A short time later, Arthur had summoned his most trusted companions to accompany him on the mission to the Summer Country. Assembled in the great hall were Sir Lancelot, Camelot’s champion; Sir Bedivere, Arthur’s first knight; and Sir Kay, the king’s foster brother.
As they were briefed on the situation, Guinevere stepped towards her husband imploringly. “Arthur,” she said. “Could not Lancelot remain behind? With you and your finest gone, I would feel more secure with a champion to protect me.”
The Leaguers, standing together on the edge of the famous Round Table, exchanged furtive and knowing looks at this. Many at court suspected the queen’s true feelings for Lancelot. Their secret affair was a frequent source of gossip but no one dared speak of it outright to the king. To cast aspersions on the queen’s character or that of Arthur’s best warrior was tantamount to treason.
“If that is your wish, my love,” Arthur said. His face was an impassive mask and if he knew of his wife’s secrets, he said nothing. “Lance, you will tarry here and attend to the queen.”
“Yes, my liege,” the handsome Gaulish knight answered.
“Your majesty,” a young man called from the other side of the hall. “Might I take Lancelot’s place in this quest?”
Everyone turned towards this youth curiously. The young knight, no more than eighteen or nineteen, had a head of long dark hair, as black as a raven’s feathers. He was fair of face and was clad in a tunic adorned with a red lion.
“Uwain,” Arthur said. “Are you certain you want this, nephew? Morgan is your mother. Can you divorce your feelings from your duty?”
“There is no love lost between my mother and me, uncle,” Sir Uwain stated. “My affection died the night she tried to kill my father. If she remains an enemy of the Round Table, I am prepared to treat her as such.”
“Spoken like a true knight of the realm,” Kay declared. The lanky, red-haired knight slapped Uwain on the back, causing the younger man to stumble.
Bedivere nervously stroked his long, Celtic-style mustache. A loyal warrior since before the founding of the Round Table, he had witnessed many of Morgan’s schemes over the years. News of the witch always made him uneasy and if she had allies in this latest endeavor, he wasn’t sure he liked Camelot’s chances. But he would never show weakness before his king. “It’s a long ride to the Summer Country, Arthur,” he said simply. “We should be off.”
Tom paced across the tabletop. “My lords, before you go, there is something we really must—”
But his tiny voice was drowned out by the knights’ preparation. Armor rattled and weapons clanked and the miniature League was all but forgotten. Moments later, the company had departed, leaving the little homunculi with their thoughts.
“So, uh, maybe I wasn’t paying attention,” Thumbling said, “but what happened to that idea of telling the king about the big bad prophecy and all that, huh?”
“We’ll talk when he returns,” Tom told him with a sigh. “He has other things on his mind just now.”
The little man watched suspiciously as Lancelot and Guinevere disappeared down one corridor while Nimue and Pelleas vanished down another. “In the meantime, I think there are other issues that should command our attention.”
* * * *
In the highest tower of the castle, within a small, cramped room cluttered with parchments, scrolls, books, beakers, test tubes, talismans, and assorted bric-a-brac, an old owl sat napping on his perch. Archimedes was on his own now that Merlin was gone and though he’d always known this day was coming, he missed his former master. They had fought and bickered like an old married couple but genuinely cared about each other, in their own way. Now, Archimedes was alone and not at all keen on the idea.
That didn’t mean he wanted his daytime naps interrupted however.
“Archimedes!” a tiny figure shouted after materializing in the tower. “Wake up, monsieur!”
The educated owl awoke with a start, loose pinfeathers flying in all directions as he squawked in annoyance. His broken wing was still bandaged and mending and he felt a sharp pain shoot through it with the sudden movement.
“Jehosephat, boy!” he said to Hop, reproachfully. “Don’t sneak up on a body like that! Is it so much to ask for a little peace and quiet?”
“My apologies,” said Hop. “We thought you would want to know zat Nimue has returned to court.”
The bird arched the feathery equivalent of an eyebrow. “Has she now? Well, I say, that’s a new wrinkle.”
Hop was puzzled by this nonchalant response. “You are not concerned by zis?”
“You mean do I bear any ill will for the lass?” Archimedes asked. “Not as such, no. Mind you, this wing of mine bloody hurts like the dickens. But as for the rest of it, it was always a foregone conclusion that she’d be the end of Merlin. He went on about it all the time. You know, sometimes, I think he was almost looking forward to it. Thought of it as a sort of vacation from politics and nation-building and wizardly duties, I expect.”
“Did he say anything about what Nimue’s activities would be after his imprisonment?” inquired Hop.
“No, can’t say as he did,” the owl answered. “I suppose now that Merlin’s gone, I’ll have to get used to not knowing every little detail about the future. Not sure if that’s good or bad.”
“If Nimue returns to her quarters here in ze tower,” Hop continued, “we were hoping you would keep an eye on her for us. Both her and Sir Pelleas. We are not sure if zhey can be trusted.”
“I’m getting a little old for espionage,” Archimedes grumbled. “But I’ll do what I can, lad.”
“Merci,” the tiny cavalier said, doffing his feathered cap and bowing politely. “Now, excusez-moi, I must to my comrades’ aid.” With a sweep of his cape, Hop disappeared. Archimedes harrumphed at the little show-off and settled down to resume his nap.
* * * *
If they could not yet warn Arthur of the prophecy, the League was determined to at least prevent it from coming true. One part of that was to put a stop to Lancelot and Guinevere’s adultery before it caused Arthur to war on his best friend. The queen thought of her tiny League like treasured pets. Surely, she would be more receptive to hearing the truth from them than from anyone else.
“Either that or she’ll just squish us like insects,” Thumbling said. The others looked at him in annoyance. “What? I’m just saying what we’re all thinking here.”
The League rushed to the queen’s bedchamber, hoping to stop her from making a terrible mistake. But when they arrived, neither she nor Lancelot were anywhere to be seen. They glanced at the staggeringly tall bed at the center of the room but could not see high enough to determine if it was occupied.
“We need to get to higher ground,” Tom informed them. At once, the little warriors took hold of the silky sheet and began to scale the side of the bed. Yet the bedding was undisturbed when they reached the top and no one was in sight.
“Maybe we’ve misjudged her,” Thumbelina reasoned. “Maybe the queen isn’t betraying Arthur after all.”
At that moment, a tapestry on the far wall slid aside, revealing a giggling Guinevere and Lancelot creeping through a secret passage. Wasting no time, the lovers began to strip off their garments. With seductively slinky motions, the queen slipped out of her gown, allowing it to plummet to the floor around her ankles.
The League was soon faced with the disarming sight of a stark naked Guinevere towering high above them. Each supple curve and smooth plane of flesh seemed like the features of a mountain to the tiny folk. Tom and Issun chivalrously looked away, while Thumbling leered without a trace of embarrassment. Only ‘Lina had the presence of mind to realize that the team was not in the safest spot.
“Run, you fools!” she shrieked to the others. Mere seconds later, the mountain of flesh above seemed to collapse as Guinevere let herself tumble backward onto the bed.
As she fell, Issun vanished under the colossal rondure of the queen’s backside, his inch-tall frame completely subsumed by it. Thumbling too failed to scurry away in time and became trapped in the hollow below the small of her back. ‘Lina and Tom had managed to bolt a fair distance away but found themselves tangled in silky strands of red-gold hair when the queen’s head hit the pillow. The lovers were so distracted by their passion for each other that they didn’t even notice the little folk caught in the middle of it.
Lancelot was soon similarly disrobed and lowering himself atop his paramour. What followed were some of the most excruciating moments in the League’s history. The force of the two giants’ lovemaking was overwhelming. Each thrust, each heave, each passionate movement felt like an earthquake and the tiny heroes were very nearly crushed by the violently shifting landscape of the queen’s body. Only the softness of the bed kept them from popping like grapes below her. As her massive weight pressed down on them and they felt their bones bruise, they thanked God that the royals had such luxurious bedding rather than the simple pallet and straw of the peasantry. Without the goose feather mattress and fine Arabian silks, they might have been smeared into paste.
Thumbling tried vainly to free himself from the giantess’ weight. His tiny, squirming upper body could just barely be seen as he attempted to wriggle out from under her back. But another few thrusts from Lancelot caused the woman to buck wildly up and down, slamming her body onto Thumbling again and again. He grunted in pain and dug his fingernails into the mattress.
Tom had managed to extricate himself from the queen’s hair and sat panting in exhaustion on the pillow. Behind him, ‘Lina was still trapped in the sea of gold, her ankle caught in a snarl of hair. She was trying to untangle it but the back of the queen’s head kept pressing down upon her, half crushing her leg. Bravely, Tom dove back into the flowing river of locks and fought his way through to save his teammate. Like a jungle explorer, he hacked at the silken underbrush with his sword, all the while watching nervously as the human mountains above continued their passionate embrace.
Moments earlier, Hop had returned from his errand to Merlin’s tower. He was now scurrying about the titanic lovers, trying to find a way to save his teammates without being crushed himself. But it was like witnessing the collision of two land masses. Everywhere he ran, his path was blocked by enormous body parts, some of which required quick footwork to avoid.
At last, rapturously, the two giants rolled over, switching positions. Now, Guinevere was on top and her weight had been lifted from her tiny, unnoticed bedfellows. Thumbling crawled away painfully but ‘Lina and Tom were pulled along with her in the tangle of hair, which now draped over her shoulders and back. At last, Thumbelina pulled her ankle free and she and her would-be savior tumbled through the queen’s hair and slid onto the surface of her shoulder blades.
The two homunculi tried to stand uneasily on the rocking landscape of her back. Just ahead, they saw the curving hillside of the queen’s backside, with tiny Issun caught in the crevice between her cheeks. His little arms and legs were flailing wildly as he tried to pull himself out. Now and then, her muscles clenched in moments of ecstasy, causing Issun to disappear entirely between the massive walls of flesh. Tom and ‘Lina rushed to help him but were thrown off by a heave of the queen’s body. As the two giants were stacked atop one another, the plummet to the mattress was quite a harrowing experience.
Seeing Issun’s plight, Hop took hold of one of Guinevere’s toes and carefully scaled the sole of her foot, using the wrinkles in the surface for handholds. Bolting over her heel, he hurried unnoticed along the back of her leg at super speed. Hop raced up the hill-like curve, pulled Issun free, and carried him away to join the others, who were now gathering at the edge of the bed.
“Oh, Issun,” ‘Lina cried, throwing her arms about the little samurai. Issun groaned in pain but seemed otherwise unharmed. “We thought you’d be squashed for sure!”
“I have survived enough lovemaking with my darling wife, Haru,” Issun said, “to know a few tricks.”
Despite his injuries, Thumbling could barely contain himself. “My God, you’ll never believe what I saw!”
“Yes, ‘Ling, we know,” Tom interrupted. “We’ve all seen more of the queen than we ever thought possible. Quite improper if you ask me.”
“Prude,” Hop chuckled. “Such beauty should be celebrated.”
“No, it’s not that!” ‘Ling insisted. “Though, uh, that was pretty nice.” ‘Lina rolled her eyes at him but the little tailor continued. “It’s her birthmark! The one on the small of her back!”
Tom glanced at him cock-eyed. “How do you know of such things?”
“All right, so I peeped a few times,” Thumbling admitted.
“A true knight would avert his gaze!” cried Tom, scandalized.
“He may be a pervert but he’s right,” ‘Lina said. “Guinevere does have a birthmark on her back, shaped like a crown. I’ve heard Arthur remark that it was God’s way of declaring her rightful Queen of Britain. I hardly see why that matters now though, ‘Ling.”
“Take a look over there!” Thumbling said, gesturing at the giants.
The League turned to take another glance at Guinevere (Tom did so most reluctantly). The queen was still on top of Lancelot, moaning and gasping and kissing him passionately, completely unaware of the little folk. Once again, they were awestruck by her size and grandeur, by the sea of strawberry blonde locks, by the smooth, unblemished planes and peaks that formed the landscape of her body.
The Leaguers stared in shock at the queen’s back. Not so much as a freckle disturbed the pale, pink skin. “The birthmark…it’s gone!” said ‘Lina.
“That woman,” Thumbling announced, “is not Queen Guinevere.”
To be continued...