Changeling’s Choice by Rachael Ashdown

changeling75x99Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode…Soren revealed his reasons for wanting to see the King and Queen of the Trolls. As the readers suggested, the elves will go along in order to put in a good word with the Trolls.

Episode 18

“Halt.”

“There is no need for such hostility, it is only us.”

“Yes, you know we are always welcome in the King’s halls.”

“What about the others?” the Troll guard asked, his beady black eyes narrowing as he looked at Aksel, Soren, and Linnea, waiting patiently behind the elves as they attempted to charm their way into the Troll King’s halls. The door did not look like much, simply a round wooden circle, undecorated except for the single handle on the left. But the two guards on either side indicated that despite its common appearance, there was something special about this door.

“Simply friends, seeking an audience with the King.”

“Is it not still the case that visitors must seek the King’s permission to wander in his lands?”

The troll grunted before pointing his axe at Aksel, looking down his long prominent nose at the water spirit. “And what about him? He is not welcome here.”

“But he has so generously promised to escort these lost children to the King’s hall!”

“He would be remiss to abandon them without seeing them safely through.”

“Could you not give him just this one pass inside? I am sure the King would not mind.”

The elves put on their most glorious smiling faces, batting eyelashes and gently caressing the Trolls’ arms with their thin white fingers. And yet, for all their sickly seductive powers, they appeared to have little effect on the Trolls, who simply grunted and eyed the strangers carefully, sparing a long look at the weary hound that followed obediently. While Aksel and the elves had not fazed him, a low growl could be heard in his throat as he observed the Trolls with as much care as they did to him.

“Very well,” the guard said after several minutes of silent glaring. “Enter.”

The elves all smiled radiantly, gliding in through the door as it opened on its own, beckoning for the rest to follow. Aksel bowed his head in gratitude as he passed, while Linnea just continued staring at him and Soren as he stared at the Trolls. They were not quite what he expected.

“Do all Trolls look like that?” Soren asked, feeling hesitant for the first time as the door shut behind them, locking them inside the dark, damp hallway. The elves led on, torches lighting automatically as they passed.

“Certainly,” Aksel said, raising one perfect eyebrow as he glanced at the boy. “What did you expect?”

Before he could answer, there was an echo of laughter from down the hallway, followed by a string of curses and a shower of fine dirt falling upon their heads. Soren and Linnea shook the dirt from their clothing, but none of it seemed to attach to either the elves or Aksel. Magic, Soren reasoned with a bit of annoyance.

“That will be the Princes,” Aksel said with a sigh, making Soren’s confidence in his current position wane even further. He was not sure he was ready for this. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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