The League of Homunculi Book 2: Belly of the Beauty by Pixis
Summary:

The famous little people of legend unite to battle the cruel sorceress Morgan le Fay in this crossover adventure story.


Categories: Adventure, Body Exploration, Entrapment, Gentle, Humiliation, Insertion, Violent, Vore Characters: None
Growth: None
Shrink: Minikin (3 in. to 1 in.)
Size Roles: None
Warnings: This story is for entertainment purposes only.
Challenges: None
Series: The League of Homunculi
Chapters: 5 Completed: Yes Word count: 10610 Read: 40947 Published: February 24 2008 Updated: March 28 2008
Story Notes:

Another adventure with my team of tiny heroes, inspired by fairy tales, legends, and crossover fiction. This was the original League story at first but I later wrote a story explaining how the team was founded. That story is now Book 1 and this follows shortly after it.

1. Chapter 1 by Pixis

2. Chapter 2 by Pixis

3. Chapter 3 by Pixis

4. Chapter 4 by Pixis

5. Chapter 5 by Pixis

Chapter 1 by Pixis
Author's Notes:

All characters are (to the best of my knowledge) public domain. If not, well...bear in mind I'm not making any money from this.

The League of Homunculi Book 2: Belly of the Beauty

By Pixis 

The Legend: In the days of good King Arthur, the magician Merlin summoned to Britain a collection of the smallest individuals known to man. These he offered to the king as spies, a secret network of miniature heroes undertaking missions against the Round Table’s enemies. Merlin called this strange menagerie…the League of Homunculi.

 

Roll Call:  

Tom Thumb: Arthur’s court dwarf, an honorary Knight of the Round Table.

 

Thumbelina: The smallest woman in the world and Princess of the Flower-Faeries.

 

Issun-boshi: An inch-tall samurai from the distant East.

 

Thumbling: A tiny tailor seeking his fortune in a very big world.

 

Part 1

 

            In the months since their founding, the League had taken part in many dangerous assignments for the court of Camelot. With their unobtrusive size and stealthy skills, they had been sent to spy on the scheming King Lot of Orkney and his sorceress queen Morgause, the cruel Prince Malagant, the upstart Roman Emperor Lucius Tiberius, and other foes that resisted the notion of a united Britain. Yet as holy quests and advancements in social law began to command Arthur’s attention, the king lost interest in his tiny spies. In time, he turned over their command to Queen Guinevere, her very own miniature “honor guard” to amuse her at banquets and tournaments with their clever tricks and gambols.

 

            It was an uneasy arrangement for all parties. The queen resented being placated with a troop of warriors no bigger than her thumb. And the League members themselves were decidedly uncomfortable with being offered like toys to her royal majesty. They craved adventure and more meaningful work…and were about to receive it in spades.

 

            In the waning days of summer, the court was gathered in the great hall, enjoying a feast and some entertainment. As the royal minstrels played a raucous tune, Tom and Thumbelina danced a jig in the palm of the queen’s hand. On the table below, Thumbling walked the edge of a bowl of pudding, balancing precariously like a circus performer. Issun remained as stoic as ever, standing guard beside the queen’s elbow, his hand on the hilt of a tiny katana.

 

            Without warning, a young boy of about fourteen burst into the hall, stumbling slightly over the stone floor as he ran to the table. The music ceased and all eyes fell to this youth.

 

            “Horror! Oh horror, your majesty!” the boy cried. “Oh, it’s too terrible!”

 

            “I know you,” Arthur said, standing to face the child. “You’re Lancelot’s squire, are you not?”

 

            “Yes, m’lord, I am in Sir Lancelot’s service,” the boy replied. “But for how much longer, I know not! My liege…Sir Lancelot has been captured!”

 

            A hushed gasp spread through the room and the people began to whisper among themselves. Guinevere went limp with shock, spilling Tom and Thumbelina into her lap. The two tiny creatures landed roughly but unharmed in the folds of her dress. Startled by this development, Thumbling lost his balance and fell headlong into the pudding.

 

            The king remained unfazed, acting the part of the unflappable ruler. “Captured by whom?”

 

            “A horrid witch, your majesty,” answered the squire. “A heathen sorceress who consorts with devils! A monster that fills all the land with dread at the very mention of—”

 

            “Spit it out, lad,” Arthur coaxed. “Whilst we’re young.”

 

            “Morgan le Fay, my lord!” the youth finally declared. More murmurs and whispers circulated through the chamber. Arthur hung his head wearily.

 

            “I see,” he said. “So my sister returns once more to plague my Table. I feared as much.”

 

            “You should have had her put to death when you had the chance,” Guinevere muttered.

 

            “Nay, Jenny,” said Arthur softly. “She is my blood. I must hope that there is yet good in her.”

 

            “Your majesty!” the tiny Tom Thumb bellowed, as he climbed from under a roll of fabric in the queen’s dress. “Muster the League! We shall free Sir Lancelot!”

 

            At this, the assembled knights and courtiers laughed. “What, those little poppets fighting le Fay?” Sir Gawain chuckled. “She’d squash the lot of them in one step!”

 

            Arthur glanced down at the little figures fighting to stand in his wife’s lap. “I doubt not your heart, Sir Thomas,” said the king. “But I’m sure my knights can remedy this situation. You must help comfort the queen.”

 

            Distraught, Guinevere pushed her food away and set her two tiny dancers upon the table. A lady in waiting instantly rushed to her side, clearing the plates and allowing the horrified queen to rest her head. The young serving woman spirited the bowl of pudding away, unmindful of the frantic squeaks from the assembled little people at the queen’s elbow.

 

            The serving girl hurried toward the kitchen, joining one of her compatriots in the hallway. “Bad luck for Lancelot, eh, Mary?”

 

            “’Struth,” her friend replied. “Not so good for the queen either, I’d wager. You didn’t hear it from me but they say she’s boinking ol’ Lance on the side.”

 

            “Shhh!” the first girl hissed. “Don’t be talkin’ treason!”

 

            “Oh, everyone knows it!” Mary insisted. “You think she’d get all weak and lose her appetite if it was that scarecrow Sir Kay wot been kidnapped?”

 

            “True enough,” the other girl answered. “Well, more for us at any rate.” She dipped a finger into the pudding bowl and hit a small, oddly shaped obstruction.

 

            “Afternoon, ladies,” Thumbling said, poking his tiny head out of the pudding. “Not that I mind your company but I don’t recall being placed on the menu.”

 

            The girls shrieked and dropped the bowl at once, shattering it on the floor and running off to the kitchen in fright.

 

* * * *

 

            For weeks, the Knights of the Round Table assaulted Morgan le Fay’s stronghold in the kingdom of Gorre. Yet none could get past the sorceress’ mystic defenses or breach the castle walls. An impenetrable shield, invisible to the eye, enclosed the fortress and a deadly power seemed to infuse the surrounding area, driving them back. Arthur’s warriors each fell wounded or retreated in shame.

 

            The atmosphere at the court was tense. Arthur was wracked with guilt for the fate of his friend and the rift between him and his sister. But Guinevere was practically beside herself at Lancelot’s absence. The queen spent many an hour in her boudoir, weeping for the captured knight. In their dollhouse quarters, the League listened to their troubled mistress and felt they could stand no more.

 

            “If she keeps bawling like this, we’ll never have a moment’s peace!” Thumbling shouted over the din, fingers in his little ears.

 

            “’Ling!” Tom chided. “Where’s your sense of empathy?”

 

            “Must have left it in my other tunic, boss,” Thumbling replied.

 

            “He’s right, ‘Ling,” said Thumbelina. “We’ve been charged with comforting her. We should attend to the queen.”

 

            “A cheerful countenance brightens a heavy heart,” Issun stated simply.

 

            “Good luck,” Thumbling scoffed. “The state she’s in, she’ll probably roll over on top of us during a good long weep or mistake us for comfort food or something. They say women eat compulsively when they’re depressed.”

 

            “We do not!” Thumbelina shot back.

 

            Nonetheless, the little warriors exited the dollhouse and scurried to the queen’s bed, clambering up a linen sheet. Guinevere lay stretched out before them on her stomach, the landscape of her body quivering with the occasional sob. The tiny creatures walked the length of the bed in the shadow of her torso, dragging a handkerchief the size of a tent behind them. Tom cautiously approached the queen’s face and touched the wall of her cheek.

 

            “My lady, is there anything we can do?”

 

            The woman looked up from the pillow at the miniature figures. She sniffled once, blew her nose on the handkerchief, and considered something. “Yes, Tom, I believe there is. I have a request for you. All of you. Where…where is Thumbling?”

 

            Their companion called from somewhere behind them and all turned to see Thumbling standing on the peak of the queen’s backside. “Look, fellows! The royal seat!” he cried, laughing at his own joke.

 

            Despite her grief, Guinevere had to smile at the brazen little imp climbing her arse. Anyone else might have risked beheading with such an action but somehow, she did not mind the familiarity from her little pets. She reached back and plucked Thumbling from his perch, gathering the others with him in her hand. The queen set the miniature League on her bedside table and loomed above them majestically, though her big blue eyes were red with tears and her golden tresses disheveled.

 

            “Brute force has failed, my little ones,” she informed them. “Lancelot remains a prisoner. You once said that you would fight to free him. Perhaps stealth and guile can succeed where a frontal assault cannot.”

 

            “I promise you, my lady,” Tom announced solemnly, doffing his feathered cap. “We will find a way.”

 

            “Oh, my tiny champions,” Guinevere said, scooping each one up and kissing their minute faces with thick, trembling lips. “So brave. I may be a fool but I believe you will. Please…bring him back to me.”

 

            Thumbelina elbowed Tom in his side and whispered subtly through the corner of her mouth. “Are you mad? What hope do we have against that witch?”

 

            “I think Tommy’s sweet on the queen,” Thumbling whispered, jabbing Tom’s other side.

 

            “Shut up, ‘Ling!” Tom hissed. “We can do this! It’s the last thing le Fay will expect.”

 

            “When hunters the lioness foresees,” Issun-boshi said quietly, “unnoticed goes the grasshopper to her lair.”

 

            “What does that even mean?” Thumbelina said, slapping her face.

 

            “It means the League is back in business, ‘Lina!” said Tom with a grin.

To be continued...

Chapter 2 by Pixis
Author's Notes:
Lots of Arthurian stuff this time around (what can I say? English lit geek) but fear not, the GTS elements kick into high gear soon.

To any Christians out there, the opinions of Morgan le Fay are not necessarily those of the author. But I wanted to delve into her motivation, ala The Mists of Avalon, rather than make her a generic evil sorceress.

The League of Homunculi

Part 2

Issun-boshi stood upon the raised knee of his beloved, Princess Haru, regarding the landscape of femininity before him. Far across the vast plane of a purple kimono, dark almond eyes regarded him through a curtain of silky black hair. Though the princess seemed unfathomably large to the tiny samurai, she was nonetheless the love of his life and would ever remain so. They had been playmates as children and had faced many challenges together, not least of which was his infinitesimal size.

All that had seemingly changed the day Issun defeated a monstrous oni and saved Haru’s life. The oni’s hammer, a mystical “Mallet of Luck,” offered the bearer one’s heart’s desire. In an instant, Haru wished that little Issun was a full-sized man. The two were wed soon after.

But on their wedding night, they discovered that the oni had played one final trick. The Mallet’s effects were not as permanent as one might expect. In the midst of consummating their union, Haru had nearly lost her husband when he reverted back to half the size of a peapod. Quickly, she had fished around between her legs, seeking her vanished darling, and finally managed to remove him from within herself. Both were quite shaken and bewildered by the incident.

Another touch from the Mallet and Issun was a tall, noble warrior once more. Yet the effects would only last for a few days before changing him back. In time, they learned to live with this awkward arrangement and news of the tiny samurai’s exploits spread. This brought him to the enchanter Merlin’s attention and eventual service with the League.

Haru herself was very popular at the court, sharing stories and customs of the exotic East with Guinevere and her ladies in waiting. But she ever feared for her husband’s safety on his team’s adventures.

“Must you go, beloved?” the princess implored in their native tongue.

“A fellow warrior is in danger and honor commands that I assist,” Issun responded.

“Why does it command?” Haru asked. “This Arthur is not your daimyo.”

“Camelot has been good to us, Haru,” the miniature man replied. “Merlin’s League has allowed me to make use of this…this curse of my birth.”

Haru reached forth and lifted the little samurai from her knee with two fingers, bringing him to her lips, each nearly as large as his body. “It was not a curse that brought you to me, Issun-boshi.”

Issun buried his face in the softness of her kiss, allowing Haru’s massive lips to envelope his entire head. “I know that, my love. But the samurai code is clear on this point. I cannot abandon Lancelot to his fate. Thomas believes we can free him.”

“If you would but let me use the Mallet…” the princess began.

“No, Haru,” Issun said. “This mission requires stealth. I must be the Little One Inch for a while longer.”

“Very well,” said Haru. “But promise you’ll come back to me, Issun.”

“Though the ship tries to sunder it, the sea cannot be divided, beloved. I shall return.”

* * * *

The League stood assembled in the forest of Gorre, eyeing Castle du Fay in the distance warily. The castle was a grand imposing structure, a gift from Morgan’s estranged husband, King Uriens (though all, even Uriens himself, knew that their marriage was merely for show). One of Guinevere’s ladies had carried them hence in a basket bound to her horse’s saddle and though the ride was a rough one, they had arrived intact.

The woman looked down at the tiny creatures at her feet. “Goodbye, wee ones,” she said. “I don’t expect we shall see you again. Pity. I always thought you were pretty cute.” With this, she remounted her horse and disappeared into the night.

“You see?” Thumbelina declared, exasperated. “She thinks it’s suicide too. What are we doing here, Tom? Spying is one thing, insane rescue missions against giant sorceresses is quite another.”

Tom studied the massive stronghold with determination. “Quiet, ‘Lina, I’m looking for a way in.”

“There is no way in!” ‘Lina insisted. “Hullo, magic castle? Dark powers? Mystical force field? What part of this are you not getting exactly?”

“The part that leads to defeat and acceptance, Thumbelina-chan,” Issun said.

“Hey, it’s not like we haven’t faced impossible odds before,” Thumbling ventured. “Did I ever tell you about the time I was swallowed by a cow?”

Thumbelina rolled her eyes and sighed. “Yes, ‘Ling. Only about a hundred times.”

“I must have been in there for an hour before they heard me shouting,” Thumbling continued, unconcerned. “The farmer thought the damn thing was bewitched. I felt bad when he slaughtered the poor beast but at least it got me out. Of course, then that hungry wolf came along and—”

“We know, ‘Ling!” Thumbelina shrieked. “We’ve heard it before!”

Thumbling stopped quietly with a look of hurt. “Well…it’s a good story.”

“There!” Tom announced suddenly, pointing excitedly. “Look at that bird on the ramparts. Completely fine. Morgan’s mystic shield does not extend that high.”

“Peachy keen, fearless leader,” Thumbling said, recovering his casual demeanor. “But how do we get up there?”

“Oh, honestly,” Thumbelina muttered. “Do I have to do everything myself?”

Depressing a button on her belt, ‘Lina activated a device strapped to a harness on her back. Two vast golden wings extended past her shoulders dramatically. After her many adventures, Thumbelina had married Cornelius, the Prince of the Flower-Faeries, in her native land. His people had graciously outfitted her with a pair of artificial wings to better assimilate into their culture. It was a gift that had served her in good stead on the League’s missions.

Thumbling gave a low whistle. “Not bad. You always did look good with those things, kid.”

Thumbelina scowled at him. “When I’m in royal regalia, it’s ‘Princess Maia of the Fae’ to you, bucko. Now everybody grab hold of me. ‘Ling, watch the hands.”

Tom and Thumbling took hold of ‘Lina’s arms, while the smaller Issun climbed onto her back between the wings and wrapped his arms about her neck. As they held fast, the little woman took off into the air. ‘Lina’s golden wings beat furiously and her muscles strained as she fought to hold her three friends aloft. The group faltered slightly and lost altitude a few times but soon reached the peak of Castle du Fay.

‘Lina carried her teammates down a winding staircase and into the heart of the stronghold. They landed as softly as possible (though ‘Lina “accidentally” released Thumbling a few inches from the ground, sending him tumbling in a heap). They found themselves in a vast antechamber below an elaborate table decorated with food and drink.

The little people scurried for cover as the sound of footsteps entered the room. There, looming in the doorway was Morgan le Fay herself. She was a stunning woman, of that there could be no doubt. Long raven black hair framed a beautiful face whose fair features could put any true fay to shame. Dark grey robes hugged a wondrous figure with curves that would dwarf the tiny heroes like the hills of the Otherworld. But there was a hardness and rigidity to Morgan that marred her beauty ever so slightly. Anger and bitterness clouded her mind until there was little room for aught else. Though a lovely creature, more often than not Morgan had the look of a vengeful goddess.

As the sorceress passed through the room and descended down another stairway, the League scurried after, hoping to find Lancelot’s cell. And indeed, after clambering down the vast stairs (each twice their height or more), they arrived in the dungeon of Castle du Fay.

A handsome knight, his armor dulled by grime and rust, sat hunched behind jail bars, hanging his head. Morgan approached the weary Lancelot. Her voice was surprisingly sympathetic.

“No one’s coming, you know,” she said, gently. “I’ve worked long and hard on this castle’s defenses. The spells woven into these stones are strong. Not even my brother and his knights can penetrate these walls.”

“Why not kill me and be done with it?” Lancelot spat. His Gaulish accent gave each word a musical lilt, even in anger.

“Lance, if I’d wanted to kill you, I could have done so weeks ago,” Morgan stated. “I had hoped things could be different between us. You could have been my guest here, not my prisoner.”

The League listened intently, uncertain what to do. Tom, ‘Lina, and Issun inched cautiously forward, sneaking past the towering form of the sorceress and slinking into the shadows near the dungeon cell.

“At what cost, Morgan?” the knight asked. “Your conditions were too steep. You would have me renounce my king? My faith?”

Ever the mischief-maker, Thumbling lingered behind, rather than joining the others in hiding. The little tailor tiptoed between Morgan’s feet and under the canopy of her dress, trying to sneak a glimpse up it. Alarmed, the others motioned to him silently. Thumbling merely grinned at them.

“You still don’t see it, Lance,” the woman said. “Your faith is a poison, a disease that spreads over Britain. These followers of the Christ-god seek to destroy the Old Ways, to drive out the druids and the ancient wisdom. They would banish the Mother Goddess utterly from these lands. Is that what you want?”

Lancelot said nothing.

“No, I know what you want,” Morgan announced to the knight, a scowl crossing her pretty face. “It’s not the Christ-god you love but that hypocritical twit, Guinevere. Filled with piety one moment and off to your bed-chambers the next.”

“It could have been me sharing your nights,” she continued, slinking forward seductively and sliding a foot across the floor. Thumbling tried to stumble out of the way but was barreled into by the giant foot. The toe section of Morgan’s shoe slammed against him, causing him to slump forward and land atop it. As the woman walked forward, he clung fearfully to the shoe as if it were a bucking wild horse.

 “There was affection between us once,” Morgan said to her prisoner. “Or have you forgotten? The home of your foster-mother, Viviane, Lady of the Lake? Our tutelage on Avalon?”

“That was a long time ago,” said Lancelot, avoiding her gaze.

“Not as long as it seems,” Morgan replied. “That world is dying, Lancelot. Avalon recedes ever further into the mists. Soon, it will be gone forever and the old gods with it. That’s what these blasphemous Christians and your pious queen have wrought.”

“They aren’t all the same, Morgan,” Lancelot insisted, looking into her dark eyes at last. “There is good and evil in us all, Christian and pagan alike. If we could but have peace—”

“Peace?!” the sorceress repeated, infuriated. The League scurried aside as Morgan took an angry step forward, slamming her foot down on the spot where they had previously gathered. The impact sent Thumbling bouncing off the edge of her shoe. Morgan continued to rage at the captive knight.

“We will have peace, Lancelot du Lac! When the Goddess reclaims these isles, when the Christ-god’s churches are burnt to ashes, when my brother and his pompous wife are gone from the throne and Camelot falls….aye, then we will have peace.”

“Morgan, please,” the knight called to her. “What’s happened to you? This is not your Goddess’ way! Nor is it yours! It’s not too late! Arthur…he still loves you.”

“Arthur betrayed me!” Morgan raged. “Just as you betrayed me! Well, you can rot in there for all I care, du Lac.” The enchantress reached into her pocket and drew forth the key to Lancelot’s cell. With swift finality, she brought it to her lips, tilted her head back, and swallowed it.

The League members leaped aside again as the sorceress pivoted around and stalked back towards the stairs. They nimbly dodged her swirling dress and the massive feet that stomped past them in anger and carried Morgan back up into the castle. It would be long before there was silence in the halls above but it was not the rage of a goddess that echoed through Castle du Fay that night. It was the cry of a woman scorned.

“Well, fearless leader,” Thumbling said, as the drama before them at last ended. “What now?”

To be continued....

Chapter 3 by Pixis

The League of Homunculi 

 

Part 3

 

After Morgan departed, the League revealed themselves to the captive Lancelot. With some assistance from his proffered hand, they attempted to pick the lock on his cell. Yet the sewing needle swords of Tom and Thumbling and Issun’s miniature katana proved ineffective.

 

“It’s no use,” Lancelot said with a heavy sigh. “The lock’s enchanted, like everything in this blasted castle. And the key has gone beyond our reach. Morgan swallowed it. Forget about me, my little friends. Tell Arthur and…and the queen…that I will love them always.”

 

As the knight set them back on the floor, Tom was deep in thought. “The key is beyond conventional reach perhaps. But we are hardly conventional.”

 

Thumbelina was aghast. “You cannot possibly be suggesting what I think you are, Thomas.”

 

“Why not?” Tom asked. “Our size has ever been an asset in this line of work. We can go where others cannot.”

 

“I’m not letting that witch eat me!” insisted ‘Lina.

 

“Of course not,” Tom agreed. “But if we drug her, keep her unconscious, one of us can slip down her gullet unnoticed and retrieve the key from her belly.”

 

“That’s insane!” Thumbelina declared.

 

“Is it?” said Tom. “Thumbling, you survived being swallowed by a cow. You’ve told us so many times. I myself have escaped various creatures’ attempts to devour me. This can be done, I know it!”

 

“You are either very brave or very foolish, little homunculi,” Lancelot added. “But I will not have you risk your lives for me in this way.”

 

“You are the greatest among us, Sir Lancelot,” Tom told the knight. “We will not abandon you.”

 

“Says who?” Thumbling muttered under his breath.

 

* * * *

 

Thumbelina flitted about the banquet table on golden wings, dropping faerie potions from her homeland into each goblet and glass. It took several hours of waiting but eventually, Morgan sipped some of the drugged wine and staggered dreamily to a nearby couch. Within moments, the sorceress was asleep.

 

The League had procured some string to tie about the waist of the one who would retrieve the key. But who would do the deed?

 

“The moment of truth,” Tom said. “One of us must descend, not into the belly of the beast, but the belly of the beauty.”

 

“This was your crazy idea, Tom,” Thumbling reminded him. “You should do it.”

 

“You’re the one always bragging about being swallowed by a cow, ‘Ling,” Thumbelina mentioned. “This should be old hat for you.”

 

Thumbling balked. “If you’re comparing Lady Morgan to a cow, ‘Lina, I think she’d resent that inference.”

 

“My heart weeps,” ‘Lina said, testily.

 

“I shall go,” Issun-boshi decided, already tying the string around his middle.

 

“Issun, no,” Tom protested. “You have a wife waiting for you at home. ‘Ling’s right. It’s my plan and I should carry it out.”

 

The little samurai shook his head. “I am smallest,” said Issun. “I can slip down most easily. You might choke her and cause her to awaken.”

 

“Man’s got a point,” Thumbling said.

 

“You’re certain of this?” Tom asked. Issun nodded, his stoic expression barely changing.

 

“Honor commands.”

 

Within moments, the League had gathered atop the face of the reclining sorceress. They balanced uneasily on her cheeks and chin and stared with trepidation at the ruby red lips of Morgan le Fay. Her vast mouth hung open slightly as she breathed in and out with the gentle rhythm of sleep. Each breath wafted upward past the miniature heroes like air escaping from some subterranean chasm.

 

Quickly and carefully, they took hold of the string and began to lower Issun into her mouth, through the gateway of her plump lips. The little samurai descended into the humid cavern past glistening rows of porcelain teeth that could easily rend him asunder. At his back was the wet slippery wall of her tongue which he bumped softly against now and then as the string dangled. In the confines of her mouth, those warm breaths now howled like a wind tunnel, rustling Issun’s hair and clothing. He suppressed a shiver and concentrated on the task at hand.

 

In seconds, they had lowered him to the opening of Morgan’s throat, a yawning abyss from Issun’s perspective. As he descended further and further down the woman’s gullet, his presence caused an irritation that triggered a reflexive swallow. High above, the League held fast to the string as they felt a strong tug from the other end. Behind them, the lady’s throat bobbed with a sudden bulge as tiny Issun was gulped down whole.

 

Powerful muscles contracted around his body and Issun felt himself sliding down the tunnel of Morgan’s esophagus. At the angle at which she rested, it was something like riding a semi-horizontal water slide. Seconds later, Issun landed with a plop inside the giant woman’s belly. The humid heat was nearly unbearable and the air rank. All around him were the deafening gurgles and rumbles of Morgan’s inner plumbing. Somewhere above, the pulse of her heartbeat doled out its song like a distant drum.

 

Not wishing to linger, Issun got to work. He felt around experimentally in the slick muck of half-digested supper and wine. At last, his hand touched the smooth metal of the key. Issun took hold of the item, his muscles straining to lift it for it was taller than he was. The samurai yanked roughly on the string around his middle, signaling to his comrades that he was ready to ascend.

 

The League pulled with all their might, drawing their friend upward from the deadly depths. Issun squeezed through the tight fleshy gate at the entrance of Morgan’s stomach, which had thankfully been held open slightly by the presence of the string. Up the slippery water slide he rode, clutching the key against his chest.

 

Just as it seemed their plan would proceed without a hitch, the sleeping giantess began to rouse. Morgan groaned drowsily and her eyes fluttered open. Feeling something on her face and a foreign object nearly gagging her, the enchantress slowly sat up. ‘Lina and ‘Ling lost hold of the string as their world went vertical, sending them plummeting from the woman’s chin. The two little ones fell unnoticed down the front of Morgan’s bodice. Thumbling came to rest against the base of the massive breasts while Thumbelina, to her chagrin, tumbled headfirst into the canyon between them.

 

Only Tom maintained a grip on Issun’s lifeline, refusing to abandon his friend. He dangled on the end of the string a few inches below Morgan’s face, which soon tilted downward to inspect him. A giant hand swept upward and delicate fingers wrapped tightly around his torso. The sorceress’ eyes grew wide with surprise as she grasped the tiny man. Removing the string from his hands, the woman gave a devious smile. As Tom watched helplessly, Morgan pursed her lips and slurped up the rest of the string like spaghetti, swallowing it and its minute passenger.

 

“Well, well, if it isn’t my brother’s dwarf,” the sorceress said, squeezing Tom in her hand. “Just what were you up to, little man? What was on the other end of that string? Some device to retrieve the key to dear Lancelot’s cell?”

 

Her eyes widened once again as an idea occurred to her. “No, it…it was one of your little friends, wasn’t it? And I just swallowed him whole!” Her free hand rose unconsciously to rub her stomach.

 

“What a thought!” Morgan continued to massage her abdomen, hardly paying attention to the small creature in her fist. “A tiny little man, trapped alive within my belly! Such a shame. I had no quarrel with you manikins but you brought this on yourself. If you’re here at my brother’s behest, I suppose that makes you my enemies.” She brought Tom close to her huge red lips. “Or perhaps, more accurately under the circumstances…my prey.”

 

A gigantic grin filled Tom Thumb’s vision and the sorceress snapped her teeth menacingly mere inches from his head. “But not yet, I think,” she said, pulling him away. “First I must find your fellow toy soldiers. I’m sure they’re hiding around here somewhere. Come out, come out, wherever you are, little ones!”

 

Deep within Morgan’s generous bosom, Thumbelina wriggled and squirmed, attempting to escape the narrow crevasse that had consumed her. It was proving most difficult for she was suspended upside down and for the life of her, could not seem to get any purchase on the slippery walls of skin that surrounded her. Somewhere beyond this barrier of flesh, Thumbling called to his teammate.

 

“Oi, ‘Lina! You all right?”

 

“I’ve had better days, ‘Ling,” the little woman replied. She scowled as she felt the blood rushing to her head.

 

“What the deuce happened?” the voice of Thumbling asked. “Wasn’t that potion supposed to knock her out for hours?”

 

“Her power must have counteracted it,” said Thumbelina. “It’s always risky mixing magicks. Damn it, I knew this was a bad idea!”

 

“Say, where are you anyway? You sound a little muffled.”

 

Thumbelina frowned. “If I’m to maintain any sort of dignity, I would really rather not say.”

 

“Hold up,” Thumbling chuckled. “Are you ‘down in the valley?’ Aww, wish I could trade places with you, girl. I’d love to take a dive betwixt this wench’s knockers! Biggest damn things I’ve ever seen!”

 

“This isn’t a game, ‘Ling!” ‘Lina shouted at him. “If Tom’s lost the string, Issun’s done for! And we’re bloody next!”

 

As if on cue, giant fingers intruded into ‘Lina’s prison, plucking her from Morgan’s cleavage. Thumbelina dangled upside down by her leg in front of the enchantress’ dark eyes. The tiny woman blushed as her dress began to slip down towards her waist, exposing her little bloomers to the sorceress queen’s gaze.

 

“Aha!” the giantess laughed. “I thought something was tickling me! A rather tender hiding place you picked, my faerie princess.” She gripped ‘Lina roughly and turned her over and over in her fingers, examining her, though not yet pulling the dress back into place. “My, aren’t you a pretty little thing! A perfect living doll, such an exquisite figure. You must be the envy of every little poppet.”

 

“Stop it!” Tom shouted from her other hand. “Don’t hurt her!”

 

“Whatever am I to do with you?” Morgan mused, ignoring him. “Perhaps I should send you to keep your friend company in my belly. He must be awfully lonely down there, the poor morsel.” Morgan lifted Thumbelina over her lips and opened wide, poised to gobble her up. ‘Lina dangled once more in an inverted position, her little foot grasped tightly between the woman’s thumb and forefinger. A vast gaping maw loomed threateningly below.

 

“My lady, I beg of you!” Tom implored. “Spare her! Take me instead!”

 

Morgan hesitated and glanced at the struggling Tom. “Such chivalry. Arthur has taught you well. You pass the test, Sir Tom. I was curious what sort of character you little manikins possess.”

 

“Truthfully, I don’t think I shall eat either of you,” the lady continued. “I am not without mercy. Consuming your companion was an unhappy accident but you need not share his fate. Not if you please me. Perhaps I shall keep you as pets.”

 

The sorceress walked over to the table and lifted an empty wine glass. She deftly placed Tom and ‘Lina on the tabletop and overturned the glass on top of them, trapping them within. The giant woman knelt down before them, her huge face distorted through their glass prison.

 

“I must find the last of your number however,” she said. Morgan got down on hands and knees and began searching the room, checking under the table, below the rugs, and in every nook and cranny.

 

As she crawled forward, her heavy breasts hung from her chest, landing on top of Thumbling within her bodice. He was nearly pressed flat below their weight until Morgan sensed an alien presence inside her corset. Once more she reached down her front and retrieved a little stowaway.

 

“Another one?” she said with amusement. “I had no idea my bosom was such a site of pilgrimage. Then again, Sir Accolon always liked it…”

 

Morgan stood up and approached the table once more. The devious grin returned to her lovely face and she eyed Thumbling slyly. Reaching for a wooden skewer, she stuck it nimbly through the back of Thumbling’s shirt. She then placed the item straight up in the center of a pie so that the little man hung from it as if suspended on a flagpole. The giant enchantress giggled incessantly at his plight.

 

“By the Goddess, you imps are amusing! What fine pets you shall make!” She leaned closer to inspect Thumbling, her massive face filling his horizon utterly. “Hmm…who’s missing then? What unlucky soul did I devour? Ah, I know. The little warrior from the Orient. What a pity. Ah well, I’d always fancied trying Eastern cuisine.” She laughed at her cruel joke and patted her belly playfully. Morgan surveyed her tiny captives with glee.

 

“Oh, my pets….such fun we’re going to have.”

 

To be continued...

Chapter 4 by Pixis
Author's Notes:
This chapter's a little kinkier than I normally go. But then, Morgan's a bit crueler than my average giantess character.

 

The League of Homunculi 

 

Part 4

 

Morgan le Fay reclined naked upon an elegant bed, her feminine charms revealed in all their glory. On the peaks of her breasts, Thumbling and Thumbelina held on for dear life. The body of their captor bucked wildly below them, amused by their plight and excited by the grip of their tiny hands. Tom stood on the smooth, flat terrain of her belly, stumbling about its surface and thinking ruefully of his comrade, Issun, trapped somewhere below.

 

“Yes, that’s it, my pets,” the sorceress said, breathless with arousal. “Please your mistress! By the gods, this feels wonderful! I wonder…did ‘pious’ Guinevere ever play such games? Or did she…*gasp*…save her infidelity only for…her favorite knight?”

 

A slender hand slinked down her torso and took hold of Tom in its powerful grasp. “I have a special task for your, Sir Tom,” Morgan said with a grin. “You, my brave warrior, shall be going….south.” Slowly, the enchantress began to lower him between her legs, which parted to accept the tiny offering.

 

“My lady!” Tom shouted. “Do what you will with me but I implore you—what of Issun-boshi?! You cannot leave him to die inside you! It’s inhuman!”

 

Morgan stopped to regard the little man’s protests. She sat up slightly, causing ‘Ling and ‘Lina to cling even tighter to her nipples, and lifted Tom to her face.

 

“It does seem rather cruel, doesn’t it?” Morgan agreed. “But it was not I who sent the Oriental to his fate. Not intentionally at least. You sent him on a foolhardy mission. You chose to ally yourselves against me in my conflict with Camelot. As such, little Issun is a casualty of that war. Surely with his warrior’s code, he would understand that.”

 

Tom squirmed helplessly once again in the giant woman’s hand and stared up into her pretty yet impassive eyes. “But you could save him!” the little man declared. “With your power, you could retrieve him easily and prove that you are not as heartless as the world believes!”

 

The sorceress considered this for a moment, idly stroking Tom’s hair with a delicate finger. “I likely have a spell or potion that could achieve this,” she admitted. “But why cause myself such discomfort for an enemy? Why induce such nausea and spew forth the contents of my guts like a sick dog?”

 

“Because he’ll die!” Tom said, frantically.

 

“Then you should have thought of that before sending him down my gullet like a human pill,” Morgan answered with annoyance. Then her face softened slightly. “Still….the poor little mite must be suffering greatly. Let us see if we can ease his passing.”

 

Getting up from the bed, Morgan approached a nearby table. ‘Ling and ‘Lina bobbed gently with each sway of her breasts, like tassels on an exotic dancer. Their heads swam at the dizzying height and they tightened their grips once more, inducing a gasp of pleasure from the giantess. Still holding Tom in one hand, Morgan lifted a bottle of wine that had been left by one of her castle servants.

 

As Tom watched in horror, the woman brought the bottle to her scarlet lips and began to guzzle its contents. Gulp after gulp traveled down her throat until nearly half the wine was depleted. Morgan set the bottle down and dabbed lightly at her mouth with a napkin.

 

“There,” she said. Her free hand massaged her bare belly with satisfaction. “He is surely drowned by now. That will spare him the extended suffering of digestion.”

 

Tom looked away in despair but the sorceress returned to caressing him with her fingers.

 

“I know you mourn for your comrade but what’s done is done,” she told him. “You three are my prisoners now but your life need not be unpleasant. I can be a gentle mistress. One day perhaps you will forgive me for wee Issun’s death.”

 

“Never,” Tom spat.

 

“So be it,” Morgan replied. “Then you must resign yourself to life as a toy, little Tom. You three have seen too much and I cannot allow you to leave this castle.”

 

Morgan returned to the bed and without another word, thrust Tom between her legs until he vanished utterly. She slammed her thighs together, sealing his exit, and delighted in the thrashing of his tiny arms and legs within. The sorceress smiled naughtily as she realized she now had two tiny men trapped inside her…

 

* * * *

 

In the depths of the enchantress’ belly, Issun-boshi fought to maintain his stoic calm. The mission had not gone as planned and the tiny samurai now faced entrapment inside a living human body. He breathed slowly to conserve oxygen and attempted to locate a means of escape. The gurgling sounds around him had intensified as his organic prison sensed a new source of nutrients and began leaking acids from the walls of the cavern. Issun ignored this and thought of his beloved Haru.

 

The tiny warrior drew his katana, uncertain if its sharpness could penetrate the fleshy barrier that now trapped him. Regardless, he knew he had to try. Before he could strike the first blow however, there came a thunderous sound like a rushing river.  The valve above him opened its gates and a torrent of red wine flooded in, sweeping the samurai off his feet. He was caught in a whirlpool of alcohol and swept about the chamber in a dizzying circular motion.

 

Thankfully, Issun was a champion swimmer, having practiced many times in the small pond that decorated his daimyo’s gardens (not to mention a few playful dips in Princess Haru’s teacup, from which his love would teasingly threaten to swallow him up. How horrified she would be now to see the reality that their games had only pretended at).

 

The “water” level had nearly risen to the top of Morgan’s belly but Issun still had a scant half-inch or so of air above him. As soon as the swirling maelstrom settled, he treaded wine and tried to keep his head above the surface.

 

* * * *

 

“*HIC*” Morgan covered her mouth demurely as her body gave a sudden spasm. The motion caused her chest to heave and flung ‘Lina and ‘Ling from their perches. The two little creatures tumbled down onto the bed.

 

“*HIC*” Another spasm rocked her body and Morgan momentarily ceased her games, retrieving the wet and exhausted Tom from inside her. “Goodness,” she said. “I guess that was-- *HIC*-- a little too much wine. It seems to have-- *HIC*-- gone straight to my head and given me the-- *HIC*-- well, you know.”

 

The sorceress scooped up her little prisoners and dropped them unceremoniously in the top drawer of her bedside table, shutting them inside. “We’ll play more later, my pets,” she told them. “For now, I think I should like to lie down.”

 

* * * *

 

*HIC*

 

Inside Morgan’s belly, each spasm of her torso shook Issun’s surroundings and bounced him about. Waves of wine tossed him this way and that, sending him to collide with the walls of her stomach. His katana, his only hope of escape, slipped from his fingers and sank below the sea of spirits. Issun dove down after it, swimming blindly in the dark.

 

*HIC*

 

Another powerful hiccup caused the vast belly to churn, spinning him about under an ocean of wine. He drifted, disoriented, like just another particle of food floating in this deadly pool. Issun bobbed back to the surface, gasping in the stale air. His skin felt like it was on fire and scraps of his clothes were beginning to dissolve. There was no sign of the katana. And he was uncertain how much more of this he could take.

 

*HIC*

 

Again his prison shook and churned.

 

* * * *

 

Meanwhile, in the table drawer, the remaining members of the League clambered over a pile of discarded garments. Tom, Thumbelina, and Thumbling found each other in the dim light and considered their next move.

 

“Are you all right, Tom?” Thumbelina asked. Her teammate was still soaked to the skin and had Morgan’s scent about him.

 

“Never mind me,” their leader insisted bravely, though he was noticeably trembling. “We have to get out of here.”

 

Thumbling had pressed his face to the keyhole, spying on their giant captor. “Well, I’ll be buggered!” he said in amazement.

 

“Don’t give her ideas,” ‘Lina said.

 

“No, really, come see, you two!” Thumbling announced. “The witch is asleep!”

 

“Well, of course she’s asleep,” said Thumbelina. “I drugged every glass and bottle I could find in the banquet hall! A servant must have brought that wine from the dinner table.”

 

“Then this is our chance,” Tom declared. “The key can still be ours!”

 

“No!” ‘Lina shrieked. “You’re not sending anyone else to die, Thomas! What happened to Issun is on your head! God, I can’t believe he’s gone. Who’s going to break the news to poor Haru?”

 

“But ‘Lina, the mission—”

 

“—is over!” Thumbelina finished. “Don’t you understand, Tom, one of us is dead!”

 

“If we quit now, Issun’s death will be in vain!” Tom said.

 

“And if we don’t quit now, we’ll be joining him!” said Thumbelina.

 

“Oi!” ‘Ling shouted to them. “Shut yer yaps for a minute! Morgan drank a whole lot more of that wine this time. Will that make any difference?”

 

“Doubtful,” ‘Lina said. “Her magic will eventually counteract the potion like it did before.”

 

“Right,” said ‘Ling. “She doesn’t seem to like faerie magicks. So what would happen if you gave her a major overdose of the stuff, more than she can just shrug off? Like, say, every potion you’ve got?”

 

“Hard to say,” the little woman answered. “Her power would probably fight against it, maybe try to…purge it from her system!”

 

“Exactly,” Thumbling said, smiling.

 

“’Ling, you’re a genius!” Despite herself, Thumbelina leaped forward and flung her arms about her teammate. She quickly pulled away again, awkwardly, thinking of her husband back home.

 

“Hey, I may act the fool but there’s a reason I’m in this organization, am I right?” Thumbling responded. “And I knew all along you couldn’t resist me, doll.”

 

“Shut up, ‘Ling,” Thumbelina said. But she was smiling slightly as she did so.

 

Tom was already hard at work trying to pry open the drawer, using a sewing needle as leverage. “God willing, Sir Lancelot may yet have a chance.”

 

To be continued...

Chapter 5 by Pixis
Author's Notes:
The conclusion of the League's (first?) adventure. But the door is open for more with these characters if it strikes my fancy. Hope people enjoyed this unusual little tale.

The League of Homunculi 

 

Part 5

 

After some trial and error, the League finally pried open the bedside drawer with the aid of a discarded sewing needle. They eyed the nude giantess sleeping peacefully nearby and contemplated their next move.

 

“All right,” said Thumbelina. “I’ll fly over there and dump every potion I’ve got down that witch’s throat. If ‘Ling’s theory is right, it’ll create a violent reaction and she’ll expunge them, along with everything else in her system.”

 

“We’d best steel ourselves,” Tom added, solemnly. “If this works, she’ll cough up the key but also what…what’s left of Issun. It likely won’t be a pretty sight.”

 

“It’s for the best,” ‘Lina responded with sadness. “Issun was our friend. A great warrior and a good man. He deserves a proper burial, not to be left dissolving in that woman’s gut. God, this is going to kill poor Haru.”

 

“All I can say is if he’s mush, I ain’t carryin’ him,” Thumbling said.

 

“’Ling, show some respect!” ‘Lina hissed at him, whacking the little tailor in the head. She then turned back to Tom. “I’d better get started before she wakes up.”

 

“No, I’ll do it,” Tom announced. “My plans have already brought us enough suffering. It’s past time I take responsibility and assume the risk myself.”

 

Not caring to argue, ‘Lina took hold of Tom’s hand and activated her wing harness. Together, they flew across the gap to Morgan’s bed and landed lightly on the woman’s smooth forehead where they had room to work. ‘Lina reached for her belt and removed every vial of faerie potion in her arsenal, handing each to Tom in turn. The tiny princess took off into the air once more and hovered above the landscape of Morgan le Fay, waiting for Tom to carry out the plan.

 

As Morgan slumbered, Tom crept carefully between her closed eyes and down the bridge of her nose. He circled around the base and felt the rush of wind from the gaping nostrils as the sorceress breathed gently in and out. The little man’s hair and clothing rustled with this breeze and his feathered cap was pulled from his head, hurtling towards a dark cave. Shifting the potions to the crook of his arm, Tom caught the cap before it was inhaled, not wishing to trigger a sneeze. At last, he approached her crimson lips and readied the first vial of potion.

 

He was dismayed to find that, unlike before, Morgan’s lips were pressed shut. Experimentally, Tom reached out a tiny foot and nudged the woman’s lower lip with his boot. When there was no response, he pushed harder. Eventually, he braced himself against the upper lip and began pushing on the lower with both feet, trying to pry the massive mouth open.

 

At last, the huge lips slid apart so suddenly that Tom nearly slipped inside. He found himself balancing precariously over the precipice of her mouth, his feet against one side of the divide and his hands and elbows against the other. A wave of heat wafted upward over Tom as the sorceress exhaled, completely oblivious to the tiny drama unfolding on her lips.

 

Quickly, Tom readjusted his position and began to uncork the potion bottles one by one, pouring their contents down into the yawning chasm. After half a dozen potions had trickled down her throat, Morgan gave an unconscious moan, already starting to feel the effects. This caused a vibration that rattled Tom’s bones and nearly shook him loose from his perilous balancing act. Lacking for time, the little man simply dumped the remaining bottles themselves into her mouth and allowed them to tumble down into the dark. He tilted himself around in an attempt to pull back up onto her upper lip.

 

Morgan gulped down the tiny glass bottles as they hit her throat. As she swallowed, her lips instinctively closed, slamming shut around Tom’s waist. The tiny knight found himself caught, his hands clawing at her face and his legs dangling and kicking freely inside her mouth. Like a baby with a pacifier, the giantess sucked lightly on Tom’s lower half. The little warrior panicked as he felt himself gradually sinking.

 

With a weary sigh, Thumbelina swooped downward and grabbed hold of Tom’s hands. Her wings beat furiously as she pulled him free. Tom slid out from between the giant lips with a noisy, wet slurp. One boot was missing, already sucked off his tiny foot and gone forever. Or at least until what came next…

 

As ‘Lina and Tom flew away, Morgan’s eyes shot open. The woman groaned in pain and leaned over the side of the bed, hacking and coughing violently. Dry heaves gave way to a sickly gurgle until the sorceress was vomiting onto the castle floor.

 

The little ones surveyed the unpleasant scene and sure enough, saw the key lying amid the muck. But their breaths caught in their throats when they saw the miniature figure clinging tightly to it like a man adrift at sea.

 

“Issun!” ‘Lina shrieked.

 

His fine silken robe was in tatters and his skin had been scalded an unnatural beet red. Barely any movement was discernable from the limp figure wrapped about the key. But astoundingly, it appeared that Issun-boshi still lived.

 

‘Lina dove down once more and released Tom’s hand, letting him jump nimbly down to the floor. She swooped forward and gathered her wounded comrade into her arms, cradling him against her like a helpless child. His breathing was shallow and his eyes shut tight. But his hands remained curled tightly about the center of the key.

 

“Tom, ‘Ling, we’ve got to go—NOW!” Thumbelina declared. She took off for the doorway and Tom bolted across the floor behind her. Thumbling tried desperately to navigate his way down from the bedside table, hopping and dropping from one drawer handle to the next.

 

Having purged the source of her sickness, Morgan was slowly beginning to come to. She blinked in bewilderment as she saw the scurrying creatures and the shimmering golden-winged figure making for the door.

 

“Why, you ungrateful insects!” she bellowed. “I let you live and this is how you repay me?!” The woman leaped from the bed, still naked as a jaybird, and gave pursuit to the little people. She reached up towards ‘Lina and slapped her hands together repeatedly, as if trying to crush a fly. Though weighted down by her passenger and the key, ‘Lina managed to avoid the giant hands and shoot out of the bedroom like a comet.

 

Morgan snarled and cursed as she quickly grabbed a grey robe from a nearby hook. She slipped the garment on haphazardly as she ran down the corridor after her prey. Tom and ‘Ling tried to pick up their pace as gigantic bare feet slapped the stone tiles behind them, landing inches from their position. The enchantress cared little for who might be underfoot for her attention was focused on the faerie-winged girl up ahead. The little men below ran ever faster.

 

Even at full speed however, they could not hope to match Morgan’s mighty strides. A giant foot landed thunderously beside ‘Ling and the resulting rumble knocked him to the floor. Noticing him at last, Morgan stooped and caught him in her hand.

 

“Come back here this instant, little princess!” she shouted to ‘Lina and lifted Thumbling up to her face. “Or this one gets it! There’ll be no miraculous escape this time! I’ll bite off his limbs and chew him into a thousand bits if I must! I didn’t want to hurt you but you’re forcing my hand! Which will it be? The key…” She held Thumbling closer and licked her lips. “…or snack time?”

 

Thumbelina hesitated and began to turn. It was then that Thumbling struck. “Bite this, sweet-cheeks!” he said, and sunk his teeth into the flesh of her hand. Morgan screamed in surprise and released her grip. Tumbling through the air, ‘Ling blew a little kiss and plummeted down the front of the sorceress’ robe.

 

Furiously, Morgan tried to retrieve him but ‘Ling was already scurrying down further into the robe. He clambered skillfully over the curves of her body, every movement tickling her skin. Like a schoolgirl who’d had a mouse dropped down her dress, Morgan wiggled and squirmed in place, trying to shake him loose. ‘Ling continued his journey unconcerned, crawling down a smooth tummy, around her hip, and across a generous rump. In and out of every hollow of flesh he darted, until Morgan felt she could stand it no more.

 

At last, ‘Ling slid down her leg and darted after Tom, leaving the giant woman breathless and angrier than before.

 

“You presumptuous little worm!” she shouted after him. “I’ll eat you alive!”

 

‘Lina doubled back and descended for her comrades. Throwing Issun over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes, she held the key out in front of her like handlebars. Tom and ‘Ling took hold of each end and the entire team lifted into the air.

 

“Lords of the Fair Folk, grant me strength,” Thumbelina muttered, straining to carry this imposing load. The golden wings flapped faster than ever but the tiny woman breathed a sigh of relief when she saw the dungeon stairway ahead.

 

‘Lina coasted down the stairwell on a castle draft, allowing gravity to do most of the work. Her wings were splayed out to each side, helping her navigate. The sounds of Morgan’s footsteps echoed behind them, awakening Sir Lancelot from his quiet meditation in the cell.

 

“God’s wounds!” the knight cried. “You’ve done it then?”

 

Tom and ‘Ling dropped to the ground from a perilous distance as Thumbelina flew to the lock in a panic. She shoved the key into the keyhole and tried to turn it, though her tiny muscles were already weary. Lancelot quickly reached through the bars to assist her. In moments, the cell sprung open and Camelot’s champion was free.

 

It wasn’t a second too soon. Morgan reached the bottom step and sprinted into the dungeon, raven hair swirling behind her. It was not a collection of little people she now faced however but a full-grown warrior.

 

“Stand down, Morgan,” Lancelot commanded. “It’s over.”

 

Morgan took a battle-ready stance, lifting her hands to cast a spell. “I defeated you once, Lance, I can do it again!”

 

But for all her bravado, the sorceress was still somewhat weak and nauseous from the faerie potions. After a brief tussle, the knight overpowered her, pinning her to the ground.

 

“Kill her, Sir Lancelot!” Thumbelina called as she lighted on the man’s shoulder. “Snap the witch’s neck!”

 

Lancelot looked into the dark eyes of the woman below him as she struggled against his grasp. Her gaze was piercing and fierce and her beauty as bewitching as ever. His mind returned to a blissful memory of youth, when he first saw this enchanting creature. Against his foster-mother’s wishes, he had wandered far across the hills of Avalon. And there she was, emerging from the morning mists like something out of a dream, as radiant as a faerie queen in all her glory…

 

“I…I cannot,” the knight sighed, loosening his grip on Morgan’s neck.

 

‘Lina was livid. “Look what she did to Issun!” she said, fighting back tears and stroking the unconscious samurai’s hair. “He was almost digested alive like so much meat! She tortured and violated us, left you imprisoned for weeks! Finish her now or she’ll strike again!”

 

“Yes, Sir Lancelot,” Morgan mocked with contempt. “Slay the vile heathen. No doubt your god would smile on you for that. And your whore-queen as well.”

 

For a moment, Lancelot’s fingers tightened about the enchantress’ throat. But his grip relaxed and he pulled Morgan up from the floor, holding her hands behind her back forcefully.

 

“You shall live to stand trial for your crimes,” he said. “These are civil times now and I must uphold the code of Camelot. For the sake of the woman you once were, I pray your sentence is merciful.”

 

“Spare me your false mercy, du Lac!” the enchantress answered. “You hate me like all the others, don’t deny it!”

 

“Nay. We were friends once, you and I,” said Lancelot. “Like Arthur, I pray that there is good in you, beneath all that anger and vengeance. If you cooperate, this need not go badly for you.”

 

In short order, Lancelot had bound Morgan’s hands with rope and salved Issun’s burns with special ointments procured from the castle. The samurai was still in ill health however and they would have to return home at once. Lance retrieved his horse from the stables of Castle du Fay and prepared for the journey. The stablehands did not seem too concerned that the knight was arresting their mistress. In fact, some seemed downright relieved.

 

At dawn’s first light, Sir Lancelot rode for Camelot with the tiny League riding on his shoulders and Morgan tied to the saddle behind him. The sky was cloudy and a light rain fell upon the travelers as they departed.

 

Tom and the others feared that Morgan would try to snap at them with her teeth or cause them to fall from their perch and be trampled by Lance’s steed. But the woman sat there dejectedly, ignoring them all and quietly muttering to herself.

 

As the group passed through a forest near the border of Gorre, the drizzly British weather became even more oppressive. A thick mist enshrouded the area until the knight and his tiny friends could not see an inch in front of them. Lancelot urged the horse on bravely through brambles and branches and fog. When at last the mist abated, Morgan le Fay was gone.

 

“Damn me for a fool,” Lancelot spat. “I should have bound her mouth as well. She has some sorcery in her yet. This witch-wood serves her as surely as any vassal.”

 

Disheartened by Morgan’s escape and Issun’s rapidly failing health, the group pressed on. After a day’s ride, they arrived at Camelot to much fanfare and celebration. As Guinevere ran out to meet them, Lancelot longed to embrace her but held back when he saw that Arthur was at her side.

 

“It’s good to have you back, Lance,” the king said, clasping his hand. “And you, my wee warriors! What an extraordinary job you’ve done! When the queen told me of your mission, I thought it madness for sure!”

 

Guinevere scooped the League off Lance’s shoulders, showering them with kisses and affection that she would have otherwise reserved for her favorite knight. She was dismayed to see Issun’s fading condition. The samurai had hardly stirred during their journey and even the salves Lance had used to treat his burns had done little. Issun laid there nearly motionless, his breathing ragged. Princess Haru had accompanied the queen out with her other handmaidens and now cradled her injured husband in the palm of her hand.

 

“Issun,” she cried. “Issun, you cannot leave me. You’ve already come so far, my love. Hold on, please hold on!”

 

As the princess sobbed and the League watched helplessly from Guinevere’s hand, another figure made his way through the crowd at the castle’s gates. A hunched old man in dark blue robes and a long white beard shuffled forward on his walking stick, an inquisitive owl perched upon his shoulder.

 

“So,” said Merlin, “my League returns triumphant, as I knew they would.”

 

“Please, Merlin-san,” Haru implored. “My husband…he is ill! Perhaps dying!”

 

“Eh? What’s that?” the old man asked, cocking a bushy eyebrow. “Ah, right. Of course. Got gobbled up by that le Fay woman for a spell, didn’t he?”

 

“How did he know that?” Thumbelina whispered to the others.

 

“It’s Merlin,” Tom whispered back, shrugging his shoulders.

 

“Let me see the lad,” the wizard said, absently, approaching Haru. He leaned in to inspect Issun’s condition and placed his gnarled hand on the princess’ palm, covering the tiny warrior completely. A faint white light seemed to shimmer from the old man’s fingers.

 

“Rubbish. I haven’t the foggiest what you’re on about, woman. He seems fine to me.”

 

Haru started to protest but when Merlin lifted his hand away, there was Issun sitting groggily in her palm. His skin was its original healthy hue once more and not a tear or wrinkle could be seen in his silky garments. The samurai looked up at his giant wife.

 

“In the dark...” said Issun-boshi, “it was your face that sustained me, beloved.” Tears in her eyes, Haru kissed the little man repeatedly with large ruby lips.

 

Tom, ‘Lina, and ‘Ling watched this scene joyfully from Guinevere’s hand while Lancelot and Arthur stood nearby.

 

“Well, gang,” Tom said, “another successful mission for the League of Homunculi. Looks like we’ve still got it!”

 

“Yes,” Thumbelina smiled. “I guess we do, at that.”

 

“Ha! Never doubted it for a minute!” Thumbling announced, dancing a little jig on the queen’s fingers. His movements attracted the attention of Merlin’s owl, which swiftly flew past and snatched the tiny tailor up in its talons. Thumbling’s teammates cried in alarm.

 

“Archimedes!” Merlin bellowed reproachfully. “Leave that little man be! He’s a returning hero, not a mouse for your lunch.”

 

“Whoo--” the owl hooted in annoyance, releasing its grip on Thumbling and setting him on the ground. “--Whooooooo do you think I am?! Some heartless barbarian?” The educated owl stuck up its beak scornfully at Merlin. “I was just going to congratulate the lad, that’s all.”

 

“Right,” said Merlin. “Well, see that that’s all you do or I’ll have you stuffed for my mantelpiece.”

 

“Nag, nag, nag, you old goat,” Archimedes muttered, nudging Thumbling with his foot and sending the tailor scurrying under Guinevere’s skirt. “Such a lot of fuss over such little creatures. Honestly. What use could they really be?”

 The End

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