Sarai quickly told him of her quest and all that had happened since they left the farm. His eyes grew wide as he looked each of them over. He could tell by Mandalar's armor, the crest on his shield, and his ornate sword that he was no ordinary knight. Alatar nodded in agreement throughout, and Tiana quietly smiled.
"Saved a village? Rescued a king? And freed... how many prisoners?!" The goblin king's eyes grew wide in amazement. "And now you want the old king's symbols to try to help bring peace to the whole of the land. Well, if it weren't so utterly unbelievable it couldn't be true. I mean if it didn't seem so unlikely then it would be false. Or anything so incredible must not be a lie. I think... I've gotten myself confused."
As he put a hand to his head to stop it spinning, the wizard kindly placed a hand on his shoulder. "I scarcely believe it myself," he murmured, "and I was there."
At this reassurance, the goblin king brightened and sat up. "Well! It's settled then," he said cheerily. "You shall have the crown - but first I'll tell you how we came by it."
"You see, not long after the dwarves and goblins began mining together we came across a series of underground lakes and rivers running right through the mountains. In one of the largest and most beautiful caverns, a scouting dwarf saw something poking up through the water that he though must be a vein of gold. When he returned with goblins and more dwarves to investigate, however, they were surprised to find it was merely an old, dull crown.
"They pulled it up and brought it to me to decide what to do with it. Of course, having traveled and heard all the old stories I recognized it immediately. The goblins had no use for it, but were happy to polish it up. The dwarves agreed it was much too precious to sell and insisted we close off the caverns with the doors you had to pass through, just to keep it safe, you see."
At this, he reached behind him and pulled forth a simple wooden box. Lifting the lid, he revealed the ornately carved, yet unadorned, crown of the king.
"Here," he said gravely, "it is now yours. Use it well!"
"Thank you for trusting it to us," Sarai beamed. "Now, do you know anything about the scepter or the throne? We have to find those, too."
After a moment's thought, the goblin king replied, "I do recall a story I heard long ago of a desert some ways from here. There is said to be a treasure trove buried there, and the scepter may well be hidden in its midst."
They soon said their goodbyes and prepared to leave the mountains for the desert. Once out of the caves, they mounted their horses grazing idly by the chill mountain stream and rode off in the direction the goblin king directed.
Elie: Were they holding those... things?
Me: The reins? Yes, they were.
Elie: And did the all put on helmets to be safe?
Me: Certainly! Wouldn't want to get hurt horseback riding, of course.
Part of the "There Once Was a Kingdom" bedtime stories series.