We surged forward and smashed our way out of the gallery. On the other side was another ring of mown grass, followed by another ring of fortification. This time the wall was forty feet high, composed of granite blocks. A dozen guards had taken up position along the top. One was pulling on a rope, swinging a mighty booming bell. The others pointed rifles in our direction.
‘Use my special weapons!’ cried Ingel Brankel. ‘No need to aim. Just fire!’
Horace leaned out through the open door, directed his device towards the top of the wall and fired. Something shot out of the tube with a whoosh! It swerved through the air and hit the guard who’d been pulling the rope.
For fifteen seconds, gold and yellow sparks flew out in a colourful cascade. When the sparks died down, the stone all around was black and charred. The guard tumbled down from the wall and lay on the grass in a bubbling heap. A shaft stuck up from what had once been his chest, surmounted by a red flag. Two words in white were printed on the flag:
A volley of bullets pinged harmlessly against the metal fuselage of the Mobilator. The other crusaders leaned out on both sides of the driver’s cabin.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!
Multiple rockets looped through the air and descended upon the guards.
It was a spectacular display of human pyrotechnics. Some of the soldiers simply disintegrated in fountains of crackling sparks. Others went jumping from side to side as successive detonations exploded in different parts of their bodies. One flared like a roman candle, shooting multicoloured fireballs from the top of his skull. Another whirled over and over, rotated by jets of flame like a catherine wheel. Several plummeted from the wall and lay guttering on the ground below. More red flags fluttered over their charred remains.
The crusaders fell silent, stunned by their own success.
‘Whoo-eee!’ whistled Fliss. ‘How did we do that?’
Ingel Brankel smirked. ‘They’re heat-seeking rockets. They home in on human body-heat.’
He flicked a switch on the steering column. The tingling vibration of the Adversative Particle Drive intensified. With a new burst of power, the Mobilator raced forward.
‘Annihilate! Obliterate!’ he yelled.
The Mobilator crashed into the granite blocks. The din and the concussion were mind-numbing. We battered through one wall, then another. Then we were out in the open again.
The moat and the pyramid lay directly ahead of us. Ingel Brankel had to brake hard to halt the Mobilator before we rolled over the edge. We stared at the huge structure which confined the essence of the Marquis of Morbol Villica.