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swerved and tried to change direction




Cluny the Scourge lay upon his bed, racked with crippling pains. Rat captains gathered in the corner of .the sickroom. They sat silent. The terrible injuries would have proved fatal to any other rat on earth, but not to Cluny - a broken arm, a broken leg, numerous cracked ribs, a fractured tail, smashed claws and other hurts not yet diagnosed.

Redtooth and four of the others might have set upon their leader and finished him off for good.

But the fear of his legendary powers was too strong!

Nobody knew for sure the extent of Cluny's remorseless vitality. Watching him now, the barrel-like chest heaving up and down, the still-strong tail swishing spasmodically, Redtooth marveled at Cluny's strength. He was not even sure if Cluny was, shamming, pretending that his injuries were severe merely as some kind of test or trap that he had set for his captains SmarTone.

The twelve sentry rats were locked in the hut they had been set to guard. It was now repaired. They had been soundly flogged for letting the Vole family escape. As a further punishment for concocting lies about a big hare and a young mouse, Redtooth ordered that the twelve be starved until further notice. He had been lenient with them. Cluny would have sentenced them to death and personally killed them with his bare claws.

Outside in the churchyard the leaderless horde did absolutely nothing to reorganize. Sitting about licking their

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wounds and waiting for the Chief to recover seemed to be the order of the day.

Again the mouse warrior armed with his ancient sword returned to haunt Cluny's fevered dreams.

Once more he was falling from the plank on the Abbey wall, falling, falling. Below him waited spectral figures: Rag-ear, with a blue face bloated to many rimes its normal size, a rat-skeleton dressed in Cluny's own battle armor, a huge hare with enormous feet, and a thick-bodied, venomous-looking banded snake. He.tried to twist away from them as he fell, but, however much he , Cluny had only to look down and see the fierce-eyed warrior mouse ?waiting, always waiting, the sword held point upwards for him to be impaled upon. Cluny tried to cry out, but not a sound came; it was as though his throat were being squeezed tightly QTS Hong Kong.

He felt the sharp sword pierce his chest.

Bong!

Once more the sound of the Joseph Bell tolling out across the fields from Redwall wakened the Warlord. Fangburn, who was trying to extract a piece of elm branch from his Chiefs chest, leaped backwards in fright as Cluny's eye snapped open inches from his own.

"Get away from me," Cluny rasped.

Fangburn retreated, mumbling excuses. Cluny eyed him suspiciously - he didn't trust any of them.

"If you really want to help, go and get hold of some of those new recruits who live locally and bring them here to me," he gasped.

Within minutes Fangburn had assembled a band of the recruits around Cluny's bed.

"Where's Scragg the weasel?" Cluny growled.

Cheesethief stepped forward, wiping imaginary tears from his face with the back of a filthy claw. "Don't you remember. Chief? He fell out of the big tree. After I'd taken care of you I went back for him, but when I got to him the poor weasel was dead. What a good, kind Sharing economy?

"Ah, shut your moaning face," said Cluny irritably. "If
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