“Shut it, John. Our men can put it down easily enough,” the general boasted heartily. Then how is it supposed to go up against whole cities? Zephyr asked himself. A rap at the door had all the men turning in their seats. The attendant scurried in to whisper to the general. “Well, man, let him in,” the general exclaimed. The attendant saluted and went back to the door to motion the Punjab scout in.
In fine regalia, the scout strode in, purposeful, but unsure as to why he was being admitted to the general’s maproom. This had not been on the agenda for today. “Prince Ishan Orlov, sirs,” the attendant announced to the rest of the room. A larger man watched from outside the hall, unhappy about having been left out. Ishan bowed deeply, “May I be of some assistance to you?” he asked, his voice gently seeping through the room.
“Prince Orlov, nice to finally meet you. We were meaning to have a nice chat with you at the banquet tomorrow night. Were you able to attend this morning’s fitness test?” the general asked warmly. Zephyr looked at the man, knowing damn well that the general was playing his simpering weasel card to the fullest.
“Yes, sir. A rather splendid sight to behold. I must commend you on the fine assortment of troops you have at hand,” Orlov raised himself back to a proud standing posture.
“I am pleased to hear that they were to your expectations, Prince Orlov,” the general smiled. He motioned Orlov to a seat at the table. Orlov hesitated for a second, his seat being next to Zephyr. The man had never come back to the physical assessment test to finish administering it. “Thank you,” Orlov responds to the general as he eased into the cushioned seat. Zephyr passed him a glass of water, if only for the sake of courtesy. Orlov took it and placed it on the table in front of him.
The general cleared his throat uncomfortably. “I don’t wish to seem impertinent,” he started.
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