Glad you could join us for the next revealed episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
“She says she comes from The Arids with information that can save Fen,” Vernon informed the Queen as he escorted her to the Audience Chamber.
“You sound doubtful,” she observed.
“No one here knows her,” he said. “I think it’s wise to be cautious.”
“I think you mean ‘skeptical’,” the Queen teased.
Vernon remained serious. “What if she’s one of the General’s spies?”
“I have you to advise and protect me,” she answered, squeezing his hand as they entered the Chamber. Taking her seat on the dais, acknowledging the Hive Elite stationed around the room, she nodded to her Liaison.
“Show her in,” Vernon called to the Guard and took his place beside his Queen.
Each forward lurch wobbled the flabby amphibian as she approached the dais. She stopped just short of the lowest step.
Queen Lilian waited for the jiggling to subside before she spoke.
“I hope you will not be offended that I withhold our welcome until we know the reason for this audience. Your name?”
“Delilah, your Magnificence,” the old one said looking at the floor.
“I have heard you come from The Arids, Delilah. Is that correct?”
“I didn’t come from The Arids,” the frog corrected her, “I escaped from The Arids.”
The Queen’s eyebrows raised. “Oh? How is it you have information to share?”
Delilah’s demeanor changed. “Before the Alliance formed,” she simpered, “I was taken from the Freelands as a prisoner, and given to General Hai as a slave. I overheard his War Council’s battle plans. I will share them with you in exchange for refuge in Fen.”
Vernon stepped forward. “I’m sure you’ll understand that we will need to confirm your information before we agree to protect you.”
The frog’s eyes flashed anger before she cast her gaze to the ground. “Of course,” she answered through clenched jaws. Rolling her eyes up to look at the Queen, she added, “One cannot be too careful these days.”
“True,” Lilian agreed. “What can you tell us?”
“The General’s entire army is moving toward Fen.”
“That’s all you know?” Vernon asked.
She glared at him. “Isn’t that enough?”
“You have no information about their position or how soon they’ll arrive?” the Queen clarified.
“No.” One hand’s webbed fingers drummed an impatient rhythm on the floor. “How soon will you be able to confirm it?”
“That’s impossible to say,” Vernon answered. “Until then, we would like to offer you secure housing—“
The frog snorted. “ ‘Secure housing’? No, no. I came to you in good faith. How can I be sure you won’t just lock me up and leave me for the General to find when he gets here and you’re all dead or in hiding? I think I’ll take my chances on my own. So unless you plan to take me prisoner right now, I’ll be on my way.”
Holding up her hands, Queen Lilian said, “Of course you’re free to go. If we find what you’ve said is accurate, we will welcome you back as a friend of the Alliance.”
“For whatever that’s worth,” the Crone muttered under her breath as she galumphed past the Guard, barging into an incoming Runner.
“She didn’t seem to know about The Arids’ Alliance army,” Vernon whispered.
“Drago Galadeen,” the Guard announced.
“Welcome, Drago!” Queen Lilian called as he hopped across the Chamber.
Glancing over his shoulder, he asked “What brought the Crone to Fen, your Magnificence?”
“You know her?” Vernon asked.
“That’s Madam Duggla, former Advisor at Large to King Arnie,” Drago said. “The General arranged her escape from prison in Bog after she betrayed the King, and she’s been working in The Arids ever since. The night the Assassin killed Lady Lucy, the Crone… disposed of her remains.”
Lilian and Vernon exchanged looks.
“Drago,” her Magnificence instructed, “find her, tell her you confirmed General Hai is on his way to Fen, and bring her back here. We’re going to put her where she can’t do any more harm.”
The Hopper grinned and turned for the door. “With the greatest of pleasure, your Magnificence.”
To be continued. . .