The Verdict and Breakfast, Too

Glad you could join us for the next liberating episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…

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“Arturo, son of Miguel and Valeria, regarding the charges that you are responsible for the return of the rebels and the devastation they spread throughout our people’s homes in the Freelands, we find it is possible the rebels would not have come back if they had achieved their goal to begin with. Therefore, we find you are inextricably connected to the massacre.”

Arturo closed his eyes.

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Thinking Outside the Box

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Leaving his post at the Box’s door, the guard became the ancient wasp’s support, speaking quietly into his ear as he led the speaker to the platform to deliver the verdict.

Arturo’s whisper shook. “What do you think he’s saying to the old one?”

Elliot’s attention snapped back from the unanswered question still hanging in the air. “No matter what it is,” he assured Arturo, “you have our support. We can ask Queen Lilian to—” A concussive blast of coughing cut Elliot off.

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Thinking Inside the Box

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“Spike’s dead?” Waiting behind bars, Elliot tried to take in everything Cassandra had been through since her abduction.

“Yep,” Cassandra confirmed, “drowned to be slowly digested. Can you imagine? I had no idea plants could do that.”

Her sense of wonder amazed Elliot. “But it was almost you! You must have been terrified.” He hung his head. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there to save you.”

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Breakfast Is Not Served

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Photo credit: Mad Max

“Hey! Watch it, up there! Prisoner down below!” The indignant cry exploded from the Hole as Elliot clung to its edge, grabbing for anything secure to keep from slipping into the abyss.

Time stopped.

“Cassandra?” he ventured.

“Elliot…? Is it really you?”

“You there!” yelled the guard zipping back to his post from a brief trip to the bushes. “Step away from the Hole. Who are you and what is your business here?”

Drawing up to his full height and dignity, Elliot countered, “I might ask you the same thing.”

Cassandra’s advice drifted up from the depths. “I wouldn’t, Elliot.”

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The Arena

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The further they went, the thicker the droning streams of wasps that passed overhead, all hastening in the same direction.

“Where is everyone going?” Cassandra asked her escort.

He looked grim. “To your friend’s reckoning.”

“Reckoning? What do you think he’s done?”

“Quiet!” the leader called over his shoulder.

“But we don’t even know why we’re here!” she shouted.

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Confronting Apocritans

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Sometimes you must go back to catch up. She who is unnamed.

“How could anyone be so barbaric?” Cassandra and Arturo had helped his family cleanse their nest, and were once more on their way to Fen.

Arturo shrugged. “Spike was angry and bitter. It’s no excuse, but all he wanted to do was cause as much pain as he felt. D’Arc — well, he’s cold evil. He actually enjoys terrorizing and killing. When the leaders of a group are like that, they get two kinds of followers: people who feel the same way they do, and people who are afraid they’ll be the next victims.”

“They’re bullies,” Cassandra insisted. “We need to stand up to them.”

“That’s what my parents did. Look how that turned out.”

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