by Annie Song
After the Great Assault, we started a thing where every night, we listed things we should be thankful about. It was private, but it was a rule that you had to. We also listed things we are hopeful for. But one day, I found myself writing in things to be hopeful for this: To end this war and fight the last battle. I stared at that for a long time. Soon, I got a conclusion. I walked over to the corner of the attic. The army had moved to the boxes and each family lived in a box.
I bent down and looked for one of the night guards. “Who’s there? State your name and your business!” Ever stepped out.
“Skyler and I want to see Red, Thornswood, Starry Night, Eve, Ivory and Yellow Squash. I want to meet them in the meeting box. It is urgent.”
Ever nodded. “A general meeting eh? I’ll get the triplets over here to send these messages. Anything else you want Skyler?”
I shook my head. “Just make sure they come as soon as possible. Oh, and another thing, make it clear that the triplets are to not stay at this meeting.” I walked away. The meeting box was a huge box that was beside my bed. I was able to lay down and be at the same height as my fellow generals.
It took 2 minutes for the first guest to arrive. Starry Night walked in. “Good evening Skyler. I hope that any future meetings we have won’t be this late!” He told me.
“I hope so too,” I assured him. “Where is Black Button? He can’t listen to this meeting but you can tell him afterwards if you like.”
“I don’t think he’ll hear,” Starry Night said as Red and Eve came in.
“Nice to see you Starry!” Eve said cheerfully. “We saw the other generals coming. They’ll be here in no time!”
Red walked over to me. “What is this about?” she asked briskly. Before I could say anything, the rest of the meeting flooded into the room. People welcomed each other warmly.
Once everyone quieted down, I started by saying, “Nut, Jump, Spring? Are you listening? If so, please mind your own business!”
“I’ll tan them if they’re listening,” muttered Red sending a wave of laughter throughout the room.
“Now, I would like to get to the point here,” stated calmly. “I’ve been thinking, as adventurous and exciting this is, I think this war should end soon. And I realized, little pranks and fights will not end it. We need to have a last battle! To show our strength! To end the fight! To win! I think we should start planning this fight now. All in favor-”
“Now listen here Skyler,” Eve started. “I feel that now is not a good time. Doing a full out battle will lower our food, our drinks, our herbs, and most importantly, our strength. If this battle does not go well and we lose, we will be forced to surrender. It’s either win or get captured. For you Skyler, it would be that you would have to be under your sister’s control. In short, if we lose, we would have life quality so low, that I think many of us would rather die.”
“But if we win this last fight, we win this whole thing!” Yellow Squash pointed out. “I feel that we should plan it now. But we just need to attack when Raven’s soldiers are at their tiring point. If we have some world class worthy pranks, which we have, and launch everything at a certain time, we will have victory! And if we lose, we can at least say we tried. And that does not mean certain that we will have to surrender. We might get new recruits! I can see it all!”
“But if we have pranks planted in there, the timing must be perfect!” Thornswood pondered.
“I think we should have a vote!” suggested Red. “Not a final vote, but just to see where we are. All in favor in Skyler’s idea raise a paw, hand, leg, whatever you have!” As I raised my hand, I saw Yellow Squash, Red, and Ivory doing the same. Thornwood, Eve, and Starry Night stood their ground. “Alright, for now 4 like the new idea but 3 insist to object,” Red announced.
“I would like to speak Skyler,” Ivory said, her voice quivering like a feather in a storm.
“Be my guest,” I told her.
She stood. “I stand with the idea for a final attack because it’s idea holds also the reasons Eve and Yellow Squash stated. You see, Yellow Squash thinks that we should attack when Raven’s soldiers are weak. Being a spy, I predict that it will be some time before the soldiers are attackable. In the time we wait, we can gather resources so we will not run out like Eve pointed out. And when the time comes, we will be ready to attack with a full plan and the resources we need.”
As Ivory sat down, Thornswood started applauding. Soon, the whole room was full of applause. “Now,” Red said, standing up. “We have the final vote. All in favor of Skyler’s idea raise their paw, hand, etc.” It was unanimous. All paws, hands, and legs were raised. It was decided. The Shooting Stars, were planning for attack.
Over the course of a week and a half, we gathered many supplies. Soon, we had 2 boxes full of food, 3 jugs full of milk, and 2 boxes full of weapons. The box forts were strengthened. Everything was ready. By the way, it’s Goldenacorn speaking. As I walked through the box town, I saw Milkweed and Cracker heading out. “You guys getting more food?” I asked, astonished. “We got more than enough. You should take a break!”
“Better safe than sorry!” Cracker called as they headed down to the loft in the barn. I went over to the clearing where we trained fighters. Silverfrost was training Diamond Eyes and Star Eyes who were persistent in their dreams of becoming true warriors.
“I want to see you two have a duel against me,” Silverfrost told them. “This is different than other duels. My goal is to use my pole or my legs to try to touch you. You two have the same goal. If our poles touch, it does not mean anything. I have put grease on the pole’s tips and my legs. If you see grease on you, it means I have touched you. Once one of us is touched 10 times, the person who was touched these 10 times is the loser. Let us begin…now!”
Diamond Eyes was going first. Being a caterpillar, he had no use for a pole. Instead, he slithered towards him and shot towards him. Silverfrost thrust his stick at Diamond Eyes’s neck but missed. The caterpillar’s tail managed to touch Silverfrost’s wing. I smiled and walked away.
I was suppose to give a report on how things were going to Eve so I was walking around the box fort. Food was good, plenty of milk and water, training was going smoothly-what else could Eve want? But orders were orders. And I was so happy when I was doing it. So happy.
I walked up to the ‘Doctor’s Box’ and knocked on the flap in the box. “State your name and business.”
“Goldenacorn, come to report for Eve.”
“Come in.” The flap opened and Misty Dawn smiled at me. “Eve is tending to Twine. I’ll see what I can do.” She gestured me to sit on a moss carpet and disappeared behind a woven curtain. I waited.
Eve came out from behind the curtain. “What’s the report?” she asked. I told her that we had a great amount of provisions and good soldiers. “Good,” she said. “I can’t believe this is working! Last night, Red told me that today, we will be told the plan! I can’t wait!”
“GONG GONG GONG GONG GONG GONG” The sound rang through the fort. “GONG GONG GONG GONG”
“The gongs!” Eve cried. “The signal! It’s time!” Eve, Misty Dawn, Flyingleaf, and I ran to the meeting box. Everyone was gathered and the generals sat on seats facing the rest of us.
“Friends!” Red cried. “It is now time for us to reveal the plans for the final attack! Everyone is to know these plans and we have been working on them for a week and a half now. Before we begin, I would like to point out some things. Everyone, no matter how small, how young, or how fast plays a part. No one will be left out. Even little Rover will play a part. Also, these plans must be timed perfectly. Even a little mistake could change the whole plan. Now, we begin.”
“We will start by playing a prank. Rover and Twine will allow themselves to be captured. Twine knows how to pick a lock if things go wrong. After a day or so, we will get them back. We will distract many soldiers by doing that, so then we will bring another group to the inside of Raven’s base. Ivory will lead us there. We are to catch the guard’s eye and lead them into the fight at the prison. I will list groups by numbers of time order. Group 1 will keep the guards fighting until Group 2 comes with more guards. It will be chaos. Once Group 2 start to be chased by the guards, another group will go and surround the base as soon as possible. This will be Group 3. Group 1 will sneak out as Group 2 covers for them. Then Group 1 will help Group 3. Group 2 will try to escape from the guards and lead them inside the base and quickly get out. Then we will have them surrounded!”
“But we will also have pranks. Nut, Jump, and Spring will not be fighting. They will be ready to dump buckets of hot water and other substances to dump on the enemy. We also got paper airplanes that we can launch. Our healing circle will be circling around with a cart to take anyone in the battlefield that’s deadly hurt. It will be a certain victory!!!”
There were cheers. “But how do we know what group we’re in?” somebody shouted.
“We will tell you now,” Red replied. “In Group 1 we will have Diz, Pip, Black Button, Silverfrost, Thornswood, Goldenacorn, and Cracker. In Group 2 we will have Star Eyes, Yellow Squash, Ivory, and Starry Night. In Group 3 we will have Red, Ever, White Spot, and Diamond Eyes. Cracker will be helping Nut, Jump, and Spring. They will also be landing plane with Group 3 in them. Milkweed will be with them too and surprise the enemy. WE WILL WIN!” Cheers erupted in the box.
The next day Black Button knocked on our door. As I opened it, Black Button said, “Report from Yellow Squash! Twine and Rover have been captured! Tomorrow is the attack! Tomorrow is the attack! Group 1 is ordered to go to the meeting box, Group 2 is going to the food supply box, and Group 3 is going to the milk jugs. Report ASAP!!” Then he dashed off to the next box. I turned to Silverfrost.
“Did you hear that? Meeting! Let’s go!” At the meeting we reviewed the plan and trained. Then, we slept. Since we were going to attack in early morning, we needed to sleep early.
The next day!!!! The alarm bells were ringing! I jumped out and raced over to Silverfrost. He was sleepily getting up. “It’s time!” I grinned at him. If only I’d knew… He smiled and we both got our poles and spears and walked out. The whole fort was awake. I rushed over to my group. I was selected to lead it and I was very excited about that. “Okay guys, everyone got a weapon?” They nodded. “Everyone know the plan?” They nodded. “So let’s do this thing!” We cheered. We put yellow pieces of cloth on our heads to clarify which group we’re in. 2 was blue and 3 was red.
We all started off together. Ivory led us down through the tunnel. It was silence as we headed towards the base. Once Ivory saw a guard, she stopped and raised a wing. It was the cue. “Ahh!” From the back of the patrol, Pip had made the noise. People turned to look. The guard noticed the party of 25 animals that he should’ve noticed before.
“Hey you! Raven Blades! Get them!!” The guard made loud noises as he ran over at us, and more guards flooded in.
“Run!” Red shouted, a smile across her face.
I led my group to face the group of guards coming towards us. “Attack!” I hollered. Two rats came up to me and I ducked as one lunged at me. I swung my pole at it and he tumbled off. The other lept on my head and started tearing at my wing. I shouted and rolled but the rat clawed at my back. I swung my pole at him and he stumbled back. The two rats got up and leapt on my at the same time. I felt a wing rip and I screamed. Blood smeared my side and my neck. The red liquid was a pool at my feet.
I fell. Without a wing, I wouldn’t have any balance. I screamed, “Silverfrost!” But he was under pressure too. A big mean looking rat was snarling at him and knowing his tactics, he wasn’t going to help anyone anytime soon. But someone did come over. I stared at Thornswood, looking worriedly at me. Then he turned towards the two rats.
“You two ready for a fight?” he snarled. He grabbed a nearby spear and hacked madly at the first rat. He fell but the other charged at Thornswood like a bull and the two collided with a angry thud. Thornswood reared up and sliced at the rat but the rat was quick, and dodged it.
“Goldenacorn?” I turned to see Pip staring at me.
“Help me up,” I gasped. “Lead me to a corner. Where’s your brother?”
“Fighting with Black Button. Here, grab my tail. I’ll pull you.” With much struggle, Pip pulled me to the sideline.
I watched the battle. “Find Silverfrost and tell him that I need him to lead. I wasted my energy and am possibly near death. Go now.”
I saw her disappear into the battle field. And with a heavy heart, I gave way. I couldn’t bear pain. I couldn’t do it any more. I gave way.
The re-enforcements came. I looked at Goldenacorn, her body lying there. She had passed out, but we couldn’t take her. I’m Black Button. Silverfrost insisted that they take her but time was running out. Starry Night urged us on.
We ran to the center base following Cracker. He was still running at a high speed. I soon heard the sounds of fighting. I turned the corner and saw our team surrounding the base. We had burst into Raven’s bedroom and beside us was a box. Cracker ran to block the tunnels. I sticked with Diz and we ran to Red. Once she looked at us, she smiled. “Oh it’s so good to see you two! There’s a spot over there. Threaten them. Keep them in!”
We waited and pointed our poles at the frightened guards. I turned to Diz. “This is easy! We’ll win in no time!”
Just as I said that… “WHAT IS GOING ON!” All of us turned and Red turned pale. Raven was staring at us, fuming. For a couple seconds, we exchanged glances. Then a paper airplane hit Raven’s nose. Her face turned red and she crumpled the airplane into a ball and screamed, “You have no chance! I will crush you!” She ran over and grabbed a heavy book. Just when she was about to hit us, several things happened at once.
First off, a dozen airplanes shot at her full speed. Milkweed had rushed out and leapt on Raven and clawed her. Group 2 dashed in with the guards chasing after them. But they stood still and stared at Raven. Raven’s army was trembling before their master. And it came.
It is something you don’t want to know about. I’m Star Eyes. When I just got in, you could feel that something was wrong. First off, as Black Button said above, when we got in, airplanes we being launched, a cat was fighting, it came in, in short it was chaos. But you could feel a wave of terror sweep through the room. Then, it revealed itself. It was a ghostly figure that was tall and muscular. It was shaped like a wolf, same face, same eyes.
It smiled a shaggy smile, but you could tell it was mocking us. He spoke, “Ah! So we have found you! After all this time, I can finally see my creations. My work of art. My dust bunnies!”
“These are mine!” Skyler shouted. “These kind animals with brown eyes are mine! And you-”
“I know these pitiful creatures are yours human. I didn’t make such poor animals. I made those with purple and green eyes! Those with power! With strength! And you,” he glared at Raven. “You are claiming them as yours. THEY ARE MINE!!!” His yell was more like a howl. It seemed to claim all sound and fill not just the room, but the earth!
Even Raven was cowering before the mad creature. “I…I found them sir. But usually finding the animal is classified as making them. Because, we uh humans can’t make animals. So,”
“I am disgusted!” The towering wolf like animal snorted. “Even a worm would have more sense than you humans. I will not waste time. Let us take back what is rightfully ours shall we brother?”
As he said this, another figure slightly smaller than the leader appeared. “Of course brother. Whatever you say.” I could see that he was more weary than the other but he must’ve been tired.
The first animal walked forward and pulled a sack from thin air. He scooped them into the bag and strolled casually back beside his brother. “Stop!” Yellow Squash shouted. “This is wrong! You can’t do this!”
The wolf turned around quickly. “What do you know about right and wrong?” he snarled. “I know much more than you little pet. I’ve been ruling my kingdom for ages! Ever since time began, I’ve been here and protecting my kind’s legacy. Our passion. Our culture! And that is-”
“Aren’t you the first one of your kind? ‘Ever since time started’ quoted by yourself only seconds ago. I feel you are lying!” Nut declared.
The wolf shrugged. “Lying or not, you have to understand that I have much more knowledge than you and know everything about the world. And, I have control over spirits of the dead and lost. You couldn’t even stand up to me!”
“But we know something you don’t!” Diamond Eyes stood up, anger pulsing through. “We know about light, about kindness, about justice, about everything that you don’t! And in case you didn’t know this, that is a lot of things! You evil scoundrel! I don’t even think you can see clearly!”
“I stand with Diamond Eyes!” I shouted. “And I think you would just run away if you saw this!” With that, I shone light through my eyes. At least that’s what others told me. In truth, I had no idea how I got the nerve to say those words. I also didn’t know that I could shine light. But as others told me, light came from my eyes.
The wolf took a step backwards to avoid the light. “I would never run away just because of a stream of light. And if you want light, take this!”
He fired bolts of purple light. People gasped and dove to avoid the bolts he fired from his mouth. But I didn’t feel afraid. I yelled and urged myself to fire light to fight this creature. Instead, I got more than I could wish for. I felt a tingling at my heart. I looked down and could see it beating in a turquoise color. Then, light shot out of it. It met with the wolf’s light and the lights battled. It felt like having a physical fight but just standing there.
The lights died out soon though. I fell down in exhaustion. “Weakling. And you thought you could beat me? Little fool.” The wolf hovered over me.
“Stop! Don’t kill him!” It was Diamond Eyes. He ran and jabbed at the creature with his pole. But it just went through. The wolf laughed.
“Now you have gotten the taste of my fight. I will give you the last chance. Surrender peacefully, or get my wrath. You chose.”
We backed up and let Skyler come forward. Her eyes met his and there was no need for words. Her eyes were like pillars of fire, burning with pride and anger. The wolf’s eyes were cold like death, bottomless pools of ice. “We will not surrender and will never bow down to you you…you…”
“Call me wolverine pet.” He turned to Raven. “Well, are you going to surrender, or fight. It’s obvious that you would never win,” he added.
Raven’s face was twisted in mixed feelings. She looked scared in one way, angry in another way, and powerful in another. She locked eyes with the wolverine. “Well..” Her confidence melted and she glanced at Skyler. Skyler’s eyes were blank. Raven faced the wolverine again, but looked at the ground.
“Come on, we don’t have all day!” The wolverine growled.
“I think that I’m going to join the Shooting Stars and fight against you,” she blurted.
There was a surprised murmur throughout the team. Their former enemy fighting with them? Skyler’s face was a mask of shock.
“So, going to die a brave death?” he asked. Before we could answer, he turned to his brother. “The decision is made. We have another war.” He turned to us. “I”m Claude, taker of souls. My brother here is Maude, lord of the night. See you later…in battle!” And with that he disappeared in smoke.
Raven turned to us. “My soldiers are yours and I will be under your command.”
Skyler put a hand on her shoulder. “You showed wonderful bravery. You are a colonel like me. Welcome to the team.”