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From Chapter Thirteen of the third book in the "Hannibal's Elephant Girl" series

Hannibal and Roc dismounted to allow their horses to drink from a small steam.

“Halt, you Celtiberian spies,” Imilce arched her bow. “You are now my prisoners.”

Hannibal and Roc turned to stare at the girl and her companion. They were no more than thirteen summers in age.

“Do you want an arrow through your heart?” She adjusted her aim.

Hannibal stood and raised his hands. Roc grinned and did the same.

“Imilce,” Filipe said, “I don’t think this is a good idea.”

“We’re taking them back to father. He knows how to make them confess their vile deeds.”

Hannibal spoke several languages, but the girl’s words were new to him.

“We only came to observe the wildlife,” he said in Tartessian.

“What speech is that?” Imilce asked.

In addition to Tartessian, Hannibal spoke Carthaginian, Latin, and trade Greek. Being a polyglot, he had a knack for languages.

“We wish you no harm,” he said in Greek, the language he found to be the most universal.

“Then why do you sneak through my woods like outlaws?” she asked in the same language.

“I did not realized this forest belonged to anyone. It was not our intension to trespass. Are you queen of this region.”

“I am not queen, not yet.”

 

“My name is ‘Hannibal’. May I ask yours?”

“I am Imilce Adriana Lucia Argantino, the Oretana Princess. Perhaps you have heard of me.”

“Ah, my Lady.” Hannibal bowed to her. “No, I have not heard of your name, but I am honored to meet you.”

Roc, who understood Greek, although he didn’t speak it as well as Hannibal, also bowed to the princess.

“If you will be so kind as to lower your weapon,” Hannibal said, “we would share our meager rations with you.”

Imilce hesitated.

“What did he say?” Filipe asked.

“He wants me to lower my bow and share their rations.”

“That’s a good idea. They’re probably just travelers. What are rations?”

“Food,” she answered Filipe.

“They want to give us food?”

“Maybe.” She released the tension on her bow. “Where did you come from?” she asked in Greek.

“Gadir, near the mouth of the Guadalquivir River.”

“That is many days to the west,” Imilce said.

“Yes,” Hannibal said. “We have had a long journey.”

“You look like soldiers.”

Hannibal glanced at Roc. “Yes,” Hannibal said, “we must be prepared to protect ourselves.”

“You did not do very well.”

“I agree. Your ambush was as good as any soldier could do, but I see you have only one arrow and there are two of us.”

Imilce took the arrow from her bow. “Yes, only one and I do not even have an arrowhead for it.”

“May I offer you a gift of my bow?” He took his bow and quiver of arrows from his saddle.

“Really?” She took the bow from his outstretched hand. “It is beautiful, and so many arrows.”