- Brian Jacques
“Gaah!” cried the startled Dibbuns.
“Stay back, mateys!” whispered Scamper as he and Frisk moved up and stood between the Dibbuns and the strange mouse.
“We…We’re…We’re Warriors of Redwall! We’ve…We’re slayed many vermins like you before!” challenged Daniel shakingly “We’re not…not afraid of you!”
“Aye, you’ll have to go through us first, matey!” shouted Frisk.
“SHHH! Not so loud. The adders might hear you.” whispered the strange mouse.
“Follow me, Redwallers. By the way, I’m a mouse, not a vermin…” continued the strange mouse as he went back through the door where he came from.
The Dibbuns looked at each other worriedly, not very sure whether to trust the strange mouse.
“I say we follow him.” said Alfred. “Any place is better than here. Besides if he tries anything funny, all of us outnumbered him six to one.”
“Hurry up, old chaps.” whispered Gonjur nervously “I can hear them adders coming, wot?”
As the Dibbuns walked through the stone door, they found themselves in a tunnel. The strange mouse, Erin, was waiting by the door holding a torch.
“Is any beast left behind?” asked Erin “No? Good.”
Erin then pull a stone lever which closed the stone door. “Come with me.” said Erin as he walked on. The Dibbuns followed him without saying a word.
“Mind if I borrow your dagger?” Erin asked Gunthre, pointing at the dagger he was holding. “How did you pick up these daggers with your bounded paws anyway?”
“We did! We otters are good acrobats, you know.” answered Frisk proudly.
Gunthre gave the dagger to Erin and immediately Erin’s face looked surprised when he saw the dagger closely. Without a word, he cut away all the bounds on the Dibbun’s paws.
“Keep this well.” Erin said as he gave back the dagger to Gunthre and walked on.
“Who are you?” asked Daniel, breaking the silence as they walked on.
“I told you before, I’m Erin the Swordmaker. I’m here to help you recover the sword of Martin.” answered Erin.
“And why would you want the sword of Martin?” asked Alfred suspiciously.
“I’ll explain everything when we reach outside. Right now, just follow me.” replied Erin.
When Daniel and his friends reached the end of the tunnel, Gunthre cried out, “Oh no! It’s blocked by a big boulder, how’re we goin’ to get out?!”
“Don’t worry, my young friend” replied Erin gently as he pull a stone lever by the wall and immediately the boulder rolled to the side.
The Dibbuns were still too stunned to say anything. Daniel and Alfred looked especially suspicious with Erin.
“I used to play here when I was very young,” explained Erin. “My great-grandfather built this labyrinth, but we had to move away.”
As the Dibbuns walked out of the cave, they could not help feeling grateful for the fresh air.
“Ta-daa!” announced Erin cheerfully. “It’s a beautiful day, and no sense in spoiling it by being gloomy all day.” said Erin as he bent down to face the Dibbuns and shook his paw-finger disapprovingly.
“Yeah, but me old tummy is gettin’ empty.” grumbled Gonjur as his tummy made loud noises, sending everyone into a laughing fit.
“Aye, matey! Ha…ha..ha! I feel the same too.” replied a gasping Frisk as he clapped his paw at Erin’s shoulder hard, sending Erin reeling to the ground.
“Aww! Not so hard! I still have swords to make with these shoulders, you know!”
“Oh sorry, matey! Got to watch my strength back there.” apologized Frisk as he helped Erin up.
“Don’t worry, friend. No harm done,” Erin grinned as he led the group to a large oak tree by a river.
“Eh…excuse me, Mister Erin.” asked Daniel “What are you doing here?”
Erin sat down on the rocks by the tree and begin unpacking his backpack. “Later, my young friend. Would you ‘Warriors’ kindly get some firewood? I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry.”
“Not until we know why you want to help us.” replied Daniel quietly but defiantly.
“Fair enough, but I don’t believe any of you had introduce yourselves yet? It’s bad form.” said Erin as he removed his swords and took out bread, some small bags and a small metal pot.
“Oops, sorry. My name is Daniel, this is Alfred. That hare over there is Gonjur and the squirrel is Gunthre. We’re from Redwall Abbey.” answered Daniel.
“And we’re Scamper and Frisk of Mossflower. Bravest adventurers you can find anywhere.” answered Scamper proudly.
“We’re here to get the sword of Martin back…” began Gonjur but Erin cut him short.
“Yes, I know about that. I’ve been following him since last season. I knew about his plan to steal the sword of Martin.” Erin sounded tired.
“You knew, how?” asked Alfred.
“Maybe I better start from the beginning.”
“My several greats grandsire learnt swordmaking from the great Badger Lord, Sunflash the Mace. Perhaps you’ve heard on him?”
Seeing the Dibbun’s shaking heads, Erin continued, “Never mind. Last season,I was ready to go to Redwall Abbey to borrow the sword of Martin and study how it was made. I was asked by my best friend, the current Badger Lord of Salamandastron, to make the finest sword since the sword of Martin. My task is also a test which I must pass to earn my right as Master Swordmaker in my family. But when I learnt that Trager planned to steal the sword of Martin for himself, I chose to track him down. I wanted to try stopping him from reaching Redwall Abbey first. But now…” sighed Erin “You know the rest. At least, I’m not alone in my quest anymore.”
Erin shook his head and handed the pot to Daniel and Alfred. “Go get some water, my young friends. I’m making soup tonight.”
“That wouldn’t be hotroot soup, would it?” asked Scamper.
“Aye, matey! That it is,” laughed Erin.
“Oh no!” cried the Dibbuns.