Germaine for keeping such fastidious

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Far off in Mossflower Wood, the night breezes stirred the treetops gently. The moon rode in a cloudless sky. Its pale light filtered through the waving foliage to create the beautiful but strange effect of a shimmering, swaying carpet on the woodland floor.

"Asmodeus, Asmodeussssssss."

The covering of dead moonlit vegetation on the ground trembled and rustled. What better cover than a light breeze and a hunter's moon? Glittering black eyes searched the night, a forked tongue tasted the air, the small living plants appeared to shudder as the long scaly body brushed by them, trailing its way along.

"Asmodeus, Asmodeusssssssss."

Softly rustling, deceptive as the speckled shadows, the huge adder roamed his domain. Patience and stealth were acquired by long experience. Sometimes the serpent would He totally inert, awaiting the unsuspecting paw that trod too close. Other times it would raise itself, uncoiling to look into bushes for eggs and birds on the nest. Some nights it was lean hunting. "Many creatures sensed the approach of the slithering evil, or scented its dry, musty, deathlike odor. The snake had often gone hungry at times like these. But patience and stealth, patience and stealth; a lesson soon learned is a meal soon earned. At the foot of the sycamore the adder stretched itself alongside the still form. of Redtooth. Well, an unexpected bonus! This was another rat that could not scurry off. No expenditure of venom or hypnosis needed. How fortunate! The huge reptile coiled itself languorously around the dead rodent.

"Asmodeus, Asmodeusssssssssss."

No need of burial patties. Nature and the woodlands took care of their own funeral arrangements. There was but one efficient undertaker. The adder's jaws opened in something resembling the nightmare of a smile. The pathway to eternity

was open.


Matthias was excused from duties at the gatehouse fortifications. The council had agreed that both he and Methuselah, plus any creature they chose to help them, were to be left to their own devices. The majority of the Redwall mice thought that Matthias was acting a little oddly, but the young mouse knew exactly what he was about. He strolled slowly through die Abbey grounds. Behind him hopped Warbeak on a lead with a collar about her neck. On the sparrow's uninjured leg Matthias had tied a brick; not a very big brick, but one large enough to stop the bird getting airborne or trying any sneak attacks upon its captor. Thoroughly disgruntled, the sparrow hopped along like a feathered convict with a ball and chain, forced to follow the young mouse wherever he chose to wander.

At first, Warbeak had raved and threatened. Death was too good for Matthias! Warbeak was going to kill him twice, then cut him up and drop him from the top of a high tree for the worms to feed upon! Matthias had merely tugged the lead sharply and quickened his pace. When the savage young sparrow showed signs of good behavior, Matthias would feed her morsels of candied chestnut.

The treatment was working.

Outside the gatehouse Matthias rested. He fed the sparrow 昽me more of the candied nut.

'There now, you good bird, well done," he said approvingly.


Warbeak scowled fiercely, but she munched the nut readily.

Methuselah popped his head out briefly and beckoned. "Come into the study, Matthias. Oh, and bring that little horror too."

In the cluttered study the old mouse produced a yellowed volume. "Our old friend Sister Germaine's translation of the original Redwall Abbey blueprints. I think I've found what we are looking for in the main diagram. See."

Matthias studied the blueprint carefully.

"Brilliant!" he exclaimed. "You've done it again, my friend! A route to the Abbey roof from the inside."

Methuselah breathed upon his glasses, polishing them on his fur. "Really, it's thanks to Sister  records, young mouse. Now, here's where you'll start."

An hour later Matthias left the gatehouse with Warbeak bobbing behind. As they went the young mouse muttered to himself, "I'll need five or six strong climbing ropes, some spikes, oh, and a hammer. Must have a hammer. Now let's see, a good haversack to carry it all, enough food and drink, ah, and some candied chestnuts for you, my friend."

Warbeak uttered a stream of curses as she stumbled on the brick. Matthias waited as she picked herself up. "Tut tut, such language for a young sparrow."

Constance and Ambrose Spike watched the odd pair pass by. The badger tapped the side of her head with a paw.

"Bats in the belfry."

"Or sparrows," giggled the hedgehog.






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