of the Last God
(Book II of the Oerth Cycle)
(C) 2000 BY
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"Amani! Look! There he is! There's my daddy!" Farrah squeaked, nearly leaping for joy.
Amani nodded, looking over the crowd of mice which stood behind the cats who guarded them. Farrah's father was easy for her to spot - his mind glowed with joy and love at the sight of Farrah, and none of the others' did. *The matter is not settled yet, however, little mouse. The orange cat, there - the very large one, with the graying muzzle... See him?*
Farrah nodded. "Yes, I do."
*That is their leader. He does not wish to release your people. He feels he needs them. I also sense there is a Mentalt very near... In that tent, I believe,* Amani said, nodding to a nearby pavilion. *I should not have come. Mentalts hate horses.*
"It's alright - the mus will protect you," Farrah replied, looking at the leader of the mus, the one called Xaa. She remembered when she first saw him, two years ago, kneeling in her village with Merle and Byarl, trying to state his case and plea for the mice's help. For a brief moment, Farrah wished that the mice had accepted. 'So much would be different, now...' she thought, then shook her head. 'Water under the bridge,' she thought to herself, and looked up to Amani again. "I'm sorry, Amani, I just had to have you with me to meet my daddy. Why, if it weren't for you, momma and I never would have made it to the musties, the mus never would have found out we needed help, and I'd never have seen my daddy again! You saved everyone!" Farrah replied, beaming up at her large friend.
Amani smiled in reply. *Perhaps, but it was your strength and courage which brought you to me.*
Farrah looked around. "What are they waiting for, I wonder?"
*The mus wait for the cats, and the leader of the cats waits for the Mentalt. He needs her to translate for him, as he does not speak the language of the mus. I sense in his mind that his son did, but the mus, Lord Xaa, killed his son. In turn, the Mentalt is meditating, trying to calm herself. She is afraid.*
"Afraid of what?" Farrah asked, surprised. "Lord Xaa? The rest of the mus?"
*Perhaps. I do not know. Her mind is focused, concentrating on her mantra. I cannot read anymore than that,* Amani replied, then paused. *She is coming, now.*
Farrah looked, and at just that moment, a black and white she-cat walked out of the pavilion-tent. Farrah was shocked - it was the same she-cat Farrah had seen in the Wild Wood, and she dressed as scantily as Amani did. She was about to ask Amani about that, when the she-cat stopped by the orange tabby tom, and turned to face the crowd of mus that had come to free the mice. As her gaze passed over the mus, her eye lit upon Amani.
Then, to the surprise of Farrah
and everyone else present, the she-cat screamed.
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