Glad you could join us for the next sly episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
Incautious, the voices grew louder and more distinct the closer the vipers crept. Cahret slithered up the side of a coarse rock wall to peer over its horizon onto a bed of chattering Stingers.
“…but the bat should’ve been ours — we held her down,” one complained.
“Yeah,” another echoed, “what’d that old Crone do she should get it?”
“Not so loud!” the largest ordered. “You want the General to hear you whining? He’s not gonna keep her around forever, and after he’s done with her, who do you think’ll be feasting then?”
“So we’ll get the old bat in the end, huh?” the first one gloated. Shrieking laughter pierced the sky.
Cahret slipped over the rocks to call through the darkness. “Can you take us to your General?”
Below, a flurry of scurrying answered.
Quickest to recover, the largest Stinger raised his torso to eye the serpent with suspicion.
“My brothers and I would like to offer our service.”
“Defeating the enemy.”
“Yeah? Hold on, somebody’ll go get him. Pietro, tell the General we’ve got some new volunteers.” The smallest scrambled into a slit between two boulders at the base of a recent rockslide.
Moments later, every creature in the cavern spilled into the open space, but even those with wings stayed on the ground. Only General Hai flew into the hollow to hover above the Stingers beneath a steaming cloud, the orange glow of his back flashing from his wings into Carhet’s eyes.
“Welcome,” the General said. “Catching my troops by surprise isn’t easy. I’m impressed. You have companions? Where are they?”
Cahret stretched to nod over his shoulder, then let himself down into the hollow as his brothers flowed in behind him. The Stingers backed up in alarm, though most would have insisted they were just making room.
His eyes widening, the General waited till the ground no longer undulated and surged.
“You all swear your loyalty to me?”
Sirehta’s head rose slowly, hypnotically, to sway before the General’s face.
“We swear to fight the enemy.”
The crowd stood frozen. The smoke above the General wavered for just an instant.
Shaking off the moment with a shiver of his wings, General Hai announced, “Then you are welcome here!”
To be continued. . .