Watership Down - Blueberry's Tale, Book 2, Chapter 38

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18 of Watership Down - Blueberry's Tale, Book 2


Chapter 38 - The attack on Campion-rah

Blueberry couldn't sleep as he woke up again in his burrow, his mind was racing as he got up and tried to find another place to get comfortable again but after a while he finally got up and slipped out of the burrow and into the run itself.

Dewdrop who was walking down the run, nodded his head to Blueberry as he said quietly. "Sir, can't sleep, eh?" Blueberry nodded his head as he looked at the buck in front of him. "What's your name?"

"My name's Dewdrop, sir." Dewdrop said as he looked at Blueberry for a moment. "Care to come up top for a while?" Blueberry nodded his head as he started to walk down the run with the other buck. Dewdrop spoke. "Campion-rah came to see me, said that you were in charge now and that I could trust you." Blueberry paused in his step but caught up quickly. "Ah, he did? So you're not here to make sure I'm not going to run off again are you?" Dewdrop shook his head. "No need, he believes that you won't this time around." Blueberry nodded his head as they came up top and looked about into the night air.

"It's nice out tonight, isn't it?" Dewdrop said as he hopped a bit forward and got a bit to eat. Blueberry followed and did the same, he hadn't eaten since he had left Watership Down with the others. Chewing the wet grass he looked about as he swallowed. "So what is my schedule for tomorrow?"

Dewdrop spoke. "Well, I shall come to your burrow to wake you up when you will talk to us about what we should be doing. You will choose who will be doing sentry duty inside and out as well. It's also a time to hear anything that has happened during the night." Dewdrop paused briefly. "At the moment, nothing of note has happened so I don't think you have much to listen to. I will then be off duty but I shall be about later after I have slept a bit. The rest is up to you, sir."

"I see, well that's good at least." Blueberry said as he looked about, before silflaying silently as he began to think to himself quietly, while watching Dewdrop look about as he took a bit to eat himself. When Dewdrop got up onto his hind legs he listened out as he dropped back down onto his four paws again and looked at Blueberry. "Sir, I know you only just been drafted back in and all and you're probably tired but I can hear something over there that we should investigate."

Blueberry replied back. "Don't worry, I had a sleep during the day, bit boring when you're in a prison burrow." He nodded to Dewdrop and walked over to where his own ears had picked up a sound as he looked at Dewdrop again and whispered. "Let's be quiet, don't want to scare whoever it is or announce our presence."

Dewdrop understood as he nodded silently as both walked quietly though quickly towards the sound. Both stopped now and again as their ears flicked about to catch the sound as Blueberry caught the sound of Vervain's voice in the air. Blueberry turned his head towards Dewdrop who nodded as though they both had the same question in their heads before they carefully approached the fence and stalked along it, keeping their bellies low to the ground.

Vervain was with two other rabbits as they hid in the dark shadow in the field. "Campion should be arriving here soon. We have to be quick and report this as elil attack." Blueberry felt his blood boil as he heard what was going on and he turned his head towards Dewdrop and gave a silent look.

Dewdrop nodded as he backed away slowly and quietly before turning around and headed off back to the warren as Blueberry heard another rabbit he didn't know. Pisum spoke. "Did you hear that he made Blueberry a captain of his mark? Mind you, I thought you said you had a good argument?" Vervain replied back. "I made a mistake, I won't make another one, besides once I'm chief we can continue with Woundworts work."

Blueberry dug his claws into the ground as he began to rub his teeth together. Gerva spoke up as he looked about. "Shh, there's a rabbit heading this way, it must be Campion." Vervain nodded as he started to run off towards the lone figure. "Well, let's get this over and done with."

As all three rabbits headed off, Blueberry looked back to see if Dewdrop was returning and when he couldn't see anything he muttered to himself. "Three onto two, well. I think me and Campion can take them on." Blueberry lowered his back as he crawled under the wooden plank before making his way slowly across the field.

Campion hopped through the fence at the far end of the field, thankful that he had arrived back at the warren without anything bad happening. He looked up into the sky in case there was anything flying overhead as the moon shone down before he looked back down and in front of him again.

Ahead of him, Campion saw three rabbits running towards him as he blinked and sighed, thinking that he had to come up with some excuse about why he had been out but he looked ahead and as he thought, he ran towards them.

Vervain came to a stop just about in the middle of the field and waited with his two companions for Campion to arrive as he gave off a sly grin, victory was at hand as he watched his enemy approach him.

Campion came to a stop as he looked at Vervain, Pisum and Gerva before speaking. "Is there something wrong?" Vervain shook his head as he replied back to Campion. "No, everything is fine for us. There is though, something wrong for you." Pisum and Gerva began to move around Campion as he lowered his body to the ground with a growl. "So, Vervain? You show your true colours at last. What took you so long, couldn't find anyone to help you until now?"

Vervain began to move around Campion as the others did while he replied back. "Oh you know. We must get rid of the weak. Efrafa has to be strong to get rid of all warrens. You want to disgrace the name of Efrafa by wanting to change things. You think all those low non-owsla rabbits deserve to be treated better?"

Campion continued to growl as he looked back and forth between the three of them with a reply. "What's the matter, Vervain? Can't you fight me one on one?" Campion looked at Vervain directly as he tensed up. "So, who's going to attack me first? Or should I?"

Without any warning, Campion jumped towards Vervain but was knocked to the side by the large buck, Gerva who bit into the shoulder of Campion, making him yell to the pain. Campion pulled away as he felt the hairs on his shoulder pull from their roots as he broke free and turned around and gave Gerva a swift kick with his back legs, sending the buck flying backwards.

Vervain used the advantage as he headbutted into the side of Campion, sending him down onto the ground as Pisum jumped on top of him, using his weight to pin him down. With a laugh, Vervain walked over slowly to where Campion was as he lifted up a paw. "My, how the mighty have fallen, such shame really, but now it's time for you to go, and for Efrafa to continue in the ways of Woundwort." Vervain lifted up his paw to get ready on making the killing blow.

Blueberry tore across the ground as his back legs sent up clouds of dry dirt into the air as he head butted Vervain clear off his feet. Blueberry came to a stop as he turned around to Pisum with a growl. "Get off him now!" Gerva got up as he growled back as he began to walk towards Blueberry. "Or you will do what?" Pisum squirmed as Campion began to kick about, trying to get out from underneath the fat rabbit on top of him. "You will do what exactly?" Gerva said with a low growl. "You're still outnumbered."

Blueberry looked towards Vervain and Gerva with a growl. "What? I can take on you two no problem." Blueberry didn't wait for an answer as he charged right at Pisum, sending him off Campion. Just as Blueberry's rear paws barely left over the head of Campion, he was up and went straight at Gerva, his front paws slashing at the larger buck's face, making him back down.

Vervain backed off as he saw Pisum try as he much as he could to keep himself from being killed by Blueberry but he wasn't a fighter and soon, Blueberry had bitten into his neck and killed him. Vervain fled as he saw Blueberry turn to face him and ran away from the warren and into the darkness. Blueberry took flight after him, all the anger ran through his veins as he thought of all the times Vervain had been a pain but he came to a stop as he heard Campion call out in pain.

Blueberry turned his head around to face Campion who had ended up on his back and was using his front paws to try and push Gerva off of him, before he turned his head to where Vervain had vanished in the darkness. Blueberry gave off a loud snort before he turned around and headed back to where Campion was, headbutting into Gerva as the large buck gasped before falling onto his side wheezing.

Campion panted as Blueberry looked down at him while he turned his head back towards where Vervain had ran off to. Campion coughed as he got up. "Thanks, where is he?" Blueberry looked back to where he had been running to a few moments ago as he answered back. "He ran off that way."

Campion growled as he got up with a wince, and then turned his head to where Gerva was panting on the ground. He walked up to where he was and placed his paw on the buck's neck, pressing it down. "As for you, you dare to attack your chief!"

Blueberry turned his head to where he could hear several rabbits heading their way as he called out. "Over here!" He saw Dewdrop arrive with several other officers and then spoke again. "Arrest that buck there." Blueberry pointed to where Gerva was. "He's under arrest for the attempt murder of Campion-rah." Blueberry paused as he looked at Dewdrop. "I hope you can run. I want you and another one to come with me, we have to go get Vervain, he was the ring leader in this attack."

Dewdrop nodded as he turned around and called out. "Quicksilver, you come with us." Blueberry looked and saw a thin rabbit with grey fur as Dewdrop spoke out again. "Trust me, he's fast and can fight. Quicksilver, this is Captain Blueberry."

Quicksilver nodded his head as he replied back. "Hello sir, what are our orders?" Blueberry turned to face Campion with a questionable look as Campion gave a reply. "Bring him back alive. If he resists, kill him. I'm going to deal with this one."

Blueberry nodded as he turned to face Dewdrop and Quicksilver. "Right, let's go." Without another word, Blueberry ran off in the direction that Vervain had run off to.

***

Vervain panted as he looked behind him while he ran through the field. Ignoring everything else for the time being he turned his head back as he muttered to himself. "Why? Why did it go wrong, I had everything planned out but no, Woundwort left and we had that tharn Campion take over the warren. It would've gone okay if it wasn't for that interfering rabbit as well." Vervain looked back again as he knew that he was going to be followed, his ears turned back to try and catch the sound of a patrol after him. Never did he think that he would be on the receiving end of it, fearing it as he used to enjoy chasing down a scared rabbit.

Vervain came to a stop at a fence and looked ahead, the sound of a train in the distance filled his ears as a white line moved across in the air as he turned his head back again with a worried look. Coughing he lowered his body to get under the barbed wire and winced as he felt some of his fur get caught as it pulled off. Not looking back, Vervain ran off across the road and jumped through the wooden plank and into the next field, scaring a fieldmouse as it fell off from a long blade of dry grass.

***

Blueberry had a firm frown on his face as he ran across the field leaving behind Campion and the others as Dewdrop spoke. "So what happened?" Blueberry replied back. "Oh Vervain, Gerva and even Pisum tried to kill Campion." Quicksilver blinked as he spoke. "Pisum? The council rabbit?" Quicksilver gave a frown himself. "I knew Vervain was up to something but I didn't know he would try something so tharn as this."

Blueberry nodded as they came to the edge of the first field and sniffed about for any signs of where Vervain was heading. "Well, Pisum's dead." Blueberry said as he looked about and dropped his head to the ground to search for tracks. "He made his decision and well, he's paid for his actions."

Quicksilver called over. "Found his tracks." He waited as Dewdrop and Blueberry came over to him as Blueberry spoke. "Where's he heading?" Quicksilver looked up as he passed through the fence and sniffed the air again. "I think he's heading towards the iron road."

Blueberry nodded as he jumped through the fence and ran across the dirt path. "Well, lets get there then." Blueberry vanished through the following fence as Quicksilver looked at Dewdrop. "You think he be okay?" Dewdrop nodded as he began to run again with Quicksilver beside him. "You don't know their history, I was only a training officer at the time but you do get to hear things if you listen. Vervain had been annoying Blueberry for a while. But I think he's more annoyed that he's dared to attack a chief rabbit."

Blueberry was a few paces ahead of the other two as he looked ahead, already knowing the way back as he had travelled this way before. He looked up as he saw the moon light reflecting off the clouds before he turned his head back again to the front.

Dewdrop and Quicksilver caught up with Blueberry as they came up to the fieldmouse who was complaining. Blueberry looked at it and then walked over with the other two looking puzzled. "You, mouse. You seen rabbit?" Blueberry said in hedgerow tongue.

The fieldmouse looked up to where Blueberry was and nodded as he gave back an angry squeak. "You rabbits, ignorant, fast, bothered mouse. Knocked down, went that away." The mouse moved a paw up and pointed in the direction of the iron road before walking away without another word.

Dewdrop came up to Blueberry with a smile. "Well, that's a new thing, have to remember that one, may come in handy one day." Blueberry nodded. "I know you don't like to talk to other creatures but some do have information that you may not have, at least we're still on the right track, so let's get going. We have to get ahead of him if we can." The small group of rabbits ran off quickly through the fence.

***

Vervain arrived at the end of the field where he could see the hill going up to where the iron road lay. He looked back and sniffed the air, his body tensed up as he moved across the road slowly, keeping his body close to the ground as he paused to the slightest sound before moving ahead again as he hopped through the fence and got up onto his hind legs and listened out. Vervain didn't know where he was going or what he was going to do but he had to get away from Efrafa since he had failed and the last of his friends had been caught and no doubt killed. Going back or being caught would mean that he would end up being killed and Vervain shivered by the thought. Slowly he made his way through the field and arrived at the bottom of the hill.

"Alright, Vervain." Blueberry said as he came out from behind a bush. Dewdrop and Quicksilver came out from their own hiding places as Blueberry looked at Vervain. "I think this is far enough, don't you? I mean, you really think you could get away from a Efrafan patrol, I mean we aren't going to end up being clueless on these matters all because Woundwort has gone and you have ended up being a traitor to the warren."

Vervain frowned as he slowly walked backwards towards the bottom of the hill as he replied back. "I never did anything wrong. I was protecting Efrafa and upholding the good name of Woundwort. It's you that wants change." Vervain spat at Blueberry. "You and those hraka rabbits at Watership Down, well I won't stand for it, you hear me. I won't!"

Away in the distance the faint familiar sound of rumbling could be heard in the air, the ground began to shake slightly as Vervain turned around and ran off, shouting in the air. "I'll come back and get revenge on you all, mark my words!" Blueberry took off at the same time as Dewdrop and Quicksilver as the rumbling sound got louder.

Vervain panted heavily as he saw the iron road in front of him begin to shine as the light from the train was getting closer. He turned his head to see the train racing down the track but he didn't stop. Jumping onto the track he hopped quickly off it just as the train raced by before falling down the hill at the other end as he rolled about.

Blueberry came to a stop as he saw the train blocking the way, the wind blowing him and his party back down the hill on the other side as he landed heavily on his back. On the other side, Vervain got up and ran off again, making for the river.

Blueberry got up on the other side as he groaned slightly. "Okay, is everyone okay?" Quicksilver moved his head about a bit and heard a crack and a pop come about on his neck as he winced. "Okay here I think." Dewdrop shook himself as he gave a soft growl. "Can we not do that again please, I have nightmares after hearing reports of what happened to some patrols getting run over by that thing."

Blueberry nodded as he heard the rumbling sound grow fainter with each passing second. "So noted, I don't fancy ending my life that way either. Come on, it should be safe now, let's get after him." The three rabbits raced back up the hill again as they crossed over the iron road before jumping down the other side of the hill.

Quicksilver spotted him from where he was halfway up the hill as he was making his way down. "He's making his way towards the river." Blueberry nodded as all three continued on their way to try and close the gap between them and Vervain.

Vervain arrived at the end of the field and looked into the dark river in front of him, the water was running fast as he looked into the blackness and took a step back as though he was scared of the rabbit staring back up at him. Vervain turned his head around as he saw the three rabbits heading towards him before he turned his head back again and then jumped into the icy cold water.