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“Mommy! Mommy!” yells Spots, “Look at all the smoke!”

Sparkle and her Mother run over to the front window and look out.

“Ooh dear!” exclaims Mom.

Sparkle runs over and opens the front door, and runs out onto the front porch. A column of dark smoke from the meadow bellows up into the clear blue morning sky.

“What could be burning?” ponders Sparkle.

“You stay right here!” commands Mom, “No one goes near that blaze!”

Sparkle watches the smoke and wonders what is happening. Suddenly, Brion runs out from across the street and onto Sparkle’s front porch.

“You’re not going to believe this!” pants Brion, “Norbert’s house burned down last night!”

“Ooh dear!” exclaims Sparkle’s Mom, “Is Norbert okay?”

“Well, I’m not really sure!” answers Brion, “I know that he is in the town’s infirmary!”

“Ooh dear!” exclaims Mom, “Well maybe you should go check on him Sparkle. If he needs anything, let him know we will help him!”

“He is going to need some place to live!” exclaims Brion.

“He can stay in the cellar.” Says Mom.

Brion and Sparkle both look at each other and raise their eyebrows.

“I don’t know if that’s a good idea!” says Brion.

“We help our neighbors!” snaps Mom, “Now go and see how that dear old man is doing Sparkle!”

Just then Howard comes out onto the porch and looks at the column of smoke.

“Norbert’s house burned down last night Dad!” says Sparkle.

“That’s terrible!” exclaims Dad.

“Norbert is in the town’s infirmary!” says Brion.

“We need to help Norbert any way we can.” Says Dad.

“Mom said Norbert can live in the cellar!” says Sparkle.

Howard looks over at Helen as she puts her hands on her hips.

“Norbert can stay in the cellar as long as he wants!” Says Dad.

So the two friends go to the infirmary in town, to check on their friend Norbert. When they arrive, there is a loud commotion back in the Doctor’s office.

“We are here to see our friend!” Brion says to the Nurse.

The Nurse looks up from her desk and says, “Name of patient, Please.”

“Norbert, umm, Norbert Skunk!” stutters Brion.

The nurse pulls her glasses off and looks at the two and says, “Are you two on the list of approved family members?”

“What?” asks Sparkle.

The doctor walks out to the nurse’s station.

“Are you two friends of Norbert?” asks Dr. Drake.

“Yes Sir!” says Sparkle.

“Norbert could use a friend right now!” says Dr. Drake, “Go ahead and talk to him!”

So the two friends follow the Doctor past the nurse’s station and down the hall, to Norbert’s room. The Sheriff and his Deputy are standing next to Norbert’s bed.

“Hello Brion! How are you Sparkle?” says the Sheriff.

“We are fine Sir.” Answers Sparkle, “How is Norbert?”

“Physically Norbert is fine,” says Dr. Drake, “but he has suffered major emotional trauma.”

Sparkle rushes to Norbert’s side and takes him by the hand.

The Sheriff leans over and whispers in Brion’s ear, “Norbert keeps saying the marauders attacked him last night!”

“Well, we’ll being going now!” says the Sheriff, “Come on Deputy!”

The Sheriff and Deputy leave the room, the Doctor follows them out. Brion walks over to Norbert’s bedside.

“What happened Norbert?” asks Brion.

“On my way home from Sparkle’s house, I was attacked in the meadow!” says Norbert.

“Who did it?” asks Sparkle.

Norbert looks around the room and whispers, “The marauders!”

“So how did you fight off all the marauders?” asks Brion.

“Indeed! We skunks can take care of ourselves!” says Norbert, proudly.

Brion and Sparkle look at each other, and Brion just shrugs.

“We have to get to the archive and open that iron box!” whispers Norbert.

“Why?” asks Sparkle.

“To get Greon’s sword and defeat the marauders!” says Norbert.

Just then the Mayor walks into Norbert’s room and comes over to his bed.

“How are you feeling Norbert?” asks the Mayor.

“I’m feeling fine! I will feel better when I get out of here!” says Norbert.

“The Sheriff gave me the description of your assailants,” says the Mayor, “it was dark out there! Did you get a good look at them?”

“Indeed! I did!” Says Norbert sternly. “We need to get to the archive and open the iron box with Greon’s sword in it.”

“Well, you sound healthy to me!” says the Mayor, “I’ll go talk to the Doctor and get you released.”

The Doctor releases Norbert from the infirmary, and Brion and Sparkle walk over to the archive with Norbert and the Mayor. As they walk into the archive, they see Benjamin reading at a table.

“I heard what happened!” says Benjamin, “It’s just horrible! Please come over and sit down Norbert.”

Norbert sits down at the table and looks up at the Mayor and says, “There is no time to lose! We need the Sword of Greon to defeat the marauders.”

“How do you know the Sword of Greon can defeat the marauders?” asks Benjamin.

“I have the testimony of Deon!” says Norbert, “I read and decrypted the Deon notes!”

“Tell us! What is the story from Deon?” asks Benjamin.

“Indeed! Let me tell you the story of Deon and the cave.” Norbert says, “MMHHMM” Norbert clears his throat, and begins:

Now it is the 5th of Decbxb, the day after the burning of Deon’s Father’s summer home. The marauders have been relentlessly attacking for several months now, the town is nearly in ruins and everyone is angry and afraid. Deon returns to his Father’s summer home and finds his Mother, Deanna standing outside, inspecting the ruins.

“Mother!” exclaims Deon running up to his Mother, “I could not find you anywhere!”

“When I heard the marauders breaking in, I fled from the house!” explains Deon’s Mother.

“The marauders won’t give up, they’re relentless!” exclaims Deon; “They burn and loot the town almost every night!”

“I know. It’s dreadful!” replies Deon’s Mother.

“I don’t know what to do anymore!” says Deon, “We have nothing left, and they’re too powerful! We must flee Patell, it’s too dangerous here!”

“What? Leave Patell? The town that’s named after us!” says Deon’s Mother, “What will the rest of the town do?”

“But Mother! It’s much too dangerous. What are we to do, but flee?” pleads Deon.

“No Deon! We must stay and fight for what is ours!” says Deon’s Mother, “Deon this is our town! This town is named after our family! What kind of a legacy do you want to leave behind; do you want to be known as a COWARD who fled from danger? Or do you want to be known as the one who stood up and fought for your town and the people living within? What do you want the people to think of us? What do you think your Father would have done? How can you expect the people to stand and fight, if you will not? You have to defeat these marauders and save the town! The people believed in your Father when he was leader of the town, now can the people, and I, believe in YOU?”

“But Mother! My Father, he built the whole town by himself!” says Deon, “He was different, and I’m not like that!”

“Deon! You are the Son of Greon. His blood runs through you! Your Father was different, is different! You can be different if you choose to be!” says Deon’s Mother, “What would your Father want you to do? What would he want the Patell name to be known for?”

‘“IS different...”’ asks Deon, “What do you mean ‘IS DIFFERENT?”’

His Mother sighs, “I wasn’t going to tell you, but I guess these are desperate times. I still believe that your Father is alive.”

“WHAT?” Deon exclaims

“Let me finish, Deon,” says his Mother, “You may not remember because you were so young, but your Father would go down into the cellar and disappear for days, or even weeks sometimes. I would be so worried every time. But then he would return, and assure me that everything was all right. Maybe he is still coming back, and what kind of a town do you want him to see when he returns?”

“But, he has been gone for many years,” Says Deon.

“I have seen things,” says his Mother, “Many unexplainable things. Your Father would tell me stories of other places... Worlds! Places and things that I cannot understand or even imagine.”

“You have also?” says Deon, “I have seen some things in the last few months that I thought no one, even I, would believe without seeing. Like those marauders, no one could say who or what they were, or where they come from. And Father’s sword, what it can do is amazing, and unbelievable. Its power is like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

“Let me see what this sword can do!” says Deon’s Mother.

“Come with me out behind the house.” Says Deon.

So Deon takes his Mother out behind the house to show her what the sword can do.

“I’ll show you on this rock.” Says Deon pointing the sword at the rock.

Suddenly a bright beam of light comes from the tip of the sword followed by a loud crash! Blinding Deon and his Mother for a moment. There in place of the rock are blackened ashes, small pieces of rock, and melted material.

“WOW! You’re Father never showed me that! You must use this sword to defeat the marauders.” Says Deon’s Mother; “You have to protect the town of Patell with the Sword of your Father. With this powerful sword, you are the only hope for defeating the marauders. YOU are the one who should finish this! You have the power of your Father’s sword! Now go and finish this for good. I will be watching.”

Deon’s Mother leaves the ruins of the house. Deon thinks to himself; “I should try to convince the Mayor that we need to defeat these marauders for good.”

So Deon heads over to the Mayor’s office. When he enters, he is greeted with silence.

Deon looks around the Mayor’s office. He does not see anyone in the office.

“The Mayor is probably out helping everyone clean up the town.” Thinks Deon.

Deon looks around the town for a while before he finds the Mayor helping the people clean up some of the burnt buildings in the town.

“Mayor Egan Eagle!” pleads Deon, “I need to speak with you, please.”

“I’m busy,” says the Mayor.

“It’s important! It’s urgent!” Replies Deon.

“Very well then, we’ll speak in my office.” Says Mayor Egan Eagle.

Deon and Mayor Egan Eagle head to the Mayor’s office.

“Now what was it you wanted to tell me?” asks the Mayor.

“I need to go back into the cave, I can defeat the marauders this time.” says Deon.

“Why do you want to go back into the cave?” asks the Mayor, “It was a failure last time!”

“I have my Father’s sword this time!” says Deon.

“That’s great, but what difference is that going to make?” asks the Mayor.

“I can’t tell you,” says Deon, “but I’ll show you, follow me outside.”

Deon and Mayor Egan go outside behind the town hall.

“What you are about to witness is unbelievable and unexplainable! Are you ready?” Asks Deon.

“Yes, I’m ready!” says Mayor Egan.

Deon points the sword at a rock and yells “NOW!” but there is complete silence “What!” says Deon, looking around.

“Um... uh... was something supposed to happen?” asks Mayor Egan.

“YES! Something was supposed to happen!” Exclaims Deon, “I was supposed to demonstrate the power of my Father’s sword!”

“So what happened? Why didn’t the sword of Greon work?” asks the Mayor.

“I don’t know!” Says Deon thinking, “It was working, I was practicing to get better. But now it doesn’t work.”

“Could you just tell me what it does?” asks the Mayor.

“I wanted to show you the power of my Father’s sword,” says Deon, “it’s unexplainable! It’s nothing I’ve ever seen before!” Deon looks down at the sword and notices that the glow is faint.

“The glow from the crystal is faint and the hum from the sword is gone,” says Deon, “I must need to get another glowing crystal. All that practicing may have drained the sword of power. Meet me back here in one hour.”

“Ok, I’ll give you another chance.” Says Mayor Egan.

So Deon runs back to his house to grab a glowing crystal for his Father’s sword. He removes the old crystal and inserts the new crystal into the sword. Immediately the glow and the humming return. Deon heads back to the town hall to find Mayor Egan Eagle already there, waiting for him.

“Alright I have the sword powered and ready!” says Deon.

“I’m ready, let’s see what this sword can do.” Says the Mayor.

Deon points the sword at the rock, and a blast of light comes out from the end and hits the rock. The rock cracks open and then melts into lava.

Mayor Egan’s jaw drops and his eyes grow wide, as he watches the rock turn into lava. There is a long silence.

“So what do you think?” asks Deon.

“You’re right, this is unexplainable.” Says Mayor Egan.

“I still don’t understand it,” says Deon.

“Were did Greon get this sword?” mumbles the Mayor, “How do you control this power?”

“I’m not really sure!” explains Deon, “It just does my will!”

“Well, let’s hope your will is strong enough!” says the Mayor, “It’s almost time for the meeting. We’re going to discuss how to deal with the marauders. I have to go get ready, see you at the town meeting.”

Deon goes out to the Greon rock and stands looking out over the ruins of the town. “If it is the last thing I do, I will not let this town be destroyed!” vows Deon.

A few hours later, everyone is gathered at the town meeting.

“We must deal with this problem!” says Mayor Egan.

“The town can’t take much more of this!” says the Sheriff, “Maybe we should all leave while we still can!”

“What do you all think about making another attack on the marauders in the cave?” asks Mayor Egan.

“We have tried that and failed miserably!” replies the Sheriff.

“Last night I went to my Father’s house looking for my Mother!” Says Deon, “I found my Father’s house under attack! I feared my Mother was dead! But do you know what I found? I found my Father’s Sword! The Sword of Greon and with it, I defeated several marauders! Now I believe this is a sign! A sign that we must fight for what is ours! My Father built this town, and I will not run away, or watch it be destroyed! I will return to the cave with the Sword of Greon and I will defeat this menace!”

The room is filled with shouts and applause.

“Why don’t we just collapse the cave, then we could be done with this,” a citizen suggests.

“That’s very risky isn’t it?” asks the Sheriff,

“Indeed it is,” Replies the Mayor, “but it may be our last chance to finish them off and end this for good.”

Bill E. Bear stands up and says, “Collapsing the cave could be very risky and may not even trap them. There could be another entrance!”

“If Deon can’t defeat them,” replies the Mayor, “it’s the only other option that could stop the marauders for good.”

“We could also just seal up the entrance with bricks and stones,” suggests Bill E. Bear.

“That would take a lot of work,” says the Sheriff.

“It may be safer. Would you allow me to look at the cave and tell you what I think is best?” asks Bill E. Bear.

“I have decided!” declares the Mayor; “We shall let Deon go to defeat the marauders. And if he is unsuccessful, we will collapse or seal up the cave, upon Bill E. Bear’s recommendations. We will meet at the cave just after dawn.”

After the town meeting, the Mayor invites Deon to his office. He knights Deon, ‘Sir Deon the Brave, Protector of Patell’.

The next day everyone heads out to the cave. Bill E. Bear has worked out a way to seal up the cave opening. All the town’s people are working in preparation to seal the cave.

“I must go in the cave alone!” declares Deon, “I am the son of Greon, founder of this town. I will defeat the marauders. If I do not return within an hour you all must seal up the cave. I believe I have a good chance because I have my Father’s sword. It is a special and unique sword; it is well made and very powerful.”

“You really believe you have a good chance by yourself?” Whispers the Mayor to Deon.

“I am unsure whether I will be able to defeat them, but you know, I can’t tell everyone that.” Deon whispers back.

“We can’t let you go in there alone!” says the crowd of people.

“It is his choice!” says the Mayor, “I say we should let Deon try! He is the son of Greon!”

“Thank you, Mayor Egan.” declares Deon, “Everyone should stay out here and continue the preparation, just give me an hour to defeat them. If I do not return, then seal up the cave.”

“That’s MADNESS! You’ll never defeat all the marauders by yourself!” say the people.

Deon turns to the crowd and holds the Sword of Greon up over his head, “You have to let me try!” pleads Deon.

A strange glow surrounds Deon and the likeness of Greon is seen in his face. A strange awe falls over the crowd as they look into the eyes of their leader. A shout is heard from the back of the crowd, “Long live Deon! Protector of Patell!” Then the whole crowd begins to chant; “Long live Deon! Protector of Patell! Long live Deon! Protector of Patell! Long live Deon! Protector of Patell!”

As the crowd chants continue, Deon positions some notes and one of his Father’s journals into his armor breastplate. With only the Sword of Greon and his armor to protect him, Deon enters the cave; he follows the main passage for a while. It starts to get very dark, as the morning light from the entrance fades. He uses the light from the crystal in his Father’s sword to see the way. But then, out of nowhere, he trips! He drops some of his notes and it is too dark for him to find them all.

“I must continue, and not worry about these notes. I only have an hour after all!” Deon says to himself.

He continues into the cave until he comes to a drop off, he looks down and sees a rickety old rope ladder.

“Well, I guess it will have to do,” thinks Deon.

He carefully continues down the rope ladder and across the small river running through the cave. And then, suddenly the floor collapses underneath his foot, he is able to catch himself before he falls into a pit!

“A trap, I must be getting closer!” thinks Deon. “I will have to watch for other traps and pitfalls.”

He continues down the cave for a while longer and finds several more traps. But then, he comes around a corner and sees a large steel entranceway into another part of the cave. Deon comes up to the entranceway and sees a large area. He comes through the entranceway and looks up. He sees a faint bit of sunlight shining through the thin layer of fog above him. In front there is a large mound of sand, with many holes in it.

“This is huge!” thinks Deon, “What a peculiar area to be inside of a cave.”

Suddenly, hordes of marauders come from the far side of the mound. He quickly pulls out his sword from his sheath, and begins to blast them with it. They continue to come; the more he blasts with his sword the more they come charging at him!

“This is hopeless, there are too many of them. I must trap them instead,” Deon quickly decides.

He retreats back throughout the steel entrance; some of the marauders come through with him. He raises his sword up and blasts the ceiling above the entranceway. The ceiling comes crashing down and destroys the steel entranceway, sealing up that part of the cave.

“I do not have much time to get out of here!” thinks Deon.

He retreats back towards the entrance of the cave, dodging the traps and pitfalls. Some marauders continue their pursuit. Deon blasts them away to keep them from following him. He grabs one of the masks that the marauders dropped.

“Strange,” Thinks Deon.

He continues running and climbs up the rope ladder. Just after him follow the marauders; they set the rope ladder on fire just after they climb up. Deon suddenly trips over a rock; he drops more notes and the mask. As the marauders approach some of the notes catch fire.

“They are lighting everything on fire, just like they did to the town!” thinks Deon.

Deon blasts the last of the marauders and continues toward the entrance.

Meanwhile, outside the town’s people are getting impatient.

“He is not coming back, is he?” say the people, “I knew we should have never let him try by himself!”

“We must seal up the cave, he has been gone for more than an hour.” says the Mayor as he turns to Deon’s Mother, “I am very sorry!”

Deon is strong!” says Deon’s Mother, “Just like his Father! Do as he has commanded you!”

The people reluctantly begin sealing up the cave, shortly after they start; they hear a voice from inside the cave.

“Let me out before you seal up the cave!” Deon yells from inside the cave.

“It’s Deon! He’s alive!” yells one of the town’s people.

A loud cheer is heard from across the crowd.

Deon stands outside the cave entrance and raises the Sword of Greon over his head, “I have defeated the marauders!”

A loud cheer is heard across the crowd as they begin to chant, “Long live Deon! Protector of Patell!”

“Now finish sealing the cave entrance. And let no one go into this dark place ever again!” exclaims Deon.

Deon sees his Mother standing outside of the cave along with all of the people; he runs up to his Mother and hugs her.

“Are you CRAZY!” exclaims Deon’s Mother, “How could you scare me like that?”

“But,” replies Deon, “that’s what you told me to do. You said that I was the only hope for Patell. You said that I had to save the people and the town.”

“I didn’t mean ALONE!” says his Mother, “I meant you had to be the leader!”

“Sometimes being a leader, means being alone,” says Deon.

“You are right, Deon!” replies his Mother.

So Deon and his Mother...

“BANG! BANG! BANG!” Norbert’s story gets interrupted.

“What in the name of Patell!” declares Benjamin.

“What was that?” whimpers Sparkle.

All the lights start to flicker and then go out! Suddenly the door is violently thrown open and a strange shadowy figure stands in the doorway.

“Oh no!” exclaims Brion.

“HAHAHAHA!” screeches the strange shadowy figure.

The doorway floods with many smaller shadowy figures. The marauders quickly fill the room. Their movements are quick and jerky, as they dart around the room. They begin knocking things off of shelves and digging into the boxes of journals. One of the marauders knocks Sparkle down and then two more of them jump on her. Another marauder grabs and burns Benjamin, and then three more jump on him. The large shadowy figure pushes Brion to the floor and four more pile on top of him.

Brion looks around and sees the marauders all over the Mayor, and Norbert is pinned up against the wall. Brion hears his friend Sparkle screaming, he looks over and sees Sparkle being attacked by several marauders. Brion feels a burning down deep inside like he has never felt before. Brion’s anger builds as his strength surges. Brion lets out the biggest ROAR of his life.

Brion leaps to his feet and throws five marauders through the air. Brion swings his sharp claws through the air striking the large shadowy figure’s mask. “CRASH! CRUNCH! THUD!”

Brion smacks two marauders so hard they fly up and smash into the ceiling and crash into the lights. “SMASH!” One of the marauders mask is crushed under Brion’s paw. Brion grabs the two marauders off of Sparkle and smashes them to the floor.

Brion begins tearing through the archive smacking and clawing the marauders. Brion clears three marauders away from the Mayor with one mighty strike. Brion sees Norbert trapped in the corner by two marauders, so Brion runs over to Norbert and knocks the marauders away from him. Finally Brion sees Benjamin being attacked by a marauder. So Brion runs over and bites the marauder and then throws it off of Benjamin. Then Brion lets out another big ROAR, the walls of the archive quake at the sound of his roar, and all of the marauders flee from the archive. As the last marauder leaves, all of the lights start to flicker and come back on.

The Mayor runs over and extinguishes some of the small fires on the journals. Everyone looks at Brion.

“WOW Brion! That was amazing!” says Sparkle.

“Indeed!” says Norbert.

“Benjamin is injured! We need to get him to the hospital!” exclaims the Mayor.

The four rush Benjamin to the infirmary and Doctor Drake starts his examination of Benjamin.

“So is he alright?” asks Sparkle with concern.

“He has some burns, but he will heal up just fine.” replies Dr. Drake, “You will need to take it easy for a couple of weeks Benjamin. Now go home and get some rest.”

Dr. Drake leaves the examination room.

Norbert looks around the room and announces, “It has been a very long time since the Town of Patell has had a PROTECTOR! Sir Brion Lion, Protector of Patell.”

As the friends leave the hospital, the Mayor says, “Everyone, please come to my office.”

The friends go back to the Mayor’s office. The sun is setting and it is getting late.

The Mayor goes over and opens a locked cabinet in his office and pulls out a scroll.

“This scroll records how Deon Patell was made the Protector of Patell.” Says the Mayor, “Since the time of Deon, no one else has held that title.

The Mayor walks over to Brion.

“I have a very special announcement to make,” exclaims the Mayor, “I do hereby decree, from hence forth, Brion you will have the title; ‘Sir Brion the Brave, Protector of Patell’. Congratulations!”

And now the adventurers take on a heroic and courageous path.

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Child struggling with math?