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.