“You know, along my way—quite near here, actually—I made the most . . . intriguing find. I wonder if you might accompany me to take a look.” Knowing the man could not resist flattery, he added, “I could use your most profound expertise, as I have never come upon such creatures before.”
“Ah! Where are they then?”
“Just a short walk from here.”
Lumbering back to his feet, Mugger winced from the effort of lifting his own massive weight. “Well, let’s be off then, before dusk sets in,” he suggested. Tottering in his insobriety, he turned to his new student. “Come, boy.”
The three set out. After making their way through an oak grove and across a fallow field, they came upon a rocky area. In its midst stood a rounded opening, like a doorway. Long shadows enshrouded it, as the sun now neared the horizon.
“This way, master,” the man said, making an opening in the brush that partially camouflaged the path ahead. He gestured for his former instructor to proceed. “After you.”
Once they all passed the threshold, he said, “Now, just yonder is a clearing with room to venture about, in the center of which is a pond.”
The boy glanced his way, as though reading his intentions, and then followed Mugger.
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