Glad you could join us for the next rebellious episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
Sometimes you must go back to catch up. She who is unnamed.
“How could anyone be so barbaric?” Cassandra and Arturo had helped his family cleanse their nest, and were once more on their way to Fen.
Arturo shrugged. “Spike was angry and bitter. It’s no excuse, but all he wanted to do was cause as much pain as he felt. D’Arc — well, he’s cold evil. He actually enjoys terrorizing and killing. When the leaders of a group are like that, they get two kinds of followers: people who feel the same way they do, and people who are afraid they’ll be the next victims.”
“They’re bullies,” Cassandra insisted. “We need to stand up to them.”
“That’s what my parents did. Look how that turned out.”
“But Sylvia is safe.”
“Yes, and now she feels guilty about what it cost.”
“It wasn’t her fault.”
“I know that, you know that, my parents know that.” Arturo’s forehead wrinkled. “Why did the rebels come back? I went with them because they said they’d leave her alone.” He was close to tears. “I did everything Spike told me to do…” he whispered, “everything. I was stupid to believe them.”
“Don’t blame yourself, either.”
“Then who should I blame? I could have killed them in their sleep — I had plenty of chances. How else will anyone stop them? When D’Arc comes back, it’ll be even worse—“
“Doesn’t your kingdom have an army?”
“An army? Do you know what we call this place? The Freelands. We rule ourselves and respect our neighbors. We’ve never had a monarch. We’ve never needed an army. Until the rebels showed up, only parents told anyone what to do.”
“Did yours ask your neighbors for help?”
“Why would they? The rebels weren’t supposed to come back. How were—“
A dozen wasps dropped in a circle around them. The largest stepped forward. “Are you Arturo, son of Miguel and Valeria, brother of Sylvia?”
“Yes. Who asks?”
“We are Apocritans. You are to come with us.”
Arturo raised his fists. “I don’t think so.”
“What are Apocritans?” Cassandra braced to defend herself.
“Members of the Freelands Court,” Arturo answered, his eyes still focused on the wasps.
“We serve justice. There are charges you must answer, Arturo, son of Miguel and Valeria. If you stand in the way, young lady, you will have to answer as well. Come with us.”
She moved forward. “I don’t think so, either.”
The Apocritan flicked his wings and nodded with a jerk of his chin. Four of his companions laid hands on Cassandra, ready to strike.
Arturo flung himself at their leader, only to be grabbed and held by three others.
Their leader was calm, but a drop of venom rolled down to glint on the point of his stinger. “You will come with us.”
To be continued. . .