The sun got ready to set. Heinrich sat with his back to the oak that grew in the midst of the row of fir trees that acted like a fence between the yards. He quietly gathered himself in anticipation of what was to come, when Sergeant Holmes came and sat beside him.
“You seem so calm,” she said.
“I learned long ago to conserve my strength before battle,” he answered. “But surely you have learned such things in your years on the force.”
“That is not what I meant,” Heinrich excused himself.
Sergeant Holmes just let out a bit more of her smile. “To tell the truth, I was destined for a desk a few years ago.” She paused to rub her knee. “Getting old is hard. Captain Williams let me train a couple of rookies, but after Scott.” She shrugged. “I’ll probably be forced to sit down.” She sighed. “How about you?”
“At the university. History professor,” he admitted.
“Oh? I thought you were a police officer. I assumed. So what are you doing here? How did you get mixed up in all this?”
Heinrich put his finger in the air as if to say, wait, he would show her. “Emily,” he called, “Your majesty.” He added that designation on purpose as he stood and jumped thirty feet straight up to the top of the oak.
Emily stopped quietly talking to Officer Scott, trying to explain the inexplicable, when Heinrich called. Sebastian’s jaw dropped seeing Heinrich’s jump to the top of the tree. “Excuse me,” Emily said. She could not make the treetop in one leap, but she could reach one big branch, and another, and meet Heinrich on the third jump. She looked all around and said, “I see no sign of them yet.”
“No, and you won’t until dark.” At that moment Ashish finished telling a joke and Millsaps, Mitzy and Rob Parker all laughed out loud. “And I dare say we will never see them if this crowd does not become inconspicuous.”
“Not funny,” Heinrich responded and he jumped back to the ground. Emily could follow him that distance down without too much trouble.
Officer Scott stepped over to sit beside his Sergeant. She had nothing to say, either, but Emily took advantage of that to address them both. “I don’t know if I can reach her, but if I can, no screaming.” She turned, spoke up a bit and shook her finger at Ashish. “No more jokes. We need quiet from now on.” She looked around to see that everyone was paying attention before she called, “Captain Riverbend.”
“Here, majesty.” Riverbend appeared out of nowhere, or as Emily guessed, became visible beside her. “But I have no such magic to make this many mortals inconspicuous. I will have to call in the troops.” It was a request.
Emily sighed. Riverbend appeared in her jeans, that fancy winter cape and her glasses, but she knew the troop would not be disguised. She turned again to the police officers around her and spoke firmly and frankly. “A troop of elves will be disguising our presence here in some way. I don’t want anyone freaking out, and no screaming. Have you got that?” Most nodded, but Emily wanted to be sure the State Troopers were prepared. Millsaps, Rob Parker, Mitzy and certainly Ashish had seen things so they might not be so surprised. When Emily felt they were all as prepared as possible, she spoke again to Riverbend. “All right.”
Riverbend took out her little flute and played a tune. Immediately the air beside her began to brighten until it became a hole between here and there. A dozen elves burst from the hole, arrows at the ready. Several people gasped, but at least no one screamed. Riverbend explained and then invited everyone to stand by the oak tree. The elves formed something like a line and began to dance in a circle around the people. They danced with absolute grace through the trees and chanted in a sing-song kind of way. It was both creepy and fascinating at the same time. It did not take long, though, and the elves went back through the hole which promptly disappeared.
“Now keep quiet,” Heinrich concluded as Emily and Riverbend went to sit beside a fir tree. It took a few minutes for Officer Scott to build up the courage to sit beside them.
“Captain Riverbend, elf. Sebastian Scott, State Trooper.” Emily whispered the introductions.
“Wonderful to meet you,” Riverbend stuck out her hand to shake and said an aside to Emily. “I think I’m getting good at that.”
Emily shook her head. “Keep practicing,” she whispered.
Sebastian withdrew his hand and looked at it for a moment before he verbalized what was on his mind.
“Amazon queen,” Riverbend poked her nose in. Sebastian looked like he wanted to laugh but something told him he should know better. “Certified by Zoe herself,” Riverbend concluded with a grin and a nod of her head.
“Zoe?” Sebastian asked.
“No need to go into that,” Emily shut down that conversation. But Sebastian was curious. He spoke again after a moment.
“Captain?” He looked at Riverbend. This time Emily butted in.
“Military. And she leads an all-female troop.”
“Lady Alice says we can’t be real Amazons. Only humans can be real Amazons,” Riverbend looked down at her hands where she worried her fingers. Emily ignored her until Riverbend sighed.
“What?” Emily asked.
“I hope David has not forgotten me.”
“David?” Sebastian asked.
Riverbend brightened, but only for a moment. “I hope Lady Alice will make it so we can be together.” Riverbend finished her thought.
“Lady Alice?” Sebastian looked confused.
“Zoe,” Riverbend answered which did not help at all.
“No need to go into that,” Emily repeated.