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The Aeolian Master - Book One - Revival


probably won't even make it through the third zone."
“Yeah,” said Ben. “It sounded like you were starting to get weird on us.”
"Don't be so negative," said Gaal. It was obvious Gaal had only heard the part about not making it through
the next zone.
Sam snickered. "You think I'm being negative? Only two people, out of what? . . . five or six hundred have
ever made it through the run. And you want to be positive. Look around you. For the first time in my life I'm
seeing plants, insects, and reptiles I never knew existed before today."
Even as he finished his words he jumped back as a small snake with a green body and a bright purple head
suddenly slithered away in the grass. Sam watched it to make sure it kept going in the opposite direction, but at
a distance of fifteen feet the little snake quickly turned and coiled its body. Its head weaved back and forth, its
tongue flicked in and out, and then its mouth opened wide while at the same time extending its neck in a rapid
motion and with great force.
Sam, watching with fascination, was almost hypnotized as the purple head danced like a reed in the wind,
and then, from the mouth, there was a small flash. The snake's head drew quickly back.
Ben was also watching the snake as it spit. He reached out and grabbed Sam by the arm and jerked him to
one side allowing the venom to miss his eye by a mere two inches. It hit him on the left temple and started
burning a hole in his scalp.
"Damn," yelled Sam. He reached up and wiped away the burning venom. Small blisters began to form
where the venom had touched his skin, even on his hand.
"That little son of a bitch," he mumbled under his voice.
“Let’s go,” said Ben. “I don’t want to wait around to see if he’s going to spit again.” They strode quickly
down the trail catching up with Dhams.
She had heard Sam yell. "What happened?" she asked as she stopped and turned to look at him.
"That little snake with the purple head spits venom," he said.
Dahms examined the blisters on the side of his head. "Probably the least of our worries."
"Thanks, I'll remember that when one spits on you." Sam was half joking and half not, nevertheless Rennie
loved it.
"When one spits on you," he repeated what Sam had just said and started chuckling. He said it again under
his breath and chuckled some more.
Dahms started down the trail coming closer to the end of the grass and the beginning of the thick jungle
vegetation.
To Ben, Sam said, “I’ve seen her before, but I never knew she was second in command of the underground
forces. She was in Hurd's tower when I was taking care of some business for my father. I had spoken to her
once or twice, but only briefly.”
“It doesn’t matter,” said Ben. “For now, let’s keep our minds on the run.”
“Yes, of course,” said Sam slowly and unconvincingly.
“Watch for movement,” said Dahms as she continued to lead.
The path wound its way into the jungle. Large limbs hung over the path casting long shadows, and huge
orange globes, growing in clusters on the branches, weighted them down so that some of them were almost
touching the ground. The foliage was so thick it was like walking through a green fog. Most of the light was
shielded making the path hard to see. The soil was moist, and there were irregularly shaped pools of swampy
water on both sides and sometimes crossing the path.
Dahms used her sword to hack at the vines and to push them aside as she progressed slowly through the
dense plant life. And just like that they stepped into an open area where the lights were once again bright and
this time almost blinding. The opening was about thirty yards across and all around the periphery the shrubbery
was sparse and the trees were smaller. Examining the trees on the other side of the opening there were long,
hanging vines, which ran back and forth overlapping each other and extending from the trees to the ground
making it easy for creatures to climb to the branches and stare down at the intruders. Here and there snakes
were slithering upon the limbs, their forked tongues flicked in and out. Once in awhile one would fall to the
ground and disappear into the dense jungle.
Some of the vines grew from the ground where the large green stalks were as thick as a man's leg. Little,
pink orchids were growing throughout the vines, and Ben noted their scent was not sweet and fragrant as most
flowers, instead it was rather fetid and quite strong. He could smell them thirty yards away.
"Look," said Rennie. He pointed at a pile of what looked like old rusty handbeams about ten feet off the path
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