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The Brownfeather Chronicles story #4
 

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Brownfeather didn't know how long she had to stay away from Econia. Damitree had told her that. But he had told her to get runaway, because Freak the hunchback eagle was reigning havoc and she had to keep herself safe. There had been a mix-up with a robot tree that ended with practically the whole forest in flames, Damitree's legs cut off and half-dead, and Freak making all the owls of Econia his slaves. Brownfeather was staying in a nearby hotel (a hollowed out tree) called Frill 'n' Quiil, owned by a devilish porcupine. The TV in Brownfeather's hotel room (the brand was Ebonybeak Inc.) was constantly playing clips of the forest fire in Econia, which they called Fragile Forest. "...The legendary home of the Manonkabou Tribe of Owls, Fragile Forest, has been engulfed by a furious forest fire. Many of the tree have already toppled. Jean, what can be said about this?". The screen turned to a peppy pigeon holding a stack of papers. "Thanks Howard! Howard, it seems that there is no sign of escaping residents. It seems that all the Manonkaban owls are still inside! Local fire squads are trying to get through, but the fire is just too thick. Back to you, Howard". As the news turned back to weather, Brownfeather moaned from boredom. There was nothing to do but sit around and watch her home be destroyed. There was a knock on the door. Brownfeather walked over to open it. There was the porcupine, named Lucius. "Uh, you got a visitor or somethin'..." he grumbled. Behind him stepped a black eagle. Brownfeather jumped in surprise. "OK, I'll just leave now..." Lucius said, walking back down the hallway. The black eagle turned to Brownfeather. "No time for questions. I am Inky Shadowsworth, sister of the late Chief Ebonybeak". "What? Ebonybeak? Get out of my room!". "Wait!" Inky said, putting up two wings. "I come in peace! I want to help you stop my other brother!". "Freak?". "Yes, him. It's chaos over there! All the Black Eagles are searching for you! Freak is really mad, because if he can't find you, than he can never be chief of the tribe!". "That's why I'm hiding," said Brownfeather. "Because as long as he never finds me, he can never kill me, and he can never be chief". Inky nodded. "Well, yes, but you see, you can't do that forever! The owls of Econia can't just be tortured forever!". "Tortured?". "Yes. Freak and the rest of the tribe are torturing the owls, to find out if one of them know where you are!". Only Damitree knew that Brownfeather was gone, but he didn't even know where she went. Plus, he had probably bled to death by now, with his legs chopped off and everything. "So, will you come back?" Inky asked. Brownfeather cautiously agreed. She and Inky walked down to the hotel lobby. "We're checking out," Brownfeather told Lucius, who was standing at the desk. Lucius looked up at Brownfeather. "Out?". "Yes. Out". A puzzling expression crossed Lucius's face. "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid you cannot go out". "Why?" Inky demanded. "Why can't she go out?". Lucius got up from the desk. "I have my orders," he said. "Orders? Who ordered you?". Lucius cupped his paws around his mouth. "Get them!" he cried. Suddenly, guards were at their sides. They grabbed Brownfeather's and Inky's wings, pulling them behind there backs. "Bring them to His Freakishness," Lucius told the guards. "No! Let us go!" Brownfeather demanded. Long blades protruded from Inky's wings. She sliced them at the guards, warding them away. "Whoa!". Inky pulled a black gun-like thing out from under her feathers. She pointed it at Lucius, and pulled the trigger. Out came a black rope, which immediately wrapped itself around the porcupine, encasing him in a rope cocoon. She turned around, and did the same treatment for both guards. Lucius's screams were muffled from under the rope. "That should keep them for a while," Inky said, stuffing the rope-gun back in a holster under her feathers. "Wow..." Brownfeather marveled. She and Inky flew to the main door. Suddenly, more porcupines dropped from above. One pinned Inky, her rope-gun flying out of her feathers and hitting the edge of the wall. "Brownfeather! Get it!" Inky screamed as she tried fending off the porcupine. Another porcupine was closing in on Brownfeather. She lunged for the rope-gun, and shot it wildly. The rope wrapped around a statue of a noble-looking porcupine. When Brownfeather pulled, the whole statue crumbled. Inky quickly heaved the porcupine of herself, and threw it directly under the statue's landing spot. The porcupine looked up and screamed just as the statue fell the floor and splattered him like a grape. "Great job!" Inky said. More porcupines emerged. Brownfeather roped two together, then swung them into the wall. Still more came. Dozens of them. It was getting harder for her to fend them off. Inky was using her razor-wings, to sword-fight with their quills. "There's too much!" cried Brownfeather. "Look!" Inky screamed, pointing to the ceiling. Thirty feet up was a glorious chandelier. It was laced with diamonds and twelve fiery candles, all lit. Brownfeather pointed the rope-gun upwards, and was about to pull the trigger when -"NOT MY CHANDELIER!" Lucius screamed. He had broken free of the rope and was strangling Brownfeather from behind. Brownfeather tried to scream, but her throat was so constricted she didn't have enough air. She shot the rope-gun mindlessly, hoping to get Lucius. Brownfeather reached behind, and plucked a quill from Lucius. "OW!" he exclaimed. Brownfeather jabbed the quill at, Lucius, making him bleed. Screaming, Lucius released Brownfeather from his grip. He fell to the ground writhing. Brownfeather shot him with the gun continuously, until only his head was showing. Then, she shot a rope up to the chandelier, and yanked. The whole thing was ripped from the ceiling. The candles waved as it topped the great height. Brownfeather could hear Lucius's muffled shriek just before the chandelier crashed right on top of him. There was a tremendous shattering sound of the diamonds. The candles rolled off of their pedestals and set fire to the ground. The whole hotel was in flames! "Up here!" cried Inky, who was flying above the inferno. Brownfeather flapped her wings to join the eagle. But something grabbed her leg. It was Lucius, mummified in the rope. He had gotten one of his paws free, and was tugged Brownfeather back to the ground. "Inky!" Brownfeather screamed. Inky pulled yet another weapon from her feathers. It was round and black. She threw it at Lucius. The instant the round, black ball hit the porcupine, it encased him in ice-like block of black glass. But Brownfeather's foot was also encased. Inky flew down to help Brownfeather fly up, with Lucius in tow. They got to the top of the ceiling, and flew out the hole that the chandelier used to be in. They were on the roof of the hotel; Out in the branches of the tree. "What was that?" Brownfeather asked Inky. "It's my specialty: Solidification Bombs". Inky pried the Lucius ice cube off of Brownfeather's foot. Brownfeather saw his angered emotion through the black glass. Then, Inky pushed the black glass cube back through the hole, and Brownfeather watched it fall back into the flames and shatter with Lucius inside. "Hey..." Brownfeather said. "This tree is still on fire!". Suddenly, the whole tree collapsed in an explosion of fire.

Brownfeather rustled out of the ashes. Inky followed, her black feathers sizzling. "Lucius didn't have time to tell Freak that we were here. I'm still safe," said Brownfeather. Inky let out a frustrated sigh. "Brownfeather, don't you see? This will keep happening until you go back to Econia and help!"

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