MD, GROUCHY, SNIFFLY, CHIPPER, TIMID, LOONY and NOD sprang from the bushes yelling a great battle cry. This threw the dogs off guard and the cats too. Just WHO were the rats going to fight?
The rats headed right for the dogs, much to the cats surprise. The cats watched in awe as the rats held their own against the dogs. A cat was no friend to a rat, but for now they both had a common enemy, the dogs. The dogs pulling the carriage huddled under the carriage trying not to get hurt. They were NOT fighters... They were worker dogs and they didn't want any trouble. All four of them watched the rats fight the wild dogs.
SNIFFLY and LOONY grabbed either end of their two sticks and used the double sticks to trip one of the dogs as it tried to leap on to the General, who was barely hanging on to his mount. NOD smashed the dog on its' head with his stick as it tried to stand back up. The General looked at the three in dismay. These rats were actually... HELPING him?
GROUCHY jabbed and jabbed at the biggest dog in the stomach with his stick as it tried to open the door of the carriage. Years of cowering let out in a few jabs. It felt grrrrrrrrreat! Now... if only that darn bird would stay out of his way. Peeper wanted to help GROUCHY, but he just shooed the bird away like the General had done earlier. GROUCHY peered inside the carriage to make sure everyone was safe inside. A few mews of thanks and he was off to fight another dog.
CHIPPER ran around one dog really fast, and with his stick threw dirt in its eyes. The dog got dizzy so TIMID used his stick as a pole vault and kicked it down. Once down on the ground MD poked it in the eyes with his stick and the dog was blinded.
The dogs knew they were no match for the rats AND the cats... They picked themselves up and ran terrified and yelping back into the forest. This was supposed to be an easy robbery... not a long fight. They disappeared before anyone could pick up another stick and create more damage to their already shrunken egos.
Seven rats fell to the ground exhausted. MD had proved to the others that he was still young but his body felt differently. He ached all over and it hurt to even sit down. CHIPPER was still running in a circle and GROUCHY had to take his stick away from him to slow him down. SNIFFLY and LOONY looked at each other with nodding glances... proud that they held their own in the battle too. NOD was almost asleep when TIMID bumped him as he sat down next to him.
The cats too were exhausted. The general looked to see if everyone was still moving. "THE QUEEN!!!" he thought as he ran to check on the Queen and her daughters. He opened the carriage to find the three girls being protected by their mother. The Queen let out a long hissssssssssssssssss... When she saw it was the General she started to purr. He waved to her that the fight was over and she turned to lick the girl’s heads and assure them that they all were now safe.
Still holding the girls tight the Queen asked... "Who were those rats?"
MD's ears perked up. He heard the Queen. Where they in trouble? He motioned for the others to pick up their sticks and head back to the ditch. Slowly the seven rats got up and started for the side of the road.
"GUARDS... STOP THOSE RATS," barked the General to the two cats sitting on the carriage. Quick as a wink they were off their perch and after the seven rats.
Before they could make it to the ditch the rats were stopped by two hissing tomcats. They all stopped dead in their tracks sure that this was another fight waiting to happen. GROUCHY got his stick ready. He was NOT going to back down EVER again. MD put his stick against GROUCHYs chest to stop him. He wanted to see what would happen before they charged.
The General yelled "STOP" to his guards and helped the Queen out from her carriage. They walked over to the cats and they stopped hissing. The Queen walked over to each of them and gave them a look. The General tried to stop her but she just hissed "If they wanted to hurt me, they would have done it whilst you were all fighting."
GROUCHY had his head down when the Queen walked in front of him. She raised his head to look into his eyes. Then she did something quite unexpected... She KISSED the top of his nose! GROUCHY just grumbled and turned a deep shade of red. "Ermmmm... thank you ma’am," he mumbled.
"No," she said to him. "Thank YOU for saving me and my girls from that awful band of thugs. Thank you ALL!" She turned and smiled at the seven rats. "If it were not for you 7 brave rats, my girls would not be alive to attend the birthday party for the king in the next kingdom. Would you please do us the honor of joining us with our journey? It is just over the hill then you can all be on your ways."
All seven rats breathed a little easier and shook their heads yes that they would help escort the ladies to their destination.
MD and GROUCHY lead the way with the General on his mount. SNIFFLY and LOONY sat up on the carriage with the two cats. TIMID and CHIPPER walked along side of the carriage and guarded the Queen and her daughters. One of the girls winked at TIMID and he turned the brightest shade of red anyone had seen and lowered his head. Pulling up the rear was NOD... sleeping on top of the presents because he could barely keep his eyes open.
They made it to the castle of the king with no further trouble and when they were sure the Queen and her daughters were safe, MD signaled for the 7 of them to leave. He did NOT want to be in a castle surrounded by hungry cats!
"Please stay with us til we reach the castle," the Queen asked? "I promise no harm will come to you." Reluctantly seven heads shook yes in agreement.
As the carriage made its way down the path to the castle everyone stared at the seven rats. They could hear whispering amongst the crowd. Heaven only knew WHAT they were whispering about. But... as the Queen had promised, no one dared lay a hand on the seven rats. They smiled to themselves... "SO... THIS is what royalty is like." The stood up straight and stuck out their chests and continued to the castle. Even NOD woke up for the occasion.
When they reached the castle steps the King was there to greet them. Peeper had flown on ahead to tell him what had happened, and why the Queen and her daughters were so late for his party. He looked concerned as he helped the Queen out of her carriage.
"My dear Queen... Peeper told me what happened. Are you o.k." he asked?
"I am fine my King. Thanks to these rats. They saved us. They are HEROES," she smiled. "They fought vigorously alongside our guards and made short work of those heathen dogs. And your presents are safe!"
"I don't mind the presents... I’m just happy that you and your daughters are safe my dear." He kissed her paw and then her nose. Looking up he smiled at her then looked at the seven rats standing by the carriage. "Thank you for saving my Queen. From this day forward you are HEROs to our kingdom. You may have your choice of prime land and you will never want for anything." The whole castle was loud with cheering. The seven rats were picked up by the crowd and tossed in the air and then carried into the castle.
There was a big banquet to celebrate the Kings birthday and safe return of the Queen and her daughters. The seven rats were the guests of honor at the party.
MD smiled to himself. He knew they would not be able to stay here long but he let the others have their party. They had to get back to their village. They had family and friends waiting for them at home. THIS time when they returned home, they would return as HEROs. THIS time they would have grand stories to tell their grandchildren. THIS time they would live happily ever after!