Our Fellowship of the Poem, still soggy from their adventure, quietly returned to ThincTanc under cover of darkness to retrieve the miniature Donkeys. And because the White Lizard had sent all of his minions to Castle Mudbug, the great absurdian tower was unguarded, and the recovery was effortless.
Then they stuffed the Donkeys and themselves back into the wine barrels, opting to float down the Brandy Wine River ® a few more miles. Needless to say, everyone was starting to get pruny from all the watery adventures!
Unbeknownst to them, Smuggle and Duggle had likewise crammed themselves into a barrel and travelled with the rest, quietly gloating over how sneaksy and tricksy the Frogs were . . .
. . . until the Fellowship reached the great Elven kingdom of Riddledale!
"Son of a Stinkbug!" muttered the twins in utter defeat as a hundred arrows were pointed in their faces by the fair haired kin of Lady Ahavarwen.
And that night, under the bright Evenstar, a mighty council was held around a fire pit on Lord Melrond's patio. Cans of Brandy Wine River ® Brew were chugged and the refreshment was much appreciated.
"Rest up while you can," said Melrond from the throne of branches she sat in. "Tomorrow, you must be on your way, for The One Poem ™ needs to be destroyed by April Thirtieth or all will be lost."
"Then let us be rid of it now!" cried Cool Dude Merry as he raised his guitar and brought it down upon the Poem. The guitar exploded into bits of wood and string, sending Merry flying backward into the nearest lilac bush.
"The One Poem ™ can not be destroyed by any craft we posess, " said the Dark Knight. "It must be cast into the fires of Mount Dumb, from where it was forged."
"Which is no easy task!" continued Melrond. "The volcanic mountain is located in the lands of Moarder, which is guarded by the ever watchful Eye of DUPon."
"Uhh ... um ... uh," DUGlo stuttered in confusion, "isn't that your girlfriend?"
"Yes," the Dark Knight replied, sighing in despair.
"And she can only be restored to her original Arachniddy form by first destroying the Poem," said Melrond.
"We knows a secret way into Moarder!" gurgled Smuggle and Duggle, who were currently handcuffed to The Lawn Gnome of Whimsy. "We promises to help you if you take pity on us and frees us afterwards!"
"Then it is settled," said PRadriel. "Let's get all these smelly-bottomed Dwarves washed up with soap for a change and be ready to ride by morning."
Rosie Grace promised to have a buffet of delicious donuts and puffy pastries waiting for everyone at dawn!
That night, DUGlo Baggins could hardly shut his eyes. The anxiety was overwhelming. He was wrapped in an Elvish cloak to keep from blinding everyone else with his amplified luminescence. That Phial water he drank was some potent stuff, yet to wear off.
"Everything will turn our alright, Mister DUGlo," said Satin Gamjeez, patting his employer on the head. "It always does, year after year. Everyone with the determination and the fire of poetry within them always makes it to the finish line of NaPoWriMo. You'll see."
"I hope you're right, Satin," DUGlo said. He drifted into an uneasy sleep filled with dreams of his fellow Fellowshippers in peril - all because of his lousy choice of yard sale acquisitions.