The giant didn’t kick down the city walls or hurl boulders at it like cannonballs. He was tall enough to climb over.
Not quite so tall he could just hop over in a cool way, and not quite agile enough to vault over, tapping his heels together as they sailed over the battlements. Once you get to a certain height, it’s no longer possible to move gracefully. You don’t see people over eight feet tall in the NBA for a reason, and Gargantua was well over that.
What the giant did was climb the wall the way you do when there’s a fence just a bit higher than your groin. You have to get one leg over that doesn’t quite reach the ground on the other side and try to shift your balance from the foot on this side of the fence to the foot trying to reach the ground on the other side.
The problem when doing this is the stuff you have between your legs that you would rather not get slammed against a hard surface. And Gargantua had a lot of stuff.
The giant was naked — because shopping for clothes over 3XL outside of America is just a pain — but hairy. Not fur, he wasn’t an ape, he was more like a Middle-Eastern gentleman who you saw getting changed in the gym locker room. That shoulder burr that told you this was a man who shaved three times a day to keep his five o’clock shadow in check.
Watching the giant clamber over the wall was not a pretty sight. He turned his back as he tried to get his other leg over, bending over to present his rear orifice to the horrified citizens of Fengarad.
The soldiers manning the wall didn’t fare any better as the giant’s penis slid across the battlements and an enormous scrotum came swinging in alongside, knocking men aside. I don’t know how many died that way but I’m sure they preferred to receive that particular medal posthumously. You don’t want to be there when they pin the Purple Helmet to your chest.
“And what did you get this medal for Granddad?”
I watched the action unfold — and there were many folds to watch — on the magic screen the Fairy Queen had put up for us. It was like watching the Sunday football game down the pub, only with a giant arsehole taking up most of the screen. So like watching any team where Mourinho was manager.
The people on the wall had a much better view — I’m not sure ‘better’ is the right word — but I was fine with the slightly blurry option.
There was no sound on the fairycast but I could hear the screams in the distance, the sounds of a populace facing its greatest fear. They hadn’t known this was their greatest fear until now, which shows how useless those lists are. Oh, spiders and public speaking are the top two, are they? I don’t fucking think so.
The giant swatted away fairies trying to target the men on his shoulders and ignored various projectiles being shot at him. The Fengarad soldiers attempting to poke his feet with tiny bits of metal were having no impact. They couldn’t even tie his shoelaces together to get him to trip over because he didn’t wear any shoes. He was quite the indomitable opponent.
Women traditionally like a tall fella. They often insist on it in their Tinder profile. But they don’t want someone freakishly big. Gargantua probably never had a girl tell him she loved him. And now here he was, knocking over walls with his giant donger. Rejection is a cruel motivator.
Men are the opposite about tall girls, though. Sure, models are seen as some kind of benchmark for beauty, but that’s in a photo or on a stage flouncing about in a dress no one’s ever going to wear out in public. A heterosexual woman who isn’t the face of Chanel and over six feet is usually quite timid and with a man who bullies her. She puts up with it because her options are limited, and he does it because he’s an insecure twat. That’s why a lot of really short ugly billionaires have huge wives.
Claire was saying something and the Queen was screaming orders at Joshaya, who was grimacing as he did his best to not run away. It was hard for me to tear my eyes away from the screen but I had an interplanetary war to win.
If I could actually pull this off, they would probably put up a statue of me and maybe rename the city in my honour. If I failed, then two planets would be fucked, which would also be an achievement, but you don’t get a prize for losing. Not unless you’re in the Confederacy. Then you get statues put up in every city that surrendered but acts like it didn’t. The ultimate participation award.
“Well, you didn’t win but you did turn up, so here’s a statue of General Lee.”
The army of the dead that Maurice had sent into the fray weren’t of much use against the giant. The American team had neutralised them very effectively and Maurice himself hadn’t been able to use his power in any effective manner. This did suggest that even if Joshaya were able to get some undead Visitors to rise to the occasion, it wouldn’t be of much use. They would suffer the same fate and the giant would continue to tear the city to pieces.
But it wasn’t so much the power of the dead Visitors I wanted to use as it was removing their power from the spires.
The spires were the real source of power. They had always been the key to this world, and the place Peter spent most of his time. That alone told me where to focus my attention.
Not that focusing revealed very much. They were some kind of weapon, some sort of energy transfer system, a form of transportation… these multi-platform devices are never very easy to understand, even with a manual.
But it didn’t matter so much what I could do with the spires — I couldn’t be bothered to do anything with them, to be honest — it was more a question of what others couldn’t do if I messed with them.
“I will not allow this,” said the Fairy Queen. It was clear she didn’t know what Joshaya was going to do but she was against it anyway. Some women are petty, like that. Don’t want to see their ex succeed.
I’m not saying men aren’t petty, but we tend not to care so much about an old flame doing well. We tend to be more bothered by her new flame and how what kind of car he drives.
“You aren’t exactly doing great, your majesty,” I said. “As you can see, the combined forces of Fengarad are getting battered into submission by the extra-large cock-flapper mounting the city. He hasn’t even turned on his hose yet.”
My words managed to get through to her. At least, the visual gave her pause for thought.
“My Queen,” said Joshaya, “I believe I can end this fight now.”
There was definitely some personal history between these two. If I knew what it was I’d probably be able to use it to my advantage, but it would mean listening to a bunch of stories about young love and broken hearts, which is exactly why I was just going to assume they were a couple of characters from an LDS romance novel and treat them like clueless idiots.
Am I saying Mormons write shitty books with poorly conceived ideas about male-female relationships? No. A church obsessed with hoarding money and keeping its sexual predators out of sight producing authors who write about billionaire vampires is virtually non-fiction.
“Very well,” said the Queen somewhat reluctantly. “Reclaim your power.”
I wasn’t sure how fairy magic worked but the air in the room felt different. Colder. And there was a sound a bit like a tuning fork going off.
The ringing in my ears definitely wasn’t there a moment ago. I tried to figure out where it was coming from but every time I turned my head towards what I thought was the right direction, it seemed to be coming from somewhere else.
“What are you doing?” said the Queen, regretting her decision.
The picture on the screen changed. It moved away from the giant wreaking havoc to one of the spires. The tall black structure stood high above the rest of Fengarad’s buildings with only the other spires in the background of comparable size. After a few seconds it became apparent that the spire was vibrating, moving very quickly a small amount from side to side.
They had always exerted a mysterious foreboding presence on the city’s skyline but they had never moved before, even when firing off various beams of deadly light. Joshaya’s magic was having an effect.
Joshaya himself had his face screwed up in concentration and sweat trickled down the side of his face.
“He’s calling in the cavalry,” I said, because that was what I hoped he was doing.
The Queen looked at Joshaya and then at the spire on the screen.
“No. He can’t… He mustn’t.” I wasn’t sure what she assumed was going on but she clearly thought it was a bad idea, so she’d probably guessed correctly. “You will destroy the spires.”
“Is that a bad thing?” I asked. I wasn’t being sarcastic, I really wanted to know what value she placed on them.
The Queen looked at me like I was a fool. Usually she looked at me like I was a dangerous idiot, so this was more or less a downgrade.
“The city will be destroyed without the spires,” she said.
“Bullshit,” I said. “You have no idea what the spires do.”
“I know they are sacred and without them we will be helpless.”
It was this sort of vague nonsense that annoyed me the most. Why not just admit you choose to believe what someone else told you (that someone else told them)?
“You don’t know that,” I said, “and we’re helpless right now. You can’t become more helpless, it’s a definitive state.”
The sound from the spire was getting louder. Joshaya was getting redder and shaking quite a bit. His vibrational frequency almost matched the spire’s.
“You have to stop him,” said Claire. “The spires are important. We need them.”
“Didn’t you just hear what I said to her,” I said, pointing at the Queen. “This is how we’re going to defeat the enemy. We can deal with the consequences later.” Yeah, when I wasn’t here.
“When? When you aren’t here?” The trouble with Claire was that she assumed the worst about me which made her very good at guessing what I was thinking.
“Look, I can’t attack that thing directly. They know too much about everything to just be lucky. Someone’s helping them — maybe you.” Claire looked outraged, eyes bulging, nostrils flaring. I was tempted to instruct Joshaya to switch targets. “Maybe the Queen, maybe even Jenny.”
Jenny didn’t react at all. She was used to my methods and my belief that people only got close to me so they could stab me in the back. She dispelled those suspicions about her by making it clear she didn’t need to sleep with me to destroy me but slept with me anyway. It was an advanced form of double-reverse psychology I was still trying to decipher.
“If someone’s helping them,” said Claire, “what good will destroying the spires do?”
“Like you said, the spires are important. Whoever’s behind this won’t let me destroy them. At the very least they’ll have to redirect their attention on stopping Joshaya, which will give me an opening.”
“An opening? An opening for what?”
“I’m not going to reveal my plan to you,” I said. “You could be the one I’m going to be using it against.” And also it might sound stupid if I said it out loud.
“The only reason you won’t say is because you know it’s going to sound idiotic once you say it out loud.” I wished she’d stop doing that.
The giant had, as predicted, changed its focus and was headed for the singing spire, crushing buildings and people en route. His head was about level with the top of the spire and he reached out a hand to grab the shaft, enclosing it entirely in one fist. As he did, the vibrations spread along his arm and through his body, making him look slightly out of focus.
The men on his shoulders looked like they might fall off but they were attached to the giant with some kind of harness. Fully prepared. Who could have told them exactly what to expect? I would guess Peter but he wasn’t even here.
Joshaya began to sway and shake and his clothes began to fall off. It was not at all as erotic as you might think. The Queen grabbed him by the shoulders and the two of them did a strange sort of involuntary dance. That and a sob story about how they broke each other’s hearts when they were younger would have got them through to the next round of Flatland’s Got Talent.
I was still waiting for the return of the dead Visitors and hoping they would have a better idea of what to do than I did when the spire began to fall apart and crumbled in the giant’s hand.
As soon as it began to fall apart I saw the men on the giant’s shoulders jump off. They dived into the air and plummeted down. Parachutes opened a moment later.
The spire turned into ash as did the giant holding onto it. They disintegrated together and black particles floated down onto the city roofs. As they landed, they transformed into human figures dressed all in black. It was hard to see clearly on the screen — they say it’s 4K ready but they just upscale the picture and lose most of the detail — but they were definitely people-shaped, dressed in various sorts of armour and robes, some even had wizard hats.
Ever get the feeling your brilliant plan no one expected was exactly what your opponent was expecting?