“So you think you want to be a queen, do you? You think you deserve to possess my beloved Stone of Courage after all I have done to keep it safe?” Not waiting for an answer Shim roared, “Well, prove yourself!” He raised his cane over his head, whirled around, and disappeared. He immediately reappeared on the far side of the cavern, close to where Tibbals and Tandum hung suspended in the netting.
Only now did Carling take the time to examine the situation carefully, and what she saw made her body become rigid and her face turn ashen. Tibbals and Tandum were suspended over a pool of bubbling lava, the source of the sulfur smell and heat that filled the cave. The enormity of the danger her Centaur friends were in caused fear to grip her heart like a vice and squeeze it so tightly she doubted it would ever beat again. Somehow she managed to force enough air out of her lungs to whisper, “Shim, why are you doing this?”
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