Chapter 36:


The Scorned

Selene and I stepped out of our tent as the sun began to set. I stared at our makeshift home for a moment, then asked, "Do we need to take this with us? It shouldn't take us long to get back to the camp." Selene giggled and replied, "I would say leave it here if you think that you can survive the prince's wrath." I stared at her for a moment then began to laugh myself.

With a smile, I said, "Come on; let's get moving."

Selene and I made it back to camp much quicker than I expected. The army must have been moving at a furious pace. To my surprise, Selene and I were able to enter the camp with no resistance. Either people recognized us and were scared to confront us, or they were too tired to care. I looked at Selene, but she only shrugged, and the two of us slowly walked through the camp.

All of the soldiers were lying on the ground, completely exhausted. They must have just finished marching for the day because the only word to describe the camp was dead. I turned to Selene and asked, "What's next? It doesn't seem like anything will be happening soon." Selene paused for a moment and replied, "Let's find that older man and the Prince. I am sure that I can convince the two of them to make tomorrow our last day of marching." With a smile, I replied, "I sure hope you can. This Deadly Desert is starting to get a bit boring."

Selene nodded her head in agreement, and the two of us slowly snaked our way through the camp. Eventually, we spotted two tents crudely patched together, and I couldn't help but laugh. The Prince had to have a tent that stood out above the rest. Selene stopped in front of the tent, turning to me, and said, "I think it would be best if you stayed out here. I have a feeling both of them are going to be quite nervous around you."

I didn't like the idea of not being by her side, but I nodded my head and said, "I trust you. Just try not to take too long." Selene smiled, having gotten her way again, and quickly disappeared into the tent.

I let out a long sigh and kicked the sand under my feet with nothing else to do. Selene had only been in the Prince's tent for a few moments when two soldiers started to walk my way. They completely ignored me and tried to walk into the tent. I quickly stepped into their path and, with a forced smile, said, "I'm sorry, but my wife is in there, so you will have to wait."

The two men looked highly agitated that I was trying to talk to them. In a gruff voice, one replied, "I don't care about your wife. I need to talk with the Prince." Still blocking their path, I responded, "I understand that, and she will be right out. I appreciate your patience." The other man stepped forward and grabbed the front of my cloak. He leaned into my ear and hissed out, "You sure are talking a lot for a man hiding behind a hood."

I quickly lost my patience with these two fools. I threw my hood back as I spat out, "I said you need to wait. You can go in when my wife comes out. Now, if you are bored, I will gladly entertain you." As soon as my hood fell, the two men mumbled out an apology and sprinted away with pale faces. I guess people still remembered what I did during my initiation.

After what felt like an eternity, Selene exited the tent. Her expression was hard to read, so I asked, "How did it go?" She let out a long sigh and replied, "I was able to convince them to push for the castle tomorrow. I told them a bunch of lies about how they weren't ready for us and how advantageous it would be to attack as soon as possible." I nodded my head in understanding but remained quiet, knowing that there was more.

Selene let out another exasperated sigh and continued, "I don't understand these humans' way of thinking. There is a whole army following this one man. It's obvious that he doesn't have a clue about anything, so why are so many people loyal to him?"

I thought for a moment, then replied, "I don't think it is that they are loyal to him. I think it is more as they see him as an end to their means. I assume these soldiers don't have much, but if they can breach the castle walls, they can take whatever they want. When the giant stated that he was going to kill me and take you, these men cheered. That's the type of people we are dealing with here."

Selene slowly began to walk in no particular direction as she thought about my words. Eventually, she stopped walking once we were near the back of the camp. She stretched out on the sand and asked, "We both agree that we are on the wrong side, correct?"

I shrugged and replied as I joined her on the sand, "Honestly, it's hard to say. The soldiers here aren't exactly honorable, but who's to say that the people in the castle are any better?"

Selene let out a frustrated sigh and said, "This is all so confusing. What do we do?" I stretched out on the sand next to Selene and replied bluntly, "That's up to you. This adventure is yours, after all." Selene rolled onto her side and stared at me with a frown. "You know, your easy-going attitude isn't exactly helping me here."

Staring at the sky, I asked, "What is confusing you? I already said that we could do whatever you want. We had no childhood; this is our chance to figure things out. If you don't like this army, let's use them as bait to figure out those two on the wall. If you don't like the people in the castle, then we can attack them or leave. Hell, if you want, we could leave both armies right now and find you something delicious to eat. It's that simple." I turned to look at Selene, who was staring at me as if she was trying to figure something out.

With a slight smile, she said, "I guess I could have had a worse master." I raised an eyebrow and asked, "What is this? A rare compliment?" Selene let out a mix of a snort and a laugh as she replied, "It's just one compliment. Don't let it go to your head." With a big smile of my own, I replied, "Well, we all have to start somewhere, so I thank you for your compliment."

Selene rolled her eyes at my words and moved back onto her side, settling into the sand. Everything was silent for a moment, then Selene added quietly, "I do appreciate everything you have done for me." I didn't bother to answer; her words were enough to keep a smile on my face as she drifted off.