Glad you could join us for the next free episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
Without a word, Fergus leaped to the call, leaving Vernon surrounded by a passel of curious hoplings.
“Me name’s Quinn. What’s yers?”
“Where do ya live?”
“Watch me! Can ya do this?”
“Why’re yer legs so skinny?”
“What’s that stuff on yer chest?”
“Did ya bring us any treats?”
Vernon held up his hands. “Hold on a moment. One at a time, please. First, let’s have some introductions. My name is Vernon. We’ve already heard from Quinn, so let’s go down the list.” He raised an eyebrow at the next one. “You start.”
“Very good. I am Liaison to her Magnificence, Queen Lilian, Undisputed Monarch of Fen. What do you do?”
Six little jaws dropped open, and not a sound came out.
Vernon nodded. “Just as I thought. Unemployed. Are any of you married?”
Quinn started laughing, “Hah! He’s jokin’!” The rest of the boys joined in.
Hands on her hips, Eveline planted herself in front of him, “Ya work fer a real queen?”
“Yes, miss, I certainly do.”
“Are ya a slave?”
“No, I certainly am not.”
“But ya hafta do what she tells ya, don’t ya?” Neal asked.
“Well, yes, but—“
“Then yer a slave!” Raymond and Reilly said together.
Vernon raised his chin, and held them in a steely gaze. “I am a freeborn citizen of Fen who works for his Queen.”
Aidan appeared skeptical. “Papa says kings and queens make slaves of ev’rybody else.”
Inhaling slowly, Vernon countered, “Let me ask you this: You have to do what your parents say — are you slaves to your parents?”
A chorus of outrage answered. Quinn took charge. “O’course not. We’re freeborn O’Shays!”
“Well, good kings and queens are like the parents of their kingdom. They want what’s best for all their subjects. Your papa must be thinking of the bad ones, and he’s right about those.” Vernon glanced in the direction Fergus had leaped. “I wonder where he’s gotten to.”
Eveline smiled, “He’s with Mama.”
The boys chortled, and Neal added, “They’re gittin’ re-acquainted.”
Raymond nodded, “They hafta do that ev’ry time Papa’s been gone.”
“Yeah,” Reilly confirmed, “or they git really cranky!”
“Who gits ‘really cranky’?” Fergus asked as he joined them, his cheeks flushed and his eyes bright. “Sure, an’ ya aren’t referrin’ to yer dear old dad!” Once again, he was buried beneath a pile of happy hoplings.
A ginger flash attached itself to a blade of grass. “Is this the hero ya were tellin’ me about then, Fergus O’Shay?”
“Yes, me luv. Vernon, this is me missus, Rori Aideen.”
To be continued. . .