“Good God!” Sergeant Major General exclaimed. “Will this journey never end?!” They had spent several weeks on the road, travelling through lush and exotic landscapes that it would only bore you to describe. They had survived encounters with brigands, escaped the cult of the Golden Jackal, narrowly avoided death by rhinoceros stampede, and were trapped in a cave for several days by an aggressive tribe of leaf monkeys.
These adventures had taken their toll on our intrepid adventurers; Kirk Bill had even been laid low by a cobra bite, incurred while trying to break up a fight-to-the-death between the cobra and an angry mongoose. It had been touch-and-go for a while for our hero, but he was nursed back to health by his dear friend Sergeant Major General and a generous amount of tea, administered by the pandit.
Now they sat around a campfire, resting their weary limbs. Sergeant Major General was vaguely uneasy, as he had been for a number of days, feeling himself watched. The mark on his chest – the Eye of the Tiger! – remained unfaded; if anything the colour of the orange sphere had intensified.
“We’re nearly there,” Kirk Bill said, noticing his friend’s unrest. “Once we reach the temple, we’ll be able to have the curse lifted, I am sure of it.”
“But how, Bill?” asked Sergeant Major General. “Do we just waltz in and say, ‘I say old bean, how about lifting this curse, wot? Jolly poor form, not exactly playing by Queensbury rules, is it?’ and they’ll say ‘sorry about that, old chap, just a bit of a lark, eh?’ and the whole thing’ll be off? These curse-putter-onerers, they can be quite unreasonable, I hear.”
“If they won’t do as we ask, we shall be forced to use force,” said Kirk Bill with quiet menace, and Sergeant Major General had no doubt that the inhabitants of the Temple of the Tiger would bend to Kirk Bill’s indomitable will.
Suddenly, there was a stillness. The horses nickered nervously. It was if all the bugs and snakes and marmots and monkeys and bats and anteaters had suddenly caught the scent of danger and become silent, waiting for the threat to pass, or at least to eat somebody else. The three men rose, backs to the fire, searching the night for their enemy.
Sergeant Major General saw movement – a shadow, shifting, slinking, this way and that, circling them – a flash of orange! A low snarl, a guttural roar! Before Sergeant Major General could get a fix on the sound, he was knocked to the ground, pinned by giant furry paws of death! He opened his eyes and looked straight into THE EYES OF THE TIGER.
TO BE CONTINUED