The Giant Plant (continued . . .)

Janno's blade flickered in the moonlight. I've only one chance of life ! Gathering his strength, he leapt for the wall behind him. Thank the stars ! Soon he was breaking the grim news to the Emperor. The people have fled, together with most of the armed forces. Only the Guard Cavalry remain, Imperial Majesty ! And rebel forces are approaching the city ! Imperial Majesty, I urge you to leave before it is too late. No ! I will stay and meet whatever fate has to offer. To think that a mighty empire is being brought down by a plague of vermin ! Vermin they may be, Imperial Majesty—but all my scientific skill can devise no way of combating them. On the plain not far away, the debased aristocrat, Tax Toru, watched triumphantly as frightened Trigans left the city. Your people are deserting you, Trigo ! Soon your enemies will enter that deserted city and cut you down from your proud throne. Then—a voice from the crowd. Tax Toru ! Can it be you, my son ? Mother ! I had never thought to see you again. You were condemned for life to the mines ! Mother—listen. Come with me to safety. I have friends— Lokans— Lokans ? Is it not enough that I should see my son shame his country and family name ? Must I now accept that he is claiming friendship with Lokans ?
Then she was lost in the passing crowd. Mother ! What have I done ? What have I done ? Tax Toru returned to the secret Lokan hideout in the hills. He found his new comrades feasting. Greetings, Tax Toru. Sit with me, my friend. Trigan's enemies are approaching the city. Tomorrow we will complete the destruction begun by the rallus ! A plan was already forming in Tax Toru's tortured mind. Speaking of the rallus, friend. I am puzzled as to how you grew them to such a size. You're a fellow after my own heart, though you are a Trigan. I'll tell you the whole story . . . When his companion had finished, Tax Toru took a firmer grip on his heavy drinking horn. What do you think of that, then ? You have told me all I need to know ! Then he struck the Lokan at the back of his neck—and leapt ! Stop him— don't let him escape !

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 478 on 13 March 1971.


The Giant Plant (continued . . .)

A dishevelled figure on a stolen kreed was riding through a lonely valley. Suddenly—the hiss of an arrow ! Aaaaagh ! He was instantly surrounded by Lokans. This time I shall not miss ! No ! Save him for the leader— he takes a special delight in dispatching Trigan curs ! The prisoner was dragged before the leader of the renegade band. Trigan ! I regret that you will not live a little longer, to see your capital city in ruins and your empire collapse in confusion ! No ! Wait ! I have a request. What's this ? Let me live to see the accursed Emperor Trigo slain before my eyes. Then I will die happy ! Who are you, Trigan ? You look like a slave, yet you speak like a warrior ! I am Tax Toru— formerly commander of the Trigan Imperial Guard, until I was disgraced by the judgment of Trigo and sent to slave in the mines. I escaped this morning, and I only live for vengeance ! You please me, Tax Toru. A man driven on by hatred is a good ally. Your wish will be granted, and you shall help us in our plan— tonight !
That night, disguised as desert traders, Tax Toru and two Lokans entered the city gates with a wagon. Looking and speaking like a Trigan subject, the escaped convict aroused no suspicions. We bring a load of vegetables for the market. Pass through ! They came to a dark street. Release the rallus ! A tumbling host of squealing rallus emerged from a cage within the wagon, and scuttled into the dark entrance. Tax Toru was puzzled. How can they destroy Trigan City ? Parts of the city are already infested with them. Ah !—But those are special rallus ! Quiet, fool ! He is not to be told the secret ! Two days later, a market was held in the great square of the city. When the twin suns of Elekton were high in the sky— it happened ! There was a thunder of countless flying feet. Market stalls were overturned in confusion. And a host of giant rallus hurled themselves at the panic-stricken crowd. Eeeeeeeh ! —look ! By all the stars ! Aaaaaah !

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 476 on 27 February 1971.


The Giant Plant (continued . . .)

The Giant Plant

The small boy who looked like a man raced through the streets, pursued by flying stones. Ha ! See the big fellow run ! Mother ! Mother ! They're hurting me ! He reached home, and the comforting arms of his mother. My child—have those rough street boys been ill-treating you again ? Yes—they wouldn't let me play with them. Soon he was sleeping peacefully. He has the body of a grown man but he is still a child in his mind. Yes, but his mind grows every day. Husband—can we not take him away to some remote spot where he may mature in peace ? So the family left the city and settled in a valley beyond the plain. There they built a rough hut, and cultivated a vegetable patch. But others occupied the heights above the valley—a band of renegade Lokans who had never accepted Trigan rule. Get rid of those Trigans ! Take what they have, and put them to the sword. The Lokans attacked. Mercy ! Spare us, and —and I will show you a miracle ! A miracle ? I don't believe it ! Such ibises ! It's true. Look at our son —three lunar months ago he was a sickly child in arms, and we feared for his life !
The puzzled Lokans pondered. Mother—may I have a drink of water ? Another strange thing— he drinks water all the time. He could drain a river dry. Instead of slaying the family, they brought them before their leader. It is a fantastic tale—but it may be true. It can easily be tested. At an order from the leader, one of the band went out and trapped a rallu, one of the fierce vermin of Elekton. Feed it the ibis seeds ! Within days, the rallu had to be transferred—with great difficulty—into a much larger cage ! Imagine ten thousand of them set loose in a crowded city ! By all the stars, I'd hate to meet that brute outside its cage ! Brothers ! Here is a weapon with which we can destroy Trigan City, and perhaps bring that accursed empire to its knees ! Meanwhile, in the dreaded convict mines, the hate-filled Tax Toru had reached the end of his endurance. Escape ! Escape ! And then—death to Trigo's empire ! The nobleman whom Trigo had debased for treason was ready to take his revenge ! HA ! Uuuuuh . . .

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 475 on 20 February 1971.