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Eliana glanced around again. “You’re sure about this?” She asked. “You think the risk is worth getting the Fire Stone? Even after learning that it isn’t the only thing that kills the gliefs?”
Raynold jumped up from where he had been sitting, his eyes suddenly wide. “WHAT? The Fire Stone isn’t the only thing that can kill gliefs?” He yelled.
Eliana placed a precautionary finger over her mouth and frowned at him. “Hush! The gliefs will find out soon enough that you are trying to help us escape. Let’s not hurry their discovery.”
“Oh!” Raynold gulped and sat back down again. “My deepest apologies. B-but, please, explain that remark you made earlier! What did you mean by saying that the Fire Stone isn’t the only thing that can kill the gliefs?”
Eliana sighed. “I really don’t know why that information surprises you. I thought everybody knew that.”
“But we don’t! Everybody thinks that the Fire Stone is the only thing that can kill the gliefs! That’s why I’m out here with these girls. Our mission is to find the Fire Stone and bring it back to our village so we have a way to protect ourselves from the gliefs who have become more than a nuisance.”
Eliana held up a hand. “Well then, I think before we go any further in your mission, I need to explain some things. First of all, the Fire stone is not the only way to kill the gliefs. I don’t know who spread that tale, but it is not true. Almost all the weapons invented could kill a glief. They are extremely gullible once you know where their heart is.”
“Then what’s so special about the Fire Stone?” Diana interrupted.
“I was getting to that,” Eliana said, giving Diana a look of reproof. “When heated to the proper temperature, the Fire Stone is an explosive that could destroy the gliefs’ homes in seconds. These are the only mountains tall enough, big enough, and strong enough to protect the gliefs’ babies from their enemies and the Fire Stone could blow them up easily. So they searched everywhere for it so they could keep it from exploding.”
“Why didn’t they just make it explode somewhere far away from their home?” Diana blurted.
Eliana took a deep breath and closed her eyes. “You are going to make me angry Diana,” She said slowly as if fighting for control over her temper. Her fists clenched and unclenched at her sides and there was a slight frown between her eyebrows, but otherwise there was no sign of her anger.
Diana ducked her head in embarrassment. “Sorry,” she mumbled.
“I forgive you,” Eliana replied graciously. “But please do not interrupt again. Now, to continue: The gliefs are mere animals. They have no human intelligence that would be able to know how to cook the Fire Stone to the proper temperature. Besides, the only living person who knows the proper temperature is me, and they don’t know that I hold the key to destroying their home.
“I was taken as a prisoner when they stole the Fire Stone, but they didn’t know how significant I was. They simply saw me as another morsel of food to feed themselves when I was fat enough. What they didn’t know is that I knew what they planned and have only been eating enough to keep me alive so therefore have grown no fatter over the months.
“What surprises me is this rumor that the Fire Stone is the only thing that kills gliefs. It must have been started by someone, because the gliefs can’t speak our language. So who would want the gliefs safe? Who wants them kept alive?”
Eliana paused as if lost in thought and after a few minutes, Diana timidly raised her hand. “May I ask a question?” She queried.
“You just did,” Eliana said, but her eyes sparkled with amusement and she didn’t seem upset. “But no matter, ask away.”
“Do you know of any enemies to your people, Raynold? Have you ever been at war? Is there anyone who wants to be in complete control of this world?” Diana had turned to Raynold as she asked these questions, but a shadow of thought passed over Eliana’s brow even as Raynold began brainstorming.
“Why are you asking that?” He finally replied.
“Well, if one wanted to rule the world or to take revenge on somebody or everybody in a certain place, what would be easier than to have gliefs do your work for you and not have to worry about harming yourself. You would simply have to train the young gliefs to obey your commands as one might train a dog and then swoop down on the rest of civilization and carry out your evil plan.”
Raynold fingered his newly grown beard thoughtfully. “You have a very good point. I don’t think our village has any enemies, but it would be good to find out.”
“But first,” Alyssa broke in, “let’s get the Fire Stone.”
“Are you sure you know where it is?” Alice asked Eliana again.
She nodded. “Absolutely. If you’ll follow me, I’ll lead you to it.”
She turned to the back of the cave and walked down the narrow passageway. Obviously, the gliefs couldn’t have gone through these passages, but they were the perfect size for the humans. At the very back, Eliana stopped. Her hands flew across the rock searchingly until, with a hollow groan the rock moved aside leaving a gaping hole where a wall of rock had stood before.
Triumphantly, Eliana smiled back at the group huddled behind her. “Here is where I disappeared Alice, and here was where we are going to escape once the Fire Stone is safely in our possession. Come, follow me.”