Ten minutes later…

“OKAY, FINE!” yelled Ben as the three of them dodged another thick strand of wire and jagged metal bits. “That was a stupid thing to say! Happy, now?”

“All I wanted to hear,” replied Morgan as he slashed at the strand the second it caught on something, and went taut. The strand at least cut when you sliced it, which probably wasn’t doing his sword any good but better that the blade get cut up than Morgan did. “How many wires does this fu-” he stopped himself, out of deference to their new friend’s age, and instead said “-thing have, anyway?”

He didn’t get an answer out of her. Morgan wasn’t even sure that she spoke English; the kid was maybe six, seven years old, and looked like she had spent all of it living rough. But she did understand enough English to follow directions, like ‘run away!’ and ‘duck!’ Mind you, those were real easy ones to learn.

All in all, Morgan didn’t mind: good English or not, the kid had saved his ass. One of the piles of junk had opened itself up while he and Ben were looking elsewhere; expanded, it looked like an automower with little stumpy legs — and whirling strands of vicious wire coming out of its arms. If the kid hadn’t pegged one of the strands with a slingshot, that strand would have wrapped itself around Morgan’s legs. He was wearing armor, but it still wouldn’t have been fun.