Glad you could join us for the next secretive episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
“Lady Lucy,” the Prince corrected the young Knight, “is not our immediate concern. Right now, we wait quietly for Clifton to return.”
“Or end up as somebody’s midnight snack,” Barry muttered.
Ahead, a hushed Knight announced, “Someone’s coming, Sir.”
Clifton touched down in front of Elliot. “It’s one of the Stingers. Says his name is Julius and he knew we were coming. He wants to talk with you, but he wants you to leave the Knights behind.”
“Of course he does,” Barry blurted.
“Knight, do you have something to say?”
Elliot’s tone peeled away some of Barry’s belligerence. “Sir, how did he know?”
“He probably heard us,” the Prince answered, leveling a stare at the young frog. “Some of us have done a fair amount of shouting.”
Barry stared right back. “Or, Sir, someone has betrayed us.”
Softening his gaze, Elliot sighed, “My friend, I’m grateful for your advice and your vigilance. I will be careful, but I will speak with him. Alone.”
Barry watched him go. Steeling himself with a deep breath, he shook his head and slipped into the bushes to follow the Prince.
“How do I know there aren’t more of your kind hiding among the rocks?” Prince Elliot asked the Stinger from a cautious distance.
“You have my word,” Julius answered.
“Some would say a Stinger’s word is dubious.”
“I can’t be responsible for someone else’s prejudice about my ‘kind’. I tell you I’m here alone, and you’re free to believe me or not.”
“Fair enough. What do you want to discuss?”
“I’m here to warn you against trying to fight the General. His forces are stronger than you can imagine, and his spies have infiltrated both Fen and Bog. It can’t end well for your people.”
“What can you tell me about him?”
“General Hai’s heart is as arid as the land he rules, and his determination is ruthless. He earns his troops’ respect by example and generosity.”
“His first concern is to provide for his soldiers’… needs. They’re grateful.”
“And if we refuse to surrender?”
Advancing on the Prince, the Stinger replied, “I have been sent to persuade you or kill you. Your choice.” He looked up as his tail reared over his back.
Fear shivered down Elliot’s neck.
A flurry of wingbeats ruffled the dust as Lady Lucy descended to snatch the Stinger and carry him away.
Elliot stood motionless. Something scuttled off behind him.
Barry turned toward the sound, but Prince Elliot was safe, so he hurried to follow the bat instead.
To be continued. . .