The Ogre

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Several people glanced at Mitym then looked away. He stared down at his feet in embarrassment. After an awkward silence, Eticia spoke softly but clearly.

"Definitely Mitym can go. You seem to have overlooked something very important. Each of you has been so caught up in watching the princes and Uncle Ulap that you failed to pay attention to your friends. Have you not noticed that Mitym has not been sick a single time in the last 10 weeks?

When has that ever happened before? As you know, dragons come into their full powers at different times. It appears that Mitym's dragon has reached full adulthood, and as an adult healing dragon, he has kept Mitym well for over 2 months. He no longer needs special care."

The other teens stared in amazement and shame. How could they have failed to notice something so important? Mitym looked up at Eticia with a pleased smile. "Thank you. I really want to go, and I think that I can be an asset on this journey."

Atamar looked around for agreement then said, "Well, then, I guess the only thing we have left to decide is whether we should add another guard and who that should be."

Before anyone else had a chance to speak, Nehat stood up, "Princess, I think I know a solution to that problem that will also help solve another problem."

He paused and looked at Noj Vidad who looked back questioningly, but then suddenly seemed to know what Nehat was thinking. He gasped in astonishment, but then gave a quick nod of assent.

"If we have a group of all palace youth, it will be much easier to track us because they will know what to look for. I think we do need another guard, but I also think we need someone who is skilled at surviving in the wild. I also think that this guard should be someone totally unexpected so that our party will be less easily recognized."

Everyone stared at Nehat paying full attention to his words and wondering what he had in mind. Nehat continued, "Please hear me out before you agree or disagree. About two weeks after Isoje brought the baby peg to the palace, I flew to the woods to renew my training since the ogre threat had been eliminated.

I landed in the large clearing near the waterfall. I decided that I would practice building a fish trap. When I finished building my fish trap, I went towards the waterfall to put it in place.

As I got closer, I thought I heard crying. It was hard to hear over the noise of the water, and I almost dismissed it, but deciding that a survival guide must pay attention to everything, I realized that I needed to investigate.

The closer I got to the water, the more distinct the crying became. When I stood on the bank next to the waterfall, I could see that there was actually a narrow path behind the water. It was very slick, but after a few yards it opened out into a large cave."

Nehat paused for a moment, and everyone waited. "Inside the cave I found what I decided was probably a two-month old ogre. She was lying on a pile of leaves near the back of the cave crying piteously. I have never seen anyone so thin before."

Nehat shuddered at the memory. "I knew that she was not only starving but that she was also sick and that she probably wouldn't last more than a day or two without help. I know she was an ogre, but she was little more than a baby.

I couldn't let her die. I gave her every bit of food I had with me. Then I brought water and helped her sit up so she could drink. I also brought more water to bathe her face.

Knowing that she needed medicine, I went searching for the roots and herbs that would ease her pain and break her fever.

I am guessing that the ogres that attacked the Pegasus were her parents. I stayed as long as I could, doing everything I could remember that I was supposed to do in situations like that. I hated to leave her. I went back every day.

Her fever broke after 3 days, and she slowly began to recover and regain her strength. Two weeks after I found her, she was waiting for me at the edge of the waterfall. As soon as she saw me, she came running over jumping up and down and saying "Jeetee, jeetee."

Nehat smiled. "I realized that if we were friends, I needed to teach her my name, but I also decided to teach her other things. I taught her to speak Nahmu, to catch fish, to find edible plants, to fight, etc...

I told Noj Vidad about her, and he helped. She is trained in survival skills and in protecting herself and others. I think that the last member of our quest should be my friend Nelia."...

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