Trongen hacked at a branch that barred his path. It snapped and fell away. He stepped forward to find a dozen more snags across his route. With a grunt crossed with a growl he attacked them with vigor.
"Have you vanquished the evil philodenron, oh mighty warrior?"
Trongen stopped mid swing and closed his eyes. He very deliberately lowered his sword before turning. The little man before him had a grin that covered half his face, his head cocked at an insulting angle. "If you have a better plan to get us to the plains, Lucian, please elaborate." He turned back and resumed his hacking. "Otherwise shut up and get us dinner."
"It's too dark to hunt. Why don't we go back to the castle?"
Trongen gave up and turned again. "Because the King ordered us here. We are his humble servants and are happy to oblige his every whim." He gritted his teeth for that last part. He hated to be at anyone's whim. He wiped the sweat from his brow, not coincidentally drawing his naked blade across the air between them.
"That's not exactly true, now is it?" Lucian was in his court finery and looked fresh as rain.
Trongen thought the angle of Lucian's head had turned condescending. He didn't know how the man could express so many emotions through his neck, but all of them annoyed him. "Close enough. Family of royalty is still royalty. So we keep going."
Trongen returned to work and a couple more strokes brought them to a small clearing. The late day sun couldn't penetrate the canopy and it was hard to see, but Tongren's senses were honed from years of avoiding ambushes and chasing orcs down dark tunnels. The grass here had been trampled. A deeper shadow across the way might be a trail. A trail for something large.
"See," Trongen gloated with a look over his shoulder. "We're getting close." He took a step forward and felt something squish under his foot.
"A little too close, by the smell of it." Lucian chuckled.
Tongren raised his foot and tried to shake off the sticky brown scat that clung to his good boots. He grunted and held in a scream. "Come on." He took another step and there was another squish. He let out the scream this time, the entire forest stirring at his anger.
"Now it knows we're coming." Lucian still sounded amused.
"I don't care. I'm going to find the beast and you're going to ride it back to the castle. If the little princess wants a unicorn pony for her birthday, then that's damn well what she's going to get."
And here are the other links in the chain. Please check them out:
ishtar'sgate - http://chickenscratchbc.blogspot.ca/ (link to post)
orion_mk3 - http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to post)
sweetwheat - http://gomezkarla.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
skunkmelons - http://www.jenniferponce.com/skunkblog (link to post)
julzperri - http://fishandfrivolity.blogspot.com.au (link to post)
Sudo_One - http://sudoone.wordpress.com/ (link to post)