If Pippin had been the Ringbearer

by Fellowshipfan

This is the story of how it would have been in the chapter "A Shortcut to Mushrooms" if Pippin had been the Ringbearer.

"Trust a Brandybuck and a Took!" Sam said with disgruntlement in his voice as he brushed off his coat.

"What?" cried Merry, trying to hide a smirk. "It was just a detour - a shortcut!"

"A shortcut to what?" Sam returned.

"Mushrooms!" Pippin exclaimed gleefully.

At this they all jumped up and began picking mushrooms and filling a bag Sam pulled from his pack. Frodo was just about to follow the other three when a strange feeling came over him.

"I think we should get off the road," he said quietly. Merry and Sam came to stand by Frodo and looked with him into the distance. Pippin continued to pick mushrooms. Suddenly, a scream pierced the air that froze the Hobbits' very blood.

"Get off the road; quick!" Frodo cried as he and Sam dashed to the bank. Merry made a wild grab at Pippin, who was frantically picking the last of the mushrooms, as he ran by. The four huddled under a large tree root that made a small hollow in the bank.

Pippin could feel some presence drawing near. Maybe it is the Ring, he thought. It must have something to do with the Ring. It feels so heavy now. A dull clop of a horse's hoof was heard. Pippin felt cold sweat forming on his brow as he realized the sound was coming closer. As the heavy clop, clop became louder, Pippin found his hand was moving toward the Ring around his neck. By sheer willpower he pulled it away and wrapped his hand tightly around the neck of the bag of mushrooms instead. Pippin's heart, that had been beating so hard, suddenly seemed to stop dead as one last clop sounded right above his head. A black horse with a dark rider had stopped just above them on the road!

A metallic sound crashed in Pippin's ears as the horseman dismounted, his boots clanging on the compacted dirt road. The three other Hobbits' bodies grew stiff, Pippin could feel, when they heard the noise. Then a strange sniff was heard along with a whispered hiss. The rider was smelling his way toward where the Hobbits where hiding! Pippin's mind jumped to all sorts of thoughts so quickly they were but a blur to his mind. How can we get away? What does he want? What if he is after 'it'? What can I do? Oh, what shall I do?

All thoughts of escaping left his mind when the rider, who had been inching along the road on his hands and feet, suddenly leapt down from the road just in front of the Hobbits! All four of them jumped so that they almost bumped their heads against the tree root. The Rider pulled a sword shining with a deadly light from its sheath. He held it out only inches from Pippin's throat. The very air tingled with fear as if it were waiting for the deadly blow.

"Give It to me!" the Rider hissed menacingly.

"No!" Pippin cried with a shudder, though the word stuck in his mouth.

"Give It to me," the Rider sneered again. "I will take it to my Master."

At the thought of the Dark Lord taking 'it' for his evil uses Pippin felt strength growing within him. He would not let 'it' be taken from him. He would rather die first. Pippin felt no fear now, he knew what he must do at whatever cost. He stood up before the Dark Rider. A clear light shone from his bright eyes that reflected the decision of his Hobbit-heart. His hand covered the Ring and clutched the bag of mushrooms he still held in his hand.

"You shall not have it!" Pippin cried. At this a hissed came again from the empty hood of the Rider, or was it a laugh?

"I shall have it," the Rider said. "And then I will take the Ring to my Master."

"Oh!" Surprise, joy, shock - all such emotions crossed Pippin's face so quickly and so simultaneously that it twisted Pippin's face into the most comical expression. "Oh!" he said again. "The Ring! You want the Ring! Why didn't you say so?" Without wasting a moment Pippin brought out the Ring and handed it to the Dark Rider. The Rider almost seemed to sway with shock but then turned, leapt on his horse, and rode off like a hurricane.

The other three Hobbits stared at Pippin in horror as he choked back tears of relief. He sat upon the bank and wiped the sweat from his brow. Smiling and hugging the brown bag to his chest he said with a sigh, "I thought he was after the mushrooms!"