For Want of HerbsMature

“Taste it.” Chester commanded, when Sarah proclaimed her food finished.

“Taste it?” she asked slightly puzzled.

“Yes taste it.” A sneer appeared on the man’s face. “Unless you’d rather not, because you’ve poisoned it.”

“I’ll eat a whole bowl if you want me to,” Sarah snorted as she made up a small portion to eat.

Chester watched her, as if willing her to succumb to poison. Instead, she thoroughly enjoyed the food she'd made. It wasn’t bad. Better than what she had been fed down in the dungeons. But, by the end of her second full day of cooking, Sarah knew that the food stores were poor and herbs nonexistent.

Sharon returned that evening, soup splattered on her short jacket. Sarah could see the fire in her eyes, though her voice came out even and measured.

“Take her up Chester. General Wholawski wishes to speak with her about the food quality.”

“Like I could magically make the food better than what it was to begin with,” Sarah snorted to herself.

There was a twitch of a smile at Sharon’s lips as Sarah passed the woman. Chester marched Sarah up the stairs and they did a one eighty to arrive at a door where the hall made a left before continuing on.

“Well bring her in.” Wholawski growled form where he sat behind a large desk.

Chester pushed Sarah into the room. She was surprised to see James there. He sat in a chair next to Wholawski’s desk, as if the two men had been discussing something.

“Care to explain the lack of quality of the food? I seem to remember your previous stews were better.” The General fixed his beady eyes on her.

“Well I can only improve the taste so far given what I have to work with. Now if I had my herbs...”

“Which you then used to poison us,” General Wholawski pointed out.

“No,” Sarah shook her head, “the poison came in vials. I wouldn’t have a clue how to make a poison on my own.”

“Have it so she has to eat as much of what she makes as we do.” James shrugged.

“The poison came in vials?” Wholawski queried.

“Yes.”

“Care to tell me how you got them?”

Tell the truth if you can do so without giving away our connection, Jason quickly commanded.

“Some man from Vervell.” Sarah shrugged. “Called himself Sergeant Phoenix.”

“Chester,” Wholawski had started to smile ever so slightly. “Make sure she gets her herbs.” He looked back to Sarah. “We’ll talk about what you know of Sergeant Phoenix later.”

“Come on,” Chester growled at her. He grabbed Sarah by the arm and dragged her back to the stairs. “Now where is it that we can find your herbs?”

“Outside, Sarah told him, "in the woods."

“Then get some sleep.” Chester shoved her into her room. "We’ll leave before first light with the patrols.”

Chester left and bolted the door behind him. Sarah sighed and lay down upon the bed, wondering if she would be able to find anything so late in the year.

The End

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