Glad you could join us for the next improbable episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
The King stared at something far away and long ago that Elliot couldn’t see. When His Greatness spoke, there was such sad longing in his voice that Elliot’s heart wept.
“I used to be a Prince.” King Arnie the Former heaved a soul-rending sigh.
As a little slugger, Elliot had heard faery tales — from actual faeries — about humans who had been transformed into a fish or a bird, a squirrel, a donkey or a beast. It had always been a little scary to think about, but it had also been exciting, and sometimes comforting, to dream of being someone else.
His favorite had been about a human Prince who had been changed into a frog. Growing up, he and his friends had played at being the Snail Prince, hoping to convince some lovely little girl snail — or any little girl snail, for that matter — that her kiss would magically turn them into handsome two-legged creatures so they could tromp off to see the world and find their True Love Princess.
Maybe it hadn’t been just a faery tale.
Elliot shifted on his foot to keep his injury’s deepening sting from diverting his thoughts. “Your Greatness, do you mean you used to be a human?”
King Arnie’s laughter flowed over Elliot. “Oh, no no, my young friend. My father was King, and as soon as I was old enough, I entered his Knights of Service. Our job was to patrol the Kingdom to keep it safe from marauders and pests. To be honest, most of the time it was extraordinarily ordinary work. The pest eradication was delicious, but you can see what that did to me!” He jostled his bulk with a gentle jiggle.
“But I used to be young and handsome like you, and against all odds, the horrors of war brought me one brief shining moment…”
To be continued…