The High Priestess

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Elliot 125
Photo credit: Igor Siwanowicz

Well, he might have just killed me. Elliot caught and released a deep, calming breath. “Thank you for asking,” he said. “My name is Elliot, and my guide left me outside with instructions to go inside.”

“For what purpose?”

“I have no idea.”

“Who was your guide?”

“I don’t know her name.”

“You didn’t ask?”

“No.” This wasn’t going well.

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Detected

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Elliot 124
Photo credit: Igor Siwanowicz

Picking out a path past rocky outcrops and over mossy stones, Elliot worked his way around the base of the tower until he found a passage that disappeared into darkness beneath an overhang that almost hid its opening.

This can’t possibly be the main entrance, he assured himself. It must be a vent or a back way nobody uses. But because it was the only way in that he’d found, he approached with caution.

“Hello?” His timid call couldn’t have carried beyond the bend in the tunnel.

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Delivered

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Photo credit: Chronophontes

Elliot had followed her willingly, enchanted by her flowing stride and silent confidence. Her feathers shimmered with iridescent sparkles that bound him to her just as surely as ropes and chains. The little warning voice he’d learned to heed whispered — nothing.

Without reason, without thought, without common sense, he’d trusted her, and now, facing a massive structure of stone and wood built against a hillside of the oldest trees he’d ever seen, he had no idea where he was.

“I thought you were taking me back to the bower. Where are we? And don’t say, ‘here’!”

Her answer was to throw back her head and release a trilling note that filled the woods like wind. From the treetops all around, a whistled melody replied.

She cocked her head. “We’re in the heart of the Ancient Forest,” she said as if that explained everything.

“But what is this place? Why did you bring me here?”

Her warm laugh rippled through him. “So many questions. I’m sorry, Elliot, but I’m not the one to answer them. In fact, I have to leave you now.” He started to object, and she placed the tip of a single feather on his lips. “Go inside. You’ll be in good hands, my friend, and we may yet meet again.”

It was only as she flew beyond the tangled canopy that he realized he hadn’t even asked her name.

Shaking regret out of his head, he began his search for the entrance.

To be continued. . .

Previously, on Elliot’s Adventures ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Next time . . .

Under Pressure

Glad you could join us for the next explosive 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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Photo credit: Imagebase

Elliot tried to press on Vernon’s stitched chest with his tentacles, but instead of compressing, they slid off the hard shell that was the wasp’s skin. After the third attempt, he stared at Clifton.

“You have to do this, Clif.”

“But I don’t know what you’re doing.”

“I’m trying to make his heart work again, but I can’t push hard enough.”

“If I push on him,” Clifton warned, “I’m afraid I’ll break him. Besides, what is that stuff? It looks like he’s leaking.”

“I think his cut is infected — he’s burning up. But if we don’t get his heart started soon, he’s gonna be cold and dead.”

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Water Is Life or Death

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Photo credit: pbase.com

Quivering his way to the spot where Vernon vanished, Clifton tried to ignore the tickle of doubt in his chest. Elliot believes in me.

Taking a deeper breath than his lungs had ever held before, he kicked his chubby back legs as hard as could and dove into oblivion.

Reluctantly, he forced his eyes open.

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Clifton Takes a Dive

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Photo credit: Michael Johnson

Vernon’s eyes flickered in recognition just before his arms broke through the water and he disappeared beneath the surface.

“Vernon!” Elliot called again.

Only bubbles answered.

“Ohmigosh! Ohmigosh!” Clifton buzzed in swelling panic. “We can’t let the Queen’s Liaison drown!”

“Can you swim?” Elliot asked.

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He’s Back!

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Photo credit: Christian

Accepting that Clifton would be his constant companion for the foreseeable future, Elliot followed him to the Baths. The splashing of ruffled feathers and exuberant bathers triggered memories of deep water panic, and Elliot hesitated entering the pool.

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