16. Load! Aim! Fiiiiiiiiire!

The Battle of Scarborough, from Our Own Correspondent.

Roadworks on the A171 Whitby road had sent the Ang Gonnaseckian Army coach driver on a roundabout route, so roundabout in fact that he had come back on himself, turned right at the lights, followed his nose, made another right at the Mill Inn, Harwood Dale, got in a terrible tangle after that in Dalby Forest and somehow managed to find himself heading straight into Scarborough up Racecourse Hill from the Ayton direction.

“That way, down there!” shouted a few of the more sensible passengers, and the bus turned south towards Seamer. “Hanger right again!” they shouted at the end of Dicky Harper’s Lane, but the driver was not so hot on lefts and rights and turned the other way, east towards Scarborough.

“Right! Right!” they screamed at the end of Stony Haggs, so he went left, heading directly for the Nosepipe HQ in the DIY store on Seamer Road.

“Left! Left!” they cried at The Mere, and to everyone’s relief the coach driver turned right and headed up Oliver’s Mount. Phew. They could get on to the Filey road and thence south to freedom. They didn’t see the Nosepipian look-out, in the crow’s nest on the Hispaniola galleon floating on The Mere. But he saw them.

On top of Oliver’s Mount they ran out of diesel. The Army got out of the bus and looked at the view, and very pretty it was. The only drawback was the large and comparatively businesslike Nosepipe Army now arranging itself in neat patterns in the valley below.

How splendid their squadrons looked in the sunshine. How impressive were their flags and banners, waving confidently in the sea breeze, and how disciplined their movements as they placed themselves in battle formation. The sounds of fife and drum floated up and struck terror into the hearts of all who heard it.

The Ang Gonnaseckian Army, a paltry, frightened, pink-sandalled remnant of what once had been a fearsome fighting force, watched in horrified, paralysed fascination as a double line, each of 250 archers, marched up the hill to within firing range.

The front line knelt, and the back line stood. At a shouted command from a small girl, they all strung arrows, drew back, and aimed.

“FIRE!” shouted the girl and, with a tremendous throbbing and hissing, 500 bowstrings sent 500 brand new and extremely sharp arrows whizzing at lightning speed towards the poor, dismal, self-hypnotised Ang Gonnaseckians.


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