<–- Click for regular size
“Yes, Oliver, I believe it would be best. Please go speak to him. Tell him his father is sorry for hurting him. I think he went off that way, towards the main gate, if not on the other side of it already.”
Oliver nodded and patted his smaller friend on the shoulder, “Thanks mate.” The larger squirrel ran off toward the main gate in pursuit of Lucas.
“Oh, Oliver. Thank Martin it’s just you. What do you want? Here to instill more doubt in my mind, to argue that my father’s right and I’m wrong? Here to put a pinch more salt in the wound?”
Oliver came to a halt of his short running spurt as he found the young one exactly where Jared said. “No, that is not what I came ‘ere fer. I came ‘ere with a proposal, one yer father agreed with me.” In a flash, Oliver was right next to the small squirrel in the tree, his exceptional speeds as a seasoned tree climber showing great talent. “First an’ foremost, Jared apologizes fer what ‘e ‘as done. ‘E didn’t mean it. It ‘as definitely been a stressful an’ long day fer all of us.” Oliver continued as he sat tall next to the younger creature. “Second, ‘ow ‘bout I take ya under my paws, become my new trainee. As you know, I am th’ instructor an’ teacher of many warriors in th’ main Abbey back at Redwall. I’ll teach you everythin’ I know- paw to paw combat, wrestling, acrobatics, an’ th’ like.”
The larger squirrel stuck out his bandaged paw and smiled at the smaller squirrel. “You thought me an’ yer dad were strong now, wait until you train under me, you ‘ave a ton o’ latent potential within you. Eventually, you’ll surpass both of us in fighting capability, speed, an’ vigor. So ‘ow ‘bout it?”
Oliver and Brad just sat back, making sure the rest of the wrestling tribe was alright. They let Jared tend to his family while they made sure Oliver’s family and friends were alright. “I’ll tell ya mate, if they weren’t warriors, this coulda ended up ugly! Glad everyone was alright.”
Brad answered back to his taller squirrel friend with a nod of agreement. “Yes, that was a good show if I do say so myself.. I was surprised. Didn’t know such a small group could do so much fending off!”
[“You ready to wrestle? You owe me after I saved your life.”]
Oliver’s ears twitched as he heard Jared speaking to the burly mouse wrestler, Ox.
Ox grinned with an approving toothy grin before replying. “Yeah, you’re right. I do owe ya, one friendly competitive wrestling match in the sand pit. Comin’ right up!”
Oliver looked a bit dejected at Jared’s reply to his son’s interest in a wrestling match. Wrestlers usually started to learn around his age, sometimes even sooner, much like Oliver did. The basics always started with wrestling before learning paw to paw combat combined with acrobatic movements, such as parrying and dodging. Oliver’s only exception was that he learned how to be a boxer specifically with his wrestling.
Oliver pulled Jared to the side before they went into the wrestlers area. “’Ey, Jared. I ‘ave an idea. Maybe I can teach yer son t’ properly wrestle an’ fight with ‘is paws after th’ end of our adventure. Whaddya think? It’ll make ‘im that much of a fine warrior an’ successor to you in later years. I am one o’ th’ combat specialist trainers at Redwall for all the guards. I think yer son would surpass us eventually.”
"Why, you scared we are gonna ruin your good looks?"
“Always ‘ave t’ poke fun somewhere!..” He said before ruffling the fur on top of her head.
Oliver then listened to her as she spoke.. “Jim..” He thought for a brief moment, “Oh yes! I remember Jim, you ‘ad ‘im go through one of my bootcamp sessions at the trainin’ grounds.” He chuckled to himself before continuing,”Now I see why you sent ‘im.”
The larger squirrel warrior listened to her plan closely and smiled. “Gotta ‘it ‘im when the timing is right!”
"Let's get to work!"
“Oliver climbed atop of the Ramparts ahead of the sisters and watched their plan go to action. He hid behind one of the pillars, as to keep the creature from spotting him. He watched and waited for the plan to go forward.
As Oliver noticed her get spotted, he produced a loud Goshawk cry by cupping his paws to his mouth and screeching. It made the Vole look up, thinking a large Goshawk was flying around the Abbey, which aided in the trap working.
From Oliver’s end, he watched the whole thing happen and he burst out laughing. The hardest he had in a while. “Wow, this is fun!”
He scurried down the rampart and ran over to the two, still laughing about the whole thing.
Oliver and Brad were pleased to see their friend in one piece and sound. It made the uneasiness of being in the camp grounds vanish suddenly.
[“Guys, follow me. There’s something here I think you ought to see.”]
Oliver nodded, as did Brad, before following Jared to where they were beckoned to come. It seemed odd to have a chessboard placed in the underground bunker of a tunnel. As the champion of Redwall, Bradley thought hard about their nemesis and his reasoning behind this all. Being the protector of the Abbey needed more than having fighting prowess and courage; you also needed to be able to think logically.
[“Hear me out, both of you: whatever Zakrul implied with chess…]
Brad could only think of one thing, “Placement!” It all came together in his head before he spoke aloud. “The chessboard is symbolic of our placement, he’s trying to set us up, he wants us to do certain things at certain times. The more we go by his rules, the more we fall into his claws. If we don’t play things correctly, this can turn out badly for all of us, he’s forcing us into his checkmate..”
Oliver made sense of this and spoke up. “I see, so that’s what this freak is up to.. We better be careful, but fer now, Jared is right. We need t’ go back as we came in! C’mon, lets get back t’ my village.” Oliver led the trio out of the tunnels and into the light, catching up with Lucas and Pearl, and reaching back to the village.
The village was restored to its once regular peace, and one big wrestling creature was ready and waiting..
Oliver looked puzzled for a second before going after the pair after they disappeared. He popped up behind them once more, smirking.
"No I wont rat ya out.. It's not m' style." They were all around the same ages which made this even more fun in his mind. The giant squirrel smiled at the pair, putting his arms around their necks. "But, you better not be prankin' me with none o' those blue soaps when I bathe.." Oliver played along with them, but kept wary of their actions. He knew they would involve him sooner or later into something like always that would result in him getting into trouble or getting pranked himself.
"So, my fine two squirrel maiden friends, what shall th' next bit o' fun be? I'm game fer anythin'." He said with a wink before removed his larger arms from their neck and shoulder area. The warrior was ready to unwind and have some mischievous fun. Being kept as a friars assistant and constantly training new warriors and fighting always made him stiff and weary.
Oliver didn't waste any time after being brought to Lucas' attention. He crawled around on all fours until he bumped into something. “I found it!” He called over to Lucas in a hurried tone of voice. This also brought Bradley to attention.
The Champion of Redwall dropped the rope he was using to drag the downed soldier of Zakrul and just left it there unconscious. He ran over in a full sprint to Oliver and Lucas right before the squirrel warrior opened up the trap door.
“There you guys are!” Brad stated with relief in his voice before drawing Martin's sword once more. “We better be prepared for what might be in store..” He said, following Oliver down into the trap door. Brad already had an idea of what might happen, and he knew to always be on his footpaws, incase of any danger.
“Lucas, stay next t' me.” Oliver knew that Lucas could fend for himself, but being the youngest and being Jared's offspring, he knew that he felt responsible for anything that could happen. The larger squirrel didn't want anything happen to the young one. Bradley followed from behind, making sure to keep watch from the back for anything suspicious. Zakrul's crew were very loyal and very deadly creatures. Brad knew their intent from having one of them as a prisoner from his journey to the camp.
Oliver kept his eyes peeled as he looked for Jared.
Oliver looked puzzled at the frightened looking squirrel maid as his normally bandaged up paw grabbed onto her shoulder. "Well, well, looks like I caught me a troublemaker! The face o' guilt on this 'un, it seems." The large squirrel warrior said in a hearty tone of voice. He was always happy to see the second in command under Bradley roaming about the peaceful Abbey. It made him curious of the edgier more trouble-making sister's whereabouts were. Nonetheless, Oliver gave her a smile, despite already having a feeling the pair were causing an alarming amount of trouble already.
He lifted the smaller squirrel up from the ground before commenting again. "What 'ave you gone an' done this time missy?!" Oliver had to ask. Aside from just being the one who trained the soliders in the Abbey, he had a huge on going job as the friar's assistant in the kitchen. He always received complaints because of others causing a ruckus in the kitchen.