Glad you could join us for the next bloody episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
Sam led Clifton to a secluded blind. Facing him, she took his hands in hers. “I want you to promise me something.”
“Anything,” he answered.
Sam laughed, “Don’t you want to know what it is first?”
“I don’t need to, Sam. You know I’d do anything for you. You’re my best friend. There isn’t anyone I respect more than I do you. There isn’t anyone I care more about than you.”
“Thanks, that means a lot to me, especially because I feel the same way about you.” She took a deep breath. “So here it is. I know how much you love Fen, and how close you are to your aunt Lilian. But I’m hoping that when this is all over, you’ll join the Hiverarchy and help me convince them to join the Alliance.”
“Of course I’ll help.” He searched her eyes. “What does ‘join the Hiverarchy’ mean, exactly?”
“Move to the Freelands. Become a member of my tribe.”
She dropped his hands and took a step back. “Clif, I understand if you don’t want to leave Fen forever, but the truth is, someday I’m going to have my mother’s job, and I plan to do it differently. Not everybody is going to understand or appreciate that to begin with.” She shrugged. “I’m not sure I’ll be able to succeed without your help.”
Clifton held her shoulders at arm’s length. “Listen, when you’re Queen of the Hiverarchy of Free Bees, they’re going to call you Queen Sam the Amazing.” He pulled her to him in a hug. “I want to be there for that. I want to be there for you.” He held her out again. “Yes, I’ll move to the Freelands.”
Closing her eyes, she let out the breath she’d been holding. “Thank you, Clifton.” She opened her eyes to look into his. “There’s one more thing.”
“This one requires a blood oath. It’s the only way the Hiverarchy will accept it.” She waited for him to nod. “If I don’t make it back from this war, I want you to go to the Freelands in my place. You’ll rule after my mother’s gone, and you’ll make sure the Hiverarchy joins the Alliance.”
Clifton’s forehead wrinkled. “Won’t your brother object?”
“My half-brother,” she said. “Not without committing treason. You’ll have the Mark of Ascension. No loyal Freelands’ bee will question it.”
“Mark of Ascension?”
“Look.” She raised her left back wing and exposed a small scar: a diagonal line divided in thirds by two shorter horizontal lines. “My mother has one just like it. She gave me this to ensure the tribe would accept me as the next ruler.”
He tilted his head. “So what do we do?”
“I’ll cut the Mark on you and you’ll slice a parallel Mark on me, kind of overlapping mine. Then we press them together to mix our blood and seal our agreement.”
“Gee,” he said, raising his left back wing, “in Fen, we just prick our hands and shake on it.” He gasped with Sam’s first slice.
Soundless moments later, as they pressed their fresh cuts together, he asked, “If you’re half wasp, does this make me a tiny bit wasp?”
“You’ve got the heart for it,” Sam said, wiping off a drip of blood running down his side. “Let’s hope you’ve got the luck for it, too.” Her smile was grim. “Now go get ready for this afternoon. I’ll see you at the front an hour before sunset.”
Her own plan was to eat and then sleep.
That would have been perfect.
To be continued. . .