Glad you could join us for the next despairing episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
“What do you mean, ‘the Queen is gone’?” Sam’s cry traveled farther than she’d intended.
“She’s not in the Hiverarchy. She’s gone,” the elderly councillor repeated.
Unable to imagine why her mother would leave the security of home, Sam wanted answers. “When did she leave? Where did she go?”
Pursing his lips, Kýrios leveled a squinty stare at her. “No one knows. No one saw her leave.”
“What about the Guards? There’s always somebody at the entrance—“
“I have learned your brother—“
“Your ‘half-brother’,” the elderly bee acquiesced through clenched teeth, “spoke with her last night and left her alone at the door for just a moment. Apparently, he had reason to believe she had gone back to her chamber when he returned and she was gone.”
Trying to rub away the ache that was growing in her head, Sam clarified, “So she’s been gone since last night, and he didn’t report it till just now. Where have you looked?”
“So far, we have conducted a thorough search of the Hiverarchy. I felt it was necessary to inform you, the next in line, before expanding our efforts.”
“How can the Freelands Council assist, Princess?” Ambassador Arturo asked.
“I’d like to offer Fen’s help as well,” Clifton added.
“And Bog’s,” said Lieutenant Terrence.
Sam’s mind was spinning. “She could be anywhere by now. Let me talk to Andre first. Maybe she gave him a hint about where she was going and he just didn’t recognize it.”
“Shall I come along?” Clifton asked, already in the air.
“Thanks. We can search on the way.”
Scanning their flight path, Sam saw a glint of golden brown and a flash of glassy wing below her far from any flowers. Still several yards from home, she dipped closer to see her mother the Queen, the strongest person she’d ever known, perched on a bit of greenery, weeping quietly.
The ache in Sam’s head slipped into her heart. Signaling to Clifton to stay back, she landed beside the distraught Queen Madalena.
“Mother,” she soothed, “what’s wrong? Where have you been? Everyone’s been so worried.”
Madalena looked up, her eyes glistening, tears clinging to her cheeks, “I’ve lost you, haven’t I, Samantha? You’re going to leave with strangers to fight a war even they aren’t sure they can win, and I’ll never see you again.”
Her sobs broke Samantha’s aching heart.
To be continued. . .