by Annie Song
I stared at Pip. “Diz… he got captured?” I just couldn’t believe it. “How?”
“Could someone explain what happened?” asked Cracker.
Pip turned to all of us. “So, Nut got this idea of putting a fog horn under Raven’s pillow. Skyler got the horn from the trash from the neighbors. We used the pipes in between the bedrooms. We also-“
“You don’t know the route. How did you get through?” questioned S’more.
“We had a guide,” Pip told us. Then she turned and called, “Ivory!” A silver figure shimmered out of the shadows. I squinted and saw that it was a butterfly. She was very pretty. “This is Ivory.” Pip introduced all of us to Ivory. “She lives in the house pipes. She goes outside to get food only but usually stays here. She knows all of the paths.”
“She guided us to Raven’s bedroom,” Ever recalled. “Then we heard scuttling. It turned out to be rats. Pip had been talking and rats heard. We had to flee and Pip was being dragged away. Instead of listening to me, Diz fought the rats. He got Pip free and couldn’t run because the rats had got him,”
There was silence. “And it’s all Ivory’s fault!” someone screamed. It was Red, marching up to Ivory. “She led them into the area the rats were! She should get banned! I’m not working with someone who loses my family!” Ivory hung her head.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I will find Diz and bring him back. I promise.”
Red shook her head disgustedly and stomped away. “At least we brought the horn back,” Ever said.
“We should find you a place to sleep,” Eve offered to Goldenacorn and Silverfrost. Everyone fanned out. I looked at Jump, Nut, and Spring.
“I need to go,” I told them. “Take care of the newcomers and Red. Make sure she is with S’more all the time. She shouldn’t get near Ivory. Okay?” They nodded and I left. I’m giving the pencil to Goldenacorn.
Hi! I’m Goldenacorn. So, we got moved to a snug corner of the shoebox the dust bunnies live in. I just sat on my bed and watched everything that happened. I soon found out that Red was the boss. At least she should’ve been. Instead, she sat with S’more and talked with him quietly. Eve and Ever took charge, telling animals what to do and how to do it. I sighed. Silverfrost and I hadn’t lived in a community with rules and leaders so this was new to us. We’d just done what we wanted.
Soon, I joined in, doing everything I could to help. I helped organize the food and drink, heal everyone that got hurt [especially Milkweed], and thought of a plan. Most of the time though, I taught fighting. Living in the wild was not easy because fighting was a big part of living there. I taught them how to dodge blows, basic fighting moves, and how to sharpen a spear stick. To some, I taught them how to fight in great detail. Silverfrost helped teach too, and also taught how to sneak attack. Soon, everyone could fight with great skill whenever told to.
But we still couldn’t think of anything. The prank about the horn wouldn’t work unless they could fight with rats, but the rats were numerous, and they would fight to the death. That plan was out of the question until one day at a fighting lesson…
“Report! Report!” I turned and so did my students. We saw an unclear figure.
“Who’s there?” barked Jump, who was posed in a fighting position.
“Me.” The figure soon reveled itself to be Ivory. “I have news.”
We had sent her to spy on the enemy, gathering as much information as possible.
“What is it?” Red snapped. She still was weary of the butterfly, but didn’t criticize her every time she came back.
“I have found out that they don’t only have rats, they have another creature too.” She paused. “Crickets.”
“CRICKETS!” roared Silverfrost. Everyone was startled, but before anyone could say anything, he continued his rampage. “I am willing to crush and kill those filthy insects. They killed our children! They crushed and choked them right in front of our eyes! We were tied up-what could we do? All we did was shout and cry as each of our lovely children were treated like weeds. 7 lives. Gone.” For a moment, his anger turned into sorrow. But that didn’t last long. “Let’s fight them! I will and Goldenacorn will too. Right?”
I was quiet. “You two aren’t going anywhere without my permission,” Red narrowed her eyes. “We aren’t going to-“
“We can!” Nut shouted excitedly. “The dragonflies distract the crickets. They must be doing guarding right?” he asked Ivory who nodded. “So, while the crickets are fighting, the rest of us put the bottles with milk down, and get out. We can send another party to set Diz free.”
There was a thoughtful silence. “What about rats?” asked Pip shivering.
“That’s why we have great fighters,” I told her. “I could teach everyone more skills.” So, we all started to make plans. Silverfrost and I taught more fighting, Eve and Flyingleaf [the healers] would gather more herbs, Cracker and Milkweed would quickly get more provisions, and the rest would practice.
Soon, we were ready. I lead the patrol that would distract the crickets and rats. With me, were Silverfrost and Thornswood. Ever led the prank patrol with Ivory, Nut, Jump, and Spring. Red bossed the rescue patrol. With her, were Pip, S’more, and Cracker.
At first, we went together, my patrol in the lead. We were quiet as possible, we didn’t want to be given away yet. There was a loud scuffle from the back. I turned to see Pip giving me an apologetic look. Too late. I heard legs creeping up the pipes. In front of us, were those evil little beasts, teeth bared. I saw 3 creep up to us. Suddenly, I recalled those crickets, leaping on to our children, tearing them up… I screamed, “You are those crickets who killed our children!”
The leader shrugged. “They wouldn’t have lived. They were pretty ugly too.”
The plan was to start fighting on cue. But I wasn’t going to. I couldn’t control the anger pulsing through me. I reared up and so did Silverfrost. We attacked.
I leapt on the leader, tackling him and jabbing at his face. He tried to bite, but I pinned him down even harder. I had never attacked with such brutality, but now it seemed right. I pressed harder and harder. He broke free, but I wasn’t going to let him go. I swung my spear stick at him, knocking him out. I turned and helped out Silverfrost, cornered by the two other crickets. One knocked over Silverfrost but he didn’t panic, instead, he hit the cricket’s legs, sending him crashing to the floor. I heard footsteps coming towards us. Now, it’s time to let Nut tell.
Hi! It’s Nut here. So, when Goldenacorn and Silverfrost started attacking, Ivory quietly led us through the pipes to Raven’s bedroom. We saw the pillow and ran. Somehow, nobody saw us. When the horn was placed, we ran. Suddenly, there was a shriek. “Get them!” a rat shouted. We ran as fast as we could.
“Follow Ivory!” Ever commanded. “Listen to her or my command or else you’ll end up like Diz!” We ran as fast as we could. I could hear the rats breathing. Ivory stopped, panting.
“Can’t breathe,” she gasped. Ever carried her on his back. She told him where to turn. “We’re nearly there,” she said, turning to look. “Hurry! They’re coming!” she whispered. I ran like I never had before. I was supported by something, something that gave me energy to keep on running. I was losing it though, I felt like falling down and resting. ‘Just a little further,’ I thought.
Soon, we reached the area where the dragonflies were. I noticed that Thornswood wasn’t there. But I was soon distracted by the action happening. “The rats are coming!” I told them. “Are you ready to fight?” They nodded solemnly. “Then let’s do it!” I shouted.
As the rats approached, they aimed at us. But Goldenacorn intercepted and struck the rat on the face with the stick. “We need help!” she shouted as she fought. “I can’t-“ she fell down, tired.
Ivory ran and carried her away. “Come on!” I shouted over the fighting. “We have to help! We can do this!”
Hello! This is Pip! So, after Goldenacorn and Silverfrost started fighting, S’more led us through another tunnel. Cracker was at the back, making sure none of us fell behind. My fur prickled as we came closer to the prison. My usual excitement turned into fear. What if we didn’t make it? What if we didn’t save Diz? Had we come too late? What had they done to him?
“We’re coming close,” S’more whispered. “Be as quiet as possible. Speak only when needed. The guards are close. Beware.” I felt Red stiffen. She was as worried as I was I knew. Maybe even more. I heard a crack of a whipping tail.
“How many times do I have to say it? Go and duel with the partner I assigned you in the tunnels! You heard me! I know you did! Why do you have to be such an annoyance huh? Why…” I snickered as I heard the tutor rage on and on about what the punishments would be, how important this was, and what fools they were.
I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and saw Cracker. “Focus.” I sighed. He was right. We pressed on quietly. Thankfully nobody noticed us. Finally, I saw it-the gate of the jail. It had a mossy plant winding around the bars. A rat’s face was carved in the metal. The eyes glinted with malice. Two dust bunny guards stood in front of the gate. S’more led us to another area to make a plan.
“I’ll hold them off while you three free the prisoners,” Cracker told them, getting into a crouch position.
“No!” Red argued. “I’ll help you. You’ll die out there!”
“Pip and S’more can’t make it on their own. You have to-“
“I have to help!” she protested.
“Remember last time?” I reminded them. “I was talking too loud and a rat heard me. You have to stop!”
Everyone stopped talking. “See!” I whispered. “If we’re quiet, we won’t-“
“Good words but you’re too late.” I jumped as that shadow passed over us. A dust bunny with a chain stood over us. As he wrapped us in and put paw cuffs on our paws, I stared at this dust bunny’s eyes. A pupil that was as black as midnight was wrapped with a sickening green and the whole thing was circled by a cloud of indigo.
The cell smelled terrible. All around us, were beetles, caterpillars, and our kind of dust bunnies. Diz was right in front of us. I couldn’t bear seeing him at this state, skinny and weak. But it was wonderful to see him again. “Mother’s here!” he kept on telling me. “I saw her! She’s in the other hall. I think she’s fine. At least that’s what the other prisoners tell me.”
Cracker was picking at the lock nonstop. Finally, click. “I got it!” he shouted.
“How?” I heard a beetle call. “I’ve been trying for months.”
There was a pause. “I gave up my claw.”
“Really?” I asked, amazed. Cracker had told me how he treasured his claws. Now, he had given one away. His paw was a bit red from the ripping of the claw.
We all spread out, using all we could find to pick the locks. We first freed others who knew more about picking locks. Then, progress quickened. Soon, everyone was free. The guards were on their breaks but they came back right when we were celebrating.
“Get them!” ordered the lead dust bunny, Axe.
“Run!” I shouted. Running was hard in this chaos. The guards were trying to get us, youngsters were crying, everyone was screaming- what to do?
Then Red shouted the command that saved us. “Fight!” That got us moving. Caterpillars acted like snakes, wrapping themselves around guards and squeezing. Beetles grabbed anything they could find and threw them at the guards. They also tackled them.
Suddenly, I heard someone scream. I turned to see my mom, screaming. This wasn’t like any normal sound. It could shatter glass. It made everything stop. Then, some guards fell down by the impact of the noise. A caterpillar shouted, “Take the chance! Run!” That is exactly what we did.
This is Goldenacorn. I struggled to keep awake. I saw many fighting. But I saw that they were in the center. “Where is Silverfrost?” I asked.
“Rest,” Ivory murmured. Then, she shouted, “Reinforcements!” I couldn’t stop myself, I stood and saw many different figures running over with weapons.
“They are trapped inside!” I told them as they approached. “Help them!” I watched as they fought bravely, pushing to the center. Then, the group inside burst through. “Get them!” I shouted. I saw some fall, both on our side and their side. I saw Silverfrost. He was fighting with such power. I saw with pride as he took down most of the crickets.
My heart swelled as rats, evil dust bunnies, and crickets retreated. “We did it!” I heard some shout. I jumped, not feeling the pain it caused.
“Where did Ever and his group go?” someone asked.
I heard laughing. Ever and his group approached. “Oh you guys should’ve seen it!” Nut laughed.
This is Skyler! We were all gathered around a bowl of tomato soup and cheese I brought up from downstairs. The prisoners were been fed the most. All wounds had been bandaged and everyone was telling their part of the great events that had happened. Nut was telling everyone where they had went. They had escaped right after the prisoners had broken the wall of enemies. They had went the wrong way. But they had saw Raven in her bedroom.
“She was yelling at her subjects and jumping on her bed like crazy!” Nut laughed. “But the funniest part was when she laid down on her pillow with exasperation. The fog horn was so loud! Raven jumped up 5 feet when it rang! Her face! She looked like she had seen her grave! Ho he ha ha! I couldn’t stop laughing. When she saw us laughing, she sent guards after us. They couldn’t catch us. Oh that moment! Ha ha ha!”
We all laughed. After our laughter, I stood up. “All of the prisoners are welcome to stay. This is a wonderful ending, full of courage. I would like to call this day, The Great Assult. May this war end with us winning!”