Glad you could join us for the next pushy episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
Lying in wait for the next contraction, Cassandra stretched her eyestalks to see around Miranda. “What’s wrong with my husband?” Miranda and Arturo exchanged looks, but neither answered. “Tell me.” The Princess bit back tears. “Why hasn’t he moved?”
Arturo touched her shoulder. “He’s still alive, Cassandra, but he’s very badly injured. The Assassin’s stinger went through his shell, into his body. He’s still bleeding.”
The Princess turned to Miranda. “You have to help him. Please,” she begged.
“We’ve made a mud plaster to repair his shell,” Miranda began, “but that’s only a temporary solution — it needs a binder to make the patch permanent.”
“Binder?” the Ambassador asked.
“Powdered shell would be best, but isn’t easy to find. Chalky rock makes a weaker patch,” the midwife answered.
Arturo’s tender steps carried his bruised body out of the Bower. Moments later, he returned, dripping rain and waving a lumpy piece of black shell over his head, showering the floor.
“How about Assassin carapace?” he exulted. “Knights brought his corpse in so the General’s people won’t find it.
Miranda’s eyes shone. “Perfect! He’ll finally do some good.”
Clark jumped up and down in the middle of the room. “I wanna do some good, too!”
“Shh, Clark.” his mother said. “But even with the binder, the patch is useless until we have the right herbs to draw out the poison and stop the bleeding. After the baby is born, I’ll go find them.”
Cassandra tried to sit up. “After? No, you have to go now.”
Wringing his sponge into a bowl of swirling blood and water, Cyrus said, “Sir, you can barely walk. I’ll go. I’ll show Clark how to keep the Prince’s wound clean and moist, and Miss Miranda can tell me what to look for.”
“Yay! I get to do some good,” Clark yelled, scampering over to Cyrus.
“Shhh, Clark!” his mother said again. “You’ll wake the Prince.” She turned to Arturo. “Ambassador, would you be willing to crush some shell for the patch?”
“I’d be honored,” he answered. “Princess?”
“I’m fine Arturo,” she assured him. “Elliot needs your help.”
So Arturo pulverized shell in the mortar, Cyrus instructed Clark, and Miranda instructed Cyrus, who trekked into the storm to hunt herbs.
Cassandra pulled her foot under her, battling weakness and gravity to stand.
“Your Elegance,” the midwife cautioned, “this isn’t a good idea.”
“Why not? I think the contractions have stopped. In fact, I think—” Her throat gurgled as she folded over and fell back. “Uunnngh-ooOOWHHaa-AAAHHH-WHAAAAA!”
Clark’s whisper filled the empty space that followed. “Shh, Auntie Cassandra! Don’t wake up Uncle Elliot.”
A gravelly voice scraped across the floor. “Too… late.”
Cassandra’s eyes swung toward her husband. “Elliot, my love! You’re awake — oh, oh, OHHH-I-HAVE-TO-PUSH!”
To be continued. . .