Michael turned to see the daemoni warlord, Bel’og, standing beside two mounted Roman soldiers, one of whom looked particularly crass.
“Pardon?” Jeshua asked.
“My horse tires,” the crass soldier said, removing a large pack from his saddle and tossing it at Jeshua.
Bel’og grinned at Michael. “Roman law states he’ll have to walk it a mile.” Ignoring the demon, Michael drew his sword, and positioned himself between Jeshua and the two soldiers. The boy heaved the soldier’s pack onto his back, as Bel’og sauntered away, and the soldiers gave a flick of the reins.
“So, Jew,” the other soldier said. “What’s with the belief in only one god?”
“Yea, I hear he doesn’t have any consorts,” the crass one said. “What’s wrong with him? He impotent?”
Jeshua ignored them and kept walking. “I’m talking to you, Jew.”
Michael stiffened as the crass soldier leaned down and smacked Jeshua on the back of the legs with his horse whip. The young Messiah tripped, and both soldiers laughed. Ignoring his bloody shins, Jeshua stood back up and continued walking.
“You know,” the crass guard said in Latin. “He’s pretty strong. He’d fetch a fair price at the slave market.” He grinned. “And we could have some fun before we sold him.”
Michael tensed with rage. “You touch him, and you’ll be a eunuch.”
“You and your love of Greek ways,” his comrade said. “Give me one woman over ten boys any day.”
“Don’t know what you’re missing,” the soldier said with a laugh.
“Even so, is he gonna ride with you?” the other asked. “Because we have to be in Syria by tomorrow.”
The crass soldier cursed, evidently forced to dismiss the idea of selling the Messiah at a Syrian slave market. To make up for his loss, he resumed speaking Greek, and taunted Jeshua by mocking various Jewish rituals, until at last, “All right, Jew, that’s a mile.”
Michael’s relief was cut short when Jeshua looked up at the man. “May I take it another mile for you, sir?”
“Are you mad?” Michael demanded.
The soldier stared at him. “You mocking me, Jew?” “No, sir.” The soldier looked uneasy, then grinned. “Sure. Walk it another mile.”
They started off again, but this time the soldiers remained silent.
At the end of the second mile, Jeshua handed the soldier his pack. “May Jehovah bless you on the rest of your journey.”
-- This was an excerpt from the novel, Guardian of God: The Young Messiah, available now!
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