The Obelisk

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The Obelisk

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-Chapter 50-

“Wakey, wakey! It’s time for breakfast, ya’ll!”

The cell was already filled with light by the time Forest managed to pry his tired eyes open. The tall Terror bird named Quake stood outside the bars, sneering pridefully as usual. He was one of the main soldiers to guard the prison, so Forest had seen him quite often.

“Tough night?” He asked haughtily.

Nyx forced herself to stand. “Yeah.”

“Guess we had a lot on our minds,” Spark said. “You know, after speaking with the Emperor.”

“Hmmmm,” said Quake, sounding interested and bored at the same time. “We’ll, anywho. My friend Tawny said, that the General said, that the Emperor said, you five have been granted full-stomach meals! How lucky can you be?”

He continued on, making his voice sound more and more mocking. “It’s stupid though. You’re our prisoners. You shouldn’t be treated as guests! But, tsk, gotta listen to the boss! So—“ he slinked out of sight, and moment later, reappeared with a dead hawk dangling in his jaws. He tossed it through the bars. “There you go!”

“What—“ Crimson stared down at the pathetic piece of prey, which had landed by her feet. “This—This isn’t even enough for one of us!”

Forest glanced down at the dead hawk, then to the grinning Terror bird. Crimson was right.

“That’s one heck of a meal,” Quake exclaimed, ignoring Crimson. “Hope you’re hungry!” He turned to walk away.

“Stop!” Forest yelled. He immediately shut his mouth, realizing what he’d said.

Quake turned his head slowly to Forest. “Stop?” He giggled quietly.

“You can’t disobey your leader,” Forest choked out.

Quake gave him a pitying look. “Just because I'm a soldier, doesn’t mean I have to do everything he says,” he hissed. “I do what I want. Try to stop me.”

“We’ll tell the Emperor!” Rust barked.

“No, you won’t,” Quake said.

“We will,” Crimson growled. “We’ll tell him what you’ve done, and how you’ve disobeyed his orders.”

Quake casually turned around, giving Crimson a cold stare. He inched closer to the bars. “Ahhhh, I see. You five seem like all logical group. So tell me: who would the Emperor believe? An imprisoned gang of juveniles, or one of his most loyal soldiers?” He smiled. “Nice try. But it ain’t gonna work.” He marched away.

“What took you so long, Quake?” Demanded a female voice from outside the cells.

“Ah, you know,” said Quakes vioce, “just a little quarrel with the prisoners about their meals.”

“What'd they complain about now?” Asked the second soldier.

“Just the type of food they were getting. No big deal,” he then added, “you know how juveniles are.”

“Yeah.” The second snorted in agreement. “Typical juveniles. Always want more salt or pepper, no matter how much you give them.”

“‘But sir, I wanted dark meat!’” Quake said in a high pitched, mocking voice. The second barked a laugh.

“We didn’t say that,” Nyx whispered. “None of us said that!!”

Forest nudged her side reassuringly. “No, we didn’t.”

“He’s so mean,” Nyx whispered.

A screech was heard outside, and the female Terror bird said, “come on, time for patrol.” And the two left the prison.

A moment passed. Forest turned to look at his friends.

“Guess we should eat,” Rust said softly. “Should we share it or—“

“I’m not hungry,” Forest said, praying silently that his stomach wouldn’t growl. “You guys can have it.”

“I’m too angry to eat,” Crimson snapped, turning to storm off into the corner of the cell.

“So for just us three, then,” Nyx said, looking down at the hawk.

“Crimson, Forest, you sure you don’t want any?” Spark asked.

“I’m good,” Forest said.

“I’ll just wait till the next meal comes in,” Crimson mumbled. “Stupid terror birds.”

“Ok then,” Nyx said. She held out oen talon to carefully slice her price of the hawk, but as her claw cut through, she gasped with horror and flinched back.

“What?” Rust asked.

Forest spotted the hawk. A potent, terrible smell filled the air, and bright yellow maggots fell form is die the bird. Nyx scraped her claws on the rock below her, looking ill.

Forest stared down at the rotting insides of the prey. Quake hadn’t just given them a small bird—he’d specifically given them a rotting one.

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