The Thief and the Swordsfrog Chapter 4

By Silent Elegy

“NOOOOOOOO!!!!” The anguished cry reverberated off the library walls. “Why?! Why did he have to die?” The voice degenerated into unintelligible sobbing.

“That is the fourth time you’ve read that book,” said Flea. “Why do you cry every time you finish it?”

“Because its sad!” exclaimed Mariel. “All through the book, the heroes pursue the villain, but he stays one step ahead of them. And then, just when you think he’s going to win, that little bimbo sticks a knife in him. It’s such a cheap shot.”

Mariel was half-human and half-Mystic. She had long, thick blue-tinted hair and long pointed ears to remind people who might forget about her Mystic heritage. It also reminded people of things they would rather forget. When she still lived among humans, barely a day went by that someone didn’t persecute her because of her father.

Her father had left when she was still small, shortly after the birth and untimely disappearance of her little sister. Her mother had died from grief not long later, leaving Mariel in the capable but uncaring hands of some neighbors. At first, she didn’t understand why people hated her so much. They had liked her well enough when her father had still been around. But as time wore, she found out. Her father was the great and evil Magus.

With that knowledge came the realization that people were afraid of her. They were afraid she would use her power to kill them all, even though she hadn’t shown many signs of having inherited her father’s magic.

Accompanied by the fear of everyone around her and nurtured by their hatred of her and her father, Mariel grew cynical and sarcastic, though she maintained a deceptively lazy attitude. She withdrew into herself and tendered thoughts of revenge. She dreamed of her father returning to her and teaching her the magic he held. She dreamed of leading the Mystics by his side. She imagined the King and Queen of Guardia bowing at her feet, begging for her mercy. Of course, she’d give it to them as long as they agreed to serve her…

But time passed, and her father never returned. Then she heard he was defeated by that stupid frog who fancied himself the Hero of legend. Her dreams shattered, she ran.

Slash and Flea found her crying in a hole near the Magic Cave, but they mistook her for Magus at first. When they realized who she was, they took her to her father’s castle. This was two years ago. Mariel had been learning magic from Flea and fighting from Slash. She had chosen her father’s favorite weapon, the scythe, for her own.

The Mystics had been gaining in power again under Mariel’s rule. Now, she was about ready to strike.

“Mariel, why don’t you study your magic, like you’re supposed to be doing?” Flea asked.

“Because I did already. I’m taking a break.” Mariel stretched and stood, then wandered across the room to look over Flea’s shoulder. “What’re you doing?”

“Trying to find someone,” he replied distractedly, staring into a crystal.


“One of your family members. Didn’t you used to have a sister?”

“Yeah, but she disappeared a long time ago. I think I was about five. Why?”

Flea looked away from the crystal. “Do you remember her at all?”

“I remember she was a year old when she disappeared. What else is there?”

“I think she’s still alive, but I can’t find her. If we could find her, we might be able to get her on our side.”

“Do we care?” Mariel asked caustically.

“She’d most likely be very powerful, probably as much as you.”

Mariel looked at Flea sharply. “She’s not! I know it.” She calmed down again, returning to her characteristic lazy and laid back attitude. “She’s gone for good anyway, whether she’s dead or not.” She brushed a few fingers over Flea’s crystal and stared into its depths.

“How would you know that?”

“Because I do…I remember what happened…”

“Would you like to tell me about it?”

“No.” Mariel picked up the crystal. “Tell me about father’s enemy, the frog knight.”

Flea blinked in confusion; Mariel had never cared before. “Alright,” he said, and began his narrative.

Frog was lost in thought, trying to figure out what Rat had been talking about. Certainly, something was wrong, but it was the strange, seemingly magical castle that was the problem. It didn’t have anything to do with Guardia castle.

Did it?

What if it did?

Frog’s thoughts ran in circles like this as he wandered the halls of the castle. What if he was just making it up? What if Rat if part of the whole plot? What if-

Voices. Frog strained his ears to catch the words.

“-Stupid frog,” someone was saying. “That rat, too. If it hadn’t shown up, Sir Froggy would be a pancake by now.”

“Don’t underestimate him,” said a second person, female this time. “He’s more resourceful than you think. If Rat hadn’t helped him escape, he most likely would have found another way out. I told you to kill him outright.”

“You know what the boss said. He wants Frog alive for ‘his own purposes.’”

“Then more the fool is he.”

The voices stopped talking. Frog wondered if they somehow knew he was there, but he heard their footsteps walking in the opposite direction. The first voice…he didn’t know. It sounded almost familiar, but not really. But the second voice, the woman’s, that one he did know. And he didn’t like the implications. But how could he find out anything? That was the question. Then he remembered something Gerald had said to Rat. “With all your connections…” Attempting to appear nonchalant, he left the castle to pay a visit to the Broken Knife.

Frog found Rat deep in conversation with two very large men. Her back was to him, but one ear swiveled around as he closed the door. She turned her head to look at him and motioned him toward the bar, then went back to her conversation.

“Look, I’s just an honest rat tryin’ ta make a livin’, a’right? I just don’t like all the rules and regulations you guys put to people.”

“Well, if you don’t join, you’re going to have real problems, Rat,” said one of the men. “And I don’t want to see one of your ears adorning the king’s wall. Or worse.”

“I just don’t see why an honest, hard-working thief should be forced to pay to join an organization he’s being forced to join. Now, you boys go back and tell His Highness that I’ll be perfectly willing to talk about this rationally, and maybe he can persuade me to join. With his words. But if I get one more threat like last night, someone dies, a’right?”

“Is that a threat?” the second man asked.

“You bloody straight it is,” Rat answered. The two men looked at each other and sighed heavily, but they left. Rat walked back to the bar. “Jerks from the Thieves’ Guild,” she told Frog.

“Thieves’ Guild? I hadn’t known there was one.”

“Oh, yah. They’s annoying, too. So what’ll you have?”

“Actually, I’m here to see thee again.”

“Now, Frog,” Rat teased him. “The going rate fer my help is currently 50 G an hour.”

“Tis about what thou told me as thou wert leaving the castle. That something was wrong.”

“Ya find out what it is yet?”

“Nay. Tis why I need thy help again. I believe Gerald mentioned thou hath…connections?”

Rat narrowed her eyes. “You want me to spy‘em out fer ya?” Frog nodded. “Well, I’d be happy too, but my boys don’t work fer free.”

“I’ll pay any amount necessary,” Frog said urgently.

“…A’right. They likes scraps. Bread, cheese. Mebbe a little fruit on the side-”

“What art thou talking about?”

“My boys. Oh, they can get anywhere. Just bring a pound of food scraps and some shiny stuff and they be happy.”

“Thy ‘boys’ aren’t precisely human, are they?”

Rat grinned. “Just find the stuff, then I’ll introduce ya. But out of curiosity, why ya so urgent?”

“Because,” Frog leaned close to Rat’s ear. “I believe…the queen may be involved.”

“Yah?” Rat leaned back in contemplation. “We see. Go find the stuff.”

Mariel stood on the balcony outside her room, magical lightning playing across her fingertips. She stood in apparent idleness, but in reality, her mind was awhirl. She was thinking about what she had learned of Frog. And Cyrus. Her father’s two greatest enemies. One dead, and one cursed to be a small amphibian. It was almost funny.

Flea hadn’t left anything out of the telling, including even her father’s betrayal of the Mystic race. It made Mariel think. What if all this was wrong? What if her father would be more proud of her if she forgave humans and tried to help them, instead of destroying them? He had once loved a human woman after all. For a few years.

Mariel banished the lightning and looked out over the sea, lit by the dying sun. Really, Frog’s story was rather tragic. It was just like the books Mariel liked to read, only the villain won this story. And in this story, Mariel found herself crying over the slain hero. “What a fickle girl I am…” she said softly.


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