Glad you could join us for the next redeeming episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
In the dark of night, two of Bog’s border guards escorted Randall and Teddy to King Arnie as soon as they entered the Kingdom.
“I’m pleased to see you have your son,” the King greeted him. “Are you all right, young man?”
Teddy stared at the King’s feet and nodded while clinging to his father’s leg.
King Arnie knelt and looked into the little frog’s eyes. “If someone had taken me away from my father when I was your age, I would have been really scared. I’m sure I would have cried.”
Teddy looked at the ground and shook his head. “They would get angry if you cried and they would put you in a black room with no lights all by yourself and they would tell you you had to stay there forever because your daddy was never coming back.”
The King put a king-sized hand on Teddy’s tiny shoulder. “But your daddy proved they were liars, didn’t he?”
Teddy lifted his chin to look at his father. His face crumpled and tears rained down his cheeks. He turned to face the King. “My daddy is braver than anybody. He hurt that sassin Stinger and saved me.”
“Teddy, I think your daddy is almost as brave as you. Are you hungry? Anyone as brave as you are works up a warrior-sized appetite.” When Teddy nodded, his Greatness signaled one of the Knights to take the youngster to the dining hall. “I’m going to talk with your father for just a minute, and then he’ll join you. Is that all right?”
Teddy’s eyes lit up. “Uh-huh, but just for a minute ‘cuz Daddy must be hungry, too.”
With tears in his eyes, Randall watched his son hop out the door. Turning to his King, he said, “Thank you, your Greatness. I was worried. I couldn’t get him to say anything all the way back here. You got him to open up, and now I think he has a chance to make some sense of what happened to him.”
“Randall, you’re doing a fine job raising a perceptive child. He’s going to have a lot to offer the world. I know what it might have cost you to go alone to find him, and I want you to know I am deeply grateful for all you did to bring both of you back to Bog. Now,” he said, rubbing his chin, “Tell me about this ‘sassin Stinger.’ Is it who I think?”
“Yes, your Greatness, we met the Assassin.” Randall’s breath caught in his lungs. The memory was nearly as fresh as the experience itself. “He tells people he’s General Hai’s ‘messenger’.”
“You’re sure he’s the Assassin?”
“Yes, he told me so himself just before he tried to kill us.”
The King’s eyes widened. “Teddy said you hurt him.”
“I had some help, but he now has only one claw, though I wish I could have brought you his stinger. Your Greatness, I believe there’s hope — I met citizens who love the Arids, but don’t love the General. His cruelty has made them distrustful, but I think if we could unite them, they would be willing to fight against him. If you let me go back, I might be able to rally some of them to help us.”
“Thank you. Your offer to serve proves your courageous heart. I would like you to tell the Captain of the Knights who the Prince should contact in The Arids after he returns from the Freelands, but I’m going to need you to serve in a more important way here in Bog. You are a parent, and a single parent at that. You’re the only adult anyone knows of who has knowingly faced the Assassin and lived. Let’s not give him a second chance. Your son needs you. Teach him not to fear the enemy.”
King Arnie the Former sat a long time after Randall left, pondering what his news might mean for the future of the Alliance, and how long it would take to convince cautious citizens to join them. A plan began to form in the King’s mind. Time was not on their side.
The race for freedom had begun.
To be continued. . .