Glad you could join us for the next thirst-quenching episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
“We have one, sir!” the captain announced to the officer in charge of Prisoner Admissions as the Knights dropped their protesting burden on the jail’s flagstone floor.
Deputy Marco peered at the undersized frog reclaiming his dignity as he stood erect to face his captors.
“Youse are makin’ a mistake,” Barry declared.
The captain bopped him on the head to shut him up.
“Wait a minute, I know him,” the Deputy said. “He was with the King when I sounded the first alarm.”
Barry looked closer. “I remember youse. Dat’s a great voice youse got.”
“Uh, thanks. Didn’t his Greatness send you with the Knights to escort the visitors out of Bog?” the officer asked.
“Yeah, dat’s right. And now I have news ta tell him — important news.”
“Where are the Knights you accompanied? They haven’t reported in.”
“Dat’s why I hafta see King Arnie.”
The officer jumped down from his seat and took Barry by the elbow. “Captain, leave one of your men here and take us to the King.”
Elliot craned his neck to see the treetops beyond the undergrowth. A dull buzzing sawed through perfumed air. “There it is, Cassandra. Bear left at that toadstool.”
A solitary tree with orange leaves stood among the yellows, blues, and greens splashing the meadow. The buzzing assailed their ears more loudly as they approached the nearest blossom.
“Hello!” Cassandra called. “Could you help us, please?”
A face leaned out over the center of a sunny flower catching the late afternoon light. “Help you? Help you how? I really haven’t time — I’m working.” She dipped her tongue into the flower, sipping its golden liquid.
“We don’t want to keep you from your job,” Cassandra said, “we just need directions. It’s important we speak with the Queen of Fen. Do you know where we might find her?”
“The Queen? You want to see the Queen?” She wavered slightly, side to side.
“Yes,” Elliot answered. “Do you know where she lives?”
“Do I know where she lives? Of course I know where she lives,” she answered with a tiny hiccup. “She lives in the Hive.” Her hum’s pitch rose as she began a staggering dance atop the flower’s center. Poofs of pollen burst around her feet, sticky grains of the stuff enlarging the clumps attached to her legs, scattering bits of yellow along her belly. “But you won’t see her,” she warned, shaking a finger at them. “They won’t let you see her,” she insisted, taking another drink. “Outsiders never see the Queen.”
“So we’ve heard,” Elliot murmured.
“Could you point the way, anyway?” Cassandra smiled. “Maybe we can get a message to her.”
Pausing to slug back a little more nectar, the busy worker conceded, “A message, maybe yes.” She took another swig. “Go shtraight… straight… to Shpeaker’s Rock.” Her eyes crossed and uncrossed to focus on Cassandra’s face. “It’s at the base of the Tree. Wait there… someone will come…” She turned her back, slurping and stomping her way across the dusty disk.
Elliot shook his head as Cassandra led the way toward the Tree.
To be continued…