Chapter 17

I woke up to a scream. It wasn't a scream of terror, but of laughter. I smiled and slid off of my bed. The gypsies are here. Ladon and I had split the bed last night, but he managed to take most of it up. Leaving me on the edge. I dressed quietly. I slipped into my dirtiest dress.

“Took ya long enough. I thought ya might no' be coming.” I raised my head and glared playfully at Billy.

“Like I would miss out on a war. So what is the game today?”

“Well we were gonna do dragons like usual, but we met some dragons along the way. They don' seem to bad. I don' wanna hunt 'em. But I don' know what game to play. We always played dragon hunting.” We were in my backyard. He knew the rules about the forest and we silently agreed to use my property as the war ground.

“We could play for treasure! Who ever wins could get some treasure. I have some wooden coins. That could work.” Billy agreed and went to get the rest of the gypsies. I called Peter over. He came with a scowl.

“We are in a dangerous situation. A dragon could be waiting on the edge of the forest for us to let our guard down and you want to play a game? Are you really still that immature?”

I stood up to my full height, which wasn't much. It just made me feel better. “You boys are so jumpy, one of ya will end up shootin' some one else if they step on a twig wrong. I think ya need to relax some.” I refused to look down. He sighed and placed his weapon on the edge of my house.

“Boys, come on over. We have some treasure to win. The gypsies aren't going to beat us this time.” Peter and I had always been the leaders. It didn't change today.

“This war shall be a clean one. No eye-gouging, or tripping of any kind. The loser will admit defeat without complaining or whining. Otherwise they get the sissy torture.” I looked at Peter and stuck out my hand.

“A fair, no crying, fight it is.” I turned away from Peter to face the gypsies. “Get ready for war boys. They 'ent gonna take our treasure from us! We will fight until the end!” Cheers and war cries erupted around the yard. My side immediately started to make mud balls and place them into piles. We were hiding behind the house, waiting for our enemies to come.

A small chuckle caused me to look up. Ladon was peering out of my window to watch us.

“I have watched these wars before, but this close should be fun,” I heard his voice echo in my head. With a smile and a small wave, I turned back to face the enemies.

“Don't attack until you see the whites of their eyes,” I hollered.

“I seen 'um! They are heading around back. They must be retreating,” Billy and I looked at one another.

“Half reverse! They are spreadin' out. Think they can fool us,” Billy called to the army. I faced to the side, ready for whichever side came first. No one came. Billy and I looked at each other, confusion in our eyes. Did they fake playing with us?

“I'll go check it out.” Billy walked behind the house. A few minutes later I could hear Peter's voice.

“We have a prisoner. Surrender now or he will be tortured with feathers.”

I heard a gasp, “They are gonna give 'em the tickle torture. We hav' to surrender now!”

“No, I have an idea. Stay in positions.” I crept behind the house. One of the younger boys was near the edge, supposed to be a lookout. I hid behind him until the other boys had moved farther away. Then I grabbed him and covered his mouth. The gypsies cheered me on when they realized what I did.

I uncovered the boys mouth, “What is your name?”

“B-Ben.”

“Well, Ben. I want you to write a note to your men, asking for help.” I snapped my fingers, a stick was placed in my hand. “We will demand a trade.” I took Ben to the side of the house and made him write what I said.

A few minutes later, we were safely hidden behind the wall again. After telling everyone to hush, I peered my head around the corner. Peter was glancing at the dirt. He looked in my direction and I gasped. Quickly moving away, I waited for his response.

“A trade? You think that boy is more important to me than Billy is to you?”

I smiled at Ben, who looked nervous. “I know you well enough to know that you will do it even if he isn't important.” I walked out into the open. Some of the new gypsies gasped, others knew me better than that.

“One on one? Or trade?” He looked at me, deciding the best course.

“Trade, then we will continue this fight-”

“After dinner. Come on, bring your friends too.” I glanced at Mother. We called the war to a halt. We would continue after dinner. I grabbed two plates of food when no one was looking and quickly walked upstairs.

“Where are you going?” I heard someone ask. Turning around, I almost hit one of the boys.

“Sorry,” I muttered. A boy with brown hair stood in front of me. He seemed about the same age as Peter, and something set me off about him.

“I am going upstairs. It is crowded up here,” I said, trying to stay polite.

“Oh, well could I come?”

“No.” I turned around to go upstairs when he grabbed me.

“Why not? Are you hiding something?”

I scowled, “No, I just don't like strange boys in my room.” He smiled and let go of my sleeve.

“I am sorry. Sometimes I get accused of being to pushy. Hope that does not bother you.” I finally understood why he seemed off. His accent wasn't one the gypsies used. Most people seem to catch it after a day or two. He must have been with them at least a week.

I narrowed my eyes at him and flew up the stairs. When I got to my room, I slammed the door closed. Ladon looked up at me, startled.

“Is something the matter?” I glared at the door.

“It was just someone out there. I don't think he is a gypsy. He acts to... polite. I guess that is the word.”

“Maybe you are just stressed out. I do not sense anyone here with an evil intent.”

I blinked at him, “You can sense evil?”

He shrugged, “Just like every other animal. It protects us from things that cause us harm. Humans probably had it at one time too.” I nodded and handed him the plate.

“I have so many questions for you.”

“How about later tonight, when your war is over, I try and answer some?” I nodded in excitement. He just laughed and dug into his plate.

The End

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