with die revised plans of the attack upon

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Matthias scrambled through, followed by Warbeak. They found themselves completely surrounded by sparrows as the door slammed shut behind them. The birds argued and chattered aloud as they sprang upon Matthias, pinning him to the lid of the door with many claws. He was unable to move a single whisker. As quickly as it had started, the noise ceased. The flock of birds parted. Matthias found himself staring straight into the bold aggressive face of a big strong-looking male sparrow. The bird glared at him with a crazy light in its bright, mad eyes.

“Mouse worm, you my prisoner! This court of Sparra! Me King Bull Sparra!”

193

The bodies of Sela and Chickenhound, the two traitor foxes, lay limp in the ditch that ran alongside the road. The rats of Cluny’s horde had executed them with spears and tossed them there. Sela lay still, her once bright cunning eyes glazed over in death.

But gradually Chickenhound began to twitch and groan.

He was still alive!

The fox’s entire body was afire with pain. Twice they had stabbed him, once in the back leg, and again right through the loose skin and fur at the scruff of his neck. Chickenhound had screamed and fallen into the ditch, helped by the feet of the rat executioners. He had immediately blacked out. Sela’s carcass landed on top of her son’s body in the shallow muddy water.

The rats were satisfied that both foxes were dead, and if they were not, well, who was going to climb down through all of those stinging nettles into the slippery ooze to find out? They hurled clods of earth at the prone forms in the ditch and stood watching them for a time. When flies began to gather on the foxes, the rodents lost interest and wandered off,

Chickenhound regained his senses. He lay quite still with Sela’s body draped across him. When he was satisfied that the coast was clear he struggled painfully clear of the grisly carcass that had once been his mother.

Old fool! She would never have been in this mess if she’d let a much younger and smarter fox handle things.

With a total lack of sorrow for his deceased parent, Chickenhound began figuring out his next move. He would have to He low in this stinking ditch until darkness fell. Even though he was severely hurt, the irony of the situation caused the young fox a silent snigger. It was he, not his mother, who had outwitted Cluny. Now he would soon be free  Redwall Abbey. Surely that would be worth something?

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