Carpe Diem, Page 45

I have to rescue him, You think to yourself. Easier said than done of course, as there was no way that you could take on three men all by yourself. Yet there was no time to waste. If you took too long to act, they could take him away, or worse.

Ugh, but how do I distract a group of three without being spotted by at least one of them? you wonder. …wait, that’s it! I don’t need to. I can get the horses to do it for me!

With that thought in mind, you hurry off to grab the horses. Three men can easily take on a single human, but a beast is a different challenge altogether. On your way back, you jump the creek and start running, hoping the sound of running water and the jungle’s birdcalls will mask your footsteps. Soon, you’ve made your way to the horses and untie them from their post. Leading them by the reins, you quicken your pace as much as you can. You see the creek ahead of you. Just a bit more...

But then the unexpected occurs. You forgot to take into account that the horses were thirsty from the prior escapades! They lower their heads and begin drinking from the creek, not stopping until their thirst is fully quenched.

“Come on. Come on…” you mutter, tugging on the reins, but it’s like trying to move mountains.

Only after the horses have had their fill, do you regain their compliance and you can proceed further. Once you’re near the camp, you calm the horses and order them to stay put as you go to scout out the enemy camp one last time. As you get into position behind a particularly big colocasia plant, you can see they’ve finished their interrogation and are in the process of pulling the stablemaster to his feet.

They’re about to get away!

You rush back towards the horses. The rustling of the leaves alerts the brigands and they turn their heads, pausing for a few critical moments.

You take the reins of the stablemaster’s horse, looking him in the eye. “You must save your master, now.” The animal gazes back at you, pricking its ears as if it understood. You break a branch from one of the nearby trees, then — whack! You smack the horse on its behind. The horse lets out a snort of protest, bucking and then charging forward — straight toward the brigands!

You quickly grab your own horse and swing up, riding hard after it. Once inside the camp, you lean down, grabbing the stablemaster with one arm. One of the brigands tries to stop you, but it’s of no avail — you’re in and out of there too quickly, and much of their attention is focused on the other horse. You swing your mount around, jumping over the creek, and galloping down towards the plains and off the mountain.

After a few minutes, your horse is blowing hard, and you determine you’ve reached a safe spot, away from the brigands. You help untie the stablemaster and set him on his feet.

“Thanks for saving my hide…” says the stablemaster. “You’ll make a fine scout, some day.”

“I’m sorry about your horse,” you answer.

“Me too, but you did what you had to do.”