Glad you could join us for the next determined episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
Barry wrung his hands. “What’s wrong, Princess? What should I do?”
“I think the baby’s stuck,” she gasped. “I’m afraid you’re going to have to pull it out.”
“Look,” she panted, “I’m not feeling particularly elegant right now. I’m just an orphan from the Deep Woods, and I need a Knight’s help. I need you to do this.”
Swallowing hard, Barry moved to the foot of the mat. “I hope the Prince forgives me,” he muttered as he gingerly felt for the reluctant arrival. Wrapping his fingers around the delicate form, he tugged. It tugged back. Or maybe the Princess’s body, unwilling to part with its treasure, was sucking it back in.
“Princess,” Barry suggested, “maybe it’ll work if youse push when I pull. On tree? One. Two. Tree!”
And suddenly, Barry held the tiniest, most perfect baby he’d ever seen. “I… You… We… We did it! Look—” he almost danced up to her, “youse an’ da Prince have a son!”
Her face aglow, her smile radiant, Cassandra’s muscles let go all their tension and strain. But the little Prince’s howl let the world know he had shouldered his mother’s burdens himself.
“I’ll bet youse’d like ta be wrapped up like yer sister. Look how quiet she is.” Holding him so he could see her as her teensy eyestalks waved all around trying to take everything in, Barry grabbed a cloth to wrap him up in. “Youse need ta pay attention ta her ’cause she’s older dan youse. ’Course, people are gonna listen to a guy wit a voice as big as yers — youse’ll probably be a great leader some day.”
“If his sister lets him,” the Princess cautioned.
“Hey, I think the Prince wants to see, too,” Clark called from his post at his mother’s side.
Eyes still closed, Elliot rolled his head back and forth and groaned.
“Barry,” Cassandra whispered, “help me up and bring the babies. I have to see him.”
Arturo put a cup of water to the Prince’s lips; Elliot sipped once and turned away.
“My love?” his wife crooned as she stroked his face. “Meet your son.”
His eyes fluttered and closed again. “He’s perfect, too… They’re both… beautiful, Cassandra… just like you.” His ragged breathing filled the room. “Is that… monster gone? Are you… all right?”
“It’s dead, my sweet — you saved our daughter. We’re all fine.”
“No… No, we’re not.” He struggled to breathe.
“But Uncle Elliot,” Clark insisted, “You hid your baby to save her — I saw you! You’re a hero. You have to be all right.”
“Yes, Elliot,” the Princess agreed through her tears. “Help is coming. You have to stay with us. You have to hold on!”
“I don’t know… if I can…”
“Youse gotta, Sir. Youse gotta try.”
To be continued. . .