A/N: Multi-Chapter fic. :) Because my love for Watership Down has been rekindled thanks to some brilliant fics here! I mean, what's not to love about these adorable, sweet and demented wabbits?
Rating: T for Violence. Genre: Adventure/Action/Angst/Hurt/Comfort/Friendship/Tragedy
Summary: A case of vendetta or desperation? Because the moment Hazel was indirectly led to the domicile of the Canes of Nuthanger Farm, he knew that this time, he would have to do a lot more to ensure his liberation. His friends are willing to help too, but with visions incessantly plaguing tormented minds, will their loyalties to their leader remain strong, or will they wane away in due time? And what of old enemies? Why is Hazel leaning towards the belief that a new purpose awaits him? One that could very well shatter the ultimate principle of the animal world...
(Glossary at the end)
Disclaimer: I don't own Watership Down.
Chapter 1: Diversion
It was miserably cold.
Torrential raindrops blurring his vision, Bigwig shook his head and brushed a paw across his droopy ears, the inside fur clinging stiffly with the wetness. Though it should be around Ni-Frith, the dark mass of clouds blanketing the supposedly bright cerulean sky and the air being deserted of singing birds made it appear more like Fu Inle.
Crouched beneath a low hanging branch, the rabbit waited. His presence concealed within the thick bushes, Bigwig's gaze followed the elil as it padded mutely across the opening. Despite the downpour dulling sense of smell, Bigwig still caught a somewhat reassuring whiff from the creature; it was full bellied. But of course, he wouldn't take the risk of going out there to confront it yet. From what he'd gathered from Hazel a little before daybreak, there was some disturbance on the slope of Watership Down. At first, he was frightened of the notion that men, once again, intended to give their new homeland a similar fate to the one in Sandleford, but relieved as he was that it wasn't the case, the fact that it was an elil that walked the grounds – a cat that dared walk their grounds, Bigwig knew automatically that its pride should be quickly slashed away.
Yet he still wasn't sure of what to make of the situation. It was palpable to everyone that elil of her kind weren't particularly ones with a fondness of water, let alone braving a stormy weather in foreign regions of their homeland. And on top of that, the feline has just been fed according to the scent that lingered faintly on her muzzle. So what exactly was the reason of her presence here? And though she wasn't exactly on the site of their warrens, any outlandish creatures with as little a trace of suspicion on them was hackle raising enough for the hare; his annals of fierce devotion and amity towards his Owsla, friends and comrades indisputably contributed to this.
The cat suddenly paused and slowly looked in Bigwig's direction. He tensed. Though he knew that he was well camouflaged in the shadows of the shrubbery, the elil acted as though she had sensed his presence; that would mean his scent must be rather strong to be even sensed by a... domestic cat for Frith's sake!
So maybe he has underestimated her. Maybe she wasn't as dumb as he thought her to be. Why, it could even be a trap. Which could mean that the cat was deliberately putting on a facade of frailty and vulnerability in the hopes of... what? Lure the hares out of their hideouts and attack them in full opening? If the feline did think that then she was sorely mistaken. But then again, why in the world would she think that; thinking that his kind would hold even a shred of pity for the cat if she provided with more or less a display of her 'weakness' in the stormy weather?
But Hazel would; Lord, that rabbit was just too soft for his own good sometimes. The compassion and empathy he could hold for even the rowdiest elil was downright unbelievable and frustrating. Just like that time when he wanted to negotiate with Woundwort prior to the battle of Watership Down. Bigwig could still remember the vexation that had seized him right then to gnaw off Hazel's ears and siflay on them later.
Turning back to the matter at hand, Bigwig's interest perked up slightly when the Mackerel tabby slowly raised a paw – almost in a tentative way – before quickly withdrawing it as if burnt and then retreating a couple of steps back. Her lips peeled over her fangs and she snarled, claws extracting and digging into the soft earth.
Bigwig frowned. Though now he was certain that she was aware of his presence and should ready himself for a possible onslaught, a certain part of him couldn't deny the inkling of doubt that the cat seemed to be faltering about something, almost as if she was... scared. And it was not because of him. She neither seemed too bothered about the rain, nor did it seem that she would proceed on climbing the Down, if that was what she had intended to do in the first place.
Finally, he thought that he had had it. Stepping out of the shadows, Bigwig made his presence clear to the feline whose fur began to bristle at the sight of him despite the heavy rain.
"State your business," Bigwig demanded.
The tabby didn't hesitate as she responded with equal fierceness. "Where's Hazel?"
Bigwig tensed. "How do you know him?"
"Just tell me where he is," the cat persisted.
"Not until you elucidate to me the reason for why you need to see him," he fired back.
The cat hissed and Bigwig prepared himself. "He knows me," she hissed through the rain. "Now bring him here."
"He knows you?" Bigwig echoed, and then his eyes hardened. "And what makes you think that you can make demands like that Pfeffa?" he enunciated the word with such disdain that it made the tabby's hackles rise and hiss with such a pitch that Bigwig was sure the ringing would not leave his sensitive hearing for a good long while.
"This doesn't concern you furhead!" the tabby spat. "Just bring him here!"
"Like you were chief and he your drudge?" Bigwig retorted. "I think not. Now state why you need him."
Something seemed to snap in the tabby when he said that. "I don't need him!" she shrieked. "Now listen here you Hraka-brained fool, it wasn't my intention to fight you, but seeming like you're asking for it-"
"Oh? Feeling high and mighty now, are we? Cheekily making threats to me now, eh?" Bigwig mocked, lips curling into a snarl. "It makes sense though, seeing how you just brazenly waltzed into our Owsla, act like some chief and now expect us to act upon your-"
"Why are you doing this?" the feline cut in impatiently. "Why are you trying to provoke me? I just want to speak to Hazel."
"And I'm overtly suspicious about it," Bigwig pointed out bluntly. "You are an elil, one of El-Ahrairah's thousand enemies. Of course it makes sense that we do not trust you, which I'm sure that you're aware of too. And now you think that you have the gall to yodel orders at me and then expect me to obey you?"
"I don't care what you think!" the tabby growled. "I already said that I'm not going to fight and you can hold my word to it. You can bring your entire Owsla here for all I care but I'm not leaving until you let me see Hazel. I promise that I won't lay a claw on you or any of your – your – kind! In fact, bring your entire clan here to guard your adored leader. Does that sound fair enough to you now?"
There was a tense pause as Bigwig mulled over what she said in brooding silence. To say that he was displeased would be an understatement. He was incensed, why he even felt that he was being toyed with, which was all the more humiliating seeing that he was supposed to be the trickster! But as he thought about it, he eventually came to the conclusion that she was truthful when she claimed that she wouldn't harm him. The scents that hung thickly in his surroundings were as familiar as the scents of his litter from when he was a kit, and right now, the only foreign scent here was that of the cat. But again, Bigwig wasn't one to take risks lightly, so he responded with a flat, "He's not here."
The cat flinched. "No?" she said slowly before recuperating her reproving tone. "Really now, you're lying."
"I'm afraid not."
"Of course you are! You'd do anything so that I couldn't see him!"
Bigwig cocked his head. "Why are you acting as though you care for him?"
"I don't! I don't give a rat's about your filthy kind! Hazel knows me; we met before for Frith's sake!"
Bigwig remained impassive. "But I doubt that he'd be thrilled to see you. Again I shall ask y-"
"Forget it!" the cat snapped, turning her back on Bigwig and padding back the way she came from. Once she had reached the foot of the Down, Bigwig realised then that the feline was limping slightly, and the faint smell on her muzzle... it could almost seem as if she was... Bigwig quickly shook his head of such thought. No, of course not, there was no doubt that it all linked to the slight roundness of her belly. Oh, and now he remembered that cats don't eat bunnies...
Pipkin yawned and stretched his lithe body across the cool grass as he waited. It was well into the evening where the sun was just dipping into the horizon, fashioning a gleaming golden arc over the mountains in the distance and the birds' melodies were at their optimum. There was no evidence hinting the early rainfall, save for the humid grass and distinctive odour.
Puck said that she'd meet him here. Like Hazel, Pipkin figured that it couldn't hurt to befriend other animals who were enemies of their enemies, and this case, it was a mouse – in fact, it was the very mouse that was saved by Hazel during the building process of Honeycomb. And ever since that incident, the mouse still appeared to believe that she had a dept to pay even though she had already done so by showing the rabbits a good place to eat lush grass at the time Holly was discovered.
Unfortunately, some of the rabbits didn't seem to share the same views as them. Although it was clear to all that the Owsla and the small band of mice were on similar grounds, it wasn't quite enough for the rabbits to fully accept the little creatures yet – they should always look after number one after all.
Except for Pipkin; sweet, soft and submissive, the undersized rabbit carried no such thoughts and eagerly befriended the little mouse during siflay that very night. They had talked and talked amiably until it became apparent that they were now as akin as birds of a feather. Other than Fiver and Hazel, Pipkin had no friends – aka. Chatting buddies – as opposed to having comrades at his side, so when the opportunity arrived, he eagerly grabbed it, and was grateful for it. And thankfully, none of the rabbits seemed too judgemental about his action. Bigwig did offer a few side glances here and there whenever he caught the two together but didn't do so much as reprimand him, and he was glad for it.
However, the rational side of his brain cautioned him of the possible risks and dangers associated with the matter. Pipkin was aware, even without commuting with his friends that what he was doing could be slightly frowned upon if caught. Not that he was doing anything particularly wrong, as in dangerous wise, but he knew that sneaking out into the lower bushes at the foot of the Down would be considered as crossing the line and maybe even mild betrayal. It was perfectly understandable though, seeing as how they've been through a lot over the moons, dealing with all kinds of elil ranging from farm rats to humans and then being betrayed by their own kind when offered the chance of some food and shelter during their vulnerable states.
And so it all contributed to the ever growing need to look after themselves more and less of others.
But Keehar was a different matter. Birds, even though some were elil, rarely stuck their beaks into mammals' affairs, preferring to explore more of the skies and foreign lands to waste their times mulling over which side of particular land creatures to side with to spy or help eradicate some other group. But mammals like them could. So the lesser contact they had with other groups, the better off they were. But alas, again Pipkin wasn't one to resist easily.
So when he saw the little tuft of brown fur bobbing up and down amongst the greenery, his eyes lit up and he sat up straight. He instantly knew that Puck had spotted him as well because she suddenly increased her pace in his direction.
Hazel groaned when he felt a weight prodding his aching side again.
For the love of...
It was probably like the Hrair-times-Hrair times that he's managed to get into that position again in one evening. Craning his head over his shoulder, Hazel made out the soft dark fuzz of his brother's head as it rested on his ribs. Normally, his eyes would soften at the peaceful image of his younger kin sleeping but with a ribcage that's on the verge of popping and cracking like a combo fart inherited only by Dandelion, he'd say that he was more teetering on whether to give him a little warning nip on the ear or... giving him a warning nip on the other ear that was currently tickling a spot underneath his nose.
Neither seemed necessary as the smaller rabbit suddenly rolled over until he was now lying on the ground, his face next to Hazel's tail. He still didn't wake up and Hazel's eyes sparked with amusement as he thought about how deep a sleeper Fiver was. He supposed that he would too, if he was in the same sho- uh paws as him, especially with visions constantly taking over his consciousness at random times, sometimes even going as far as putting him in zombie-like trances. Hazel could guess that the aftermath could be rather energy draining even though his brother made no mention of it.
And Fiver did receive a vision last night, but it was unlike anything that Hazel's ever witnessed before...
...because the moment he had felt him claw him on the side, Hazel instantly knew that something was painfully wrong. Fiver had never ever resorted to any means of violence in his young life and so when he had 'attacked' him in his sleep, in all honesty, Hazel was devastated.
But that train of thought was brief until he heard him croak out the dreaded word, "Zorn," which, to put it simply, denoted catastrophe or murder. So when he heard that coming from Fiver, Hazel almost literally felt his world crumble. He had nipped Fiver then, desperate to shatter his delirium and not waiting to hear any more of what horrors he had yet to say – an action that had left him reeling with relief but also with disappointment when a shocked Fiver then insisted that he couldn't recall anything about the vision. His shock also increased when he realised what he had done to Hazel but of course, the older rabbit had dismissed it as nothing more than a scratch with a cheery tone before snuggling back next to Fiver to sleep.
He hasn't woken up since then.
And the idea of nipping him this time never felt more inviting.
Faint thuds of someone approaching reached his ears. Hazel looked down at the still slumbering Fiver and decided whether to try waking him up again.
Before he knew it, Bigwig strode into the opening, pausing only slightly to take in the view in front of him before proceeding further into the den. Hazel gave his ears a light flick when the broader rabbit approached him.
"Thlayli," he greeted using his Lapine name. Bigwig dipped his head in acknowledgement before sitting on the layer of moss besides Hazel.
"How is he?" he asked quietly, eyes shifting to Fiver's prone form.
Hazel followed his gaze. "Well, he doesn't seem to be in any pain so I suppose that he is well enough," he answered evenly.
"Has he eaten?" Bigwig pressed.
Hazel shook his head. "No, everything I've tried to rouse him up was vain effort."
"Did you bite him?"
"Well," Hazel said with a trace of guilt lacing his tone, "I can't really say that I haven't given much thought about it but in all honesty, I don't think that biting your unconscious brother would be such a good idea. It's not... ethical."
Bigwig snorted. "Soft as always I see."
"I prefer the term 'considerate' thank you very much," Hazel retaliated lightly.
The other rabbit sniffed lightly and made a sound that almost bordered to a sigh. "That's exactly my point Hazel but back to the matter at hand," he shifted his position until he was right behind the smallest rabbit before continuing, "Apparently there was someone who wanted to seek an audience with you."
Hazel blinked in surprise. "Really? Who?"
"A cat," he replied coolly, not missing the sudden jerk of his friend's head as he continued, "Claimed that you met her before so you're very much likely to know her."
"A cat?" Hazel murmured uncertainly and then paused, reflecting back on a particular incident that happened not so long ago. "I don't think that I've faced a Pfeffa before... unless," his eyes suddenly widened and he stared at Bigwig again, who met his gaze evenly. "She's that farm cat, isn't she?"
"Probably so. It was fairly hard to tell though, seeing how it was raining heavily and the only hint I got was the roundness of her belly, which implied that she was fed with... domestic muck," he scrunched his nose lightly when he recalled the sour smell. "So why do think she wanted to see you about?" he asked.
Hazel shook his head slowly. "I don't know, Bigwig," he answered. "I honestly don't. But really," his expression changed to one of slight annoyance, "why did you send her away?"
Bigwig was unfazed. "I said no such thing."
"Which is equivalent to the implication that this is exactly what you have done," Hazel drawled.
Bigwig's eyes sparked with what appeared to be some mirth before he retaliated, "Actually, I didn't. All I said to her was that you weren't here."
"Why?" Hazel asked slowly, reminding him of that time when he was questioning Speedwell's kit about the mystery Hraka beads that were neatly piled up on his bedding. He almost shuddered when he remembered having to sleep with Bigwig that night; dear sweet Frithy was that creature as active in his sleep as he was during the day. Now he knew why his pals had given him piteous looks when Bigwig had offered him a space in his den.
Bigwig shrugged lightly. "I didn't think the risk was worth taking," he said bluntly. "Her sudden appearance just seemed a bit too... spontaneous for my liking, along with her request to see you. I mean, you of course remember what had happened the last time you encountered one another."
"Of course I remember. But that doesn't mean that we should brashly turn anyone away just for wanting to speak to me," Hazel countered.
"You do realise that this could've been a trap."
Hazel sighed. "With all of you here, I don't think that it's likely for anyone to be held hostage by a single cat."
"There could've been more than a single cat Hazel."
"But none of them appeared, did they? If this was a supposedly planned ambush then surely incapacitating you during that time would've seemed a more acceptable reasoning," Hazel sighed again. "She only wanted to speak to me Bigwig. However, I thin- Hey! If you even dare – "
"Such little faith," the other rabbit grumbled as he lowered his head and simply licked the top of Fiver's head. "Can't believe you actually thought that I was going to gnaw his head off. But I see your point. I mean look at it, you could easily confuse it for a Homba Hraka. Not quite an appealing sight if you ask me."
"Which I didn't," Hazel said uneasily. Can this day get anymore weirder? "Are you convinced now?"
"About kitty-cat or this mite here?"
"Our darling little mite here," Hazel rephrased.
Bigwig shook his head and snorted. "Well, judging by his fur's dampness, I'd say that you've done this at least thirteen times throughout the course of today. So to answer your question; nipping is still among the top ten on my list."
Hazel cringed a little. "I'm sure it is," he muttered noncommittally before regaining his even tone. "Thlayli, I'm sure there is another reason as to why you have sent that cat away."
Bigwig instantly nodded, surprising Hazel a little. "The vision," he said simply. "I just didn't think the risk would've been worth taking."
Hazel gave him an empathetic look as friendly warmth clouded his eyes. "I understand Bigwig. I suppose I would too if I were in your position," he blatantly ignored the pointed look sent in his direction as he continued, "However, I think that you should remind yourself of the troubles that we have traversed not long ago to strive for what we deserved in the end. Just remember – the hardships we've endured, the rabbits we've rescued, the fierce devotion that had seized you during your confrontation with Woundwort – remind yourself of how they all contributed to the peace we now maintain with Campion's Owsla," he exhaled jadedly as he held Bigwig's steady gaze. "There are some times, you know, when adversities are needed to ensure to best possible outcomes."
"An unfortunate fact of life," Bigwig agreed. "And one that could easily be one's downfall if not guided properly," he shook his head and sighed. "Still, Fiver's vision is not something to be taken lightly."
"Agreed," Hazel nodded. "But there are some things that are simply not within our range of control."
"Like the cat incident?" Bigwig enquired.
Hazel hummed. "I just think that you over reacted a little there," he responded bluntly. "But in a way, I suppose that could be true too. Fiver himself stated that he couldn't remember what happened in the vision. I suppose that the only thing we could do now is wait."
"I suppose so too," Bigwig nodded in affirmation.
"Just... try not to act in such a rash manner next time," Hazel said.
He caught the slight twitch near Bigwig's left eye as he responded with a plain, "Understood."
Puck looked up at the towering rabbit when they finally stopped at the border of Nuthanger Farm. The moon was poised amongst the celestial glow of the stars and the scenery over the knoll seemed to stretch forever from their angles as they bid each other good nights before parting their ways.
Though the little she-mouse's visits weren't exactly customary, every time the creatures commuted with one another, it was like a little uplift for them. They weren't lovers by all means, but if a passerby were to witness them together, he may be likely to think otherwise. And the moment they were done, Pipkin would 'escort' her to the end of his territory. Following that, they'd part their ways and return to their homes to resume their normal routines.
But tonight was a little different.
Pipkin was already starting to climb the Down when a sudden trill sound made him freeze on the spot and made his blood run cold.
Under 'normal' circumstances, his first priority would've been to flee for his life but knowing that the source of the sound was unmistakably Puck, he spared not a moment into taking to his paws in the direction of where his friend could be.
It didn't take long – thank Frith – to spot the Pfeffa who had the tiny creature pinned down underneath her paws.
The wood mouse instantly spotted him, "Pipkin, get out of-" the moment she began to shriek, the cat applied more pressure to her neck, immediately halting her. Pipkin instinctively started towards them, foreign rage twisting in his veins and overlapping his fear.
"Careful now," the cat hummed, lifting her gaze to glare at Pipkin. "You don't want her mashed into a pulp now, do you?"
Pipkin's eyes narrowed. Just what in Frith's name was she playing at? He had no doubt that the Pfeffa was taunting him but there was also the nagging feeling that she was using Puck as a... hostage against him.
"What do you want?" he asked.
The cat's fangs glittered in the moonlight. "That's better," she purred. "As much as I'd like to stay a little while longer and savour my prize, right now is not the time. But I will not hesitate to claw her skin off in front of you if you don't... humour me."
The small rabbit growled uncharacteristically. "What do you want?" he enunciated the words slowly. He was scared, desperate and fuming.
"Oh? Playing the brave one, aren't we?" the tabby drawled mockingly. "No matter. It's not like you could actually do anything so..." her lips peeled back even further as she spat the next words out, "Fetch me Hazel."
Pipkin's eyes widened. "Why?" he asked, this time stuttering a bit.
The cat snarled and pressed her heavy paw harder into Puck's thin flesh, earning them a wheezing sound and making Pipkin crouch low in a display of instant submission. "Don't question me! Just do as I say you clod!" she shrieked.
"You'll release her afterwards, won't you?" Pipkin demanded quickly, eyes constantly shifting to the struggling creature.
The tabby gave a small hum and repeated slowly, "Fetch me Hazel. And make sure that he arrives alone," she returned her gaze to her victim. "Until then..." her other paw came to rest upon the mouse's stomach, a white glint indicating her claws were about to extract. Pipkin panicked. "Don't hurt her!"
The cat glowered at him. "Then make sure that Hazel arrives alone. And remember, outsmarting me won't achieve you anything."
Pipkin let out a small whimper before racing back to the foot of the Down to begin his ascent. Just what in Frith's name has he done to deserve this...?
No sooner had Hazel gone out to get a bit of fresh air under the beach tree when he suddenly got pounded on the back by a smaller weight that made him collide into the truck. A groan escaped his lips as he hastily scrambled back to his paws.
"Hazel – Hazel-rah, please!" A piteous voice came from behind him and Hazel took in the sight of a wretched Pipkin panting and gasping out incoherent words.
"Pipkin," he started, "Pip, whatever is the matter?"
"You-You have t-t," the smaller rabbit tried desperately before shaking his head violently, as if disgusted with himself.
"Pipkin, relax," Hazel said firmly. "What happened? And take your time."
"Is everyone," he gave a quick gasp before lowering his tone. "Is everyone asleep?"
Hazel frowned inwardly. "Yes they are. Why?"
"She- She's got her and wouldn't release her until you go but I don't think that she will because she doesn't seem th-"
"Pipkin!" the leader said with a bit more sternness, interrupting Pipkin's ramble. "From the beginning to the end, what happened? Is there someone about to attack us?"
"No!" Pipkin cried softly, "No, it's nothing like that. Hazel, it's that cat. She wants to see you and she's trapped Puck and wouldn't release her until you go to her."
Hazel froze before shaking his head slowly. "What?"
"That farm cat, Hazel!" Pipkin carried on desperately. "Oh please Hazel, if you don't go now, she could kill her!"
Hazel's breathing was now erratic. "Oh Frith," he whispered. "It's all too soon."
"She wants you to come alone too!"
The taller rabbit snapped his attention back to him. "Alright. Lead the way, Pipkin," he ordered with forced determination.
"Where are they, Pipkin?" Hazel demanded.
"Never mind," the leader cut in before lowering his head to the ground, sniffing for foreign scents. It only took a moment before he detected them; a cat and a wood mouse – both strong and fresh – and they've just left shortly before they arrived on the spot. Seemed like luck was on their sides after all.
"This way," he commanded, already racing towards the elm trees and battling his way through the prickly bushes and thorns that occasionally grazed his sides and face. The scents were easy to track.
He couldn't believe it. From yesterday to today... nothing was making sense.
When he finally reached the farmhouse, he gradually slowed to a halt. His targets were right in front of him.
"Let her go Pfeffa," Hazel said coldly. "It's me you wanted. She's no longer required."
"Hm," the cat purred. "Did you bring along any friends?"
Hazel's mind whirred. "No," he responded, loud enough for Pipkin to hear. "I'm the only one."
"Well done," she mocked and released the mouse from her clutch. She didn't even look when she scuttled in the direction of where Pipkin was hiding.
"What do you need me for?" he asked.
The cat's eyes turned to menacing slits as she responded. "Tell me Hazel, how precious are your comrades to you?"
Hazel's eyes narrowed. "If this is your way of telling me that you're intending to kill me-"
"Oh no no no," the tabby said, feigning shock. "Of course I have no intention of killing you, I'm simply curious as to how you regard your friends. I'm sure there is nothing wrong with asking that now, is there?"
Hazel thought for a moment, and then decided to play along cautiously. "I would fight and willingly put my life on the line for them."
"How noble," she replied smoothly. "You do not doubt that they might betray you at some point? Abandon you during your most dire state?"
"No," he said confidently. His gaze was constantly flicking over to the enormous bright window above his head. He could make out a faint figure pacing back and forth, and then gradually halting, the silhouette becoming darker against the frame. His panic increased.
"Interesting..." the cat responded, staring at him intently as if sensing his new found discomfort. "Not a trace you say."
"Your hearing is as adept as my mine," he tried to scorn, but was distracted by the figure as it moved away. His panic mounted a little more.
"So you say," she murmured, taking a slow step forwards. "Why are you frightened?"
"What are you doing?" he countered swiftly, fighting hard to not take a step back.
"Stretching my limbs," she said, a new light glinting in her eyes. "You should try that sometimes too. Works wonders for worn out tendons."
"I'll bet," Hazel's breathing was now shallow.
The cat's lips peeled back over her fangs. "Are you still certain about your friends' willingness to put their lives on the line for you?" she hissed. "Do you really not doubt their loyalty?"
"Yes and no," he answered both questions with a calmness that even surprised him. "What-"
"I'm willing to bet against that Hazel," she cut him off with that familiar sharp tone...
...just as the door of the farmhouse burst opened and out came the towering human elil that started in their direction. The moment Hazel spun around to run, the cat had already pounced on him, her sturdy weight threatening to suffocate him as he frantically tried clawing his way out. An ear-splitting yowl filled his ears and before he knew it, he was screaming too.
Another foreign sound joined in – louder, sharper and a lot more menacing – before he felt the cat being shoved away roughly from him and he himself being hoisted from the ground.
And that's when he realised that his side's been split open again.
Elil - Enemies of rabbits
Fu-Inle - After moonrise
Homba - Badger
Hraka - Dung
Ni-Frith - Midday
Pfeffa - Cat
Siflay - Grazing