Maron looked at him with wide, dark eyes under a forehead creased with concentration―anticipating that what Leonidas was about to say would be hard to understand and memorize. “Sparta needs good men. It needs clever men.” Leonidas heard Alpheus suck in his breath in outrage, but Maron just stared at him like a calf looking at the butcher. “And it needs men who are not so clever.” Alpheus let out his breath in relief, but Maron still looked like a steer awaiting slaughter.
Leonidas grew serious again. “That was just a joke―about my brother, I mean. I am very serious about Sparta needing you, Orsiphantus’ son Maron―”