Hey Jammers! :D I'm going to try and release new Frogsloth chapters on my blog at the same time I post them here. I realize that you guys might just mutiny against my blog if I make you wait TWO weeks, though, so I'm releasing two more on my blog later today.
We'll just have to ease into the new schedule, okay guys? Thanks for understanding.
I was face-to-face with the amphibian who had haunted my dreams. The mammal who had become my obsession. The elusive cryptozoological creature that I had imagined for so long--!
And it stood there blinking. Then its froggy face morphed into an expression resembling... disappointment.
"Oh, great. More of you people." It shot its tongue out. With incredible speed, a dragonfly disappeared!
"Y-- yuh...." I stood there, speechless. He could talk! This was beyond anything I ever could have thought of!
"If you don't close your mouth, you're going to catch an insect. May I recommend Calopteryx splendens? They're delicious this time of year."
"You can talk!" My voice brought Lieutenant out of his hiding place.
"Yes. Wonderful observation, darling. Or, 'Hello, Captain Obvious?' That is how young people speak these days, is it not?"
I looked at him oddly. "Yeezsh! How long have you been in here?"
"More years than I care to count, young lady. And you." He directed his attention to Lieutenant. "Who might you be?"
Lieutenant stood slack-jawed, just as I must have been a few seconds ago. The Frogsloth arched an eyebrow in what appeared to be mock annoyance. "An utter lack of conversational skill. I despair to think what will become of this generation."
A damselfly chose that very moment to fly straight down Lieutenant's throat. He choked and swallowed, turning green under his Ninja Mask.
"Ah, Calopteryx splendens! An excellent specimen, as well! You've missed your prize, young lady."
I clapped my paw over my mouth, trying to stifle a laugh. Lieutenant probably would have made some angry reply if he weren't too busy hacking up damselfly legs.
The Frogsloth chuckled. "Well, I may enjoy insects, but I do realize that you are incapable of appreciating their indescribably satisfying crunch, not to mention the diverse range of flavors to be found...."
I gagged a little. It musta showed.
"Come," he said, smiling. "I may be able to provide something a little more palatable."
He walked off through the trees, and we followed. I don't know why.... Honestly, if any other stranger told me to follow them for food, I woulda run the other way!
Probably the fact that I was talking to a creature most people didn't think existed contributed to the part dreamlike, part in-shock way we followed the Frogsloth into the unknown. The answer to our curiosity lay ahead...
Lieutenant and I walked behind the Frogsloth for some way, until we came to an immense cedar tree that must have been felled by a storm even bigger, time out of memory.
Our guide (previously our quarry) walked in his long-armed way around the trunk, almost crawling along the ground, but he still managed to preserve an appearance of dignity.
Hidden among the enormous roots at the base of the tree was a door. It was made of dark wood, and blended in almost seamlessly with the decaying bark.
Once opened, the door revealed stairs descending steeply.
We were ushered in to a tunnel-entryway. The walls were made of dirt, but were neat and smooth. We must have been out of the muddy part of the swamp.
The hall opened into a cozy living space, handsomely furnished with Elegant Chairs, Elegant Tables, and a... Frog Lamp. Naturally.
A crackling fire burned in the Fancy Fireplace, giving a warm atmosphere to what would otherwise have been a chilly basement-house.
A kitchen went off in one direction (I saw a stove with a teakettle), and an inner hall with doors branching off led in another.
"This is beautiful," I said, smiling. Lieutenant seemed impressed as well.
"My humble abode," the Frogsloth gestured with his claws. I noticed a look of pride in his eyes as he looked about the room.
I gathered my courage. "Ah, sir?" I began politely. "If I may, I kinda... I- I gotta use the... uh..."
"The necessary? Certainly. Down the hall, second door on the right."
"Thank you," I sighed in relief, and scurried off down the hall.
On my way back from the much-needed bathroom break, I admired a collection of weapons mounted on the wall. "Nice Crossbow."
"A relic from my previous life," the Frogsloth replied. "I have no need of them here."
In the time that I was... indisposed... our green acquaintance had poured something that looked a whole lot like tea into three cups made out of giant-sized acorns.
"Thank you," I said, sitting down on the sofa as he handed me a cup. I took a sip. "Mmm. This certainly isn't bugs!"
Lieutenant looked at his cup suspiciously. "What is it? You can't get tea out here."
"You're right," said the Frogsloth. "It's made of dried swampweed."