise up and greet your national hero, send letters and welcome our great hero back into active service again!  Fill the runways and send word to all of your friends and relatives far and wide.  Start now!  Fill the runways!  Now hear this!  Bohan will be saved from B. Tiger and his outlaw gang; Bohan will be saved by Arch General Borders and his men.  Bohemia!  Raise high the national flags on your houses!  This is the first report of this news.  Ever!  Spread the word, brave citizens, give the good word all throughout the town.  Borders is back!  Arch General Borders is back now!  Hear ye, hear ye, good people of Bohan!  Borders is back!"

     Upon hearing the news of the town crier, Miss Peters stood as if in mental suspension.  All of her thoughts were nulled.  She stood motionless with her eyes extended into a mindless gaze after hearing of the miracle of the return of history's great General Borders.  She knew not what to do or say for a full three minutes.  The crowd below in the park began to cry out loud and send cheers into the air; although she could hear the uproarious sound very well, her very state of awareness was temporarily altered by the profound news which she was trying to believe.  She watched vaguely as the town crier left his stand and began his walk to the next station on his rounds.  Suddenly she broke the silence with a loud cry which resounded over the crowd.  Lifting her arms to the sky as if reaching for Heaven itself, she uncontrollably yelled out in stentorian tones, "Long live General Borders!  Long live Bohemia!"  Everyone could hear her message above the verbal commotion of the small crowd, some of whom were beginning to disband just after the town crier made his departure.  It seemed that they wanted to follow him to his next stand if only to hear the momentous news once again.  A young man in that crowd caught onto Miss Peters' message and cried out as loudly as he could, "Long live General Borders!  Long live Bohemia!"  Soon everyone was joining in and clapping to the rhythm of the words, and this included Miss Peters.  As she stood on the porch and joined the crowd below with those words, Miss Peters realized that a miracle had just occurred.  The unity of the voices of the crowd with hers was helping her to accept the miracle as real, and this she knew.  Miss Peters became jubilant.  As she stood on the porch of one of the heroes of the Battle of Bohan even though the fact of that heroism of Bogdhan remained unknown to her, she felt a special presence as a citizen.  Once she accepted more fully the profound weight of the news of the return of Robert Borders to active military duty, her unity with the very first recipients of that news from her vantage point above the central square uplifted her and conferred upon her a special message as if from heavenly herald.  Miss Peters leaped from an awestruck, disbelieving mind to a mental state replete with a joyous heart; indeed, she was suddenly absorbed in a long-sought hope for actual deliverance from the tyranny, the ever-growing tyranny of one Durydon.  How she despised and feared him.  Suddenly, she wanted to go down to the crier's square and join the crowd.  Then she began to think that there was still work to do, but that she must leave a note for Bogdhan regarding this momentous event.  Family duty also called her in this grave matter of the Battle of Bohan.  When that idea occurred to her, she swung on her heel and went back inside the apartment to find some paper and a pencil so as to do her duty in spreading the word and gain clearance to leave immediately for her family.  Although she knew that Bogdhan was indeed a messenger, and he therefore would be likely to have heard of the news event she was about to disclose to him upon his return, she figured that there was a chance that the news was simply too recent for him to have heard.  He might be en route home and not even hear, she thought to herself, and she wanted to be the first one to tell him if at all possible.  Miss Peters valued knowing Bogdhan Bogdhan.  She could read his courageous and noble heart in the way he carried himself and in the way he spoke.  The very tone of his voice exuded compassion and a certain knowingness which was already consoling before any issue might be broached.  Therefore, any conversation which Miss Peters had ever had with Bogdhan regarding the contentious civic unrest and the politics which matched that unrest had always been most vibrant and giving to her own political outlook and hope for her nation.  Her admiration for Bogdhan she could not hide from him when they spoke of the matters of the day on those rare occasions when he happened to be home while she cared for his apartment.  Now she wanted to write him a note to tell him of the moment in history of which she had learned while on his back porch; in her mind this moment was an act of Providence.  She sat down at the table in the kitchen and began a careful note to Bogdhan, which read as follows:

          My Dear Mr. Bogdhan Bogdhan:

          It is my heartfelt duty to be the one to inform you.  A miracle has just been delivered you, me, all of us in our town, and all the citizens of the nation of Bohemia.  You may not believe this.  I could not at first.  However, I heard the very first town crier's report just now.  It is the return to active military duty of none other than General Borders.  History walks.  This news came to me as if from on high as I was preening your plants on the back porch here at 10,000 Small Street.  You may have heard this by now, or you may not have heard this as only God knows; however, he is back.  Long live Borders!  Long live Bohemia!  Please forgive me, I must go to my house and see the family as soon as possible.  I have a relative in the army, and there might be special news for me there if they had any inside word before the public was told.  He might be here at this battle, and I am concerned to know that he is all right.  Please understand, and I will be back tomorrow to finish the work here.  Oh, let us thank God!  Now there is hope.  And God keep you safe, for you are a great, noble servant in the cause of freedom from this tyranny.  We all know that. Stay safe.  I must go. 

Yours in faith, 

Miss Peters

     Roberta placed the note for Bogdhan underneath a paper weight she had seen sitting on the writing desk.  She took the key to the apartment out of her pocket, said a brief prayer for her safe walk home to her family, and then left the apartment.  As she locked the door behind her, she had a sense that she would indeed be back tomorrow though she had briefly doubted while writing the note to Bogdhan.  What if the town police had to institute a twenty-four hour curfew, if the horrible gangs of Durydon threatened even more crimes and violence?  She had considered this ominous threat; indeed, most of the townspeople had probably asked themselves the same question -- such doubt for the peace and security of Bohan lingered so much in the air that it was as readable as the temperature was to be physically felt.  Moreover, in that case, she would not be free to travel on the streets and finish her cleaning tasks at 10,000 Small Street.  Most of the townspeople were not informed of the exact specifics of the ongoing battle nearby the municipal government buildings in the town, so only a general level awareness of trouble due to the robbery of the jewelry store had directly gripped the people.  Having gained courage from the news of the return of the great hero of Bohemia, Robert Borders, to active military duty, Miss Peters now began to weigh the situation of the immediate battle more minutely.  Perhaps, she began to muse further, the entire town was in a greater jeopardy than that which was being vaguely implied to them, and this made her circle back in her mind to her concern for the security of her brother, a sergeant in the National Army.  "Oh, no!" Miss Peters thought as she walked down the stairs towards the ground floor of the apartment building.  "My brother might be killed if there is a bigger battle in the offing here than what we are being told.  If Borders is needed, then this might just mean that a bigger problem exists right here in Bohan which requires his service.  I am so worried -- I hope my mother has news for me.  I hope she knows something.  I just wonder.  I know Bogdhan won't mind when he sees that I left without finishing the work.  He will understand.  Oh, dear God, keep us all safe, and please, I beg you, don't let my brother be hurt or killed.  Please, we love him, dear God.  Keep Bohan safe.  Oh God, thank you for returning Borders to active duty!  Save us! Save us from Durydon!  Dear God, I implore you, give us back our peace." 

     With that fervent prayer for peace, Miss Peters had the courage to begin her walk home to her family.  As she left the building at 10,000 Small Street and walked out to the street, much to her surprise a runner, a messenger from Bogdhan's unit, was approaching her at a good pace.  Miss Peters observed this with a careful detachment since she was afraid that the runner would be a kidnapper in disguise at first.  When the runner slowed down and stopped opposite her, he read her doubt and fear, pulled out from his pouch a badge which identified him to her as a paramilitary and calmly said, "Are you Miss Peters?"

     "Yes, I am Miss Peters," she answered with less uncertainty in her mind now that she had seen the badge and had studied the face of the runner.  

    "Allow me to escort you home if you will.  My name is Roger Flutemacher, and I am here on the formal command of the army to make safe your return home from Bogdhan Bogdhan's apartment.  May I?" he said with a formality as he offered her his arm.  At this gesture Miss Peters was assured, and also she drew the conclusion that Bogdhan must be involved more deeply in the current state of affairs, or he would have been the one to escort her home.  An escort home by Bogdhan she would have preferred, yet she was most relieved to be offered the escort at all.  Miss Peters nodded her head once and took the arm of the escort.  As they began to walk down Small Street, Miss Peters decided to keep quiet about the news of the return of General Borders to active military duty unless Roger Flutemacher mentioned it first.  She felt that there must be some hostile gang people in the area, or else she would not have been offered this escort at all.  In that case, she wished to keep as neutral an air as possible about their brief walk for security's sake.  There were people all about the street, and the atmosphere had now become mixed with what seemed to her to be a latent jubilation alongside the same dire trouble which had hovered in the air earlier in the day before the news of the return of  Borders.  Miss Peters noticed that her escort was most formal and silent, and he kept a vigilance which she did not want to interrupt.  Together they walked the ten minute walk to her house in guarded silence;  when they arrived at her doorstep safely, she bowed her head, smiled, and thanked the gentleman for his protection.  With no further word at all, the runner stepped briskly apart, bowed a deep bow, and then took on a distant look of further service in his soldier-like manner; he turned his head towards his next destination, steeled himself for possible conflict, she could see, and finally put his running step forth with a sudden and powerful surge of determined energy.  Miss Peters felt a chill in her legs as she witnessed this display of duty and manly strength on the part of her protector.  She savored watching Roger Flutemacher course down the street in his fashion.  As she turned her head towards the door of her house, she sighed a huge relief that she was home and safe.  Her heart swelled for the defense of civic peace the runners were wielding.  From the manner of the departure of the one who had just possibly saved her from harm did she read his unmistakable mind -- he knew of the return of General Borders to national duty.  Previous to such intuitive realization that Roger Flutemacher knew of Borders' return, she had coddled once or twice her desire to be the first one to have informed Bogdhan of this historical event through her note to him; however, now she knew for certain that such an honor would not and could not be hers.  As she let go of that desire, she went up the steps of her house and prepared to see if there was any news of her dear brother.  This had been an eventful day for her and for all of the town.  How the nation would be affected, she reflected, time only would tell.  With bated breath she entered her abode.  Miss Peters just did not know how endangered she truly had been, for she did not know that Bogdhan was a central player in the current battle in the town.  Now that she had been delivered safely home, she began to think that perhaps she would not be able to return to Bogdhan's apartment on the morrow for security's sake -- there had been dispatched a runner to escort her home on this day.  She was accustomed to the uncertainty of the tranquility of the town as were all the townspeople.  She shrugged off the doubt accordingly and decided to put first things first; her immediate, vital task was to find out any word of the situation of her brother from her mother.

     Miss Peters took out her house key and entered the place with her mind at once rested in the secure passage she had just been given while she was further apprehensive about the status of her brother.  Her mother had heard her open the door and was eager to tell her the news of the Battle of Bohan.  She appeared to her daughter at the end of the hallway.  Holding her head back slightly as if to assess the readiness of her daughter to take in the report, she lent the beginnings of a smile to give her assurance that the news was good.  "Roberta, my dear daughter," began Mrs. Peters,  "Your brother Trevor is stationed here at the Battle of Bohan.  No other information has been given us."

     Roberta read the calm in her mother and took great meaning from her placid mind.  She carefully replied, "I have news to give you, also, in case you have not heard."     

     Mrs. Peters seemed not to register what her daughter had said as she was anxious to get to the broader point.  She quickly said, "I have the note he sent us by carrier pigeon from the army depot.  You can read the brief message if you like."  Roberta then saw her mother's mind become less certain as she knitted her brow.  

     " I don't quite understand it all as of yet," she cautiously continued.  "There is something cryptic about it.  The pigeon seems to have been delayed for a day or the better part of a day.  Please come and see.  It is in the kitchen on the table.  It awaits us."

     "I can't wait to see this, Mother," Roberta said, dismissing the news she was about to divulge regarding the fact of General Borders' return to active military duty; instead, she deferred to her mother's chief concern as to the meaning of her brother's message.  Roberta watched as her mother started to pour over the little tag of white paper on the kitchen table.  She decided to intervene, seeing that her mother had born this puzzle as to the cryptic message all alone for what must have been the past few hours.  She could not wait to help her interpret the message from her brother.  "Perhaps," Roberta thought to herself, "the fact of the return of the great Robert Borders is reflected somehow in the word from my brother.  Just maybe I can help here.  Poor Mother is deeply perplexed and seems worried.  I wonder what it says."

     "Mother," Roberta said softly.  "Let me help you in this.  Please give me the message so that I can read it."

     Mrs. Peters looked over at her daughter and smiled briefly.  She quietly handed the small paper to her daughter and nodded once.  Roberta read at first to herself the following words: "On duty at hometown battle. White clouds riding here head-ward."  Immediately Roberta knew that her brother was telling of the return of Borders to duty as head of the army.  "Oh!  I see what he means, Mom.  This is news of the return of -- well, Mother, I have to tell you something so that you will be able to understand this."

     "Yes," answered Mrs. Peters.  Her tone of voice was rather even as she reacted in passing to the statement of the obvious from her long-awaited daughter.  However, there was a distance in her mind from the simple affirmative word she had spoken; it was as if she had already known that somehow her daughter would bring this cryptic message into some kind of concrete perspective.  Roberta read this in her mother.  She gave a slight nod of the head to her deeply concerned mother if only to lend the assurance she needed and was gaining as she shared the puzzle before them.

     "Well, do you remember the time I came home from school and told you about our Bohemian history class and our study of the military conquests of General Borders?" Roberta asked her mother as she prepared her for the momentous news.

     "Well, yes.  I do remember that.  You had to do a report.  You received an A on that report as I remember.  I was very proud of you," her mother replied.

     "Well, I had concentrated on the prophecy of Borders that he would one day return to active military duty.  That was the topic to which I had been assigned as you may also remember.  I was picked out of the entire class for that interesting topic, and I labored over it.  Remember?" Roberta asked her mother. "Do you remember how I had searched for any signs or evidence of that prophesy of Borders in our national history and on our political stage?"

     Mrs. Peters quickly started to see what was now happening concerning the Battle of Bohan.  She lifted her hand to signal Roberta to keep silence and let her talk.  "Wait!  'White clouds riding here . . . . '  Do you mean to tell me that Trevor refers to none other than General Borders?" she blurted out with wide-eyed astonishment as she started to comprehend the cryptic message from her soldiering son.

     "Yes, that is it," Roberta answered briefly.  "He had said, 'I will ride again with white clouds in my hair.'  That had he prophesied when the enemy surrendered to him the final time in the Great War."

     "No!  That cannot be happening!  That is too good to be true.  I had thought you were wasting your time on that report although I never let on to you, Roberta," Mrs. Peters intimated.  "Do you mean to tell me --  this is an act of God!  'White clouds riding here -- head-ward.'  Trevor was trying to tell me that Borders is back, indeed.  That never occurred to me.  I could not see it.  But further, Borders is in charge of the Battle of Bohan," Mrs. Peters stammered with a half-believing comprehension, pausing to catch her very breath through the excitement she was feeling.  Then she continued, "This is not some trifle of rain upon us!"

     Roberta watched as her mother expended effort in trying to accept this news of her son and of the security question regarding the town.  She waited patiently for her mother to think it over before she would divulge the news that the town crier had already told of this day in history.  Finally, Mrs. Peters humbly admitted that she had been perplexed for good reason.  She said hesitantly yet facetiously, "Well, now I know why this is not a weather report my son sent us.  No, it is not about the weather at all.  No wonder I was so puzzled by this.  I could not figure it out.  I thought that perhaps the battle was delayed due to rain, that the weather was in charge of that destiny; elsewise, I thought that perhaps he was not confident of his commander in the battle, and that had caused me to worry a little.  I have spent almost the entire day mulling this over.  I could barely get anything done around here.  Now I see what he means," Mrs. Peters told her daughter.  Then she looked at her directly and with deep compassion said to her,  "But I never once broke your belief that General Borders could in actuality return to service as I felt you needed to think the best of your country in the face of all of the changes for the worse in which you were growing up, Roberta.  I confess that to you now.  I let you have your moment in the history class.  That is how I privately viewed it.  I cherished the hope that prophecy had given you as much as I cherished your profound sense of scholarship when you approached the assignment.  I wanted the times to be better for you, but there was no way for me to just change the world for you."

     "Yes, well, the town crier himself was out just before I left my last stop today.  I heard him myself.  He has announced this news of the return of Robert Borders not more than two hours ago, Mother dear," Roberta replied forthrightly, placing the wider perspective of her mother's world view in its place in the past.

     Mrs. Peters remembered at that moment through the way her daughter spoke with a kind of authority how bright she had been as a student, and how disappointed she was that she had not gone on to further education after high school.  This moment of remarkable news made that realization all the more painful for Mrs. Peters, and she tried to soften her own pain by saying softly to her daughter, "Well now, Roberta, I will have to look into a way for you to further your education after all.  Trevor may distinguish himself in the military, but that is also a paying position.  It is an advantage young men have over young women in this society.  I will have to see what can be done for you.  I am going to try to find a new way for you."

     "Yes, but we do not know what will happen to Trevor in this battle and in his entire career in the army.  Things are not too certain for him, and I do not envy that.  I would not want to be in his shoes at all.  I can take the difference between us as to career accordingly.  Also, what if I were to fall in love with one of my clients, Mother?" Roberta asked after giving her mother a return consolation.

     Mrs. Peters immediately became concerned for her daughter, placing the question of her son's fate in the growing civic unrest aside.  She tended to her daughter with the deepest concern, and said, "What do you mean by that?  Is that the client whose first name is the same as his last to whom you refer?  Is he ever there when you clean his apartment?  Do I have to teach you propriety all over again?" Mrs. Peters inquired.

     "Now wait, Mother.  He is almost never there when I am there.  But I think I love him.  I have met him.  Twice I have met him over the past year," Roberta replied respectfully.  "He has made a lasting impression on me," she added with a respectful matter-of-factness.

     "I see. What makes you think you love him?  Is he a true gentleman?"  Mrs. Peters demanded to know.

     "I felt it today again as I wrote him a note saying that the town crier had reported on the return of Borders.  I had to leave there before my work was finished.  I sensed trouble on the streets, and I needed to know if Trevor had sent word and if you had heard the news.  Sure enough, I was right.  Mom, do you know what just happened?" Roberta asked with an urgent need for approval for her decision not to finish the work at Bogdhan's apartment.

     "Now wait.  I asked if he is true gentleman or not, and you are avoiding it.  Yes?"  Mrs. Peters was adamant to know the facts as to her daughter's proper social comportment.

     "Mother, yes.  He is more than that.  He is a noble man, besides, and I love him for it.  I admire everything about him, and he is very respectful of me.  I confided in him that I still want to attend the music conservatory and succeed past my current lot.  Now that is all.  His manners are impeccable, you can be assured," Miss Peters dutifully conveyed the facts accordingly to her worried mother.

     "Well, that is prudent.  I think that you should be pleased that you have met such a fine young man in your workday.  Perhaps through him and others like him you can gain some support for your aspirations to study music as you need to do," Mrs. Peters encouragingly said to her daughter.  She had read her daughter very closely so as to see if she was telling the truth or not, and Roberta had passed the test.  "Now, what did you refer to?  What had happened as proof of your security or lack of it?" Mrs. Peters wanted to know further.  "Did Bogdhan walk you home?"

     "Oh, that is what I had wished!  You know me, that is for sure.   No, one of his cohorts, a fellow runner named Roger Flutemacher, gave me his arm just outside Bogdhan's building and said he had been ordered to escort me home.  He was most formal.  We did not speak, and the streets were alive with excitement.  I read both danger in the air and excitement over the news of the re-appointment of Robert Borders as head of the army," Roberta divulged anxiously to her mother.

     "I see.  Now tell me, did you have any way of identifying this escort?  Was he in uniform?  How did you know that you were not being kidnapped?  Now you have to be careful in these times.  The neighbors two houses down from here, whom I do not know very well, unfortunately, just reported their daughter as missing to the police.  I worry about you," Mrs. Peters said with an ominous tone that consoled her young daughter and allayed her fears.  The way of organized crime to terrorize the citizenry of Bohan was now embedded in the society nationwide, and parents were not certain of the future for their children.  Attendance at colleges had gone down noticeably, and many young men were joining the army after leaving high school instead of seeking a higher education directly.  The people were gripped in fear of the growing crimes and of the growing illicit army of rebels which the terrible Durydon was building.  "Now tell me exactly what happened," the astute Mrs. Peters required of her daughter.

     Roberta was passing all of the tests with her mother; she sighed an audible sigh of relief that she would pass scrutiny on this point, as well.  "I immediately saw that I could be in a situation over Bogdhan's apartment since he is connected.  I suspected the runner when he approached me because of it, and I held back from him at first.  He did not dare speak to me until he had shown me his badge.  So he identified himself, all right," she said.

     "I see, so you put him off with your manner, and not with words?" Mrs. Peters demanded to know.

     "Yes," Roberta said briefly in answer to her mother's closer scrutiny.

     "Do not be afraid to speak up for yourself.  But then again, did you talk on the way at all about the current affairs?" Mrs. Peters then queried with an imposing pressure on her daughter.

     Once again, Roberta felt vindicated.  She savored telling more of her recent experience as she reported with a duty-mindedness to her mother, "No.  I felt that it would be best to keep an air of neutrality.  I fear spies and hidden gangsters, Mother.  I did not feel it appropriate to talk at all.  I was concentrating on the task at hand, and that task was getting home safely.  I just wonder if Bogdhan himself had sent Roger Flutemacher.  Do you think that he could have sent him?"

     "No, I don't think that Bogdhan is at a commander's level, or he would be living on a military compound somewhere.  As much as you might like to fancy that idea, no.  But that doesn't mean that he did not suggest it, or recommend it to his superior, though," Mrs. Peters conjectured so as to coddle her daughter.

     "I am so relieved to have told you that I have a special love for Bogdhan.  I wanted so desperately to be the one to have told him of the return of Robert Borders to the service of our nation again.  However, he apparently must know," Roberta confided to her mother.

     "Yes, well we have to watch out for your safety now that things have escalated here in Bohan.  I wonder if it is even advisable for you to return to Bogdhan's apartment until the battle is finished here.  I am going to have to consult your father on this, Roberta," warned Mrs. Peters.

     Roberta was expecting this kind of caution in her mother and was at one with it.  She quickly replied, "I felt the same way when I was considering going back there tomorrow or not.  I am worried although I want to see him again.  I do not want to lose my position there.  I am now officially in love.  I have told you.  I feel I would risk my life for him."

     Mrs. Peters considered the conversation closed, but she made one last point in an off-handed manner: "Yes, I would know that.  But it won't matter if we decide that you are to retreat from his place until things renormalize.  Here we will make the decision for you, or you might do something rash, I fear."

     Roberta gained a slightly far-off look in her eyes and said in a lesser tone, "Yes, I might be in danger.  But not next to my hero, Bogdhan.  He is remarkable, most remarkable.  He is one of a kind."

     Mrs. Peters observed with interest the mind of her young daughter who had finished her public school education at the level of high school just five years previously.  She was now concerned that if Roberta married soon, she would never enter the music conservatory.  As Roberta's mother was reflecting on her, Roberta excused herself and went to the back of the house so as to be alone and find out more of the spirit of the town from the back porch.  She sat down to muse on the neighboring houses and on the street which was partly visible to her; in her privacy, she remembered the event which had occurred when she took in the news of the town crier regarding the return of Robert Borders to military duty in Bohemia.  She had guarded herself against the close questioning of her mother and had been careful not to mention that she had started the cheer of, "Long live Borders!  Long live Bohemia!" while on Bogdhan's back porch.  For a few moments she reveled in that secrecy from her watchful mother, and then she realized that her mother had not even believed in the great general at the level of believing also in his prophecy.  This realization caused her to feel a slight vindication that she had led the crowd or had helped lead the crowd with her chosen words.  She reviewed her memory of her high school history report to find if she had had any indication from her mother of such disbelief in Borders' prophecy at that time and simply could not find any.  Although she did not consider her mother dishonest in any way for this, she measured herself against the recent event of history's proportion as closer to the truth than was her beloved mother.  For this reason, Roberta decided that to have led the crowd in the cheer had been a sign that she was more in touch with the current events and with the politics of Bohemia than her mother in the most general sense; she prided herself accordingly and congratulated herself that she had led the crowd just after the proclamation of the town crier.

     Roberta sat and reveled in the greatness of General Borders whose new title of Arch General had not yet been established in his new day since his return; nonetheless, the people who had long believed in the prophecy of his return had informally called him "Arch General" as if to lend that return credibility through such an upgraded official title.  Indeed, "Arch General" had become some kind of informal nickname for him.  He was still thought of as 'General' Borders, nevertheless.  How close to Bohan was he?  How soon would she find out the role of the runner she so admired, Bogdhan, in the current situation with the arrival of such an important political personage as the daughter of the head-of-state of Liberty Love Forest in the nation of Bohemia?  Radhita was known now among many as the one who had escaped her kidnapper, none other than Durydon.  Roberta thought of her as the future wife of their Giant Little.  Then she remembered having told her own  mother of her incipient love for Bogdhan.  Her heart swelled when she realized that she was gaining formal parental permission to perhaps be courted by this gentleman whose great civic conscience and heroic duty towards his nation Roberta admired greatly.  Poor Roberta felt that she was not of the social standing to ever gain such a fine man in marriage as her opportunity in life had been limited by the lack of provision from her parents to provide her the continuing education which she had desired.  Roberta's doubt gripped her at this thought.  It was as if she were returning to reality.  However, her talent as a pianist was unmistakably great; she decided that if ever there were an opportunity for her to continue her education, she would be chosen for music, and at that would she excel with ease.  This musing undid the pain of her self-doubt momentarily.

     Roberta began to reflect on how she loved the manner and the soft yet masculine voice of Bogdhan.  All of a sudden, there came a flash of light above the roof of the neighboring house not a hundred feet from the railing of the porch.  Roberta had never seen anything like it.  Before she had time to consider what it could possibly be, Roberta watched this light transform into a solid form -- lo and behold, a magic carpet carrying someone whose figure was emanating a looming light came streaming summarily downward.  Roberta's heart was beating quickly as she soon witnessed that strange magic carpet choose her own porch for a landing.  There was a swooshing sound as the carpet zoomed over the railing of her porch.  Then Roberta had the miraculous moment to view a living, incarnate angel, who sat briefly so as to allow Roberta to register the real moment in which she was concentratively accepting the arrival of such a supernatural being.  Roberta felt moved beyond belief and was totally immobilized both physically and mentally.  She knew not what to think at this event before her.  She stood and mindlessly gazed upon the most beautiful being whose understanding of her seemed total and implicitly assumed between them.

     This was Angelina now come to rescue Roberta to a better station in life.  Roberta's family had been so oppressed and limited during the times of the civic strife of recent years.  Their family business, a shoe and baggage store in downtown Bohan, had been twice robbed over the past six years.  Angelina stood up and smiled beatifically over at the awestruck maiden before her.  Quietly she said to Roberta, "I hereby deem you as to your perfection in music as the most worthy recipient of an award for the furtherance of your education.  You shall with this grant of monies I hold in my hand attend the Music Conservatory of Bohan for a full term of four years at the expense of Providence; and this certificate of award will be held as redeemable at the named institution and will cover all expenses for the completion of your degree accordingly.  Simply provide this bank statement and the funds arranged therein will be applied as against your further education as the godhead would allow and deem to be most appropriate for you in your unusual straits. With your God-given talents may you prosper life-long.  My name is Angelina, I am your guardian, and I will see to your success and deliverance as this grant will with certainty provide."

     Roberta stood spellbound and knew not what to do as she read her life in front of her -- it was slowly ascending to some expansive horizon of real opportunity with this unexpected visitor from on high.  She instantaneously saw beyond even the granting of the opportunity itself which was now before her.  Yeah, into the results of the furtherance of her education did she glimpse and then rejoice.  Her smile was broad, her spirit was soaring, and she just stood and admired the most placid and compassionate face of the loving angel before her astonished eyes.        

     Angelina took more compassion for her human charge now; she graciously intervened with actual words to her for the handing over of the valuable document.  Angelina in a voice which flowed with love and mercy in its very sound said so gently to Roberta, "Please take this bank check from my hand now and place it in a strongbox until such time as your acceptance at the music conservatory has occurred in the next two weeks.  It is yours.  It is yours to be had, to be held, and to secure your destiny forever more.  You may marry as to your heart's dictate therefrom.  May the bells ring in your favor, oh, you who are most worthy and talented."

     Roberta then accepted her simple yet all-giving task to actually appropriate that which was being conferred upon her from the majestic angel, and she stepped forward with deep reverence.  She bowed her head deeply unto the angel which stood before her awestruck being.  Then she looked up and viewed Angelina in the eyes, showing her wonderment and gratitude with two incipient tears shining.  She put out her right hand for the document from on high, and Angelina nodded briefly as she handed it over to her.  Roberta was jubilant in her heart; suddenly she heard the sound of a concert in the offing somewhere as if it were real somehow, but yet this concert could not be heard by any other than Angelina and herself -- that she knew.  She heard a magnificent flute in a duet with a grand piano, and this beatific music sent shivers through her body.  Then there was a marvelous chorus of angelic voices which sounded in the distance; this chorus lifted her even more into the destiny before her even though that destiny was to be of course on earth.  When the heavenly chorus sounded in some space not visible to the human eye yet which was cognizable to the musical mind and heart of Roberta Peters, so did the angel in front of her resume her sitting position on the magic carpet of deep purple hue.  Following this did the magic carpet rise vertically to a height of about eight feet.  Then the voice of Angelina could be heard just before the swooshing sound of its more total departure took place, and Angelina did say unto Roberta the following: "Hallelujah!  May God bless you, your family and the nation of Bohemia, for you are so deemed.  May mankind find peace.  Peace be on Earth.  May resistance be overcome, may oppression be conquered.  All is well.  Ever onward.  Hallelujah."  

     Roberta watched in absolute wonder as the angel flew on the purple carpet high into the sky and out of sight into the soft, distant white clouds.  She grasped the document closely to her heart and held it there with all of her might, resolving in her mind to make the absolute best of the education in music which now stood before her.  An almost lost goal, her desire to become a professional pianist and teacher of music which had slowly over time become some effete fantasy now sparkled as brightly in her blessed mind as the light which had first appeared and somehow evolved into a supernatural form, that of Angelina.  The great angel had conferred upon her the blessing of her life.  Now to tell her mother and father of this, Roberta thought, and give them the greatest news imaginable -- if it would indeed be imaginable at all to them.  Then she gazed at the physical document in her hands and steeled her mind for the breaking of the news to her parents, for this was the actual physical counterpart of the redemption from Heaven direct.  This redemption to a career was incontrovertible, indeed.  Then she thought that on the day she had told her mother of her love for Bogdhan Bogdhan had this miracle  occurred.  She thought to herself, "This must mean that I will indeed marry Bogdhan.  This is the greatest moment of my lifetime.  Thank you dear God, thank you for sending Angelina to me.  She is my angel.  I will be vindicated  

     As the day progressed in Municipal Woods with the waning light, Bogdhan held fast to his place in the tree high above the grounds of the expansive park lands.  Not a sound did he utter or make.  His concentration upon the movements of the enemies in the surround was almost total, and he kept a guardian's vigil for his cohort in the neighboring tree branches.  As the time stretched on, Bogdhan had quietly switched his position a few times to a small extent so as to refresh his muscles while at the same time finding a way to relax the grip of his hands.  By finally sitting down on the medium sized branch as opposed to standing and gripping onto branches in his reach, he found a way to remain stable and firmly poised by crossing his ankles so as to lock his feet, which were now suspended in the air.  On the climb up the majestic tree he had conceived of camouflaging himself with small, leafy branches.  He therefore climbed a short distance higher than his chosen hiding spot to procure some such leafy branches, and he tucked them into his hat, clothing and running shoes as a measure designed for safer hiding.  His partner across the air space had followed suit and had accomplished the same task as much as they had learned in their training in boot camp.  As their wait in the trees stretched on, the silence seemed ominous.  The birds were unusually quiet at the hour of this secret vigil, a vigil the brave warriors kept on the behalf of molding the battle drastically towards the side of good, the side of preservation and of peace.  Bogdhan, thinking that his watch could not be total enough to rule out an encroacher, listened attentively for any sound of movement or of footsteps on the ground beneath.  While contemplating the necessity of using both eyes and ears during his watch and wait, Bogdhan was turning over in his mind what strategy he could employ in the event that his hiding place might be uncovered.  

     Drona was strategically courting nightfall.  Once darkness arrived, it would be time for the movement to the nearby government office of the messages in his battle command.  Once started, the delivery of the messages would confer adept resistance to the encroachment of B. Tiger, his men and Chienne to the area where he as commander of the battle had hidden the messengers.  

     Bogdhan felt confident that such a turn of battle wherein he and his fellow messenger would actually be discovered would not be likely; nevertheless, in the spirit of success he steeled his nerves for that kind of confrontation as he calmly reflected upon possible events.  He and Bob Stround were afforded such an elevated and remote locus by the trees.  Bogdhan, though he had to be thus ready for the worst situation in case it might arrive, still remained unaware of Chienne's possession of the deadly potion.  A fight in a tree would most certainly be a desperate one, he reasoned.  The height of 100 feet offered an encloistered niche for its time; indeed, that time would prove itself only against the movement of the enemies on the field as they searched for him and his courageous cohort, Bob Stround.  True, Bogdhan reasoned; it was true that the grandmaster and his masters gave their opposition to such enemy movement.  If, however, the placement of the likes of Chienne and B. Tiger were to give way on the field to a close proximity to their well-hidden niche in the trees, then any advantage now gained by being aloft to the ground could be transformed into a liability to the danger of a scrimmage involving a dangerous free-fall.  Bogdhan had carefully considered the extent of the tree remaining above his head for that reason.  With an extra amount of courage he could climb it and use the narrower branches to taunt any encroacher to an equal amount of courage if only to follow him.  However, Bogdhan reasoned that his position as that of superior in elevation in an active fight would be his greatest advantage.  In fact, anyone climbing the tree in order to access a dynamic challenge would be most totally at the mercy of having his hands stepped upon and his head kicked, and thus would such any climbing enemy be dislodged from the tree itself.  If flying weapons were to be employed, then the prospect of going higher might be worth considering, he thought.  This prospect of weapons being hurled at him made Bogdhan realize that he should study the exact placement of the branches beneath him; heading downward along the tree trunk so as to be able to switch sides away from being targeted by knives, arrows, stars or bullets would be the most sensible way to fight, he thought.  Knowing where each branch was positioned on the tree therefore was an important reflection for Bogdhan, and he frequently studied the topological features of the branches along the trunk as far as he could see for that reason.  The rest of the time for Bogdhan was spent in trying to sense where the enemy was exactly located in the park.  He and the other brave messenger carefully listened for any sounds of movement or fight.  The trees all around them rustled gently in the mild breeze like the soft chorus of an accommodating ally collectively reminding that beyond the moments of dire battle and the threats of dire battle there was peace; there was peace beyond if only because the authority of protection had spoken that simple truth in the way that the world talks to the warrior beleaguered in fight.  In that world where fight grips the being with portending might and cruelty there is a provision to be found -- the provision of protection and preservation up until there is no choice but to break the immediate peace and to fight.  It takes true courage to see past the conflict itself, yet how great the shelter of the trees, Bogdhan reflected.  That the wind could give the trees such a subtle voice only gave those trees greater presence in the situation which otherwise quietly threatened their lives and their vital mission to get the messages through to the town government.  This realization on the part of the young hero of the provision of the trees in their collective spirit on the battlefield caused him to feel safe if not mighty like the trees.  He fused now more deeply into the battle when he realized that any potential to be felled out of a tree in dire conflict was worth the risk when it was weighted against first being ever discovered; somehow, being discovered consistently seemed to him to be unlikely.  Bogdhan keenly made use of his visual access from such a superior vantage point so as to study a possible escape route.  Unscathed, thought Bogdhan, unscathed would be the word of those leaves rustling in the breeze so harmlessly and informatively this day, this hour.  At the right moment for him and his partner in battle a quick and quiet descent to the ground again, knowing the way to be clear -- this became the silent plea for smooth victory.  Such a victory in Bogdhan's conceptual cradle of peaceful resistance would be where knowledge alone of the placement of the troops on the field could allow a passive resistance to their intended violence.  How powerful the repose of nature, Bogdhan thought, to provide such a dimension of cover as that of the trees, who seemed also to speak of peace as he prayed for peace in his deepest heart.  Yes, he could fight, but he had intuited the sense of peace in the face of imposing conflict in the calm command of the great grandmaster, Drona.  When Bogdhan caught onto that concept as he was being ushered up the tree by Drona much earlier in the battle, he was at first astonished somewhat by it.  However, once that idea of a non-violent resolution at his end of the battle struck his mind, Bogdhan settled into it contemplatively as if it had been as much prophesied to him.  That sense of prescience in battle marks the depth of Drona's command.  Bogdhan had heard that Drona was most awesome as commander on the battlefield from fellow runners.  The great Drona worked from a supernormal plane, performing miracles and magic readily and most usefully.  Now was the lesson of Drona personally gripping Bogdhan, so that he understood better how it was that Giant Little had grown into such an unbelievable, heroic person since he had learned battle for righteous cause under the tutelage of the likes of Drona.  Suddenly, Giant Little made more sense to Bogdhan than ever before.  Bogdhan was now experiencing the superior positioning he had gained by seeing Drona and by sharing real action on the field with Drona in capable charge from his vantage point of omniscience.  Drona's omniscience made the fight ahead seem blessed with prescience so that to embrace the concept of non-violent resolution in the act of delivering the messages to their final destination was relatively easy for Bogdhan.  At this he rejoiced although he was willing to fight and ready to fight.  In Drona's vision of battle Bogdhan had read a most far-reaching ploy to direct the dynamics of the conflicts away from the even more terrible expressions of Durydon, and this became steadily more real to Bogdhan as he awaited nightfall.  

     The greatest victory for Drona as chief commander-- sequestering the runners away from bloodshed -- was now apparently unfolding.  Such a transcendent viewpoint displayed the vision of a most gifted grandmaster, for this direction in war could lessen the very power of the enemy commander at the important juncture before them.  How deep became the admiration of Bogdhan for the invincible Drona at this point in his heroic quest to help wrest the reins of terror out of the hands of Durydon with a directional force in battle like the one now seemingly before him.  

     Even still, Drona wisely kept the threat of the deadly potion of Chienne at a minimum by not relaying its reality to the two messengers; this was Drona's strategy, for Chienne was thus being deprived of the first level of power, the black magical level, which he was trying to effect in deploying the potion as his most prized weapon.  

     Bogdhan then turned his attention to the prospect of what Giant Little might do next; he had been made aware of Giant Little's presence and place on the field much earlier when they had exchanged camouflaged signals.

     Suddenly there was a swoosh of light which went ineffably quickly through the air between the two trees which held the bold runners.  This light was  tear-shaped with a trail which seemed to taper off into particles of light.  The sheen of the light was at once bright and contained.  As it shone forth, it gave more of a message of presence and truth than sheer earthly light since it did not shed itself upon its surround remarkably as it shone and traveled.  Indeed, Bogdhan read into the unexpected packet of swiftly moving light the presence of a given spirit as if that spirit were individuated somehow.  Before he could name in his mind the exact persona of Drona as that spirit whose presence seemed near, whose presence seemed at once concentrated in the dart of moving light while it was yet immanent everywhere in the verdant surround, Bogdhan witnessed the appearance of Drona as he slowly precipitated into a figure on the ground beneath the trees.  Bogdhan was totally awed by this strange and miraculous event.  He realized that Drona was revealing himself more fully to him in order to inspire courage and presence in this momentous battle now before him and more real than ever.  The  runner felt a surge of courage through his newly realized vision of how to proceed in getting the message to the town's governing group.  Bogdhan's mind opened up to the task ahead now in view of this display of metaphysical truth by Drona, and his fear was diminishing steadily as he realized how powerful and magic Drona was proving to be.  He saw no way or likelihood that the enemy could ever defeat their mission now that Drona was working from such an other-worldly plane which Bogdhan understood intuitively to be of the greatest universality possible.  Reconnoitering according to the inestimably great realization that victory could only be theirs, Bogdhan now searched for his cohort in the neighboring tree.  Wondering if he had also witnessed this mode of travel by Drona as he had, Bogdhan gained the courage to whisper in utter curiosity his query unto Bob Stround.  "Bob, did you see that light-form pass here?"

     Bob Stround also had the courage to answer in like whisper. "Yes.  Six inches long.  Like a wisp of light.  I saw it!" 

     Bogdhan remained silent but more aware now that he had verified from his comrade this miraculous occurrence.  He remained awestruck, knowing not what to say other than the sheer fact of the light; what of the incarnation, he thought to himself.  "What exactly is this wonder of God?  Bob saw it, too!" Bogdhan queried quietly in his mind. 

     "Drona arrives.  Drona is now below us," Bob Stround said in answer to Bogdhan's reticence.

    Then Bogdhan added, "I see.  Let us see."

     In the meantime, as he sat waiting in the cave, Giant Little was brought out of his meditative state by the indirect call of battle.  Dusk was arriving.  The boy wonder sensed that dynamic activity was in the offing. Upon asking of his commander, Drona, what to do, Giant Little was informed that the enemy was slowly encroaching.  "Is there still time for us to effect a clear escape without direct fight despite their proximity to us?" he asked of the grandmaster.  "Can we be evasive?"

     "Nearly so.  B. Tiger and company, Chienne, and my masters have been steadily contending for the upper hand on the field as the enemies work their way towards the messengers here.  There have been some critical losses for B.Tiger, so that our first initiative in battle is successful; we have weakened Durydon's potential prospects on this field by taking down some of B. Tiger's men.  Their  encroachment continues.  They are very close to us now."

     "Good.  Your bait here nearby the cave has worked.  This strategy is supreme.  Down with Durydon, that wicked one, that horrible badman," Giant Little said in response to Drona's battle report.

     Drona continued, "The two messengers have just been signaled out of their holdings in the trees.  I am about to give them over to you for the finale.  You will be able to start leading them safely to the municipal building very soon.  First, we will get Chienne."

     Thus came the critical telepathic message of Drona to Giant Little.  For the first time, the actual delivery of the messages to the town officials was directly in sight.  This approaching moment was for the incredible boy hero the most sublime moment in battle he had ever countenanced other than when he saved Radhita during the fight to free her from her two kidnappers.  Giant Little took the fore with his revered karate grandmaster now, and to him he relayed the following response, "I am ready to mobilize now to the entrance of this tunnel, most honored one.  I am at your watchful command.  Down with Chienne."

     "Good.  You have time.  The two messengers are descending quietly and steadily down from their roosts.  Wait for my signals," came the next instruction of Drona.     

     Bogdhan was trying to be as quiet as possible as he descended from his tree.  The winds had calmed down now.  The light of day was dimming more and more as time slowly crept.  His major challenge was to avoid making noise by the breaking of any small branches as he proceeded down the tree since he was fairly certain that B. Tiger and his men must be somewhere close-by.  How close he could only conjecture, but with the arrival of Drona a major message of imminent fight hovered somehow in the air.  Moreover, Bogdhan reviewed how the crickets had stopped their sounding just as Drona had arrived as he did, and it sent goose bumps all over his arms and legs when he remembered that magical event, that curious flash-of-light display.  Bob Stround was not as far down his respective tree as was Bogdhan Bogdhan.  

     Giant Little, having been signaled over to the vicinity of the messengers by Drona, was now hiding in the bushes nearby the holding trees.  Gai anxiously awaited the two brave messengers.  His chest swelled with excitement when he envisioned their feet actually touching the ground once again after all these hours of the commander Drona's most strategic sequestering of them in the loft afforded by the trees.  He performed a mental surveillance of the field in his mind's eye as he strived to find out where Chienne was now located.  Chienne was the one to be most feared as the messengers approached the ground level since the potion with which he was touting the messengers could wreak havoc upon them prospectively.  Such havoc had the moment to affect the security of the entire nation and its neighbor, Liberty Love Forest.  Gai realized keenly how Chienne's deadly weapon of biological warfare could cause panic for both nations now involved in the defeat of the revolutionary Durydon.  Drona's entire enterprise in using the messengers as bait for Chienne was not only to disarm Chienne but also to forever vanquish him but for his possible use of such a terrifying chemical weapon.  Giant Little reflected on the day he had witnessed the direct power of Chienne's potion to wither the leaves of a small to medium-sized tree before his very eyes.  He wondered if it could not wither also a towering tree.  No longer would that matter for the purpose at hand, he reflected to himself; the timing of Drona in mobilizing the two runners would obviate any such test of the potion on the tall, majestic trees which had commodiously held the two great heroes of the runways of Bohemia.  At least the next few minutes would most likely tell how attuned were B. Tiger and Chienne to the field positioning of Bogdhan and Stround.  That great boy hero, Giant Little, made two solid fists as that fact came to his mind, for he was clenching now to defend; he was preparing indeed to attack if necessary as much as he was preparing to lead the messengers to yonder cave in hopefully a more secretive way.  For this kind of clandestine departure Giant Little had certainly bargained as he worked with Drona.  

     One could never choose an option in battle to certainty, Gai reflected.  One could only build options and hope for the best one to happen since everything depended upon the knowledge of the enemy as the actual events gained their dynamic input on the field.  The knower of the field, Giant Little mused, was to become so fused with the field through knowing that in the full face of action options would instantaneously pale to the mind.  Decisions made before the events would now take on meaningless stature.  In such as the aegis of a mind unified with the field of battle would the contenders on the field be subsumed under the transcendence of mind in time itself.  Indeed, the timing of actions would often display its meaning only as it actually occurred, or such timing might give signs which would gain significance just before the fact of dire need in the dynamics of battle.  Time thus transcended gives courage and presence on the field as it softens the power of the threat taken in the dire situational framework that is battle; indeed, the greatest threat is the surprise attack, and being transcendent to time removes that supreme threat.  

     More than once had Giant Little seen his very life spared in battle by unplanned moves on his part -- moves which had fused with the future for his own protection.  This, he reminded himself, repeatedly set him up not to be taken by surprise.  To thus supercede in the way of timing in fight is to master fight itself, conferring one's immunity to the enemy.  Such indispensable immunity could only baffle the enemy and bait him to blunder, perhaps.  He prayed for Chienne's blunder here on the spot.  Now he had gained the moment to fight Chienne, and he was ready for the worst.  More than that, as Giant Little saw how totally dangerous the prowess of Chienne with his deadly chemical capabilities, he actually began to want to defeat him now out in the open if that configuration on the field became real before him.  Giant Little was steadily gaining presence and readiness for the terrible enemies in the surround as he put to active use his knowledge of battle, a knowledge which all boiled down to the entities of the field and of the self.  He straightened his back and centered his body on the field in front of him with more determination than ever now that he interfaced his mind to prevail past the deadly conquerors before him; he knew more than Chienne knew, he reminded himself.  No enemy could fool him or catch him by surprise, and therefore, no chemical weapon could lend mastery to a mystical genius like Chienne.  Chienne was only trying to be more real than the true masters by asserting his deadly potion.  Giant Little knew that Drona had the powers to defeat such a ruse of reality as Chienne posed in the battle since Drona broke reality down to the actual essence of matter itself in the first and most fundamental instance.  Knowing these things, Giant Little stood ready, and he stood strong for the fight which was about to occur.  

     As Giant Little reflected through his most readied mind for the fight, he gained further the sense of need to find any change of the positioning of Chienne on the field.  Suddenly, he realized that as of his last surveillance of the field there had been what seemed to be a drastic change; indeed, he was starting to see that Chienne was dangerously near, possibly right at hand.  Just as that realization came to Giant Little's searching mind, he saw the actual mind of Chienne.  He started briefly at what he saw.  Chienne was actually checking on the position of Giant Little's station in the bushes!  Chienne, Gai so astutely perceived, was making sure that Giant Little had taken in his previous projection of his own positioning which was actually false -- it was a false position of placement from which Giant Little had been working in his understanding of the encroachment of Chienne.  Chienne was trying to fool Giant Little and Drona.  Yet, how transparent he really was, Gai thought to himself as he looked down on the incomplete mind of such a quasi-master as Chienne.  Chienne did nothing but practice from the desultory viewpoint of one possessed of the partial power of psychic ability turned to a black magical purpose to destroy but for the sake of mind for evil and power for ego.  Gai thought to himself, "I have something to show him.  I am not afraid of him or of his potion.  I would sooner die than see him rise to demonic stature as yet some villainous hero empowered to overthrow this beautiful nation-state of Bohemia."  At that moment, Giant Little checked in with Drona; apparently, Drona had been gently prodding Giant Little towards this level in fight wherein Chienne would be at hand for a targeting.  Whether this targeting was to be offensive or defensive, Giant Little did not care.  He wanted only to conquer the horrifying wizard who threatened the domestic peace of his beloved nation-state.  

     Giant Little communed now with Drona.  "Drona, this Chienne will personify the rise of the rule of evil if we don't put a stop to his biological warfare."

     Drona sent Giant Little his nod of affirmation, leaving aside any thoughts which could be read by the black magician now contesting for a central command via defeat of one Giant Little.  Giant Little continued his dialogue anyway.  Even though he felt the moment of attack coming inevitably soon, he said further to Drona, "I know that this horrible wizard will set the day for the rise of villainous heroism in this nation if we do not stop him now.  He will establish for all time to come the use of the deadly chemical weapon he carries even as we watch him approach on the field.  Drona, I am ready to die for my country in this battle.  We cannot let that happen."

     At that very moment, Giant Little felt the quaking of a huge rock in the woods which shook the very ground even as far as nearby where he himself, Giant Little, stood.  Drona was answering Gai's call in the battle, for he was deflecting Chienne from his proposed path of movement to the holding trees.  Chienne had been stalking the heroes of the runways, the two brave messengers who were about to descend the last forty feet down to the ground for their proposed escape, for long enough.

     As it happened, Chienne had in starts and stops over the last couple of hours kept moving in a line on the field which bore the target of the two holding trees.  Stealthily now that it was night, the mad wizard Chienne aimed for his finale; he moved across the moonlit ground ever more determined to prove his so-called genius in war.  The long, silver sword he wore at his hip gleamed silently, giving clear visual access to the invincible Drona, who secretly watched him from his post.  At a certain point, Chienne came upon a rock which stood about five feet high and was broad enough to make an obstruction in Chienne's direct line of movement as he so quickly made his way to his two coveted targets not far ahead.  Chienne was bent on destroying the messengers.  He was mobilizing now to take their very lives with his magical potion which could kill almost instantaneously once it made contact with the skin or was breathed in.  Drona at this point regarded the rock as a tool, as one giant weapon, to give the emboldened Chienne dire notice that his proposed targets in the holding trees, Bob Stround and Bogdhan Bogdhan, would not even be accessible to him.  From where he stood, Drona could see the rock sitting directly in Chienne's stalking line across the battlefield; indeed, he had been contemplating it in the minutes before Chienne had arrived this far.  Suddenly, Drona with the might of his will drawn from his ability to envision matter itself quaked the rock.  That rock made a huge noise, a deep, resonating shudder, as if the Earth itself were remarking in sound; the rock in its quintessential quaking sent out vibrations every which way -- in the air and on the ground.  Indeed, the very ground beneath Chienne had shaken, even if briefly.  Chienne for a tested moment actually feared being swallowed up by the earth beneath his feet unless that quake were to stop somehow.  Stop it did as Chienne leaped reflexively at least five feet backwards to evade the dynamics of a rock given over now to some force with the power to defy its own solid, static nature.  Threatened as he was by such a hint of a possible tremor of the Earth to follow this event and startled most totally in response to such a remarkable, Herculean feat of Drona, Chienne dared not continue his targeting of the messengers in the trees at this juncture in the battle.  Chienne was terrified.   

     Indeed, this quake of the large rock, sending Chienne off his route as he dared not contend further in his former determined direction on the field, had brought the battle home to our boy hero.  Drona then sent Giant Little forth so as to collect the dynamics of the field unto a discrete point in a direction and place away from the messengers.  Giant Little upon the command of Drona made his way out of his guard spot by the messengers with the greatest of dispatch.  He literally ran through the forest to gain a strategic and vitally needed, acentric ground in the battle in front of him.  Drona was now assuming a mental picture of the whereabouts of Giant Little which he would implement in the even more ultimate deflection of Chienne.  Chienne was somewhat stunned for a few minutes by the shock of the quaking rock.  As Chienne stood recollecting himself, Giant Little gained his new ground unbeknownst to the mad wizard, setting up a portending conflict at a fairly great distance from the holding trees.  

     In the meantime, Drona kept sending Chienne Gai's new locus on the field by mentally projecting it at him as he began to recover his senses from the awesome quaking of the huge rock.  Drona was commanding the battle in ways hidden to even the psychic powers of the black magician, the mightiest of the enemy contenders on the battlefield despite his slighter form.  In fact, by sequestering Chienne away from the messengers, Drona was preventing a battle formation in their close proximity which would have spelt a massive physical conflict with numerous mortalities.

     Chienne knew that Drona was as formidable as ever, yet he persevered.  In great pause coupled with deep fear of the grandmaster, the wicked wizard changed his sick, sordid strategy in the battle.  Knowing where Giant Little was posted now as per Drona's mental device, Chienne set out to get Giant Little further off in the woods.  Chienne began to stalk him instead of the messengers, moving with equal determination if in a different direction.  Chienne was seething with the will to use his uniquely derived weapon for the first time.  Indeed, with the greatest ego about the power of his potion and even despite Drona's obvious awareness of him, Chienne regrouped with some severe blight of mind with its characteristic twisted supremacy.  Needless to say, no such absolutely powerful weapon as Chienne's terrible nerve gas would give an honorable fight in war.  Chienne thought to himself, "Now I will defeat that mighty grandmaster Drona once and for all with this even mightier product of my alchemy, my veritable magic.  This poison will change forever the war scene in front of me.  I, Chienne, the greatest of the great, will come into even greater power now with the death of Giant Little.  Heh heh heh.  Only I, Chienne the magician, can get him.  I'll teach him one last thing before he dies -- that he, too, is mortal.  May he remember the apple tree which died before his very eyes when I killed it to terrify him, and may that fear overcome him as I move in to strike him down.  I'll get our little hero, that little dwarf.  He's mine for sure.  Move another rock!  I'll leap over it, and I'll get that little giant himself!  I will get that minuscule thing with these molecules more minuscule than the slight height of his little-boy noggin brain cells.  That is for certain now.  He is mine!"

     Thus did Chienne mentally recover from the awesome threat of Drona which had thrown him off his course towards the holding trees where he had wished to assault the messengers.  However, Chienne was a little too confident of his recovery and by far too confident of his moment to deploy his wicked concoction at Giant Little.  There is one thing you must realize about Giant Little; cautious he was based upon his knowledge of fight, yet more than that, his fearlessness could cause him to trump without showing a trump to the mightiest enemy no matter the stakes against him.  That may sound glorious and great, true; however, that might also be the necessary level of fight in the battle to save his country, and he knew it.  The great boy hero knew that if Chienne were to rise by use of the nerve gas in his evil hand in this immediate battle, alas, great doom would be spread over Bohemia.  Chienne had to be stopped summarily from rising this night to the fore of the overall war; indeed, Bohemia was now sitting prospectively on the edge of total dynamic military involvement of three nations together.  The hope for Bohemia was as good as nullified unless Chienne were stopped somehow.  At this moment of realization of the exact perils ahead of him, Giant Little stopped and prayed to Radhita.  He gave her his great heart of love as he readied himself to tolerate the insidious death wish of the most powerful black magician in all the land, the masterful Chienne, whom the true masters knew to be but a charlatan of mastery yet a leading accomplice of Durydon.  Yes, Gai was ready to die for his country; but when he thought of his noble princess, Radhita, he wanted to live to save her and to love her forever more.  Giant Little was more than ready for this scrimmage with Chienne, and with the most humble mind and heart to save the runners and their messages, Gai rejoiced in the dynamics of the field.  He was at once encouraged and yet egoless about the fact that he had been chosen to defeat the terrible Chienne, whose black magical mind and deadly chemical to match did not daunt Gai.  He thought for a brief second of Catster, sitting in a tree next to the messengers.  Catster would make sure nothing could happen to the noble messengers now that Gai had left his former guard position in order to command the exact, inevitable fight with Chienne and his nerve gas.  The move through the tunnel was delayed for this momentous fight against the murderous Chienne; indeed, a tunnel with its enclosed-space characteristics was not the place to be fighting a poison which could kill by its misty travel, either.  Gai realized how vital this regrouping of Chienne on the field by his own sudden run to a new positioning for fight.  Giant Little thrived on this opportunity to take this kind of lead in the defeat of evil.  How many times he had simply escaped Chienne throughout his adventures!  Now at last, the fight had fulminated in this moment with its dire formation, for this was the final facing-off.  "Now let me face him off for who he really is," thought the mighty person who was by age a youth but by level a true master.

     Chienne was abandoning caution at this point in the contention as he felt the stone-like presence of the incredible warrior-saint now moving towards him.  Chienne, Giant Little sensed, was able to transcend his fear in the fight through the belief he held in his seemingly magic potion.  Giant Little remembered the apple tree which had withered and lost its fruits due to the invasive fumes of the deadly weapon of Chienne's devastating concoction.  He started not.  With a tactical disregard for the deadly potion Chienne touted did our boy hero persevere and seek out the physical being which matched the supernormal level of the awesome Chienne.  Gai's entire body -- seemingly small as it might be -- clung to the power of the mother Earth as he moved with his center of body lowered, his legs bending so as to give him a minor crouch as he stalked the terrible one, now his most active target.  The energy Giant Little felt emanating from his being was directing him, finally bent now as he was on the person of the black magician who had been methodically finding him out on the field.  Chienne sensed the movement of Giant Little.  He was wearing a black cape that effectively obscured his slight form.  When the small wizard slung the generous cape back on both sides to ready himself for the fight, Giant Little heard the sounds it made, interpreting it as a stalking event.  Chienne moved slowly but steadily, carrying his deadly potion held out in front of his body in readied disposition for the attack.  He figured that when Giant Little would catch sight of him he would see the potion thus posed for deployment, and it would terrify him and weaken him for the attack.  The old wizard was working mentally now from the premise that his opponent, Giant Little, no matter how miraculously capable in  battle he had been to date was actually just a child, a mere boy.  He contemplated the fight according to that premise, trying to believe that the boy before him was in reality vulnerable due to his young age after all.  With such a bold refutation of Giant Little's history by record did Chienne gain a sense of security in the fight; nevertheless, such delusory sense of supremacy so courted in Chienne's battling ideation was about to be refuted most remarkably by the heroic feat of the boy wonder, the unshakable Giant Little.  

     Chienne had a long, pointed, silvery beard by which anyone could easily identify him as the Chienne when he was out and about.  Chienne owned and operated an apothecary shop in a town neighboring Bohan called Fortuna and made a good livelihood.  Chienne remembered the time Giant Little had stepped into his apothecary shop, and he had darted to the back office to hide on the boy hero, leaving his apprentice in charge of the moment.  Chienne did not want to be easily recognizable to Giant Little; thus did he evade him.  Now he was hoping to use his identity once hidden from Giant Little as a fear tactic -- he expected that his wizard's looks might frighten the boy upon their face-to-face confrontation under these circumstances and at this level of visibility in the moonlight.  In the here and now, Chienne possessed a superior weapon for the stalking, the fright, the targeting and the kill, and he felt somewhat shielded since the boy had never seen him close-up in his own shop.      

         Giant Little came upon a small clearing in the bushes.  Whoosh!  In one fell swoop, he leaped into the center of the small clearing so as to invite Chienne to open battle.  This clearing was only about forty feet in diameter and was in the shape of an almost perfect circle.  The great boy hero stood as open bait now; he was in an ultimate sense of the battles taking away the secrecy of the black magician by offering him his own body as obvious target, knowing that such secrecy was all that Chienne had lived for in developing his chemical weapon.  Strange that he had given away or at least risked his secret by killing the apple tree, Giant Little reflected in his great mental presence even in the face of this monumental danger.  "Chienne must have been trying to terrify me with that act of destruction," the valiant lad thought to himself; "I had taken it as an act of God most high."

     There he was now in the dim light of the early night; there stood Giant Little in view of Chienne who was on the exact edge of the clearing.  As Giant Little pretended to give Chienne his prospective power of chemical attack by crouching now closer to the ground, Chienne became emboldened to move in on his prized target, the very great hero of the entire land even despite his young age.  Chienne carefully and quietly stepped just beyond the edge of the bushes demarcating the circle of the clearing, holding steadily his vial of deadly chemical and mentally projecting it onto the entire body of the enemy in front of him now, the boy myth of the land nearby Pristinia.  The daring lad could feel the mental projection of the wizard upon him both physically and ideationally; indeed, Gai knew that the ugly wizard was putting forth the idea that there was nothing really quite so special about him after all and that he was compromised by his young age down to the point of being an easy mark.  Gai saw that Chienne's inflated premise in battle was achieved by his ultimate belief that at last he had concocted a weapon that could destroy him.  As the veritable child felt the mental presence of his attacker and read his misplaced contextual arrogation of a leverage unto supremacy as drawn from the power of the wizardry of a tool to kill him by chemical means, Giant Little fearlessly transcended, praying for a miracle to save him somehow.  Gai reached into his pocket, took out an apple, and tossed it gently to the ground directly in front of the wizard so as to mentally disarm him at least a little.  It fell with a minor clump onto the ground not three feet in front of Chienne where he could identify it despite the night.  Chienne did not care for this bold, taunting act of his enemy since he had some time ago tried to use the instantaneous fumigation of an apple tree to instill a deep-seated fear in Giant Little.  However, Chienne did his best to stay above any reactive mind to the message the all-knowing boy had just delivered him, believing in the ultimacy of his approach by mind despite the symbol of the tossed apple.  Once Giant Little read all of this in Chienne, he proceeded to open up his physique in bold, audacious answer, standing now erect with two fists held out by his readied arms.  Chienne saw this.  The puffed-up chest of Giant Little became the immediate target of the misery-loving wizard; his eyes gleamed at the sight, his mouth was drooling with the avarice to destroy him.  Now squinting his little eyes in a mind for actual target and actual aim, he laughed his sinister laugh in his mind only, not wishing to give away his exact locus to Drona by making any sound.  Chienne's back bent first slightly back and then forward a little as he prepared to take his dire action of releasing the deadly poison at the boy so as to interface and fumigate him, effectively.  With this telegraphing as Giant Little had read it, the emboldened wizard then leapt at Giant Little, bursting across the ground like a wisp in one neat, broad-jump fashion.  However, at this point where Giant Little had thus bled the mind of Chienne into his readiness to exert a mental counterforce and gain the necessary distance to actually hurl the chemical with its invasive fumes at his own body, Giant Little disappeared from Chienne's eyes.  Chienne was aghast.  The hoary wizard  rubbed his left eye in astonishment -- Giant Little had become invisible to him just as he was about to kill him with his alchemical weaponry!  This all had occurred in a matter of seconds; in just a few brief seconds had our hero baited to target and then miraculously evaded the insurgency of the warring wizard upon him.   

     Now what would he do?  For a fleeting moment, Chienne was actually afraid that he had somehow taken in even a single molecule of his own chemical devastator, causing him to be blinded somehow or at some level since he could not see his own most coveted target any longer anywhere.  No, Chienne thought to himself; his mechanism of deployment had been perfectly developed.  That weird man had developed a way to send the deadly matter forth in the form of a bomb-like bolus of chemical which detonated upon landing on its target; it devastated both through contact and through the mist of fumes it would send forth once it burst open past its fragile membrane.  It was like a bomb when it struck.  In that way, he was himself spared its very power to fumigate as long he was eight or ten feet from his target whereupon it would fully vaporize.  But no, in this instance the boy wonder had become invisible before his very eyes.  He blinked his eyes, madly searching for his targeted Giant Little.

     Now what could he do; once again the recurring theme of the invincible one before him momentarily deflated him.  "How dare he taunt me with an apple!" the angered wizard muttered, at once forgetting himself and his need to be as silent as possible lest Drona were to be upon him again.  

     "Heh heh heh!  By the stars, by the powers of the heavens onto the Earth, by the clouds I do so make, I will get you anyway, you little, small thing, you!  Why, you little varmint!" Chienne sent out the thought waves to the invisible boy warrior.  Chienne had no idea where Giant Little could be at this point in time.  He began to step now warily further into the clearing, carrying the vial of potion with its trigger to death upon his enemy -- effectively a deadly spray gun -- carefully in front of him as he took his steps to stalk him even into nowhere.  He kept his eyes on the place where he had last seen Giant Little.  There had been a sizeable rock right by the left side of Giant Little, and this rock served as a marker for the bold but somewhat bewildered Chienne.  With the rock as his starting point, the wicked wizard of Fortuna moved with calculating stealth his small, bony body around with the spray gun held out in front of him by two hungry arms barely bent at the elbows, just waiting to spray him.  The determined wizard was searching madly for some form of the boy.  He surveilled the entire vicinity, circumscribing a full three hundred sixty degrees in a half-mad, half-befuddled state of mind.  Chienne was trying now to transcend the magic of Giant Little to have slipped out of sight into thin air as he evidently did upon being targeted.  Still, no matter how brave his search, the black magical warrior, Chienne, could not locate Giant Little by visual means.  Chienne had to muster his belief past the vacancy of his own mind, a vacancy in reality that was created when Giant Little virtually vanished on him; forsooth, Chienne had to somehow retain the belief that he could finally get his boylike prize.  He stopped again as he came full circle at the rock.  Looking over at the solid rock in the moonlit night as some remnant now of all firmament known to be intransigent unto time as if that too might disappear, the poor, daunted Chienne was bewildered.  Not even sure at this point if it was indeed a rock at all, he rubbed his eye again to see if it was blurred.  Chienne switched the nebulizer into his other hand, rubbing his right eye as well.  He said to himself, "Perhaps my eyes, my own eyes, are failing me!  Where is that boy of a character, anyway?"  He darted his hungry eyes so refreshed in the dusky darkness in the surround about him, searching almost insanely unto desperation, alternately squinting his eyes and opening them awide, exasperated by the loss of sight of his chosen target.  Chienne was indeed now invisibly trumped while Giant Little was triumphant, of course.  However, this was not the time to make an escape and leave this maddened wizard to his futuristic diabolical designs; this Giant Little -- wherever he was -- knew. 

     Suddenly from directly behind him in his blind spot, there came a dynamic, powerful thrust of wind at Chienne which had no connection to the atmosphere around him; it was beyond the ordinary.  It came with no warning or counterpart to the sound of any physical movement of his youthful enemy.  This wind was short-lived and not explicable in any sense at all whatsoever to Chienne.  He had concluded that somewhere in the space of air once occupied by Giant Little -- however magic the boy might be -- he was still located.  Chienne was wrong.  Giant Little was squarely upon him in dire fight from behind him instead, and Chienne had just found this out as the energy of the boy warrior had instantaneously been unleashed upon him as if by magic.  Chienne in dire fight for his own life now spun summarily and adeptly around to confront his short-statured opponent for the deathblow.  However, Chienne was too late for any such countermove which would actually kill Giant Little.  As Chienne spun around with the deadly vial of chemical readied for its deployment, Giant Little actually sent further into the centripetal force of Chienne's circular about-face movement a mighty block onto the thin, knobby wrist of Chienne at whose extreme was the scrawny hand which held the deadly bombing materiel, dislodging from that hand the nebulizer as it fell with a quiet thump.  This block was the block which saved the life of our wondrous warrior, who bore as target the nefarious, warring mind and substance of the awful Chienne so skillfully and courageously; yet Chienne could not accept this defeat either.  Now again, Chienne saw the unerring defensibility of the lad of mythical lore threaten to transcend even this miraculous product of his laborious research of long years into deadly ammunitions.  This had been the ammunition of all ammunitions, designed to defeat those of the superhuman abilities whose mythical feats were often said to be confabulations if such feats in battle were being reported by those on the side of members of the underworld: people like Chienne, like Durydon, or like B. Tiger.  Knowing this, Giant Little was about to give some data in battle for those of the ilk of Chienne to even try to refute the mythical with lies this time, for this would be the ultimate answer of all answers in battle.  Just how could Chienne have hidden such an advanced weapon as nerve gas from his own murky kind?  Giant Little was not certain that absolutely nobody knew of it.  How much of a well-kept secret was this awesome tool of biological warfare?  Giant Little wondered at this briefly, and then he dismissed it as irrelevant in the face of its power to rule death unto destiny of any once detonated.  The vital thing was to defeat it by getting Chienne, the horrific author of many a battle to come, if this tool to death were not exterminated before it began to exterminate.

     Giant Little read Chienne's mind.  Chienne was on his way to fetch back from the ground the deadly chemical weapon, knowing that without air, its deadly properties would not mix with death itself.  The film-like membrane surrounding the chemical had to be broken open first.  Indeed, the container had not sent out its potential, membrane-bound chemical substance even as it had hit the ground with some force only because the trigger had been spared.  Indeed, it had not been detonated at all in this instance.  All the chemical stuff lay latent and waiting in its death-hold chamber.  Desperately now, Chienne scurried towards the cache of death's prospective ministry held within the volume of the metallic vial, which lay on the ground gleaming in the moonlight, seemingly inviting its partner in crime to actuate its latent potential with a reflection taken to be a signal -- death's signal.  He with the greatest haste procured the vial of his potentially pervasive, pernicious brew.  Now Chienne had the very most wicked mind to kill Giant Little at last with the resurgence of this nerve poison into active combat at his gnarly hands.  Giant Little knew that he could not let this wizard go by neatly escaping him this time; there was no way to spare Chienne, for he would simply use the deadly chemical warfare in all measures of situations in the civil war Chienne himself was actually helping to foment.  Giant Little had to intervene now, and in equal desperation to stop forever the black magician before him, he strategized once again to finally defeat him and to defeat him for once and for all.  Giant Little cocked his head to one side, and into his head so disposed there came an idea from Drona: turn it on him!

     Yes, now there would be a reckoning to tell his own children one day, mused the great war hero of inferior height but of monumental might.  Giant Little watched as the mighty wizard recovered that wretched vial of murderous, misery-ridden chemical substance.  How Chienne prided himself in this stuff, thought the noble one, held in battle as he was against such a contemptuous killer; indeed, Chienne occupied a level of destructive power and intent probably beyond even Durydon himself because of his possession of this vile chemical weapon, the very weapon Gai was fighting to vanquish in the name of goodness and by dint of his honor in battle.  With such a deadly weapon, Chienne was about to enter the ranks of none less than a commander seeking to bring the gross dishonor of overkill upon the people of the nation-state of Bohemia.  Defenseless against this nerve gas would the people be.  Giant Little shuddered to think of it; he steeled his mind for the stakes of war at hand according to his realization that there was no other battle that could meet the significance of the one before him, the battle that was unfolding on the very ground in front of his eyes.  Indeed, Giant Little read that Chienne planned to set forth after vanquishing him this night with his deadly weapon.  Chienne wanted to take this warfare to task as the invisible undertaker of the innocent as he was going out prospectively to massacre the first crowd of people in the public he saw so as to terrorize.  Chienne wanted to terrorize the masses themselves and then laugh while hiding for a few days at his twisted supremacy in starting the greater revolution by its power.  No, this could not happen!  Giant Little was at the dispatch to stop this diabolical plan of Chienne.  Giant Little would not go under but for the innocent people being plotted upon by Chienne.  Giant Little looked up to the heavens, lifting his heart in prayer, begging the lord to deliver his people from the horrific grip of this most wicked wizard.

     As things happened, having recovered from the ground by now the vial with its attached aspirator, Chienne had assumed battle stance for the targeting of his opponent, the prescient boy wonder with whom he wished to invisibly grapple by the air between them.  In fact, the chemical weapon was pointed now directly at Giant Little.  Chienne's head was bent forward, his knees were flexed now, his eyes were looking out at Giant Little from behind some most horrific sphere of destructive intent that the average person might not even be able to imagine.  Giant Little did not flinch as he set up the next stage in the fight, allowing himself to become so targeted as he began to effect his plan.  All at once, Giant Little hit the ground so as not to be stable to the targeting of Chienne.  He rolled his body towards Chienne with the greatest speed.  Drona had arrived!  Drona was there defending now more closely from the cover of the bushes through his command of Giant Little!  Together, Drona and Giant Little could defeat this horrible, evil giant known as Chienne.  In the next brief instant, Chienne was about to reconnoiter mentally to Giant Little's sudden drop to the ground and get him even as he rolled towards him by pulling the trigger so as to eject the substance at him when his hand became paralyzed, inexorably paralyzed, by an all-powerful cramp.  Giant Little heard in his mind's eye the instruction of Drona in the fight according to the following order: "Get up now and fight!  Turn it on him!  I cramped his hand.  He cannot move.  You are safe, Giant Little.  Attack him with his own device!"  

     Giant Little bolted bravely and fearlessly to his feet the very instant he heard of this.  Giant Little was now but two feet away from Chienne, who was standing helpless to the power of Drona to cramp his hand and render him immobile as to detonation of his weapon.  Giant Little took an entry into the immoral stench of the despicable one standing on the ground in front of him, and he reached out and grasped the exact metal container containing death's chemical contract.  Giant Little in an instant with all his strength turned the container and so wrenched with it the stricken hand, pointing both at the stomach of the master designer, Chienne himself.  Now Chienne's hand was helpless and concertedly held in a locked position; now Chienne's hand was targeted but inwardly towards his own person.  Indeed, the source was now becoming steadily more and more its own target if only because Chienne was frozen still and defenseless at the heroic behest of the supernally great Drona.  Giant Little courageously and slowly let go of the dangerous aspirator, and as he did so he brushed Chienne's hand which seemed as cold as the metal itself.  As he was  letting loose his grip of that terrible enemy, Giant Little discerned the depth of enmity that lived in Chienne when he caught a glimpse of his eyes in the twilight that seemed to be there only to make possible this very battle this very night.  It seemed that through the terror and travail the wizard was tolerating by the power of Drona upon him he still reflected through the very light of his eyes a dire draw of his mind to kill out of firm conviction if not sheer hatred.  Upon seeing this, Giant Little summoned up all of his might not to let it daunt him and his courage to master the fight.    

     As the boy wonder stepped away from the horror he had just seen in descrying the personality of the wizard close-up, Chienne was standing yet as if spellbound, fearing his predicament and not knowing how to contend.  Now he seemed to be starting to succumb instead to the fear of his own destructive tool.  He could not move an inch in any way or fashion; Drona had frozen him bodily by now.  Giant Little in so setting the direction of force inward to Chienne by thus turning the vial and the cramped hand towards its very source, its very inventor, had just effected the most brilliant tactic in the battle.  Soon, Chienne was about to experience the first use of his own diabolical weapon in mortal battle, yet he could not muster a muscle in self-defense; in actual fact, he had become his own enemy through the handiwork of Drona and Gai.  Indeed, he was beginning to fear his own weapon more and more even as much as he felt helpless to its targeting position about which there was absolutely nothing he could physically do.  Chienne was flabbergasted.  There was simply nothing he could do.  Chienne could not gain the mental supremacy to master Drona's power against his physical being if only because he was also mentally crippled in his own guilt for having created such a terrorist tool.  He had by inventing such biological warfare abandoned all of his moral propriety that had been so well developed in his service to the sick as an apothecary.  Chienne had been so mad for power and solidified in the mind to destroy with Durydon that he had lost all scruples when it came to the success of his nerve gas to so powerfully destroy life itself.  He had wanted to be more supreme than even Durydon, and thus had he even hidden his tool from him even though they were partners in crime.  Durydon was in effect Chienne's underworld  boss.  Chienne wanted to outdo him.  Moreover, he was a genius equal to Durydon, hiding his rivalry from his mob chief, the notorious Durydon of the black cloth. 

     Giant Little perceived the helplessness of Chienne perfectly clearly at the same time that he sensed his slowly forming remorse.  Gai intuitively saw that it was time to mobilize for the final blow and vanquish this enemy.  Giant Little backed up to the edge of the clearing with his eyes held intently on Chienne.  That bad wizard was standing like a statue readied for the monument of the very death he had plotted for so long on others with the product of his diabolical chemical creation.  Giant Little then pursued the perimeter of the circular clearing for a few feet, still backing up to set up his runway, still keeping his eyes intently on the wizard's shadowy form.  With the greatest power of contemplation, the valiant Giant Little was to now steel himself for the worst in what was sure to be a heroic burst of courage true to his character.  He made two fists. As he brought them up to the front of his body, he planted himself in fighting stance with his weight predominantly on his back foot, pointing his front foot perfectly forward, readied for the shift of weight that would mark the mobilization.  Then with a mental firmness as immovable as a mountain, looking past his leading fist at his given target, he studied the exact locus of the vial and the hand that held it.  Now that he was sure of his target visually, he detached his mind from the action that was about to occur, calling up into the spiritual disposition to entrust all unto action the same as he his entire body was chambered in inaction.  Giant Little stood motionless.  There were no thoughts in his mind now.  The blow had been cast even while it awaited its eventual expression in time and space since the agent of action, the boy hero, did not see himself as the ultimate doer now: he saw only the heavenly realm conveying through him as a mere instrument as it were.  Once he was thus one-pointedly disposed for the brave foray against the chemical rule of death against him, Giant Little bravely took off with a few, powerful running steps towards the mentally shocked Chienne, who stood effectively paralyzed as if in some invisible shackles that could only be deemed to be of noble worth in the situation that was capturing the central destiny of the overall battle.  The totally compromised magician was mentally strangled in the pain of expectation of defeat.  He surrendered helplessly now even further to his own guilt that he had ever concocted such a deadly poison; nor could he let go of this poison no matter how hard he tried to so release it -- if only to let it drop to the ground by his feet!  Alas and alarm for him!  Chienne was gripped, Chienne was grabbed, and Chienne was veritably grounded now by an invisible power the likes of which he had never before experienced; every muscle in his body was stiff and could not be moved by his will no matter how hard he tried to free himself if he went beyond his guilt somehow with a resurgence of the mind to fight.  He felt as if he were gravitationally pinned by Drona with all of his limbs made heavy and filled with a remarkable inertia.  He felt the boy wonder's movement through the air as he approached like some bird flying through the cover of semi-darkness.  Lo and behold, may the truth be told: Giant Little hit on target and precisely with his flying foot Chienne's hand which was holding the vial of deadly nerve poison.  He struck directly by his kick with the center of the heel of his adept and aerial foot the trigger finger, Chienne's index finger, that gripped incontrovertibly the very trigger of the device he was holding against his own will.  He struck that pointing finger from the side with his precisely effected sidekick, detonating the vile venom at the body of that demonic villain, Chienne, while simultaneously escaping the fumes as he moved past the event with his uninterrupted flying motion through the air.  Forsooth, Giant Little remained in sacred and sure motion in the air after the glancing blow to the crooked hand of Chienne, and he experienced an unexpected wind of energy that furthered him somehow, causing him to land far beyond the wizard and in the protective cover of the bush beyond the body now felled of Chienne.  It seemed to the boy that he had truly flown to safety after thus courting the deadly substance with his offensive sortie.  No fumes could get our great hero as he stood in the sure shelter of the leaves of the bushes and trees many, many feet over yonder where his safe haven was now won in such a masterful feat of the martial arts -- you cannot even know this for its full wonder even if you hear of it.  So great was this technique in its precision and purpose!  Giant Little's flying side kick had saved the day once again.  

     After landing those several, life-saving feet beyond the body of Chienne, Giant Little collected himself briefly and took further courage.  He turned towards the battle scene.  He stalked once again the murderous wizard whom he had just conquered, wisely not even bearing a trusting mind that the madman was indeed ended as to life.  Ever vigilant, the young hero continued in battle sense on a secure premise that this wizard before him was rather not to be easily vanquished no matter what blow in mortal battle had just been delivered him.  Watching in the moonlight for any cloud of fumes surrounding the black magician, who Giant Little knew lay in a clump on the grass, Giant Little caught sight of him again.  Giant Little saw that he had been hit by his own deadliness -- whether Giant Little believed it or not, Chienne appeared to be actually now lifeless.  No matter the success of his blow, Chienne's death was just too good to be true after all of the times the boy had witnessed his crimes throughout the land.  In the dim moonlight that played against the shadows where Chienne lay felled upon the ground, Giant Little espied the last of the fumes from his wizard's brew as they were slowly dissipating now, ever so slowly rising as if from some ulterior source of death itself.  Eerily eking from the corpus in question was a nebula of nerve gas.  This deadly mist was comprised of some of death's humour.  It shone ever more faintly as it rose ever higher like some fading and ever more timely mist as it allowed Gai to imagine Chienne as passed away now; was this a mist of lost appointment with others over sudden morbidity and death in the all-telling moonlight that Giant Little did descry from his safe lookout behind cover?  Thus was the brilliant mind of the boy hero conceptualizing exactly what evil tool was there to be now witnessed; indeed, this horrible potion to be drunk through the pores of the skin had the power to claim for precipitous exitus its singular target, its own author now, rather than the many who could have been warred upon by its use in the civil war that had been for so long slowly fomenting.  Giant Little's great heart heaved in his mighty little chest; he had risked his all to so get him. 

     However, Giant Little knew something remained that drew him back to the question at hand despite the appearance of that morally decrepit enemy as felled onto the ground in some simple hell's heap where he deserved to be; in some helpless though unsought haven now, unto his own hiatus in all time was he.  Unto his own design had he thus succumbed?  Giant Little had to be certain before he sought out his next task on the battlefield.  He thought of the two messengers, Bob Stround and Bogdhan.  This Chienne was the major barrier to success in the immediate moment as well as for the entire civil war ahead.  So far, the messengers had indeed been spared.  What about the immediate situation?  Giant Little wondered about it.  He in all his sense about battle knew that something was amiss.  Something was occurring at the site of Chienne's felled body, but the lad could not place clearly as to what it might actually be.

     Indeed, as Giant Little stood further guard nearby Chienne's body, he was steadily more haunted by the prospects that there was something in the air around Chienne which spoke of an ongoing situation beyond all likelihood.  This was the nature of the evil he fought and had fought for so long for no direct reward except the value he held inwardly for the defeat of the bad in the defense of the good and innocent many.  He listened carefully for any movement in the immediate surround since there might be a cohort coming nearby now.  Perhaps Chienne's apprentice was nearby, Giant Little reflected for a moment.  Maybe that was it.

     At this point Drona appeared to Gai.  The ancient grandmaster of karate was standing on the other side of the clearing.  Giant Little, still standing in the cover of the trees past the edge of the clearing and looking out through the leaves with his ever inquisitive mind, appealed to his great teacher of the martial arts for guidance.  Humbly, he implored the omniscient Drona  telepathically, "I have completed the task of vanquishing the terrible Chienne, or have I?  Is he gone, or is he somehow still alive, most honorable one?  Tell me, for I am at the service of our high cause in this battle.  Drona, what is it that I sense?  What exactly remains to be done here?  What do I sense that causes this anticlimactical bemusing in my mind this moment?  Is Chienne wearing a shield, some armor or other, and only acts dead to bait me to him for a bath of death?  Tell me, please, for I am at your service."

     Standing against a backdrop of trees that shone their trunks and branches in the silvery blue light, their leaves whispering ever so slightly in a most gentle breeze about the chosen place, Drona nodded a generous nod at Giant Little -- a nod that he could easily see in the moonlight; indeed, for the moonlight and for the nod from Drona was Gai most grateful.  The boy master felt a certain indication of respect from Drona as he did so nod to him.  Drona pointed his index finger at the motionless, black mass of cloth not far from where he stood. This pointing of the finger Giant Little read as Drona's asseveration that Giant Little had indeed succeeded in hitting his target of the frozen index finger of the dangerous wizard, and Gai thrived for a second on the recognition.  The boy hero then reflected that perhaps now Drona would equal the diabolical giant and was therefore repeating the image of index finger as target.  Shortly after Drona pointed his finger at the likely or supposed corpse, the weird wizard began to stir.  Lying face down, he started to lift his head; then he turned it to one side seemingly for comfort but as if he had not the power to lift his head fully.  He laid his head down again.  For the next few seconds he remained still.  Giant Little's eyes were wide in astonishment.  He even was afraid that the wizard was deceiving them.  Giant Little thought to himself at this telling juncture, "Wow!  He is as invincible as they say he is!  This is amazing!  He is alive after all.!"

       Then Gai directed his thoughts to his revered teacher: "Drona!  He is moving!  Did the poison detonate when I hit his index finger, or did it not?  I saw the last of the fumes rise up and disintegrate from where I now stand after the deliverance of my deathblow, Drona.  Why is he still alive?"  Giant Little paused briefly.  Then he continued, "I was suspicious that something like this would happen.  I was afraid he would even come back to life."

     Drona returned to the cover of the bushes at the edge of the clearing.  He carefully coached Gai, saying, "Chienne was carrying the antidote to his poisonous concoction.  It was in a small sack which burst open when he hit the ground, and right now it is in action to revive him and call him back to life.  Stay tight.  I will take care of this.  Your task with him is completed.  This wizard is more dangerous than Durydon; he works on the level of a demon itself.  I will vanquish him." 

     Giant Little quietly took this in, feeling gladdened that Drona was there to help him and to intervene with his omnipotent ways.  With a mind filled with an even more real expectation now, he took hold of his own index finger, ensheathing it in his opposite hand, waiting with an avid mind to see what the great Drona would do next.  He stayed yet at his post in the trees, watching intently for any signs of activity from the wizard who had been stricken.  Slowly, the old wizard lifted his head once again; then he lifted his upper body up onto his elbows, looking warily around for a brief moment.  He reflected inwardly again.  He then rose up from his elbows to his hands and instantaneously, almost miraculously, snapped up to his feet as if he were clamoring for his life and joyously greeting it at the same time.  Both Giant Little and Drona remained as still as the air around them, cautiously waiting for the wizard to become more keenly aware of them on the field.  Just like clockwork, the wizard tuned into the field and realized that he was surrounded.  He was, however, triumphant and unafraid of his predicament.  Now he was all the bolder since his antidote had saved his life.  He rubbed his stomach where the nerve gas had seeped through his clothing to the skin and had caused him a close brush with death.  When he saw how strong and whole he remained, he laughed an audible and audacious, demonic laugh at both of his enemies on the field.  "Heh heh heh heh heh!"  He tossed his head back with his eyes closed and drew in a huge breath of air with a mind to gain the empowerment he needed to finally win the battle he was facing once again as a mobile warrior.  He then touched the handle of his sword and straightened it by the side of his body, adjusted his cape according to his liking that it fall predominantly from his back and not to his sides so as to free his arms for movement in case of combat.  Then he reached into a pack that lay strapped obliquely across his chest from his right shoulder to his the bottom of his left rib, feeling for a certain hidden vial he kept there; when he found it was secure, he let out once again a laugh that sounded even more demonic.  "Heh heh heh!  Hah hah hah hah hah!  You have stepped on my mother's back now!  I will get you!" he declared with vengeance, belittling the fight he was in with a remarkable mind of supremacy for such a low, despicable character.  

     With that second and more ominous laugh of Chienne having been sounded, Drona tipped off Giant Little.  "Gai, do not leave your post," the silent order of Drona issued forth in and through the danger on the battlefield.  "He is still armed with nerve gas.  He has at least a second vial.  His goal is to nebulize you with it.  Stay there."

     "I am here, Drona; at your command!  I won't budge!  I saw him test his pack for the vial," came the answer of the courageous Giant Little in like telepathically born silence.

     Out of nowhere, there appeared a rectangular array of spiritual light in the shape of a door which hovered high over the head of the criminally insane apothecary, Chienne.  Drona leaped into the clearing upon its arrival, knowing that it was a demon who had come to fight and save his worker, Chienne.  Drona then felled Chienne to the ground with a single punch to the stomach just as he was about to take out his next vial of dangerous poison.  Drona stood over the wizard. That partner of misery was himself cramped up in pain, writhing on the ground for a way to get up and fight after having been struck again in his recent wound by the mighty fist of none other than Drona himself.  Chienne could not believe the level of steel-like force in the blow he had just taken from the ancient grandmaster.  He dared not reach for his ammunition lest he would then be kicked while he was downed.  He was truly compromised, yet he was appealing to his ally, the demon, who had arrived in its given form from the ether.  This was the demon who had aided in the very development of the nerve gas, Drona figured silently.  Much to Chienne's typical lot, the demon always arrived and was there whenever Chienne vitally needed him in his underworld battles.  The suffering wizard became almost numb to his own pain once he reminded himself of the most timely arrival of his demonic assist from another world, the head of the netherworld indeed.  Chienne reflected that there was now hope, counting on the demon to once again guide him beyond all obstacles in the destructive goals upon mankind to which his sick-minded machinations darkly aspired.  Chienne as he awaited the intervention of the demon on his behalf was saying to himself, "Let this demon now fell these enemies to my chemical scythe whose wide-banded swath may teach the holy so what if they are holy.  It will teach the ancients that they are lacking, and it will teach the revered Borders that he does indeed have a border limit placed upon him by the power of the great Chienne.  Ha!  This battle is now mine!  Ha ha ha!  I am the greatest!  I am yet alive! For I am Chienne!" 

     Drona went into a solid horse stance, standing just opposite Chienne, who was thus absorbed in his reverie of expectation now that the demon would kill Drona.  Chienne was hiding his mind accordingly; Drona placed his inverted fists on his hips.  As he concentrated on the twice-wounded wizard lying on the ground in front of him, he ignored momentarily the demon, who was going in and out of sight so as to distract and threaten, to now distract and now threaten again.  Drona slowly began to move his two fists simultaneously off his hips, focusing intently upon the felled wizard.  Giant Little was watching in utter amazement the entire scene in the clearing.  Wondering what Drona would do to defeat the demon besides the human, the wretch Chienne, he stayed still and silently observed the ongoing fight; he had never seen anything like this before.  Gai understood now with the arrival of the demon -- the likes of which he had never before witnessed -- why he had been musing so intently on the question of the immutability of Chienne's apparent death after the nerve gas had been detonated by his majestic flying sidekick.  That demon had been in the offing all along; this Giant Little could only surmise as he watched the awesome fight unfold before his most astonished eyes.

     As Drona began to move his fists from their respective chamber positions on his hips, the demon elevated its position as if bothered by the grandmaster's presence and action.  All at once, the two fists of Drona took great speed to their respective upright positions in front of his body directly across from his hips at hip height as he summarily delivered a double punch seemingly to the air but directed at Chienne.  No sooner than he accomplished that technique did he with superhuman speed vacate the clearing by running a few steps to the side of the clearing; he moved as if in a flash, yet his arms and legs were also of course engaged in the maneuver.  At the same time that he moved, to wit, he seemed to collect a certain calm or stillness in his image as if the speed were totally effortless.  Believe it or not, however, the strange wizard disappeared into nothingness, leaving not a single vial of nerve gas behind him, as Drona departed the exact clearing in that remarkable fashion.  Drona had escaped the demon with his transport, his sudden traverse, which was beyond the measure of time and space.  His traverse across the ground did resemble running but at some extraordinary speed difficult to describe.  And in the place where Drona had stood in horse stance near the injured Chienne there had fallen a large, black rock which had been teleported there by the demon. That demon had tried to strike Drona in the head with his chosen weapon.  With his superhuman speed,  Drona had successfully escaped the rock which had been thus hurled at him by the demon, knowing that the demon had sought revenge for the boulder-sized rock which he had mysteriously quaked in deflecting Chienne from his stalking line to the two messengers in the holding trees earlier in the battle.  Indeed, it had been that quaking rock that had turned around the entire battle to the side of victory for the good, and the demon detested that fact most vehemently.

     May the truth be told: Drona in all his might had disintegrated the wizard.  As the spirit of the wizard Chienne in exitus now left the Earth, it rose from the site of its instantaneous grave invoked by Drona with his psychic power of extraordinary level.  Chienne's spirit took the appearance of a large white, flame-like form of dull light, which entered the rectangular light-form of the demon.  Giant Little stood in awe as he saw this light display.  The flame-form of the now physically dead Chienne lingered for several seconds within the construct of the door-like demon light-form which hovered still above the clearing about twenty feet at this point.  Then this flame of light burst outward into splashes of light which seemed perhaps to join somehow the light of the demon, leaving only darkness in the area delineated by the rectangular-shaped light-form of the amazing demon.  Immediately after the light of the wizard's spirit was non-different from the space within the door shape, the demon ascended airily and effortlessly off into the atmosphere for as far as the eye could see, never relenting as it did so rise and return to from whence it had come.  By this sure and unabated departure of the demon was Giant Little most relieved.

     As the demon was thus departing, both Giant Little and Drona stepped out into the clearing to observe it.  Now Giant Little truly understood from whence that terrible terrorist Chienne had gained his unearthly powers, for he was an accomplice to a demon itself!  From this lesson had Giant Little learned a great deal about the battles between good and evil within the sphere of mankind.  Drona had taught him well.  Giant Little looked over at Drona in total, gravitating awe of him.  Indeed, Giant Little was realizing at that moment more and more deeply the actual magnitude of battle he had entered when he had felled Chienne towards his ultimate defeat.  Giant Little tipped his head a little to one side as he was integrating all that had just happened, feeling most grateful that he himself remained alive.  This was a most amazing battle with its astonishing spiritual governance as per an actual demon who had revealed itself to the noble warriors; however, Giant Little reflected, that demon had lost his accomplice this time and for always.  Gai sighed an audible sigh of great relief that Bohemia had been spared the likes of Chienne, a veritable terrorist, early on in the developing conflicts at hand.  Now with the advent of Borders once again, there was great promise that Bohemia would return to a state of happiness in its generous provision for all.  Giant Little longed to see goodness in the social mores of the citizenry of Bohemia be on the rise once the side of good could defeat the evil giants who had been threatening to take over, ever plotting to overthrow the government.    

     As the two stalwarts stood now peacefully in the cool moonlight, Drona registered the recognition of truth held within the astonishingly brilliant mind of his youthful charge in that moment of apical victory they were sharing; the pious boy made two fists as he bowed a full bow at the waist to his grandmaster.  He held his deep bow for a few seconds with his head pointed downward towards the ground in egoless surrender.  Giant Little's mind was devoid of thoughts as he showed his teacher utter respect with his full, reverential heart in this traditional fashion.  When Gai straightened up again to look at him, Drona was gone.

     Giant Little realized that Drona was leading him further now to the defense of the two messengers.  As he reflexively went to seek a hiding place in the trees by the edge of the clearing for the transitional moment in battle at hand, he heard the sound of a four-legged creature walking through the trees not too far off and in the direction in which Drona must have left the post, or so he gathered intuitively.  

     "That must be Catster!" the boy hero thought to himself.  "I can't wait!" 

     Giant Little was feeling exuberant at this juncture in the struggles to save Bohan from terrorist misdeeds under the direction of Durydon.  He had much to share with Catster.  He waited with a small measure of caution to verify that the encroacher was an ally.  To be safe in case this encroacher was some kind of demon in a physical form, Giant Little grabbed a tree branch and pulled himself up onto it so as to be off the ground.  The woods were rather dark compared to the clearing.  The sound of four feet moving through the woods was almost upon him by now; he patiently waited to identify the newcomer to his post.  Catster read all of this in his young charge.  The good cat compassionately gave him assurance that it was he, indeed, who was there.  Standing beneath the tree where Giant Little had secured himself, Giant Little's missing companion pawed the ground twice.  He then turned his head upwards to find the boy wonder.  Gai could see two large green eyes all aglow in the very dim light of the moon, which entered the place through the breaks in the tree cover.  He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that those were truly the eyes of his feline mentor, the great cheetah, Catster.  Giant Little surged into happiness upon recognizing him.  

     "Catster!  I thought it was you!  Thanks for coming!  Drona just left," Giant Little intimated secretly to his favorite companion, who had absented the exact scene of battle for a brief time while Drona commanded hands-on.  "Am I glad to see you!"

    Catster looked around the immediate surround, lifting his nose to the air and sniffing as quietly as could be so as to sense out any enemy who might be in the offing.  Giant Little said with an inquisitive mind, "Is there anyone abroad on the field, Catster?"

     Catster placed his paw gently on the ground in front of his body.  Then he tapped the ground quietly twice, saying telepathically, of course, "You can come down.  Come down now, my little one."

     Giant Little swooshed down from the tree branch, landing as quietly as possible and in great excitement to be with Catster.  He had a report to render him, and he was also concerned as to the whereabouts of Victory.

     Giant Little had adeptly landed right by Catster.  Catster adored the brilliant, heroic boy with whom he worked so closely on the field.  The all-knowing cat affectionately curled his paw around Giant Little's ankle and pulled on him a tiny bit so as to make him feel protected and safe.  Giant Little opened up to Catster at this show of peace and presence even on a field of embattlement.  He demandingly said to Catster, "Cats!  Where is Victory?"

     "We--eel, now, that depends on whether you refer to the one of equine status or to the recent feat in dire battle you and Drona just accomplished here," Catster answered tauntingly.

     "Equine!" Gai blurted out anxiously.

     "Aah haa!  So, my boylike charge, your horse is posted now in an odd place where, first, he is safe, for your brief apprising; and secondly, I would rather you wait to find out where so that the thought of his locus does not live in these trees if I send it to you.  Enemy contenders might read the thought and gain a plan to steal your horse or to kill him if they find out his hiding place.  Have faith.  Your horse will be there when you need him, my great one of the flying breed, really;  you have to admit -- you are part bird."  Catster was placating the boy wonder with all of his usual charm.  

     Giant Little countered with feigned ignorance of Catster's reference to his indomitable flying sidekick; he said playfully, "Do you mean the way I swung down from the tree under whose branches we stand?"

     Catster tapped the ground a few times quickly, shaking his head slightly back and forth.  Then he retorted, "Yes.  That is exactly what I mean.  I make no reference whatsoever to your skill in battle several feet from here not so many minutes ago.  That might be impertinent to your will, desire and thriving need to hide your knowledge of such a display of hurtful harm intended at you by that miserable wizard, Chienne.  He tried to nebulize you with that deadly nerve gas, now, did he not?"  

     "Catster, I know not of what you speak," Giant Little said as he pretended to preserve an intrigue with Catster about what he had just come through in battle with the deadly wizard.  

     "Wee--eell, if you knew of it, you would be dead, you great hero of Bohan.  Somebody has to give you recognition.  Let it be the Cats.  That would be I," the great cat continued, coddling the hero for all that he was in terms of boyhood.

     "But Catster!  I just saw a demon here!" Giant Little declared to him.  "That is why I could not truly vanquish that murderous, horrible Chienne.  He worked with a demon, Cats!  Drona and I saw it when it came here as a light-form in the shape of a door.  Drona saved the country when he felled that weird wizard after he came back to life through an antidote to the deadly poison of which he seemed to have a large supply hidden in the pockets of his black cape, or so I suspect.  I got him once with his own poison.  But that wasn't enough!  He worked with a demon, Catster!  Chienne was at the command of a demon all the time he was with us."

     "Hmmh . . . this is extraordinarily factual," Catster quipped.

     "Caster, you are of a special kingdom.  Tell me, Catster.  Is the wizard really gone now?  Drona just made him disappear before my very eyes.  The moonlight was all-telling.  I have never seen anything like it!"  Giant Little himself was posing questions about the battle to Catster, appreciating the chance to clear his mind for once and for all.

     "Now that defies all possibilities of which I have ever heard in these parts; that is for certain.  You can say that I am of a special kingdom; then, you imply that because of that fact I should know of this impossibly possible probability, as well?" Catster continued to weave a dialogue with Gai which would be difficult for any high level psychic spy to unravel.

     Of course, Giant Little knew this.  He replied quickly, "Then defy those possibilities.  Defy them!  His spirit rose and went off into space with the demon, Catster.  Drona and I stood there and watched it happen, Catster!  The spirit knows no bounds."

     Catster came back to a direct, more serious note so as to set the stage for the next vital mission for Giant Little.  He carefully answered, "Indeed, that is the truth, my Giant Little.  That is the truth.  It is called disintegration, and that is a rare psychic power of which the grandmaster is invested.  Indeed, that terror of all-powerful nerve gas of Chienne has just been lifted from the battle plan of a most awesome mastermind in this strife simply because he is no more.  Chienne has been removed from the warring picture.  This is great; however, this is also top secret for a careful while.  The vital thing is war secrecy; keep a secret of war.  The counterpart to the disappearance of Chienne in real, immediate danger -- especially to the people of Bohan -- has passed also with  Chienne's passing.  That was the nerve gas.  Chienne's use of that murderous potion on innocent people in public places could have empowered Durydon in his planned take-over.  Keep your silence.  God knows.  God knows, Philip."

     "I can see why it would be top secret, Cats.  Chienne had an accomplice -- I mean -- apprentice.  It will go on.  The battle will go on.  I walked into Chienne's shop in Fortuna one day and happened to have met his apprentice.  I am aware that the battle could very likely go on; the battle of nerve gas might not be expunged as of yet, Catster," Giant Little remarked with his characteristic insight into the truth of what is.

     "Wee--eell, now, let us cross that bridge when the connection point is needed to the other side, the side of reform, perhaps.  Let us see about his apprentice; that magic potion was Chienne's prized secret.  The question of his apprentice having deeper knowledge of it if any is for another day.  He might simply not know how to make it even if he knows of its sheer creation as an insider.  For now, just let it be that you do not know so much of the higher psychic powers of Drona.  That will help protect you even as you do know them.  Jealousy is a vast repository of the power to strike for no reason at those who have certain inner secrets.  You must not reveal too much of what happens on this field to any; I must advise you."  Thus did Catster admonished the student of the metaphysics of war.

     "Oh, I see what you mean now, Catster.  I can honor your wise counsel to the best of my abilities," the boy said with deep respect for his mentor, the great Cheetah of varying form.

     "Yes, I know you can.  Now, let us see what movement is made over by the holding trees.  I will lead you over to a guard spot nearby the two heroes of the runways," Catster informed his young charge gently.  "Let us see what is next."

     "Catster, before we go, I just have one more question if I may, please," Giant Little politely inquired of the omniscient cat.

     "Go ahead.  I will listen" the cheetah responded patiently.

     "Where is Drona now?  He has left without leaving me any word as to when the movement through the tunnel will begin.  That will essentially be my next task, and I need to know where he is.  Can you tell me?" the boy asked with a mind fervently poised for his heroic mission even yet ahead of him.

     "My Giant Little.  You never cease to amaze me.  Now follow me.  That was my next move with you .  I will lead you to Drona.  Come along.  Stay close behind me.  I know what is going on and who encroaches.  Just stay behind me.  It is a little distance from here; that is all," the great cheetah responded so compassionately and in such a protective manner that the boy felt safe and sure of the way ahead in securing the messengers.  

     Giant Little was bent on his mission in battle as no other warrior great or small  could be, Catster reflected.  Caster began to slowly and quietly move through the woods towards the holding trees while Giant Little clung closely to the visual form of the gifted cheetah through the darkness in front of them as they moved.  Giant Little took quiet steps, placing the toe end of his foot down first each time he took a step; he would feel for any stick which could crack beneath his foot so that he could avoid it so as not to make that level of noise.  More than once did he step over a stick as he moved in line with Catster, going patiently over rocks and around trees, now moving carefully a branch out of his way, now ducking beneath an overhanging vine.  The brave boy listened constantly for anyone who might be located on the field in his vicinity as they made their way in determined and labored, clandestine fashion.  

     Indeed, Gai was greatly heartened upon the return of his close companion, Catster, and he knew how well he had just been mentored by him.  There are certain secrets to keep; thus did the boy hero reflect briefly as they began their cautious movement towards the next point of major contention on the field.  He remembered when he had stood up from his deep bow to Drona, the ancient grandmaster was gone; this, the boy wonder mused, instructed him regarding the need to keep secrets of war.  "Now I understand why Drona left without giving me immediate instructions for the next phase of battle.  Catster made that also quite clear to me.  I see now.  Drona had a higher message in mind for me," Gai introspected.  

     Giant Little could not wait to get those messages through to the elders of the town.  He watched Catster's every move as they made their way together.  Reflecting assiduously on the battle ahead of him, Gai looked even beyond the exact return of the valiant runners, Bogdhan and Bob, to the ground from the shelter of the holding trees.  He reflected on the newly formed tunnel to the Municipal Building which had been created to save the day in this battle, the Battle of Bohan, as history would call it.  Drona's instructions much earlier on how to lead the messengers through the tunnel rang in his memory as he awaited that task with eagerness; moreover, Giant Little had already studied further that momentous event which was now about to unfold.  "True," he thought.  "B. Tiger and his men are undoubtedly making resistance near the holding trees since that had been the direction of their movement earlier in battle when Drona miraculously deflected Chienne towards the true prize, towards me."  However, Giant Little realized that even if the enemy was indeed upon the two messengers, even still, no greater feat could have presented than that of ending the deployment of the deadly nerve gas by Chienne.  In the very least, Chienne did not open up use of his dangerous chemical on the two messengers as had been his plan.  That catastrophe had been averted.  Having reviewed the field and its dynamics accordingly, the boy hero assured himself, thinking, "We will be there in time to get those messengers down safely and without harm.  Time will tell."

     Giant Little drew up a further point of gratitude in the warring moments behind him.  He realized that the way Chienne had carefully and jealously guarded his long-sought invention of the deadly potion had worked to the advantage of the protection of all of the good people -- both those warriors on the field and possibly even innocent citizens everywhere.  If Chienne had openly shared his concoction, that biological weapon could have gone into widespread use in Bohemia.  There is no telling what kind of mayhem could have been let loose in such an event; there is no telling what kind of sordid, terrorizing  leverage could have been wrought if an alliance between Chienne and Durydon in the deployment of nerve gas had ever occurred.  Indeed, that very alliance could have become inevitable if Chienne had lived to tell of his potion and to use it.  No.  As Giant Little reviewed his warring deed against Chienne, he thought to himself, "I stood up to the nerve gas of Chienne on the behalf of defeating a budding biological terrorist; that is what I just did.  He thought he was on his way with it.  I read him loud and clear.  He thought he had me, too."  Giant Little's mind shined forth in his astounding victory in facing off the dark-minded wizard who was setting about the task of gripping the people of Bohan with his terror.  Such as that horrible threat now desisted in the mind of the giant warrior, Giant Little, who characteristically left no concept of possibility in war to languish in his mind.  He reflected next upon his will and desire to marry the daughter of the prime minister of Liberty Love Forest; at this remembrance, Giant Little's great heart surged even more powerfully into the moments on the field before him.  Knowing these moments were to be trying and tense,  nevertheless, he welcomed them with an even more dedicated courage now, for the side of good had just been vindicated by the absolute defeat of the demonic Chienne.  

     As he found his way slowly across the forest floor behind his feline leader, Giant Little placed one last reflection on his mental slate with the thought to himself, "May the side of good gain its unerring momentum from now on up to the very end of this entire strife to end Durydon himself!  May that momentum catch as I know it will and build forever more."  

     Putting aside the larger picture, Gai began to feel more and more the heat of the battle as they moved cautiously so as to close the distance ahead of them.  He and Catster with great skill and infinite patience slowly but at last were effectively zeroing in on the holding trees.  Gai concentrated now on the mighty Catster not two steps ahead of him.  He reached within himself to envision in the here-and-now the exact placement of the enemies on the battlefield.  The next phase of the battle was about to occur.  Gai made two fists and sent the thought to Catster, "I ready myself."  In his fearless demeanor and as record told, there was none like the great boy hero; in fact, he saw way beyond those of criminal mind who plotted their misery on the town if not nation.  His size so small, his mind so great, his heart so invested that he saw no fear -- this valiant lad kept his purpose ever near, and that purpose was to save his very nation from revolt. 

     Catster, keeping a silence, halted to a stop.  He assumed a sitting posture momentarily and went into a rock-solid, motionless state, looking like a statue to the boy.  Giant Little then also immediately withdrew his mind from the surround, dismissing at once the goal of the holding trees; he crouched down to the ground and took cover beneath a bush about five feet from the zen-like cat.  This cover would allow Gai to study the danger of which Catster was apprising him by suddenly halting and going into an entranced state of mind.  This was a technique Catster employed so as to make it difficult for any enemy to uncover their whereabouts as they approximated the holding trees, even if from a distance.  A delay in the progress of their movement coupled with an evacuated mindset was to their strategic advantage if it worked.  Apparently, Catster was aware of someone not too far off.  Those holding trees were the prized goal now of all warriors on the field.  Perhaps some of those warriors were not fully aware of why the movement on the field gravitated towards the area of the two tall trees which had housed and saved the two messengers.  Nonetheless, that locus of the holding trees was actually ruling the dynamics on the field in an attractive, magnet-like force. 

     Giant Little was at this juncture wondering how close was the goal of reaching the messengers; however, he put this question aside in deference to the disposition of Catster.  He looked out from underneath the bush with his physical eyes and saw that Catster did not break his posture.  In fact, Catster blended into the silence of the night as if he were a uni-dimensional shadow.  Gai wondered if Catster would even be visible to an enemy; truthfully, he doubted it.  No thoughts were exchanged at all between Catster and Giant Little at this point.  Gai settled his head slowly back onto the ground, not making a single sound.  He was grateful for his cover at least until he could figure out why exactly Catster had stopped and frozen into some passive posture.  Giant Little at that moment felt the fear of an enemy foot soldier only about eighty feet away from them.  Apparently that person had caught notice of their presence, of their movement across the grounds, and he was dangerously close to them.  Catster was leading Giant Little now in active contention; the boy warrior was not certain as to whether there would be an active fight or an evasion of such.  He summoned up his patience and fortitude to see which possibility would ultimately come to pass.  Ever ready to resist the action of evildoers, Giant Little gave his mind a similar retreat from all active interest in the whereabouts of the possible contender in their vicinity for the time being.  He would follow the lead of Catster and withdraw all thoughts and observations unless they became necessary.  For the next several minutes, Gai lay perfectly still on the ground beneath the rhododendron bush, not moving a muscle.  He left all thoughts behind as he reached within himself and found his inner peace most perfectly.  His prayerful mind was retreated; Gai was resting on a plane of ulterior consciousness, totally at peace with himself and with his surround.

     It worked.  Catster's strategic stabilizing and retreat into thoughtlessness had for the next few minutes ruled out a direct confrontation of a physical kind on the field for the two heroic contenders.  Catster and Giant Little could hear the footsteps of one of B. Tiger's men slowly retreating from their own respective position on the field.  B. Tiger's fellow gangster had not gained any further direct knowledge of their placement in the forest.  However, Catster knew that it was still too early to resume their route towards the two messengers.  After a few minutes had passed, Catster thumped his tail once gently onto the ground.  Giant Little read this signal from Catster.  He answered by cracking a stick with his fingers.  At this sound, Catster broke the incommunicado status that had helped deflect the enemy warrior from their location; he sent forth a thought to Giant Little.  "That was a scout of B. Tiger we just avoided.  He did not find us out.  He will run into one of Drona's karate masters in the quarter he now seeks out over yonder way.  Stay tight.  There are two allies directly behind us, not five hundred feet away, who flank us."

     Giant Little remained quiet.  He thought things over, searching in his mind's eye for the way ahead; he was trying to ferret out the presence of a possible enemy with whom they might have to contend directly ahead of them.  It seemed that any encroachment from the rear would be thwarted effectively by the two allies just cited by Catster.  He asked of Catster, "Are those two defenders from rear quarter also Drona's men?"

     Catster briefly replied, "Yes."

     "Then we are in good positioning," Giant Little furthered.

     Now as he took precaution to limit the thought dialog with Catster, Giant Little and Catster heard the high-pitched zooming sound of some kind of a missile in the distance even through the muffling power of the trees.  It hit a target powerful enough to stop it with a sudden, blunted thump; this told Gai that it had hit a tree and not a person.  The sound of the moving weapon -- probably a metallic throwing star or a knife, reflected Giant Little -- alerted both Catster and the boy that a scrimmage was starting in the direction taken by the scout of B. Tiger.  Gai figured the start of that conflagration was the reason Catster had delayed resuming their own path towards the messengers who were still waiting up in the lower branches of their respective trees.  Indeed, Giant Little avidly sought out the likelihood that he and Catster would use the fight going on with B. Tiger's scout and the side of good as a decoy for their next phase of movement towards the holding trees.

     Just as he was beginning to expect that possibility more immediately in the sense of the battle, the noise of the conflagration in the distance took on a steadily growing status; there seemed to be more than one of B. Tiger's troops involved.  Perhaps there were three or four others.  Giant Little rejoiced.  He heard Catster call him out from the bush with two thumps of his right forepaw on the forest floor.  In a flash second, Giant Little stiffened his body, steeled his mind bravely, and carefully crawled out from under his lush rhododendron bush.  He stood up.  He looked at Catster as the noble cat turned his head towards him to assure him that the way ahead was now theirs again.  Gai saw the two luminous eyes of Catster steadily glowing at him, and he rejoiced in his deeper sense of their mission at the moment.  "Let's go, Cats.  I'm yours," the boy hero calmly reflected towards his able guide.

     With that sense of togetherness on the field having been set forth, the two contenders began to once again move carefully and quietly through Municipal Woods in as straight a line as possible towards their goal.  Giant Little was relying totally on Catster's unerringly accurate sense of direction; they seemed to have a clearance which had been masterfully formed as they with heightened valor made their way through the trees.  Giant Little knew that such clearance was the work of the command of Drona.  He sighed in deep gratitude that Drona was present and presciently so, to be sure.  He hurled his mind to the entrance of the cave which was to be his secret route with the messengers once they were extricated from the holding trees.  The boy warrior found peace at that entrance in his mind's eye.  At this concept of peace he was gladdened, and he petitioned in his heart for a greater peace to soon overarch all of Bohan when once the messages would at last be safe and in the hands of the town elders.  

     This was truly the most remarkable battle our hero had ever fought.  So much depended on the success of this mission to defeat Durydon and B. Tiger.  So much rested in the command of Drona.  Giant Little masterfully manned the mission barely even aware that he was doing it, so fully engrossed in the action was he.  Indeed, unto recent victory against Chienne did Gai hearken so heartily.  The current dynamics of the field were now ever more in their destined favor since from the moment of victory against Chienne forward was the battle most totally shaped.  Giant Little summarily synthesized these two phases of time -- before Chienne's demise and after it -- for an imminent grand victory which now loomed in his mind, sending him momentarily into a state of ecstasy as he grasped a tree branch in his way.  He quietly held it away from his face as he passed in the protective cover of the night.  Gai was in his own.  Gai's long-standing prayers and purpose for Bohemia itself were like some piece of clay taking a newly molded form right before his own cognizance.  This made Giant Little focus ever more on saving the life and limb in his immediate reach; yes, now for the two messengers he and Catster were actively seeking out on the field.  "They will be ours before long," the noble lad thought.  "We will reach them.  We will get those messages through to the town government.  How else will I ever meet Radhita's father so that I can ask for her hand in marriage?"  The hero of some small stature smiled when he realized that his aspirations to strike such a major victory as his marriage proposal were now coming true as to event in front of him.  Once again, he rejoiced even as he was in a field of danger.    

     Giant Little and the great cheetah who preceded him in their studied movement towards the holding trees next heard a gun shot.  Bam!  Two more shots followed quickly.  Bam! Bam!      

     Pfew!  Pfew!  Two missiles now greeted the airways as if in answer to the guns in the trees from the quarter where Drona's masters were making resistance to B. Tiger's troops, the same scrimmage which had allowed Gai and Catster to make greater advancement on the field towards the holding trees.  Someone had been felled.  At least one of B. Tiger's men had been downed in battle.  Catster and Giant Little moved onward, steadily concentrating on the quarter ahead of them.  Catster looked back over his shoulder at Giant Little when they reached a generous ravine and said to his boylike charge, "From here is where we will devise the extrication of the messengers from the trees, working with Drona.  Let us enter down yon and delay here."

     Giant Little and Catster coursed down the side of the ravine.  Giant Little, knowing that B. Tiger was posted ahead nearby the holding trees with a few others of his men, silently held his ground at the bottom of the ravine and proceeded to scout the ravine with his mind's eye.  He could hear the not so gentle gurgling of the small stream running through the center of the ravine, and it consoled him momentarily.  He was glad that so many of the gang of B. Tiger were involved elsewhere on the field.  He reflected to himself that they had been on a reconnaissance mission in search of him which had intensified also when Chienne was deflected from his due course to the holding trees by Drona's magic earlier in the battle.  In fact, Catster happened to also address this very question, saying to Gai, "I hope you realize that those men of B. Tiger had been working closely with Chienne and his men from the start of this resistance here in Municipal Woods.  Chienne's men are but two in number.  They are also by the holding trees.  However, B. Tiger's men who are fighting in yonder quarter where we left them are bewildered by the absence of Chienne; they had as you know also been searching for you.  Chienne's death has cast one huge doubt over their minds, and accordingly, they are gripped by it.  They know not what they are doing compared to where they would be if Chienne were still with us.  Chienne was none less than an awesome contender on this field.  A gifted psychic was he.  He is missed by our opposition.  Let us remember that and use it now to our advantage."

     Giant Little rested his mind on Catster's analysis for a brief moment.  Then he posed another point.  He said to Catster telepathically, "Cats,  I think that Chienne's men will be more ferocious and formidable if they sense that Chienne is no more.  They are also advanced in the martial arts.  I will fight them according to that kind of expectation.  When they sense my presence as we encroach, they might also sense the battle I just fought."

     "So be it," Catster answered smoothly.  "Drona might have some magic or other up his sleeve.  So might I," Catster continued.  "There are ways.  If you are thirsty, there is an artesian well over there on the other side of the stream.  I myself will slake my thirst here.  We will be regrouping upon Drona's summon.  It won't be long.  B. Tiger heard those shots.  I believe he is sending one of his men to that place of action.  He will now start to decenter from his reconnaissance and slowly gravitate away from Drona.  Mark my word."  

     With that word telepathically given, Catster and Giant Little crossed the stream by a few stepping stones and visited the well for a drink of water.  Refreshed by it and ready for the most critical phase of action ahead of them, Giant Little awaited now more closely any signal from Drona.  Catster reminded him that they were only about a thousand feet away from Drona's secret post by the holding trees.  The ravine they occupied could give them an easy, quick passage over to Drona if they were summoned that way since it was largely clear of any underbrush although it could become narrow in some places, impeding the passage to skillful footwork.  Moreover, the sound of the rushing water would at least partially cover up the sound of their movements across the ground inside the ravine for any who might be in close range, providing an important advantage; nor could any flying missile or bullet target them easily since they were in a deep depression in the ground much like a trench would be in all-out war.  Only a contender in close range, standing on the side of the ravine or within it, could easily target them.  However, the ravine was clear of any other occupants of the field -- that much Giant Little knew because he could sense it; not even in the closest vicinity of Drona was there anyone posted in the ravine for some reason.  This conferred a certain grace upon Giant Little's perception of himself on the entire field which he knew well as he fused with it constantly; indeed, in conjunction with that grace of sheer numbers, allowing him and his trusty cohort a certain separateness on the field since they were alone in the ravine, there was the purificatory power of water itself upon which the advanced boy warrior was to reflect momentarily.  First there was the gift of the drink of water he and Catster had taken at the artesian well upon entry to the ravine whereupon he also had refilled his empty canteen; then further, there was the sheer presence of water about the place.  A universal solvent, somehow interfaced here with mankind's woes, the water of the creek was sounding its bounden course in its natural setting quite apart from its true essential worth to the strife in battle, yet so true was it to its own essential purity, its own metaphysical apposition to the dread poison Giant Little had just fought.  Yeah, the brave boy and the brave cheetah knew this stream, shining so silvery and appearing to be so magnetic to their eyes in the moonlit night, as a channel more towards the ultimate deliverance of the entire side of good in the overall battle itself.  How fitting that from a stream of water would they be likely to reconnoiter even unto more ultimate victory after a previous, signal victory in defeating the veritable vector of venomous, deadly poison, that vicious Chienne himself.  Chienne's ever so timely exitus had indeed already uplifted the progress towards a sanctification that was immeasurably consoling to the victors who had fought the terrible wizard with all of their might.  Giant Little reveled in the contrast now before him: Chienne's carefully developed deadly potion for the skin to drink before sinking to death under its potent kill versus the vehicle of a stream of pure water, a mighty brook whose power to defend was written into the embattlement much as the element of water is written into the entire universe itself as the great purifier.  And here on this battlefield the ancient force of moving water had steadily carved a haven, handily offering its ravine thus hewn to move the  contention yet summarily to the center again of dire conflict, awaiting the two cohorts, Catster and Gai, over by the holding trees.   "May this stream of pure water be our guide, our guard, our saving grace, and our protection as we encroach upon the enemy in our visage and conquer on the side of good, on the side of getting those messengers out and in -- in to their purpose, ever onward to the Municipal Building where the town's elders await the word for the good of nations," the noble lad thus gave summary in his head as he contemplated the outlay of the field in front of him.  

     With a reverence for what he was perceiving at that moment and aside from the threats that lay ahead of him, Giant Little piously went to his knees, stretched forth his hand to the moving water, and then cupped it in order to take of its essence some single part.  Delaying his reverential drink, the boy admired the water for a second and then held it out for Catster to view in the dim moonlight.  The cat answered by partaking of the water held in Gai's palm in a single, smooth lick, gently tipping his head as he did so.  Then Catster calmly said to Gai, "We cats can drink of such water as a human would not for fear of lack of perfect purity.  Now is that not a point of truth instructive for one of two feet such as yourself at this moment and in contrast to one of my four?"  Gai assented with a minor nod of his head, and he was almost spellbound by the point Catster had made.  That more vague mental status in Gai quickly was turned into his recognition that Catster was capable of any gamut of would-be terror and trial in war, capable indeed of turning any misery that contention had to offer into the gem of its summary defeat.  Whatever purity was known in the stream by their side by its own essence was all the same to Catster as his simple act of imbibition itself would tell.  Giant Little upon this realization began ceremoniously to scoop up a handful of water once again for his own mouth, but Catster caught him with a knowing, adept tap of his curled paw, knocking the water away from his attempt to drink it in like fashion.  "No, no.  Now that is not necessary nor is it fitting to your physiology by species," Catster remanded from his seat of elder authority and feline hierarchical standing.  "But I do appreciate your statement in so trying."

     Giant Little surrendered to this correction instantly perhaps as any child would.  He then cautiously surveyed the ravine up and down its shadowy corridor, assuring himself that no other member or members of his species -- as Catster had put it -- were around.  Even yet, not a person presented to the mind's eye of the boy wonder as he searched; not a single enemy was there within the presence of the sunken place God had gouged out over vast time by the universal mover that is water, that omnipresent purifying element with its power to solve as to solution in ways never before considered as closely in his mind as they were being considered now and at this particular juncture on the war field itself.  Giant Little felt elated.  At last they were so close to the messengers compared to before; in truth, when he had faced off and fought that remarkable wizard Chienne not too long ago over in yonder clearing, the boy wonder had felt so far from the messengers both physically in terms of field placement and mentally as he had felt the power of Chienne to assassinate him with his lethal toxicant.  At this moment, he willfully withheld his deeper reflections on the planned passage through the tunnel to the inner sanctum of the town government on the behalf of carefully guarded secrecy, for the enemy can read the thoughts in the air at times when death does hold out its dark, commanding hand towards the question of continued life.  In battle, death itself can loom into the unknown within the abstract constraints of a single equation, that of negation in the physical; when life seems more precarious and not as everlasting as it bows unwillingly yet prospectively to the power of an enemy weapon towards the absolute physical taking, the mind behind the enemy's weapon will seemingly talk its tale of bold intention but not in sound to be heard by two ears.  The totality of mind on the war field to the enlightened warrior of truth, however, need not break apart the unified view that thoughts do not in truth matter since the mind just is; let action be the same as inaction, and so let thoughts be calmed to the same as still water held in a pool as the mind fearlessly knows that even physical death is unreal from the vantage of the most real, the spirit, from whence all unity.  Even as the majestic Bohan Brook may speak its agency in battle through its perceived oppositeness, its purity opposite the poison just visited unto vanquishment, let all thoughts surcease.  Now see the brook forsooth from its activity to inactivity wherein no contender dares enter thither for fear of the lack of cover to be lent -- there are no bushes -- whilst the heroes fear that not; convert now action to inaction, and sound should indeed replace silence.  Like some dire intent yet to be upon any on the field where death can claim all potential for movement in a living thing, a human life to be rendered to stillness for all time in the physical, let inaction rule as it will as well.  Such a metaphysical mindscape is indeed in order when a nation totters on falling to a mad dictator such as Durydon.  But his most powerful druggist, Chienne, is now departed forever.  

     These realizations only steeled the mind of the mighty child who was in truth beyond his station in time as the battle took its fiery grip on all of the waiting warriors on the widest field, including those outside the town who were meeting the mythical military genius in the mighty Arch General Borders.  The Battle of Bohan now ever proceeding, how it spoke to the future of the three nation-states, sitting in contiguous expectation as to its outcome; but this you can never know unless you had been there to feel the threat of disaster upon all of the peoples in mind.  It was rumored that two hundred were marching now to the town of Bohan from their training camps in the hills to wreak disaster under Durydon.  Those many of them who originally had been most likely taken hostage, helpless unto training for this revolt about to occur -- would they now wane from the original concern and sympathy others had held for them as some kind of prisoners, yeah, kidnappees, with sentiment broadly waxing instead this day to antipathy for them due to the threat they posed in numbers?  Indeed, to the threat they posed of violence about to be dangerously unleashed, would those once so conscribed by veritable kidnapping lose forever more their chance to return to the innocence of normal life whilst their innocence had been originally taken from them by criminal warfare?  Were they never to be extricated after all and given back their freedom -- never to be allowed to be civil again?  Who could know?  Doors were locked everywhere, businesses at least in Bohan did not plan on opening in the morning, and the police forces throughout the nations were standing typically on guard in case the worst disaster -- that of widespread conflict -- were to take its mighty opposition into actual foothold, precipitating throughout the lands.  Yes, Bohan could fall to any evil enemies now abroad on foot and also on horseback, for those most formidable enemies to peace and civil accord were just vying to conquer in some ignoble fight for their dictator's supremacy at last.  With social discontent peaking, there is no telling what solution death through battle could map out in the minds of those hungry for good living.  Indeed, many in Durydon's camps were there out of their own free will or to escape imprisonment for actual crimes they had committed.  

     But were these hovering marauders hungry only for power?  Oh, dear ones, this social strife possibly peaking unto violence was true except of course for the nation-state of Liberty Love  Forest.  Hey, you must hear: Liberty Love Forest is where happiness is as sure as a ray of sunshine rising up in the morning to help start the day alongside the entire sun, yawning and dawning to beam down upon the most fortunate ones, those citizens of the beatific state just named.  There you could find friendly people     everywhere.  The people would be beaming love, acting from kindness of heart, and giving of all that they might share and offer for peace, fine provision, and good accord; moreover, it is said that this social harmony inheres everywhere throughout the entire land such that   there would be no evil people vying for power at all --  not in Liberty Love Forest.  Instead, this is the land where happiness rules.  This is where love finds its ways to unite and not to divide and where differences that arise find their solutions through sense and reason born of love and knowledge.  Hark!  Rejoice!  Hear tell that this is the land where everyone looks deeply into the state of being --existence -- as an expression of the self; and from this long ago had come forth the nation-state as a derivation of such truth as has been described as absolute in nature.  Forsooth, there is no difference between all that is and the self according to the long-standing visions of the ancient seers, the founders of Liberty Love Forest, where the softness of heart and the purity of mind go together just as sure as the sun meets the sky at the dawn of day.   

       Besides Drona, two of Drona's masters held a close guard nearby the two holding trees.  So far, neither B. Tiger nor any of his men nor those of the now passed Chienne had given any significant challenge directly to Bogdhan and Bob even though one scrimmage on the ground had sounded its resistance in the air earlier; the two messengers were skillfully hidden and were biding the time in total, useful silence as they waited for a decided break in their favor so that they could fully accomplish their descent to the ground.  Bogdhan and Bob were as if suspended, awaiting patiently the battle that would give them clearance if not their own fight for clearance to return to the ground and make their final run for the delivery of the messages to the town governing councilmen.  Such courage and forbearance as these two brave messengers possessed was of vital importance to the great and venerated grandmaster, Drona.  Their passive power to wait in total, hidden silence made possible the exact timing needed to dispatch Giant Little as their appointed guide through the tunnel.  Just now, Drona was reflecting, Giant Little was finally within range for meeting up with the two messengers and showing them the way to the tunnel entrance.  The obstacles to that meeting were the several gangsters who knew whom to fight even if they did not know the precise disposition of the two messengers up in the trees; indeed, Drona wisely had played that vacancy of presence upon the minds of those who were there to kill the messengers if possible.  In the dark unknown of exact placement on the field of those prized messengers to the men who were there and who sought out the messengers, there could be no analysis meet with the requirements for active, useful plan to get those messengers.  This simple working truth gave Drona the advantage he needed to turn the placement of the enemy troops in the close vicinity of the messengers into a kind of bait whereas they deemed themselves capable of finding their target; however, the target was seemingly endlessly evasive while the ancient grandmaster was all the more pervasive as he fought from his mental seat of all-knowingness.  The mind is indeed the battlefield.  The enemy was on the physical field alright; but when it came to understanding the target, they were at a determined loss partly due to the mighty will of none other than Drona.  Indeed, the gun shots that had once fired further out from the holding trees in Municipal Woods had been supposedly fired at a messenger; no, it was not indeed a messenger who had been targeted as had been purported by the enemy fighter.  Instead, it was a master who worked in the close war counsel of the chief commander, Drona, of course, who had molded the battle and superceded to victory against one of B. Tiger's men.  Thus were the men of B. Tiger and the two of Chienne's training baffled as they occupied the field quite unawares nearby Drona and the two holding trees; they also waited, but they waited for the able command of B. Tiger to take hold and solve this dilemma, this impasse, that had been indeed created by a loss of one life to a thrown missile, a metallic star in the offing, further out in the woods from where they were located.  B. Tiger was trying to weigh against his fantasy that a messenger had been felled the fact that one of his own men had fallen on the field instead.  B. Tiger could not arrive at any studied certainty no matter how hard he tried, and he was now itching to regroup somehow in the quest for settling the issue, finding the target or targets and giving his men and Chienne's two charges the settling factor for which they seemed to be impatiently waiting.  B. Tiger knew that Drona was nearby him, and after several attempts to close in on him gave no result -- each time he would meet the air instead -- he was all the more baffled and impatient as well himself.  B. Tiger was awaiting a sense of direction to be rendered him by the one he had sent out to scout out the reason for gun shots and the results of the same.  Was a messenger indeed felled?  He was just waiting for one whit of ideation from his scout that to regroup and head out with his men for other parts in Municipal Woods would spark the battle.

     Giant Little listened now for any instruction from his grandmaster pertaining to a dynamic foray towards the messengers if called for.  Even though Catster had earlier upon their arrival at the ravine implied something else since he had said that they would actually use the ravine itself in order to extricate Bogdhan and Bob from the holding trees, the boy hero in all his fearlessness was ready to surface to ground level out of the ravine and advance to the holding trees.  Giant Little did not know exactly what Catster's introductory statement would mean ultimately; it did not necessarily exclude moving out of the ravine to join the center of the battle directly as it had been forming somewhat mysteriously to the enemy right nearby the holding trees.  However, there was no signal rendered Gai and no thought relayed him that would tell him of such an expected move.  Quietly, the boy hero waited without any nervous speculation or tension in his mind, for he was to heroically save this battle and all of Bohemia with it.  So confident was his heart that his many prayers for his country would be honored on this evening that he did not even flinch in a single doubt or worry; instead, he was dutifully still, meticulously vigilant, and constantly praying for the exact security of the two bold messengers whose boldness was as if enshrouded somehow.  To Giant Little, their perfect hiding posture in the field before him was seemingly predisposed in some arcane repository of abstractly held potential.  He likened their stable part in battle, skillfully hidden as it was, to some top secret of an inner circle of noble worth unto preservation for all; he reasoned, waiting patiently for a summoning forth or other instruction by Drona, that such purported preservation was indeed born of a collective mind of righteousness.  That righteous mind was founded upon beatific plane far above the netherworld.  Indeed, that netherworld stood on the perimeter of the righteous action and good intent of this inner circle like some threatening gangster blackness waiting to spew a hellish impart of destructive fury at them for their nobility so as to engulf them incontrovertibly.  In fact, their force of destruction, that desire to kill by the evil enemy, was everywhere in the air about him.  Even the creatures were as if muzzled such that no frogs and no crickets were sounding their usual nightly chorus.  Everywhere, there was dead quiet.  The desire of the enemy to good to fight and destroy seemed to intensify now for no immediately understandable reason as he patiently waited for the matters of war to issue their terrifying, their most deadly blows from the darkness all about the place.  

     First the field is there for reckoning, the young martial artist supposed; then the timing of the rendering of action will take its part as it will.  But if the battle is seen as at one with the field, then the timing is only a matter of course, and the outcome can only be a surrender to that phase of time essential like some giant tool of furtherance to the victory versus defeat question.  How little the victory really means -- down to nothing -- in the face of the horrible intentions of those whose minds have succumbed to the conviction that to destroy if only in the name of destruction is acceptable; so ugly is the battle, and so horrific is the mind for war.  Someone, some people somewhere, Giant Little reasoned calmly, had to counter and give resistance to the concerted force of evil as it would intend upon the weak, the innocent and the many of the nation itself that sat next to two other vigilant nations.  How glad this boy was just to be there and give of his heart in this war.  Now for the dynamics, he thought; now for all that he could muster and do to save these messages and these messengers!  The battle was indeed his; it was totally his since he understood it so well.  He was simply glad of it even despite the ugliness of the minds around him who wanted to overpower him and others like him who were profoundly invested of goodness in all of the stakes at hand.  

     Yes, it is true: this boy hero stood by his nation in a certain odd command through his saintly heart; however, he also had his own personal love for the maiden he wanted to marry, having heard about her throughout his childhood -- however much more in his childhood he by grace was to stand.  Giant Little reflected upon Radhita for a single moment and fought tears to think that he might now finally form the winning of her hand in this great battle unfolding before his youthful eyes.  Indeed, even through all of their witness to the civic strife he had known, his eyes retained a look of innocence as would be reflected in any youth.  Gai remembered the profound beauty of his fiancée for a brief moment, and he sent her a mental love note, a prayer from his heart, expressing his love for her in the simple words, "Radhita, I love you."  He heard her answer from some wings that populated the ether with the grace of her spirit, "Gai, I love you always."  

     Giant Little reflected for a moment on the fulcrum of the battle as it rested now so cleverly and skillfully on the secrecy of the messengers' whereabouts as they with monumental endurance hid up in the two holding trees.  He then intimated to Radhita, "My Beloved princess, what the enemy does not know on the battlefield I do descry here, where the resistance is yet strong; coincidentally, it pertains indeed to the entire spirit of your own nation-state, Liberty Love Forest,."

     Gai listened for her response.  She countered, "What do you mean, my love?"

     "The messengers hide vertically -- like so many of LLF's residents live in arboreal domiciles.  That is all I can say for now.  I do not want the enemy to read my thoughts," Giant Little took the courage to tell her, drawing up a comparison between the strength of the battle on the side of good by the positioning of the messengers in trees to all of Liberty Love Forest.  Yes, it is told that in Liberty Love Forest nature resides so bountifully in the minds and hearts of the people and as closely as it can;  for so many of the citizens there live in homes carved out of living trees.  These are special trees there in the land that is so much like magic; it is said that these trees can retain their growth around any cave-like opening that is made, allowing rooms to be formed and lived in successfully by the human beings of the broad-treed forests all throughout the land.

     "Aah . . . so the trees do indeed decide in favor of the good, the noble and those of righteous mind and action even in this land foreign to me, even in Bohemia.  I understand.  I understand what you mean very well, Gai," Radhita answered.  "Maybe there is hope for Bohemia.  I want to take you back to Liberty Love Forest.  I want you to see the sunshine everyday instead of the doom clouds.  Remember the black clouds that fled so quickly on the day you rescued me from those terrible kidnappers, my great one, my hero for all time?"

     "I remember it very well, Radhita.  In fact, Victory woke me up just before a great but short-lived rain hit us from those very clouds.  That is when I sensed the trouble and found you out," Giant Little reminisced for a brief instant.

     Swoosh!   No sooner than the boy hero finished his statement to his beloved princess regarding his epochal rescue mission of the noble princess did a flying missile lend its sound above the treetops that lined the ravine on either side.  He quickly let Radhita know that battle called urgently.  "Radhita, there is a possible advancement here with the greatest announcement; you cannot know.  I must let you go now and see to the fight.  Please understand me.  I beg your leave this moment."

     "I pray for you, Giant Little.  May you be safe.  May you be delivered.  May you not be harmed.  May you save Bohan.  Save the messengers, Gai!" Radhita answered fervently.  "You have my silence forthwith."

     "Yes," he said, with one last, parting moment's focus on his dear loved one.

     Giant Little then averted his mind to the possibility that another missile might be hurled in succession to the one that had just passed over the ravine.  Catster quickly gathered in the mind force of the not-so-little Giant Little.

        
       

                                                                            

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