A Victory Stolen

Author chooses to be anonymous

Sneaking out with Wilaxender made Cory once again wonder about his judgment in picking friends. Still being restricted for the last time they snuck out just before food gathering, it would probably go bad for them both if they were caught. But Wil always had something to prove, mostly because of the teasing he got about his name. It wasn't his fault that during the fad of using human names his mother had decided that two was always better than one.

Well, they were almost there now. Cory could hear the noises these humans made, ever since they came to this new land. No use worrying about being caught; maybe they would make it back unnoticed.

"I'm betting on the red ones today," Cory whipered.

"That's fine with me," Wil answered back. "You always bet on them, but today I think blue will win."

"You always say that, what makes today different?" Cory asked.

"Oh, I don't know; just a feeling."

As they settled into the packed snow, the humans started the yelling that always signaled the start of the game. Cory still didn't understand the rules, but he liked to watch. Wil kept insisting that the one with the most fallen players lost, but Cory wanted to know how many humans counted for a horse, and neither of them could figure out the answer to that.

The noises continued with lots of flashing lights and falling humans. They kept count by notching sticks and soon had quite a pile of sticks beside them. Cory suspected that Wil might try to cheat today, but couldn't see how he could do it. The metal sticks were beyond their realm, being Cold Iron, and neither of them was good at making humans think differently. Oh well, why worry about what can't happen?

The noises were coming less often and both teams started to ride and walk off, gathering up the fallen players to play again soon. Too bad the humand didn't play more often, it was fun watching.

Both boys counted their sticks and Wil won by a wide margin. Cory thought again about interference but dismissed it once again.

"Well, Cory, looks like you collect my share of food for next week," Wil said triumphantly.

"Oh, boy," Cory cringed, "I'm sure looking forward to that."

The two of them crept carefully back to the groves, not missed as yet. Cory thought, maybe next week I'll win and he'll be singing a different tune.

Far down on the field, one red uniform was talking to another. "Crimney! I thought we had those bloody colonists!"

"So did I, but there at the end, the humidity mut 'ave got to the powder, 'cause none of the rifles would fire."

The End

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