The goblin king growled at the girls as Gillian stepped in front of the girls with her sword drawn and staff in her other hand. Behind the girls were more goblins who had finally caught up with them and had them at blade point.
“Did you honestly think you could escape me!” the goblin king said “What are you going to do now, eh?!”
He then smacked his staff on the bridge which caused it to creak and shake. Gillian stepped back a few feet and almost her balance but the girls picked her up and helped her back up.
“I said, what are you going to do now wizard?!” the goblin king demanded.
Gillian rolled her eyes. He DID ask what she was going to do so he did have what followed coming. Gillian promptly poked the goblin king right in his left eye. He exclaimed in pain and annoyance and then Gillian then slashed his stomach with her sword. The goblin king screamed in pain and fell to the ground. He then looked at Gillian in bafflement.
“That’ll do it.” the goblin king said “You clever motherfu-”
Gillian then slashed the goblin king’s throat open before he could finish that profanity. Her and the girls had enough of goblins for one day. But when the dead body of the goblin king hit the bridge it creaked and swayed more then ever. The girls quickly huddled together and prepared for the worst.
Suddenly, without warning, the bridge they were on collapsed and the section they were all on fell straight down. Down, down, down it went, slamming into other bridges and pathways with debris flying everywhere. Amazingly, the girls were able to hang on with all their might until they finally hit the bottom with a tremendous crash and a cloud of dust.
As the girls moaned, Gillian got back up on her feet. She tapped her staff on the ground and the top of her staff lit up, illuminating the area her and the girls were in. She could now clearly see that the girls were getting up out of the rubble and made sure they were all present and accounted for. She then looked up and then got a shocked expression on her face.
“Girls, would you mind coming towards me please?” she ordered “Right now.”
The girls were too exhausted to argue so they just ran over to Gillian until they were right behind her.
“Okay were here.” Traude said “Now…why did you ask us to-”
Suddenly the goblin king’s dead body crashed into what was left of the bridge and a cloud of dust blew over the girls. They coughed and did their best to wipe away the dust from their faces, eyes and dresses.
“Well that could have been worse.” Bertha coughed.
“For once I believe you.” Bridget said.
All the girls suddenly heard loud screeching and they looked up and gasped in horror. Wave upon wave of goblins were closing in on them and running down the cave walls. They were far away but they were closing in.
“There’s too many of them!” Daniela said “We can’t fight them!”
“And Frieda’s hurt!” Kamilla barked.
“Only one thing will save us: daylight!” Gillian exclaimed “Let’s move! If we’re lucky this will be the way out!”
And the girls quickly picked up their things and ran after Gillian as fast as their feet could carry them.
An exhausted Gollum finally climbed over a set of rocks and stumbled onto a pathway leading out of the mountain to a nearby cave entrance. It was over ten feet tall and fifteen feet wide and Gollum was temporally blinded by the shaft of light going through the opening as he continued searching for his ring.
“Wait!” he screamed “My precious! WAIT!!! Gollum! Gollum!”
Brianna, in the meantime, had finally caught up to Gollum but stayed hidden and tried to be as quiet as possible. As she tried to move in closer she suddenly heard faint shouting and footsteps slowly getting louder and she backed away.
Gollum heard it too and in no time at all ducked behind the rocks to avoid being seen. And suddenly Gillian and the girls stumbled onto the scene.
“Come on!” Gillian ordered.
Brianna was so happy to see the girls she almost audibly shouted but she wisely kept her mouth shut and watched as the girls ran past her and Gollum without noticing either of them. She quietly drew her sword and crept up towards Gollum who at the moment his back turned towards her, looking out at the pathway. He suddenly began to turn and Brianna stepped back a bit and prepared for whatever came next.
Instead she was baffled to see Gollum’s entire face and mood had completely changed. Just a few moments ago he’d wanted to do who knows what to her. Now, he looked as if his entire world came crashing down. His ears dropped ever so slightly and his eyes began welling up with tears.
“I-It’s gone.” he muttered to himself as his voice broke and then a single tear slid down his cheek from his left eye.
Brianna suddenly didn’t feel so well herself. She suddenly began to feel very sorry for this Gollum. It seemed this ring she was wearing really was apparently all he had. She then looked at her sword and then back at Gollum.
You poor, poor thing. she thought to herself But I have to get out. I can’t stay here.
Suddenly Gollum smelled the air and he suddenly began growling as his face changed back to anger. Brianna decided it was now or never. She backed away a bit and then clambered onto a rock and leapt just above Gollum but her foot smacked him right in the face. Gollum toppled over just as Brianna cleared the rocks and as soon as she hit the ground she made a bee-line as best she could towards the cave exit. As she ran she heard Gollum scream loudly as he got up and smashed his fists on the ground.
“BAGGINS!!! THIEF!!!” he shrieked “CURSE IT AND CRUSH IT!!! WE HATES IT FOREVER!!!!”
Brianna was then temporarily blinded by the sudden burst of light from the sun and as she ran down the mountain she breathed in the fresh air. She was finally out of that place and she continued to run as fast as her feet could carry her.
Gillian and the girls found themselves a clearing in the forested mountain side and all finally stopped and tried to catch their breath. Bridget, who had been carrying Frieda, put her down gently on a rock and Kamilla and Ophelia rushed to her side.
“Okay, we need to bandage her wound, quick!” Ophelia said as she began tending to Frieda’s rather large cut which was still bleeding and had now stained her beautiful dress.
“Alright, are we all here?” Gillian said as she began counting the dwarves “Let’s see…Traude, Barbara, Daniela, Bertha, Beate, Dorothea, Ottilie, Nadja, Gerlinde, Ophelia, Frieda, Kamilla and Bridget.” she laughed “That makes thirteen and….wait…”
She suddenly looked around. Brianna was nowhere in sight. In fact she hadn’t seen Brianna at all in the mountain on their way out.
“Where is Brianna?!” she demanded.
The girls suddenly noticed and looked around for her but she was nowhere to be found or seen.
“Curse the half-ling!” Daniela moaned “Now she’s lost?!”
“I thought she was-OW!” Frieda exclaimed as she glared at Ophelia “That stings!”
“That means it’s working.” Ophelia said.
“B-But I thought Brianna was with Dorothea!” Frieda said as she looked towards Dorothea.
“Whoa, hey, don’t blame me!” Dorothea barked.
“Where did you last see her?” Gillian asked.
“I think I last saw her when the goblins captured us though I can’t be sure.” Nadja piped up.
“Well what happened exactly?” Gillian inquired “Tell me!”
“I’ll tell you what happened.” Traude said as she walked up to the group center “She saw her chance and she took it.”
“I-I don’t understand, Traude.” Beate said.
“Don’t you get it, Beate?” Traude replied “She’s abandoned us. She’s thought of nothing but her bed, couch and garden since she’s left home. We will not be seeing our burglar again. She is long gone.”
The girls looked very saddened by this but Beate in particular looked as if she’d burst out crying. The first friend outside of her family Beate had now seemed to abandon them and she would never come back. Bertha decided to do the right thing and wrap her right arm around her cousin.
“Long gone you say?” said a familiar voice.
The girls suddenly gasped and turned around to see Brianna emerge from behind a nearby tree. They all sighed immense sighs of relief and Gillian chuckled in amazement.
“Brianna Baggins!” she said “I’ve never been more happy to see anyone in my life!”
“I-I’m sorry I gave you all a terrible fright!” Brianna said.
“At least you’re alright.” Beate piped up.
“But…we’d given you up!” Kamilla said.
“How did you get past the-OW!” Frieda exclaimed as Ophelia applied the medicine “How did you get past the goblins?”
“Yeah, how’d you do that?” Daniela inquired.
Brianna looked around and chuckled nervously and she stuffed her hands in her pocket. She couldn’t let them know her little secret.
“Oh you know…” she said as she twirled the ring between her fingers in her pocket “We hobbits have our tricks you know?”
Gillian looked at her with concern. She was acting awfully suspicious even for her. But she dismissed it as probably shock from getting out of that horrid place.
“What does it matter?” Gillian finally said “She’s back.”
“Wait a minute! It does matter.” Traude said before turning to Brianna “I want to know. Why did she come back?”
Brianna darted her eyes everywhere. All eyes were on her. Especially Traude who gave her that stare she almost always gave when she demanded to know the truth. Brianna’s eyes then darted back to Gillian who gave her a look that said ‘Well, young lady, why did you?” She sighed and finally took her hands out of her pocket.
“Look I know all of you doubt me. And I know you always have.” Brianna replied “And you’re right I often think of Bag-End. And my miss my books. And my arm-chair, my garden. My neighbors. See that’s where I belong. That’s home.” she then looked directly at all the girls “But you don’t have a home. It was stolen from you. But I will help you take it back if I’m able. That’s why I came back.”
The girls stayed in silence for a few moments as they thought over what Brianna had said. And then Traude did something unexpected. She looked at Brianna and smiled a soft, kind smile. Brianna felt rather brave. She was giving up a journey home, back to Bag-End, to help these dwarves. She had a feeling they’d need her. And, in a way, she needed them.
Gillian then chuckled softly. “Hobbits truly are amazing creatures, aren’t they?”
And then the girls heard something they didn’t expect. Something that sent shivers down their spines.