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7th Phantom
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The Seventh Phantom
The Seventh Phantom's adventures were responsible for the additions of several important traditions in the lives of the Phantoms. These came about largely because of his friendship with two powerful men. Because the Seventh's mother was French (the Sixth had married Natala, Queen of France), he was sent to France for his education. There he met and became friends with the Crown Prince Arami of Timann (a district in India). After school, each returned to his own country, not sure if they would ever meet again.

When the Seventh began to dream about his childhood friend, he decided to travel to India and see Arami once more. Fortunately, he arrived just in time to save his friend, who had been kidnapped by Sengh pirates. He also recovered from the pirates many stolen treasures including a unique artifact, the White Horseman. This small statue can supposedly can reveal the future, and it is considered valuable beyond price. In gratitude for his rescue, Arami gave the Phantom the statue to take back to Bengalla, where it rests to this day in the Treasure Room. It is one of the Phantom's most valued possessions, one which he has had to defend especially against the Sengh, who prize it highly.

Some time later, the Seventh encountered another ruler closer to home. This was Emperor Joonkar, the young monarch of the vast empire of Nyahpura, which once stretched from the seas along Bengalla's coast all the way into the Misty Mountains. The feared mountain princes were, in fact, vassals of this great kingdom. In the seventeenth century, when the empire reached its zenith under the rule of Joonkar, Nyahpura boasted a palace and gardens to rival Versailles. Joonkar imported culture from as far away as Europe, and his court displayed a wealth and elegance unsurpassed in the world.

Joonkar himself was considered a wise and compassionate ruler, and was renowned as a hunter. After years of bachelorhood, he finally fell madly in love with a beautiful princess named Sheeba, from a distant country called Adzahbadar. Their marriage was arranged, and Sheeba set sail to Joonkar's capital.

While awaiting her arrival, Joonkar went on a hunting expedition which eventually took him into jungles that neither he now his entourage had ever entered before. Joonkar was a courageous sportsman who preferred to hunt with a crossbow and a small lance (to the horror of his protective court.) The hunting has bountiful - not surprising had Joonkar known that he had crossed into a jungle under the protection of The Phantom, who had made these lands into a wildlife preserve. The Phantom had forbidden hunting to all but the natives who needed to hunt for their meat. Joonkar had shot all manner of game, but was caught by surprise when his beaters accidentally flushed a lioness and her cubs. The great cat charged Joonkar before he could ready a weapon to defend himself. As the lioness leaped, and the emperor prepared for death, a strange masked figure dropped from an overhanging tree right onto the lioness' back. The lioness twisted in midair to slash her attacker, but the Phantom managed to drive his knife into her heart in time.

When the young hunter thanked the masked stranger, the Phantom told him he was welcome to the rescue, but informed Joonkar that he was trespassing, and that hunting was not allowed in these woods. Joonkar assumed that his rescuer simply did not know he was addressing the ruler of this and all other land within many days travel of the spot on which they stood. But when Joonkar revealed his identity, the Phantom did not change his attitude, but still ordered him to leave. Joonkar became angry, but the Phantom would not be cowed. The tension escalated. The Phantom's tribal allies showed themselves, surrounding Joonkar's armed guards and holding them at bay with their lethal, poison-tipped arrows. The impetuous emperor became increasingly angry and humiliated in front of his men, to the point where Joonkar drew a knife and rushed the Phantom. The Phantom managed to subdue him without harming him, using a pressure-point to render the emperor unconscious.

When he awoke, Joonkar acknowledged that the Phantom could easily have killed him but didn't, and admitted that he had behaved badly in return for the masked man's help. He pledged his friendship to the Phantom from that day forth.

While he awaited his bride, Joonkar entertained the Phantom at his court. But she was taking an unreasonably long time, and finally Joonkar found out that she was not simply delayed: her ship had been captured by pirates. They were anchored a mile offshore, where they displayed their prize with a terrifying boldness: the princess was locked in an iron cage, suspended high up on the main mast. Hanging under it was a barrel of gunpowder. The price of ransom was two million pounds of gold, and rising by a million pounds an hour! The pirates also demanded that Joonkar give them that coastal land and its harbor for a pirate city.

The Phantom advised Joonkar to stall for one hour, and sent the pirate's emissary back to his ship with that word. The pirates, convinced that the emperor was about to pay them a fabulous ransom, began to celebrate wildly, just as the Phantom had hoped. While they drank and caroused, the Phantom swam to their ship, boarded by climbing the anchor chain, and quietly made his way to the suspended cage. He freed the princess and lit the fuse on the barrel of gunpowder.

Phantom and Sheeba slipped into the water just before the ship exploded with an immense blast. The pirates who survived the explosion leaped into the water to save themselves. Joonkar, watching from the shore, believed that the Phantom and his bride had perished, and ordered his soldiers to kill everything moving in the water. But the first swimmer to arrive at shore was the Phantom, carrying Sheeba in his arms and looking, to the soldiers, like a man who had returned from the dead.

The emperor married his bride and took her to honeymoon at the most magical place in all his vast kingdom. He owned a fabulous beach named Keela-Wee, where the sand shown in the sun with a dazzling golden shimmer because it was, in fact, almost half gold dust. This beach was strictly guarded by the emperor's soldiers, and none were allowed to trespass there. On it, Joonkar built his bride a honeymoon hut carved from pure green jade, the fabled stone prized even higher than gold throughout the East. It was a magnificent creation. As they lay within, the delicate, sculptural lattice cast a sheltering lace coverlet of shadows and moonlight over the happy lovers.

But the happiness of Joonkar and Sheeba, unfortunately, was not destined to last. One year later, she died in childbirth. Joonkar was devastated. He mourned in seclusion for a full year, and never returned to the beach or the hut in his lifetime, for the pain of his loss was too great. Instead, he gave Keela-Wee and its jade hut to the Phantom and his heirs "forever and a day."

Since that time, every Phantom has spent his honeymoon night with his bride in the jade hut on the golden beach. No one else is allowed to enter the secluded beach except the natives, with whom the Phantoms share it solely for their yearly mass wedding ceremonies. When the couples are joined in marriage, they run into the water, then roll on the sand and coat their bodies with shining gold. Then each couple walks through the jade hut before dashing together into the woods.

Over the years, strangers have sometimes tried to loot the beach or steal the hut, but they have met unhappy fates, thus proving the truth of the jungle saying, "He who comes to Keela-Wee Beach without love, dies."

Joonkar never remarried, but his friendship with the Phantom became a lifelong one. Years later, the emperor decided to commission a monument to this mysterious man who had done so much for him and for his country. He decided that nothing less than a mountain would be appropriate. So he commissioned an Italian sculptor of the school of Michelangelo to design the Phantom's head on a stone peak, and hired tribes of natives to do the carving. The eventual result was Phantom's Peak (or Phantom's Head), which still stands today, an eternal tribute in stone to the Man Who Never Dies.

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