Hello there!! This is my first fan-fic and I've worked on it with all my heart to create it!! so enjoy!! and don't be afraid to critique or comment!!

This is a fan fiction story by Redmight. It is not considered canon, nor is it a policy or guideline.

Now hear my voice rise to the sky and play a melody!

My guitar and I will march in hopes of reaching home!

Don't let me walk alone tonight, Just send me to my home!

even though this storm is harsh and batters down my soul!

I'll march it on!

Endure it all!

Just to see my home!!

I'll fight the wind!

Defeat the cold!

and triumph over all!

The storm will rage with howling winds! And scream in thunderous roar!

How dare you just defy my will and march towards your home!

He'll send the pain in tears of rain to flow right to my soul!

He'll send the freezing flow of winds to crystallize my hopes!

Even though he sends his rage my body just goes on!

In disbelief he'll simple stare for the strength that I possess

How could this be! How can it be! What kind of beast you be!

I'll scream my soul into the night and tell this horrid storm!

No matter what you do to me my hopes cling to my soul!

and my guitar will epicly just follow with my voice!

as I sing the end with victory

That tonight!!



My Hoooooooooooooome!!!!

Guitar and voice, together in harmony filled the dark forest with hope, even if the storm’s howling winds screeched dreadful sounds of sorrow and the rain, in clattering beats, fell upon the entire forest. In the middle of the forest, in a path barely visible in the dark, a mouse of great physical vigor is seen walking; holding a magnificent guitar and contemplating at the spectacle of nature that is a storm. He raised his head and smiled at the sky, letting his brown eyes sparkle in the moonlight as his golden brown fur felt the chilling wind of the night. He wore a white rain coat belted with a tool belt that held various crafting tools, and sported a simple blue shirt.

"It felt good to play that song in such weather" he chuckled to himself as he strapped his guitar to his back and continued on his way.

He walked for no more than a few steps when the winds intensified and pushed him back. He struggled a bit, but regained his balance instantly.

"Oh, Raylond, you really have to stop being the only craftsbeast in this area of the forest" he humorously thought out loud, for it was true that he was the only craftsbeast in the forest after a terrible accident ended the lives of the few craftsbeasts he had the honor of calling friends.

He was ok with being the only craftsbeast in the forest, it meant his services were required by everybeast and he loved doing his job. Unfortunately it also meant that EVERYBEAST needed his help, be it day, night, shine or rain he was needed, and he hated that, for it made him leave his beloved home and the love of his life, Sunflower.

How he longed to be with her. He knew that with every step he took, with every struggle he endured, he was getting closer to her and his home. He continued walking for a while when the warm memories of Sunflower rushed into him and quickened his pace in the night. He began to run; letting the wind and rain splatter on his face, when at long last he saw the familiar rising hill that marked the entrance to his hometown. He leaped in great joy from finally being so close to home. He ran towards the hill and, with much anticipation, reached the top of the hill and gazed into his home: Cottonwood.

Raylond gazed into his hometown with great affection and noticed that the storm was no longer the angry monster that so relentlessly assaulted him, but instead had changed to a more beautiful, serene caretaker that nourished the farming lands of his neighbors with the fall of raindrops, and kindly caressed their homes with whispering winds that spoke of no sorrow but only an elegant, yet mysterious kindness. He walked calmly through town; watching the humble houses of his neighbors made of cottonwood tree (hence the name for the town) and how they slumbered peacefully in their homes. He continued on until he spotted his very own house and gave a heavy sigh of relief.

"Home at last."

It was very easy to spot his home, since being a master craftsbeast; Raylond had built it himself from the ground up, and knew it the moment he laid eyes upon it. His house was of the upmost outstanding quality, with decoration of flowers carved in every corner, a porch of sturdy design that held various hanging bells and jingles. It had an open workplace on the left side of the house for carpentry and blacksmithing, and soon it would be the only house in town to have a second floor. Wearily, he entered his workplace, removed his rain coat and tool belt, and hanged them in the wall. He stood there stretching his tired limbs and simply could not wait to enter his house. He was prepared to leave when suddenly he felt a strange feeling creep on the back of his neck, he suddenly felt cold and wary of his surroundings. He immediately scanned the entire workplace for any sign of danger, but simply saw his usual tools and equipment. Raylond shook his head and concluded that it was probably just weariness on his head causing him to feel strange. He exited his workplace and ran, trying to reach the porch before he got wet with rain, when he stopped and gazed at the house's window and saw the love of his life, Sunflower.

To say that Sunflower was nothing short of being tremendously beautiful would be outright lying to the heavens themselves for, she was considered the most beautiful mousemaid in town: she wore a long red dress with patterns of the sun stitched in them, her fur was of radiant golden color that shined in daylight and at night kept a mystical luminance that complimented her flowing bright hair, and her eyes shone with a black darker than the night itself. Many beasts still wonder how Raylond managed to win her heart, when she refused proposals and advances from many beasts with a simple no or the beating of a lifetime. He chuckled and stood staring through the window remembering the time when they first met and fell in love, when he felt a chilling sensation invade his body, and suddenly realized he had been standing rather stupidly in the rain for quite some time and had not noticed at all.

Raylond rushed to the door and took refuge in the porch, he began shaking his entire body; doing his best to dry himself off. When he was finished, he put his paw in the doorknob, gently twisted it, and entered his home. The moment the door opened, a chime from little bells resonated throughout the main room. He unstrapped his guitar and gently let it rest on a wall. He turned his gaze towards the kitchen and saw Sunflower staring at him. They both locked eyes and a smile rose on both of them, their eyes shimmered in the light and without uttering a single word both of them rushed towards each other, and embraced in a tender hug. Love and affection simply radiated from the two. Raylond felt Sunflower's warmth permeate into him, and he kissed her with much affection. They both stood; locked in a kiss for a few moments and not wanting to end it any time soon. Raylond hugged her tightly, but Sunflower's lips departed from his, and she rested her head on Raylond's chest and spoke.

"Oh Ray, I missed you so much! I'm so glad your back home." She said as she continued to hug him.
"It's so good to be home!" Raylond replied with much enthusiasm.
Sunflower continued to hold on to him, but she raised her head from his chest and gazed into his eyes with a much worried look, and said. "You had me worried sick! With this storm outside; I was afraid something as bad as last time was going to happen to you!”

Raylond immediately knew what she was talking about, for a similar storm like this had been the cause of the demise of his friends. They had all been asked to repair a house in Redwall Abbey that suffered a fire and was in horrible conditions. They all agreed to help, but when they arrived at the abbey and began to work on the house, a storm appeared out of nowhere. Being young and reckless, they continued to work, saying that no storm was going to stop them. The storm raged with much power and fury, causing the entire building to collapse, leaving Raylond the only survivor.

Raylond, wanting to reassure her, laughed and said. "It would take far more than a storm to separate me from you, my love!"

They both let go of their hug, but held tightly to each other's paws and stared at each other's eyes affectionately. Sunflower got Raylond's paws, and gently put them on her belly. "I was also worried that you were going to be late and miss it" she said very gently as she held his paws on her belly. Raylond immediately felt the small movement of life inside her, and he was filled with joy that bordered near tears as he felt the spark of life that was inside Sunflower. He knew that at any moment their first child would be born, making Raylond into a father, Sunflower into a mother, and together a family.

Raylond let go of Sunflower and simply stared into her enchanting eyes. "A family to call my own… I could think of nothing else that would make me this happy." He thought
Suddenly Sunflower began to giggle and laugh. "You know, you should really stop staring at me like that, or you might get yourself soaked in rain again. Hehehe." She said teasingly.
Raylond gasped in surprise "Oh you saw that!?" he began to blush and mumbled a few words, trying to come up with something to say when Sunflower leaned forward and gave a him a gentle kiss on his cheek.
"I'm quite flattered that I can still leave my husband with his mouth hanging open in the rain and turn a few heads when I take a walk in town, just by being me." She said as she gave a little twirl and winked at him.
Raylond, wanting to change the subject, said. "Well, what were you doing this late anyway, besides you know, worrying about me?"
Sunflower grabbed Raylond's paw and lead him to the kitchen. "Well, while you were gone I got the craving for something spicy, so I made these!"
She handed Raylond what looked like an empanada covered in reddish salsa, Raylond studied it curiously, and saw that Sunflower was already eating two of them and said. "Go on try it!"
Raylond shrugged and took a bite with much enthusiasm, but the moment he took the first bite the air was sucked right out of his lungs. His entire mouth screamed of fire as it spread through his throat and his eyes began to water. He tried to mutter a single word. "WATER!!"
He began to run in circles, trying to find something with water. That’s when he spotted a bucket containing water at a corner; he rushed towards it, and plunged his entire head inside it. For a few moments, Raylond stayed submerged in the water. Then at last his head rose, and with a loud gasp of breath he said. "That was delicious!!"
Sunflower, unable to contain herself, laughed through the entire ordeal. "Too bad you can't handle spicy food, even though you love it!" she said, and in agreement Raylond simply laughed in harmony with Sunflower.
Slowly, the laughter declined into silence when Sunflower rested her paws on Raylond's shoulders, as her face suddenly grew serious and with a much worried tone said." Ray I need to know, are you going to stay home from now on? I really want you to be with me when our little one is born. So please, tell me you took care of everything you needed to do." She said as she looked at him with much anticipation.
Raylond's face grew bright with the answer he had, and said. "Of course I took care of everything! I told everybeast out there that I'm not available till further notice, be it for a broken chair or a wrecked house, I'm not leaving my family now!!"

Sunflower gave a sigh of relief, when suddenly a knock came from the door. Both of them looked at the door in surprise. "Hmm… I wonder who it is; this late at night?” Raylond said as he walked towards the door and opened it. Raylond was quite surprised who he saw: it was a chubby male dormouse, wearing a green vest and a green traveling hat, and his entire body was shivering from the cold, Raylond recognized him as his neighbor, Broth.

"RRRaylond! Oh, I'm ssssso glad your back! I Rrrrealy need your help! Mmmmmmay I come in?" He said with clattering teeth.
Raylond, being quite perplexed, simply said, "Yes of course, come in"
Broth entered the house. At the sight of Sunflower, he removed his hat and said. “Hello Sunflower, I'm ttterribly sorry for disturbing you this late at night." In response, Sunflower said with a kind tone. "It's no trouble, please let me get you a towel to dry yourself with." she left and returned a few seconds later with a towel, and with furious movements Broth began to dry himself.
When he finished drying himself, he handed the towel back to Sunflower and looked at Raylond. He put both his paws together and literally started to beg. "Raylond, you got to go to my house and help! It’s a really dire situation! Please? As a favor to me. “He finished, and stared at Raylond with the most pathetic face and exaggerated googly eyes.
Raylond was quite moved by how he asked for help and sensed that Broth really needed help, so the reply was given with much warmth and reassurance. "Calm down Broth, you know that I'm no longer available for help, but you have always been a good friend to me, I guess I can help if the problem isn't too bad, so just explain it to me and I'll see what I can do."

Broth immediately brightened with joy at Raylond's answer, he was about to tell him what was wrong when he suddenly became reluctant to tell and even looked embarrassed. Raylond managed to see Broth's expression; he became angry, and with much annoyance he exclaimed. "OH! Don't tell me you got yourself locked outside your house again, Broth!" With a very pathetic face, Broth simply nodded.

"This is the fifteenth time it happens this season! How do you manage to ruin every new lock I give you?!!" Raylond said with a very loud voice.
Broth began to mumble with shame and said, "I...I don't know why it happens. I have such rotten luck! But please, Raylond, don't leave me in the rain; all cold and soaking wet!"
Raylond put his paw on his face in annoyance and began to wonder what to do, when Sunflower rested one paw on Raylond's shoulder and said. "Go and help him out. It never hurts to help a friend in need, and don't worry, I can wait just a bit longer for you to be with me."
"Are you sure?" He replied, not wanting to leave her.
She leaned forward and kissed him. "I'm sure"
Raylond sighed and said. "Ok Broth I'll help you"
Broth began to jump in joy and said. "OH, thank you! Thank you!"

Raylond followed Broth to the front door and reluctantly waved goodbye to Sunflower as he exited the house. But as Raylond once again saw the storm in the night, and Sunflower patiently waited for him in her home, little did they feel how wrong the air felt around them, little did they feel how the earth prepared to taste blood, and little did they feel...... How this night would change their lives forever!

Now my dear reader I must speak to you personally, something that I do not intend to do often, but right now it's crucial, for there is still yet a beast hidden in shadows that has not been revealed, but you have witnessed a few of his actions without noticing, and in a bit will see the consequences of his deeds. So please follow me as I turn back the pendulum of time and take you back to a moment before Raylond gazed into his home, before Sunflower greeted him with a hug, and where the storm still raged with anger in the night.

A forest's rain enveloped in the pitch blackness of night can be made beautiful and deadly at the whim of its will, as its beats of rain fell in roaring unison and raging thunder illuminated the night sky. In the darkness of the forest that surrounded Cottonwood, veiled with the thick fabric of shadows stood a shadowy figure wrapped in a magnificent dark blue cape, staring into the town with red-blooded eyes filled with much anticipation. The beast slowly crept at the corner of the town and, hiding behind bushes, gazed upon the houses of the humble beasts that lived within them. He gave a wicked grin as he slowly approached the town, and with a flash of thunder his appearance became apparent, with perfect clarity.

Rusco was a very strange beast to look at to say the least: he was a male rat gifted with the strange miracle of actually being quite handsome, with silky black fur that was soft to the touch and a face that held the fine features of beauty that were complimented with glowing eyes of red-blooded color. He despised his appearance with all his heart, for what good was beauty to a rat? He always thought, he would have rather been born with a permanent angry snarl or a more intimidating physical stature than his pretty face, but at least it had made it rather easy to get a mate back at his tribe. He wore a dark blue cape that moved freely with grace in the wind, a vest made of leather that held a wicked curved dagger, and in his neck was a beautiful necklace made of beads that held a metallic silver emblem engraved with the face of a rat snarling, ready to attack.

As the light of the thunder slowly ceased to exist, darkness once again enveloped the forest and Rusco began to slyly move towards the town. He surveyed the houses and muttered to himself. "I don't think anybeast back at the tribe will mind if I take a small “‘’detour’’”. “
He moved silently in the night, looking for the best house to pay a visit, and was filled with much excitement when he spotted a magnificent house with a second floor nearly finished. He looked at it with much greedy eyes and said. "Ho ho ho. A house as magnificent as that much hold such magnificent trinkets!" he chuckled and continued to move in secrecy.

Rusco reached the house and leaned to the walls, making sure he was well hidden before peaking inside it. The moment he took a peak through the window, he was much delighted at the sight he saw, for the inside of the house was adorned with so many magnificent objects of great quality or value. He would have loved to just simply barge in and steal the place clean, but he noticed that inside the house, a beautiful mousemaid was wide awake; baking what seemed to be freshly done bread.

Rusco silently cursed at the lost opportunity, but he was a patient beast and would wait for the mousemaid to go to sleep or leave. In the mean time, he decided that he might pay a visit to the other houses and see what treasures they held. He moved silently to the next house and peaked through the window, and saw that nobeast was home. Rusco proud himself in being a thief that did not use cheap tricks or backdoors to get what he wanted, but instead challenged himself to steal in the most fashionable or direct way possible.

He calmly walked towards the front door and saw that it was locked; He took out a few lock-picks from a pocket located in his cape and began to work. He was quite astonished by the quality of the lock, but he figured he could easily unlock it… How wrong he was. In the instant the lock felt the tinkering of its insides, it clicked rather loudly and became permanently locked.

Rusco was quite surprised at this neat trick, never had he encountered a lock that behaved this way, and he silently complimented the creator of such lock, for it was the first one in his life that actually stopped him from entering a house. He began to walk around the house looking for a window to open, when suddenly he heard the patter of footsteps coming his way. Rusco immediately left and hid behind a different house to get a good look at who it was. It turned out to be a chubby dormouse with a green traveling hat and a green vest. The dormouse approached his home and tried in vain to open the door, he repeated the same action quite a few times, becoming more desperate with each attempt, which included bashing the door and literally begging the door to open, until in his frustration he yelled. "OH NO, NO, NOOO! NOT AGAIN!! Raylond is going to have my tail when he sees this!!”

Rusco had to bite his tongue in order to not laugh out loud at the dormouse's misfortune. After being quite amused by the dormouse's drama, he silently walked back to the magnificent house; hoping that the mousemaid was gone or asleep. But he decided that he would check instead the workplace that was right next to the house. He silently crept to the left of the house and entered the workplace, and was astonished by all the tools inside; he chuckled and said. "Look at all this! Tools and supplies right in the open, just begging to be stolen." Rusco would have stolen the place clean and been on his merry way, but remembered that inside the house much more wonderful loot waited for him.

Rusco studied the tools and decided that maybe he would just get a few. As he surveyed the area, he suddenly gazed into the outside and spotted a beast wearing a white rain coat approaching the workplace. Rusco's first instinct was to run and leave, but he got a much more fantastic idea, he would challenge himself with a bold attempt to hide right in plain sight, the very thought of it made his heart race and fill his eyes with anticipation. He placed himself in a very exposed part of the walls, and with great mastery in the arts of stealth, his cape began to blend with the shadows and his black fur slowly disappeared into darkness, as if to bend the very blackness of night. He patiently waited for the beast to enter, and as soon as he spotted the beast entering he closed his eyes, for he knew that his red-blooded eyes really stood out in the dark.

With acute ears, Rusco heard the beast enter the workplace and heard every single step it made. It walked to the wall, and with a noisy splatter of water removed its cloak. It walked silently around the workplace, failing to notice Rusco at all. Rusco was enjoying every moment of his concealment very much, and opened his eyes with confidence that the beast would not notice. As he opened his eyes, he finally saw who the beast was: it was a male mouse with a strong able body, a fur color of golden brown, and a plain blue shirt.

Rusco knew at once this mouse was not a beast he would want to mess with, even though the mouse was facing his opposite direction and could not see him, so he patiently waited for him to leave. The mouse began to calmly walk to the exit when suddenly he stopped and froze as if he had heard something. He immediately turned his focus exactly where Rusco stood. In great shock, Rusco closed his eyes and thought. "OH NO! Did he spot me?!"

Rusco's heart began to beat fast as he waited to hear if the mouse did anything, after what seemed like an eternity to Rusco he heard the steps of the mouse leave the workplace. He gave a great triumphant sigh and congratulated himself for pulling such a dangerous stunt, especially while holding a really precious being on his back. Wasting no time, he rushed to the outside of the workplace into the rain. He adjusted his cape, making sure his back didn't get wet, and leaned into the wall next to the window. He took a peak at the window and saw that the strong mouse had entered his home and was being greeted by the beautiful mousemaid he saw earlier. They both radiated love and affection, but Rusco ignored the scene in front of him, for his eyes were transfixed on all the magnificent objects inside the house: at this new angle, he was able to see far more inside the house, he saw fantastically carved statuettes of different beasts on every corner, paintings of various beautiful landscapes hanging on the walls, a magnificent bow and arrow hanging on the wall, and what seemed like a box that held some kind of jewelry neatly sitting on a small table.

Rusco was quite embarrassed when he found out that he had started drooling at the sight of the house's interior, but he became even more determined to get inside and steal everything he could carry! Now the only thing he needed to do was to wait for them to leave or fall asleep. Rusco began to think of what to do, when suddenly a dormouse entered the house and was greeted by the strong mouse. Rusco immediately recognized the dormouse and couldn't help but chuckle at the sight of him, but soon Rusco was bewildered and amazed as he saw the strong mouse leave with the dormouse.

"This couldn't be more perfect!" he thought as he kept watching to see what the mousemaid would do, she immediately left to another room and did not come out.
"This is my chance!" he said as he rushed to the front door. Rusco immediately was filled with a rush, and began to give little jumps of excitement as he approached the door. Making sure he was not spotted, he took a lock-pick and began to work. He saw that the lock was of the same design as the last one, but this time Rusco was ready! In a few moments he had the door opened and, with a sense of triumph, he entered the house.

Inside the house, Rusco was overwhelmed by what he should steal first. He simply could not decide on what to take first, but suddenly remembered that his mate back at his tribe would probably have his tail if he came back with nothing nice for her after going through a detour, and being late at meeting her. He remembered the box and went to see what it contained. He gently opened it and saw a magnificent necklace of pearls; he grabbed it with delicacy and gazed at it with much amazement for quite a prolonged time, when at last he whispered. "This is perfect for her!"

He kept on staring at the necklace, and suddenly got the strange feeling of something being very wrong. He gave a gasp and thought out loud. "Oh no I've taken to long!" At that instant a massive pain suddenly exploded in Rusco's head as he heard the sound of a ‘’’BONK’’’ Fill the room. He staggered dizzyingly around the room and tripped on a small stool, and landed face first on the ground.

Rusco was completely dizzy; his senses were muddled to the point of everything becoming a blur of motion. He tried to stand, but as he raised his head he saw the silhouette of a strange beast approaching him and it was carrying a weapon that was slowly being raised to strike him once again. Rusco panicked and immediately reached for his dagger, using all the strength he could summon, he jumped to his feet and struck the beast with a slash of his dagger. A terrible sharp scream was heard and the beast fell to the ground.

Rusco stood there massaging his head to allow his senses to clear up. The moment his vision cleared up, he turned his eyes to the beast that had attacked him and gave a gasp of horror when he saw who it was... It was the pretty mousemaid from before.

Rusco stood there in complete shock, the mousemaid was lying on the floor in a small pool of her own blood, and the weapon she was holding was nothing more than a simple frying pan. Rusco recoiled in horror on what he had done, not only did he just slay a beast; he also took the life of an unborn child! Rusco tried to flee from the scene, but was held frozen on the spot by the foul deed he had done. He guiltily whispered, "I'm just a thief... I'm no murderer…" as he staggered backwards, unable to stop looking at her. Immediately, a jingle from bells was heard, and Rusco turned his head towards the door and saw the strong mouse from before.

"Sunflower!! I heard a scream and..." Raylond stopped abruptly as his eyes widened in horror at the horrible scene in front of him: a rat with a dark blue cape was standing next to the bloodied body of Sunflower.
"You foul vermin! What have you done to her!?” he screamed with boiling rage as he took out a mallet from his tool belt.

Rusco had no idea what to do as he saw the mouse draw his mallet. If he fought the mouse, he had no idea if he could win, and he could not escape, since the mouse was blocking the only way out. Rusco stared at the angry look of Raylond, and saw that there was no escape and he would have to fight. Rusco stared at his dagger and thought. "If somebeast has to die tonight, it will not be me!"

Brandishing his dagger on his right paw, Rusco charged at Raylond with the desperation of survival and swung his dagger at Raylond's neck, hoping for a swift kill, but Raylond was far faster than him and fueled with anger and quick reflexes he crouched his body, letting the dagger nimbly swing above his head. Immediately, Raylond executed a side-step to his left, and with all his might swung the mallet on Rusco's right leg.

A sickening crack was heard as Raylond's mallet collided with Rusco's leg. The pain was unbelievable, and Rusco could not help but scream in pain. His will to survive was greater, however, and with all his willpower he ignored the pain. Using the hilt of his dagger, he sent it crashing on Raylond's head. Great pain exploded on the mouse’s head as he stumbled forward and fell to the floor. His senses might of have been dulled by the blow, but his resolve to kill Rusco stopped him from losing conscience, and he quickly began to get on his feet.

Rusco saw Raylond's fall as the opportunity to escape. Although his right leg was a mess, he stumbled on as he used every scrap of willpower he had to ignore the pain and flee into the stormy night. He knew that if he made it into the forest the darkness would become his ally and grant him a swift escape.

Raylond finally regained his senses and got back on his feet. He immediately saw Rusco had fled, but he knew that with the blow he had inflicted on his leg he could have not gone far. He looked at his mallet and thought. "I need a real weapon, not a tool!"

He frantically searched the room and immediately set his eyes on the old bow and arrow on the wall. He swiftly ran to the wall and readied the weapon; he would have never imagined he would use his father's bow once again, it was an old bow and it would probably fail if used repeatedly but Raylond only needed one shot.

Raylond ran outside the house and once again met the fury of the storm, its winds had intensified with much power and the screeching roar of thunder resonated through the entire forest. It was as if the storm could feel Raylond's anger, and was projecting it throughout the forest. But Raylond did not care, for his only focus was on finding Rusco and ending him.

Although Rusco's leg was busted, he managed to put a considerable distance from Raylond, and in a few more moments he would reach the forest and disappear. Raylond was using every ounce of strength his legs could muster to catch up to Rusco, but at the pace he was going he would never catch him in time. He knew it was now or never, he had to take the shot or lose him completely in the forest.

Raylond could barely see Rusco in the night, but still he ran with all his might, trying to get as close as possible, yet something was very wrong… for no matter how hard he tried Raylond could not go faster, instead his entire body was slowing down! He could feel his legs slowing down as if they were dragging some massive weight, his heart was calmly giving a slow beat on his chest, and he could hear his own breath slowly rise and fall in his ears. Raylond would have instantly panicked at this horrible feeling of powerlessness, but the moment his eyes saw what was happening to his surroundings, his heart was filled not with fear but with amazement and awe as he saw that everything around him was slowing down as well.

Raylond had never seen anything like it before, he could see every single raindrop slowly fall through the air, the rustling leafs of the trees that moved gently with the wind, and the graceful movements of Rusco's cape. Raylond gave a smile, for he knew this was it, he could see Rusco perfectly in the night, the agonizing movement of his feet, his desperation to survive, and most of all his cape moving through the air. Raylond readied his weapon and aimed at Rusco, he could hear the stretching of the bow's string as he pulled it as far as he could, he could see the tip of the arrow pointing at Rusco, and with a furious scream he yelled. "MUERE BESTIA INFERNAL!"(DIE YOU INFERNAL BEAST!) He let the arrow soar through the air.

The moment the arrow left Raylond's bow the sky was illuminated with a flash of light as thunder roared in the blackness of the night. Raylond could see perfectly as the arrow gently twisted through the air and when directly at Rusco.

Rusco heard Raylond's scream as he turned his entire body to see what was going on, and he immediately regretted it, for his eyes widened in horror as he saw an arrow going directly at him, and with a busted leg he had no chance of evading it.

"So this is it, eh?” Rusco thought calmly as he saw the arrow gently move through the air.

Rusco did not want to die, but there was nothing he could do, he had no tricks that could save him, or any chance for that arrow to miss, but he still had a slim amount of time to say anything he wanted, he still had a small glimpse of breath to say into this world. Rusco would have probably cursed Raylond and hoped that he would have a foul and horrible life, but then he thought of something far better to say, something far more noble as his last words,.

"If my life has to end tonight, then at least I will let HIS life go on." He thought as he began to inhale and with his last breath he screamed. "PLEASE, DON'T KILL HIM!"

As Rusco screamed his last words he saw the arrow soar true in the air and sink itself in his chest. It was a completely dreadful feeling as he felt the tip of the arrow rip through his flesh and penetrate his heart. The pain was unbearable, horrifying, and at last Rusco feel to the ground. He could feel his heart beat slower and slower as the warm feeling of his blood left his body and in the cold night he saw the entire world sink into darkness. Slowly, he closed his eyes and let his life fade away.

It was over; Rusco's body lay unmoving in the cold ground as Raylond simply stared at him. The entire forest once again returned to its normal movement and the storm continued to let its rage go on. Raylond had no idea what Rusco's last words meant but he did not care, for it was over, yet he felt nothing, no sense of triumph or disgust at what he had just done, he felt absolutely nothing.

Raylond gasped. "Sunflower!"

He ran back to his house and entered through the front door. He saw the body of Sunflower in the floor and immediately burst into tears as he kneeled next to her and hugged her.

"NO! You can't be dead! It just can't be!!” he screamed as tears began to fall down to Sunflower's cheek.
"Please say something...please....anything!" but his pleas were to no avail; Sunflower did not move nor speak.

Raylond held her in his arms and began to sob. There was nothing he could do, he had lost his family.

Raylond could only continue crying as he held her in his arms; he rested his head on her neck as sorrow began to engulf him. As he rested his head on her neck, he felt it, a small beating in her neck.

"Could it...could it be?" He said with such hope that he began to tremble. He rested his paws on Sunflower’s neck and felt it again: it was her pulse, she was still alive!!

Raylond could not believe it; all of his sorrow began to dissipate as he felt the beating of her heart. He saw that her injuries were located right in her legs, he knew that an injury like that was not life threatening unless left alone for too long… now, he needed to do something or else she would die at any moment!

Raylond began to frantically think of what to do when he heard a shout. "Raylond what's going on!?"

Raylond turned his head and saw Broth in the front door. He was not alone, for a small crowd of mice and squirrels were right next to him.

"Raylond, I brought everybeast I could wake up after I heard a scream and you ran away."
Raylond got up and said to the crowd. "Everybeast listen up! Sunflower has been hurt, and she's dying!"

A huge gasped was given by the crowd. One of the squirrels lifted his paw and said. "What can we do to help?"

Raylond immediately came up with a plan. "Ok, I need everybeast to lift Sunflower as gently as possible and bring her outside. I need to get to my workplace and get something." He said as he ran to his workplace. Once he got inside, he scanned the entire area until he found what he was looking for: it was a wagon full of tools; he immediately began to toss all the tools from the wagon and took it outside.

Raylond saw that they managed to wrap Sunflower's legs to stop the bleeding and where taking her outside very gently. He quickly told them. "Here, put her on the wagon! We have to take her to Bella immediately!"

They all knew what Raylond meant, for Bella was the healer of the town, and was probably the only beast suitable to treat her. They gently laid Sunflower on the wagon and, with much speed, took her to the town's assembly building where Bella lived. The storm was wildly attacking the crowd of beasts with cold winds and harsh rain. Immediately, a female mouse said. "We have to keep her dry and warm! Quickly, everybeast take your clothes off and shield her from the rain!"

All of them were wearing nothing but their pajamas, but they did not complain or hesitate, and began to take off their clothes and wrap them around Sunflower or use them as shields to stop the rain. Raylond was astonished by their deeds, and he knew immediately that he had true friends in his neighbors, and couldn't help but thank them as they hurried in the night.

Raylond shouted. "I'll go on ahead to tell Bella what's going on and make sure she's ready!"

They all agreed with a nod. Immediately, Raylond ran as fast as he could to find Bella. He arrived quite fast at the building: it was a huge building where assemblies and festivities would be conducted and other important services, like the nursery. He quickly opened the double-doors and ran, looking for the room Bella resided in.

Raylond found the room and began to knock quite loudly, while shouting. "Bella! Open up! It’s an emergency!"

After waiting for a bit with no answer, Raylond was getting impatient and began to knock fast and hard at the door. Immediately, the door opened and a female hare stepped out, but unfortunately Raylond reacted too late and smacked her right in the nose. "ACK! Bloody heck! what was that for!" she yelled as she began to rub her nose, she was wearing a blue shirt and skirt with a straw hat, and had a wheat stalk on her mouth which she never took off.
Raylond began to apologize, and Bella angrily said. "Somebeast better be dying for you to be bothering me this late at night Raylond; or I will......”
"Its Sunflower, she IS dying!" He said as he interrupted her.
Bella gasped and suddenly realized what she had just said. "Oh my! Where is she!
"She's being brought here as we speak!" Raylond said.
Bella adjusted her straw hat and gave a determined but serious look and said, "I understand, I will get my apprentices ready for her arrival."
In an instant she arrived at the infirmary where her apprentices slept. "Wake up you lazy beasts!" she said as she literally began to beat everybeast into wakefulness.
Soon Bella had all her apprentices ready for action when Broth and the others arrived. She instructed them to leave Sunflower in the infirmary. "We will take it from here, so everybeast please leave and return to your homes." She said with such a commanding voice that nobeast protested, even though everybeast wanted to stay and make sure Sunflower was ok.

Raylond managed to convince everybeast to leave after promising to tell them what happened to Sunflower in the morning, and in a few moments everybeast left and Raylond was left alone in the building.

Bella immediately instructed her apprentices to begin to work as she approached Raylond and said. "Raylond I'm going to have to ask you to leave and wait in the main room."
Raylond was shocked and in the anger he said. "What!? But why?"
"Raylond, you should know by now that when I'm working nobeast is allowed in the infirmary."
Raylond wanted to argue quite vigorously about how he needed to stay at Sunflowers side, but he remembered that the longer Bella was away from Sunflower, the higher her chances of perishing were. Raylond's face softened and he responded. "Ok I'll leave, just.........just make sure she makes it, ok?"
Bella gave a smile. "I have never lost a patient in my life and I don't intend to start now."
With those reassuring words in his mind Raylond left the infirmary and began to patiently wait in the main room.

Now Raylond was forced to endure one of the most grueling tortures ever conceived by any beast...that of simply waiting. As time went by and began to mess with his head the minutes seemed like hours and the simple act of waiting became an eternity.

Soon, Raylond found himself battling his own emotions as grief and despair took hold of his mind and he began to blame himself. "Why did I have to leave, Why did I leave her alone! WHY wasn't I there to protect her!?" But no emotion was felt stronger than fear itself, for Raylond had already experienced the horror of thinking Sunflower was dead and he could not bear to live it again.

As Raylond pondered with his emotions and thoughts, he heard the steps of some beast approach, and he immediately saw it was Bella, Raylond ran to her and said, " did it go she........ok?"

Bella removed her wheat stalk from her mouth and sorrowfully said. "I'm sorry Raylond I......I did all I could but I wasn't able to....."

"NOOOOO! She can't be gone!" Raylond shouted, as he shoved Bella and ran to the infirmary.
Bella fell to the ground and managed to shout, "Wait Raylond! You didn't let me finish!

But Raylond did not listen, for he could not believe that Sunflower was gone, and he needed to see her just one more time. He ran to the infirmary, opened the door and shouted, "Sunflower!"

"OH! Ray! I was wondering where you were. Hehe." Sunflower said very sweetly with a smile as she placed her paws on her ears to shield them from Raylond's shout.
Raylond could scarcely believe it, there she was; alive and well, sitting in the middle of a bed while blankets covered half her body, smiling very gently as her beautiful black eyes shimmered with a faint light. Raylond ran to her and hugged her, he immediately began to cry and say, "Sunflower… I thought you were.......oh I was so worried and, and......."
"Shhhhh, be silent, my love, he's sleeping." She said as she took out a small bundle of wrapped around blankets.
Raylond's eyes widened in astonishment as he said."Is........ Is that!?......"
"We have a son Ray, a beautiful baby son." she said as she handed the bundle of blankets to Raylond.
"A.....a son!?" Were the only words that Raylond was able to utter as he began to unwrap the blankets, and there he was, a little mousebabe: he was quite beautiful and amazing to look at, as his golden fur shined in the light. Slowly, he gave a yawn that made him open his eyes and reveal cute brown eyes.

Raylond was on the verge of tears as he began to laugh and shout. "A son! I have a son!! Ha ha ha! WE have a son, Sunflower, a beautiful baby!" he immediately went to Sunflower, and in huge loving embrace, hugged both his newborn son and Sunflower. Together, they laughed with much joy and Happiness, as Raylond finally got what he always wanted in his entire life: a family.

At last their tender embrace ended when suddenly a thought came to Raylond. "What did Bella mean when she said she did everything she could?"
Raylond had no idea what she meant, and he decided to ask Sunflower. "Sunflower, tell me something, did anything go wrong? Because Bella sounded like you had died or something really horrible had happened to you."

Sunflower was about to answer when Bella entered the room quite furiously.

"I was going to tell you right before you threw me to the ground!" She shouted.
Raylond began to apologize. "I'm sorry Bella. I…I just lost my cool and.....oh, please forgive me!"
Bella gave a sigh and said. "Come closer Raylond, I want to tell you something…" Raylond approached Bella, and the moment he got close enough, Bella clenched her paw into a fist and smacked Raylond right on the nose, Raylond fell to the ground with a thud.
"That's, for smacking me in the nose and throwing me to the ground!" she said as she extended her paw to Raylond to help him get up. "But still.........I accept your apology"
Raylond took her paw with a good spirit and lifted himself up.
Bella cleared her throat and said "Well Raylond, let me finish what I was going to say, you see..."
"Bella!" Sunflower interrupted, "let me tell him."
Bella simply nodded and Sunflower began to speak. "Well Ray, as you know I was hurt pretty badly and...Well, take a look." Sunflower removed her blanket, and Raylond saw what she meant: Her legs were completely wrapped in bandages.
"I won't be able to walk anymore, Ray, I can't move them." She said quite calmly.
Raylond immediately became sorrowful. "Oh Sunflower...I'm sorry, this must be terrible."

"Oh it's not so bad Ray. And besides it was my own choice, for Bella told me it was either saving my legs or our son. And it’s quite obvious what I choose. I would of gladly given any other piece of me if it meant that our little son lived."

As Sunflower finished her sentence, Raylond could not help but admire Sunflower's courage. She probably went through the most traumatic and painful night of her life, and yet she did not complain, did not weaken in spirit, or let a single drop of a sorrowful tear come from her eyes. Raylond swelled his chest and put his head up high and thought. "If Sunflower can be this strong in the face of adversity then so can I! I will be strong for her and our son!"

Bella walked towards Sunflower and picked up the newborn and handed him to Raylond and said. "Here take your son and go home, get some sleep, and don't worry about Sunflower. I'll take good care of her."
As Raylond wrapped his arms around his son, he said "Wait! Shouldn’t the baby stay with Sunflower? And besides, I want to stay too!"
"Under normal circumstances, I would of gladly let both of you stay, but Sunflower lost a dangerous amount of blood and has no strength left to take care of a newborn babe. And besides, Raylond, you need to rest; I can tell you haven't slept for over 2 days, and don't think I didn't notice that bump on your head." Bella said with a very commanding voice.
Raylond was amazed. How did she know that he hadn't slept for over 2 days? Raylond sighed and said, "Ok you got me, I haven't slept because I wanted to get to my home as fast as possible from my trip. I guess I'll go home now and rest." Raylond went to Sunflower and reluctantly kissed her goodbye. Then he left the infirmary.

Once more, Raylond found himself outside facing the storm, but this time the rain had completely stopped, and only the dark night and chilly winds remained. Raylond shielded his son with his arms and quickly began to run to his home. He reached his home and entered through the front door, a little chime of bells was heard as he opened the door and came in. At last he was inside his house. Raylond entered the room where Sunflower and Raylond would sleep, and he took out a crib he had made himself a while ago. He took it to the main room and placed it close to the window. He gently put his little son in the crib and kissed his cheek. "Now, my son, go and sleep, I'll be in the workplace making something to help with your mother's.........problem. But don't worry, I'll be back soon, and I'll be checking on you from the window."

He kissed his son once more and left the house. As he was walking towards his workshop, he gazed into the night. Since the rain had stopped, he was able to easily spot Rusco's body lying in the ground; Raylond could not help but look at him in anger. But he suddenly gasped in horror as he saw something inconceivable and utterly impossible: Rusco's body was moving.
Rusco's body was entirely covered by his cape, but the movements he made where quite slow and it seemed as if he was trying to stand up. Raylond began to feel anger swell up inside him, and he quickly ran to the backyard of his house. There in his backyard, stuck on a tree stump, was an axe. Raylond quickly took it from the tree stump and ran to where Rusco’s corpse was located.
As he slowly began to walk to where Rusco’s body lay, he lifted his axe and slowly said."My father was a very harsh beast, but he did teach me something valuable, and that is to… NEVER LEAVE A JOB UNFINISHED!!"
Raylond finally was right next to Rusco, he raised his axe and was ready to send it right straight to Rusco when he stopped and said. "Maybe vermin like you kill other beasts without looking them in the eye, but I won't." With one swift stroke of his paw Raylond lifted Rusco's cape and swung his axe.

In an instant Raylond stopped his axe as his eyes saw what he was about to do. Right on the back of Rusco, wrapped in leather straps, was a baby rat. Raylond's axe was only inches away from completely killing the babe! Raylond immediately recoiled backwards in shock and tossed his axe to the ground. He could see the baby rat perfectly: it was a male rat with the same red-blooded eyes and black silky fur as Rusco.

Then it finally dawned on Raylond what he had done, he had killed this baby's father. Raylond felt disgusted with himself as he remembered how cold-blooded and indifferent he had been when he had slain Rusco. He immediately remembered Rusco's last words. "PLEASE, DON’T KILL HIM." They finally made sense, and he remembered how as the arrow flew in the air, Rusco took the blow on the front instead of his back...He was protecting his son.
"No… what have I done!?" Raylond said weakly as he saw the baby lift his paws and try to grab to something as if it was asking Raylond to embrace him. Raylond had no idea what to do but, he saw that the baby was shivering in the cold, and he simply could not leave him in the cold night. Raylond grabbed the baby and said. "No son should ever suffer from the sins of a father." The moment he grabbed him, the baby hugged him tightly as he shivered uncontrollably.

Raylond ran to his home and entered it. He got a blanket and dried the baby rat as best as he could and neatly set him in the crib right next to his own son. Raylond stood there, looking as his son and the baby rat snuggled together and fell asleep. Raylond left the house and went to his workplace and took a shovel out, he ran to were Rusco's body laid and Raylond said. "although, you did hurt the beast that I love, I saw that even in the face of death you were a true father, and you deserve a proper burial." immediately Raylond began to work, as he dug a hole big enough to bury Rusco's body. Raylond finished quite fast, thanks to the rain that softened the ground, but this made Raylond become partially covered in mud.

Raylond took Rusco's cape off and his necklace, then he got Rusco's body and buried him in the hole, and it was done. Raylond, in a strange twist of fate, had become the killer and not Rusco. Raylond finished burying Rusco and said. "I'm sorry that it had to end like this for you but don't worry I'll make sure you son is not hurt."

Raylond walked wearily to his workshop and began to work on the gift for Sunflower. Raylond worked for hours on Sunflower’s gift, that he barely noticed that the sun had finally emerged and a beautiful sunrise could be seen from quite a distance, when he at last finished and took his gift to Sunflower.

Raylond reached the infirmary and saw that Sunflower was wide awake, she immediately spotted Raylond and she said. "Ray! I wasn't expecting to see you so early!"
"Well, I was quite busy making this! Just for you." he replied as he showed a wheelchair to her. "I just finished it this morning and I put only the best materials on it. With this, you'll be able to go anywhere you want!"
"OH Ray! You didn't have to! Oh, thank you so much!" she said as Raylond helped her get on the wheelchair. Sunflower immediately began to test it and found out that it was very easy to navigate with

it, and had little problems making turns and stops. She looked at Raylond with affectionate eyes and said. "Let’s go home, Ray."

Raylond smiled and said, "Of course."

In a few moments Raylond and Sunflower were outside and slowly walking to their house. A few moments later, Raylond said. "Ummm… Sunflower, there's something I have to tell you."

"What is it Ray?"
" can I explain this? Umm… it’s better if I show you."

In a moment, they reached their home and entered the house. Sunflower immediately saw who it was in the crib with her little son. "Ray! Don’t tell me he belongs to who I think he does!"

Raylond simply nodded, Sunflower reached for the baby rat and her little son and said. "Ooooh! You poor thing! He must of been so cold and scared!"
"Yeah, he was. But Sunflower, what are we going to do with him?" Raylond asked Sunflower.
As Sunflower was hugging both babies, she gave a smile and said. "Well, what do you think, silly? We take care of him!"
"WHAT! Sunflower you can't be serious!? I mean....."
"Of course I'm serious! Just look at him, he's so cute. And besides, I won't allow him to be left alone, he would surely die. And wouldn't it be nice for our little son to have a brother?"
Raylond was at a loss of words, but yet he said. "Is that what you really want, Sunflower? I mean, just look at him! Do you think he will be accepted by the town beasts, and besides he's a rat! They grow up to be thieves and murderous beasts! And their just simply evil beasts and....."
"Raylond Goldenwood!! Shame on you! How could you say that!? Don’t you remember that you should never judge a beast by what he is or how he looks!?" Sunflower shouted.
Raylond lowered his head in shame and said. "I was just.....I mean........OH your right! How could I say those things!? I should never judge anybeast like that!"
Sunflower's face brightened and she said. "Don't worry Ray, we’ll teach him how to be a good beast. Just have some faith."

Sunflower put both the babies back in the crib and Sunflower and Raylond stood there, looking at them with much joy and affection. Then Sunflower looked through the window and said, "Look Ray! It’s a Rainbow!" and there it was, a magnificent rainbow of colors illuminating the sky. "OH, it’s beautiful, Ray! We should name the babies now, don't you think?"

"That is a fantastic idea! But can we do it a bit later? Cause I really need to pass out right now." Raylond said very weakly.
Sunflowers respond was. "What?"
Immediately Sunflower gave a gasp as she saw Raylond faint and fall backwards to the ground. Sunflower was quite shocked and worried, but then she saw that he was snoring quite peacefully in the ground asleep.
"OH Ray, you're so exhausted that you fainted and fell asleep, hehe." She said as she got a blanket and laid it over Raylond. Slowly, Sunflower got off her wheelchair with much difficulty and snuggled next to Raylond. She rested her paw on his chest and her head on his shoulder, and began to cry.

Even though Sunflower had not shown it, she had been devastated by the recent events that had occurred; she had held back the tears of pain and fear so they would not burden Raylond with guilt and grief. Now that Raylond was asleep she wept freely and quite loudly as she remembered everything that happened that night. She suddenly felt Raylond’s paw slowly stroke her head and she saw Raylond's caring eyes looking at her, and she began to cry even more.

"It's ok my love, you can cry, it's better to let those tears flow freely than let them stay inside you were they'll sour your heart and bitter you soul." Raylond said quite sweetly.
Sunflower began to cry harder as she said, "Oh Ray I was so scared! That, that, our son wasn't going to make it and, and you were going to be left alone......all alone."
"Shussshhhh, my love, it's all ok now." Raylond said as he leaned forward and kissed Sunflower.
Sunflower slowly began to cry slower until at last she stopped and said. "Let’s make a promise, Ray. Right here, right now."
"Ok" responded Raylond.
At the same time both Raylond and Sunflower said with all their hearts, "I promise to protect, I promise to love, I promise to forever give my heart to our little sons, I promise that no matter who they are, what they are, we will love them forever, whether it be on the best of times.............or the worse, we forever promise to love them!"

Slowly Raylond and Sunflower both fell asleep.


Chapter 2: To mend a broken Heart

Seasons pass in the blink of an eye as time flows mercilessly creating the past, flowing through the present, and alluring the future to an unknown. You may wonder what has become of the Newborns that fate united in a stormy night, and ask yourself, "What has become of their hearts?" So now my dear reader open your mind and let the manifestation of pure imagination flow into you.

My brother

My brother

Don't speak in lies

For you'll only hide

The truth behind

Your bloodened eyes

My brother

My brother

I trust your eyes

As I trust my own

For I love you more

Than my little soul

My brother

My brother

To protect you is what I know

From the sorrow of your soul

To the loneliness you know

Born from shadows that you hold

Oh my brother

My dear brother

Your heart will always beat

Right next to me

For I know that in the end

You will do the same for me

Oh my brother

My dear brother

Will you do the same for me?

The sun descends! as the beautiful sunset slowly creeps down from the distant horizon! The forest feels the energy that surrounds the air for the upcoming night, but it does not falter, or weaken as the sun disappears, NO! The energy rushes to every single being left moving, the chirping birds, the insects flying in the air, and every single leaf moving in an ecstatic wind!

In a distant hill that rises in the middle of a plain of grass, the silhouette of a beast is slowly created as the sun descends from the sky, slowly the beast moves forward and reveals its true form, it's a powerful and sinewy male mouse that stood proud and magnificent in the sun's rays, his golden fur shone as equal as the sun and his brown eyes intensively surveyed the forest before him, he wore a full bodied silvery armor consisting of a cuirass with the sun engraved in the middle, fingerless gloves that fitted perfectly in plated gauntlets and resting on his shoulders was a Claymore of great size with the hilt made of pure golden color.

In an instant the silver warrior began to sprint down the hill into the plains of grass, his speed was amazing as he ran with an unfailing determination and entered the forest.

Inside the forest his speed remained amazing and unfaltered as he continued sprinting making sure his footpaws did not trip or reduce in speed for he had a goal and nothing was going to stop him. The silver warrior after searching for some time finally spotted who he was looking for, in the distance a shadowy figure was running while carrying another beast on his shoulders.

The moment the silver warrior spotted the shadowy figure amazingly his speed increased even more as he instantly caught up with him and the silver warrior shouted, "BROTHER!"

The shadowy being stopped and turned around as he heard the shout of the silver warrior, it was a magnificently powerful and intimidating male rat, with fur color of pure black and blooded-red eyes that shone brightly at the upcoming darkness, the rat wore a similar full body armor as the silver warrior except that instead of a silvery color the rat's armor was of pure ebony black color with the engraving of the crescent moon and his weapon had a red hilt on his claymore.

"Ha Ha Ha! so glad you could finally catch up BROTHER!" The black warrior said with a roguish smile.

The silver warrior responded in a shout, "SHUT UP! tell me what have you done her!? if you hurt her I swear!...."

The black warrior interrupted him by laughing hysterically and saying, "Ha Ha ha you would do what brother! KILL ME!? Don't make me laugh! Oops too late!! Ha Ha Ha!"

The silver warrior became enraged and gripped the hilt of his Claymore tightly, "I said what have you done with her you fiend!"

"Stop worrying brother she's right here on my shoulders." The black warrior said as he lifted a pretty mousemaid from his shoulders, she was wearing a pink dress and had a fur color of bright yellow, she was tied with ropes all over her body.

"Let her go! she has nothing to do with what's between us!" said the silver warrior.

"I guess you right, I was getting tired of carrying her anyway" the black warrior said as he lifted the mousmaid easily and tossed her to the ground.

The silver warrior gave an angry look and said, "How could you treat her like that!? she was always a great friend to you!"

"A friend to me!? HA! the only reason she was my friend was because of you brother, she didn't care about me nobeast ever did!" the black warrior said as his face snarled in anger.

"she trusted you! we all trusted you!" the silver warrior said.

"Trusted me! TRUSTED ME!? nobeast ever trusted me! you think I didn't notice the way they looked at me with disgust and resentment! blaming me for everything bad that happened to them, they didn't trust me and neither did I trust them, I trusted no one.............except for you brother, I trusted you and yet what did you do betrayed me!" said the black warrior with such fierceness.

"Betray you?! I never betrayed you! how could I have possibly gone with the crazy plan that you came with! It was insane what you tried to do! it was going to end in disaster and deaths of so many beasts!" said the silver warrior

"What!? insane?! my plan wasn't insane, it was perfect! it was going to allow everybeast to be equals and not separated in this stupid mentality of goodbeasts and vermin, who cares if it needed disaster and misery to succeed! it was going to be beneficial for EVERYBEAST! imagine a world were vermin and woodlanders co-existed peacefully!" the black warrior said with such wonder and excitement.

"Please brother stop this madness, surrender your sword and come with me home, I don't care what you did, I still forgive you, please come home." the silver warrior said as he extended his paw to the black warrior, he gave a smile and said once more, "please lets go home."

The black warrior's face grew serious as he began to think of what to do, his eyes locked to the silver warrior's eyes and he said in a deep voice, "I have no home."

In hearing the black warrior's reply the silver warrior's face melted to disappointment and sorrow as he said, "So that's how you feel huh? then I have no choice."

In a display of great skill the Silver warrior brandished his claymore and positioned himself in a battle stance ready to attack, both his paws gripped his claymore as he pointed it straight to the black warrior.

Upon seeing the silver warrior enter a battle stance the Black warrior began to laugh, "Ha Ha Ha, do you think you can actually kill me brother? you've always been a goody-two paws, how can you possibly think you can defeat me!? did you forget that I have defeated dozens of warriors single-pawed! how can you expect to defea.....ACKKK!!?"

The black warrior was interrupted as he felt an agonizing pain explode inside him as a sword penetrated his chest and come out from his back, he felt as the tip of the sword ripped through his flesh and explode its way out from his back, he could scarcely believe it, in a display of unnatural speed and precision the silver warrior had delivered a mortal wound to the black warrior.

The silver warrior felt only disappointment and sorrow as he saw the sword go right into his brothers chest, he gave a sigh and said, "Did you forget brother, who is the fastest swordbeast in the entire forest?" It was over, he had killed his own brother and he felt miserable, "I'm sorry it had to end this way." he said as he slowly began to pull out the sword from his brother's chest.

"GUESS AGAIN BROTHER!" in an instant the black warrior gripped the silver warrior's arm in an iron grip and was unable to take out his sword or move at all, the black warrior lifted his claymore to the air and send it crashing down on the silver warrior, the sword slashed the silver warrior starting from his left shoulder and it moved all the way to his stomach.

The silver warrior felt every single thing as the sword grinded his armor and ripped apart his chest and stomach, had it not been for the armor the massive blow would of opened his stomach killing him instantly, the silver warrior was paralyzed unable to move as he felt his own blood trickle down on his legs, he saw as the sun finally left the sky and the night sky illuminated the forest with the light of the stars, he saw in complete horror as the black warrior grinned maniacally and his eyes began to glow of complete red.

"Did you forget brother!, who is the STRONGEST swordsbeast in the entire forest!" the black warrior screamed as he once again lifted his claymore to deliver the final strike, "this time I'm not just wounding you! for here comes the DECAPITATION! Ha Ha Ha!"

The silver warrior's eyes widened as he saw the sword slowly move through the air, if he didn't do something he would lose his head!, he summoned all his willpower and managed to twist his sword while it was still inside his brother's chest, the pain felt by the black warrior was staggering and he couldn't help but release his iron grip, the silver warrior jumped backwards in order to give himself distance from the black warrior.

Both warriors felt unbelievable pain from their wounds but they did not weaken or complain at all as they locked eyes and screamed in pure rage.

"SO this is how it is BROTHER!" screamed the black warrior, "Lets us fight to the death! just as it has been fated for us since the moment we both were born!!"

"SO BE IT!" shouted in reply the silver warrior.

Both warriors charged at each other and using all their strength swung their blades at each other, their weapons clashed with such force that sparks were given birth as the swords grinded against each other illuminating the night, it was a spectacular display of might as both struggled to push harder and harder but the black warrior had the upper-paw and with a mighty push he send the silver warrior staggering backwards.

The black warrior used this to his advantage and rushed the silver warrior, he used all his strength and swung his blade but the silver warrior saw it coming and in a blur of movement he dodged the strike and send an attack of his own but to no avail as the black warrior parried it perfectly, this display power, technique, grace and speed continued as the warriors failed to gain the upper-paw form one another, each time their weapons clashed sparks would be created and in no time the forest was illuminated in a festivity of blinding sparks as the warriors used every scrap of endurance and strength to continue attacking each other.

Both warriors stopped momentarily as they began to pant in exhaustion, they locked eyes looking for the tiniest flaw in stance, technique or simply an opening to attack, they both began to charge at each other but something was very wrong as they both became paralyzed unable to move, the silver warrior became dizzy and was starting to lose balance he inserted his sword to the ground to keep his balance in check soon his chest began to throb in severe pain, the black warrior was losing his balance as well but he used his mighty strength to keep himself on his footpaws and in a severe spasm of pain he threw up blood on the ground.

The silver and black warrior were both severely exhausted and injured, the silver warrior in a very tired voice said, "we can't go on like this! Pant, Pant, I suggest we finish this one last blow!"

The black warrior gave a huge grin and said, "You know! Pant, Pant, I agree completely!"

The black and silver warrior both raised their swords and pointed them at each other, they entered their battle stance together and locked eyes getting ready to strike at any moment, they stood their unmoving, unfazing as they studied every single aspect of each other waiting for the perfect moment to strike, everything in their surroundings began to move slowly as the wind came to a stop, the sound of the forest became mute, and even time itself held its breath as both warriors began to circle around each other, the energy around them began to increase as everything became heavier and full of suspense, both warriors stopped moving and remained silent as their eyes met each other and glared at each other.

"I have always loved you brother" said the silver warrior.

"I have always loved you too my brother" replied the black warrior.

They both gripped their swords tightly as they both screamed, "THEN LET'S END THIS!!"

The silver and black warriors charged head on at each other, both were ready for anything, expecting death at any moment, their minds where focused entirely on the final strike that they were going to deliver , they knew that only one of them was going to make it and were ready for death‘s grasp. Both warriors saw each other's movements clearly, they were so close to each other, they raised both their swords and screamed with all their might, when suddenly the earth itself shook with power as an earthquake struck the earth, and in the night sky a huge tremendous voice was heard through the entire forest, the voice was colossal as it shook everything in its wake as it said, “BREAKFAST IS READY KIDS!!!”

The sudden shake of the entire world and those strange words were heard by both warriors and they were able to utter only one thing, “HUH?!?!?!

Both warriors unable to stop running crashed head first into each other, they immediately bounced backwards and began to stare dumbfounded at each other when they heard the voice once more, “Breakfast is ready!!”

The warriors both looked at each other in complete silence when suddenly the black warrior began to chuckle, he tried to contain his laughter but soon it was released in full effect as he inserted his sword to the ground and leaned on it, his laughter was not filled with hate or mocking intentions, instead it was full of great humor and sincere joy. In no time the silver warrior began to laugh as well as he inserted his sword to the ground and leaned on it too.

The warriors laughed to their hearts content as they looked at each other with new eyes, they no longer looked in hatred or anger at each other but instead love and care beamed from their eyes, they continued laughing quite loudly when the black warrior said, “Ha Ha Ha! That sure was a huge BUZZKILL, don’t you think Alanray!”

The silver warrior replied with much joy, “You said it Skard! What a Buzzkill! Ha Ha Ha!”

As the laughter of the two brothers echoed through the forest; something strange began to happen, everything in the forest began to glow and shine as leaves began to fall and disappear, the night sky looked as if it was melting into nothingness, the moon began to shine just as bright as the sun itself, and slowly the delicate threads of imagination that held this world in existence began to disappear, so too did the warriors as their armor and weapons turned to golden dust and were carried away by the wind and in one huge flash of light the world ceased to be.

The world created by imagination ceased to exist as the world of reality took shape and form in its surrounding, the sky was no longer a blackened night sky but instead was now a gorgeous morning with the sun shining warmly over the entire forest, the forest did not hold the energy it once had, now it was peaceful and serene as a gentle breeze went through the forest, all this manifested itself over the town of Cottonwood as the town was peaceful and full of life as its inhabitants moved on their daily life, merchants selling their goods, farmers cultivating their crops, families enjoying a good morning and most of all the children playing joyously with innocent hearts in this wonderful day.

At the edge of the town stood a magnificent two-story house made with the utmost care and love, as its porch gave a soothing shadow to the entrance of the house, its various jingles and bells resonated with chimes as the wind caressed them gently, a workplace that held an outstanding amount of tools and a backyard with fresh green grass. The home of Raylond and Sunflower could not look more magnificent and peaceful in the morning sun..

In the backyard of Raylond and Sunflower’s home stood two young beasts full of life and joyous splendor: the first one was a cute mouse with golden fur and splendid brown eyes that wore a white plain shirt, his name is Alanray Goldenwood son of Raylond and Sunflower; the other beast was a rat with silky black fur and red-blooded colored eyes that shined not with a cruel soul but with a gentle and serene soul, he wore a plain blue shirt, his name is Skard Goldenwood son of Raylond and Sunflower and brother to Alanray.

Alanray and Skard were both wearing what seemed like planks of wood tight together with ropes, they both carried wooden swords that were inserted in the floor and both of them were laughing their lungs out as they leaned on their little swords.

“Breakfast is ready kids!! Tell Cloe she can eat with us if she wants!!” Sunflower shouted from the window of her house.

Alanray and Skard both shouted in reply, “Coming mommy!”

They both looked at each other and couldn’t help but giggle as Alanray said, “Come on Skard lets go help Cloe get up!”

“Ok” Skard replied.

Both of them began to walk when Alanray said, “it's too bad we didn’t finish! I wanted to know who would win!”

“I know, I know maybe next time we play!” said Skard as they continued walking.

On the ground was a cute little female mouse, her fur was of color yellow and her eyes of breathtaking light blue, she wore a pink dress and was lightly wrapped around with ropes. Skard and Alanray helped her remove the ropes and help her get up, “you ok Cloe?” said Skard.

“ AWWWWW I wanted to see who would win!!” she said with a giggle.

Cloe rushed towards Alanray and gave him a little kiss in his cheek and said, “Was is it gonna be the brave and charming hero! OR” she gave a dance-like twirl and gave a kiss to Skard in his cheek, “was it gonna be the strong and cool villain!”

Both Alanray and Skard gave a smile and blushed quite heavily as Alanray began to scratch the back of his neck and Skard grabbed his tail and began twisting it, both signs of being shy and embarrassed.

“Hey Cloe want to eat breakfast with us?” said Alanray

“Nah, I can’t. mama said to be back home when I was done playing with you both.” she said as she began to run towards her home, “but lets play tomorrow again!”

Alanray and Skard waved goodbye to their best friend and began walking towards their home.

“Ummm Alan can I ask you something?” Skard said quite shyly.

“Hm? What is it Skar?”

“Well ummm next time we play....can I ummm……….be the hero? I mean if it’s ok with you, I would understand if you don’t wanna….”

Alanray immediately rested his arm on Skard’s shoulders and said with a smile, “Of course you can!! And I’ll be the villain! I can see it now! Being a big bad pirate in the sea!” he said as he curled his paw into a hook and said, “ARGH show me to yer treasure and vittles of sugar yer scaliwag!!”

This send Skard into a frenzy of laughter as he rested his own paw on Alanray’s shoulders. They both finally reached the front of their house and removed their “armor” and little swords and rested in the front of the house.

“ Hey Skar you really have to teach me how to say such cool things when being the villain how do you come up with that cool stuff?” Alanray said.

“You know, I really don’t know how I do it, It's just so natural, it's really creepy.” replied Skard

“Creepy? Pffft more like cool! I wish I could come up with such cool stuff to say like you! Come on lets get inside and eat I’m starving!!” he said.

They both entered their house and ran straight to the kitchen, their they greeted Sunflower with a tremendous hug as both Alanray and Skard jumped on top of her, Sunflower began to laugh as she said, "Ha-ha, now, now get ready and wash your paws! no dirty beast eats in my kitchen!"

Immediately Skard and Alanray washed their paws and sat down on the chairs next to the table, there in the table an assortment of delicious vittles and drinks were seen, warm scones filled with honey right in the center, two bowls of mixed salad and fruits, steaming pancakes with honey and a small apple pie for dessert.

Alanray and Skard’s mouths began to salivate as their eyes looked at the delicious vittles, but their faces melted to disappointment when they saw that one of the chairs in the room was empty, “I wish daddy was here with us.” said Alanray

“Yea me too” said Skard

“Well wish no longer my sons!” Immediately Skard and Alanray turned their heads to the entrance of the house and saw Raylond leaning on the door very coolly with a huge smile on his face as he said, “Well good morning!!”

Alanray and Skard jumped from their seats and literally tackled Raylond to the floor their they both shouted, “Welcome home daddy!”

Raylond’s reply was, “It’s good to be home!”

Raylond got up and while hugging both his sons he walked towards Sunflower and kissed her, “I’m glad I got here early enough to enjoy breakfast with my family” he said.

“It’s great to have you home Ray, come on I bet your starving! Don’t forget to wash your paws, I can see all the filth on them. Sunflower said.

Raylond looked at his paws and saw how dirty they were and said, “ok, ok I’ll clean them, Now my sons go and enjoy a wonderful meal!” he set both his sons on the ground and they ran to their seats. Raylond cleaned his paws and joined his family on the table. Alanray and Skard were about to start devouring everything when Raylond cleared his throat and gave a piercing glare to them, immediately both Alanray and Skard said, “ Thank you! Mommy for making this meal!!”

Raylond gave a smile and soon everybeast was eating to theirs heart’s content, “Sunflower you did separate the salsas did you? You know that Skard and I can’t handle what you and Alanray eat.” Raylond said as he picked a small bowl filled with salsa.

“You know, I’m not sure I did? You might want to give it a taste to see” Sunflower said as she picked up a wooden spoon and gave it to Raylond.

Raylond was a bit reluctant to try the salsa as he remembered the last time he got himself burned by it, so he decided to just get a drop of it and taste it, no sooner had the drop of salsa touched Raylond’s tongue that his tongue screamed of fire and instantly he picked a glass of water and chugged it down.

Seeing Raylond’s reaction, Sunflower picked the bowl and decided to drink it completely, as she began to drink the salsa both Raylond and Skard stared in amazement and horror as she drank every single drop of it and said, “AHHHH, delicious! Hehe it really tickled my tongue” in that instant everybeast busted into laughter.

Soon everybeast finished eating and started cleaning their plates when Alanray said, “Daddy do you remember what you promised? Can we do it today?”

Raylond said, “What promise? I don’t remember anything”

Alanray’s face turned to disappointment on how Raylond had forgotten his very special promise, immediately Raylond put his paw on Alanray’s head and said, “Of course I remember!! How can I forget when one of my sons asks me to teach him how to play the guitar!”

Alanray became happy and said, “You do remember! So can you teach me daddy?”

"Of course I can!" Raylond said, "Since I have no work today I can start teaching you today, and I even have a surprise for you!" Raylond ran to the front door and neatly resting on the wall was a black rectangular box, he showed to Alanray and opened, Alanray gave a gasp as he saw inside the box a brand new guitar, "Daddy! it's so cool! thank you!"

Alanray began strumming the guitar and simply enjoying every moment of it. Raylond walked towards Sunflower and said, "You don't mind if I take Alanray to the forest? just for a bit, so I can teach him.

"Sure Ray, but be careful there have been sightings of bandits around the careful" she said as she gave a kiss to Raylond.

Raylond gave a smile and said, "Don't worry I won't let anything happen to our son, Come on Alanray!" Alanray ran to his father's side and both of them left to the forest, as they walked towards the forest Alanray looked back at his house and saw Skard looking at him from the window he gave a wave with his paw and so did Alanray as he disappeared in the forest.

Sunflower saw how Skard wave goodbye to his brother and noticed that he looked depressed, "What's wrong Skard? you look a bit down."

"Well mommy I was just thinking and..........I want to learn something like what Alan is gonna learn." Skard said

Sunflower replied, "Well your father is teaching both of you his trade and you could of gone with them to learn how to play an instrument."

"I know mommy, I like learning daddy's trade but I don't really like playing music......but I still want learn something to ummmm...... I don't know how to say it..."

Sunflower chuckled, "You want to learn something in which you can use to express yourself don't you? just like Alanray is going to by learning music."

Skard suddenly beamed with excitement, "YEA!, How did you know what I meant mommy?"

"Well I'm your mother, I'm suppose to know these things" Sunflower said, then she began to think for a moment when finally she said, "How about if I teach you something."

Skard gave a chuckle, "well ummmm, what can you teach me mommy?"

Sunflower gave a Skard a mean look and said, "Oh! you think that cleaning and cooking are the only things I can do?"

"No, mommy I didn't mean it like that!" Skard said apologetically.

"Well let me show you what I can do my little son, grab a stool and sit down." she said as she went to a cabinet and began search for something.

Skard did as he was told and grabbed a little stool and sat on it, he looked curiously at Sunflower wondering what she was going to do. Sunflower took a blank piece of paper and a piece of charcoal from the cabinet, she moved her wheelchair to where Skard was sitting on and said, "Ok I want you to stay still and not move at all ok? be silent and watch."

"umm ok, mommy." Skard said as he began to see what Sunflower was doing, she rested the paper on a table and placed the piece of charcoal on the paper, in an instant she began to move the charcoal on the paper as her eyes darted back and forth from Skard to the paper, she had complete concentration on whatever she was doing.

"ummm mommy, what are you doing?" Skard said as he tried to peek at the paper.

"Don't move Skard!, I'm almost done." she said

Skard returned to his position and Sunflower shouted, "I'm done! take a look and see what you mother can do." she handed the paper to Skard and he gasped in pure surprise at what he saw, drawn in the paper was an exact replica of Skard down to the last detail.

It was an amazing work of art and Skard no matter how long he stared at it he could not see how Sunflower managed to draw it so perfectly and lifelike, "HOW! did you do it mommy?"

Sunflower gave a chuckle and said, "Well not many beasts know this but, I am an excellent artist, in fact I'm the one who designs and paints all the sculptures your father makes, between you and me........he has a very poor artistic eye hehe."

"Wow this is so cool! can you teach me mommy? how to draw as good as you?" Skard said with such excitement.

"Of course! I'll teach you everything I know, I would start with the basics but you know what! let's just draw to our hearts content!" she said as she took out from the cabinet a whole bundle of papers and crayons.

Time went by in a flash as Skard and Sunflower drew on every single paper with anything they could imagine, soon the entire living room was filled with papers drawn with doodles and other assortment of things. "Look mommy! look what I made." Skard said as he showed Sunflower his little drawing, it was a house in the shape of a heart, inside it were Alanray, Raylond, Sunflower and Skard together inside holding paws.

Sunflower looked at it and said, "Awww that is so adorable Skard."

"Yea! I made it to show that you all live in my heart hehe!" Skard said with a huge smile.

Sunflower was so moved by the little drawing she gave a smile and moved close to the wall where all her paintings were, "You know Skard, it's such a good drawing it deserves to be right next to my art!" Sunflower got a pin and put the paper in the wall, it was a cute sight as the drawing stood out in the entire room.

Skard gave a huge smile as he looked at his recent masterpiece, "Oh! thank you mommy!" he said as he jumped to Sunflower's lap and gave her a hug.

Sunflower hugged Skard back and said, "Come on, there's still more art to make!" in an instant both Sunflower and Skard resumed their activity and were filled with joy and laughter as a sunset slowly formed in the sky.

At the edge of Cottonwood, Raylond and Alanray returned from their trip. Alanray was ecstatic as he played his guitar with unending joy to whatever beast approached, Raylond was nothing short of proud as he saw his son love music as much as him, "Alanray, I can see by the sunset that were really late!" Raylond said.

Alanray kept on playing his guitar and said, "Will mommy be mad at us?"

Raylond was quite unsure of what to think, "I'm not sure my son, your mother can be as gentle as a flower or fiercer than a storm itself, were going to just take our chances and see what happens." Both Alanray and Raylond looked at each other and began to laugh but soon their faces turned to worry as they imagined the rage that Sunflower might bring down upon them for being so late.

In a matter of moments Raylond and Alanray reached their home, They entered the house expecting a an angry Sunflower but instead saw a very comical scene before them. On the floor Sunflower and Skard were covered with paintings of all assorted colors and papers were scattered everywhere in the room. Sunflower and Skard saw Raylond and Alanray enter and could not help but laugh to their hearts content.

After cleaning up the main room, Alanray and Skard went to Raylond and looked at him with googly eyes and they said, "Can we do a fire tonight daddy!?"

Raylond loved starting a fire outside at night, singing songs with his sons, and enjoying some nice roasted marshmallows, but Raylond's face saddened as he looked to his sons, "My sons I'm sorry, I have a lot of work for tomorrow and can't afford to miss sleep right now, I hope you both understand."

Skard's and Alanray's faces drooped in disappointment but they soon brightened in an instant as they said, "It's ok daddy! maybe later?"

Raylond gave a smile and hugged his sons, "Sure it's a promise!" he said.

Alanray and Skard were taken to bed by Sunflower and she tucked them in bed, she returned and said, "I send our sons to bed, you should say goodnight to them Ray."

Raylond was about to go and say goodnight to his sons when a knock came at the door, Raylond looked at Sunflower and said, "hm? I wonder who that is?"

Raylond moved to the front door and opened it, right in the front was a male hare, he wore an extravagant green vest and carried himself with a aura of superiority and pride. Raylond saw the hare and gave a smile, "Ah! Mattock! glad to see you, what's the mayor of cottonwood doing my front door at this hour?"

Mattock gave a small chuckle, "Oh Raylond you're the only beast that ever calls me Mattock anymore, well it's business as usual Raylond, do you mind if we talk outside?"

"Sure it will be no problem" Raylond turned around and looked at Sunflower, "Sunflower I'll be back in a bit, I need to speak to Mattock."

Sunflower gave a smile, "Sure I understand, do be quick though! your sons are waiting for their goodnight kiss." she said.

Raylond and Mattock moved close to front of Raylond's workplace and their they began to talk business, "So Raylond, how is the request that I placed upon you going?" Mattock said.

"It's going fantastic! all the chairs and tables will be ready by the next two days, exactly at the time for your son's birthday party Mattock." Raylond said with pride.

Mattock gave a sigh of relief, "I'm glad to hear that, when I was planning my son's birthday I did not expect to be in a shortage of chairs and tables, I'm glad you are here to help Raylond, thank you." he said

Raylond gave a smile, "ahhh it's no problem, so long as were invited ha-ha!"he said

Mattock began to give a small but deep chuckle, "Of course you are all invited." he said.

"Well if that's all, I have to get back inside, my sons are waiting for me to give them their goodnight's kiss, see you tomorrow Mattock, and thanks for inviting us again!" Raylond said as he began to walk back into the house.

Mattock saw Raylond moving back to his home and he raised his voice as he said, "Well actually about the invitations Raylond, all of your family is invited except for that thing of course."

Raylond stopped abruptly and slowly turned around, he gave Mattock a nasty look as he said, "What thing?"

"Well by that thing I mean that filthy RAT of course" Mattock said with an extra emphasis of disgust on the word rat.

Raylond's face turned into a snarl of anger, in an instant he moved close to Mattock and was meeting him face to face, "That RAT! is my SON! and he has a name it's Skard, exactly like Sunflower's father, if you think you can come here and insult my son then you're dead wrong!" he shouted.

Mattock face turned angry at what Raylond had said, "How dare you talk to me like that! we know you took care of that thing out of pity Raylond, you don't have to keep protecting it! he isn't invited to my son's party and he'll never be accepted in this community, why don't you just dump it in the forest and forget about that rat." Mattock said as his voice began to grow louder.

Raylond's anger was at a boiling point, "OH! so you think I took him out of pity do you? well let me tell you something I accepted him as my son and I will always love him no matter what! and you are a sick beast suggesting I abandon my son like that!"

Mattock suddenly began screaming, "Me! sick? that rat will be stealing and killing at any moment Raylond! he is a vermin and you should accept that!"

Raylond pushed Mattock and he fell to the ground, "My SON has been nothing but a goodbeast to all of you , in my opinion you are all the sick vermin for saying such awful things about him!, if my son is not invited to your son's party then consider my family and services off from them too!"

Mattock got himself up and with a wounded pride he yelled, "Fine! I don't need your cruddy services, goodnight Raylond!" in that moment Mattock stomped away in anger."

Raylond saw him leave and yelled, "que bien que te vas!"(Good riddance!)

Raylond ran to his home and opened the front door with such anger, Sunflower immediately saw Raylond and said, "What happened Ray? I heard shouts and you look so angry!"

Raylond looked at Sunflower and said with anger, "No vas a creer lo que esa bestia dijo!"(You won't believe what that beast said!) Raylond said.

Soon Raylond was shouting and speaking in a different language and Sunflower finally screamed, "Be quiet Raylond Goldenwood!! your too angry and I can't understand you! you're going to scare our sons! and don't tell me your not angry because every time you get mad you start shouting in you native tongue!"

In an instant Raylond calmed down, he began to pant heavily for a few moments and decided to sit down, "I'm sorry Sunflower I was just so......mad, he said such horrible things about Skard and worst of all I think the entire town feels the same way, well if they think I'm going to offer my services to them from now on they are wrong." he said.

Sunflower got close to Raylond and placed one paw on his shoulder, "Their still blaming him for my injuries aren't they? don't worry Ray, we know our son has been nothing but a kind beast to everybeast in town, they will accept him I just know it." she said soothingly.

Raylond gave a smile and looked at Sunflower's dark eyes, "I know it's just that, if Skard had heard what he said it would of devastated him, you know how sensitive he is."

Sunflower gave a nod and said, "Yeah I know, I can still remember when he stole those cookies from the neighbor and we grounded him for a day, he cried all night saying how sorry he was, who knows how hurt he would of been if he had heard that." Sunflower moved closer to Raylond and hugged him, "Ray I know it's going to be hard but we have to always protect them, we promised it and besides now that you're out of work I think there's a promise you can fulfill today." Sunflower said with a huge smile.

Raylond gave a huge grin and ran upstairs to Alanray's and Skard's room, both of them were still awake and Raylond said very coolly, "Well my sons it seems I can keep my promise a lot earlier than I thought!" Raylond said with a smile.

Alanray and Skard began jumping on their little bed with much joy and with a mighty leap they landed on Raylond and began to give him a hug, "Oh! get off me ha-ha! come on lets go outside and make a warm fire!"

In an instant Raylond, Alanray and Skard were outside, Raylond made a fire with the logs of wood he always has in abundance, the fire warmed their bodies with sensation of relief and calm reassurance. Raylond looked through the window and saw Sunflower seeing them from inside, she gave a smile and waved at them, they all waved back knowing that Sunflower was just too tired to accompany them this time. Soon Raylond, Skard and Alanray were having a fantastic time, Raylond and Alanray began to sing songs with their guitars, Skard accompanied them with his singing and in no time they were enjoying delicious roasted marshmallows in the night.

Soon time went on and Alanray and Skard both fell asleep, Raylond lifted both his sons and took them inside, he tucked them in their beds and gave them both a goodnight's kiss, he went down the stairs and went to his own room, their he saw Sunflower asleep in their bed, Raylond went to the bed and laid down exhausted and in a few moments he fell asleep.

The dawn of a new day emerged slowly as Raylond woke up from his slumber, he saw that Sunflower and his sons were still dreaming peacefully and he decided that a walk around town would feel quite nicely on a bright sunny day. He exited his house and felt the warm rays of a newly emerged morning, he inhaled deeply letting fresh air fill his lungs and his body to wake up fully for a bright new day.

Raylond was thinking of what parts of town to take a walk through when suddenly he saw a beast approaching him, it was Mattock. Raylond crossed his arms and gave an angry look as he saw Mattock approach him, Mattock got close to Raylond and met him face to face, both beasts looked at each other with anger but none of them made a move.

Raylond looked straight into Mattocks eyes and said, "You have a lot of nerve coming to me after what you said yesterday Mattock, why are you here?"

Mattock's face slowly softened as he said, "Raylond.......I have come to ummmm......gosh this is hard to say."

Raylond noticed Mattock's face change and said, "Wait! is the great Mattock actually trying to apologize?"

Mattock scoffed and looked away from Raylond's gaze, ".........well yes, that's what I'm trying to do..............I......apologize Raylond." Mattock said with great difficulty, "I realized while sleeping that what I said was.......harsh and uncalled for, I don't want to lose the respect of you Raylond."

Raylond sighed and put his paw on mattock's shoulder, "Mattock I hope you understand, what you said was really harsh, imagine if I said that about your son?.............but I will forgive you in one condition, you are the mayor of this town, if you can accept my son the entire town will follow you, give him a chance Mattock, he's a kindbeast I assure you."

Mattock looked deep in thought but then gave a rare smile, "Your right Raylond, I would of done the same thing if it would of been my son, and I think I have a great idea, If I invite that rat.........I mean Skard to my son's party it would show that I trust him and accept him."

Raylond raised an eyebrow and let go of Mattock, "That sounds like a great start, since my son is invited back to the party I guess I can start working on what you needed again." he said with a smile, "but remember to treat him like any other beast, he's no different from you or me, remember that Mattock." with those words Raylond waved goodbye to Mattock and returned to his workplace and resumed his work.

The time came when Alanray and Skard woke up from their sleep, they were greeted by Sunflower with fantastic breakfast, they both grabbed whatever they were eating and went outside to where Raylond was working and had breakfast with him.

"Daddy can we go to Cloe's house and play with her?" said Alanray

"Yes please!" shouted Skard.

Raylond gave a smile, "Sure go ahead, but be back by sundown, and remember don't go into the forest alone ok?"

Alanray and Skard both happily shouted, "Ok!"

In an instant Alanray and Skard were going around the town, they pasted right next to a house were a dormouse was cleaning a huge vase quite happily, Alanray and Skard both got close to him and waved good morning to him, The dormouse instantaneously gasped, "Skard and Alanray!" he jumped inside the vase.

Alanray and Skard both began to giggle as Alanray said, "Mr. Broth why are you in a vase?"

Broth lifted his head and took a peak, "Is your father with you both?!" he said

Skard kept on giggling, "No Mr. Broth he's not"

Broth sighed deeply, he raised his head and said, "Oh goody, I owe your father so many favors I'm afraid he'll come and ask for them, who knows what he will ask for!"

Skard and Alanray laughed as they began to walk towards Chloe's home they waved goodbye to Broth, "Goodbye Mr. Broth!"

Broth smiled and waved to them, "Bye! say hello to your father for me! but don't make him visit!" he said as he tried to get out from the vase and found that he couldn't, he was stuck!, "I'm stuck! wait Alanray and Skard come back!" but they didn't hear him and kept on walking away, Broth whimpered pathetically as he kept on trying to get out the vase.

Alanray and Skard kept on walking straight to Cloe's home, but as they walked through the town Skard noticed something quite peculiar happening around him, every time he passed by a house, the beasts living inside them would close their windows if Skard looked at them, children were immediately taken inside if Skard got too close and everywhere Skard went was empty.

"ummmm Alan why are some beasts closing their windows when I get close?" Skard said

Alanray shrugged, "Don't know, but don't think about it, let's go with Cloe and have a swell time Skar!"

Skard smiled and said, "Sure! your right let's go!"

They both ran and finally reached Cloe's home. Alanray walked to the front door and knocked, in an instant the door opened and Cloe emerged with a loud scream, she tackled both Alanray and Skard.

"Am I glad to see you two!! hehe!" Cloe said with a giggle.

Alanray and Skard replied with joyous laughter. Cloe helped both of them get back on their footpaws, she rested her arms on their shoulders and said, "So! what adventures are we having today! hehe!"

Alanray gave a huge smile and shouted, "Pirates!"

In an instant the trio went to work on creating their world of imagination, anything that could be used for creating make believe boats, swords, capes, was used with joy and excitement and in no time the world of imagination was born.

A fantastic ocean of unending blue, shone magnificently as the sun reflected its ray through the waves of water, in the distance a magnificent ship was seen. The ship was sailing blissfully with the waves of the ocean when from the ship a Male Rat appeared, he was dressed exquisitely with a blue captains coat and wore black sea boots, the rat gazed into the sea and inhaled deeply as he experienced the magical sensation of the wind, behind him a Mousemaid approached him, she wore a fantastic purple sailing suit, and black boots, "Captain! we have spotted a ship approaching our ship and believe me sir it does not look friendly." she said as she saluted him.

The Captain turned around and saw from the distance a massive ship approaching. In the front of the ship a Mouse with a completely white captains coat was seen grinning evilly, his fur was wild and untamed and his eyes shone of evil intentions, the mouse took a cutlass out and pointed it right to the ship, "Charge my crew and blunder!!" he shouted as the ship increased in speed and went straight to the ship.

In a titanic clash the ships met and the crews of both ships began to attack each other, it was complete chaos as swords and beasts clashed in battle. The captains of both ships locked eyes as they met in combat, their swords materialized in an instant as their battle began, they maneuvered with such skill and grace, they looked like simple blurs of movement as their swords strike and parried each other.

Soon both ships were in complete disaster and ruin as the slain crew members of both crews filled the ships. The captains were locked in combat, the Rat captain said with a pant, "Look at what you have done! is there nothing you care about? why do you do this!"

The Mouse captain laughed and got a second sword from one of the dead crew members, "I see what I have done..........and its quite fantastic if I say so myself, I do this because it's FUN! the world igniting in the fire of violence and me as the catalyst, what more could a twisted heart like me ask for!?"

The Rat captain snarled and raised his sword, "Then join your slain crew evil beast!" he screamed as he rushed the Mouse captain but the mouse was far more quicker than the Rat and by using two swords he blocked the attack of the Rat and injured him with slash to his chest.

It all looked like it was over, the Rat fell to the floor and felt his own blood slowly flow off his body, the Mouse began to pace closer to the rat when at last he raised his sword to him and smiled, "So any last words Captain?" the mouse said with a wicked grin.

The Rat captain smiled and pointed to the sky, "Heads up!" The mouse looked up and saw the Mousemaid, she had leaped to the air and was holding her sword straight to the mouse captain, but with a swift movement of his swords the mouse blocked the attack, "HA! was that your plan? a pathetic surprise attack? haha!" The Rat took this as his opportunity as the mouse was completely opened and defenseless, he struck him and impaled him right in the heart, the expression of surprise on the mouse with nothing short of priceless as he fell to the ground defeated and slain.

Alanray laid on the ground in a very comical form, as his tongue was sticking out from his mouth and he groaned slightly, he began to giggle as he said, "Oh you got me! hehe I lose"

Skard and Cloe were hugging and twirling around as they celebrated their little victory, "We did it! we did it!"they said.

Alanray got up and joined his brother and Chloe, "That was so cool! how was it Skar? to be the hero?"

Skard smiled and let go of Cloe and Alanray, "It felt.................good, can we ummm play again? you know........if you want to." he said.

Alanray and Cloe began to laugh, as Alanray put his arm around Skard's shoulders, "Of course we can! it was so fun hehe and you make a really nice hero!"

Skard smiled and hugged his brother, "Thanks Alan................."he said.

Alanray looked confused as Skard hugged him, "Thanks for what Skar?"he said.

Skard just kept on hugging him and smiling as he said, "I don't know just.........thanks."

Cloe looked at them with curiosity not knowing what Skard meant but she saw somebeasts approaching from afar and she smiled and pointed to were the beasts were as she said, "Hey Skard and Alanray look who's over there!"

Alanray and Skard looked to where Chloe was pointing and they saw who it was, it was a young hare followed by a small group of other creatures. Skard and Alanray instantly recognized who it was, his name is Colton son of The Mayor of Cottonwood, Mattock.

Alanray and Skard both gave a face of disgust as they saw Colton, he was wearing a black vest that made his white fur stand out, he walked with an attitude of superiority as his small band of followers followed his every step. Alanray and Skard did not like him, not one bit for he was considered quite the bully, he pushed every beast he could solely for the reason that his father was the mayor, and there was two beasts he loved more to push around, Alanray and Skard.

Alanray began to whisper, "Hey Cloe how about we just leave before he sees us, let's just go to the backyard and play there"

Skard looked really worried and he began to nod as he said, "Yeah Cloe lets leave please..................Cloe?"

Alanray and Skard looked around but Cloe was gone, they both gasped as Cloe was walking right towards Colton, they both ran to Cloe but they reached her to late as Colton spotted Cloe, Alanray and Skard.

"Hi Colton! how are you?" Chloe said very sweetly

Colton looked at Cloe and began to laugh, "Well I am good like always Cloe, but I can't say the same about you hanging around with those two twats" Colton said as he saw Alanray and Skard arrive next to Cloe.

A young mouse appeared right next to Colton, he was wearing an orange vest and with a fur color of golden color and blue eyes, he approached him quite timidly and said shyly, "Colton it's not nice to talk about Alanray and Skard like that you know?"

Colton silenced him with a glare, "Shut it Thaddeus!" he said

Thaddeus slowly backed away and looked quite hurt, he waved his paw as he looked at Cloe, "Hi Cloe it's nice to see you" he said quite shyly.

Cloe smiled and waved at Thaddeus, "It's nice to see you too Thaddeus, I can't say the same about you Colton, talking to my friends like that you jerk." she said as she crossed her arms and glared at Colton

Colton simply grinned, "Your friends eh? oh Cloe you could be with us you know! not those losers right there, I just can't understand why you want to be with those two, if you keep being with them you become just like them, losers!"

Alanray could stand it no longer and stepped forward to Colton, "Hey nobeast speaks to Cloe and my Brother like that!"

Colton began to laugh as he heard Alanray speak, "You still think that vermin is your brother!?just look at him Alanray he's in no way like you!" he said

Alanray began to get angry as he got face to face to Colton, "He's my brother and that's final! he's in no way a vermin!" he said firmly

Skard got right to Colton and said a bit timidly but firmly, "Yeah!..............I'm no vermin..........their evil and I'm not!"

Colton began to laugh hysterically as he got close to Skard, "Oh you think you're not a vermin do you? have you taken a good look at yourself Skard? do you know what you are!?"

Skard gave Colton a confused look, "What?............what do you mean?"he said

Colton grinned wickedly as he stared into Skard's red eyes, "Ahh I guess no beast has told you eh? I would of expected you to have found by now Skard, you're a RAT a filthy rat! and you know what that makes you? a vermin that's what!"

Skard recoiled backwards as he heard what Colton said, "No your lying!.............I know I look different but.......................I'm like any other beast! I'm no.............vermin" he said as he felt a lump on his throat.

"Oh but I'm not lying! you're a rat and all rats are evil vermin, you don't belong here you vermin!" Colton said with such disgust and anger as he pushed Skard to the ground, Skard fell to the ground and soon all the beasts that were next to Colton began to laugh at Skard, Alanray began shouting at them, "stop it!"

Cloe gasped as she saw Skard fall, she immediately helped him get up, "Are you ok Skard?"

Skard didn't hear her as the words Colton said kept ringing on his ears, he simply couldn't believe it, he simply didn't want to believe he was a rat because that would mean he was a vermin, an evil beast. Skard got up but shook his head in denial, "No I can't be a mom and dad..................Alan.......their my family if I'm a rat then.....then." Skard began to feel his eye's water, the lump on his throat get heavier as the words Colton said kept on sinking on him.

Colton just kept laughing as he saw Skard struggling not to cry, "Then there not your real family! your just a rat they found and took pity of, and don't think you're a good rat or something because you know what they say! the only good vermin is a dea.............Ooof!"

Colton was unable to finish his sentence as Alanray punched him right in the face, Colton fell to the ground with a loud thud and Alanray shouted, "I don't care what Skar is, he's my brother, my family and nobeast talks to him like that!" Alanray jumped on top of Colton and began to attack him rapidly with punches and bites. The entire small gang that followed Colton around began to cheer, many to Colton but others to Alanray as well, even Thaddeus a really timid mouse began to cheer for Alanray, "Go Alanray! show him he can't just push us around!"

Alanray and Colton caused a huge commotion as their fight continued, they were fighting viciously on the ground with bites and punches and Alanray seemed to be the one with the upper paw in the fight. The fight caused many beasts to come out from their homes to see what was going on, at the sight of Alanray and Colton fighting they decided it needed to stop, two squirrels separated them both and soon they were asking questions on what was going on, "Colton what's happening? why are you two fighting" an aged male mouse said.

Colton began to think for a moment and suddenly burst into tears, "That rat started to hurt me! and Alanray went to his side and started to hit me!" he began to whale and shout as he faked tears from his eyes and gave quite the sobbing scene.

The beasts gasped as they heard what Colton said, many of them gave Skard and Alanray an angry nasty glare, most of them began to whisper to each other saying, "Their bad beasts, I knew we couldn't trust that rat, he will corrupt our children!" the whispers went on and on as Skard heard every single of their words, their harsh words sunk heavily on his heart, every single detail slowly crushing him on the inside, he tried as hard as he could not to cry, "No............I'm not.................bad................I'm not................" but his words were not heard as the beasts kept accusing of something he did not do.

Alanray began to shout at them as he was being restrained by a grown squirrel, "He's lying! we didn't do anything! he started it!" but no beast heard him as they all began to accuse Skard, they didn't even listen as Cloe began to shout as well, "Stop it!! Colton did it not Skard!"

Skard was devastated never had he heard such harsh words, such cold and bitter truth, he wanted to run, to leave and hide from everything for he had no idea what to do, Alanray and Cloe couldn't help him, he felt alone and completely powerless as he kept on struggling not to cry.

"WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS!" a loud and Commanding voice was heard, every beast turned to were the voice was and they saw Sunflower slowly moving to were the crowd was, her wheelchair moved with quite the ease as she approached the beasts, she looked at them and said, "So anybeast going to explain what is this commotion about?"

The crowd had gone silent, many beasts knew that Sunflower's rage was something none of them wanted to see for they knew what she was capable of, none of them said a word until at last one beast a mousemaid said to Sunflower, "It's your sons Sunflower their causing trouble, especially that..........Skard."

Sunflower raised an eyebrow and moved closer to where she could see Alanray and Skard, as soon as Alanray saw his mother he shouted, "Skard didn't do it mom! their just being mean to him!"

Sunflower took a good look at Skard and immediately noticed how hurt he was, he was on the verge of tears and everybeast was accusing him, and that's all Sunflower needed, she turned her gaze the crowd of beasts and glared at them her black eyes shining brightly and intense as all the beasts backed away in fear of her, "I see now, I understand now, shame on you all, SHAME ON YOU! how can you all attack my poor little son, you think he doesn't have feeling like all of you!? that he's different and should be treated differently? well get this through all your thick skulls, he is my son and the most kind beast you will ever see!, Shame on all of you!" Sunflower screamed with such rage and passion many beasts began to look away in shame other simply could not bear to see Sunflower's eyes.

Other beasts simply could not tolerate what Sunflower was saying, one aged squirrel shouted, "He is a vermin! he doesn't belong here!" with those words the crowd got going and began to shout that Skard was not welcomed, that he would bring misfortune on the town and hurt their children, they all began whispering harsh words and talking back to Sunflower.

Sunflower retaliated fiercely, she was not going to let them hurt her son, she stood her ground firmly and no beast managed to get rid of her resolve, soon the crowd was in a state of Chaos many beasts just simply were too tired of not saying anything in Skard's defense and were finally talking, others continued to be stubborn and kept attacking Skard. One Mouse stood out and pointed at Skard, he was angry and simply began to shout, "He doesn't belong here! he's a RAT!! why doesn't anybeast understand that! Rats don't belong here cause there nothing but vermin!"

Sunflower moved to were the mouse was and began to shout, "I don't care if he is a RAT!! he's my son and you should all accept him for who he is, he's been nothing but kind and caring to you all and what does he get in return! this harsh treatment, no beast deserves this NOBEAST!"

That was the last straw, Skard had heard the one thing he didn't want to hear, it was true all along, he was a rat, Sunflower had said so and now Skard could take it no longer, his body was trembling from the grief, his throat heavy with a lump and his eyes blurry from the tears gathering up in his eyes, he wanted to disappear and be alone, he knew nowhere else to run but one place.......home. Skard ran with all his strength he didn't look back even when Sunflower and Alanray shouted back at him, he didn't want to see them, he wanted to be left alone.

Sunflower saw his son run off and now she was purely enraged, "Look what you all have done!! you all hurt him! SHAME ON YOU ALL!"

Raylond was walking around Cottonwood looking for Broth, he checked his house but he simply could not find him it was as if he just disappeared, 'Broth! where are you!? no beast has seen you for quite a while!" Raylond abruptly stopped as he heard something, he followed the sound to a huge vase right in front of Broth's house. Raylond listened closer and recognized the sound as that of crying, he got close to the vase and taped the Vase, "ummmm any beast there?" he said not sure what to expect.

"(sniff) is that you Raylond? oh Raylond you have to help me!" broth said pathetically

Raylond was completely surprised as he heard him, "Broth? is that you? how did you get inside that vase!"

Broth began to cry softly as he said, "I just jumped inside and.................and I got stuck.......please help me."

Raylond sighed and giggled for a bit, "Oh Broth the things you get into, Yeah I'll help you out."

Broth heard Raylond and shouted with joy, "OH thanks Raylond you're a great friend you know that?"he said.

Raylond smiled, "yeah I know, but forgive me Broth" he said.

Broth looked confused as he heard Raylond apologize, "forgive you for what Raylond?"

Raylond immediately took out a small mallet and with a swift strike he smashed the vase into hundreds of pieces, broth looked horrified at what Raylond had done but at least he was free, "Wha!? what did you do!"

"I got you out Broth, sorry but it was the only way." Raylond said as he put his paw on broth's shoulder.

Broth didn't listen to Raylond as he continued crying, "I worked so hard to get that vase.........and now it's gone" broth began to get the pieces and tried in vain to put it back together.

Raylond sighed as he saw Broth trying to put the pieces back together when suddenly he spotted Skard running at full speed right straight to his home, Raylond was puzzled for Skard looked hurt and Alanray was not next to him, "Skard! is there something wrong?" he said.

Skard didn't stop he simply gave Raylond a quick glance and shouted, "Leave me alone!"

Raylond was shocked as Skard screamed at him, he saw his son run to the house and shut himself inside, he looked back and saw that Sunflower going at full speed to the house too, Raylond ran to her and said, "Sunflower what's going on! Skard looked so hurt and angry! I've never seen him like that!"

Sunflower went to Raylond and looked at him, her eyes were watery and she looked hurt, "You just won't believe what happened Ray, here let me tell you"

Skard went inside his home and ran upstairs to his room, he locked the door and slowly walked to his bed, he slowly dragged himself on top of it and sat on it, he stood there sitting and in an instant he began to cry. Skard had held his tears and pain so no beast could see it, he cried and wept strongly as he remembered the words everybeast said, his heart was heavy and completely crushed by sorrow and grief, he had endured the horrible truth that he was different, that the town did not want him and that he had no family and as the sun slowly descended from the sky and the night took hold of the skies Skard continued to cry and fall in despair.

Raylond and Sunflower entered their home, they knew that Skard had ran to his room and locked himself up, sadness dwelled in their hearts for they had seen how hurt Skard had been, "We must go to him Ray I can't bear to think of what he must be thinking!" Sunflower said worriedly

Raylond shook his head, "No not right now Sunflower, he is stricken with grief and sadness if we talk to him now he won't listen at all" Raylond said as he lowered his head, "He will just get angry and just won't understand, I know it pains you to see him like pains me too but we must wait"

Tears fell down on Sunflower's cheeks as she understood what Raylond said, "Ok Ray I'll wait but that doesn't mean I will like it"

A jingle from bells was heard as Sunflower and Raylond looked at the front door, Alanray hurriedly entered and ran to his parents, "Where's Skar? I have to see he's ok!" he shouted.

Raylond put his paws on Alanray's shoulders, "My son, Skard is having a difficult time right now, we must wait till he calms down for us to talk to him" Raylond said sadly.

Alanray shook his head and took his father's paws off his shoulders, "NO! I want to see him now!! he needs me!"Alanray shouted but his only answer was a gentle head shaking from his father. Alanray couldn't believe how they would just not let him help Skard or how they weren't doing anything, he ran out of the house and disappeared as Raylond and Sunflower hugged and cried together.

Time went on and the night came to the forest, inside the room where Skard was he still was weeping and crying to the despair and realization of the truth, that he was different and alone, "I don't get it....sniff................I was good to them..........I was nice...............why do they hate me........I haven't done anything wrong" Skard slowly said as he stared to the dark night from his window, the moon shining on his red-blooded eyes, he simply couldn't understand, why was he alone? why was he so different? why did they hate him? all these things dwelled in his mind but no answer came to him. He kept on crying as his heart ached from all those harsh words, his heart began to be filled with the one thing he had never expressed in his life the thing he had kept so long from showing..................anger. Skard as he wept and suffered began to feel everything he once tried so hard to keep away, the anger, the hate, the complete feeling of being evil, it all came to his little heart completely crushing it, at long last he saw that he just couldn't take it, he simply couldn't anymore.

"They think I'm bad............oh they think I'm BAD!!?!? I'll show them who's bad!! they want me to be bad mean and just plain nasty!!! I'll be that vermin!! I'll show them!! I'll show them all!!!" he shouted to the moon and began to snarl as his heart changed from the pain and despair, "I never wanted this, nobeast cares about me no beast at all.......I'll show them, I'll show them how bad I can be, they will regret the day they called me a vermin!!!! They'll see!!! THEY WILL!!!"

Skard stopped shouting as his ears twitched from the sound of a tapping in the window, he looked at the window confused and really curious on what that was, he suddenly saw a paw come out and tap the window again, Skard was surprised and unsure of what to do. Skard slowly opened the window and peaked outside, next to the window was Alanray, he was hugging the roof for dear life, he was panting and completely frozen in terror as he stood still and looked at Skard, "" Alanray said as she trembled and held to the roof. Skard simply couldn't believe it, Alanray was probably the most brave and courageous mouse he knew but there was only one thing Alanray feared more than anything even if he didn't admit it and that was heights. Skard stared in pure disbelief to his brother, "Alan, sniff, what are you doing here!! your afraid of heights and you know it!! sniff"

Alanray was trembling uncontrollably but he said with a firm voice, "I came to help you!! I don't care if you're on top of some mountain, I heard what they said Skar and they were just mean liars!!! you not a vermin!!! you my BROTHER!!! that's what you are!! I'll always love you no matter what they say!!! your always MY BROTHER!!!!" Alanray slipped a bit and held fast to the roof not moving at all, he stayed silent as the fear held him tightly.

Skard look at his brother with such admiration and awe, he had fought so strongly his greatest fear to tell him that he loved him and that he was his brother. Skard wiped the tears from his eyes , "Alan.........I'm so different............I'm not your and dad aren't.........they aren't......" Skard was on the verge of tears when Alanray shouted, "DON"T SAY THAT SKAR!!! you have a family, and you are my brother!! and you always will be!! I don't care if your different, I still LOVE YOU!!!" Alanray said with such confidence and honest heart that Skard couldn't help but believe and hold into the hope of his words.

Alanray smiled and took out a small pouch, he tossed it to Skard and he caught it, Skard looked at the pouch with much curiosity, "what's in the pouch Alan?"

Alanray grinned with such delight that he almost slipped, "well I thought about all the nasty and bitter things they said and I wondered how to get rid of them!! so I thought something sweet would definitely help!!"

Skard opened the pouch and inside was a small little ball of candy, Skard looked at it with disbelief as he recognized the candy, Cloe's mother made this candy only once a month and she only made two of them, one for Cloe and another for a friend, "SKARD!!!! are you ok!?!?!"

Skard looked down and saw Cloe, she was waving furiously at him, he waved at her gently not knowing what to say, "It's for you Skard!!! I know how much you love it!!!" she shouted back

Alanray gave a nod, "Yeah it was my turn to receive the candy but I give it to you, it's better f you have it this time." Alanray said with a sweet smile.

Skard was at a loss of words, Cloe and Alanray had done all this just for him, they came just to make sure he was ok, he wiped the tears from his eyes and gave a small faint smile, "Thanks Alan" he said as he looked down to Cloe, he waved, "Thank you Cloe" Skard said.

Alanray smiled and chuckles a bit, "Anytime Skar!!!" Alanray slowly began to move away from the window and try to get off.

Skard saw him trying to get off and said, "Alanray you can just come in from the would be less dangerous"

Alanray shook his head, "No Skar you said you wanted to be alone so I will let you! I'm sure once you finish the candy you will open the door, see ya brother!!" Alanray began to keep climbing off very slowly and full of fear.

Skard couldn't help but smile as she saw his brother decent, he closed the window and sat down on his bed. Skard had seen that his brother truly cares for him, that even if he was different and a vermin he didn't care, he was his brother and no matter what others said that would never change, he hugged his pillow as he thought if his parents really cared, they never told him that he was different, or ever said anything, they're not even here trying to help him, "I bet they don't care" Skard said as she began to feel those feeling again, "I bet I'm just some beast they took pity on...............they don't care......."

"We never felt that Skard" Skard immediately looked at the door and saw Raylond leaning on it very coolly and sadly looking at him, Skard looked away and looked really angry, "How......sniff............did you get inside......"

Raylond smiles and got off the door, "I made this door, I have the key to it remember?" Raylond went right next to Skard and sat next to him, "Skard......I heard what happened, what they said was harsh but true, you are a rat and nothing will change that, but remember this my son, that you are still part of this family no matter what you are, the moment your mother and I accepted you as our son, you have always been our son to us, and we love you."

Skard still didn't look at his father and kept an angry look, "I'm can you accept me? I'm a rat..............a vermin................I'm evil....................I have NO HEART HOW CAN YOU LOVE ME!!!!!" Skard shouted at his father

Raylond hugged his son and tears fell from his eyes as he hugged him, Skard began to cry again as he too embraced his father, " NEVER SAY THAT!!! NEVER SKARD!! you have a heart we all do!! feel it beat inside me Skard, you too have a heart, feel it my son" Skard felt his father's heart beat as he hugged him, he knew that he would have one for he wasn't a vermin but then Raylond got Skard's paw and put it on his chest, he felt the beating of his own heart, "Feel your heart my son, know that you do have a heart, we all do, they might not all beat at the same rhythm but they still hold us, they still make us feel and be good" Raylond said as he smiled brightly to Skard.

Skard began to cry harder as he hugged his father, could it be true? can they still be the same? that he still held the same goodness and love that all beasts show, he began to believe he did for he knew that not just evil could exist in his heart, he knew that he had a heart now, Skard began to try to stop his crying, his father probably thought he was weak for letting himself cry so much.

Raylond chuckled as he said, "Don't hold your tears my son, it's better to cry and let those bitter tears flow freely than to let them stay inside your heart were they will bitter your heart and sour your soul."

Skard smiled faintly and began to cry harder letting his tears flow freely as he kept hugging his father, Raylond let go of Skard and patted his head as he smiled, "Don't you worry my son, we will always love you." Skard smiled and gave a nod, Raylond smiled and gave Skard a small sealed bottle, "You must be thirsty after being a while right here, it's your favorite, blueberry juice" Raylond got up and opened the door he looked one last time to his son and smiled, he closed the door.

Skard stared at the bottle for quite the while when he opened it and drank it all, the sweet and fresh taste of the blueberry juice felt fantastic on his sore and tired throat, he gave a very delighted sigh as he put the bottle away, he took out the pouch Alanray had given him, and put the candy on his mouth, the sweet sensation and fantastic taste of the candy exploded on his mouth as he giggled in delight from the flavor, he enjoyed every single moment of the candy as the sweet flavor washed away every single little bitter taste of the day.

In the door a knock was heard, Skard was unsure to open it or not until he saw a piece of paper come from the bottom of the door. Skard got up and slowly walked towards the paper and saw what it was, It was the picture he had drawn of his family, all of them holding paws together in a huge big house shaped like a heart, he looked behind the paper and saw the same heart but this time all his family was outside and knocking on the heart-shaped house and Skard was alone inside, in small letters it said, "let us in, you don't have to be alone"

Tears came from Skard's eyes as he looked at the door and understood the drawing, he placed his paw on the handle and twisted it, he opened it and saw what he was expecting, his family smiling at him and he began to cry as he rushed to them and hugged them all. Sunflower, Raylond and Alanray hugged Skard with such love and affection they all couldn't help but cry with him, Sunflower slowly snuggled to Skard and said, "Never keep us away from you heart Skard, we will always be there for you, we will always love you" She smiled as he kept hugging his son.

Skard couldn't believe it, they all were here just for him, they all loved and cared for him even though he was a rat , a vermin, they truly were his family, he hugged and snuggled to them as his tears finally came to a stop and he looked at his family and smiled, "I love you all........thank you" he said with a smile

They all smiled and hugged him tightly, Skard smiled and sighed happily as he hugged them, "ummm you all don't mind if I stay alone for a bit longer?"

Sunflower and Raylond shook their heads, Sunflower gave him a little kiss and smiled, "it's ok, we all understand" she said sweetly.

Skard gave each one of them a last hug and then went inside his room but this time he didn't close it with a lock, he got on top of his bed and looked through the window, he looked straight at the shining moon and smiled, he finally understood that he wasn't alone, that he truly had a family and a heart, that even if he was a rat, a vermin, he still held goodness inside him, his red-blooded eyes shining brightly, "I'll show them all...............they will see............they will see what a goodbeast I can be!!! I'll show them that I have a heart and they will accept me, I know I can...............I will show them, I PROMISE IT!!!"

Skard laid on his bed and covered himself with a soft and comfortable blanket, he snuggled to his bed as he began to slowly whisper, "They care.......................they really do care.............they really really do care........." Skard closed his eyes and fell asleep with a smile.

(End of Chapter 2)

Chapter 3: The Chains that bind the flesh

Has hope ever left this soul?

Do these chains that bind this flesh burden down

so deeply what life holds so dear?

Has the dark forbidding shadows creep so slowly

to uproot the courage that holds a soul?

Has this heart lost all meaning on the light

that dwells oh so distant from these eyes?

Oh the sweet mirth to feel the warm light

sweetened sky stretching in pure awe!

The earthly might so powerful in reach

alluring that which walks to its many paths!

For even though these chains hold this flesh

Hope does not falter

hope does not weaken

for I await

with a blissful smile

the hope

of a kindly death.....

The warmth of the bright sun stretched far into the forest of pure golden radiance, everything seemed so calm, serene, sincere and kind as the trees stood tall and mighty, the earth was cool and soft to the touch as the very wind gently caressed the earth itself. The very aura of this radiant forest seemed to almost invade the heart itself and speak of no sorrow, no evil intentions, just the simple joy to exist and live.

In the center of all the magnificent spectacle of nature was just a rat, his black fur moving gently with the wind as he laid blissfully in the ground, his eyes closed as he smiled and enjoyed the very feeling of being alive. He slowly opened his eyes and his red-blooded colored eyes surveyed the gently blue sky, he awoke and stood up as he looked around and wondered where was he? He could feel everything as if he was part of it, as if the this very forest was alive because of him, he loved how everything felt how everything seemed. He began to walk around slowly making sure to take in every little detail he could find, the huge and mighty trees stretching to the sky, the gentle and soft grass he felt on his footpaws, and the magnificent color and shades all around. He kept on walking and enjoying the magnificent view of this forest but he suddenly began to see something very peculiar, he saw beasts all around the forest, they were very different for they were glowing in golden color and were transparent, they all were walking and making simple actions like talking, jumping, playing, and simply moving around.

He stared at them and waved as he greeting them, they did not respond in words but only in simple nods or waves of their paws, he recognized every single of them, he saw his family, friends, beasts that he simply had meet in his life but he noticed one thing in common with all of them, he began to see something very apparent................that none of them looked like him at all, not a single rat was seen, he began searching for just one beast, just one that would look like him, who would know how he felt but he found none.

Was he truly alone? he began to think, he searched and searched but not a single rat appeared, his search made him wander aimlessly around the forest, his eyes darting everywhere to find just one hint, just one glance of a beast that could understand what it felt to be just like him. He wandered around aimlessly and began to feel the air around him change, the warm and cool feeling had disappeared, it had become cold, hostile and heavy to breath in as the forest darkened with the soft forbidding blanket of shadows.

He stopped and looked around as he saw that everything had changed to such dark and evil feeling, he began to breath harder as he panicked and began to run as fast as his footpaws could take him, he felt so alone and completely lost in the forest.

"Are you lost Skard?" said a deep and unknown voice

Skard stopped and look around, he couldn't find the beast that had spoken but he felt the cold and chilling breath of the beast that had spoken, "Yes...................I am lost....." Skard said fearfully.

A small chuckle was heard as a huge black rat appeared in front of Skard, his face could not be seen but he looked really frightening with tattered and blood stained clothing, black fur, his tail long and almost whip like as it began to move around, "Well in that case I can help you Skard" the rat said with a chilling deep voice.

Skard took a step back as he looked at the rat, at long last he had found somebeast like him but it was not as he had hoped for, "Who.................who are you?"

The rat kept on chuckling as he began to move around Skard, "Ahhhh that's for another time Skard, all you need to know is that I'm a friend, a friend that is going to help you get in the right path"

"The right path?" Skard said not understanding

"YES THE RIGHT PATH!!" another voice shouted behind Skard

Skard turned around and saw another rat, he looked exactly like the other one but he was younger and looked rather charismatic, his yellow-green eyes looking at Skard as he began to circle around Skard, "Yes, we came to help you Skard, did you see all those beasts over there? none of them look like you, none of them understand you, but we do Skard"

Skard stared in disbelief at the two rats, he had hoped for so long that he could finally meet those just like him, to exchange words and know that he wasn't alone, that he was understood, but these beasts felt so horrible, so evil as they looked at him, "What do you mean right path?"

The young rat took a step forward , "You see we have seen how lonely you are Skard, and we know why you are lonely, because you've done it all wrong!! you accepted beasts that are not like you, you accepted a lie that has made you an outcast, why did you do this Skard?"

Skard began to think as the words of the young rat sank on him, what lie was he talking about? did he mean that his family was not real? that by accepting them he had forsaken others just like him? He began to see that it was true, ever since he was part of that family he has been rejected and simply hated for being different and now these two beasts show up and tell him that they can help him, are they telling the truth? could it be real?, "Well..........I had no choice, they were the only ones who took care of me......and they love me............what do you want from me?" he said confused and unsure.

The older Rat got closer to Skard and he could feel how immense and powerful he was, his deep cold voice rang deeply as he spoke, "We want you to be with those like you Skard, tell me Skard, do you know who you are?"

Skard shook his head, "No.............I've never really known................." he said

The two rat's extended their paws to Skard, a faint grin could be seen from both of them as the young rat spoke, "Well let us show you Skard, let us show you who you are and what you can become, you will be around those that understand you, those that will love you for what you truly are!! all you need to do is follow us to the dark"

Skard looked behind them and saw the most horrifying scene, there was nothing but pitch black darkness behind them, he could feel the powerful aura of evil, despair, and anger that radiated from the darkness. Skard looked at them and was so unsure what to do, he no longer wanted to be alone, he wanted be with those just like him, these two rats were offering him the thing he always wanted, to be around those just like him but he began to think of his family, they loved him and accepted him, but they would never understand him, they would never know how it feels to be like him. Skard looked closer to the rat's and felt something strange, it was as if he had known them since ever, he felt the greatest of impulses to follow them, to take their paws and simply join them in the darkness. Skard began to take a few steps towards them, he couldn't fight it, it was as if he was in trance, his body moving on his own but also his heart wanted to see, it wanted to know what that darkness was, how it felt to be part of it.

Skard began to grin wickedly as he got closer to them, he could feel the rush, the power and evil aura seeping to him, and it felt good, it was like nothing he had ever experience. He kept walking towards them as he extended his arms forward, just one grab of their paws and he would be gone, gone into the darkness, to the very thing he always struggled so hard to avoid and now it was almost too late.

His paws were about to touch theirs, grins of delight could be seen from their eyes as Skard nearly accepted them when suddenly a bright light exploded in between them. Skard staggered backwards at the sheer blinding power of the light, he put his paw close to his eyes to shield his eyes from it. The Rats began to walk backwards back to the dark as they hissed and snarled at the blinding light in front of them.

Skard managed to look at the light and saw what it was or more specifically who it was, it was a mouse, the most heroic and fantastic mouse he had ever laid eyes upon, he wore a magnificent golden armor with a red cape, he looked at Skard and smiled with such gentle aura Skard couldn't help but smile himself as a warm feeling seeped to his body, The mouse began to get closer to him and slowly extended his paw as he whispered, 'Stay Skard................stay............"

Skard smiled and walked towards him as he extended his paw to grab the mouse's, the Rats began to shout and snarl saying, "DON"T DO IT!! HE"S LIEING!! HE"S A LIE!!!!" Skard did not listen as he grabbed his paw and felt immense joy and warm feeling explode inside him, "Who!? who are you!?" Skard said at the mouse with awe.

The mouse smiled and began to slowly speak as his voice became a tremendous echo in the forest, "Wake up Skard...................wake up!!" he said as his face began to change, it suddenly looked so familiar so young, "WAKE UP SKAR!!!"

Abruptly Skard woke up, he was in his room and in his normal bedroom, next to him was Alanray right up close to his face smiling, "Come on Skar!!! everybeast is awake and ready to go!!! why are you still sleeping!?" Alanray said with a smile.

Skard was seriously confused and scratched his head, "well.........I was having the weirdest dream Alan" he said as he shook his head and wondered what it had all meant?

(The chapter will be updated periodically from now on, also it has come to my attention that I have really poor grammar and punctuation skills , so feel free to tell me where the problems are in the comments or a simple message, Thank you)

(I want to give special thanks to Nitram the Warrior for Editing my story, Thank you so much!!!!)

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