The Voyage of the Minotaur – Chapter 23 Excerpt

“I don’t like being outside of the wall,” said Senta, sitting on a rock and rubbing her hand along the supple neck of the steel dragon.

“There is absolutely nothing to fear, Pet,” said Zurfina, taking off her shoes, and stepping into the cool water of a small stream. “Between the two of us, we have rescued Captain Dechantagne and brought down an entire empire. Granted, it was an inhuman, stone-aged civilization. What exactly are you afraid of?”

“Velociraptors.”

“Don’t start crying about that again.” Then she mocked, “Velociraptors. Velociraptors.”

“They tried to eat me.”

“I was once almost eaten by a hydra—a hydra with nine heads. That’s much more frightening than a few glorified turkeys. Come here and put your feet in this water. It is delightful.”

“Turkey,” said the dragon. “Turkey pot pie.”

“You’re not hungry,” said Senta, moving to a rock closer to the stream and dangling her toes in the chilly water.

“Turkey. Turkey. Turkey.”

“What do you think of this spot?” asked Zurfina. “Well, that spot over there, really.”

She pointed to a place just above the west bank of the stream where several large maples grew.

“It’s fine,” said Senta. “Why?”

“I’m thinking we should build our home right here.”

“This is a long way from everybody else.”

“Not really. It’s less than six miles to the gate. We need to be far enough away from everybody else to maintain a sense of mystery.”

“I’m tired of being mysterious. I want to be near my friends.”

“Friends,” said the dragon. “Friends pot pie.”

“That’s just disturbing,” said Senta.

Zurfina sighed. “I suppose we could find someplace closer to the gate.”

“Besides,” said Senta. “This place is probably going to flood when it rains.”

Zurfina looked down at the water running over her feet, and then at the spot she had suggested for their home, and raised her eyebrows.

“Huh,” she said.

“Hello beautiful ladies,” said an accented voice from the east side of the stream.

Senta and Zurfina both looked up to see Suvir Kesi standing beneath a large pine. He wore his usual bright blue clothes and yellow fez with a blue tassel on top. He held his right hand straight out and dangled an 8 ½ x 11 inch sheet of paper.

“Uuthanum,” he said, and the paper burst in flame from the bottom, burning upwards as if it had been soaked in lamp oil.

“What the hell was that supposed to be?” asked the sorceress.

“A bit of mathematics,” Kesi giggled. “A result of the mechanism, you might say.”

“Silly thing to die over,” said Zurfina, “Uuthanum.”

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