Glad you could join us for the next stormy episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
Leaving Cyrus to watch over Miranda and her brood, the King led the three Knights away from the Bower and the Hive in the only direction that made sense to him: toward the enemy. His daughter was out here somewhere, and he would find her or die trying.
Rain beat on everything, washing away evidence of anyone passing in either direction, drowning out all sounds but its own, and obscuring to a blur anything further away than they were from each other. Even when lightning shredded the darkness, grotesque jerking shadows wrestled reality into submission.
The Assassin was just as surprised as they were when they met.
“Hold,” King Arnie commanded. A lightning’s stark white strobe lit the tense tableau, gleaming off five faces, a stiffly curved tail, and the Marauder fang in Trevor’s hand.
That instant was all the Stinger needed to strike. His tail whipped forward and back twice, stabbing the King’s chest and stomach before the Knights leaped forward to shove him back. Barry grabbed at his tail, but the Stinger caught the Knight’s arm with his pincer and flung him into the brambles while his tail slashed sideways, gashing Trevor’s face, spinning him into the Lieutenant, who fell against the Assassin’s back. A lightning bolt stretched the Stinger’s smile as he swung his tail over Lieutenant Terrance’s head. Trevor dove at the Lieutenant to push him aside. The young Knight jammed his Marauder fang into the Stinger’s hind leg.
Anthony and his scream disappeared into darkness and thunder.
The Lieutenant sloshed through the mud to kneel beside the King’s body. Blood gushed from his wounds. “He’s badly injured, but he’s alive. Knights, report.”
Trevor lurched across the path. “I’m okay. Barry? Barry, where are you?”
A groan rose from the brambles, followed by Barry, groggy and bleeding from dozens of cuts and scratches. “I’m here. Did youse kill ’im? Is he dead?”
“No,” Lieutenant Terrance admitted, “but Trevor stuck him in the leg with that fang.”
Trevor helped Barry to his feet. “Yeah, ol’ Anthony’s gonna be limping for some time to come.”
“What about da King?”
The Lieutenant stood. “We need to get him back to camp. He needs immediate medical attention or he won’t survive.” He looked at the sky. “At least the storm’s letting up.”
“Hey. Did you hear that?” Trevor pointed further down the path. “It sounded like somebody screaming.”
Fearing Anthony wouldn’t show himself if Elliot arrived surrounded by Alliance soldiers, Elliot slipped out of camp unnoticed, and trudged through the waning storm to the hidden spot he and Anthony had agreed to meet in. He hadn’t received any instructions from Queen Lilian yet, but there was still time for that. We’re only scheduling the negotiation, he reasoned. It won’t be dangerous till I meet with the General and he doesn’t get what he wants.
Movement in the bracken scattered fallen rain and the Assassin limped into view.
“What happened to you?”
“Prince Elliot,” Anthony smiled, “I’m so pleased you care.”
“You’re bleeding,” Elliot explained. “It makes me wonder if I should worry or rejoice.”
The Stinger chuckled. “How sweet. It was a simple accident — dark roads can be treacherous in the rain — but thank you for asking. So. Are you ready? The General’s waiting nearby. Please come with me.”
To be continued. . .