Sunday, April 8, 2018

Page 1679

He didn’t do a very good job. Not like she would’ve done, anyway. Blood got everywhere, and some meat definitely went to waste, but it was the best he could manage. There would still be more than enough for the three of them, though.

They started cooking it immediately, and soon enough, the smell was making Parson’s mouth water. He tried to wipe his hands clean onto his clothes and the grass, but it didn’t work all that well.

They ate together. It was wonderful. Damian was absolutely right, Parson felt. Everything did taste better when you were hungry.

Parson gave Damian some crap for botching the kill. Damian defended himself by saying that he’d never hunted an animal that big before. Germal just ate in silence.

With their bellies finally full, they kicked dirt onto the fire and moved on, leaving most of the sheep for the worms or vultures or whatever else wanted it.

They still had a few hours of daylight left, and if they kept a good pace, Parson thought they might be able to reach the next village. Whether it would be a safe place to stay for the night was another story.

The hills just kept going, on and on along the foot of the mountains, but there was no shelter to speak of here, and Parson was worried it might rain, too. When they eventually started to see lights among the treeline, they knew they were close to the next village and so left the hills behind to go investigate.

They were wary, of course, and took their time approaching. The darkening twilight helped, though the lowering temperature did not.

From the concealing safety of the treeline, the Trio found a good view of the center of the village. Parson had been here a couple times before with his mother. It was called Lhustol, this place, and it had a nice creek running through it with a cobblestone bridge connecting the two sides.

Everything seemed calm enough at a glance. No burning houses or shrieking villagers.

But then a band of horsemen appeared at the far end of the town and rode over the bridge and right past where the boys were hiding.

Parson was frozen with fear as he watched, but he also got a good look at them. It wasn’t just soldiers on those horses. There were kids, too. Girls.

Girls from Trintol.

Parson thought he saw Alisa Brandt among them. Her hands were bound; her brown hair was mussed; she had a black eye; and it was hard to tell in the evening light. But it could’ve been her. That torn dress looked kinda familiar.

Something stirred in the pit of his stomach. Anger like he’d never felt before. He wanted to just leap out of the shadows and attack the soldiers head on, but thankfully, his fear was keeping him in check.

He watched the horsemen ease to a stop in front of the tavern, tie their horses next to a trough, and then carry the girls inside with them.

Parson looked to the other two boys. They were already looking back at him.

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