The Thief and the Swordsfrog Chapter 6
By Silent Elegy
The sun slowly peeked out from below the horizon, flooding the world with a pale, pink light. Birds began to awaken and drowsily sang their songs of welcome to the morning. A few wayward fireflies buzzed lazily around Frogs head as he walked toward Guardia Forest and his meeting with Rat.
Hed spent most of the night worrying about what her boys would find in the castle. He prayed he was wrong about the voice hed heard. The thought that the queen was plotting against him filled him with a terrible sadness. Hed dedicated his life to making sure she was safe. He shook his head slowly; she couldnt have betrayed him. He entered the forest and looked around. Rat should be here
Something hit him from behind, knocking him to the ground before he could draw his sword. Oh, its you, said Rat.
Thou doth not seem very pleased to see me, Frog replied as he struggled to his feet.
Rat helped him up. She sighed and said, Sorry, Is jus worried. Fingers, Alan, and Lenny is missing. She looked around. And theres been weird things happenin out here.
What kinds of things?
I dunno, just weird stuff. There was green lights floatin around. And freaky owls. I tells ya- Rat broke off as something squeaked. Fingers? Izzat Oh no Lenny!
Rat ran forward and fell to her knees, crying. As Frog joined her, he could see what had upset her so. Fingers and Alan had come back dragging the mangled body of their leader Lenny. He was covered in blood, and his back was torn almost completely open. Rat held his head in one hand and wiped away her tears with the other.
Lenny, no she moaned. The leader of the rat pack, valiant to the end, squeaked once, weakly, and died.
Rat threw back her head and howled her anguish. Noooooooo!!!!!!!!
Frog stood silently as Rat and the pack grieved. He felt saddened at their loss, and realized for the first time exactly how much these rats meant to the young thief, why she called them her boys. They were her family, perhaps even more so than Gerald. Frog, whose only real friends now all lived in another time, envied her. She had someone to care about who cared for her. Even if they were rather unintelligent rodents, they obviously understood love and loss.
Rat scooped up Lennys mangled remains and stood. The pack crowded around her legs, and Alan ran up to her shoulder. She walked to a nearby tree and laid Lenny beneath it. Rest in peace, old friend, she said, her voice choked with tears. You was a good rat, Lenny. The pack squeaked their own simple eulogies quietly.
Frog put his hand on Rats unoccupied shoulder. She was obviously trying to be brave and not cry. I understand thy loss, Rat, Frog said. Tis hard to lose someone thou loveth. Especially before thine eyes.
Rat threw her arms around him and cried as the pack gathered around them both.
In the small town of Truce, there was a bar. This was a small bar, one which no one would ever have thought much about. No one guessed that in a small back room of this small bar, two men and one woman stood or sat, deep in plots of scandal and conspiracy.
I recognized the rodent, your highness, said a man. It was one of those nine that Rat keeps. The man was, for lack of a better word, ugly. He was a very large man, and heavily muscled. Women might have been attracted to him at one time, but now, his whole body was covered in purple scars. Most people thought he had been through a very bad fire. In actuality, he had been on the receiving end of a spell called Antipode, which combined the magics of fire and ice to kill or injure a foe.
His purpose in all of this plotting was simple: revenge. Two girls who had been with Sir Frog when he had attacked them had cast the Antipode spell on him. He didnt know their names, but he didnt really care. He rather hoped that killing Frog would bring him within reach of them.
I see, said the other man, the one the first had addressed as Your Highness. His Highness, the King of Thieves was surprisingly civilized for a rogue. He had a light, and most likely cultured, accent. Aside from an eye patch over his right eye, he could have passed for a noble. Well, then, Garret, you were quite right to let the Beast kill it, he said jovially. Garret heaved a sigh of relief that he wasnt going to have his ear added to the Kings collection. The King addressed the woman. So, you think that frog is onto you, Leene? He emphasized the name in a conspiratorial manner.
Ive told you not to call me that. The woman shook her head. I think he knows something is going on, but I doubt he suspects me. Hes spent the last thirteen years protecting the Queen; he couldnt possibly think she would be plotting against him. She laughed lightly at the absurdity of the situation, causing the King to laugh. Garret laughed then, though it was rather forced. It wouldnt do to make the King angry over something so trivial.
Mariel gazed into the bottomless depths of Fleas crystal, trying to regain the image she had caught a flash of that day in the library. Shed been trying to see it for the past two days now, ever since she found out the circumstances surrounding her father and Frog. It had been driving her to distraction.
She had seen Frog. At least, she had the impression it was Frog. Only, he wasnt a frog. He was a human. And he looked younger than Mariel, but that wasnt right because he was, at least according to Slash, around 27. Mariel was only 21. And her sister would be 20
She shook her mind away from thoughts of her nameless sibling, and again concentrated on the crystal. So far, she wasnt even able to see that image again. It was becoming aggravating. She could almost see him, almost grab the image again, and then it would slip through her metaphorical fingers. She closed her eyes as a headache threatened and tried to think what could have caused the image the first time. Flea had been looking for her sister, and
Thats it! she exclaimed, jumping to her feet to begin pacing. Of course. Why didnt I see it sooner? Well, why would I have? I mean theres absolutely no reason for me to associate one with the other. Unless its because Mariel trailed off as she realized she was thinking aloud again. She knew Flea was spying on her of late. She could feel the presence of the spell he had cast, even though he didnt know it. He didnt realize how advanced she was. But shed been studying harder than he thought, and she could probably rival him in magic abilities. She might even be able to defeat him if it came to battle.
She sat back down and stared into the crystal. This time, instead of trying to see Frog, she concentrated on her long lost sibling. The depths of the crystal swirled enticingly, inviting the viewer to become lost within them, but Mariel was used to the charm spell and knew how to counter it. Flea, who had cast the spell, had taught her how. It was all about wrenching control of the image away from the charm.
Slowly, a picture began to form. Mariel willed the crystal to move faster, but it only slowed down. She blinked and the picture was lost. Thats not supposed to happen she said quietly. When I want something its supposed to give it to me
She stared at the crystal in confusion and brushed her fingers idly across the surface.
Glenn kneeled next to his fallen comrade Cyrus as Magus and Ozzie jeered at them. Tears of loss stung his eyes, but the ice-cold hand of fear gripped his heart. If Cyrus couldnt defeat them with the Masamune, what chance did Glenn have with only his short sword?
Suddenly, Cyrus body burst into flames as Magus cast his Fire spell. Whats the matter? Arent you going to try your luck? the mage scoffed. Glenn jumped to his feet, making a small, non-committal noise in the back of his throat. He took a few frightened steps backwards.
Ozzie laughed. Cat your tongue, kid? He turned toward Magus. How bout it, Magus? Cant you give him a more fitting form?
Magus smiled evilly. All right, why not? Theres always time for a little fun. He chanted a quick incantation, during which Glenn just had time to turn and take a few steps. Magus gestured and a lightning bolt shot down and hit Glenn.
He yelled in pain as it burned his skin and continued to burn all through him, making his insides twist sickeningly. He staggered toward the cliffs edge and, screaming his agony, collapsed over the side. Just before blessed darkness took him, he heard Ozzie laugh and say, You spineless wimp!
Mariel tried to slowly pry her eyes open, but the light in the room pierced her vision and made her see stars. Her head was pounding as much as poor Glenns must have been when he hit the bottom of the cliff. That had never happened before either. She saw the visions in the crystal, not had them forcibly shoved into her brain, living the memories, as they were her own.
So his name was Glenn once. She hadnt really thought about whether Frog was his real name or not, but it made sense that it wasnt. However, Flea hadnt mentioned his real name, and it made Mariel wonder what else he had left out.
She opened her eyes again, this time managing to keep them open. Slowly, she pulled herself to a sitting position and stopped, allowing her blood flow to return to some semblance of normalcy.
Flea hadnt mentioned what spell Magus had used to kill Cyrus. Or to turn Frog into a frog, for that matter. Mariel supposed it didnt really matter, and maybe Flea didnt even know. Or maybe he had purposely kept these things from her.
Finally, Mariel was able to stand shakily and take a few steps across the room to collapse on the bed where she rang for an imp servant. Really, it was just her nature to be suspicious of everyone. She figured Flea told her everything he knew. He probably didnt know Frogs real name was Glenn, and he had probably never really cared.
The imp came, and Mariel told it to bring her something for a migraine. It was a blue imp, the weaker kind. One of Fleas favorite types because they were notoriously afraid of him. It had come rather quickly, hadnt it?
Mariel shook her head and immediately wished she hadnt. She was being entirely too suspicious of Flea. After all, he and Slash had found her and offered to train her. They could have left her where she was and saved themselves many headaches and much pain. Why would they lie to her? Unless they knew something that would make her betray them like Magus had
Mariel fell asleep before the imp came back, but she dreamed again of Glenns memories. It seemed they wouldnt leave her alone so easily now that shed seen them.
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