This story is part of the Visions of Grandeur short story collection.
“Alright, next dilemma.” Tobias tapped his finger along the table in thought.
Kristen couldn’t decide whether to sigh or not. His attempts to carry on a conversation were almost cute. Not that debating ethical dilemmas was how a girl wanted to be wooed. But at least he was trying.
She allowed a smile to break out of one corner of her mouth. “Hit me with your best.”
Except for the two people murmuring to each other on the other side of the tavern, they were alone. Usually the tavern was crowded this time in the evening, but Kristen welcomed the quiet. It enabled her to chat without being hollered at by a needy customer. She fingered the wet rag she’d brought with her when she joined him at the table.
He cleared his throat. “You’re serving tables one night when a family with young children comes in seeking refuge from Lord Felnor’s men. Feeling compassionate, you hide them in the basement. But, ten minutes later, Kornich enters with ten soldiers and demands to know the family’s whereabouts. If you don’t answer immediately, he’ll kill you. The catch is that Kornich has already set his tracker on the family. They’ll find them regardless. Do you tell or not?”
Kornich was Lord Felnor’s personal, god-blessed minion who could somehow trace people to their location. Kristen normally objected when Tobias brought the god-blessed into his ethical dilemma games. They always complicated the scenario and made it weird. This one was simple though.
“If Kornich is involved, I spill. No point dying for nothing.” Kristen crossed her arms, pleased with herself for answering quickly. Maybe he’d be impressed for once.
Tobias wrinkled his brow. “Really?”
Kristen snorted. “What—would you refuse to tell? They’d find the family anyways.”
“If Kornich handed you a sword and commanded you to kill the family or he’d kill both you and the family, would you obey? Would you slaughter a family just to save your own life?”
Kristen let the sigh escape from her lips this time. Why did Tobias have to be so interested in these ethical dilemmas and stubborn about whichever side he favored? The two of them rarely chose the same side. And each discussion ended with Tobias making Kristen feel guilty…
[While most of my short stories will be published in their entirety on this blog, the rest of this story is exclusive to my short story collection.
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