I am sooo excited about this part–and next part!!!
Amelia sat outside her house cutting chewed holes out of leaves to get what the beetles had left untouched, when Ryan came swooping in. He had his knife and his bow, and there were three pine-needle arrows stuck in his belt, and an quiver-full on his back that were tipped with poisonous wasp-stingers—the most lethal weapon the fairies used. There was a coil of rope made from braided grass hung over his shoulder. He started talking before he hit the ground.
“Such fun, Amelia! Come and see!”
“Whatever is going on?” cried Amelia jumping up, and scattering the leaves that had been in her lap across the ground.
“The Council finally decided to try something,” Ryan explained, calming down and helping her pick up the leaves. “I couldn’t let you miss the excitement—come on!”
“What should I bring?”
“You won’t need anything, so bring whatever you like–except Jerry, he might get into trouble up there.”
Amelia coaxed her pet under her bed with a piece of meat, and then scurried out of the house and shut the door. “He won’t be happy that I left him, but he’ll be alright. Where are we going?”
“Follow me.” Ryan started (walking) off along her trail. They went down it together and flew over the Bluestone. He landed on the bank, and began to explain when Amelia came down beside him. “So: the beetles are eating all the plants, nuts are hard to come by. Someone suggests meat. ‘Beetles are plentiful‘ he says, but someone else assures him that they have been tasted and are too bitter to deal with. Other bugs are rare, and most of them are too fast to catch, and we can’t all live on snails. Someone said mice, but that’s rather big game to go for, and—judging from the look on your face—you’re not interested in trying that; the exact sentiments of everyone else in the colony. We’ve ruined ourselves by using them as beasts of burden. No one will agree to that unless it’s life and death.” Ryan paused for breath.
“Could it get that bad?”
“Possibly—possibly, it isn’t bad yet,” he reassured her. “They’re just beginning to get worried about next Winter.”
“So. . . what did you decide to do?”
“You know that big spider that made its web up in ravine between those two big rocks away over by the Hawthorns’?”
“We’re going to eat spider?” gasped Amelia, horrified.
“No, no! Not that. But flies are hard to catch without a net, and it’s got one.”
“You’re saying. . .?”
“We’re going to lasso the flies that it catches.”
“We’re going to eat spider-poisoned meat?”
“No, that’s the tricky part: we’re going to try to pull them out right before the spider bites them, but after it wraps them up, so there’s less chance of them escaping.”
Amelia looked at her friend, walking along next to her; his leaf-made clothes blending into the underbrush almost perfectly, while his fair skin and chocolate-brown hair stood out in sharp contrast. She’d never seen him so excited. Probably just glad to be in action. “Lasso them? Then what’s all this for?” she asked, elbowing his quiver so all the arrows rattled.
Ryan grinned. “Precautions.”
“Hmm.” Amelia hoped his rigamarole wouldn’t be necessary.