201708041659surprising how the stone-holder could gain

"Well, my son, you are back with us at last," he said. "That must have hurt. There was half of a sparrow's beak lodged in your shoulder."

Matthias blinked and looked about. "Hello, Cornflower. You see, I got back in one piece. Oh hello, Brother Alf. I say, is that Basil in the next bed?"

"Asmodeus? Where did you hear that name?"

"A little bird told me," Matthias replied.

Basil retrieved his apple pie. He munched thoughtfully.

"Not much. Just remember what I've said, old chap. This Captain Snow is a night hunter, by the way. He probably sleeps in some old tree all day with one eye open. You mark my words, laddie, old Snow doesn't miss a thing. He knows all the creatures in his territory, where they live, what trails they use and so on. Ha, they don't call owls wise for nothing. Bit of a duffer all the same, letting a tree fell on him. Keep

your eye on him, though. If he catches you napping he'll chomp you up, medal and all."

Basil finished his ale and yawned. "Now get some sleep, Matthias. I'm fagged out after that snack. My old honorable war wound is beginning to play me up. I must have a bit of a snooze."

Matthias.  Redwall Abbey is in danger from Cluny the Scourge and his horde?

There was immediate shouting and gruff oaths. Matthias knew the drill; it was surprising how the stone-holder could gain quiet among such a noisy, quarrelsome gathering. Matthias continued, "As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, we at Redwall are under attack by Cluny and his horde. Evidently you have heard his name before. Well, I believe that I have the solution to Cluny. It is an ancient sword that once belonged to a great mouse named Martin the Warrior. To find the sword I must ask Captain Snow the whereabouts of Asmodeus."

Feigning an equal gravity, Sam made an elegant leg, and delivered a short, sharp kick to the barrel. Buzzing angrily, it dropped out of sight over the edge of the Abbey wall.

There was a crash and a yell, followed by the shocked screams of agonized rats. They milled about in the roadway, dancing in pain as myriads of maddened hornets attacked furiously. Some rats ran off down the road, others hurled themselves into the ditch, pursued by the relentless, stinging insects.