“WHO DARES TO DISTURB my slumber!” Zarius shouted, the Centaur’s voice thick with sleep.
“I’m sorry, sir,” the voice behind the door said, quivering. “I was sent to awaken you. A contingent of soldiers has just returned from Madiera. They found the girl with the Silver Breastplate.”
Zarius threw back his blanket, unfolded his four, long legs, and set his hooves on the floorboards with a clang. “Gather my generals. I will meet with them in the council chambers immediately,” he said with excitement. “And have the soldiers bring the Duende girl.”
“Um-m-m…they don’t have her with them, s-sir,” the messenger said. Now his voice was really trembling.
The door flew open and Zarius’s large, black body filled the frame. His black and silver shirt was only half covering his human chest. His greasy, black hair was falling across his face. “What do you mean, they don’t have her?” he growled, his steely eyes piercing the young colt.
“Sh-she got away, sir,” the Centaur colt said, backing up until his haunches rammed into the rough boards on the opposite wall. Feeling a splinter pierce his backside, the soldier cried out in pain and leaped to the left.
Zarius reared up on his hind legs, pawed the air and rammed a fist though the door. “Incompetence! I am surrounded by incompetence,” he yelled. Lowering his front hooves back to the floor, he narrowed his eyes and pointed a long, bony finger at the quivering colt. “Gather my generals, now!”
The colt spun on his haunches and galloped down the narrow hall and around a corner, leaving Zarius alone to savor his anger. The Centaur commander pushed his hair out of his eyes and jerked his shirt over his shoulder, shoving his arm through the black sleeve. He pawed the ground with a front hoof. “How does that little girl always succeed in slipping away from me?” he growled.
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