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Nearly two months have passed since Ted D. Bear and Bobby Bobcat returned from exploring the Deon cave. Wally is at the archive with Brion and Sparkle, discussing how frustrated he is with the entire town and especially the Mayor.

“I don’t know what to do, the Mayor doesn’t like my Father and Bobby anymore!” says Wally.

“Well they’re story is a little out there!” says Brion, “I mean, shadowy creatures that have glowing eyes capture and hold them captive for three days?”

“Yeah! If they hadn’t escaped, who knows what would have happened!” exclaims Wally.

“So they’re really saying they were abducted!” says Sparkle.

“Yes!” replies Wally, “They did get abducted! Or trapped! Like animals! Someone or something setup that trap!”

“Well at least they’re not hurt!” says Brion rolling his eyes, as he glances back down to the Deon Notes.

“They ARE hurt mentally and emotionally!” says Wally, “They need the support of the town and especially the Mayor! They don’t need the whole town thinking they’re crazy! I just wish I could help them.”

“Maybe the town just isn’t ready to hear about glowing eyed creatures especially the Mayor.” says Brion. “The Mayor is trying to build the town’s appeal, and stories about ghosts and goblins don’t really help!”

“Really!” Exclaims Wally, “Ghosts and goblins! YOU don’t believe them either! YOU think they’re CRAZY too!

Brion sees that he has hurt his friend and gets up to reassure him.

“Wally, I’m sure there is a reasonable explanation for all this!” assures Brion, “Maybe they were overcome by cave gases and hallucinated! The Sheriff has promised a full investigation!”

“Don’t worry Wally, the truth will be found.” Says Sparkle, “I believe them! I’m sure the town will also believe your Father and Bobby, but maybe not right now.”

“Yeah! I want to believe too!” Brion adds, “I just want to see what evidence the investigation reveals. Give us some time to get the facts.”

Wally looks at his two friends “Thanks guys. That really makes me feel a lot better!”

Brion looks up at the clock “Oh! Look at the time! We should get back to working on deciphering the Deon notes!”

“Brion, I know you’re determined to decipher these Deon notes, but look at the progress we made. Nothing.” wines Sparkle, “We’ve been trying for nearly two months straight!”

“But Sparkle!” pleads Brion, “We’re getting so close to a breakthrough!” Brion looks down with a sad face and looks over and sees Norbert coming down the stairs.

“Norbert?” exclaims Brion.

Sparkle covers her mouth with her paw and Wally’s eyes stick out!

“I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced.” says Norbert with a wide smile, “I apologize for being so rude.”

“Well guys, I need to get home!” says Wally, backing away from Norbert.

“Wally, your Father and Bobby are both great cave explorers!” says Norbert, “They both have my profound respect and admiration!”

“Is that good?” questions Wally, scratching his head in confusion.

Sparkle elbows Wally in the side and says, “Norbert is apologizing!”

“Oh, well, umm, thank you!” stutters Wally.

“The town and the Mayor are wrong not to believe them!” assures Norbert.

“Okay!” smiles Wally, “I really do appreciate your support! I know my Dad and Bobby will also!”

Wally turns and waves good-bye to his friends and leaves the archive. Brion looks over at Sparkle and there is an uncomfortable silence in the room.

“Brion have you made any progress in deciphering the Deon notes?” asks Norbert.

“Well...” stutters Brion, “Some! Maybe!”

Brion looks over at Sparkle, as she crosses her arms with a stern frown and glare.

“I like to think we are making some progress!” mumbles Brion.

“We are TOTALLY stuck!” huffs Sparkle, “We haven’t been able to decipher a single note!”

Norbert raises his long skinny index finger to his chin and exclaims, “Indeed!”

Norbert smiles and reaches for a scrap piece of paper, he begins to write a series of letters. When he finishes he hands the paper to Brion.

“Here Brion!” says Norbert, “Now substitute the letters in the Deon notes according to this code I just gave you.”

Brion looks at the paper that Norbert gave him, “What?” questions Brion, “I don’t understand!”

“Here let me show you!” says Norbert.

The two friends lean over Norbert’s shoulder as he sits down at the table.

Norbert begins with a Deon note lying on top.

“The character ‘A’ is fine but ‘L’ must be replaced with ‘U,’” explains Norbert.

The two watch as Norbert deciphers the first sentence.

‘The character ‘C’ is fine, but ‘Y’ must be replaced with ‘D,’” explains Norbert.

‘“NWE MARALYERP ANNACKEY’ becomes ‘the marauders attacked.’” Says Norbert.

“You deciphered the Deon Notes!” gasps Brion.

Norbert leans back in the chair with a big smile and says, “Indeed! I did! A long time ago!”

“I don’t understand!” says Sparkle.

“Why don’t you two come by my house this evening to talk, maybe over a hot cup of tea?” says Norbert smiling, “I will explain everything then!”

Norbert rises from the chair with a big grin and chuckles to himself.

“Again, my most sincere apologies for my behavior earlier this summer!” says Norbert.

Norbert turns and leaves the archive.

Brion and Sparkle stand staring at the code Norbert wrote.

Brion suddenly grabs a chair and declares, “Let me give this a try!”

Brion sits down and pulls a note from the stack. Using the Norbert code he begins replacing the letters just as Norbert had instructed.

“The sword was too powerful.”

“It worked!” declared Brion, “You know what this means?”

“What? You can decipher the Deon notes?” replies Sparkle.

“Yes, I can decipher the notes!” replies Brion, “But now we have to go back to Norbert’s haunted mansion to find out how Norbert solved this mystery!”

“OH! NO!” moans Sparkle, “I hope it doesn’t storm this time!”

After dinner Brion and Sparkle decide to head over to Norbert’s house. The sun is warm and the sky is blue. As they walk across the meadow towards Norbert’s house they notice there has been some changes.

“WOW! Look Brion! I wonder who did this?” Exclaims Sparkle looking around.

“I don’t know. But they did a great job!” Exclaims Brion.

Brion and Sparkle walk up to Norbert’s front door, and Brion knocks on the new wooden door. The door opens without a single squeak to reveal Norbert, with a big smile on his face.

“Isn’t this new door nice!” says Norbert, “And the house looks great too. They really got this place fixed up!”

The two friends stare up at the bright new chandelier on the ceiling.

“Please, come in!” exclaims Norbert. “You two can sit in the living room.”

Norbert comes in with a pitcher of tea. Norbert sits down and pours a cup of tea for Brion and Sparkle.

“Thank you Sir!” Says Sparkle, drinking some tea.

“So, what have you two been doing?” asks Norbert.

“Well, we used your code to decipher some Deon notes.” Replies Sparkle.

“Wonderful!” laughs Norbert, “Well you know, long ago I deciphered all the Deon notes down in the archive.”

“You deciphered all the Deon notes in the archive?” questions Brion.

“Yes and I told the town, but no one believed me!” explains Norbert, “Everyone thought I was crazy. Most people now don’t even know about me! I told them all about what Deon wrote before he died. They thought I was speaking nonsense, that’s what they wanted to believe.”

“What caused Deon to go crazy?” asks Sparkle.

“I don’t know. Really no one knows.” Replies Norbert.

“Norbert! What did the notes you deciphered say?” asks Brion.

“Well, I have a copy of the deciphered notes stored away, so let me go get them and we can read them right now,” Says Norbert.

So Norbert leaves to fetch the notes.

“I’m really glad this place is fixed up! I was getting scared when Norbert invited us over!” says Brion, “I didn’t want to be rude, but I didn’t really want to return.”

About a minute later Norbert returns with the notes.

“Here they are!” Norbert says as he lays the stack of paper on the coffee table.

Brion is about to grab a note when Norbert says, “Please! Allow me to read the notes to you.”

“Of course Sir!” says Sparkle, politely.

“I’ll start with earlier notes first,” says Norbert, as he reaches for a note.

He starts to read:

‘“Juneth 1, 347”’

‘“Today the town finished the statue of my Father, the plan was for me to place his sword on top of the statue. But my Father’s sword is so unique and special. I cannot bear the thought that it would ever be taken. So I will not leave his real sword out there on the statue.”’

‘“Juneth 14, 347”’

“I have sent for the replica to be made by the famous weapon smith of the town of Latrell.”’

‘“Juneth 23, 347”’

‘“The replica is perfect. I can barely tell the difference between the two swords.”’

‘“Julyth 4, 347”’

‘“The ceremony went well! The replica is in place and none is the wiser! I have the real sword in my Father’s summer home.’”

“A REPLICA!” exclaims Brion, “So there ARE TWO swords! And one is a REPLICA!”

“That’s correct Brion.” Replies Norbert.

“So where are they now?” asks Sparkle.

“No one really knows that!” says Norbert.

“Earlier this summer Sparkle and I found a locked iron box hidden in the Greon House’s lintel, above the fireplace.” Explains Brion.

“What is in the box?” asks Norbert.

“We don’t know!” says Sparkle; “We got distracted on trying to decipher the Deon notes...”

“That was when Ted D. Bear and Bobby Bobcat disappeared!” interrupts Brion, “There was so much commotion, that the box was forgotten by all of us!”

Norbert raises his skinny index finger to his chin and says, “Indeed! Does Benjamin know about this box?”

“Of coarse!” says Sparkle; “We always include Benjamin on all our secrets! Even the one in my cellar!

“Indeed!” says Norbert, “What is the one in your cellar?”

“UUUHH...Well...UUUHH!” Stutters Sparkle.

“The cellar isn’t a big deal right now!” says Brion, “I need to know what the Deon notes say!”

“Indeed!” says Norbert, slowly turning back to the Deon notes.

‘“Augxt 3, 347”’

‘“Some bandits attacked the town last night. Two houses were broken into in the old meadow. There were no witnesses to the crimes’”

‘“Augxt 24, 347”’

‘“Some more bandits attacked three more houses last night. Again no witnesses to the crimes.’”

‘“Augxt 28, 347”’

‘“More bandits attacked two houses. William Right, the town’s blacksmith, witnessed the attackers. He described them as ‘wearing dark raiment and having glowing eyes.’ The Town doctor is checking him over for head injuries.’”

“What is ‘raiment?’” asks Sparkle.

“It means clothing!” explains Brion, “Wait, that sounds like the description Ted D. Bear and Bobby Bobcat gave for their abductors!”

“Indeed!” says Norbert smiling as he looks up from the notes, “Shall I continue?”

‘“Septxb 23, 347”’

‘“The bandits have attacked for months now. The town’s people are growing weary of these attacks. Last night the replica sword was taken from my Father’s monument. The town’s Sheriff has sworn to recover the sword. I fear it’s too late to place the real sword in the monument’s repository. The bandits have increased in number. I myself witnessed these dark shadowy devils with glowing eyes. Don’t be deceived by their small stature, what they lack in size they make up for in number and strength.’”

“Could the marauders be back?” gasps Sparkle.

“Indeed! Crazy talk!” chuckles Norbert, “That sort of talk will get you excommunicated from the town!”

“What do you mean by ‘excommunicated?’” asks Sparkle.

“It means banned or dismissed,” answers Brion.

“Or shunned and cast out, like Ted and Bobby.” Says Norbert, “AND just like me when I tried to read these notes to the town nearly 40 years ago!”

“You were excommunicated by the town?” asks Brion.

“By Mayor Mefort Beaver!” answers Norbert. “I was a young and aspiring polyglot, with a talent of deciphering encrypted journals.”

“A polyglot?” ponders Sparkle.

“A polyglot is an interpreter or linguist!” answers Brion.

“Indeed! I became bitter with the Mayor and the town.” explains Norbert, “I withdrew to my house and lived in solitude.”

“So what changed your mind and made you help us?” asks Sparkle.

“Mayor Ed Ger Beaver!” answers Norbert.

“How? What did the Mayor say?” asks Brion.

“It’s not what he said! Indeed! But what he did!” answers Norbert.

“What did he do?” asks Sparkle.

“Indeed! Look around you!” says Norbert smiling.

“He did all this?” says Brion.

“Indeed! The Mayor and a group of the town’s elders and leaders!” says Norbert.

“Your house is beautiful!” says Sparkle.

“Indeed!” replies Norbert, “Both of you need to be going, but first I have one more note I want to read to you,”

‘“Novbxb 16, 347”’

‘“I, Deon Patell, sworn protector of the great town of Patell, have taken up the cause to fight these marauders. Nearly every night they burn and loot the town. Nearly half of the town is now burned or ransacked. I don’t know what they want. They seem to be searching for something. I don’t know what to do, but I can’t just stand by and do nothing.”’

‘“I finally I’ve seen the bandits close up, I still don’t know what they are. They are not like any person or creature I have ever seen.”’

‘“Novbxb 28, 347”’

‘“I know what I have to do, I have found out that the bandits are staying somewhere just outside of the town meadow. I will have to find out exactly where they are hiding out and then I will find them. Tomorrow at dawn I can follow them to their hidey-hole and finish this for good.”’

‘“Novbxb 29, 347”’

‘“The bandits appear to be using the cave at the edge of the meadow. A group of us attempted to attack the cave, but we were overcome. The cave is too defensible for us.”’

‘“Decbxb 4, 347”’

‘“Last night someone told me that the bandits where attacking my Father’s summerhouse, where my Mother still lives. I rushed to her aid. I entered and called for her, but there was no answer. I ran down to the cellar and there I saw a bandit holding my Fathers real sword trying to put some kind of crystal in it. I tackled the bandit and grabbed for my Father’s sword and the crystal. We struggled back and forth. Though they are small they are very strong. I pushed the bandit back and seized the crystal. I thrust the crystal into the holder on the bottom of my Father’s sword. The crystal changed shape and became the exact and prefect shape for the sword. The sword lit up and I heard this quiet humming noise coming from the sword. The bandit regained his footing and began to approach me. I held the sword up towards the bandit and then there was a big bright beam of light followed a loud crash. I was blinded for a second and when I could see again he was gone, he had vanished right in front of my face, and there in front of me was a pile of ashes. Next I ran up stairs once again calling for my Mother. I saw a bandit in the kitchen. He was setting the kitchen on fire. He looked back and noticed me, and then he started charging at me. I pointed the sword at him, he vanished just like the marauder in the cellar.”’

“What sort of sword is this?” asks Brion.

“Indeed!” says Norbert, “That is a mystery!”

“What happened to Deon’s Mother?” Sparkle asks.

“Indeed! A good question, you will be relieved to hear that she was found the next day, in fine condition. She had fled the house when the bandits started breaking in.” answers Norbert.

“It’s getting dark outside,” says Sparkle, “we need to be going home.”

“Thanks Norbert!” says Brion, “I would love to come back and hear the remaining notes!”

“Indeed! Of Coarse!” exclaims Norbert, “You two are welcome to come back anytime!”

The two friends leave Norbert’s house and head across the meadow towards Sparkle’s house. Sparkle sees a shadowy figure move from around a bush.

“Did you see that Brion!” shivers Sparkle.

“Look over there!” says Brion.

The two friends see several dark figures moving in their direction. They appear to have glowing eyes and dart back and forth quickly.

“Let’s get out of here!” yells Brion.

Brion grabs Sparkle and begins running as fast as he can towards Sparkle’s house. Brion stops at the front door and puts Sparkle down, as he pants for his breath.

“Are they still behind us?” pants Brion.

“I don’t think so!” exclaims Sparkle, “Let’s go inside!”

The two friends quickly go inside and lock the door. As they turn around they see Benjamin and Howard, looking at them.

“What’s the matter with you two?” asks Howard Hound.

Sparkle starts to answer, but Brion puts his big paw over her mouth and smiles.

“We just came back from Norbert’s house!” says Brion.

“Is everything okay?” asks Benjamin.

“We need to open the iron box from Greon’s lintel!” says Brion.

“Why?” asks Benjamin, “What do you think is in it?”

Sparkle pulls Brion’s paw away from her mouth and shouts, “Greon’s sword!”

Sparkle then bites Brion’s paw.

“Ouch!” says Brion, “Why did you do that?”

Sparkle gives Brion a big grin and says, “I wanted to tell them the news!”

Benjamin and Howard start laughing.

Brion starts laughing and says, “Okay! Next time you get to tell the news!”

Suddenly there is a loud knock at the door. Brion quickly runs over and blocks the door.

“We should not answer that!” yells Sparkle.

“What is wrong with you two?” says Howard, “Brion please step aside!”

Brion slowly moves out of the way. Sparkle starts to move away from the door. Howard answers the door.

“Good evening!” says Norbert, “May I please come in?” Norbert comes in and smiles and says, “Indeed! Good evening, my name is Norbert Skunk! I’ve decided to bring these notes over so you could read them later. I also thought I could look at your cellar.”

Benjamin looks over at Sparkle with a big frown.

“Did we talk too much Sparkle?” asks Benjamin.

“Ooh! Sorry!” says Sparkle shyly.

“It’s okay! I’ll show Norbert the cellar.” says Howard.

“Here’s the Deon notes,” says Norbert giving the notes to Brion.

“Thanks Norbert!” says Brion.

“Come on Norbert, the cellar is this way!” says Howard leading Norbert to the cellar. “Watch your step as you go down these stairs.”

Everyone goes down into the cellar and stands in front of the Seal of Greon.

“Hmm...Yes Indeed! This is very extraordinary!” exclaims Norbert.

“When you turn the Seal of Greon it does this!” says Benjamin reaching for the seal.

“Please allow me!” says Norbert, as he examines the Seal of Greon. “Look at the strange symbols on the Seal of Greon, I’ve never seen this before.”

Benjamin, Brion and Sparkle all run over to examine the Seal of Greon.

“Hmm... This is strange! I never noticed these markings before!” says Benjamin.

“I’ll try turning the Seal.” Says Norbert turning the Seal.

The Seal of Greon starts glowing as it opens up to reveal a slot in the middle. Norbert’s eyes grow wide and his jaw drops in amazement. “INDEED!”

“So what do you think of this?” asks Benjamin.

“I don’t know!” replies Norbert shaking his head, “I’ve never in my life seen anything like this anywhere.”

Suddenly Norbert rushes forward and inserts his hand into the slot. When he does, his body stiffens, his eyes begin to glow and all the hair on his body stands straight on end. Slowly his body begins to float up into the air. Then Norbert begins to mumble in a strange deep voice.

“Brion! Pull Norbert out of there!” yells Benjamin.

Sparkle elbows Brion and he runs over and grabs Norbert and pulls him out of the slot. When Norbert’s arm comes out of the slot, the Seal of Greon immediately reappears and the slot is gone.

“WHAT WHERE YOU THINKING?” yells Benjamin.

Norbert lies on the floor with a dazed look on his face. He slowly rubs his arm and says, “INDEED!”

“Are you okay?” asks Sparkle.

Brion helps Norbert back to his feet.

All eyes stay focused on Norbert as he begins to speak in his familiar voice, “I made some sort of connection... they spoke to me... they wanted something!”

The adventures are now connecting in new ways.

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