The Enchanted Duplicator

by Walter Willis and Bob Shaw

Chapter 18

In Which Jophan Reaches The End Of His Journey

By the use of care and discretion, Jophan was able to evade the blind rages of the giants, and he found his shield an infallible protection against the malice of the dwarfs. Thus he emerged from the danger area unscathed, and soon reached the head of the Canyon. He now found himself on a pleasant, flower-decked path leading gently upwards to a pass between the mountains. The sky in that direction was tinged with a warm golden glow, and at the sight he quickened his pace, for he knew that the glow could only come from Trufandom.

However, the path was longer than it had seemed, and the sun had set before he had reached the summit. Regretfully he decided that he had better pass the night where he was. The grass beside the path was soft and the night warm and pleasant, but Jophan found great difficulty in going to sleep. Borne on the mild breeze he heard the faint sound of happy voices coming from Trufandom, and they filled him with impatience to complete his journey.

Next morning he was on his way at the first hint of light in the sky, and as dawn broke he had almost reached the summit of the pass. Gasping, he ran the last few hundred yards and flung himself on the ground to drink in the beauty of the scene which lay before him.

Bathed in the mysterious, golden light of early dawn lay the fair land of Trufandom. Only its hills and spires were picked out by the questing rays of the sun, for the country was a sunken plateau ringed on all sides by mountains, so that it formed a secluded world of its own. A more wonderful one Jophan could not have imagined. Beautiful as it was, however, his eye was caught and held by the most wonderful thing of all. It was a tall, white tower which rose out of the rolling parkland, and soared into the sky. On the summit something glittered like a tiny sun.

This, he knew, must be the Tower of Trufandom -- and on its top The Enchanted Duplicator!

All eagerness, he started down the grassy slope. He had taken but a few cautious steps when the thought came to him that here his Shield of Umor might have other uses than as a means of defence. Smiling happily to himself, he put the shield on the ground and used it as a toboggan.

Thus Jophan sailed gaily down into Trufandom.

At the foot of the slope he again took up his shield, now shining more brilliantly than ever before, and strode through the leafy lanes in the direction of the Tower. On either side of him were numerous parks and gardens, great and small, and of varying types of beauty, and in them walked shining, godlike figures whom he knew to be the Trufans. Now and again one of them would notice Jophan, and come to greet him and wish him well, and with each encounter his eagerness grew to reach the Tower and become one of their number.

So it was that late in the afternoon Jophan came at last to the Tower. There was a spiral staircase inside, and without hesitation he began to climb it. Up and up he went, round and round, higher and higher, long after he thought he should have reached the top. But the Tower was higher than he had realised, and he was giddy and out of breath when at last he reached the head of the stairs. Above him now there was only a short ladder leading to a trapdoor.

Jophan sat on the stairway for a while until his dizziness had passed and he had regained his breath. Then he climbed up the ladder and pushed at the trapdoor. It swung open easily, on a concealed counterbalance. Above him was the blue sky.

Though he had come so far and braved so many dangers for this moment, his heart almost failed him now that it was at hand. But at last, pulling himself together, he stepped quickly up the ladder and onto the roof.

He was on the very top of the Tower. Far beneath him was spread out all the Land of Trufandom as far as the now distant mountains. The top of the Tower was a sheet of burnished gold, and in the centre was a cube of solid gold. On the cube there stood a mimeograph.

At the sight of it Jophan felt a sickness in the stomach, and his legs almost failed to support him. Whitefaced, he stared at the mimeograph. He had expected a gleaming, jewel-like machine. Instead he saw a rusty, battered hulk. The framework was filthy with ink, the drum was caked, and there was obviously something wrong with the self-feed. It squatted on the gleaming, gold cube, an obscene eyesore.

Jophan tried to pull himself together, telling himself there must be some mistake. But there was nothing else on the roof, just the trapdoor through which he had come, the gold cube, and the old mimeograph. Dazed by the shock of his disappointment, he wandered aimlessly across the top of the Tower.

As he did so his hand brushed against the handle of the mimeograph, and something like an electric shock coursed through his body. Amazed, he took a firm grip of the handle. A current of some potent force seemed to flow between him and the machine, feeding back and forth from one to the other until Jophan felt every particle of his being suffused with a strange new life. The mimeograph had also changed. There was no difference in its outward appearance, but he knew that the potent force had also taken possession of it. It was subtly changed, as if it had been dead and was now alive. The handle seemed to throb in his hand. Still uncomprehending, Jophan looked down at his own body. His skin was glowing with the same golden radiance he had noticed in the bodies of the Trufans. His limbs were being invested with the same godlike strength.

As the revelation came to him, there was sound of golden trumpets in the air, and he heard again the voice of the Spirit of Fandom.

"Yes, Jophan," it said, "you are now a True Fan: and it is yourself that has made you so, as it must be. And now you will realise the second great truth -- that this is indeed The Magic Mimeograph, and it will produce The Perfect Fanzine. For --" and now the song of the trumpets filled the air, ringing out across Trufandom to the far mountains -- "FOR THE MAGIC MIMEOGRAPH IS THE ONE WITH A TRUE FAN AT THE HANDLE."

And Jophan found that it was so . . .

This version is from GHUTENBERG'S BHIBLE -- Section 7-b (Appendix B) -- Copyright © 1994 by Greg Hills. All rights reserved.

All rights to the original material is retained by the authors.