Chapter 20

Without Kepler, the Hyacinths lost their best speaker, and their easy way out of a long funeral speech. Newton, however, was ready to take on the challenge.

Einstein and Plato flew back up onto the railing with the rest of the gang. Newton cleared his throat as the crowd settled down and looked back at him.

"I apologize for the behavior of my friend," Newton began. "He's tried so hard to put this together on such short notice. If he were here right now, I'd probably give him a show of gratitude." A pause. "He's a sensitive guy when it comes to death, but to be honest, he's not afraid to deal it. Before we begin today, I just wanted to take the time to inform you all that we are here for all of you behind the scenes." Some talking in the crowd could be slightly heard. "Since last night, we have been on guard, searching for leads on who had caused your friends pain. The one that Diego just dispatched right behind me," He turned and pointed at the recently killed bird, "was a trick."

Some birds sounded confused, but Newton continued. "He is not the leader, but rather he was a distraction for the rest of his clan so they could escape. We knew, from the start, that not everyone among you was a family member or relative to the deceased. They were among you the entire time."

More small discussions could be heard in the crowd regarding their own safety.

"Things like this are the reason why something needs to be done around here." He paused to clear his throat. "Like the human world, there needs to be someone, or a group of someones, that watches over the good people of the community, and protects them from the bad ones. I am not going to tell you how to fly, or where you can go, or what you can do. That's not what we're here for. We are here because we can be. And until we believe that there's nothing to fear anymore, we'll be here." The crowd could be seen smiling and feeling at ease. "We are always around, and if you ever need us for anything, ANYTHING at all, don't hesitate to tell us."

The crowd clapped their wings and cheered with tears in their eyes.

"I think it's time we begin the ceremony," Newton continued. "But, before we begin, I want to share a little something from my days with humans. I believe that it fits well for this occasion. Please bow your heads and close your eyes. Think of your loved one being in a better place, and listen to what I am going to tell you."

The crowd followed suit, and the group of friends on the railing did as well. When everyone's head was bowed, Newton did the same and closed his eyes.

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Death, I will fear no evil! For thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of mine enemies. Thou anointest my head with oil. My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

The audience opened its eyes and raised it heads. They clapped and cheered, and they peered at the bodies.

"Now my friends," Kepler pointed to the first body in line. "Will the family of the first victim please come forward."

There was silence in the crowd. Birds looked at each other until finally, an entire family of different colored birds appeared from the crowd. Some had colors exactly resembling the deceased, while at the same time, there were others that were completely different colors. The deceased was a Blue-and Yellow Macaw, and approaching from the crowd were a mix of other Blue-and-Yellow's and strange orange and yellow ones.

"Whoa," Newton stopped the group of birds from advancing towards the body. "I said that only the family of the deceased should come forward. The rest of you orange guys need to stay back."

"That's by brother!" one of the orange colored birds pleaded.

"That's not possible," Newton replied. "You're not even the same color as him!"

"Ever hear of recessive genes, buddy?" the orange bird continued to reason.

Kepler stopped and thought for a moment. Newton was never the expert on genetics. That expertise lied with Kepler.

"I'm sorry," Newton said putting his wing down. "I'm not an expert on genetics. I'm just trying to run this as smoothly as I can."

"There's no reason to be sorry," the orange bird replied, putting out his wing. "The name's Francisco. These are my parents, my wife Amber, and my sister." Newton shook his wing while he spoke. "My wife and I are Blue-and-Yellow Macaws with a rare recessive gene that alters our pigments to white and a lighter shade of orange. People call us Golden Macaws for easy reference."

"Pleasure to meet you," Newton replied. "I'm terribly sorry for your loss. If you need anything, don't hesitate to ask any of us for help. That's what we're here for."

"Thank you," Francisco smiled, walking with his family and wife to his dead brother. He knelt down in front of his brother and put his wing on his brother's chest. The rest of his family did the same. He closed his eyes and muttered a word. Newton's good hearing allowed him to make it out.

"Ultionem."

The rest of Francisco's family stood and wept as they looked at their deceased family member. Newton turned to the railing and looked at Kipo.

"Kipo," Newton called. "Come here." Kipo approached and leaned in to listen. "Take the body and place it in the ocean. The ocean is well-suited for an honorable burial."

Kipo, with a glum yet determined look on his face, walked over and picked up the body with his talons. He took off and carried it towards the ocean. Newton put his wing over his eyes in a salute as he stared at the body being carried out to sea. He shed a small tear. The rest of the Hyacinths, along with the rest of the gang on the railing, saluted Kipo and the body as they continued to move towards the sea.

Newton lowered his wing and turned to look at Francisco. The rest of the birds lowered their wings as well. Francisco's head was pointed towards the ground, with his eyes closed. Newton put his wing on Francisco's shoulder and Francisco looked up and opened his eyes. There were a few tears in them.

"You're a very intelligent bird," Newton said to him with a calm voice. "You know Latin. You used the word for revenge."

"I was once from the United States," Francisco replied, looking down to the ground and back up, wiping his tears. "My breeders were into historical readings. They had a whole library of books from different languages. I couldn't help myself. I was eager to learn more." He paused quickly. "My family wanted to be able to survive in the wild once they brought us back to Brazil. My parents wanted us to live a good life here. I met my wife not too long ago. She was born in the wild with the mutation! We're thinking about raising a family, but we're going to wait now until the smoke clears from my brother's tragedy."

"So what does that have to do with revenge?" Newton inquired.

"It doesn't," Francisco continued. "But my brother was one of the most influential people in my life, and I'm not going to stop until I find those responsible. You guys seem to know a lot about the birds who did this, so I decided to come to you to offer my expertise—

"—You wanna help us?" Newton sounded surprised. "Are you sure you wanna get into something like this? We work in the security and protection business. We see blood and guts daily. Can you handle something like that?"

"My breeders were anatomists," Francisco said. "They cut things open around me all the time."

"Let's discuss this later at the reception," Newton concluded. "I want to help the rest of these families out so they can go home and not have to worry about this anymore."

"That's alright by me," Francisco nodded. "Do what you gotta do." He patted Newton on the back and turned to his family. Just then, Kipo was returning from the water. He landed next to Newton.

"Where did you put it?" Newton asked quietly.

"I placed him quietly into the ocean," Kipo whispered back. "Nothing's going to disturb him. He'll rest in peace."

A thought popped into Newton's mind.

"Line your buddies up," Newton advised Kipo. "You guys are gonna do the same thing with the rest of the bodies. Make it inconspicuous, though! Don't just drop all of these bodies in the same area!"

"Got it," Kipo replied, going up to his friends to tell them about what Newton had advised him about. His friends nodded their heads and followed him down onto the walkway in a line.

"We're ready when you are," Kipo announced to Newton. Newton nodded and turned to the crowd.

"Will the family of the next deceased please come up to the front," Newton bellowed. He pointed to a deceased Scarlet Macaw on the ground. The crowd looked at each other and whispered quietly. Finally, a lone Scarlet Macaw approached from the crowd with her head lowered to the ground. Her colors were striking, and Newton became depressed just thinking about her situation. As she reached Newton, she wrapped her wings around him and sobbed. Newton felt terrible, and so he put his wings around her and closed his eyes.

"I'm terribly sorry," Newton said in a quiet tone, trying to comfort her. "Everything's gonna be alright. We're here for you. No one's going to hurt you."

"But they took my babe away from me," the macaw said through her deep sobs and tears. "I…I…I don't know what to do. He was the only thing I had and they took him away from me."

"The least we can do is give your husband a peaceful burial," Newton replied. "If you need anything else, don't be afraid to ask for Lucas."

"Thank you," the macaw smiled and took her wings off of Newton. "The name's Arlene. Thank you for doing this for all of us. I can't imagine how grateful everyone is that you're giving them some sense of closure by doing this." The macaw now known as Arlene walked over to her husband's body and knelt down beside him. She kissed him on the head and stood back up. She broke down into sobs once more as she stood back from the body, and watched it get picked up and carried by one of Kipo's friends. Like with the first body, the Hyacinths raised their wing in a salute, and most of the other birds followed.

"I'm in debt to you now," Arlene said quietly to Newton. Newton turned around, surprised.

"Why's that?" Newton inquired.

"For helping me do what I couldn't," Arlene replied, coming up to Newton and kissing him on the side of the head. Newton was flattered by the overwhelming show of gratitude, and blushed a little. Einstein and Plato giggled a little.

"We are so beating on him for this later!" Einstein chuckled.

"Easy now," Plato replied. "It's not like he's going after her. You know why I know that to be true."

"Yeah, you're right," Einstein figured. "But could The Code be in jeopardy here?"

"Doubtful," Plato pointed. "Look. She's going back to the crowd now. He'll stay true to The Agreement. Trust me."

Rewinding a little to switch the focus to the human world, it was around 6:30 A.M. in the city portion of Rio de Janiero. The beaches were quiet, and few things moved around the beach communities. Inside the comfort of their own home, Linda and Tulio awoke peacefully.

Tulio's eyes opened wide as he gazed at a window covered by a blind. The outside light was very powerful, and had filled the room with light. Tulio stretched his arms high into the air and sat up in bed. Linda rolled over and stretched her arms out to the side.

"Good morning," Linda smiled, showing her warm mood.

Tulio turned to acknowledge her. "Good morning," he replied with a smile as he got up out of bed. "The weather is beautiful this morning! It's going to be a great day to spend on the water! I'll go and make something for breakfast!"

"Take your time!" Linda called to him as he made his way to the kitchen upstairs.

Author's note: The building that Linda and Tulio live in is comprised of three floors. The first floor is the bookstore. The second floor is their bedrooms and bathroom. The third floor is their kitchen, living room, and dining room. Odd setup, but some people like things a certain way.

Linda walked into Fernando's room, where he was still sleeping. As she opened his door, he opened his eyes and stretched.

"Good morning, Linda," Fernando smiled, stretching and sitting up.

"Good morning, Fernando," Linda replied with a smile, kissing him on the forehead. "How are you feeling?"

"Like new!" Fernando said excited.

"We figured you could skip school today," Linda explained, "but tomorrow is going to be your big day back!"

"But I don't wanna go to school," Fernando replied, pouting. "I've never really been to school before. I don't know what it's like."

"That's why you're not starting out in a regular school," Linda said smiling and patting Fernando's shoulder. "We've hired a private teacher to catch you up really fast. In just a couple years, you'll be caught up with everyone else! There are other boys that are in your group, too. You'll all get to become best friends and teach each other."

"Are you sure?" Fernando asked to verify.

"I'm very sure," Linda assured him. "But come on, that's tomorrow! We're going out on the boat today for a nice day on the water!"

"I'll get ready!" Fernando jumped out of bed and ran into the bathroom to shower. Linda walked upstairs to the kitchen to see what Tulio was doing.

"I thought you were making breakfast," Linda said just before she got into the kitchen, smelling sandwiches.

"I did," Tulio replied as she entered the room. "It's on the table. I'm making lunch for out on the boat!"

Linda looked at the table and saw an extravagant meal of sausage, eggs, pancakes, and orange juice. She was very surprised.

"How do you know how to cook like that?" Linda inquired as she walked over to the table and sat down.

"When I was in America," Tulio explained while making food, "I stayed at some fancy motel called the Days Inn. They had a huge breakfast with all these things in it! So I modeled it after their breakfast!"

"Well you did a very good job," Linda smiled as she took a bite of the eggs. Tulio soon walked over and joined her at the table. For a few minutes, they ate, and Fernando came up the stairs with swimming trunks and a T-shirt on.

"Ready to go!" Fernando replied. "Whoa! Look at all that food! Did you make all this, Linda?"

"Actually," Linda replied, "this was all Tulio! You can thank him for this!"

"This looks good!" Fernando sat down and tasted the food. "This looks good and tastes good!"

"Don't take too long now," Tulio said to Linda and Fernando. "I want to spend as much time on the water as I can!"

When all three of them finished, Linda and Tulio headed down to the second floor to shower and change. Fernando headed down to the first floor to get some crisp morning air.

So, the day continues on! I understand that there's little to no action, but life isn't about wars and fights! You have to understand the plot before you can understand the rest of the story! Huge thanks to:

Francisco the Golden Macaw

Arlene the Scarlet Macaw

Thanks again for allowing me to include you in the story! If anyone with an OC (original character) wants to include their OC in the story, please PM me! I'm open to anyone who wants to play a part! Sorry if I don't update as much as you guys want me to. School's picking up again so I have little time to write. PM me with questions or if you just wanna talk! I may not be writing but I'm online all the time!

New thing I'm doing: sneak peeks into the next chapter! (since I don't update often) Chapter 21 will include: the start of day on the water, Kepler's whereabouts, and more, if not all, of the funeral procession!