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I turned, and came face to face with Mish. I checked his expression quickly. Good. He didn’t look like he was about to hyperventilate. Must be good news.
‘What? If something has gone wrong—’
Mish hastily cut me off. ‘No no, nothing’s wrong, well, not exactly...’
I ground my teeth. Brain liquidising was sometimes so tempting, but I couldn’t go around killing my men. Bad example. ‘Tell me now, Mish.’
‘There’s a fight. Round the back of the barracks.’
I pinched the bridge of my nose. Trying to manage a revolution was stressful enough without my men picking fights with each other at every opportunity. I held my arm out to Mish, and he grabbed it, teleporting us to the barracks, before cracking away again with what I thought was an unnecessary amount of glamour for a mere messenger. I’d have to talk with him later. Squaring my shoulders, I strode towards the gaggle of men and women clustered around someone.
‘OI!’ I yelled at the top of my voice. The gang of people tried to melt away at the sound, but to no avail. Sudden walls had formed around us, and at my command they spiked anyone who tried to get away. I folded my arms, my voice dangerously calm.
‘I recruited you to fight in a revolution.’ I eyed those closest to me. (I have freaky yellow eyes, so this tends to work quite well.) ‘NOT TO QUARREL LIKE FIVE YEAR OLDS!’
‘But General—’ One of the gang had stepped forwards, a reptilian looking man with the ability to poison things by touching them. I searched for his name. Selseth. That was it. ‘No disrespectses meant sir-um, Ma’am- but we hadses our reasonses. This hereses soldier isses a-a-a gayses, sir.’ I frowned, trying to decode his strange speech. One of my soldiers was gay? Huh. He must have failed to include it in his personnel report.
Selseth’s twin sister, Medusa (self-explanatory), stepped forward, dragging a soldier behind her. She flung him into the dirt, and spat after him. My breath caught. There was no mistaking those wings, even though they were now cut up and bloody.
‘MISH!’ I called.
There was a crack behind my ear. I winced.
‘Get him to sickbay, and never teleport right behind my ear again, or I’ll atomise yours! Move!’
Mish hastily complied, and the soldier- unmistakably Ishmael- was gone. I slowly turned back to my men. Right. Now they were going to get it.
I sprinted as fast as I could to get to the medical tent. Flying, while enjoyable, takes up lots of energy, and after my recent punishment spree, I was drained and tired. I flung open the door of the bright, warm tent and stepped inside.
‘Doctor?’ I called. Dr Harrison stepped forwards, his eight arms laden with bandages.
‘General! If you’re inquiring as to the health of our most recent patient, well, his physical scars will recover, but his mental scars...well, he took quite a beating, is all I can say. I’d recommend transferring him.’
I swallowed, and nodded. ‘Can I see him?’
‘Certainly. He’s just through there. I’ll, um, leave you two alone.’
I waited until the doctor was gone, then zipped the tent door shut. There was a curtained-off area in the far corner, and I approached it cautiously.
‘Ishmael? You there?’ I received no answer, so pulled aside the curtain and sighed. Ishmael was sitting on the edge of the camp bed with his elbows on his knees and his blond head in his hands. I sat down next to him.
‘Hey you. Ishmael, you should have told me. I wouldn’t have minded.’
Ishmael shook his head. ‘You have too many problems to deal with at the moment. I didn’t want to add to them. I’ll hand in my resignation tomorrow.’
I looked at him for a long moment. ‘Yeah. Maybe you should. MISH!’
Ishmael jumped as the familiar loud crack resounded behind his ear.
‘From which position, Ma’am?’
‘Are you the chief advisor?’
‘Well, not anymore.’ I turned to Ishmael. ‘Congratulations, soldier. You are now my chief advisor. Not sure what it means, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out.’
Ishmael was looking at me like I was crazy. ‘You’re promoting me?’
I grinned. ‘Nope. I just fired you, and now I’m reinstating you. MISH!’
‘GO!’ There was a crack, and I was left in the tent with Ishmael. I adjusted a bandage on his wing. ‘Your duties will start tomorrow, soldier. Report to my tent at 0600.’ I stood and made my way towards the door.
‘River-General-Ma’am?’ I turned back to Ishmael.