Glad you could join us for the next stubborn episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
They’d done it. The new Alliance Council had crafted an agreement every tribe in the Freelands agreed to honor. Well, every tribe but one. The Hiverarchy of Free Bees had declined all invitations to join the proceedings.
“Maybe, being a bee,” Arturo suggested to Clifton, “you can convince them everyone would benefit from their participation.”
“I can try,” the young delegate from Fen responded.
Cruising the nearby flower fields, it didn’t take them long to find the tribe’s eldest member, Kýrios the Most Revered. (It was common knowledge all the young drones left the blossoms closest to the hive for him to pollinate and sip from so he wouldn’t have to travel far.)
“Greetings, Kýrios,” Ambassador Arturo called. “May I introduce you to a friend of mine?”
Kýrios pointed his stiffened antennae at the young wasp. “Is there anyway to stop you? I’m busy.”
Clifton was taken aback by the tribal leader’s abruptness, but Arturo seemed to take it in stride, so the Queen’s nephew let the hand he was going to extend to the elderly bee hang limp instead.
“Sir, this is Clifton, Queen Lilian’s nephew and Fen’s delegate to the Alliance Council.”
“Good morning, sir,” Clifton said, “I admire the work you and your people have done to maintain such vibrant flora.”
“You’re a polite youngster, I’ll give you that. I haven’t been to Fen since Lilian’s parents ran the place, but if she’s kept it up as well as they did, I’m sure it looks pretty decent. I guess they can spare you, though, huh?”
Clifton swallowed the taste of old doubts. “Sir, the reason I’m here is that the Queen believes it’s important for Fen, Bog, and the Freelands to work together against the threat of any who might try to subjugate our citizens. Just recently, Bog and Fen repelled Marauders, and you must have heard about the attacks on the wasp community here.”
“I did, but it doesn’t have anything to do with us.” He shook his head at Arturo. “Your people are spread out all over the place. We’re centralized. We take care of our own.”
Arturo’s pain was still too fresh to answer criticism he knew was valid, but Clifton was familiar with both the advantages and disadvantages of hive living.
“A traditional colony such as yours can withstand an attack from a single front,” he agreed, “but the enemies we’re meeting now come from across the spectrum, and have no regard for tribal differences. Without support from groups outside the colony, Fen’s Hive would have been destroyed long ago.”
“That might be true for Fen,” Kýrios replied, “but here in the Freelands, we mind our own business and serve our own people’s best interests. If what one tribe does happens to help another, we don’t ask for or expect recompense. We satisfy our own needs, and we don’t need to get caught up in someone else’s trouble.”
Nodding, Clifton said, “Everyone in the Freelands knows your tribe’s work helps everyone. Maybe they’d like a chance to show you how much they appreciate it. Besides, helping each other stay out of trouble lets you get caught up in everybody’s joy.”
“Young man, the highest joy is working for your family. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been idle long enough.”
Watching him bumble off to another flower, Arturo shook his head. “I wonder what it will take to get him to change his mind.”
Clifton squinted at his friend. “I have an idea . . .”
To be continued. . .