Arthur the Ant (part 2)
By Artelle Lenthall
“Merlin, are you sure we won’t get caught?” Arthur whispered. “Nothing is ever certain” Merlin replied. Arthur looked around nervously “I wish you and Guinevere hadn’t come.” Merlin chuckled, “nothing is certain, Arthur, but our plan is good.”
“Besides, we wanted to come”, added Guinn “I’m sure you’ll do it this time, Arthur. Did you draw in that bit, it looks important?” Guinn pointed to the hydraulics lever. She was wonderful that way Guinn, really cluey, but always humble about it.
“RIDICULOUS CONTRAPTION!” roared Abram, one of the elders “what need have we of it? Just one more of Arthur’s fanciful daydreams”
“It will put the colony in danger, you mark my words” mused Methuselah, another elder. A quiet, calm, yet deliberate voice spoke up “I believe it has merit.” Merlin, despite his comparative youth had been chosen as a council member due to his obvious wisdom and skill. “How so?” asked a third elder.
“Well” Merlin spoke up confidently, “we constantly have to repair and maintain tunnels in our nest, taking valuable time away from food collection and Arthur’s auger can probably do the job better than we do now, freeing up at least one hundred of our number for more important tasks...”
“More important tasks!” blustered Abram. Speaking calmly Merlin addressed Arthur “Do you think your auger could do that?” Not daring to look at Merlin, Arthur faced the third elder “YES!” he exclaimed with a confidence of his convictions which belied the self doubt that niggled him. He hadn’t dared believe that he’d get this far.
“It is very important” Arthur said calmly the soil support towers have to be built firmly at each new stage before the auger can go on. He continued on to the next crew of worker ants, completely unaware that Big Billy’s scowl had quickly turned to a secret smile and then back again as Guinn’s voice reached his antennae “Oh Arthur, I’m so proud of you, Project Camelot is already making such a big difference to the way we ants find and carry food. Even Miss Major was smiling the other day.”
“It seems like I’m the not the only one who secretly hated the food site excursions. I’m showing Mum and Dad tomorrow”, said Arthur smiling weakly. “They’ll love it!” Guinn returned a confident smile
“What’s going on?” Merlin looked into Arthur’s worried eyes, as soldier ants swung into action all around them. “Oh Merlin!”Arthur clutched his friend tightly. “The tunnel my auger was digging collapsed... and they were right behind me... they’ll be crushed to death”, moaned Arthur. “Who was right behind you? Arthur answer me!” Merlin commanded. “My Mum and Dad...I was giving them a tour of Project Camelot.... and Guinn,” Arthur sobbed. Merlin saw the smile on Big Billy’s face, not far behind Arthur turn, into a grimace. “She decided to come along at the last minute and I couldn’t see any harm”, Arthur continued. “Oh Merlin what am I going to do?