The Thief and the Swordsfrog Chapter 11
By Silent Elegy
Frog had long stopped trying to convince the guards of his innocence. They werent listening. They thought hed gone insane. They still believed that the doppelganger was the real Queen. Frog was worried about the real Leene. According to a story hed heard once, doppelgangers killed the ones they mimicked.
There was nothing he could do now, though. As a soldier, hed always expected to die young, but hed hoped hed be able to die human.
Any last words? asked the executioner. It crossed Frogs mind to tell them everything, to tell them all he was really Glenn. He shook his head.
The executioner put a black bag over his head and forced him to kneel with his neck across the block. He closed his eyes, though he couldnt see anyway, and prepared to be sent to the afterlife.
What the- someone exclaimed.
Rat charged into the room and launched herself at the executioner, knocking him to the ground. She cut the rope holding Frogs hands together and grabbed him by the arm, pulling him out of the room as he pulled the bag off his head.
Rat! he exclaimed. But how ?
Ya gots weird friends, frog boy, she answered, giving him the Masamune.
They turned a corner and nearly crashed into several soldiers. Frog turned, but they couldnt go back the way came, either. Trapped like rats, said Rat ironically.
Mariel sat in an inn in Truce, wondering what to do next. She couldnt go home because she didnt have one. Slash and Flea would know she knew theyd betrayed her, and the people in her old village wouldnt exactly welcome her with open arms. She put her head in hands and was about to give in to despair when a female voice intruded on her thoughts.
Can you teleport?
Sbeen nice knowing ya, Frogger, said Rat.
Likewise, milady Rat.
The soldiers were about to grab them when a blinding flash lit the hallway. When the light died down, Mariel stood in front of them. She pointed at the soldiers and said, Fire! In response, the temperature in the hall rose dramatically and the unlucky guards in front burst into flame.
Someone behind them yelled, Burn the witch! The other rank of soldiers started forward, but Mariel pointed at them. They stopped dead, expectant. But instead of casting Fire again, she said casually, Dont press your luck. Now, get out of our way. Fearful, the guards obliged and the three ran past them.
They ran from the castle pursued by soldiers. But finally, thanks to Mariels magic, they outran their pursuers. As they stood gasping, Mariel said, Glenn? Committing regicide ? Im so proud. Our little tadpoles growing up.
Frog glared at her. Hardly, he said. Twasnt the Queen. Twas a doppelganger.
A whosywassit? Rat asked.
Mariel swallowed in a futile attempt to wet her parched throat. A doppelganger is a shape shifter that steals other creatures forms by killing them.
Then Queen Leene truly is dead, Frog said hopelessly.
Not necessarily. The really strong ones dont have to kill. Did it say its name?
Really? You beat Adreagon? Mariel was impressed. Well then, you really did commit regicide. Adreagon was the most powerful doppelganger in existence, as well as their queen.
Look, thats all well and good, Rat interrupted them. But I gots a question. Couple of them actually. First, how didja get there, Mariel?
Glenns friend, Doreen came for me, she answered. I can teleport myself, so I let her show me where to go.
Oh. And whos Doreen?
In response, Frog pulled the Hero Medal from under his breastplate where it hung on a chain around his neck. Doreen is the spirit of this, the Badge of Courage or the Hero Medal. She is the older sister of Masa and Mune, who are the spirits of mine blade.
I thought they were only a legend Mariel said quietly.
Hey! Rat exclaimed angrily. Yeah! About Masa and Mune. They possessed me or something!
Were sorry, said Mune.
There wasnt time for anything else, Masa finished.
Rat held her head in her paws. What is with all these people TALKING TO ME IN MY HEAD?! Mariel collapsed in helpless laughter, and even Frog couldnt keep from laughing. Rat glared at both of them.
A crash in the bushes caused them all to jump, but it was only a rabbit. Frog shook his head. We should find shelter, he said. We cannot allow them to find us.
I have a small room at the inn in Truce, Mariel volunteered.
Rat started walking toward the village. Long as theres a bed, Is happy.
The loss of our dear Queen is shattering, indeed, said the King of Thieves. Too bad they let the fiend who killed her get away.
Oh, give it up, said Slash. You didnt care about Adry beyond what she could do for you.
Oh, and I suppose you did, hm?
As a matter of fact- Slash started forward, but Flea put a restraining hand on his arm.
Not now, Slash, he said. Later. Slash grumbled, but he backed down.
Your Highness, with the Queen dead, will your plans still succeed? asked Garret.
Of course, they will, Garret, he answered, dismissing the question as unimportant with a wave of his hand. Theyll simply have to be changed.
Mariels small room turned out to be the best luxury suite the inn had to offer. Mariel collapsed on the bed, followed by Rat who quickly jumped back up holding her tail. Owowowowow!
Whats wrong? asked Mariel.
Rat growled. Stupid knight captain jerk stepped on my tail.
Allow me, Frog said. He held her tail loosely and closed his eyes, muttering quietly. Rat jumped as a blue glow surrounded his hands and transferred itself to the injured part of her tail, bringing with it a pleasant heat. As the light disappeared, he stepped back, and her tail was healed.
Uh thanks Rat said a bit nervously.
You know healing magic? Mariel asked him, genuinely interested. Frog nodded. Youll have to teach me sometime.
Frog ? Rat said.
Whats with your reflection?
Frog realized he was standing in front of mirror. He looked at his reflection. What ? he started to ask what she was talking about, but he changed his mind. Canst thou see that?
See what? asked Mariel, looking between the two of them.
Frogs got a human reflection, Rat answered.
Does he now? Mariel couldnt see anything, but she didnt doubt that it was true. So, I take it, then, that Glenn never told you his story.
Frog sighed and glanced at his reflection again. He lowered his head. Twas a long time ago. When I was a young boy, I was orphaned. Because of my odd appearance, I was made a fool of by the other boys. Cause you was a frog?
Nay. I was human, back then.
You was a human?!
Dont interrupt, Mariel snapped. Ive never heard this story before.
Frog smiled slightly. The pair fought like siblings. Thank you, Mariel. As I said, I was taunted as a child, oft times to the point of being physically beaten by the other children.
Why didnt ya kick their a- Mariel thunked Rat on the head, effectively shutting her up.
I was afraid to. I was quite the coward back then. Only one person was mine friend, and his name was Cyrus. He didnt protect me, but he tried to teach me to fight back. And I learned, but I was still too afraid to use my mine knowledge. He taught me first to wrestle, then later how to swordfight. In time, I became better even than he.
Cyrus became a knight and convinced me to be his squire. He gained in prestige as the worlds greatest swordsman. Women flocked to his side, and I was left always on the edge. No one knew my name.
One day, Cyrus decided to find Masamune. It would be a dangerous journey, of course, but I was quite eager. We won the Badge of Courage from the Frog King and climbed Mount Denadoro, where we found the Masamune, but awaiting us at the summit was Magus and his general Ozzie.
Cyrus fought them, but to no avail. Magus killed him. I was left to face him alone, but I was too frightened. I tried to run, but Magus cast his magic on me, turning me into what thou see before thee.
After a few moments of silence, Rat said, Dang. You had it rough.
Aye. It hath been a hard road.
So thats why you speak like you do, Mariel remarked. Youre too ashamed of what happened to let anyone guess.
Frog sighed and changed the subject. We should rest and plan our strategy. We must find out who is behind this conspiracy.
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