by Drew Rogers
She sits in the same tree every day at lunch, feet dangling from the edge of her wooden defense tower behind the kickball courts.
I stay off the blacktop as I make my way around, away from the big kids, not wanting to draw enemy attention as I approach her. This mission requires my uninterrupted attention and expert knowledge in treaty tactics.
My new shoes alone make me more prepared than the last time I was on this quest. Plus five charm, plus five spirit, plus ten agility. But I also carry a secret weapon, which I keep hidden in the back pocket of my jeans. Like the Obsidian Crusader said in Knight Golems: The Stone War, "When attempting to make allies with an unfamiliar faction, show confidence, show charisma, show something you have that is super awesome."
"Hi Aberdeen," I say, stepping across the grass, close but not so close that I put myself at risk of her launching an assault.
Aberdeen lifts her head from her book, Dragon Bones: The Ancient & Arcane; I know it well. She looks at me, her crystal-blue stare like that of a frost wizard, two brilliant glaciers that turn me to ice.
She says "Hi" back, and I thaw out.
Suddenly I realize I've come unprepared. I have nothing to offer her, other than the secret weapon, but I can't use that yet. Patience is key; she must first show interest, lower the drawbridge.