Mort yawned. Those winter-time feelings were back, when nothing new happened for weeks on end. He was restless just as Scratch was, waiting on the final warm-up, when windows could be opened if only for a little while, and new green things would appear on the earth.
But for now, cold and frozen waiting.
The little green dragon's ears perked up. There were voices coming from the kitchen. One was obviously King Louis'. But the other was not. Mort was unfamiliar with it. It wasn't Scratch's voice, nor Dent's.
Mort gave a wiggle from his basket and landed on the floor with a soft plumft. He crept to the doorway and poked his head round. Seated at the kitchen table were two figures. One was the bright red Mort recognized as the giant Lobster. The other, however, was a shaggy brown.
There was a flip of paper, and the shaggy brown one said, "green?"
"Go fish." Said Louis.
"Nonono," said Shaggy Brown. "You put down either a green card, or one with the same number."
"Oh." There was a pause. Then: "I don't have either one."
"Then you take a card off the deck and that's your turn."
Mort moseyed across the linoleum, ostensibly to look in the food-closet for Cheez-its, should the question come up. The shaggy brown one looked up. "Oh. Hullo there. Uhm, Sire, you didn't tell me you had a dragon for a ship-mate."
Louis looked round at the little dragon. "Oh. Sorry. I forgot you were here."
Mort extended a paw. "Howdy. I'm Mort." He winked at Louis. "Chief treasurer here on the Darwin's Revenge. And you are--? "
The shaggy brown thing smiled and caught up the paw with a curved, clawed hand. "I'm Herbert. Or Herb. I go by either. I'm a sloth," he added before Mort could ask.
"Herb here was just showing Us how to play a card-game from his native land. He'll be staying with Us for a while. We haven't settled on a function yet."
"Function?" asked Mort.
"Yes, you know. What sort of job I can do here," said the giant sloth. "You're the treasurer and Scratch is the Cook. And Dent is the fixer-upper. But what do I do?"
"You've got some claws on. Maybe security? I'm too small to do much more than trip people and give them a 'hot foot'," replied Mort.
The Lobster-king looked thoughtful. "Maybe. You wouldn't hurt a fly. But evil-doers wouldn't need to know that. Those claws do look a bit intimidating."
"It's a bird, it's a plane. It's SUPERSLOTH!" Mort grinned. Herb grinned, too.