“Again! Again! Again!” The tree-elves chanted in unison. Though they had just lost the game of tug-a-war, they seemed eager to play it again.

“Let’s play a new game!” Arnol called to them, trying to get out of another dangerous bout of strength. “Have any of you ever played hide’n’seek?” He had played the game before as a child in the city of Immortals, but he abbreviated the name now to try to appeal to the simplistic understanding of the elves.

The gullible creatures murmured to each other excitedly, then shook their heads.

Arnol looked at them with an expression of shock. “You’ve never played hide’n’seek? It’s much more fun than tug-a-war. I’ll show you how to play! The only thing is, you’ll have to take these ropes off of us. We can’t play if we’re all tied up!”

The elves chattered among themselves, but they seemed too excited now by the idea of a new game to refuse the offer. Taking knives made of hardened wood they cut the rope from around each of the mortals, first making sure they understood that they were not allowed to escape. Arnol agreed, not feeling any obligation to keep his promise to the elves after the way they had treated them.


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