Glad you could join us for the next counter-intuitive episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
King Arnie’s calm faced Sirehta’s anger. “You can see we are not demons, flaming or otherwise. We are only protecting our homeland from those who want to harm us. Where is your home, soldier?”
“My home is gone.”
“I know not. Foreigners came offering a life of ease if the young ones would go with them, but my people grew strong from hard work. No one wished to go.”
“Then how did you come to be here?”
“The Foreigners came back — armed — and ripped us from our land. Chained and starving, we arrived here, where they sold us to others who promised we may return home if we help them defeat the flaming demons.”
“Do you believe them, Sirehta?”
The young serpent considered. “They seem to have no country of their own. Whatever they desire, they take from those they call ‘evil’, and work only at killing. But I have seen no demons, flaming or otherwise, so perhaps they are not the people they wish us to believe they are.”
“Release him,” the King ordered.
The captain blinked. “Your Greatness?”
“Sirehta is not here by choice. The aggressors have stolen his freedom and forced him to fight; he has no quarrel with us, nor we with him. He is our neighbor from a distant land, and we are sworn to help our neighbors in their need. Captain?”
The captain lowered his head. “Apologies, King Arnie. At ease, men. Your Greatness? Permission to bring our guest some water.”
King Arnie the Former smiled. “Granted.”
Curling himself into cautious comfort, Sirehta eyed the King. “What am I to pay for my life?”
“Nothing, friend, your life is already your own.”
The serpent accepted the returning captain’s offered drink, gulping hungrily to its end. “Thank you,” he said, peering into the young soldier’s eyes.
Shaking early morning dew from the surrounding ferns, Lieutenant Terrance’s awaited scout bounded into the clearing. At the sight of the viper, he drew his weapon and took his place between his King and the Marauder.
The viper’s instinct pulled him into a coil, prepared to strike.
To be continued. . .