Canto 139 – Battle of the Flowers
Thousands of thistle-like Throckpods came thundering over the hill with thorns brandished and wild looks in their very human-looking eyes.
From the other side, a large group of vegetable people with seed-like eyes came up behind Ged and his disciples, presumably to support them in the upcoming battle.
“What do we do, Sensei?” asked Junior.”
“I need the telepaths to all try to locate the Grainmaster. He’s the key somehow. If they have a hive mind going on here, he’s the connecting point.”
The Throckpods connected first with a phalanx of violet flower-people. Violet petals were torn from the faces of the flower-men who barely made a scratch against their weedy attackers. The poor flowers were overwhelmed.
“Sensei, I detect the Grainmaster over there amongst the Throckpods!” Hassan shouted. “You can’t actually see him from here. He’s surrounded by at least a dozen of those nine-foot-tall purple-headed thistles.”
Ged could see the thistle-Throckpods he was talking about. Somehow they had to get to the Grainmaster himself.
“Shu? This may be a suicidal attack, but if I turn myself into the armored ape form, can you and Taffy throw me by telekinesis into the center of the Grainmaster’s party?”
“Sensei, what will we do if they tear you to pieces or thorn you to death?”
“I may well be harder to kill than they think. But if I am gone, Shu-kun, you will be in charge. You will flee back to Gaijin and prepare defenses there.”
Shu and Taffy looked at each other, nodded yes to each other, and then picked Ged up with their combined mind powers. As he rose through the air, Ged transformed himself into the green armored ape he had used to eat Throckpods before and save Sara from having her sap sucked out.
The two young telepaths did an excellent job of transporting Ged safely to the very spot he needed to reach. Then, when directly over the Grainmaster’s “head,” they dropped him straight down.
Ged had a moment to assess his enemy as he was dropping down through the air. The Grainmaster was shaped like a giant ear of corn with arms and legs and two black kernels of corn for eyes. He carried a giant wheat stalk as a scepter.
Ged landed on the corn-thing directly. Two Throckpods tried to stop him from attacking the Grainmaster, so he ripped them apart first before he began eating the Grainmaster whole. A rain of poisoned thorns bounced harmlessly off of Ged’s metallic hide. The corn-thing was terrified as he was munched up by metal gorilla jaws.
A shudder went through all the surrounding plants. Ged could see all the flower-warriors wilting to the ground. All the flower forces were apparently rendered completely powerless by the demise of the Grainmaster. Ged knew instantly that he had erred in the most serious manner possible, even before he realized that it was far worse because, even though the Throckpods were affected by the Grainmaster’s death too, they were not nearly so devastated as the rest of the plant people.
Ged’s students all easily used their Psion powers to part the sea of wilting Throckpods. They came to Ged’s aid.
As Ged returned to his normal face and form, he suddenly became aware of someone else he knew from before.
“I should’ve realized it was you behind everything,” Ged said.
“Of course. I came back in time specifically for this moment,” said Bres the Black Spider formerly of Gaijin.
“You are the reason these weeds have human-like eyes.”
“Yes, they are made from my DNA as well as the Grainmaster’s. I control them with my own willpower. The Grainmaster was my prisoner. Now that you have killed the him, all the regular plant people will die, leaving my Throckpods in charge of the entire world.”
“Why don’t you tell him who you really are,” challenged Hassan Parker. “He needs to know that you are not who you pretend to be.”
“My word, White Spider. You have an exceptionally powerful telepath there. I can’t seem to force him out of my mind.”
“You might as well tell him yourself. If you don’t, I will.” Hassan was livid with anger.
“Oh, no! It can’t be true!” sobbed Sara as she, too, managed to read the Black Spider’s mind.
“Yes, Ged. What they are going to tell you anyway is entirely true. I am you from the future. That’s how I know exactly how this turns out.”
“He’s not telling you the whole truth,” warned Hassan.
“Yes, he’s not the only future you there is. And he doesn’t know how it turns out for him, only that he tried to defeat you here. What happens to him next he doesn’t know,” said Billy Iowa. “But my clairvoyance tells me he is not going to get any of the things he wants because…”
But before Billy could finish, Bres changed into a bird-form and leaped into the air, flapping madly to get away from the scene.
The Throckpods were returning to full and mobile life.