Tea with Rovi by Nico Carter-Moharic

I freeze. I heard the growl this time. I’m sure of it. Another low hiss in the distance. And the disgustingly strong scent of something I can’t quite put my finger on. It reeks of herbal tea, but that can’t possibly be right. I march around the trees in a huff. How dare somebody stink up my woods! This part of the woods is where I’m set up, so whoever has the nerve to make such a stench better get ready. I screw up my nose and squint into the distance. I storm through the bushes, and am welcomed with – not a person. A huge red face glowers over me. I barely keep my jaw from dropping. It tilts its head to the side.
“Hazel,” it says in a deep, oddly calm voice.
I stumble back a little, and scrunch my face up. “Who are you supposed to be,” I snap, scowling at the dragon.
“I am Rovi,” it says.
I scoff, and it frowns. “You are an interesting character. Judging from what I’ve heard,” it says, pulling its’ face closer to mine.
“And you’re a weird dragon,” I bark.
“You could say,” she smiles.
I roll my eyes. What kind of gut must you have to talk to me like that?
“Come, have some tea,” she says humbly.
I retch, and Rovi’s face falls. “Cocoa?” she cocks her head to the side.
I shrug and look away. I am not having a drink with a dragon, but I haven’t had any food even remotely good for years. Rovi looks pleased, and I awkwardly set myself down on a log near her. I can not believe I am in this situation right now.
“The Chosen Ones Of The Four Divines?” Rovi shoots me a judgmental grin.
“I can do whatever I want,” I growl.
“Well you’re not doing it for what you want. Are you?” she muses.
My shoulders hunch up, and I snap my stare to Rovi. “What do you know,” I hiss, sending daggers at her.
“I know more than you seem to. Your motivations are flawed,” she guesses. “Aren’t they?” she grins.
My shoulders tense up, and I take a long sip of the hot cocoa, shifting my gaze back to the ground.
“Well… the point is that I don’t really have motivation,” I mumble.
She purses her lips, frowning. I snort.
“You’re not as all knowing as you think,” I snap. My eyes flicker up to hers. “I’m here because of my mother’s motivation of money, and that’s none of your business,” I grumble.
“That’s the thing,” Rovi sighs. “That’s what you think. What you genuinely believe. But it’s not true. You’re part of The Four Divines because you care about what happens to your sister, and you know very well that when you go back to your village, you won’t be moving back in with your mother,” she claims. I take another sip of the cocoa and look at my feet.
“It’s not like I have anywhere else to go,” I whisper. Why am letting Rovi mess with me? I don’t even know her! She can’t make me feel small, she can’t do anything.
“I’m only telling the truth,” she says, reading my expression.
“And what truth is what?” I retort.
She smiles and closes her eyes, then lets out a long breath.
“This isn’t what you want,” she states. My nostrils flare and I glare at Rovi.
“You don’t know that.”
“You basically said it yourself,” she remarks. “You said you have no motivation except the one of your mother’s. Sounds to me like you aren’t completely on board with everything you’re doing,” she says.
“Well…” I stutter. “I guess.”
“You’re made for more than to work for a place like the Four Divines,”
“Pfft; finally, something we can agree on,” I roll my eyes.
“Then leave. Do something you want to do,” Rovi tells me.
“Like what?” I ask, watching her face.
“That’s up to you. You are a leader. You always have been. Lead something of your own,” she shrugs.
The dream I’ve had for a long time creeps back into my brain. But not as a dream, as an option. Start something of my own. My eyes widen. Then I’m struck with the best idea. Better than making posters for a cause I don’t believe in, better than a promotion, better than being the best soldier. I could create something of my own. I could make my own team. My own army.