Chapter 13

Whiptail climbed dozily out of the den, with Cluny already waiting for him. He wielded a stout metal rod with a crescent-moon hook on the end. Cluny smiled fondly as he sunk it into a pine.

“Impressive, isn’t it? They say it was made at the mountain long ago with the metal of a fallen star, along with two other weapons. It was named the Hocain.”

Without warning, Cluny slapped Whiptail across the face with the flat of his blade. The rat charged Cluny, who side-stepped nimbly and smacked the back of his neck with the end of the Hocain. Whiptail toppled to the ground as Cluny pinned him with his footpaw.

“Never attack out of anger. Think everything through!”

Whiptail, however, had other things in mind. Rushed again, felled again. Rushed again, felled again, back and forth, over and over.

Finally, Cluny took the offensive. Charging with the Hocain pointing straight for the rat’s heart, he struck. What happened next took place very quickly. Whiptail grabbed the Hocain with his paw and laid into Cluny with the scourge for which he was named. Cluny toppled to the ground, blood falling across his face. Whiptail fondly stroked his tail, proud of his new weapon. He had never remembered using it as a baby, though he remembered such stories told to him by Glae.

Cluny laughed good-naturedly. “Much better, rat. Perhaps now we can finally hone your skills!”

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