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The battered caravan trundled along through the Wind Swept Park [That-Creative-Boy]. Milo was driving, which really meant he sat on the seat at the front and held the reins while Robin pulled the caravan at a speed of his choosing.
Jack set next to Milo, Waldo’s old map open on his lap.
Princess Ava and Meenu sat on the roof of the caravan, complaining as they brushed cobwebs away.
“You should have warned us we’d be going through a whole forest-load of cobwebs,” said Ava, very annoyed.
“It’s not my fault,” said Jack. He tapped the map. “It just says here we were going through Lost Woods [Isapop]. It didn’t say anything about any cobwebs hanging down from the branches of the trees.”
“You didn’t have to ride on the roof of the caravan,” Milo pointed out. “You both could have gone inside.”
“No we couldn’t,” said Ava. “For one thing, we prefer being out in the fresh air …”
“And cobwebs,” snickered Robin.
“And, for another, the caravan is absolutely filled with so much stuff, there’s hardly any room to get in it!”
“Yes,” added Meenu. “Surely we don’t need all this stuff?”
“We’re going on a Quest,” said Milo. “We need provisions.”
“Provisions are one thing,” snorted Ava, “but the stuff you’ve got inside there… Half of it’s unnecessary!”
She began to tick things off on her fingers. “Horse treats …” [Minim]
“Horse treats are vital!” said Robin firmly.
“Punch bags,” continued Ava. “A toolbox, a telescope, torches, wet wipes, make-up, dumb-bells, wrestling outfits, blankets, duvets …” [ninja hamster, Fancyfootball, Minim, Twinkle, Isapop, Minim, McCod]
“And sleeping bags,” added Meenu. “Why do you need sleeping bags when you’ve already got blankets and duvets?” [guava6]
“It can get cold when you’re on the road,” said Milo.
“Lamps,” continued Ava. “Fake tan, Mighty Man Shaving Cream and Deodorant set, lavender room spray…” [spacekids, Fancyfootball, guava6],
“Cameras,” said Meenu. “Compasses, sunglasses, toilet rolls ….” [Twinkle, Jedi 1, ninja hamster, Izthewiz, That-Creative-Boy, Little Boot]
“Toilet rolls very important,” nodded Big Rock as he ran past, swinging punches. [guava6]
“A pair of folding chairs with a cup holders,” continued Meenu. [Isapop] “And who’s is that little teddy bear?”
“Little Bob is not just any old teddy bear!” said Jack defensively. [guava6]
“Packs of cards,” added Ava, still ticking them off on her fingers, but by now she had run out of fingers. [London 2012] “Boxes of games, spare pants, rolls of rope …” [Twinkle, Jedi 1, London 2012, ninja hamster]
“And where did the peace flag come from?” asked Meenu. [Jedi 1]
“That’s a long story,” said Milo.
“Far too long,” said Robin.
“What’s that ahead?” he asked.
They all looked. The road suddenly stopped at a narrow wooden bridge.
“According to the map, that must be Billy Goat Bridge,” said Jack, checking the map. [Twinkle]
“Bill Goats don’t like Trolls,” muttered Big Rock unhappily.
“Why not?” asked Meenu.
Big Rock shook his head. “Don’t know,” he said. “Billy Goats make up story about Trolls eating goats. It not true. Trolls eat rocks.”
“Well, let’s see what this Billy Goat has to say to us,” said Milo.
Robin ambled on towards the bridge, but as they drew near they saw that the big Billy Goat had no intention of moving to let them cross. Instead, he spread himself so that he blocked the way across the bridge completely, forcing the caravan to stop.
“Good day!” greeted Milo with a broad smile. “I wonder if we might trouble you to move to one side so that we can pass over the bridge?”
“No trouble at all,” said the Goat. Then he gave a nasty smile and added: “If you pay the toll.”
“What toll?” asked Milo.
“The fee to get over the bridge,” said the Goat. “It’s normally five gold pieces, but as you’ve got a … Troll with you”, and the Goat sneered as he said the word. “It will cost you twenty pieces of gold.”
“I’m afraid we haven’t got twenty pieces of gold,” said Milo. “In fact, we haven’t got any money at all. But we will have once we win the Royal Rumble.” He gestured at the big letters WWT on the side of the caravan. “We are Waldo’s Wrestling Trolls and we’re on a quest to gather Ten Wrestling Trolls for a tournament.”
The Goat shook his shaggy head.
“If you don’t have the gold, you don’t cross this bridge,” he said.
Milo looked at the Goat, then he shrugged.
“Okay,” he said. “We don’t need your bridge. We’ll find another one.”
“Actually, there isn’t another one,” said Jack.
“What?” asked Milo.
Jack showed him the map. “This is the only bridge across this river for miles and miles,” he said. “It will take us days to find another one.”
“And that’s time we don’t have,” said Ava. “Remember, we’ve got a tournament to get to.”
Milo sighed. He turned back to the Goat.
“Look, how about if I give you an IOU,” he said. “We’ll owe you the money, and when we’ve won the Royal Rumble, we’ll come back and pay you.”
Again, the Goat shook his head. “No,” he said. “We don’t trust Wrestlers, and we especially don’t trust Trolls.”
“How about royalty?” asked Ava, and she jumped down from the roof of the caravan and approached the Goat, standing as tall as she could and looking very regal, despite the traces of cobwebs in her hair. “I am Princess Ava of the Kingdom of Weevil, and I have enough gold in the royal coffers to be able to pay your toll to get across this bridge.”
“Do you have the gold on you?” asked the Goat.
“Well, no,” said Ava. “Like I said, it’s in the royal coffers in my Kingdom.”
“Royalty don’t carry gold around with them,” added Meenu.
“Well, when you get it out of your royal coffers and bring it here, then you can cross over the bridge,” sneered the Goat.
“This is ridiculous!” snapped Milo. “We’re wasting time! Big Rock, pick this goat up and throw it to one side so we can get on.”
Big Rock shook his head. “Not good idea,” he said. “Goats say we Trolls are brutes. If I do that, they say that proof we Trolls bad people.”
“You are bad people,” said the Goat. “You trolls eat goats!”
“I never eat goat, ever,” protested Big Rock.
“I’ve had enough of this!” snorted Milo. “Robin, move on and knock this goat to one side. He can’t stop us. After all, there are all of us against just one goat!”
“Er … lots of goats,” said Jack unhappily.
And they were aware that about twenty more goats had suddenly appeared from under the bridge, and from behind trees.
“Oh-oh,” muttered Robin.
As the goats began to circle out and surround the caravan, Meenu whispered, “I think the time has come for us to make a tactical retreat.”
“It’s too late for that,” said the big Billy Goat. “You threatened us. For that, you’re going to have to pay a fine, as well as the toll!”
“You’re just a bunch of crooks,” said Jack accusingly. “This is robbery!”
“And we’ve already told you we don’t have any money,” said Milo.
“Then I suggest you get some,” smiled the Goat. “Because you’re going to need it to pay the ransom to free the Troll.”
Jack stared at the Goat, puzzled.
“But he’s already free,” he said.
“Not for much longer,” smiled the Goat.
And then, before the gang knew what was happening, all the goats had turned their backs on them and ….
“Goat farts!” shouted Princess Ava in warning, and they desperately tried to cover their mouths and noses, but it was too late. As the noxious fumes hit them and enveloped them, they tumbled to the ground, unconscious.
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