The next morning Sir Tucker and Jessica were ready to leave Indigon and make their way to the third trial. They might not have gotten the gold that they had originally wanted but they had gained things that they felt were much more important. Sir Tucker had earned his knighthood and Jessica had made a friend. The memories that they had gained from here would remain with them for the rest of their lives.
Lord Tyrone had decided to see the pair off and Nancy wanted to join him as well. She didn’t know whether she would ever see Jessica again. If this were to be the last time she saw her giant friend she wanted this moment to be special. They were just outside of the main entrance to the castle where there were some guards also standing there to make sure that the Howlets were protected. Sir Ty had not joined them as he felt that he still needed to train so that his skills were up to scratch.
The morning was a fairly warm one although the ground was still a little wet after the day of rain that took place the previous day. The weather was still much better however and Jessica was more than happy to travel in it. There were a few clouds but nothing that looked remotely like rain.
“It is unfortunate to see you leave but you still have much ahead of you,” said Lord Tyrone. “All I can do is wish you the best of luck.”
“And I thank you my lord for all you have done for us,” replied Sir Tucker as he and Jessica gave a small bow to Lord Tyrone and his daughter. It was just one way to show them their thanks.
“Before you leave I do have one more gift to give you.” Just then a guard stepped forwards and he carried what seemed to be a large blue piece of cloth. He took it out of the guard’s arms and held it up for all to see, it featured a white sigil of what could only be described as a majestic horse with a mighty warrior on its back. The warrior was clad from head to toe in armour and had a sword that he was thrusting up into the air. “This cloak features the sigil for my house and while you wear this everyone will know that you are a friend of mine. It might even allow you to have a little leeway with a few people but it will not allow you to be immune from danger.”
“I will wear it with pride my lord.” With much thanks he took the cloak off of Lord Tyrone and then fitted it onto his back. He removed the red cloak which was already there but there was nothing special about it so he wouldn’t be missing it.
“And I must bid farewell to you as well Jessica,” said Nancy as she looked up to Jessica who for now had been silent. “I will never forget the day that we shared yesterday.” She still couldn’t believe that she had actually been in Jessica’s hand at full size as it was a sight that very few people had seen.
“I will never forget you either my lady,” replied Jessica. “You were never afraid of me, even when I was at my largest and that means more to me than you can imagine.” The two women embraced in a hug and it was funny for everyone watching seeing a short girl like Nancy hugging someone of Jessica’s stature.
“I hope that we see each other again.”
“Sure we will.” She didn’t know that for certainty but it wouldn’t hurt to make this little promise. “After my quest has finished I’ll come back and you can show me how to grow those beautiful flowers.”
“I’d like that.” She wanted more than ever to tell Jessica what had happened the previous night but she was still unsure of whether it was real or just a dream. It all sounded too crazy to be real and she just thought that it was a really vivid dream that had just felt real. Either way she thought it best to stay quiet about it.
With that Sir Tucker and Jessica said their last goodbyes to Lord Tyrone and Nancy and they began to walk away. For now Jessica was remaining at her smallest size and would only grow to her full size once they had left Indigon. It felt funny to Sir Tucker that when he entered Indigon he had simply been a Mister Tucker Martel, now he was Sir Tucker Martel and he was still finding it odd. A part of him still believed that he was in some kind of dream and that at any moment he would wake up. If this truly was a dream he wanted to enjoy it for as long as he could.
Almost as soon as the pair was sure that they were clear of Indigon Jessica wasted no time in growing to her full size and placing Sir Tucker on her shoulder. She still felt more at peace at this size than she did when she was smaller. She felt more free and she enjoyed feeling the cool morning breeze blowing in her face. She did turn her head to look at Sir Tucker who was taking a look at the map.
“Ok Tucker which way do I go?” asked Jessica. She couldn’t fully remember which direction she had to walk and the last thing she wanted was to walk for miles and miles in the wrong direction.
“Let me take a quick gander,” replied Tucker as he looked at the map. He could see that it was still indicating that they needed to go near Calf Heath which was to the east of their current location. Since it was early morning the sun was still in the East so that was their best indication of direction. “We need to head east for what looks to be a couple of hundred miles.”
“A couple of hundred?” She didn’t mind too much about the walking it was just that they had been so far and yet they still had a long way to go before the quest was done. “Maybe you should walk and you carry me instead?”
“You know I would be more than happy to do that but well with my back and everything. You know the rest.” This was a little joke between the pair as they both knew the true reason why Tucker couldn’t carry her.
“In that case I’ll walk you there but if you complain in any way you’ll be travelling in my pocket.”
With that Jessica took her first steps east and she knew that even at her size it would take a day or two to fully trek the distance. That was at least one advantage to her size but there were many more that went along with it as well. But as she walked there was something that she noticed with Sir Tucker. He seemed to be sitting there with a large smile on his face and he was even humming to himself. It was not hard for her to hear since he was sitting right next to her enormous ear.
“What are you so smug about?” asked Jessica as she continued to walk. She wanted to look at Sir Tucker but she kept her eyes on where she was going. The last thing she wanted was to trip over something.
“Oh nothing really,” replied Sir Tucker with a smile still on his face. “Maybe it’s because we’re one step closer towards getting Three Man’s Treasure.” He paused for a moment so that she could take this information in but she didn’t seemed to be all that bothered. Not like him anyway.
“How long are you going to be like this?”
“Oh until we get the treasure and then I’ll be jumping around with joy and you’ll probably think I’ve gone mad.”
“I don’t need to think that.” She already knew the answer and she wondered if he would get her joke but right now it seemed to have gone over his head as he was still in his celebratory mood. “Any I don’t think you should be so happy right now, we’ve still got one more trial and someone might have beaten us to the treasure already.”
“I seriously doubt it, the treasure has been lost for centuries and if someone had found it we would have heard about it by now. Besides I think we would have had some indication that it was found.”
Jessica wanted to believe him but she couldn’t help but feel that they might have already been too late. Either way she knew that Sir Tucker would just want to keep going until he knew for sure. In his mind there was still an enormous pile of treasure just waiting for him to find and claim for his own. He had achieved part of his overall goal by earning a knighthood but before the treasure is found he would feel that he still had much more to do. The quest was far from over.
For the next couple of days Jessica made the long trip from Indigon to near Calf Heath. The terrain was worse than she expected since it was a very hilly area and so she had to take extra care with walking up and down the hills constantly. There were many hills that were taller than her and unfortunately it would take too long to go around the hills so she had to climb up and down them.
A few times she would see some sheep and it would remind her of her farm and she was surprised to see that they were standing on the side of hills without much difficulty. She was sure that a normal person would have to put in some effort in staying in their position but the sheep made it look like it was easy.
A few of the sheep did begin to move away with some pace as they saw the gigantic figure of Jessica approaching them. They didn’t know that they didn’t have to fear her but this was something that they simply didn’t know. There was one little lamb that did fall behind from the fleeing flocks and rather than leaving it by itself Jessica picked it up carefully and took it to where the other sheep had fled. The lamb had seemed to be really tiny in her hand and everything inside her brain was telling her to keep it. But she knew that she had to return it to the flock so that it could be back with its parents. It didn’t hurt though to give the sheep a quick stroke.
Returning the lamb did make Jessica feel happier as she continued on her way. For Sir Tucker he felt that it had been somewhat a waste of time but he wasn’t going to argue with her over it. He knew that there wasn’t anything he could really do to stop her but he did agree with what she was doing. It just showed the heart that his best friend had and the fact that she would never turn her back on anything that needed help. It was one thing that he admired about her and it was something that was overlooked by many people who saw her. To them she was just some big monster who would love nothing more than to destroy everything in sight. They didn’t know her true heart and showed that she wasn’t a monster but a human being.
After a full day of walking even Jessica grew tired and so she stopped to rest for the night while Sir Tucker was still full of energy due to the fact that he had not walked anywhere that day. He did help pick some fruit from nearby trees for her to eat. Rather than for her assistance for that he had decided to do it himself simply so he could show her that he was capable of getting food by himself.
Sir Tucker even went and found some mushrooms but this time he was careful not to pick the same mushroom that had sent him on his little trip. He still couldn’t fully remember what happened but he knew that Jessica would be extremely unhappy with him if he ate it again. Worse if she ate the mushroom it could send her completely loopy and for someone with her abilities that was a very bad idea.
Due to Jessica’s fatigue all she did was sit down and rest as the constant climbing up and down hills had really tired her out. One thing she couldn’t complain about was not getting enough exercise. One thing that she did really want to do was to take a bath but as of yet they hadn’t found a large body of water yet for her to bathe in. When she was in Morgan she ensured that she bathed herself regular but on this quest she hadn’t been able to do that although she did bathe practically every opportunity she could. The last thing she wanted to happen was for her to smell, it really wasn’t lady like.
One thing that Jessica did see in the sky above her was the moon. She remembered staring at it almost every night when she was living on her farm. It was almost a full moon but it wasn’t quite there yet. It would only be a couple of days before the moon was full and she thought it looked peaceful in the sky.
“You alright?” asked Sir Tucker as he approached her with a bag filled with fruits that he had been picking along with some mushrooms. Jessica had been lying on the ground and she hadn’t noticed him approach her.
“Yeah I was just looking up into the sky,” replied Jessica. She was comfortable where she was lying but she did sit up so that she was able to eat. “What’s in the bag good sir knight?” She knew that he liked it when she called him a knight and she wanted to make him that little bit happier.
“Well I got you a few things.” He knelt down right next to her and began to rummage through the bag. Jessica sat there with anticipation as he took out some fruit. “I found some nice apples and believe me I checked them over before I took them. The last thing we need is for you to be sick.”
“They look yummy.” They were not the best apples that she had ever seen but she was being polite to Sir Tucker for his efforts.
“And I got you these mushrooms.” He took them out and showed them to her. “I picked the ones that you said so hopefully you won’t experience what I felt last week.” He was still feeling some of the effects of the trip even now but he wasn’t sure if this would stay with him for the rest of his days.
“Thanks.” She did picked up the mushroom and looked at it herself. She just wanted to be sure that it was the right one first before eating it. She trusted Sir Tucker but she wanted to check for herself first. “And what are you going to eat?”
“The spirit of adventure is all the food I need right now.” He stood up and struck a pose to make him seem heroic but she just looked at him blankly. She wasn’t too impressed with him.
“Even knights need food and you haven’t eaten since yesterday. I think there’s more than enough food for you here.”
“I don’t need food.” He was trying to be defiant but he saw Jessica staring at him with her arms crossed and he knew that it was an argument that he wasn’t going to win. “But a small bite would be great right now.”
With that Sir Tucker sat by Jessica and they began to eat the fruit that he had picked. The fruit was not the best they had tasted but it was certainly enough to satisfy the hunger that they had. They even shared the mushrooms and Sir Tucker was somewhat afraid that they might be poisonous despite the fact that Jessica had checked it. He took a bite out of one of them with some caution and although he wasn’t too fond with the taste of mushroom it was still food.
Within a couple of minutes all the food was gone and both of them ate their fill. Both Sir Tucker and Jessica lay besides on another and looked up into the sky. It was a clear night so the stars were out in full and it was definitely a pleasant sight for both of them to see. The stars lit the night sky along with the near full moon.
“Why don’t we play a little game that we used to play as children?” asked Jessica as she looked up into the sky.
“Which one?” replied Sir Tucker. They had played many games together as a child so it was hard for him to remember exactly which one she was talking about.
“When we looked up into the night sky and tried to make pictures out of the stars.” She smiled although she didn’t look over to Sir Tucker. “We haven’t played that game for so many years.”
“We can do, but you were always better than me.” It was true that almost every time that they played the game she would be able to make out better images than he could. But it had been some time since then and he felt that he had a chance of victory so he didn’t mind. Also it was just a harmless game.
For the next several minutes both of them just looked up into the sky and stared at the stars. Both of them were trying to make the most interesting pictures out of the stars above them. It didn’t seem to be too difficult for Jessica as she continued to make the pictures as if she could see the lines drawn between the stars. Sir Tucker was having a little bit more of a difficult time as to him most of the stars seemed to be just a bunch of bright lights in the sky. He was good at a few things but this didn’t seem to be one of them.
For both Sir Tucker and Jessica they began to forget about their quest and everything else that mattered to them. They felt like they were children again playing an innocent game, it reminded them of a simpler time of their lives. A part of their lives that was now behind them and they would never achieve again. It was something that was so beautiful and yet so sad when they thought about it.
“What do you see?” asked Jessica as she continued to look up to the sky. She still couldn’t see Sir Tucker but she knew that he was there.
“I see a penis,” replied Sir Tucker. It was probably the only thing he could make out from the stars and he heard Jessica scoff at him.
“Tucker don’t be rude.” She didn’t sound to be too impressed with him but he felt that he should explain himself.
“No I’m serious look its right over there.” He pointed towards a cluster of stars that were to Jessica’s right. She could see his hand and she saw it move as he indicated just how the cluster of stars looked like a penis. She thought that he was being immature but she could see the resemblance. Either way she wasn’t going to stoop that low to make pictures, she felt that she was beyond that. “What did you find?”
“I see a man and woman holding hands.” There was some confidence in her voice as she pointed towards the cluster of stars that she was talking about. “Look the man is on the left and the woman is on the right.”
“Just looks like a random bunch of stars to me.” He couldn’t really see what she was talking about but he didn’t deny that it was there.”
“You’re not looking at it properly.” She grabbed onto his nearby wrist and he did extend his finger for her. She then moved his hand so that it drew out the couple holding hands in the sky. “Can you see it now?”
“Oh yeah.” It was something that was hard for him to make out but as Jessica was showing him he could actually make out the couple that she was talking about. It was something that he never what have been able to do by himself. “Maybe one day we’ll be like that again, it was nice while it lasted.”
“Maybe.” She still thought about how Sir Tucker cheated on her with Gwen but his reasoning for it was understandable and in a way she couldn’t condemn his actions. Despite this she still felt pain from it but it seemed to be lessening with each passing day. “It would have been nice to have the family I mentioned.”
“What did you say, one kid?” He knew how many she had originally mentioned but he hoped that she had forgotten.
“It was a dozen kids Tucker.” She had been bought up as an only child and it was one of her reasons for wanting a big family. “Boys to become mighty warriors and girls to become strong but pretty adventurers.” She didn’t particular want her girls to be simple housewives unless it was what they wished.
“You sure you can handle that many kids?” He knew a few big families but he didn’t know any that had that many children.
“Sure I can, I have a big heart and there is more than enough of it to be shared by twelve children.” She wanted to hold onto this little fantasy for a little longer. She thought that many people would think that she was being silly but it was her dream and she was going to do everything within reason to make it happen.
“I can believe that.” He knew more than most about Jessica’s heart as she was still able to be his best friend despite what had happened. On more than one occasion she could have gone back to Morgan but she didn’t. She had a lot more patience than most people and for that he was thankful. “Hey I think I see something else in the sky.” He had still been looking up into the sky and he could see a cluster of stars that caught his eye.
“What is it?” There was anticipation in her voice although she thought that he had just picked out something immature again.
“I can see a sword.” He pointed towards the cluster of stars that Jessica could see. She didn’t need his help to draw out the image and she was surprised that he was able to spot that. “Can you see it?”
“Yeah I can, that’s actually a good one.” A small smile appeared on her face as she was genuinely enjoying herself. “Maybe you’re not so bad at this game after all. “ She even giggled a little at him which he did find somewhat humorous.
“I’m definitely more skilled with a sword.” He did turn his head to look at Jessica. “Did you want to practice before we go to sleep?”
“No thank you, I’m completely beat. Walking up and down hills all day is really tiring no matter how big you are.” She gave a big yawn and she didn’t realise just how tired she really was. She feel that she didn’t even have the energy of getting up at all. “Speaking of being tired I think I might just go to sleep now.”
“Ok, I think I’ll practice by myself for a little while. I’ll make sure that you can sleep without worrying about wolves.” He quickly got up to his feet. “I Sir Tucker Martel swear it.”
“That’s fine good sir knight.” She wanted to humour him somewhat but she really did want to go to sleep. “Just don’t wake me up until I’m ready.”
As Jessica began to drift to sleep Sir Tucker began to practice with his sword. For now he was leaving his shield to one side as he practiced his thrusts and even a couple of blocks against imaginary opponents. Each move he took was carefully planned as he would pretend to slash at an opponent or defend one of their attacks.
Sir Tucker did make sure that he was a decent distance away from Jessica just in case he accidentally woke her up. He didn’t want to find out what happened when waking a sleeping giant. He had heard the expression a couple of times but he didn’t want to find out the literal meaning.
With the moon being nearly full there was plenty of light for Sir Tucker to see with. Normally practicing at night would be somewhat difficult for him but with the moonlight it was easy for him to see. He could also see a few things around him like some of the birds flying through the air. He could hear the distant hooting of owls as they were on the hunt for small creatures.
The animals around him didn’t seem to matter but the more that he practiced the more he began to feel tired. It was getting late into the night and even fatigue was getting the better of him. Eventually he placed Juggernaut back into its holder and he lay down right next to Jessica. Before he knew it he could feel her long arms wrap around him as if she instinctively knew that he was there. He knew long before now that there was no chance of him escaping and that he was going to be there for the rest of the night. He didn’t see her smiling though as he remained in her arms.
It took a short amount of time after that for Sir Tucker to finally fall asleep and he was thankful that he was in the comfort of Jessica’s arms. His face was in her chest and it was softer than any pillow that he had ever lay down on. She hugged him tightly but not tight enough to force him not to breathe. It almost seemed that even when she was asleep she knew exactly how much strength to use in the situation. She was doing this on a subconscious level that went beyond being careful.
As they slept the sounds of some of the animals seemed to change. The majority of them were the same in the peaceful night but there seemed to be the howls of wolves as well. They didn’t seemed to be the sound of regular wolves but rather people attempting to mimic the sound of wolves. If they had been awake they would have probably been cautious of the sound but since they were asleep they were none the wiser.
By the next morning Jessica was the first to wake up and she discovered that Sir Tucker was in her arms. Rather than releasing him she decided that she would continue to hug him and she even smelled his hair. It was just a little something that made her feel closer to him and she was going to enjoy it as much as she could until he woke up. Having him in her arms made her feel complete in a way that she had never felt before.
It was around another hour until Sir Tucker finally woke up and he saw that he was still in Jessica’s arms. He began to struggle somewhat and she pretended that she had just woken up. Slowly she released her grip on him and he was the first to get back up to his feet. He had expected to feel somewhat cramped after lying on the ground for so long but he felt nothing at all. This was somewhat surprising for him but it wasn’t something that he was going to really think about.
There was still a small amount of fruit left from the previous night which became the pair’s breakfast. It was not entirely enough to fully satisfy Jessica’s hunger but she made sure that Sir Tucker was well fed. She did plan on picking some more fruit out of the trees as she walked passed them.
One thing that Sir Tucker before he even considered carrying on to the third trial was to take another look at the map again. Like with the previous trial writing began to appear on the map like magic. Thankfully unlike before it was written in plain and easy to understand text which was huge relief for him. The previous occasion had annoyed him a lot but thankfully things seemed to be easier than they had been before.
This time the writing on the map read ‘Congratulations for reaching this far, the only way to access the third and final test one must enter alone. No doubt you had aid beforehand but if two should enter the test both will be purged immediately. The best of luck to you.’ These words were harrowing to Sir Tucker. It meant that only one of them would go through the trial and it would be difficult for him to do it alone. He did consider having Jessica go down by himself but something inside of him told him that it should be him.
What he felt was not simply male pride but the fear that if Jessica went in she would not leave. Her size changing abilities had more than helped her with practically every dangerous situation in her life but this would be different. If they were anything like the previous trials she wouldn’t have the room to properly grow and this would make her more vulnerable than she normally would be.
“Are you ready to continue?” asked Jessica who had already grown to her full size. He hadn’t noticed her grow and the first instance that he realised was when her oversized hand came down right next to him.
“Y-yeah sure,” replied Sir Tucker who had been in a world of his own. For now he wasn’t going to tell Jessica until they had gotten there. He knew that she would refuse to allow him to go down there by himself. All he did was step onto her hand and allow her to lift him up into the air at a slow and gentle pace.