Glad you could join us for the next impatient episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
Patience is the most precious jewel in Virtue’s crown. Surrounded by a pavé of sparkling anticipation, its light enhances all other virtues and gleams in the hearts of high and low alike.
Andre had never been patient. Conniving, yes, and sneaky. Buzzing ahead of his pack, he anticipated only snatching his half-sister’s glory for himself. This time, I’ll finally win.
His little gang was almost sober when it crossed into Fen, so the four Freelands bees slipped undetected through one of the wide spaces between the few remaining southern border Guards. In fact, they reached Central Fen before anyone stopped them.
“Hold on there, friends,” called a wasp descending from the tree branches overhead.
What now? Uncertain how many more wasps might be hiding nearby, Andre signaled his friends to follow him as he dropped to a convenient flower. “Don’t say anything,” he hissed.
“Hey!” he called to the official hovering over them. “Maybe you can tell us if we’re headed in the right direction. We’ve heard there’s a war going on and we wanta join. Do you know who we should talk to? Where can we sign up?”
“We can always use good fighters,” the wasp acknowledged. “Where are you from?”
“Um, a ways south,” Andre evaded. “We’re kind of on our own.”
“That’s too bad.” The wasp gave them a curious look that made Andre anxious. “I was hoping you came from the Freelands; the Alliance could use their help. Do you know about the Alliance?”
“Yeah, we’ve heard of ’em, that’s why we’re here. Can you tell us where to find ’em?” Andre’s wings twitched. This guy is as bad as Kýrios. Why are lowly officials always so… officious?
The wasp landed on the far side of the flower. “The camp is just north of the Field, but I’d be happy to show you the way. I can take you right to the person you’re looking for.”
Andre shot a sidelong glance at his friends. “Thanks, but we can find her — uh, whoever it is — on our own. We wouldn’t wanta trouble you.” The bees prepared to take off.
Coming closer, the wasp stopped smiling, “It’s no trouble. Can’t be too careful — it is a war, after all. I’m afraid I have to insist.”
Listening for reinforcements coming from the trees, Andre figured they could at least knock this guy out long enough to get to the Field, then hide in the crowd of soldiers until they found Samantha. This was turning into more bother than she was worth.
A single whine pushed toward them as a second wasp arrived, wincing through each wingbeat.
“Vernon,” his breath came in urgent gasps, “I found them. They need help.” He looked over his shoulder at the Freelands bees and squinted. “Andre?”
Andre focused on the incoming storm clouds.
Rising to catch Andre’s eye, Vernon said, “Gentlemen, I’m sorry I won’t be able to accompany you after all. I suspect you’ll continue on your way with or without my permission, so allow me to give you this advice: when you find Captain Samantha, she will be surrounded by devoted warriors who would die for her. In your case, I imagine they’d kill for her, but you know what I mean. Don’t fool yourselves about your chances of taking her home.”
Vernon turned to Arturo. “What happened? Where are they?” They flew off leaving Andre’s gang slack-jawed.
To be continued. . .