Glad you could join us for the next inhospitable episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
Having no weapon, Barry pulled a torch from the ground, and joined Clifton to take up positions slightly ahead of Ambassador Arturo and Prince Elliot. The dark shapes became three Knights surrounding a massive Stinger whose tail dragged behind him on the ground.
The crowd backed away leaving a moat of safety around the new arrivals. The Knights stopped a defensible distance from the Prince, pinning the prisoner down with the butt ends of their slicers.
“Lady Lucy of the Hive Elite alerted us to his presence,” the lead Knight reported. “We found him lurking in the shadows, listening. He won’t say who he is or how he knew you were here, your Worthiness, but he insists on speaking with you.”
“Good evening!” The Stinger’s voice flowed like nectar. “I did not expect such a distinguished escort. This is so embarrassing — caught crashing your little alliance party. I had hoped my lack of invitation was a mere oversight.” He looked around at the unsmiling faces and grimaced. “Oops. I guess not.”
“State your name,” Prince Elliot commanded.
“Honestly, my name would mean nothing to you. I’m only a messenger.”
The Ambassador stepped forward. “Who sends the message?”
Shading his eyes from the lights, the Stinger peered at him. “Is that you, Arturo? How’s the family? How’s that delectable little sister of yours?”
Eyes ablaze, the young wasp snatched the torch out of Barry’s hand and advanced on the prisoner, lowering the flame so close to the scorpion’s face, three hairs on one of his arms sizzled away.
“You weren’t invited because you’re not welcome. Tell us who sent you.”
“Well, this is awkward. But no matter, I’m here now. If I could have just a minute or two alone with faithful Elliot over there, I’d be happy to share the message.”
“You may speak to all or none,” the Prince advised.
“You honor me, El. To be allowed to address this august gathering is truly humbling. So be it. By now I’m sure you’ve all heard of General Hai, and whatever you’ve heard, rest assured it doesn’t begin to illustrate the depth of his hatred for all of you and the violence he’s willing to perpetrate to take back that which was stolen from him.”
“Sounds like a common thug,” Clifton ventured.
“Oh ho, my fat little friend, there is nothing common about the General.”
Stepping between Clifton and the Stinger, Elliot asked, “What does he claim was taken?”
“His family. His home. His rightful place as King of Fen.”
“King of Fen? You must be joking. Queen Lilian would never take him as King.”
The messenger bit the tip of one claw. “I’m so sorry. I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood me. The General has no interest in Lilian as his Queen.” He glanced sideways at the torch in Arturo’s hand. “He does have an eye for sister Sylvia, but there’s no hurry. Kingdom first, then a Queen.”
Elliot laughed out loud. “The claim is absurd. Your General is insane. Ambassador, do you have a place to lock this lackey up?”
Recruiting a young vole named Chester, Arturo instructed him, “Show them to the Hole.”
Chester’s eyes went wide. “Me, sir? Thank you! Just wait till my big brother hears about this. Follow me, Knights!”
“Really, my little Prince,” the messenger called over his shoulder as they led him away, “haven’t you ever wondered why the Hive Queen Lilian calls home looks so much like a wasp nest?”
As shadows swallowed the captive and his captors, Barry broke the silence that had settled on the meadow. “Yep, always an adventure!”
To be continued. . .