Thursday, November 02, 2017
Flash Fiction #275 -- Dusty & Friends/20
Late in the morning she heard noises out in the fortress and hoped that meant the commander had returned. There were a lot of shouts, but nothing that sounded dangerous. She even let Blue go up to the slit and look out.
"A lot of horses and men arrived," he said. "They just got in through the gate."
"That's good!" she said. He darted back down to her.
"They didn't look very happy."
"Those people just rode from the city to here. Maybe longer," she replied. "They can't have liked it any more than we did."
"I don't like the desert," Blue admitted. "I want to go back to the mountains and the snow. I want to go home!"
This was the first time Blue had admitted to being homesick. She gathered him up to her chest and held him like she'd held baby kittens. After a little bit, he sighed and relaxed.
"I want to go home, too, Blue," Dusty admitted. "And we're both going to go home and everyone will be happy to see us. We are going to stop a war, Blue. You'll be famous."
"Oh and you, too!" he said and grabbed hold of her arm. "But -- but if we go home, we won't see each other again!"
Dusty had not expected the little guy to admit that he'd miss her. She knew that she'd miss him.
"I'm sure we'll get a chance to visit each other," she replied and tried to make herself believe it. "My grandmother sends a group to visit with the dragons twice a year. I bet she'll let me go along!"
And there, finally, might be a job for her, as well. Dusty felt better at the idea and even Blue seemed to like it -- probably because he would be back home in the mountains and not doing the traveling.
A little later someone brought her food again. This man was surly though, and only grunted at her questions about the Commander. He did stop at the door though and looked back at her.
"Commander Radol got more important things to do than bother with a girl what led a good soldier astray. You be happy he bothers to feed you."
Then he slammed the door shut and the bolt went back into place.
"They don't sound very polite sometimes," Blue said as he came out of hiding in the blankets. "I don't know that I trust them much at all to help us."
"We'll see what Commander Radol is like," Dusty replied. "Well, at least we have some bread and cheese. Let's have a little picnic."
"I wish Fox was here," Blue admitted. "I want him to be safe, too."
"Me, too," she said.
They had a nice little meal and then Blue napped again. Dusty waited, but she soon realized that the man would have other things to handle before seeing prisoners.
Dusty napped as well, forcing herself to sleep because it helped to pass the time. She wished she could talk to Fox and find out what he thought she should do. They had done well together despite this last trouble. She trusted his good sense.
They hadn't fallen into the hands of the orcs yet. That thought lulled her back to sleep once more.
The door moved. Blue, wise little dragon that he was, leapt from her lap up to her shoulder and into her hair before the door fully opened. Two men stood there.
"You're to come with us now, miss," one said. She couldn't tell them apart there in the shadows, but she got quickly to her feet, glad the wait was finally over. "Come quick now. The Captain don't like to be kept waiting."
"Captain?" she said, faltering. "But I thought the Commander was to see me."
"He got better things to do then see the likes of you," the second man snarled.
Not someone she could trust, then. She was glad when they stopped and brought Fox out. He looked as though he hadn't slept nearly as well as Dusty and Blue and she felt badly for him then. He did look relieved to see her, though. Since he said nothing, neither did she.
The outpost wasn't very large and the high walls blocked off any view, making it seem smaller still. A few lizards darted here and there and startling her so that she almost patted at her hair to make certain Blue was still there.
They went into the one large building and into a small office where the Captain sat behind his desk. He still glared which meant there was no hope of this going better than the first meeting.
So Dusty decided she might as well be brave and strong.
"I demand to see the commander," she said, her head up as she faced the man. "I demand to see him right now."
She'd flustered him, if nothing else. She caught a hint of a smile on Fox's face though he made certain the Captain did not see that look.
"I don't know who you think you are, missy, but we don't take orders from runaway servants --"
"I am not --"
"Silence!" He got to his feet. Clearly the man was not used to anyone talking back to him.
Fox made a little sound of warning and Dusty would have backed down. Unfortunately, the Captain came around the desk, the better to intimidate her.
"I will have none of that behavior, young lady!" His voice grew louder with each word and his face turned a darker shade of red. "You and the deserter --"
"He is not a deserter!"
The captain reached out and caught her by the shoulder with a vicious shake --
Fox and Blue both took exception to that move. Fox, even with his hands tied, knocked the man back while Blue leapt from her hair -- taking a few strands with him -- and landed atop the captain's head.
Then he bent over and bit the man on the nose.