Edmund looked at the trees.Blood.At the ground.Blood.Even at his giraffes.Blood.After the rhinos invaded,everything was caked in blood,mostly giraffes'.All his warriors were in critical condition,and he wasn't much better.There was a wound where Ruby had stabbed him,a cast in a broken leg where she had charged him,splints in his neck where she had thrown a stick at him,and blood pouring from embarrasing spots on his body.Some of his warriors couldn't be healed even by the best herbs the tribe healers had,so they were left to the vultures.But most needed healing only by using uncommon herbs,which wasn't too hard since they had a lot of new healers join last spring,which meant more herb-gathering patrols.The younger giraffes that didn't fight were cleaning the blood off the trees so that it was safe to eat,and the even younger ones disenfected many wounds while clamping dead leaves over their mouths.Everyone in the tribe was pitching in to clean up,and even the elders held a council to discuss new battle tactics.Edmund just had to give directions to his tribemates,which wasn't too hard since his father had experienced a lot of fights with rhinos.Every time Edmund asked him about the other tribes,he would tell him about the humble elephants,the proud rhinos,and the sly crocodiles.All the chiefs were selected by Moko,which meant they had to be heroes and also children of the current chiefs."Edmund!"a firewood gatherer shouted to him."Does the central fire in the commons need kindling,or all sorts of wood?"Edmund glanced at the commons."Just kindling,Oke."he told the small giraffe,and sighed.Some of the trees were being cut down by Twolegs,but other trees were alos being cut down,and Edmund suspected that the crocodiles were doing that,because they were talking about making a dam so that their little ones had a place to safely play.Edmund saw reason in that,but why did they have to take away their food?He was convcinced,since he saw Cornelius chewing down a tree last night.Now Cornelius owed him a proper explanation!
Two weeks later...
Edmund rallied his warriors as they prepared for war.They were going to invade the crocodile island,and make them sorry for stealing their trees.The crocodile tribe also owed them an explanation!"Giraffes,to me!"he would shout every mile they marched,making sure that everyone was with him.Soon,the raging rapids of the river appeared,and they marched even further."Woo-ah,wooah!"the crocodiles bathing in the shallow end cried in alarm,and crocodiles dressed in armor popped out of the water and out of pits,clearlysunbathing while waiting for orders."Giraffes,attack!"he shouted,and the giraffes charged at th crocodiles.Even though they were clumsy herbivores,they knew how to attack crocodiles.When they nipped at them,they swerve to avoid them and struck them with their hooves.Soon,the crocodiles were piled in a sloppy heap."Tell me why you are chopping down our trees!"he growled."Your chief was chopping down a tree last night!"A tired crocodile weakly looked up at him and bared his teeth."Weeee do noot know of our chieeef doing such a wreeetched thing,"the crocodile hissed slowly."Heee was ooonly sharpening heez teeeth,and accidentially choppped it doooown.""Take me to Cornelius!"The crocodile reluctantly pointed at a single hut on a large island in the middle of the river.The other crocodiles slept on the ground,which wasn't suprising for lesser beings."Weee have given cleeearance for any giraffffe,but de raaapids are enough to sweeeeep a strong crocodiiiiile away.Good luuuck,Eddddddmund."Edmund waded into the river,determined to get to the island.
The rapids tugged at Edmund's legs,trying to bring him down into the waters of despair and failure.But he didn't try to give in,instead he fought."Yoour journey eez hopeless..."the naiads whispered in his ears.He didn't believe them.Soon,he reached the hut,and avoided a few rocks meant as traps,with one weakening demon binded to each.A few mini streams flowed around the hut as a place to safely drink,but he easily hopped over them.As he opened the hut door,he saw that there was a hole in the sod roof,meant for the chief to sunbathe in,and a diving pool.The pool was filled with fish and rocks,sand and rivergrass and watercress,just so that the chief could fish in the comforts of home.Cornelius sat in a dark corner,playing in sand,when he noticed Edmund,and nearly got buried by the living sand."W-what are you doing here?"Cornelius stuttered,blowing sand off one of his scabs from being trampled by Ruby."You have to explain why you are chewing down the trees my tribe uses for food every day."he said in a stern voice."I have caught you red-pawed!"Cornelius stared at him in disgust."The tree I chewed down was just to complete the dam,and it was dying anyway.If you think that we are chewing down ALL your trees,then the Twolegs must be costing us more turf than we realized."Then a blue macaw flew in,a letter in it's talons."Sir,"it said."we must gather all the chiefs to the oasis in Egypt,for a meeting.Moko will punish your tribe if you do not come.-Otto."Cornelius muttered to himself,and he realized that Otto had sent a letter to them just when Edmund and Cornelius were in the same spot."We must go."they said at the same time."This could be a way to right things out,or destroy everything we've ever worked for."