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Ryoo and Sarah, cut scene from Chapter 14

This goes right after Ralph says 'For the High King.' It's kind of a boring scene, I guess, and not essential to the story, but I still feel funny leaving it out.

Ryoo watched it all with black anger burning in her heart. The heatless red fire seemed to flicker in sympathy. With a growl she turned away from the images of the victory celebration. Those Terrans were foiling her every plot. She had thought only the thirteen-year-old, Cheryl, would stand in her way, but little Lenny had defeated her Katamobic eels nearly single-handedly, and now the youngest had slain her favorite dragon. It was most annoying.

A half-smile flitted over her cruel face. At least one Terran was entirely in her control.

"Inaryoo," she said, "know you of any weaknesses your siblings have? Perhaps we may exploit them."

Sarah thought briefly and decided to be totally honest. "Cheryl likes to eat, but lately I've noticed her overcoming that. She's also inclined to be lazy, but she's been crunching down on that, too. She can get rather impatient with her body; she always expects it to do whatever she tells it to do, and sometimes it doesn't. But when she's strong, these things don't bother her, and she can be quite aggravating in her ability to shrug off difficulties and press on. However, if you get her in a tough spot, where she's tired and hungry and at the end of her rope, you can get her to do almost anything." The assessment was accurate, but Sarah did not know the changes Cheryl had gone through.

Ryoo nodded. She could see the wisdom in Sarah's statements. "And what of your brothers?" she asked. "Have they failings?"

Sarah nodded. "Lenny has a tendency to trust no one but himself. He believes he sees the world totally objectively and scientifically, but he really views it through his own prejudices, and these color his thoughts and deeds. But he is something of a follower. If he sees something that seems to fit in his own worldview and opinions, he follows it whole-heartedly. So far in his life he's followed Darwinism, but I understand he's become a so-called 'Christian.'"

Again, Ryoo nodded. "And the nine-year-old?"

"Ralph is a cheerful little kid, as far as I can tell. He trusts Cheryl heart and soul and seems determined to be a Christian. He and Cheryl have become pretty disgusting, always nudging each other and talking in code about all kinds of junk, like nothing being impossible with a mustard seed, and stuff like that. He and Lenny bicker about Lenny's vocabulary, but that's pretty superficial. Ralph really does love everyone, weird though that is. He takes on tasks with frightful persistence, intent on seeing them through. While impulsive, he's not much of a follower. When other people stand around wondering what to do, he finds something that needs done and does it, more often than not. He's shaping up to be a leader, even though he's still a kid."

Ryoo nodded thoughtfully and scratched her chin. "Cheryl seems to be the weak link in the chain, as she is pushed into a position of authority she's not particularly prepared for." A ferocious grin snapped sparks from the Witch's eyes. "If we break the weak link, the chain, too, will fail, eh, Inaryoo? It's time we prepared our assault."

Sarah grinned. "Now that's a job I'm ready to do," she said. Cruelty hardened her beautiful hazel eyes.

Hidden in the stairwell, Mariel watched and listened.

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