Glad you could join us for the next satisfying episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
The Aero Squadron Captains set down on either side of the Queen.
Watching the prisoner’s face, she said, “This would-be murderer has hinted that the lookouts might have been attacked. Start on the east side, please, and scan the perimeter.”
As they flew off to investigate, she continued the interrogation.
“Who is the General?”
“Who is the Assassin?”
Still no reply.
King Arnie stepped forward. “We will learn these things with or without your help, but life will go easier for you if you tell us what you know. Where are your forces quartered?”
“My forces are everywhere, and we cannot be stopped.”
“Your Magnificence,” Vernon broke in, “he seems intent on wasting our time. I suggest we end this charade and eliminate the threat he admits he poses.”
“His only known crime right now is attempted murder,” the Queen pointed out. “The laws of the land protect even such as… this. ”
Wheezing laughter, the scorpion sneered, “Your laws keep you from protecting your own land, and invite stronger minds to seize it. In the end, you must lose — it is only just and right.”
“I will not debate the philosophy of rule with you. The justice you will experience here is whatever is justified by laws that apply equally to all.”
The Aero Captains approached from the west, landing closer to the prisoner than wisdom dictated.
“Queen Lilian, both lookouts on the eastern side were stung many times. We brought their bodies to the Hive.”
“A weak land of weak people,” the attacker spat. “I will show you the only strength.” In a blurred strike, he reached for the Captain’s leg.
Just as quickly, the second Captain struck with his beak, snapping at the offending claw to leave it hanging by a thread.
Screaming with pain, the captive retracted both arms dripping a thin blue trail in the dirt. “Your petty vengeance will not revive those I have killed.”
“You confess to slaying the Queen’s lookouts?” King Arnie asked.
“Yes,” he hissed, “and I will do the same to many more as soon as you pull me from this trap.”
A rubbery flapping unaccustomed to daylight flupped against the stony wall above the prisoner and folded into a skin-wrapped fist of fur clinging to the rock face. Neither the largest nor most senior of the Hive Elite, Captain Nadia had earned her rank and reputation by deed. A fearless strategist, relentless in battle, she held the respect of all who served in her unit.
“Good morning, Captain,” Queen Lilian greeted her. “Thank you for joining us at so sunny an hour.”
“It is my pleasure to serve, your Magnificence. We were still winding down from last night’s excitement.”
“I’m glad we haven’t disturbed your rest. Have you eaten?”
“No, ma’am, not since the banquet.”
Queen Lilian turned to King Arnie and her Liaison. “Gentlemen?” They both nodded, She tilted her head to scrutinize the scorpion. “We find you guilty of two murders and an attempted third. Captain,” she glanced up at the hungry eyes beneath the twitching ears, “justice — and breakfast — are served.”
To be continued. . .