Jul 27, 2005

HR, 25

Harlequin was not intimidated by Hubert's report; he simply clapped his paws together and exhorted his companions to diligence. After a moment of contemplative silence, he resumed giving orders.

"Hubert, I charge you and Peg with rounding out the locals. Tell them... tell them Attila has been defeated and his conqueror would like to speak to them. No, scratch that. Tell them I've got food for them. That'll do it. In the meantime, I'll be seeing what manner of an arsenal I can round up for this silver cask and this shiny claw."

The trio dispersed across the field to perform their tasks. Harlequin headed straight for the tree, still muttering strategies. Only Mitzi was still at the tree with the babies: Pavel and Sergei had left to update the rookery on all the news.

Mitzi had tendered a cautious affection for Harlequin for his role in ridding the field of Attila and freely let him roam the tree.

As a chipmunk, Harlequin was a natural climber. The feel of his claws clenching into spongy bark was pleasantly nostalgic of the forest. His strong, quick paws carried him gracefully within reach of the many treasures. He was looking for weapons of warfare.

It was a time-consuming process. The crows were very indiscriminate in their findings: if it was shiny, they grabbed it. Glittery paper and aluminum foil did not lend themselves well to combat, but they were all Harlequin could seem to find. He did find a lot of copper wire and some glittery string. What he considered potential useful he place of a bare section of branch.

An hour passed and Harlequin's eyes were a little sore from staring at flashy objects. He'd had enough and so, he made his way down the branches to speak with Mitzi. On his way down he found a little cannister that had been tucked away behind some leaves. It was a small plastic capsule half-filled with liquid. Instead of a lid, there was a metal contraption rigged into the top.

Harlequin had seen humans carrying these around, but he'd never known what they were for. Taking it in one paw, he examined the top. From left to right, there was a small hole, a little metal wheel and a button on the end. He brought up his other paw to test the wheel. He pushed at it and it turned with a scraping noise, flashing a spark that singed his paw.

Harlequin was impressed and set it on his useful pile. He hopped down to Mitzi's branch to try and trade the claw for his finds, but Mitzi would have none of it: Sergei was the officer in charge, and nothing could be traded without him or a superior officer present. She did agree to keep the pile in its present place until Sergei returned.

Scampering out from under the dense boughs of the tree, Harlequin saw Hubert approaching, followed by a dozen hungry looking mice. Peg was behind, hopping stoically on her one leg, with a squirrel, a few pigeons and sparrows and a solitary yellowjacket trailing her.

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