“Hey, guys! What's up?” A young girl walked up to the group, her black hair almost purple in the light. Her sharp, thin well-defined features clearly marked her as a half-elf. Her smile was big as she pushed her long hair behind her right ear, letting it hang in front of her eye on the left.
“Oh! Hi, Little Susie. We're just on duty, so...nothing.” Tina smiled at Little Susie.
“On duty again? Weren't you guys on duty last night?” Little Susie tilted her head slightly and raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah,” Nathan's voice was monotone, “Boss must love us.”
“After last night, you'd think he'd give us a break,” Daryn rolled his eyes and pulled his mouth to one side in disappointment.
“Yeah, I heard about the scary wolves,” Little Susie made a baby face as she said it, “Ha!”
“Hey! They were no walk in the park, okay?” Daryn took on a defensive stance.
Little Susie chuckled, “But the way you tell it, you guys fought a dragon!”
“Wolves, dragons, it's hard to tell the difference sometimes, right Daryn?” Gareth elbowed him and knocked him slightly off balance.
“Yeah, yeah. Whatever. What are you up to, Little Susie?” Daryn's attempt to change the subject was less than subtle.
“I'm glad you asked!” Little Susie perked up, “I'm on an important mission and I need volunteers, and since you aren't doing anything...I was hoping you guys would volunteer.”
“What's the mission?” Nathan lowered his eyebrows and crossed his arms behind his back as he leaned in a bit.
“I'll take that as a yes!” She hopped a bit as she spoke, “Today,” her tone lowered slightly and she scrunched up her mouth and eyebrows, “we're going to take on the oh-so-important job of scaring the crows from the corn fields.”
“Oh?” Tina fingered the knives on her belt.
“Yep, and I'll show you guys how. It's not as tricky as it sounds, but it takes practice.” She grabbed Daryn by the wrist and dragged him behind her. The rest of the group followed accordingly.
“The trick is,” Little Susie's voice was a whisper. The corn field stretched out before the group as they hunched down, little sprouts dotting the field with rows of green, “you can't just scare them; they'll just go to a different part of the field. You gotta scare them from all sides, so they think there's nowhere else to go. Follow my lead. Daryn, you stay with me. Tina, Nathan, and Gareth, you guys go around and try to encircle them.” She grabbed Daryn's hand and walked, crouched toward the crows. The other three began sneaking around.
Once they formed a solid circle around the crows, they started sneaking in. “Damn!” Nathan cursed himself as stones dropped from their pouch at his side. The crows turned to him and all flew up and away. “Hey!” Nathan's eyes grew wide, “I did it.” He stood up, arms on his hips and chest puffed out.
Little Susie chuckled as the crows landed a few yards away and Nathan's chest deflated. She motioned for them to regroup. “This time,” she looked at Nathan, “we'll make sure all our stuff is on properly, okay?” Nathan looked down sadly and Tina playfully punched his shoulder.
“Fine,” he said, “Sorry, guys. This time I've got it.”
“They'll be more wary now,” Little Susie got serious again, “We've gotta be extra sneaky.” She motioned for them to circle the crows again, and held onto Daryn's hand, dragging him with her.
The group got in close this time and Little Susie motioned for their attention. “Follow my lead,” she mouthed as she counted down with her fingers from three, “Three...two...one. Raah!” She let go of Daryn's hand and charged forward and the others followed. The crows lept up and knocked each other in confusion as they flew away from the field. “Good job, guys.” Little Susie perked up again and bounced as she spoke.
“Thank you. Thank you,” Gareth bowed.
“They won't be back for a while,” Tina looked triumphantly at the fleeing crows.
“Yeah, well, we'd better get back to our patrol,” Daryn smiled at Little Susie, “We wouldn't want to get in trouble.”
Nathan made an obvious frown, “Leave it to Daryn to ruin the fun.”
“Don't worry, guys. Maybe you'll run into another dragon,” Little Susie chuckled and skipped away. The others laughed and patted Daryn on the back.
“Yeah, yeah. You guys can shove it.”