Dorothy screamed as the sphynx bared its enormous sharp teeth and bit hard onto Star Corn's left arm. Then with a fatal swipe, Stannum lunged his sword into the heart of the sphynx. The creature made a revolting sound as blood bubbled from it's mouth.
Star Corn clutched his arm in agony, and Dorothy ran to him. She removed her denim jacket then wrapped it around Star Corn's bleeding arm.
"It's dead!" Stannum called out, "so is my sword!"
The knight's steel sword broke as he tried to pull it free. Stannum shouted an expletive, and kicked the monster's body with his dusty boot. Dorothy fought back tears as she desperately tied her jacket around Star Corn's bleeding arm. Star Corn slumped to the floor cursing at the sphynx and this wretched ruin.
"A sphynx!" Stannum said, spitting at the carcass. "We can eat that! Enough to feed all of us for days until we get to Olympia."
Dorothy was upset. "Ugh! Are you kidding me?"
"You're new here, aren't you?" he asked. He removed his helmet. Dorothy saw the sweat on the man's face, clung to his white long hair, and redness near his eyes with faint scars from past battles. He looked young and battered by wars that Dorothy had never known.
"I don't know where I am," she replied."This isn't my home."
"Where do you come from?"
"Kansas. In America."
Both Stannum and Star Corn exchanged puzzled glances.
"You don't know where that is do you guys?" she asked sadly. She knew the answer was no.
"Why did you kill princess Meng?" Star Corn asked her.
"I didn't kill her," Dorothy said. "She was already dead when I got here."
"Then how did you get here?" Stannum asked.
"I don't know."
Totem the wolf sniffed Star Corn's arm, and licked the man's hand. In return, he ruffled Totem's fur.
"This animal is your friend, Dorothy?" Stannum observed.
"He's from my world," she answered.
A loud crash startled the group.Totem growled. Stannum got up and unsheathed his second better sword. He'd thrown the broken sword away into the long grass. Coming from the ruins of the ancient city was a scarlet and golden robed hooded figure. Huge in size, at seven foot tall, carrying a golden staff bearing a blue sapphire. All three stood up.
"Who is that?" Dorothy asked.
"It's the king!" Star Corn said, holding his wounded arm with the jacket acting as a cast. "King Icarus!"
The hooded giant approached them and then sropped. Stannum sheathed his sword and got down on one knee.
"Your majesty," Stannum said.
Instantly Star Corn bent down on one knee and said "Your majesty" also.
Dorothy curtsied in the only way she knew how, as taught to her at the girls school, or when copying cartoon princesses and playing fairytale games with her friends.
"Your majesty," she said even though she had no idea who this royal was.
"Rise!" the hooded robed man sounded as loud as thunder. Everyone stood up.
The large man was taller than both Stannum and Star Corn. He used his free hand to remove the low hood and the red and gold velvet was a cloak of rich material. He removed this cloak and Dorothy gasped to see that the king was very handsome and powerfully built. He was suntanned golden, and his eyes were like amber stones. His beautiful golden hair was cascading down his back. He wore gold chainmail and there was a massive sword in a golden helm at his golden belt.
"You each deserve to be honoured for killing the foul monster," said the king. "I've been hunting it for a long time. Alas it escaped."
Dorothy wondered if the sphynx might've been scared of the king due to his size, as she was feeling a bit scared of him now.
"There deserves to be a ceromony about this. I will take you all back to Olympia and demand an investiture to give credit to your names there. You will each be rewarded," the king said.
Stannum and Star Corn were overcome with excitement. Dorothy was quiet as she just wanted to go home. She watched Totem chewing a small dead striped monkey that it must've caught here. There was no way that Totem could ever be her pet.
"What is your name and rank, soldier," the king addressed Stannum.
"Captain Stannum of the Fruit Mountain order."
"A knight and a monk, how interesting," the king replied with a grin, showing beautiful bejemmed teeth full of tiny rubies, sapphires, emeralds, topaz and diamonds! The king went over to Star Corn, who stumbled his words and looked down at the floor.
"I am Star Corn of the yellow fields, son of the wheat master Star Oats."
The king laughed and patted Star Corn across the back.
Then the king moved across to Dorothy and looked down at her.
"And tell me about you, little girl," the king said.
Dorothy was afraid. "I'm Dorothy Storm, from Kansas."
The king smelled of the wildnerness and strong oils, wood, beasts and terrible things. His face was handsome and he looked like a man of thirty years of age. His long hair sparkled as it moved in the breeze.
"Are you a witch, Dorothy girl?" king Icarus asked.
"No, your highness," she replied. "I'm just a girl who wants to go home."
The journey along the path took three more days. She was used to all three of these strange men by now. Star Corn. Stannum the knight. The king. And Totem was never far away. He hunted and brought her scraps. She found whatever she could eat but nothing with human heads. From bits of dead animal that came from Totem's hunt, meat-on-bones the men prepared over uncivilised fires. Wild uncooked raw vegetation, as well as bugs, worms, snails and grass.
Eventually the yellow golden path turned a corner, round a green slope and an impressive city caked near a forest. Giant structures of marble in shades of chocolate, red, pink, jade and white.Castles, pyramids and towers made of onyx. Enormous statues of humans and animals.
"Here is the city of Olympia!" King Icarus shouted. Stannum and Star Corn cheered.
(End of Part 5. To be continued in Part 6).
This story was written by me and it's loosely based on the "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" adventures by L. Frank Baum.