The Thief and the Swordsfrog Chapter 1

By Silent Elegy

Frog awoke slowly in a darkened room and tried to remember what had happened.  He’d been walking back to his home in the Cursed Forest, when he’d heard a rustling sound in the bushes to his left.  He hadn’t though much of it since plenty of strange creatures live in the forest, but this time, three very large goblins had burst from the bushes and knocked him out before he could react.  The back of his head was still very sore.

As his eyes adjusted to the dim light, he saw that the room he was in was not very big.  A little light came under the door to the room, but not much.  There were no windows at all.

The light coming from the door suddenly disappeared.  “Psst!”  Frog blinked and walked to the door.  “Psst!  Hey, is anyone there?”  The voice seemed rather high-pitched and scratchy, but that could have been because the voice was whispering.

“Aye,” he replied.  “I am within.  Who art thou?”

“Wha-?  Oh never mind.”  The person stepped away from the door, then stepped back.  Frog could hear clicking and scratching sounds from the other side.  “So wha’cher name?” asked the person.

“I am called Frog.  What art thou doing?”

“You talk weird.  I’m picking the lock.”  As an afterthought, the voice added, “Name’s Rat.”

“Why do they call thee ‘Rat’?”

The door made a final click and swung open.  Frog blinked in the light.  “Same reason they calls you Frog apparently.”  Rat was, for lack of a better word, a rat.  He stood three feet tall, making him eye-level with Frog.  His clothing was torn and battered, the sleeves of his white shirt and the hem of his brown pants completely ripped off.  He wore a silver armband which wrapped snake-like around his upper left arm, and a leather bracelet on the wrist of his right.  His fur was a mottled brown and grey, and his pink tail appeared to have cut off at the tip.  He wore two knives at his waist.

“So, like, wha’cha doin’ here?” he asked, putting his lock picks in some hidden pocket of his shirt.

“I was brought here,” Frog answered.  “What of thee?”

Rat’s whiskers came forward and his ears went back.  “Man, you talk funny.  Anywho, I’m here to rob the joint.  But they ain’t got no loot.”  He looked around disdainfully.  “Dang, man, joint’s empty, I tell ya.  Anywho, I saw the big guys throw ya in here, and I been waiting for ‘em to leave.  So let’s blow this joint.”

He twitched his whiskers, smelling the air, and started off, motioning Frog to follow.  “Wait,” Frog said.  “Mine weapon.  We must find it.”

“’Sit a sword?  Dang expensive lookin’ gold hilt?  ‘Bout as big as me?” Rat asked.

“Aye!  Tis Masamune.  Hast thou seen it?”

“Shoot!  You c’n actually use that thing?  Weeeell, maybe I seen it, maybe not,” Rat replied slyly.  “What’s it worth to ya?”

“Tis mine!  Return it to me!”

“I may if ya make it worth my while.”

Frog clenched his hands into fists.  “Masamune was repaired and given to me by very good friends of mine.  Return it to me now!”

“Dang, calm down, Frogman.  As it so happens, I ain’t got it.  But I know where it is.  I was gonna come back for it, but…”  Rat shrugged.  “This way.”  He led to a room resembling an armory.  There, on a table across from them, was Masamune.

Frog hopped onto the table, it being slightly above his head, and buckled the sword belt around his waist while Rat kept watch by the door.  “I thank thee, sir Rat,” Frog said.

“Dang, man, you talk weird.”  Rat shook his head and began leading the way out of dungeon again.  “What izzat anyway?”

“Tis the way I speak,” Frog said affronted.  “Dost thou speak any better?”

“Hey, at least people c’n understand me,” Rat laughed.  Frog opened his mouth to reply, but shut it again, remembering where they were.

A short time later, Rat said, “Hey, Frogman, listen I like you.  You’re kinna cool guy.  For a frog.  But I just feel ya should know something.”

“What would that be then?”

“I ain’t no sir.”

Frog stopped and blinked.  “Thou’rt a lady then?”

Rat laughed.  “Well, I ain’t no lady either, but yah, I’m of the female persuasion.”  Rat pushed her whiskers forward and her ears back in what Frog realized was her approximation of a grin.

“Forgive me, madame,” he said.

“Aw, cut the madame stuff, too.  I’m just Rat.  Yer common, ever’day street trash.  A‘right?”

“Very well, then.  Rat.”

“Sweet.  Now, shall we, Frogman?”

They continued in silence, alert to the sound of approaching enemies.  As time wore on, and they didn’t encounter any, Frog grew very uneasy.
He looked around and said quietly, “Why are there no guards?  Tisn’t right.”

“You’s tellin’ me…This place is deader’n the Northern Ruins.”  Rat scented the air.  “I don’t smell nothing, and I don’t like it.”

They continued on for a while longer until Frog stopped.  “Doth thou hear that?”

Rat cocked her head.  “No, I don’t hear nothing.  Except…”  They exchanged glances and started running for dear life, as the rumbling sound grew louder.  Huge chunks of rock from ceiling dropped in their path, but they kept running.

All Frog could hear was the falling rock and the pounding of his own heart.  His legs were burning; he’d never moved so fast in his life.  Ahead of him, he saw Rat, running on four legs, jump onto a rock and then over it.  Frog tried to go around, but part of the ceiling fell on his legs, trapping him.  He cried out.

Rat heard him, but intended to keep running.  Something stopped her, though.  She looked back, undecided.

“Go on!” Frog yelled.  Rat ran a few steps more, then turned and charged straight for Frog, hitting the boulder with enough force to move it slightly.  Frog pulled himself free and limped a few more steps until he felt his feet knocked out from under him and found himself sitting on Rat’s back.

“Hang on!” Rat told him.  He grabbed the back of Rat’s shirt as she started running again, slower since Frog was on top of her, but still fast enough to let them escape.  She dodged another boulder, then daylight was ahead of them.  Pulling on reserves she didn’t know she had, she launched out the hole in the wall and hit the ground rolling.  Frog jumped away at the last second and went in a different direction.
Both of them lay panting for a second, listening to the rumble die away.  Finally, Rat stood and shook herself.  “Well, that was fun.  Gots to do it again some time.”

Frog stood more painfully.  He knew his foot wasn’t broken, but it was swelling fiercely.  “Oh aye.  Fun,” he said dryly.

Rat laughed.  “It was certainly an adventure.  I been getting bored.  Nice meeting ya, Frogman.”

“And thee, Lady Rat.”  He bowed as best as his hurt leg would let him.  Rat grinned and returned the gestured, then walked away without a second glance.

“Why do I smell a wet rat in here?” yelled the barkeep at the Broken Knife.  He was a good-natured man who enjoyed teasing Rat.

Rat, who enjoyed returning the favor, replied, “It’s prolly the beer, old man.”

“How dare you diss the beer, you rat-faced…rat!”
Rat laughed.  “I’ll diss the beer if I wants to, old man.”

The other patrons of the bar, who knew how much Rat and Gerald, the barkeep, really liked each other, just laughed.

Gerald and Rat went way back to when Rat was just a little ball of fur.  He’d found her half-drowned and disheveled on the beach one day after a very bad storm.  At first, she was a pet to him and the comic relief at the bar.  But as she grew, they all realized that she was more than your average rat.  Now, Gerald was a father to her, and she was fiercely loyal to him.

“So what happened, Rat?  Why are you so wet?”

“Ya would’na believe it, old man,” Rat said, shaking her head.  “Ya know that one place on that island?  The one everyone said was filled with loot?”

“You didn’t swim over there, did you?”

“Course not!  Do I look stupid to you?  I hitched a ride.”


“What?  Anywho, so I’s over there, and there was this frog.  There wadn’t no loot though.  But the frog’s a cool cat.  For a frog.  I helped him out.  Then I had to swim back across ‘cause there ain’t no boats in sight.”

Gerald shook his head.  “Rat, I swear.  I tell you not to go over there, and what do you do?”

“I go’s over there, of course,” Rat finished for him.  “What’ya expect me to do?”

“Oh never mind.  As long as your okay…”

“Oh please.  I’s harder to kill than a cockroach.”  Gerald sighed, but said no more about the subject.  “He was a fine frog though…” Rat said quietly.  No one heard her.

The guard on duty yawned and dozed at his post.  He was a rookie, and didn’t understand the need to stand at the gate of the castle.  He yawned again and blinked a few times.  Then he blinked a few more times in confusion.  There was a three-foot tall frog limping down the path toward Guardia Castle.  The guard thought he must have fallen asleep and unsuccessfully tried to wake himself up.

The frog was at the gate at this point.  “Let me pass,” Frog said to the poor confused guard.

“Uh…okay…” The guard replied, standing aside.  Frog shook his head in disgust, but he didn’t have time to deliver a proper dressing-down.  He’d do it later; right now, he had to speak with the king.
He limped up the steps and into the throne room.  King Guardia was talking to one of his aides, but on seeing Frog dismissed him.  “Frog!” he said jovially.  “What brings you back so soon?”

Frog limped up to the dais and bowed his head.  “Highness, I bring urgent news.”

The queen leaned forward.  “Frog, what’s wrong?  What happened to your leg?”

“Majesties,” Frog began, speaking to both of them.  “I was on my way to my home when I found myself besieged by three goblins.  They took me to a castle on an island in the south.  I should still be there t’were it not for a thief named Rat.  She helped me escape from the dungeon where I was imprisoned, and saved my life as the castle fell around us.  Twas in that attack that I injured mine leg.

“I fear this doth not bode well, highness.  Mayhap twas only a personal attack on myself, but it could have been a preemptive strike for the kingdom.  I know not which.”

The king and queen looked at each other.  “Frog, go to the infirmary and have them look at your leg,” the king said.  “We’ll discuss this.”

Frog bowed his head and left.


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