A/N – I am so sorry about the long delay in updating this, but a few days after updating last, my sister got appendicitis and was very sick, she was in hospital for a week and I was looking after our three horses alone, and my sisters horse decided to get colic (really bad stomach ache) and I had to care for her so I had no time to update, then as Amy was recovering, I was still looking after the horses as she could barely move without hurting her stomach. My dog was then diagnosed with cancer and I was trying to enjoy every second I had left with her. As college started Milly got a bit better and we booked her in for an operation to try to make her more comfortable, but sadly on November the first, one week after the operation, she passed away. I was gutted and I lost all passion to write. As the month went one I started to write a bit more but could not get this chapter to flow well. My little pony Oscar was diagnosed with Cushing disease and a liver disease so I was busy organising vet visits and treatment. Then in the beginning of December my sisters horse went lame and had to be booked in for a lameness work out for the beginning of January, as I was very stressed with the loss of Milly and college I decided to start writing again after Daisy's lameness work out. Sadly Daisy had a massive heart attack and passed away. So I have had the worst few months ever, Oscar is currently doing ok but I have been very stressed and gutted. Daisy was only 14 and should have had more time with us and I miss her and Milly terribly, they have left a huge hole in my heart.
Thank you to chipster roo for reviewing I am glad you have been enjoying this story and I am so sorry for making you wait for another update
Thank you to white hunter for reviewing I'm glad you have enjoyed the story
And thank you to Chipster-roo, TAY BARTLETT, GodShynin300, trebor1212 and White Hunter for adding me to their favourites/follows.
Disclaimer– I do not own anything in the Watership down franchise and any plot lines, characters, dialog you recognise belongs to Richard Adams and Alltime Entertainment and Decode Entertainment.
Chapter 12 – Silly decisions
Skylar, Selene and Storm were sat admiring the view and early morning sunrise. As they sat in silence, Selene and Storm were thinking about how to keep Skylar safe and away from Woundwort, but without letting her catch to them keeping her at the warren.
Storm had met up with Selene late the previous night and they had both discussed how to keep Skylar at the warren and not let her catch on as they both agreed that she was as sharp as weasel claws and would probably catch on quicker than they could sneeze if they acted weirdly or slightly out of character.
They both had decided that this would be some trick, and they would have to be more cunning than the doe that was now a captain of owsla and cleverer than most rabbits. They then agreed that they would have to enlist Bigwig to help them as they would not be able to pull it off by themselves, Skylar would just become more suspicious.
But getting to talk to Bigwig alone was proving very difficult as Skylar insisted on following them everywhere, they did wonder if she had already caught on to what they were planning, they would not put it past her.
It had been a very long night for the two friends as they most defiantly did not want their friend to fall into the clutches of Woundwort, but they did not want their friend thinking they were plotting against her or thinking she was weak, and they also did not want to lose their friendship because of this, but they only wanted her to be safe.
It was a tricky problem, and they decided they were not going to plan any more without talking to Bigwig first. As the sun rose higher Skylar suddenly spoke "you know, if you wanted to have a secret meeting, you shouldn't have it right next to the rabbit's burrow who you are talking about. Not very subtle"
Selene and Storm jumped not expecting Skylar to break the silence so soon. Selene answered "well, you see Skylar, we meant no offence but we want to keep you safe and away from Woundwort" Storm then said "yeah, he probably has even more patrols out and if you get caught, you won't be able to escape again, he wants you more than he wants Hazel, Bigwig and fiver, you need to be so careful now"
Skylar looked at the two then replied "I won't be stupid, and I am going to stay near the warren for the time being, I did not escape Efrafa to be caught again, and you could have just spoken to me, no need for secret meetings, although it was interesting to listen too" she chuckled at the last bit.
Selene and Storm smiled, they partially knew that Skylar would catch them out, but at least she had not shouted at them, and it seemed she had agreed with them and had decided to stay near the warren for the time being.
"Well shall we practice our stealth and cunning? Get a head start before Bigwig starts training?" Skylar asked Selene and Storm nodded, Bigwig had been putting the owsla through their paces lately, especially after what had happened with Pipkin.
As they headed down to the clearing, they saw Pipkin being spoken to by Hazel, Bigwig and Fiver, Pipkin looked more sad as the conversation progressed, Selene spoke up " I feel sorry for Pipkin, he did not mean to get captured, and now Hazel, Bigwig and Fiver are treating him like he is a kit, he is bored stiff" Storm nodded in agreement "yeah, if needed I could always take him out to play, after all I can protect him easily, Selene can scout for danger and you can be our team leader"
Skylar chuckled "ok, ok. What happened to me staying near the warren under burrow arrest to?" Storm and Selene looked guilty as that is essentially what they had been planning. Skylar then laughed "I'm joking, look we will rescue Pipkin from his burrow arrest, I will talk to them after training, but we need to put them in a good mood"
"I hope they don't try to put you in burrow arrest, as they can't really catch you unless you go to them" Storm informed them "especially as they want to keep you safe too" Selene continued. Skylar grumbled "well I can take care of myself, some captain of owsla I will be if I'm stuck in a burrow, I'd dig my way out to join you"
They all laughed at that, they started heading to the training space. "hmm Hawkbit and dandelion seem to have been on a raid" Skylar said as they reached the foot of the hill, watching Hawkbit and Dandelion emerge from the woods, Selene called out to them "Hello Hawkbit, Dandelion, how was the raid?" Hawkbit looked miffed and Dandelion replied "Well we managed to get one turnip" Hawkbit then said "not exactly a great success"
Storm then said "ran into some trouble then?" The bucks nodded. Skylar then looked interested. Storm and Selene looked at each other and said together "no, no, no and no!" Skylar looked at them in surprise and asked "how did you know what I was going to say?"
"We both know that look, the look of let's do a raid" Selene said. "If the bucks ran into trouble it will still be there when we get there" Storm continued. "Look stealth and cunning, its perfect training!" Skylar exclaimed
The bucks moved away from the three friends and went further up the hill and had gotten Kehaar's attention and he flew down to see what they wanted. As the three friends argued on the notion of a farm raid Kehaar took the turnip from Dandelion and Hawkbit and flew it up the hill. Dandelion and Hawkbit started up the hill after Kehaar.
"I hope they realise they have not been clever, they have just lost the turnip" Skylar said, Storm and Selene nodded "yeah, Kehaar is too clever to be used like that, I'd guess that the kits will have it now" Selene said as they watched Dandelion and Hawkbit run slowly up the hill to be disappointed. "Shall we skip out on the extra training to see their faces?" Storm asked, "We could race?" Selene said.
Skylar laughed "ok as long as you are prepared to lose! Ready, set, GO!" the three friends ran up the hill, trying to trip each other and calling friendly insults as they went.
They reached the top of the hill as Dandelion and Hawkbit did, and they saw that Selene's prediction was nearly right. Pipkin was eating the turnip. Hawkbit hopped over to Pipkin and said "pardon me, but that's our turnip" Pipkin looked apologetic and said "oh sorry Hawkbit" he then knocked the turnip over to the two bucks. The three friends watched the scene unfold before them
Bigwig then came over and said "leave off, I said he could have it" Hawkbit looked put out and replied "if he wants a turnip he will have to go and get his own won't he?" Hazel then came over and said "he can't leave the warren!" Fiver, who had also joined said "if he's caught and taken back to Efrafa, it would be the end of him"
Skylar growled at this and snapped "so what we lock him up for ever? Never let him go anywhere!" Selene also looked annoyed "Pipkin is smart and it was not his fault" Storm added "we would protect him"
Hazel looked at the three females, and he realised that he would have to be very careful of what he said next, they could be very scary when they were annoyed. "we just want him to be safe" Bigwig then looked at Skylar and said "I'm sorry Skylar, but we have to think of your safety too, I was meaning to talk to you sooner, but you went off with Storm and Selene" he paused for a couple of seconds preparing for the argument that was sure to follow "you are no longer a captain of owsla, or even a member, you need to stay at the burrow too"
Skylar looked murderous "what! I can't believe you would do this Bigwig, Me, Selene and Storm, we are a team, what about them? I will take patrols like you" Bigwig looked at them and said "they can still train, but if Woundwort gets you, we would never see you again, so until further notice you will stay at the burrow entrance or preferably in the burrows like a good doe, and that is final, after all you can be a bit impulsive and put other in danger with your silliness"
Skylar looked devastated and embarrassed as the rest of the warren had heard what Bigwig had said. Hazel and Fiver looked apologetic but said nothing. "Is that what you think of me Bigwig? I thought we were a team" Skylar looked at everyone else "is that what you all think? I'm impulsive and put everyone in danger with my silliness?" Selene and Storm where shaking their heads but everyone else looked down at their paws. Skylar recalled the conversation from earlier and remembered how she wanted to go on a raid when she knew there was danger about, and she knew that Selene and Storm both agreed.
Embarrassed and humiliated Skylar ran into the burrow. Bigwig looked sad but said "she will get over it, right patrol formation hop to it" Pipkin then said "I'll come too" Bigwig turned back and said "Pipkin you heard Hazel, stick close to home, maybe keep Skylar company, I think I may have over stepped the line"
Pipkin looked sad and asked "do you think she will forgive you, she looked very upset" Bigwig replied "I hope so, but she needs to stay safe, there is something else going on with Skylar, there must be a specific reason Woundwort wants her, and until we know what it is she is staying put" Bigwig then turned to Selene and Storm who were Still looking shell shocked from the turnaround of events. "Right you two let's get to it" Storm and Selene looked at each other then moved to join Bigwig, they were still part of the owsla and had to obey his command.
Blackberry and clover then hopped over to Pipkin, "there's a brave lad" Blackberry said Clover then started to groom Pipkin, "look at you, you are a state, we will have you clean in no time" Clover said. Pipkin looked annoyed and said "thanks but I need to go and keep Skylar company" Blackberry and Clover nodded and they all headed into the burrows.
Skylar was sat in a corner of the warren. With unshed tears in her eyes she once again wondered if being part of a warren was worth it. She has vowed when she left Efrafa, she would stay alone, and here she was, a prisoner in Watership down because she decided to join them.
Getting up quickly when she heard paws coming closer she looked to see who had come over. She was shocked to see it was Clover, Blackberry and Pipkin. She had very little interaction with the two does, except when they were teasing her about the whole Fiver spectacle, and she wondered what taunts where about to come her way.
"I don't really want to hear what you have to say, I can already guess" Skylar muttered when they sat next to her. Blackberry, Clover and Pipkin looked shocked at the lost expression, she had no spark in her eyes and she looked like she had given up.
"Pipkin will you go and play with the kits please?" Blackberry asked. Pipkin looked at Skylar's face but nodded anyway. As Pipkin hopped away. Blackberry said "its ok Skylar, you will be back outside soon, Bigwig is just looking out for you, he wants you to be safe" Skylar looked up and said "I thought he knew I could defend myself, he does not need to keep me prisoner here" Clover then said "look you are a doe, and does don't really join the owsla from what I can tell, so maybe you need to stop fighting, take a mate and have kits, be a mother, that should keep you busy"
Skylar looked horrified "no way not happening, I'm a warrior, I fight, I am not mate or mother material" Blackberry chuckled "sure you are, Fiver could be your mate, imagine how cute your kits would be, Hazel and Bigwig would approve of you becoming a mother" Skylar grumbled "look thanks for making me feel better, it's a great idea, I'm just going to silflay for a while and think about this" Skylar then hoped out towards the burrow entrance Blackberry called "that's the spirit Skylar" Clover and Blackberry started gushing about who cute it would be when Skylar and Fiver became mate and how much they were looking forward to their kits being born.
"Wow they can't understand sarcasm can they?" Skylar muttered to herself. She wondered how quickly Blackberry and Clover would spread that she was giving up being an owsla member for being a mother, she also wondered who would believe it, not many she hoped.
Skylar looked over the down and decided that if Bigwig believed her to be silly and impulsive, that is what she would be, taking off quickly down the hill she ran straight into the woods in the direction of the farm, after all she loved carrots.
Moving swiftly through the trees, she was a stealthy as a fox, she reached the hedge in record time and paused at the hole in the hedge wondering if she was doing the right thing. Recalling the saying who dares wins, she entered the hole and waited at the end.
Checking the coast was clear she made her way to the barns. It was more sheltered there and she would not be in the open. As she made it to the barn she noticed the fresh packed carrots. Grabbing one swiftly she ran back to the wall side of the farm. She ran through the hole in the wall and sat there while she ate the carrot.
Thinking quietly to herself about how easy that was she failed to spot Tabitha the cat stalking her. "Well, well, well what do we have here, a long ear all by herself" Tabitha hissed. Cursing herself for dropping her guard Skylar spun around to face her foe. "You picked the wrong long ear, cat" Skylar hissed dropping into a defensive crouch.
Tabitha lept first intending to end the fight quickly, but she had under estimated the doe's skill, as Skylar jumped and rolled out of the way before leaping at the cat. Catching Tabitha on the shoulder they both rolled before Tabitha managed to scratch Skylar across the face. Skylar hissed in pain before jumping back up and biting Tabitha on the flank.
Tabitha hissed in outrage and pinned Skylar intending to make her pay for the bite, but Skylar managed to get out from under Tabitha and they rolled again, as the fight progressed, Skylar started to lose, but was not backing down and Tabitha realised this doe was too much trouble to take, especially as the farmer's daughter was now coming to see what was going on.
"Tab? tab! Leave it alone you nasty cat" the girl shrieked pushing the cat away from the bleeding rabbit. Tabitha bolted for the house, she was bruised and had a few scratches but was otherwise unharmed.
Skylar however was injured badly, she could not see out of her left eye and she had other bites and scratches over her body, she also had no energy to move. "Aww you poor thing" the girl whispered as she looked at the doe. The girl then picked up the doe and took her into a smaller shed that Skylar noted was a different colour, it was brighter and nicer than the other sheds. It also had small windows and a few potted plants outside of it.
Skylar knew that this was potentially the end. If she had not been so stupid to go on a raid by herself, mislead the does to think she would stay by the warren and silflay or disobey bigwig in general, she would be ok. But she was alone and paying for her actions.
The girl then placed her on a small table and went to fetch a bowl of water and some cloth. Skylar still could not move. So she waited for the girl to return. Skylar wondered what the girl was going to do to her. She seemed nice, but she knew that all humans were bad, so she held no hope.
"Its ok bunny, I'm going to help you" the girl said softly. Skylar could not understand what the girl was saying but she calmed a little at the tone of voice. "This may sting bunny" the girl whispered as she started to clean the cuts and bites on Skylar's body. Skylar hissed when the girl started to clean her cuts, but she realised that the girl was helping her so she stayed still.
It did not take the girl long to clean the does cuts and she spoke softly to the doe the whole time "no one is allowed in here, it's my own Wendy house, so you will be safe here. I know you raid the gardens and it makes father mad, but you are also hungry. You need to be careful now, father is getting wise and it is no longer safe for you to come in the daytime." Skylar listened to the girl even though she understood nothing the girl was saying, she just liked the sound of the voice.
"I will go and get you some water and food. I will be back soon" the girl then left Skylar to fetch the water and food. Skylar knew she had been very lucky, her cuts and bites were now clean, and the only one that would potentially scar was the one on her face. She also knew that soon the others would find her missing and would start looking for her. But for now she would stay put and wait till night fall to run.
The girl returned and put down a bowl of water on the floor and then placed a few carrots and cabbage leaves down by the bowl "I will open the door at dusk before I go to bed. I will leave something here so I have an excuse to come out. No one will come here so you are quite safe." She then lifted the doe to the floor and then placed a book on the table. "See you later rabbit"
Skylar took a long drink from the water bowl and thought about what the others were doing. She then ate one of the carrots and the cabbage leaves. She then decided to sleep for a while. Besides she could do nothing till the door was opened.
Back at the warren the patrol had returned and they had brought Hickory and Marigold back to the warren to discuss teaching them about the wild and taking them to Redstone warren. "Where's Skylar?" Bigwig asked. Selene and Storm looked around the warren and said together "she may be in the burrow, she has probably calmed down now, and we will go and check" Hazel said "it always creeps me out when they speak like that" Bigwig chuckled.
Blackberry and Clover then came over and exclaimed "did you know that Skylar is going to give up being in the owsla!" "Yeah she agreed to become a mother" Clover squealed. Hazel, Fiver and Bigwig looked at each other in confusion. "So where is she?" Blackberry said "oh she went to silflay and think." "Oh no, she gone and done something stupid" Hazel moaned.
"No she said being a mother was a good idea, she said so herself" Clover explained. "I'm sorry who's being a mother? Also Skylar is not in her burrow" Selene asked as she and Storm returned from Skylar's burrow. "Skylar said he will be a mother and leave the owsla" Blackberry said. "Oh dear Skylar was using sarcasm, she would never give up being in the owsla for being a mother" Selene said. Storm looked worried "she's gone to the farm for a raid, I know it!" Bigwig shook his head "no she wouldn't do that, you never do raids alone, she knows that"
"But you said she was impulsive and silly, she would do it because you said it" Storm replied. Bigwig looked horrified "oh gosh she would, just to prove she could do it alone"
Selene then said "she's in trouble or sulking, she would be back by now gloating that she was fine" Storm then asked "how long has she been gone?" Blackberry shrugged her shoulders "don't know really but it's been a while"
"Look me and Storm will go and find her, you guys help Hickory and Marigold. Don't worry she is probably fine, good luck at Redstone" Selene said as she and Storm were leaving the burrow. "Hold up a second, maybe Storm could teach Hickory and Marigold about avoiding elil, I will go with Selene" Fiver said Hazel and Bigwig nodded in agreement
Storm, Hawkbit and Dandelion set off with Hickory and Marigold. "Bigwig stay with Pipkin please" Hazel said as they descended the hill towards the forest. Bigwig nodded and went to join Pipkin. Fiver and Selene also descended the hill in the direction of the farm.
Storm, Hawkbit and Dandelion took Hickory and Marigold to Redstone. There they showed them round the many chambers and gave them a few lessons on how to clean the burrows and maintain them. Meanwhile Storm was checking the perimeter for any traces of nearby elil.
Finding nothing she made her way back to the warren entrance. "there is no signs of any elil around here, but that may change when you move in so keeping your tracks covered and minimising scent is a must" Storm informed the rabbits, who had just emerged from the burrows.
"Well that is not too difficult to do" Dandelion informed the two rabbits, "we shall explain more later, but for now we are going to teach you how to evade elil, Storm will stalk you, you will evade"
Hickory and marigold nod and they all move to the nearby woods to practice. Storm went off to start stalking them.
Hawkbit and Dandelion take Hickory and Marigold to the river and Hawkbit explains "right the fox has your scent and will be on you in a second how do you get away?" hickory stammers "I don't know there is nowhere to hide" Dandelion says "the grass?" Marigold the cries "but the fox is in there! She will track us!" Hawkbit moves to the stream and says "but what if she loses your scent?"
Marigold says "we go into the stream then double back" Hawkbit and Dandelion nod "well better do it quick then" Dandelion says. Marigold leaps into the stream, then turns back and dives into the grass, Hickory however trips over a rock and falls into the water. Storm then bursts from the grass and jumps into the water, soaking Hickory further, and shouting "gotcha!" Hickory sighs in defeat.
"Out here you don't get second chances" Hawkbit informed Hickory. "I will never be as fast or as clever as you Dandelion" Hickory says in defeat. "Remember the owsla saying 'who dares wins'" Dandelion asks Hickory. Hickory shakes his head "um no, we never had an owsla" Dandelion looked shocked "so you don't the story of how El-arah dared and won?" Marigold shook her head and said "no we never told El-arah stories, Cowslip did not like them, and he said they were silly" Hawkbit snorted "shows what he knows"
"Right then make yourselves comfortable, it's time for a story" Dandelion said. "Once all rabbits lived above ground, without burrows, elil were preying on them night and day. It was a terrible time. El-arah did not know what to do to help his people. So he and Rabscuttle went to Prince Rainbow seeking help. Prince Rainbow told them to go to the valley of wisdom and wait for Frith to appear so they did. El-arah said 'make me wise so I may know how to save my people'. Frith informed el-arah that wisdom is earned. Frith told el-arah to jump to the other side of the valley to prove his worth. It was a huge leap almost impossible even for el-arah. Rabscuttle begged el-arah not to jump. But el-arah was determined to help his people and would dare anything for them. Even if it meant his death. So he jumped and he soared to the other side. Frith said 'your heart is true el-arah, wisdom is yours'. As friths light touched el-arah, he knew how he would save his people. They would dig holes and live under ground, safe from elil, warm in winter, happy forever." Dandelion finished the story.
"So el-arah dared to gain wisdom, and he won. What a wonderful story, thank you Dandelion" Marigold said. Hickory then asked "have you ever dared Dandelion?" Dandelion then chucked "well more than most actually" Storm snorted at this, she had enjoyed the story, but could see where rabbits got there daring, reckless behaviour from.
Dandelion then stared another story "once I dared to enter the cavern of a hurududu." Hawkbit grumbled "oh not that one again" as he moved away Storm went to join him and asked "one of his most told stories eh?" Hawkbit nodded. Hickory and Marigold were fascinated and asked "what's a hurududu?" Dandelion replied "it has a hard shell like a tortoise, and man rides around in them"
"So what happened in the cavern?" hickory asked "I saw two bright lights coming at me, eyes of the hurududu, the smell, closer it came" Hickory had put his paws over his eyes, Storm snorted in amusement both at Hickory and Dandelion. Marigold asked "what did you do?" Dandelion replied "I shouted stop! And it did" Hickory said "you must be very brave" completely in awe of Dandelion.
Storm muttered to Hawkbit "might I point out that hurududus are controlled by man? And humans don't like to hit things that are on the road. Also hurududus are known as vehicles, cars, lorries and such" Hawkbit looked at her in surprise "how do you know that?" Hawkbit asked. Storm replied "I asked farm animals, they often know as they have been in them"
Storm then said "right are we continuing with this lesson, or do we have to listen to any more stories of Dandelion the car tamer?" Hawkbit burst out laughing at Dandelions miffed face and Hickory and Marigolds shocked faces. "Yes let's continue before it gets dark" Hawkbit replied still chuckling.
Meanwhile Selene and Fiver were making their way to the farm. "She would have entered via the hedge hole, that's where Hawkbit and Dandelion left from this morning" Fiver nodded. As they made their way into the yard they could see the dog sleeping near its kennel. But there was no sign of Skylar anywhere. "Maybe she is in one of the barns" fiver nodded "ok let's do a loop and exit out of the wall hole, she may have ran that way"
Selene and Fiver both ran around and in the many barns looking for any sign of Skylar. Suddenly fiver called "I have her scent, through here" they both ran into the barn where the carrots were stored. "Right it's clear she came here then, went elsewhere" Selene said. "How can you tell?" Fiver asked. "Well there is no carrot bits anywhere so she ate elsewhere" Selene informed Fiver.
They both then set off across the yard to the wall. "Right through we go" Selene said as they reached the hole in the wall. As they exited the hole they saw a horrifying sight, Skylar's half eaten carrot, and the signs of a struggle.
"Oh no" Selene muttered as she examined the scene. There was fur, blood and the scent of a cat. "Oh no the cat must have jumped her, she must be in the woods" Fiver said. "Wait a bit, there is the scent of man here too" a sob came from Selene as she said this. "She must be gone" Fiver looked startled "what do you mean?" Fiver asked. "Well there is no trail, if she did go into the woods, and there is no sign of her here, so the farmer must have taken her away" Selene sobbed.
Fiver looked at the farm "maybe she is still alive and in one of the barns, the farmer may have put her in one" but Selene shook her head "they wouldn't keep her alive, farmers hate rabbits for what they do to their crops. And besides we checked them, there was no scent of her anywhere"
Fiver looked distraught, and Selene was sobbing. "We had better go back to the warren and inform everyone about what has happened, it's getting dark so even if she is still alive we can't do anything now" they then made their way back to the warren, but as they start into the woods a fox passes their trail and they have to hide in a bolt hole, "right, never mind lets hide here and go back in the morning" Fiver says to Selene as they watch the fox move around the woods. Selene nods and they settle in for the night.
When Skylar woke from her sleep she felt much better. It was near dusk and she still did not know if the girl would let her go. As she waited for night to fall fully and she saw a figure making its way over to the little shed she was in. The door opened quietly and the figure entered the little shed.
Skylar hid in the darkness and she heard the girls soft voice call out "ok rabbit the door is open, please be careful." The girl then took the book she had purposely left on the table and retreated back to the farm house.
Skylar made her way over to the open door and peered out. She then decided to wait till the lights were out in the farm house, that way she was sure she could not be spotted. The moon was high when the light went out. Skylar quietly left the little shed, she then decided to thank the little girl in some way for her kindness, and there were pretty flowers that were growing at the base of the wall. Hopping over to the flowers, Skylar quickly grabbed a small bunch of the flowers and then left them in the little shed where she was kept.
Making her way around the wall, Skylar suddenly realised she was on the wrong side of the farm, deciding not to risk the farm yard and woods, Skylar travelled the long way round back to the warren, following man's trails. She moved as quickly as she could but she was still sore from her fight with the cat.
She followed the man's car trails, Storm had told her and Selene that hurududus were called cars, she also found cars much easier to say, round the edge of their territory. Knowing she would get back to the warren when frith was high in the sky she decided to slow her pace as she was tiring quickly.
Frith was low in the sky when she made it to the 'roundabout' which was not too far from the warren and too her great surprise there was an unfamiliar rabbit sat in the middle of it cowering at all of the cars passing by.
"Hello are you alright?" Skylar called to the stranded rabbit, hoping it was not an Efrafan, she was sure it wasn't as this was a stupid thing to do, but who was she to judge, she had gone on a raid by herself.
"Ooh I'm stuck, Marigold has gone to get help" the unknown rabbit called back. Skylar was torn, she had no clue who Marigold was and she wondered who 'help' was going to be, but she did not want to leave the rabbit alone in case he ran in front of a car.
Making a quick decision she decided to cross. "Ok I'm coming across" Skylar called back. Looking for a gap she quickly made it over to the rabbit. "I'm Skylar, who are you?" Skylar asked the unfamiliar rabbit. "I'm Hickory, me and Marigold are learning how to survive in the wild" Hickory informed the doe.
"So you thought it was a good idea to come and sit on a roundabout?" Skylar asked Hickory who then shook his head "no, a rabbit called Dandelion told us the story of el-arah daring and winning, dandelion also told us how he stared down a hurududu, he is so brave and we decided that if we could face a hurududu, we would never be scared again"
Skylar smiled "ah yes I know Dandelion, I'm from his warren, he is a great story teller as you know, also there are better ways of being brave, and not getting stranded" Skylar informed Hickory. "So what's your story? As it looks like you fight a lot" gesturing to her cuts.
Skylar smiled ruefully "ah well, that would be because I was in a fight with a cat" at Hickory's confused expression she continued "I rather stupidly went on a farm raid by myself and got jumped by a cat, I would have died if it hadn't been for a little human girl coming and saving me" Hickory looked amazed "wow you are even braver than Dandelion" Hickory exclaimed. Skylar chucked "just do me a favour and don't go on any farm raids by yourself to prove you are brave, because as you can tell it does not end well, I recommend going with someone else." They sat in silence and then Skylar then asked "do you think you could run with me over the main trail?" Hickory looked scared and shook his head, Skylar sighed "well we best sit tight till help comes then"
Meanwhile Hawkbit, Dandelion, Kehaar and Storm were looking for Hickory and Marigold in the woods near to where they had been spending the night. Hawkbit grumbled "for rabbits that haven't learnt to hide, there not bad at it" Dandelion called out "Hickory! Marigold where are you?" suddenly Kehaar let out a warning cry as he landed "Kehaar not see bunnies, should I look further?" Kehaar asked.
Hawkbit grumbled "oh don't bother, they have probably gone back to join Cowslip and his warren of weirdos" Storm shook her head "nah they are desperate for freedom and their own warren they wouldn't go back like this"
Suddenly they all hear Marigold calling "Hawkbit, Dandelion! Help" Hawkbit sighs and calls back "over here!" Marigold then calls again "Hawkbit!" Hawkbit sighs again and then looks at Dandelion and Storm and says "their next lesson is running quietly" Marigold then bursts from the hedges and exclaimed "its Hickory he's trapped in the middle of a huge man trail!" Dandelion shook his head and said "what's he doing there?"
Marigold then said "you can stop the hurududus, you know how, they just keep coming and coming" Hawkbit then says "alright take it easy" Storm nods and says "yeah, let's go and see what's to be done" they all head off towards Hickory.
Back at the warren Bigwig was having problems with Pipkin, who had decided to act like a scared baby to annoy Bigwig more he had spent the day making bigwig play with him, making Bigwig fetch him food and then sleeping in Bigwigs burrow. As Bigwig emerged from the burrow Hazel exclaimed "have you been dream running all night Bigwig?" Bigwig then muttered "you have to sleep to dream" Pipkin then emerged from the burrow and cried "Bigwig left all alone in the burrow" Hazel then said "the dew hasn't even dried Pipkin, it couldn't have been all that long" Hazel and Bigwig then move to silflay and Pipkin says "I'm not supposed to be left alone at all, something terrible might happen to me" Bigwig then grumbled "it very well might, my lad.
As Hawkbit, Dandelion, Storm, Kehaar and Marigold reach the roundabout, they see Hickory running in circles, they then hear another rabbit shouting at him "Hickory, calm down, you will tire yourself out or run into the roundabout"
Storm then called "Skylar!" Skylar look out over the man trail and called back "my goodness it's good to see you, can you please extract this rabbit from this roundabout, he is not listening and he is making me dizzy!"
"Where have you been, we have been worried sick!" Storm shouted. Skylar called back "oh don't worry about me, worry about the panicking rabbit here!" Dandelion said "we have got to do something before he runs under a hurududu." Marigold then said to the group "we thought if we dared to do this, we'd never be frightened again!"
"There's daring, then there's dumb" Hawkbit said. Dandelion and Storm then chanced a gap in the cars and made it onto the roundabout. "Alright Hickory get a hold of yourself and we will go back" Dandelion said to the now terrified rabbit. "I've been trying to get him to calm down, so we can but is panicking" Skylar said. "Good grief, what happened to you?" Dandelion and Storm exclaim. "I had a small fight with a cat, I will tell you later but for now let's get off this roundabout!"
"I'm not going, I can't" Hickory said "see he won't go!" Skylar cried "I've been trying for most of the morning!" Hawkbit called "well come on then" Dandelion shook his head and Storm shouted "we're a bit stuck" "any suggestions?" Skylar shouted too. Hawkbit then said "well apart from sprouting wings and flying back, no"
"Would Hickory let me carry him back" Storm suggested. "I'll ask him" Skylar replied. "Hickory, would you let Storm carry you back? She would be very careful" Hickory looked even more terrified of being carried by a fox. "Hmm I'll take that as a no then" Skylar said.
"Hazel has all the answers, I'll get him" Kehaar said as he took off in the direction of the warren.
Meanwhile Fiver and Selene were making their way back to the warren as Kehaar passed them. "Hmm he seems in a hurry" Fiver said Selene nodded and said "yeah, and we had better get a move on then" they both start sprinting for the warren.
Pipkin was still enjoying acting the baby, "what's up your nose now Pipkin?" Bigwig asked as Pipkin ran over. "I got too near the edge, what if I tumbled all the way down to the bottom" Hannah who was eating nearby said "hmm what if you did, might bang some sense into your silly head"
"Maybe you should go underground where it is safe, off you go, scoot" Bigwig said exasperated with Pipkins antics. Kehaar then calls as he lands and Pipkin starts running around shouting "elil, elil, save me" Bigwig, who was now completely fed up shouted "that's enough Pipkin!" hoping over to Pipkin and stopping right in front of him.
Kehaar looks at Pipkin before saying "we got trouble Hazel, Hickory is stuck on the roundabout, Dandelion, Storm and Skylar are with him" Selene and Fiver arrive on the down as Kehaar says this and they exclaim "Skylar's alive!" Everyone on the down looks shocked at this and Selene explains "we have just come from the farm, Skylar was attacked by a cat and taken by man, how is she with Hickory, there was no sign of her anywhere!"
"We will figure that out later but for now we need to get a move on" Hazel says as they all prepare to go Pipkin says "can I help?" Bigwig looked shocked and says "you? You're afraid of your own shadow lately!" Pipkin looks guilty and says "I was acting like a baby on purpose, you were supposed to get tired of me, and tell me to go off on my own. I know you are worried I'll get caught by Efrafa, but you can't lock me up for something that might happen! It could happen to anyone"
Hazel then says "alright you've made your point, you can come with us" and they all head off to save Hickory. As they run down the hill Bigwig askes "and all that kicking and snorting last night? Was that on purpose?" Pipkin then replies cheekily "I don't know what you mean Bigwig, I slept like a baby"
They all reach the rounder bout and Hannah calls from Kehaar "Hazels here, he will save you" Hazel mutters "nasty spot" to know one in particular. "I'll see if I can convince Hickory to bolt for it" Hazel decides. He then makes his way over the roundabout into the middle. "Hickory, listen to me, we will all make a run together alright?" hickory does not look convinced and Dandelion says "we've got to make a run soon Hazel, those hurududus, give off bad smoke, it's getting hard to breath" Storm then speaks up "yeah Skylar is in a bad way, we need to move soon" Hazel then notices the doe, that is lying on the grass panting. "You've been in a fight, haven't you Skylar" Hazel states as he looks her over.
Skylar nods "yeah the cat jumped me at the farm, a girl took me into a small shed, and cleaned my cuts, and she fed me then let me go. I was making my way back when I spotted Hickory on the roundabout, I tried to help but he is too scared" Hazel nods and they all try to calm Hickory down enough to run.
Kehaar and Hannah were circling and they spotted some geese by the roundabout and some more on a pond on the roundabout "how did the geese get to the pond then" Kehaar replies "they fly Hannah" Hannah then says "farm geese don't fly", and Hannah shouts down to the others "ask the geese how they cross the road"
Pipkin then hops over to the geese and says "hello, I was wondering how you cross the road" the one goose say "well we walk" Pipkin looks shocked "and the hurududus don't bother you?" another goose shakes his head and says "we all walk, they all stop, simple" Pipkin then asks "will you stop them for us? We are trying to help a friend?" the geese look at Pipkin then walk away ignoring his request.
"The geese won't help, but I have an idea" Pipkin announces as he re-joins the group "well let's hear it" Bigwig says. Pipkin then says "well the geese say when they all go the hurududus all stop for them, what if we all go at the same time?" Hawkbit snaps "and all get squashed all at the same time, oh lovely idea Pipkin, lovely." Marigold then says "who dares wins, that was el-arah's lesson, wasn't it Hawkbit?"
Pipkin, Bigwig, Marigold, Hawkbit, Selene and Fiver all head out into the road together. Dandelion, Hazel and Storm all start shouting at them to stop, "what are they doing" Dandelion asks. As the group reaches the middle of the trail a car comes around and Hazel exclaims "I can't watch!" but the car stops.
Bigwig shouts "get him off there, now!" Storm, Skylar, Hazel and Dandelion force Hickory to run into the trail, the group then runs back to the edge. "Lucky you came along Pipkin" Bigwig says to the young buck. Marigold sing "we faced down a hurududu!" Fiver, looking knackered, then states "good for us"
They all make it back to Redstone as it was the closest place to rest. "I suppose we are not ready to live here on our own yet" Hickory says as they all rest. "One step at a time, we'll get you there" Bigwig states "meet us here next round moon and we will get on with the lessons" Hazel says.
"We better get back to Cowslips warren, we have to tell the others what we have learnt so far" Marigold says. "Be careful, and don't let Cowslip catch on, we want you as our neighbours" Hazel states. Marigold and Hickory then leave. Hazel then says "they risk everything for freedom, then worry they are not brave enough"
"You have a story to tell as well don't you Skylar" Bigwig says as they reach Watership down. "Yeah everyone sit down and I will tell you what happened. As Skylar retells her story everyone thinks how lucky she is to be alive. "So Bigwig, I guess I am on permanent burrow arrest then?" Skylar says
"No way, never again, what with you running off and Pipkin acting like a baby, I have lost a few seasons thanks to you" Bigwig says as the other laugh. "Oh I want to hear this story" Skylar says. Pipkin then laughs "ok it's my turn to tell my story" Bigwig grumbles and mutters "living through it was enough." The sun starts to set and there is laughter as Pipkin tells his story.