The hawk circled high on the warm updrafts from the garden below. His keen eyes scanned the ground closely, searching for a very specific target in the lush greenery. A subtle movement in the grasses caught his attention. Yes, there. The grasses bent and swayed ever so slightly.
Angling his wings, the hawk entered into a steep dive. He timed his approach with precision, aiming for the small clearing his prey was moving toward. The serpent broke from the cover of the grass and paused suddenly, seemingly aware of the danger. It was too late. The hawk struck hard and fast. He grasped the creature’s long, thin body in both of his talons, grasping carefully behind its head to prevent it biting, and took to the sky again.
The serpent writhed desperately, struggling to break free from the hawk’s grasp.
“Resisting will do you no good, fiend,” the hawk said.
The words seemed to shock the serpent, and it stopped fighting.
“How do you come to possess the gift of speech?” hissed the serpent.
The hawk did not answer. He turned toward a rocky mountain spur, climbing higher to reach the summit. Only a small, flat parcel of rock made up the peak of the mountain, and the hawk dropped the serpent there. The creature landed roughly, nearly tumbling off the sheer face of the cliff before recovering.
“Do you mean to strand me here?” asked the serpent. “What harm have I caused to deserve such mistreatment?”
“Don’t play coy with me, beast,” the hawk said, hovering out of reach. “I have been watching you. I know your foul plans to despoil the man and woman. I won’t allow it.”
“I am hurt by such accusations,” said the serpent sheepishly. “Your boorish behavior has no place here. Release me at once.”
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