Dominic leaned an elbow on the table and rested his chin in his other paw, scratching it agreeably. With his quill, he penned his thoughts as he voiced them.
"Longears, a hare who knows his part in the story and whom will soon appear. We must keep our eyes out for him, this identity-less hare. Feathers, a falcon reluctant to join the fray, perhaps afraid to out himself in danger? If it were me, I'd not want to be too vulnerable, either. Greybeast…"
He stopped and met Skarlath's mischievous expression.
"If this is your idea of a joke, it's decently funny but still doesn't answer the riddle. Who is the old Greybeast?"
Skarlath shook his feathery head, still refusing to tell. Dominic bit his lip impatiently, but suppressed the urge to say any regretful words and continued to follow the kestrel's direction.
"Now downwards, now upwards,
The dance of the bee.
So, what is the answer?
Go ask of the tree!"
Dominic shut his eyes for a quick moment, recalling in detail the sounds of the swords clashing against each other as the squirrels and the spirit of the Badger Lord mentored Fernleaf in the ways of the warrior. He remembered the words they said to each other, the laughs, the praises, the step-by-step instructions, the maneuvers, and all in between. He opened his eyes and again looked at Skarlath.
"The art of the sword, some styles are almost dance-like, right? Downwards and upwards refers to movement, the bladework, the techniques, that stuff. Asking of the tree..."
"Soliburr! The molebabe's song, from yesterday!"
Skarlath clicked his beak loudly and approvingly, and felt a smile of amusement and pride as Dominic leaped for joy out of his chair and began prancing around the room ecstatically, singing a refined speech version of the ridiculous yet enigmatic song.
_"I'm a great big bumblebee,
A-buzzing in a sycamore tree.
Don't you wish you was happy and free,
Like a great big bumblebee?
One day a vermin happened to be
A-climbing up the sycamore tree.
And what did the vermin happen to see?
He saw a great big bumblebee!
The vermin said, 'Get away from me.
This here's my own great sycamore tree.'
He fussed and swatted, how mean he be,
At the great big bumblebee!
The bee got mad, you see,
And buzzed, and buzzed around the tree,
And stung the vermin on the footpaw, you see,
The great big bumblebee!
'Ow!', said the vermin, the rat from the sea,
And hopped, and hopped around the tree,
He fell with the crash and banged up his knee,
In the sight of the great big bumblebee!
And from that day, the bumblebee,
Was left alone in his sycamore tree,
Can you know one as happy and free,
As the great big bumblebee!"_
Dominic collapsed in his chair and laughed loud and long at the straightforward brilliance. The ghost of Skarlath waited for him to finish, a delighted smile on his beak.
"The answer was right there all along!" Dominic announced after he'd recovered his wits. "The song is the answer! Fernleaf is the bumblebee and the Sword of Martin is the stinger! The sycamore tree is the Abbey, or even the Forest surrounding it, and the vermin of Kelnris are trying to steal it for their own, but Fernleaf is the protector! Yes, it's been right in front of us, and we never saw it until now! Soliburr gave us the truth! Oh, he deserves the noblest thanks, that sly mole boy!"
Still chuckling, Dominic wrote down these thoughts in his analysis. Eyes twinkling like the bird's, he met his face.
"Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is, don't you agree?"