Glad you could join us for the next reported episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
Captain Harper of Fen’s Hive Elite left The Arids the same way she’d arrived a week ago: hidden in plain sight among a cloud of desert bats. At the border, deepening dusk covered her departure from the colony to deliver her covert mission report to Queen Lilian.
The Queen granted her an immediate audience.
“The Arid’s feathered Fliers aren’t as social as in most other regions, but they do talk. As soon as the first of them enlisted, word spread and they sought me out to volunteer.”
“That’s encouraging —” the Queen began, “unless you suspect they’re acting on the General’s behalf.”
The captain shook her head. “It isn’t likely. His troops conduct regular nest raids. These folks know who the enemy is, but until now, they haven’t felt empowered to fight back. On the other hand, he hasn’t targeted The Arids’ bats, but they’ve agreed to support us to honor Lady Lucy.”
“Good work, Captain. What about training?”
“Officers from the Hive Elite and both Aero Squadrons have identified locals to take charge. As of this morning, we’re maintaining only a token advisory presence. The rest have come home to help with preparations.”
“Thank you. Let me know what you need,” Queen Lilian offered as she dismissed the captain.
Captain Harper nodded to Drago Galadeen as they passed in the doorway.
“Did either of them faint, Drago?” the Queen laughed thinking of the news the Runner had taken to Arnie and Elliot of Cassandra’s pregnancy.
“No, your Magnificence,” he chuckled, “but Prince Elliot was in such a hurry to spread the word, he practically flew past me on his way out.”
Shaking her head at the image, Lilian smiled. “His life will never be the same. All we have to do now is secure their future. What have you learned from Bog and the Freelands?”
“Bog is ready. King Arnie awaits your word to deploy. The Freelands is united except for the Hiverarchy of Free Bees — they seem more adamant than ever to remain uninvolved. No one’s sure why, but Kýrios, Queen Madalena’s Councilor, has stopped speaking to anyone in the Alliance.”
“I’m afraid we’ve opened some old wounds,” the Queen said. “What about Queen Madalena’s daughter? Is Samantha still with us?”
“Yes. The Princess is the local in charge of the Stinging Fliers.”
“Good for her,” Lilian said.
“And excellent news for the Alliance,” the Runner added.
The Queen nodded. “How about Clifton?”
“Princess Samantha has made him her lieutenant,” Drago answered. “I think you’d be proud of him. He requests your permission to remain there for the duration.”
“I am proud,” she declared. “He’s discovering his potential. What about land forces in The Arids?”
“Sirehta says they’re ready. He’s employed the diggers and tunnelers to create safe passages and storage spaces, and has drilled his volunteers in combat exercises. He’s been careful to keep his operations low profile, hoping to avoid the General’s notice, and he chose not to recruit any Stingers — he suspects they’d only be spies.”
“He’s probably right,” she agreed. “Thank you, Drago. Only one more thing before you finish for the day — please let Captain Avery know I’d like to speak with him before sunset.” Time to face some suspicions of my own, she thought, gritting her teeth.
Watching Drago Galadeen hop into the woods, Queen Lilian held a deep breath before allowing it to drain off the tensions and uncertainty that tried to paralyze her mind.
If only I could see the future.
To be continued. . .