A Tale of Kieran, Part III

Author (in-game): Vegepythicus (editor)

Einlea was terrified. What had happened? Well, she had seen enough of Loziard’s magic to know what had happened. But why? Why would he do this to her? She didn’t have long to ponder the question. A huge black hound, hundreds of times her size, ran to the cobblestone where she lay, and almost gobbled her with one slurp of his tongue. From somewhere, she found the wherewithal to roll out of his way and into the crevice between the stones. His HUGE slurpy tongue followed her, drooling and panting great hurricanes of hot awful breath down at her. But just as the tongue was about to lick her into the waiting stomach, the hound’s owner yanked his massive chain and pulled the beast toward home.

It is true that Einlea, in her life as a human, was self indulgent and not inclined to effort or resource, but that was merely because she had no need of either. In the following days, she had cause to discover plenty of both within her. After the incident with the hound, she knew she must go far away from people and dogs. And she knew what kinds of creatures dined on grubs, too. She slept out of sight under leaves, in places where grubs would not likely be sought.

Even so, Einlea’s days were filled with terror and adventure. There were circling hawks by day and owls by night. A bear, tearing at a rotting tree trunk, gobbled grubs, indistinguishable from Einlea, by the hundreds, as she watched in horror from behind a nearby rock. The smallest stream was now an enormous, gushing torrent, to be crossed in a nutshell under the greatest of peril. Einlea passed these tests, along with many others, and she passed them well.

It was on her tenth such day that a clumsy boot kicked aside the piece of bark under which she had sought shelter from the sun. Blinded by the sudden light, she heard an exclamation from high above. Then, before she could react, two fingers dropped from the sky and plucked her up and deposited her firmly inside a huge fist.

Ten days ago, Einlea would have been paralysed with terror. But that was ten days ago. Her mind raced. “Who is this clumsy idiot, anyway??” she thought, “and what on earth does he want with a tree grub? At least he didn’t squash me on the spot. That’s encouraging, isn’t it? So he must be here to rescue me..”

She wriggled and squirmed in his fist until she could see his face, high above her, between two of his fingers. “Ugh. A beard. If I’m going to be rescued, why can’t it be by a fine young prince?” But it then occurred to her that she was speaking from old habit. “I wonder how many of those foppish boys could have survived these past ten days?” She laughed, thinking of them. “Not many, I bet. Those who wouldn’t have curled up and died immediately would, by now, be whimpering and crying for their mothers.” She looked at Kieran again. “Well … maybe he would look better if I wasn’t looking straight up his nostrils. Ouch.. Why isn’t he more careful with me??”

And then it occurred to Einlea that, if this oaf were truly rescuing her, he probably would have said something to her.

“Uh-oh.” Einlea’s heart raced and she started wriggling furiously , imagining the worst of all possible deaths. “He must be going fishing.”

Einlea couldn’t do much in her current state, but she could spit. And spit she did. In quantities unimaginable for so small a grub. She spit and spit and spit until her tiny grub mouth was too dry to spit another drop. She felt Kieran’s hand squirming and thought, “It’s working..”

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