Kyron left to gather ingredients necessary to brew Ambrosia, and told Yaway he should spend the day deciding who he wants to be his companions.
Yaway ventured to the spot he had met Wile, and sure enough, he found a piece of fruit in the middle of the road, and he bent over to pick it up, he tensed and prepared to intercept the strike. He caught the serpent just behind the head, just before it could sink its fangs into Yaway’s ankle.
“How do you know what only reptiles know?” said the serpent.
“I’m here to offer you a gift,” said Yaway. “I need someone like yourself, someone who is crafty and cunning. Do you swear allegiance to me?”
“I swear to no one. You mention a gift, but all I’ve heard is a demand.”
“Do you recognize me?”
“I think I would have remembered a god if I saw one,” said Wile.
“Do you see a lot of snakes with lion heads?”
Wile flicked his tongue. “Yaway, was it?”
“My friend! Please, there’s no need to keep such a firm grasp on a pal, right?”
Yaway set him down.
“Now about that gift…”
“I am looking for new gods.”
“New ones, huh? Word is there are no gods left.”
“And yet here I stand,” said Yaway.
“Indeed. There you stand.”
They both remained silent for some time, Wile gyrating back and forth.
“Look, how about this,” said Yaway. “You and I can be equals. If the that’s what’s keeping you from doing it, forget swearing to me.”
Wile couldn’t resist. He followed Yaway back to the cave, where they awaited Kyron’s return. When he finally came in with the bag full of reagents, Kyron glanced at the two of them and called Yaway over to him.
“What are you thinking?” asked Kyron.
“I know it’s a risky move, but he’s everything I want in an ally: he is keen and canny. He can execute a plan, and most of all… he most resembles my own nature.”
“You could have sought a lion,” said Kyron.
“And I still can. I just think Wile will make the best right-hand.”
“Remember the snake and the beaver.”
There was a forest fire spreading and a beaver was about ready to cross a river to safety when a snake called out to him. The snake asked the beaver to ferry him to safety. When asked why the beaver should trust the snake, the snake replied that if he were to bite the beaver mid-stream, both would drown and perish. The beaver found this logical and let the snake slither onto his back. Halfway across the river, the snake bit the beaver. Just before he became paralyzed, the beaver asked with his dying breath: “Why?” The snake replied, “It is my nature.”
“Look,” said Yaway, “If it’s in his nature to be a certain way, it’s in my nature to be that way, too.”
Kyron sighed and said, “It is your choice.”
Kyron brewed the Ambrosia up to the point of adding a splash of Yaway’s blood. At this point, Kyron took a flint knife slit Yaway’s palm, dripping blood into the brew. It began to bubble and turned from muddy brown to golden.
Wile drank the contents of the bowl and fell into a deep sleep.