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“Don’t argue with me.”

“Argue? I’m not arguing with you, brother. This is, what, a friendly debate?” Adani grinned at his brother and raised a gilt cup in salute. “How could I argue with you when you have brought us to such riches?”

He reached up and plucked a ripe peach from a tree, turning it over in his hand.

“Who could imagine that such wonders could be found in the heart of the Desert of Insanity? Who but you?”

He bit into the peach, giggling like a child as the juice ran over his chin and forced him to lick his lips.

Hameth folded his arms and quietly regarded his brother. “Yet you would not trust me on this point.”

Adani laughed. “Having found so much, you want us to leave it behind?! It’s madness.”

“We have to make it back through the desert, Adani. Weighted down by all the gold you wish to carry, you would be lucky to make it half way. No. We take a few things, enough to prove to selected investors that we are not merely spitting in the wind, and then we return properly equipped to take the rest.”

He shaded his eyes to squint into the distance, towards the horizon where the sky was already starting to fade into the lavender blush of evening.

“Still, it makes no difference for now. We’ll have to stay here tonight and be on our way before dawn.”

Adani froze, the peach half way to his lips. “Stay- here? But what of the curse?”

It was Hameth’s turn to laugh. “Surely you don’t believe in such tales?”

Adani set the gilt cup carefully down on a stone and looked towards the dark doorway of the temple. “It was the tales that brought us here, was it not? If you admit that they have so much truth about them, then why not in this?”

“Fine,” Hameth said, lifting his pack with a smile. “You can sleep outside then. I will enjoy the shelter of the Last King’s chamber.”

Adani wrapped his arms around his body and watched his brother disappear into the darkness. “Fine,” he said. “Fine. But don’t blame me if you wake up dead.”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: Three Word Wednesday this week has the prompts Argue, Lick and Squint. I thought of a couple of previous tales, Seeking Serenity and Serenity Lost, and decided to start filling in a little of what happened between the two.)