Glad you could join us for the next stringent episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
“Hold on there, Jeremy!” A heavy voice rolling from a wide-mouthed toad on her way down the steps stopped him. “The prisoner stays right there. Go get the Queen’s Liaison.”
Jeremy hopped to it.
Sergeant Marina Bufo was a commanding presence. Even larger than the Crone, she filled the confined space with the illusion that Duggla had no air of her own to breathe.
“So you’ve got something to say, huh?” Sergeant Bufo asked.
“Not to you,” the Crone mumbled taking shallow, suffocated breaths.
Bufo waited, stone-like, staring at the foiled frog until Jeremy returned with Vernon the Liaison.
“Sir,” Sergeant Bufo said, “I advise against letting her out to see the Queen, even under guard, unless you have that staff she came in with.” She jerked her head at Jeremy, “You — upstairs. And give me your keys.”
The sergeant hustled him up the stairway, bemoaning the war’s impact on the availability of competent help.
Vernon folded his arms across his thorax. “Madam Duggla. I have to admit, I didn’t anticipate seeing you again until your sentencing.”
“Sentencing?” she asked. “What about my trial?”
“Trial?” Vernon laughed. “War, witnesses, attempted regicide. Execution is likely.”
Duggla gulped air. “What if I lead you to the Assassin? Would the Queen take death off the table then?”
“I’d be happy to listen to your proposal and relay it to her Magnificence,” Vernon said, “but I offer no guarantees.”
“At least let me talk to her,” the Crone pleaded.
“Queen Lilian won’t be coming here to see you,” Vernon assured her, “and I’m inclined to follow the good Sergeant’s advice. Are you prepared to bite down on another staff?”
Clamping her lips together, she touched the tenderness of her tongue against them and shook her head.
“So you’ll tell me where to find General Hai?” Vernon asked.
Her mouth remained shut.
“Then I bid you farewell.” He turned and walked away.
He had reached the third step when the Crone relented. “All right. I’ll talk to you.”
Vernon stopped smiling before he turned around.
To be continued. . .