Chained to the wall as she was, Astra could not feed herself, so Belboz
held one of the mushrooms to her lips.
"What's wrong with them?" Astra asked suspiciously.
"Nothing. Now are you going to co-operate and eat them, or should I magic them into your stomach? That would be more work for me, and would be very unpleasant for you."
Reluctantly, Astra opened her mouth and let Belboz put a mushroom inside it. She resisted the temptation to bite his fingers, Belboz was nasty enough as it was, and it wouldn't be wise to provoke him. She chewed on the mushroom and swallowed it. "How long have I been held prisoner?" she asked.
"Four days," Belboz said, feeding her another mushroom. "But thanks to the spells I've placed on you, you are still in perfect condition. Your muscles are not deteriorating, and your body's waste products disappear into thin air. Even your hair remains as if it's just been brushed. So long as I provide you with food and water, you can stay here without harm as long as I choose."
Astra made to say something, but all that emerged was a gurgle. "When I said that there was nothing wrong with the mushrooms, I should have said that there was almost nothing wrong with them," Belboz confessed. "I put a spell on them to rob you of the power of speech. You see, there's a dragon slayer wandering around the caves just now, and it wouldn't do to have you spilling the beans to him about my true nature, would it? Not realising that the dragon and I are one and the same, he asked me for help, which greatly amused me. And I did help him, since too unequal a contest would be no fun. I arranged an assistant for him, who really does want to help him and who has no more idea of my true nature than he does... But you've stopped eating. Don't you want the rest of the mushrooms?"
Astra angrily shook her head.
11/7/2002 1:27:35 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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