by M. Vance
The Story So Far
A light "leprechaunal" fantasy, The Other End of the Rainbow is a four-part serial that follows the adventures of Joel Sanders as he climbs a rainbow to another land, discovers quite a few things about himself and others (but very little gold), and then finds his way home again.
Never try to find the rainbow's end. You won't ... The only way to find the rainbow’s end is simply to be lucky enough to stumble upon it, which is exactly what happened to Joel Sanders.
Read Part 1 - Overworlder
Read Part 2 - Leprechauns
Read Part 3 - Imprisoned
And now the conclusion...
“Light the torches,” the guard who was holding Michael up in the air barked. As the torches along the wall were lit, Joel could see that one side of Michael’s face was swollen and bloody. Anger rose up inside of Joel. He stood, fists clenched. “Don’t move,” the guard ordered, “or I’ll be forced to kill your friend.”
Joel looked around. None of the slaves were sleeping now. Kalin looked terrified. “I’m not moving,” Joel said carefully. “My name is Joel. What’s your name?”
“I am Dyneak, captain of the King’s guard.”
“That reminds me,” Joel said thoughtfully, “how did Matt become your king?” The guards appeared to be confused. “Did you all get together and decide he should be king? Did he kill your old king? How did he become king?”
“He’s an Overworlder,” a slave piped up.
“And that makes him right, does it? Well, I’m an Overworlder too, and I say that you don’t need a king, that you shouldn’t be slaves, that you don’t need to make this fortress any bigger. One of us has to be wrong.” The slaves began to grumble.
Joel raised his voice. “I think Matt has given you the wrong idea about being a king. A king in Overworld is someone who serves the people by doing things like settling arguments and leading in war. They are supposed to make their countries better. Is Matt serving you? Has Joran been a better place with Matt as king? Joranites don’t seem to have problems with arguments and wars. I don’t think you need a king. I don’t see why you shouldn’t all return to your farms.”
A young guard sheathed his sword. “Captain,” he said, looking at Dyneak, “I want to go home.”
“No,” Dyneak said, but sheathed his sword as well. “If Sir Joel is right, then we should help him. He has saved us from our mistake.” He set Michael carefully on the ground. “I am sorry, friend, for the abuse you have received at our hands.” He turned back to Joel. “What would you have us do?”
Joel grinned. “Well, Chief Dermot and his men were going to wake Matt. Maybe we should give them a hand.”
Dyneak smiled and bowed. “This way, sir.” He led the way to Matt’s bedroom, followed by Joel, the leprechauns, and all of the slaves and guards. Dyneak rapped forcefully on the door.
“Come in,” came Matt’s voice. Dyneak opened the door. Dermot and his men were surrounded by guards.
Matt looked at Joel and smiled. “Oh good, you’ve captured the others. You see, Dyneak, I was right. This is exactly why we must make this fortress bigger and stronger.” Perhaps at this point Matt noticed that Joel was also smiling, for his voice went suddenly squeaky. “Well, what are you waiting for? March them to the dungeon at once!”
Dyneak bowed. “Forgive me your Highness, but I must decline. You see, I only came to say farewell. Sir Joel has graciously agreed to help you return to Overworld, and all of us shall return to our farms.”
Matt’s jaw dropped. “What?” he sputtered. “But I don’t want to go home!”
“Release the leprechauns,” Dyneak ordered. “They are friends to Sir Joel.” The guards surrounding Dermot, looking rather confused, sheathed their swords. “Come, friends, let us go home.” Dyneak bowed to Joel and left the room, followed slowly by the other guards and the slaves.
Kalin and Aunt Nimia remained by Joel’s side. Michael had drawn his sword and was holding it loosely as he stood next to Matt. “Well, how do Matt and I get home, Chief?” Joel asked.
“We shall have to ride to the Crags of Conners,” Chief Dermot replied. “We’ve horses only a short walk from the village.”
“Well, you heard the Chief,” Michael said to Matt. “March, me boy!” Michael had looked fierce as a leprechaun. Now with his battered face he looked rather terrifying, and Matt looked far too scared to protest.
The ride, in Joel’s opinion, made the whole adventure worthwhile. Though he found riding a horse to be uncomfortable, the scenery was composed at first of farms and fields, then incredible rock formations. He was disappointed when Dermot stopped.
“We must walk from here,” Dermot said. “Kalin and Nimia, you must say farewell to Joel. Only Michael, Matt, Joel and I will go on.”
Nimia curtsied. “It has been an honor, Sir Joel, and a pleasure.” Joel walked forward and gave Nimia a hug.
Kalin shook Joel by the shoulders. “I wish you could have seen my peloon patch. Next time, I suppose.”
“I’d like that,” Joel said with a smile.
Chief Dermot led them up a narrow trail among the boulders. Occasionally Joel had to crawl under hanging rocks. The trail was clearly not made for humans. At last Dermot stopped before a stone slab and began muttering strange words. Joel gasped as the slab moved aside, revealing a small cave.
The cave was empty, save for three pieces of wood, which had been bound together to form a sort of doorway that stood in the middle of the cave. “Tis a door to the world of men,” Dermot said. “I believe it will return you to nearly the same time and place from which you left.”
“You first,” Michael said, shoving Matt forward. Matt, looking rather grumpy, walked through and disappeared.
“Joel,” Dermot said. “You seem wise for your young years. Sure an’ I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we meet again in the future. I’ve one last piece of advice for you, me boy-o: don’t go looking for the rainbow’s end.”
Joel bowed. Michael stepped forward and clasped Joel’s hand. “It’s been grand,” he said with a wink. “When you get a wee bit taller we’ll have to meet again over a jug of poitín.” Joel had no idea what that meant, but he nodded and smiled.
Joel squared his shoulders and walked through the doorway. Tonight his mom would be making spaghetti. He hoped he got home before all the meatballs disappeared.
© 2007 by M. Vance
Original fiction debuting at Residential Aliens.
M. Vance is a University student who enjoys reading, writing, and discussing Harry Potter. A member of Scribes & Scribblers, a writing group at church not very familiar with fantasy, Vance decided to give them something different.