Something is frightening the people of Crongsomething with long, sharp teeth, seven eyes, and an appetite for goats. The monster's name is the Voolith, and it won't stop until it has gobbled up everything in its path! When news reaches Edwinland, King Edwin decides he must cross the wilderness and defeat the Voolith in single combat. Even if he doesn't quite know what "single combat" means.
This next King Flashypants adventure has it alljousting, evil plots, mini golf, fire-breathing toads, and hilarity at every turn.
About the Author
Andy Riley is a cartoonist and Emmy Awardwinning comedy writer whose film and television credits include Gnomeo and Juliet, The Pirates!, and Veep. King Flashypants is his first series for children.
Read an Excerpt
They're Good for You
The boy pushed a pile of vegetables around on his plate. He wasn't an ordinary boy. He was a king. King Edwin Flashypants the First. There wasn't a King Edwin Flashypants the Second or Third yet, but everybody in Edwin's little kingdom thought it was such a great name that there were bound to be loads more kings called Edwin Flashypants in the future.
But even though the boy was special, the vegetables were very, very ordinary. There was cabbage, and spinach, and something that drooped like the nose of an old witch when Edwin picked it up with his fork. It had witchy pimples, too, and it dripped green water that looked a bit like snot.
So why was this king, who had suits of armor and a big shiny crown and a castle with its own bowling alley, eating a plate full of food he didn't like?
King Edwin couldn't do everything he wanted to. Being a king is hard — you've got to look after a whole kingdom-load of people. Imagine doing that when you're just nine years old. So Edwin needed a grown-up to help him rule Edwinland, and her name was Minister Jill.
A month or two before this very vegetable-ish lunch, Minister Jill decided people in Edwinland were eating too many treats.
That's what she said.
So she made the candy shops open for just two hours a day instead of twenty-four. She had the peasants digging huge vegetable patches next to Village, which was the name of the only village in Edwinland. Then she put up posters saying:
Minister Jill was just trying to keep everyone healthy, like a good minister should. But nobody seemed to be saying "Wow, thanks, Jill!"
Today, just for once, Jill wasn't standing behind Edwin as he chewed slimy vegetables in the castle's banqueting hall. She had taken the afternoon off work to do that thing grown-ups do sometimes, when they "pamper" themselves and have some "me time." These were the days when Jill would listen to calming music and get her feet massaged, all while worrying about what trouble Edwin might get into next.
Edwin wasn't alone, though. His best friend, Megan the Jester, ate beside him. She liked piles of vegetables even less than he did, so she was finding ways to get them off her plate without actually eating them. Megan tucked zucchini into the pointy bits of her jester hat. Then she pushed broccoli through the strings of her lute. It didn't make much difference. There were still tons more to munch through.
"Help! Help!" A panicked voice floated through the banqueting hall's window and right into King Edwin's ear.
Edwin pushed his plate away and stood up.
"Megan? Somebody needs our help, and I'm fairly sure about that because he said 'help' twice. Let's go!"
It was also a great excuse to stop eating the vegetables, but Edwin didn't say that out loud.
"Your Majesty!" said Megan. "Helping people in need is so splendidly kingly!" After she had applauded the king for five whole minutes, they ran outside to see what all the fuss was about.
By now the man who had shouted "Help!" was running around the streets of Village. His name was Baxter, and nobody had seen him for years because he was a hermit. He lived all by himself in the Wilderness of Crong, in a hut made from dead wasps. Being a hermit can be lonely — but on the other hand, there's no one around to nag you about washing your armpits.
Baxter was famous for his beard, which was so long and bushy it covered his whole body. Nobody was ever sure if he was wearing clothes underneath or not, and everybody was too embarrassed to ask.
"What's the matter, Mr. Sir Gentleman Fellow Good Sir?" said Edwin. The king always wanted to be polite, but he couldn't remember exactly which words to use, so he used all the ones he knew.
"There's-a-monster-and-it's-eating-everything-oh-no-the -monster-the-monster-oh-no!" Baxter gabbled.
"Please, slow down a bit," said Edwin.
"Theeeerrrrrreeee'sss aaaaaa mooooonsssttteerrr ..."
"Okay, a bit faster than that," said Edwin. "Kind of medium speed."
"There's a monster, young man!" said Baxter. "In the Wilderness of Crong. We thought it dead these last hundred years, but we were mistaken. Turns out, it was just having a long nap. And now it's awake, and oh, it's the most terrifying thing!" Baxter was shaking and his eyes were bulging. It really was something to see. Peasants came running just to watch.
"It's taller than a quite tall man standing on a box!" Baxter spluttered. "Its teeth are longer and sharper than bread knives! It has seven eyes! It ate all my goats and then gobbled up my best cow in one gulp, it did, it did! They say it can eat people, too!" "What's it called?" asked Megan.
"Its name? I shall tell you.
Its name ...
its name ...
its name ...
its name ..."
I like dramatic pauses as much as the next boy, thought Edwin, but I hope he gets to it soon.
Edwin thought about all those poor people beyond his merry kingdom, frightened for their lives with this Voolith running about.
Then he thought about how he had to eat what he was told, like a little boy. Edwin wanted to be just like a grown-up king, and do all the brave and bold things grown-up kings do.
King Edwin Flashypants took a deep breath and spoke to the crowd.
"People of Edwinland! The good folk of Crong need my help. And they'll get it! I will cross the wilderness and fight the Voolith!"
Megan and the peasants cheered and threw their hats in the air. Those who didn't have hats ran to buy them from the hat shop, just so they could throw them in the air, too.
"A proper king always keeps his promises. And I promise you this — I will defeat the Voolith, in single combat!"
"Our king is so brave!" said one peasant.
"He is a powerful force for good in this world!" said another.
Then Edwin realized he didn't know what single combat meant, exactly. But he was fairly sure it involved some big metal box with spiky wheels, and a big boxing glove on the front that punches monsters while you relax inside it and drink lemonade.
The Windmill of Nightmares
Next to a crashing gray sea, a man was talking to a golf ball. It wasn't the first time he'd done this. But because he was Emperor Nurbison of Nurbisonia, the most evil ruler the world had ever seen, nobody dared say it was a silly thing to do.
The emperor had been thinking about Edwinland all morning, and that made him angry. He hated Edwinland because it didn't belong to him, and because King Edwin made it a land of friendship and joy. Friendship and joy were another two things Emperor Nurbison didn't like.
When he got too angry, he played mini golf to relax. But he relaxed in quite a shouty way.
"Hear me, feeble golf ball! My skill upon the mini-golf course is legend across the earth! Globulus? Fetch me ...
THE CLUB OF CHAOS."
Globulus, the emperor's tiny, loyal, beach-ball-shaped helper, came running with the Club of Chaos. It truly was a golf club fit for a terrifying ruler. Instead of a flange of metal on the end, it had a gleaming silver skull, with a sticky-out jawbone for hitting the ball.
Everything Emperor Nurbison owned was as spiky and frightening as he could make it. His castle was a tall mass of jagged stone with bats living everywhere inside it — even under the toilet seats.
His crown was so dark and spooky that some said it was haunted by a chain-dragging ghost called Clanky Peter.
The emperor steadied himself and took his stroke.
"Doesn't count! You threw me off, Globulus. I'm taking it again."
It was the emperor's private mini-golf course, so the emperor made the rules.
When Nurbison finally got the ball into the hole, he filled in his scorecard. Don't like the look of this, he thought. Even though Nurbison had been cheating the numbers since the second hole, Globulus would still win.
There was just one hole left to play. The windmill.
"My favorite hole!" said the emperor, very loudly, because he knew he was always really bad at this one. You had to get the ball straight through a narrow tunnel, missing the spinning windmill sails. It was super hard.
He was starting to hate the windmill almost as much as he hated King Edwin — and he really, really hated King Edwin, so that was saying something.
The emperor went first. Twenty-seven thwacks later, his ball was in the hole. Now for Globulus.
Emperor Nurbison and Globulus heard the unmistakable PLOP of a hole in one.
"Wait there!" snapped the emperor.
The emperor walked behind the windmill. There was Globulus's ball, sitting in the hole.
The emperor peeped back around the windmill to check that Globulus was out of sight.
He dug a pointy boot into the hole, wiggled out the little white ball, and kicked it as hard as he could. It sailed through the air and splashed into the sea.
"Oh no, Globulus! An unlucky bounce sent your ball into the sea. So now it's lost ... Emperor Nurbison wins yet again!
FOO HOO HOO HOO!"
This was Emperor Nurbison's evil laugh, chosen because it was the most chilling, terrifying sound in all the world.
"Want a trophy, give me a trophy now," said the emperor.
Globulus handed Nurbison a shining gold cup with WORLD'S BEST GOLFER engraved on it. The emperor waved it around like a champion. Five seconds later, he was bored.
"Where's my golf cart?" he said.
"Here, Your Greatness," said a thin man.
The emperor sat on the thin man's back, and the man crawled along a muddy path, all the way back to the evil castle.
The thin man was one of hundreds who had run from the Wilderness of Crong in the last couple of days, fleeing this "Voolith" creature.
At first, Emperor Nurbison sent his sinister soldiers to stop people from getting into Nurbisonia, because that was a mean thing to do, and doing mean things was the emperor's favorite hobby.
Then he realized he was missing a trick. If he let them in, he would have hundreds more people to be nasty to every day. So in they came, and the emperor gave them all rotten jobs to do.
The emperor heaved open the door to his castle's trophy room. The room was crammed so high with shiny cups, shields, and statuettes that dozens of them tumbled onto his head.
He threw his new mini-golf cup on the top of the pile, and with the help of Globulus (and a lot of clanging), he just about managed to close the door again.
Then he sat back on his throne and put his boots up on a Crong peasant he liked to call "Footrest."
That monster out in the wilderness must be really awful, thought the emperor, if these Crong people think working for me is better than being out there. Yes, a fearsome monster indeed.
A sinister soldier ran into the room.
"News from abroad, Your Greatness. King Edwin Flashypants says he'll go to the Wilderness of Crong and fight the Voolith."
Emperor Nurbison had a very long and deep think.
Then his face split into a villainous smile.
"Globulus! You know how very good I am at having WICKED PLANS?"
"Uhh, yeah, Your Brilliantness, definitely."
"Well, I've just had two of them," said the emperor. "One plan for Edwin Flashypants, and one for the monster. And they're such sly and dastardly schemes that I may need an extra tower to fit all the trophies for evilness I'll give myself afterward. When my first plan is complete — no more Edwin! And when my second is complete ..."
"Ummm — no more monster?" said Globulus.
"No more Edwinland!" said the emperor. "Foo hoo hoo hoo! But I must prepare. Meet me in the Room of Old Maps. Bring paints, ink, and a wet tea bag. Oh, and mind your fingers, because I'm going to slam this door behind me so hard it'll blow all the candles out. Love doing that. Don't know why."
Nurbison slammed the door.
And Globulus couldn't find the tea bags, because everything had just gone very dark.
A Warrior Prepares
Minister Jill was pacing back and forth in King Edwin's throne room. She reminded Edwin of a rubber ball bouncing off the walls.
I lost my best rubber ball a week ago, thought Edwin. I should tell everyone to look out for it. It's white, and I've bounced it so much it's covered in craters, like the moon.
"Your Majesty! Please pay attention," said Minister Jill. "Do you actually know what single combat means?"
Jill kept looking at him.
Edwin shook his head.
"It means that you, King Edwin Flashypants, have to fight this enormous monster all by yourself. With just a sword and a shield and nothing else."
Gulp, thought Edwin.
"Let's check the facts again," said Jill. "Please summon Baxter the Hermit!"
Megan the Jester pulled a piece of string attached to a wheel attached to another piece of string attached to a cog, and so on.
One minute later, Baxter plunked out of a chute.
Edwin's castle had loads of chutes and slides to get from room to room.
"Mr. Baxter. Tell us again about this Voolith," said Jill.
"Its teeth are longer and sharper than pirates' swords!" said Baxter, shuddering. "It's got sixty eyes! And it's taller than a giraffe wearing two top hats at the same time!"
"Is it really so frightening?" asked Minister Jill. "I don't want to be rude, but I try not to believe everything cranky old hermits say."
Baxter delved into his bushy beard and pulled out a card.
Megan wondered if Baxter had said "sixty eyes" last time, or some other number. But she decided not to say anything.
"We'll get you out of this, Your Majesty," said Jill. "We'll just say that while I had my afternoon off, you got a bit confused. You can stay in the castle and play Hungry Hungry Griffins with Megan. Alisha and the palace guards will deal with the creature."
Centurion Alisha, the leader of Edwin's palace guards, saluted with both arms and one leg. She was so tough she could crack hazelnuts with her nostrils, and if she so much as looked at a tight jam jar lid, it would be so afraid of her powerful grip it would pop off the jar all by itself. If you could pick anyone to stop a giant monster, you would pick Alisha.
"No!" said Edwin, taking a kingly step forward, tripping over Megan's foot, then standing up again as if nothing had happened. "I promised to defeat the monster in single combat. And a proper king keeps his promises."
Jill couldn't argue with that.
* * *
Edwin would be gone hunting the Voolith for a few days, so he went to the castle kitchen to pack some food.
I know I should take nice healthy vegetables, thought Edwin, but when you're doing something super brave like fighting off a monster, you deserve a few treats. So he raided the Royal Candy Jar.
All kings have big candy jars. Boy kings have the very biggest. Edwin climbed a ladder up the side of his, then dived in. It was like jumping into a ball pit. A delicious, sugary ball pit. He filled a big sack with jawbreakers, chocolate wafers, peanut caramel bars, and chewy red licorice twists.
The Wilderness of Crong is big, thought Edwin. Better take a little bit more.
"More sacks, please!" the king called.
Edwin's next job was to gather companions for his quest.
Megan was his first pick. Singing songs is a big part of a jester's job, and Megan wanted to write a really exciting one, telling the story of their adventure. So she packed musical instruments.
Jill would come, too. Edwin might be a brave king on a quest, but he knew he needed someone to remind him to brush his teeth.
The fourth member of the team would be Colin. He was Edwin's pony, given to Edwin when the king was five. The king had grown since then. Colin hadn't.
Half the peasants in the kingdom came to see the friends leave, because they loved their king and because it made a nice change from growing lettuce.
The crowd gave Edwin a huge cheer. He looked so dashing in his shiny armor.
"If I were a different sort of boy, this might make me bigheaded," said Edwin to Jill as he waved to all the girls and unfurled a big flag with his own face on it.
"Neigh," said Colin, because he was just a horse.
King Edwin hopped onto Colin and rode over the dotted line that marked the edge of Edwinland and into the Plains of Yerm. The adventure had begun.
Five seconds later, Edwin's path was blocked by a huge horse's leg covered in shimmering black hair.
Just as he suspected, the leg was attached to an entire horse. And on the horse, in a black suit of armor, was Edwin's worst enemy.
"KING EDWIN FLASHYPANTS? I CHALLENGE YOU TO A JOUST!" said Emperor Nurbison.
The emperor leaped off his horse and strode in front of the crowd. His black armor glinted magnificently in the sun, but it hadn't been oiled for ages, so it made horrible squealing noises that hurt everybody's ears.
Globulus ran after the emperor, squirting blobs of oil from a can.
"I am Emperor Nurbison, Earl of Unjerland, Overlord of Glenth and Boolander, and lots of other places listed on the helpful fact sheet that Globulus will give you. Now hear this!"
"The poor, innocent people of Crong have suffered too long from this fearsome Voolith. We've all heard how dreadful and scary it is."
"They say it has one hundred and fifty-three eyes!" wailed Baxter.
The peasants gasped. This monster must be growing new eyes all the time.
"The people of Crong need a hero to save them from the Voolith. Emperor Nurbison is that hero!" said Emperor Nurbison.
Nurbison drew his sword and posed like a statue. Sinister soldiers blew a trumpet fanfare. The emperor knew how to put on a show.
"Yet puny king Edwin, who is so puny, claims his puny sword will defeat the beast," said the emperor.
Excerpted from "King Flashypants and the Creature from Crong"
Copyright © 2017 Andy Riley.
Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. They're Good for You,
2. The Windmill of Nightmares,
3. A Warrior Prepares,
4. The Joust,
5. Into the Wilderness,
7. Hunt the Voolith,
8. Edwin Has an Idea,
9. Thump ... Thump ... Thump,
10. The Windmill of Even Worse Nightmares,
11. The Belly of the Beast,
12. What We've All Learned,
About the Author,