“What do we do?” Pumpkin asked when Fiver and Spot returned. We have been banished from our warrens on pain of death?”
“You can all join my warren if we succeed in killing Blizzard. If not… well at least we’ll be together in the Shadow Land,” Blackstone offered the seers.
“Perhaps we should just let them all die and save Shingetsu and Blackstone’s rabbits. They’ve turned us out like they did to our master when he was alive,” Moneywort said.
“No. We will deal with Blizzard, save Shingetsu and Kosetsu, save the good rabbits of Brimstone and save the alliance,” Fiver said. “If we turn our backs on them now in their time of need then we are no better than Blizzard or Frith. Do we really want to be guided by anger?”
Pumpkin, Moneywort and Moonblossom shook their heads. “You’d be a great chief Fiver,” Moneywort said. “You have the makings of a leader.”
Fiver shook his head. “Having to settle disputes between rabbits, plan attacks, and run a warren? No thanks.”
There was a soft pattering of paws on the dirt and Prince Rainbow came into the burrow. “Prince Rainbow how are you friends with Shingetsu?” Moneywort asked the messenger of Frith.
“I became Shingetsu’s friend when he died and entered the Shadow Land. I am the one who told your mother to go to the Shadow Land for I sensed you would be of use to Shingetsu as well as a friend of his Moonblossom. Even when you were still in your mother’s womb you had the seer gift and Shingetsu won’t let his unborn servants die.”
“Did you know that Lord Frith was evil?” Pumpkin asked.
“No I did not. I never imagined that Frith would create Blizzard or torture Shingetsu like he has. Just as I didn’t think that Hazel and your other chiefs would cast you all out or order your deaths.” Prince Rainbow was sad. “Do you have what Lady Kuu asked?”
“How do you know about the arrow?” Fiver asked.
Prince Rainbow smiled. “I also serve Lady Kuu. My days and nights are very busy being a messenger for both the Sun God and Moon Goddess. Fiver I’m sorry to say that Vilthuril and your kittens didn’t make it. The rabbits were too strong for her to fight alone.”
Fiver’s ears drooped at the news and he collapsed to the floor. “However they are now in Inle Warren and being taken care of by the Owsla.”
“At least they are at peace even if they aren’t alive on earth anymore,” Fiver said. He looked down at the sleeping Spot. How was he supposed to explain that Spot’s marli and siblings were dead? Killed on Hazel’s orders?
“I have just come from Brimstone. The battle will begin tomorrow and Shingetsu is dying. With the death of your mate and three kittens Fiver a bit of his strength has returned but it isn’t enough. If Blizzard is not killed tomorrow then Shingetsu and Kosetsu will die as well as the rest of Inle Warren. Shingetsu and I had a talk. He is thinking of ending the seers with Spot.”
“What does that mean ending the seers?”
“If Shingetsu decided it would be better for rabbits to not have the seer abilities then he would end it with Spot. Spot would be the last seer. There would be no more after him. However he also has to ask Lady Kuu and at the moment is in no position to speak to her. It is Lady Kuu who made Shingetsu a seer.”
“The rabbits need seers even if we are exiled and face suspicion from our own families and friends,” Moonblossom said. “Without seers then rabbits may as well die for it is our visions that can save a few from each warren should a vision of disaster strike the seer of a warren.”
The other three nodded. Prince Rainbow was surprised but pleased. “Then Blackstone you will tell Shingetsu that the seers wish to continue on. Gather Zen, Pecan and the rest of your friends and take them to the prison run. I will erect a tunnel that will take you out of Brimstone. You’ll be in darkness for a while as the tunnel will have to be long enough to get you all safely out before the battle takes place. As for the four seers. Get some rest. The battle begins tomorrow.”
“What about Spot?” Fiver asked. “I can’t leave my son alone here.”
Timothy, Walnut, and Wildwood appeared and nodded to Prince Rainbow. “Seer Fiver we will watch over your son while you fight Blizzard. He’ll be safe with Shingetsu’s Owsla.”
“Thank you,” Fiver said to Prince Rainbow and the three members of Shingetsu’s Owsla.
They nodded. “Wait you’re… you’re solid!”
Moneywort and Pumpkin turned towards the three Owsla members who were indeed no longer phantoms. Moonblossom just smiled. “Lady Kuu?” Timothy nodded. “Yes Lady Kuu allowed us to resume our solid forms in this world to protect Spot. Of course we will turn back into phantoms if any of the alliance comes to harm Spot. Rabbits can’t harm the dead after all,” he said laughing and the rest of the rabbits laughed as well.
Blackstone, Birch and Prince Rainbow vanished and Fiver picked up Spot and led him away to a burrow where his son could sleep. Fiver lay down beside him and watched the Owsla members slide into the burrow and lay down as well. “Nothing will harm the seers as long as we’re here. Not even Blizzard can enter,” Walnut said looking at Fiver and Spot. Fiver nodded and drifted off to sleep.
Blackstone sent Birch to get the rest of their friends while he went to get Pecan and Zen. “Shingetsu the seers have agreed to stay,” Blackstone whispered to the Black Rabbit.
“So Prince Rainbow came to them did he? Yes otherwise you wouldn’t be here right now. Go save your warren Blackstone-rah. If I survive the battle to come I will pay you a visit.”
“Thank you Shingetsu-rah.” Blackstone nodded to the Black Rabbit and then led Pecan and Zen away.
Blackstone led Pecan and Zen down the runs to the prison run. The other good rabbits were there waiting. They all looked at Blackstone expectantly. Prince Rainbow appeared before them. “Good everyone is here. I’m Prince Rainbow for those of you who don’t know me. Blizzard plans on going to battle with Watership Down, Efrafa, Vleflain, and Sunstone tomorrow. I’m here to help you get away so you aren’t killed by the alliance.”
“We should help fight. Maybe they will accept us,” Pox said.
“Groundsel got into it with Birch. They said that if any of us come near their warrens they will kill us. They even rejected Birch when they saw him because he had been changed,” Blackstone said. “They’ll never accept us.”
“They even turned away their seers,” Birch said. “Hazel was Fiver’s brother and he turned on Fiver and one of Fiver’s kittens because the kitten is also a seer. He ordered the kitten’s death.”
“Where will they go?” Blueberry asked.
“I offered them to come live with us at our warren. I hope that’s alright with everyone?”
The rabbits all nodded. If the seers were exiled then they would accept them. “The seers can live with us forever,” a rabbit called out and there were murmurs of agreement.
Blackstone smiled at his rabbits. “Alright Prince Rainbow we need to get out now.”
Prince Rainbow nodded and erected a barrier to seal off the prison run which would give the rabbits time to escape. “I’m going to create a tunnel out of here. You’ll be underground for a while because you need to get out beyond the borders of Brimstone. Now you can either wait in the tunnel until the battle is over or you can make your way now and if Fiver and the other seers survive tomorrow they can appear wherever you are. Decide now because once you’re in the tunnel I won’t be here anymore.”
The rabbits didn’t take long to decide. They would wait for the seers. “Very well then.” Prince Rainbow sent a beam of light that cut through the stone wall creating an escape tunnel. “Get going.”
Thirty-seven rabbits made their way into the tunnel in single file. As the last rabbit made its way into the tunnel Prince Rainbow released the light forming the stone wall back into place before vanishing from Brimstone. Now it was up to the four seers.
Shadepaw was watching the ice pillar of his chief’s mate when he heard a crack. He turned and saw a small crack in the ice pillar holding Kosetsu. “Kosetsu?” He turned and ran back to the warren. “Captain Shadepaw what’s wrong?” Thresh asked.
“Kosetsu,” he panted. “Come quickly. Crack… in… ice…”
Two Owsla members plus Thresh got up and followed Shadepaw to the ice pillar where they peered close and saw a crack in the ice. Crack. Another small crack appeared. Awed the four Owsla members of Inle Warren stood and waited.
“So Shingetsu the time for the time for the battle has begun,” Blizzard said cheerfully to Shingetsu.
“You actually think you and one hundred eighty-five rabbits can fight four warrens and win Blizzard?”
“Yes I do. They’re just normal rabbits. Aside from the prisoners and the few does belonging to the Owsla and main part of Brimstone all my rabbits are able to harness different powers. We can easily wipe out that pathetic alliance.”
Behind Shingetsu was a couple of his Owsla. Of course they were phantoms so Blizzard and Thanatos couldn’t see them. If their chief died today than they would stay with him before vanishing into nothing. The Shingetsu Owsla members hoped that the seers would be able to do their job and kill Blizzard.
Shingetsu shook his head as he limped over to lean against the wall of the burrow. Blizzard had broken one of his back legs. “And what will you do with me while you’re busy killing rabbits?”
“Siphon your power out of you like I’ve been doing for the past several months. Eventually you’ll die. Either you’ll be drained of all your power and energy so that you’ll succumb to death or you’ll die if I die due to the linking power that I’ve tapped that connects us or Lord Frith will just let you die anyway since you failed him at stopping me.”
“I wouldn’t doubt that.”
Another of Shingetsu’s rabbits, this one not an Owsla member, came into the warren. He appeared to have been running the entire way for he was out of breath. The two Owsla swung their heads to look at the rabbit before turning back to Blizzard.
“Ah and what of Thantaos?”
Blizzard smiled. “I intend for Thanatos to die. He’s getting harder for me to control.”
Shingetsu actually laughed. “You really think you can kill that buck when you have given him the same powers you have? Your Owsla is no match for Thanatos Blizzard. Haven’t you seen how they fear him? I’d wager they fear him more than you.”
“Nobody fears Thanatos more than me,” Blizzard hissed. “I can’t be bothered to kill him so I’ll leave some of my Owsla here to do it. Eight Owsla should be enough for some stupid buck.”
“So you are admitting you were a fool when you kidnapped that poor buck from Watership Down then? Wow Blizzard I didn’t think you were capable of feeling regret over your actions.”
“I don’t make mistakes,” Blizzard growled at Shingetsu who just rolled his eyes. If he was going to die he may as well have some amusement at harassing Blizzard. Blizzard sent Shingetsu into the wall squealing in pain. Then he went to organize his rabbits for the attack on Watership Down.
“Shingetsu-rah,” the rabbit said when they were alone.
“What is it Dugong?”
“Kosetsu. There’s two small cracks in the pillar that holds her frozen.”
The two Owsla gasped and Shingetsu forced himself to his feet. “How?”
“We don’t know Shingetsu-rah. Shadepaw was watching over Kosetsu and he saw a small crack appear in the ice. He ran back to the warren and got Thresh, Larch, and Aspen and they followed Shadepaw back to Kosetsu where another crack appeared before them in the ice. They’re just two small cracks but please hang on master.”
Shingetsu shook his head. “I can hang on as long as my strength remains Dugong. Unless the linking power can be severed that connects Blizzard to myself and Blizzard is destroyed I will die again.”
Fiver woke up and looked down at Spot. Timothy was already wake. “Can you not sleep Timothy?” Fiver asked.
“I’m worried about Shingetsu. Fiver you and the others must do everything to kill Blizzard or die trying.”
“Don’t worry Timothy we will.” Fiver left then and went to get the others. “Alright it’s time. Moonblossom do you have the arrow?”
The rabbits took a deep breath and then vanished. In the shadows of the warren more rabbits from the Shadow Land joined Timothy, Walnut and Wildwood to protect the young seer from harm. Frith’s power over Inle Warren was weakening. They also had help from Lady Kuu in crossing into the mortal plane.
“How is home?” Timothy asked.
“Three cracks now in the snowfall’s jail,” a rabbit named Neon said.
“Warren slowly recovering from poison,” another buck, this one named Whitepaw, said.
“That’s wonderful news!” Walnut shouted. The rabbits all nodded and took up silent positions around the warren to defend Spot or dye trying. Silence commenced over the warren. A warren haunted by death and loss with only the dead as its temporary inhabitants.
Hazel had healed quickly thanks to the magic at Sunstone. Watership, Efrafa and Vleflain rabbits had arrived at Sunstone as Prince Rainbow had informed all four warrens that Blizzard and his rabbits were on the move. Together the four warrens with the four chiefs in front made the journey to Brimstone where Blizzard and his rabbits were waiting.
Fiver and the other seers appeared at Brimstone and stayed behind a line of bushes. They watched as Blizzard positioned his rabbits into lines. They noticed that the normal does who hadn’t been able to escape Brimstone were at the front of the line.
“That idiot is going to sacrifice those does,” Pumpkin said sadly.
“Yes it appears so. But their deaths should help our master. That’s the important thing,” Moneywort said.
“Nothing will help Shingetsu unless we can destroy Blizzard,” Fiver said.
“Where’s Thanatos?” Moonblossom asked.
The three looked around. They had seen a brief image of Thanatos in their minds and they looked at the rabbits but all they saw was line after line of black rabbits. “Don’t see him. Maybe he’s being sheltered in the warren somewhere or maybe he’s somewhere above ground and we just don’t see him due to the number of rabbits.”
“Still that’s not our job. Our job is to kill Blizzard and save our master and his warren,” Fiver said.
They fell silent as they waited for the alliance to arrive on the meadow where the battle would take place. Finally at a little after Frith was high in the sky the alliance appeared on the other side of the meadow. The battle had finally begun.
“Should we do anything Fiver?” Moneywort asked.
“Why are you asking me?”
“I said it last night and I’ll say it again Fiver. You have the makings of a leader in you even if you don’t want to be a chief. You’ve been with Watership Down longer than we have been with our old warrens. You know best how Hazel would lead his rabbits into battle.”
“No we won’t do anything for the rabbits that killed my Vilthuril. They can die for all I care. We wait for the time to kill Blizzard.”
“So that’s a ‘no we aren’t going to do anything then’?”
Hazel, Lightstone, Groundsel, and Campion stood on the other side of the meadow Hazel was disappointed that Bigwig hadn’t killed Spot or stopped Fiver. He was sad that Bigwig had to be killed as well. Over the seasons Bigwig had become a true friend and had been a great captain. Though he was a bit strict in the rules concerning discipline of the Owsla and was always looking for ways to improve the warren. “Well this is it. We either kill these rabbits or we fall,” Hazel said to Campion.
“Watership Down never has a moment’s rest do they?” Campion said laughing.
“No we don’t,” Hazel said laughing. The four chiefs turned as the warrens slowly stamped their front paws on the ground in harmony with each other. Efrafa, Vleflain, Watership Down, and Sunstone stood beside each other in lines as they took up the rabbit battle song:
For freedom we fight
Fight with tooth and claw
An alliance between enemies sprang up from the dark
Three became four and four stand strong.
Four stand strong!
With Frith’s blessing we’ll fight and fight some more
We’ll fight until we drop
Fight until we drop
Yes we’ll fight with tooth and claw.
Frith shines down upon the alliance
Helping us overcome the evil that threatens us all
Fight for the light
Fight for the freedom of all!
So be brave and true
Our friends will see us through
Our chiefs will take the first step into battle
Yes our friends will see us through.
Four warrens united as one
Four warrens that used to be at war
United in a common goal
To rid the land of evil, yes that is our call!
Fight with tooth and claw
Slash and bite
Yes we’ll fight until the end
Fight to win or die defending freedom!
Yes we’ll fight with tooth and claw!
The four chiefs of the alliance looked upon their rabbits standing together. Over the past few months all four warrens had gotten closer together due to the threat of Blizzard and his evil rabbits. In addition to Blizzard they had seers to deal with. They weren’t sure why seers had been born but they knew that Frith wouldn’t have sent down such strange rabbits to the warrens. It seemed whenever a seer was born bad things happened to that seer’s warren. Yes it was best that they were eradicated from the land or at least from the four warrens.
“I want to thank you all for volunteering for this battle. We stand here on the brink of death. If we die we’ll go to the Shadow Land where we’ll be at peace. Frith watches over us and I know he wouldn’t have let an evil like this be created so this Blizzard must have been made by the Black Rabbit or maybe he is really the Black Rabbit in disguise. My fellow Watershipers I am glad to be standing here with you. To Efrafa, Vleflain and Sunstone I am glad to have made your acquaintance. To my fellow Sandleford rabbits we have been through many dangers since we escaped the destruction of Sandleford seasons ago. We may die here but our memories will live on. The alliance will stand strong. Thank you for being here.” Hazel looked at his rabbits one last time before turning around and charged.
A blood stained rabbit staggered out of the burrow where it lay. The rabbit muttered curse as it tried putting a paw on the ground only to jerk it back and hold the paw above the ground. Slowly it made its way up the run and outside before it began running, ignoring the shooting pain all over its body.
A large crack appeared in the ice pillar holding Kosetsu. A gust of freezing wind swirled around the rabbits stationed there. They stared in shock as one of the snowfall’s ears gave a slight twitch. Several smaller cracks appeared in the ice as the phantom rabbits shivered.
Shingetsu screamed in pain as Blizzard tightened his grip around the linking power that bound the Black Rabbit to Blizzard. His two Owsla lay down on either side of their chief. Dugong stood guard at the burrow entrance. The four rabbits looked at the entrance of the burrow and waited.
Eight Owsla members advanced on the sleeping Thanatos. They knew that Thanatos was more dangerous than Blizzard despite being a year old. One of the rabbits suddenly attacked but screamed as it burst into flames and fell to the ground squealing in agony. Thanatos sat up and looked at the dying rabbit. He turned his gaze to the other rabbits who found themselves suddenly unable to move or speak.
“Did you really think you could kill me so easily?” Thanatos asked. “Parli is a fool if he thinks he can control me. Now you’re going to have to be punished for trying to harm me.” The remaining seven rabbits looked on in terror as Thanatos seemed to grow so that he filled the entire burrow and fell upon the frozen rabbits.
Seven phantoms emerged from the shadows and stared at the dead rabbits. Knowing they couldn’t harm Thanatos they watched the buck leave his burrow and turned their attention to the eight souls before them. “Poor fools,” one of the rabbits said to the others.
“Shame that they died. They were good rabbits too before they had changed. If they had just held onto their sanity and who they used to be,” said another. The Owsla herded the souls into a tight circle and they vanished through the stone to the Shadow Land.
Shingetsu sat up with a gasp. His rabbits looked at him. They watched as the last of the infected scars knit together and healed before vanishing. One of the phantom Owsla who had watched Thanatos kill the dead rabbits slipped into the burrow. “Seven rabbits dead Shingetsu-rah,” the rabbit reported. “I also have news from Captain Shadepaw. The jail is slowly breaking.” With those words he glided through the wall and rejoined his fellow Owsla to shepherd the eight rabbits back to the Shadow Land.
Above ground the rabbits of the alliance and Brimstone were fighting each other. Many rabbits from the alliance fell due to the powers of the Brimstone rabbits. All the does on the front lines had died. Phantom Owsla appeared and watched the carnage, slipping unseen into the fighting to collect the souls of the dead and taking them home to the Shadow Land and Inle Warren before reemerging on the mortal plane.
“Hazel!” Campion cried as Hazel screamed and was thrown back by a fireball from one of the Brimstone rabbits. As Hazel’s eyes closed he whispered “Fiver what I have done?”
In Shining Wire Warren Spot had woken from his sleep to find that his parli and the others were gone. “Where’s parli? Where’s marli? Where are Star, Iris, and Storm?”
The rabbits looked at the young seer. “Fiver has gone with the other three seers to stop Blizzard from destroying your old friends,” Timothy said to the buck lying at his feet. “I’m afraid your marli and siblings are in the Shadow Land now.”
“NO!” Spot screamed and ran away from Timothy. A few of the rabbits ran after him. This last seer had to be protected at all costs and they couldn’t let the young rabbit’s grief get him killed. Spot ran through the run until he stopped at the brick wall with the strange picture of El-ahrairah. The rabbits caught up to him and one of them nodded. A rabbit vanished and came back a few moments later with El-ahrairah who said “That looks nothing like me. Really what were those lost souls thinking?” El-ahrairah waved a paw over the stone and an image of him with Rabscuttle appeared beside him. “There! Much better. Come on little buck I’ll show you a few tricks.”
Blackstone and his rabbits had arrived at a large burrow. The rabbits crowded into it and fell down exhausted from the long walk. They had no idea how far they had left to go but it didn’t seem that light was going to be forth coming. “We’ll wait here. If the seers don’t come… then we’ll continue on. Of course I’m not sure if they’ll come or if they’ll start their own warren. The decision is up to them.”
The bloody rabbit ran all the way to Brimstone. The Watership rabbits who were alive stared the rabbit as blood splashed onto the ground at its paws. Suddenly it tore through the Watership rabbits attacking the rabbits who had had tried to kill him. Then it swung around and ran for Blizzard. Blizzard who was distracted by Lightstone and Groundsel felt a rabbit jump on him and bearing ripping into Blizzard with claws and teeth. The rabbit was pulled off as two Brimstone rabbits ran toward their master and the rabbit began fighting for its life again.
“Bigwig!” Hawkbit shouted running up with Dandelion as they pulled one of the rabbits off the bleeding buck. “You’re supposed to be dead mate!”
“I’m Bigwig you flea bitten excuse for an Owsla member! You won’t get rid of me that easily.”
The three friends of Watership Down resumed their attack on the two Brimstone rabbits and then split up before weaving through the Brimstone rabbits and working together to bring the evil rabbits to the ground. “Bigwig look out!” Hawkbit shouted. Bigwig swung around to see Blizzard running at him. He leapt out of the way and slammed his weight down on Blizzard before kicking the rabbit away from him. The surprise move caught Blizzard by surprise as he was sent rolling across the ground.
Thanatos made his way up the run and above ground. The Brimstone rabbits quickly bowed as he walked between the lines. Forty rabbits died as they stared at Thanatos in fear. Snares appeared up out of the ground and circled the necks of the rabbits as they slowly strangulated themselves to death. The remaining rabbits looked on in horror, afraid that if they went to help that they would also fall to Thanatos.
Blizzard came within a few steps of the hiding seers. Fiver quickly found the linking power by its colors and severed the connection by cutting through the maroon and gold thread with his mind. “Alright Moonblossom make it count.” Moonblossom gave a nod and the four seers poured their energy and power into the arrow. They also linked their moonbeams and an extremely bright moonbeam swirled over, in and around the arrow giving it a silvery glow. Then Moonblossom closed her eyes and sent the arrow in the direction of Blizzard. All the rabbits froze in horror as clouds suddenly covered the sky blocking out Frith and Lady Kuu appeared. The phantom Owsla bowed to her and she sent down ropes of moonbeams which twined around Blizzard’s body holding in place as the arrow flew into his heart and disappeared through his body. He screamed in agony as the combined power of the seers flew through his body erasing the darkness and hatred from his heart. Blizzard seemed burn to a rocky cinder before suddenly turning a blinding white before vanishing as his body simply broke down atom by atom. Lady Kuu stared at the remaining Brimstone rabbits as they turned and ran from the Moon Goddess. Then the clouds withdrew and Lord Frith appeared.
“What is the meaning of this Kuu?!” he shouted at the moon.
“I have destroyed what you created Frith. Blizzard is no more. Next time don’t try to play games with me because you will lose.” Kuu then disappeared into the sky until night fell.
The four seers fell to the ground in a dead faint. The rabbits continued their attack but stopped as a burgundy rabbit stood in front of them with a cruel smile on its face. The Brimstone rabbits that hadn’t run when Lady Kuu had appeared quickly dropped to the ground in front of and around Thanatos. Thanatos looked at the rabbits on the ground before flicking his gaze to the alliance. “So you have managed to kill my parli and most of his rabbits while some cowards ran away. They will be dealt with. Apparently it’s up to me to continue my parli’s work since he failed. Well this is the kind of fun I’ve been hoping for.” Thanatos seemed to grow ever larger before the rabbits and the sky rumbled with thunder as a ball of lightning formed into a ball over Thanatos’s left paw. A bolt of lightning came down from the sky and crackled as it flashed white and hit the condensed ball of lightning. Thanatos flung the ball at the rabbits making them crumple to the ground dead or wounded.
The ice pillar split open and ice shards flew away in all directions. Kosetsu stepped out of the ice and looked around for her mate. “Shingetsu…” she whispered before fainting into the arms of Shadepaw.
Shingetsu shot to his feet as he felt his power flowing back into in a tidal wave of power. His Owsla quickly pressed their bodies against their chief as his powers flowed into him. When the tremors subsided he led his rabbits out of the burrow and up the run above ground where he saw Thanatos.
“Thanatos!” Shingetsu shouted his voice carrying over the field in his anger.
Thanatos turned and smiled. “Ah if isn’t the Black Rabbit of Inle. I see you failed to die when my parli died.”
There was a gasp from the alliance. Shingetsu snorted in disgust at the alliance. “Yes your seers told their chiefs the truth. Yet you banished them and outlawed seers in your warrens on pain of death. I suppose you’ll go and kill the doe Hyzenthlay if she isn’t already dead. She was also a seer.”
Shingetsu unleashed his anger and power at Thanatos making the rabbit squeal in agony as the ground under him exploded and he fell along with the cowering Brimstone rabbits that hadn’t fled Lady Kuu. “Get out of my sight before I kill the lot of you,” he snarled at the alliance that turned and fled.
Bigwig turned and limped over the Black Rabbit before bowing. The anger in Shingetsu’s eyes disappeared and his rabbits collected the souls of all the dead before taking them away to the Shadow Land. “Fetch my living servants,” Shingetsu ordered a few of his rabbits. They took off for the bushes and brought back the seers.
Shingetsu peered down at his servants. “It appears they’ve fainted from the energy they poured into the arrow. Take them to the frozen pool. That should heal them.” Then he turned to Bigwig, Dandelion and Hawkbit. “Hawkbit and Dandelion you are true friends of Bigwig. You may not listen to everything Bigwig says about how to do your duties but you’re loyal and for that I won’t punish you at all for the actions of Hazel.”
“Why did Hazel go back my Lord?” Hawkbit asked.
“Frith and also fear that his brother could possibly be the reason why Watership Down has been plagued with nothing but trouble. But Hazel realized his mistake before he died. Sadly Hazel was highly respected among the alliance and the chiefs’ law stands. All seers born into the alliance will be killed. So no seers will be born into those four warrens. I won’t have my servants being killed when they’re born or driven out like I was.”
“You were driven out of your warren?” Dandelion asked. Bigwig cuffed him across his ears.
“Yes at five months old. My chief blamed me for the white blindness that struck our warren.”
The three Watership rabbits were shocked at the news. “Now Bigwig I have never offered this before but will for now as you tried to save Vilthuril and her kits and you saved Spot and Fiver. You have a choice here. You can either choose to die now and join my Owsla as well as your friends or I will give you immortality and you can live forever on earth.”
“What about us?” Hawkbit said. Bigwig rolled his eyes and cuffed Hawkbit across the ears as well. “Well you be quiet?” Bigwig hissed.
“The same,” Shingetsu said. “Go fetch Blackstone, Birch and Zen and bring them here.”
One of Shingetsu’s rabbits ran off and appeared a few moments later with the three requested rabbits.
“Shi… I mean Black Rabbit you’re okay!” Blackstone shouted happy to see that Shingetsu was well.
“Yes I am thanks to your care and the seers destroying Blizzard,” Shingetsu said.
“He’s dead?” Birch asked.
“Thank Kuu,” Birch muttered and Blackstone and Zen breathed sighs of relief.
“My rabbits will be pleased to hear that,” Blackstone said. “Who are they?”
“Rabbits of Watership Down. I’m waiting for their answer to my offer.”
“What offer?” Zen asked.
“To die and join my Owsla or to have immortality and live here on earth.”
“I thought only chiefs could join the Owsla?” Zen asked looking confused.
“Sometimes I’ll allow regular Owsla members who have shown great loyalty and courage to join my Owsla.”
Bigwig thought about the offer. “My lord I am tired. I don’t want to risk being killed by Watership Down for killing Holly. I don’t want to fight in any more battles. I’d like to join your Owsla instead.”
Shingetsu nodded. “What about you Hawkbit? Dandelion?”
“The same my Lord,” Hawkbit said and Dandelion nodded in assent. Shingetsu nodded again and watched as the three rabbits suddenly collapsed to the ground and their breathing slowed before they became still. Then their souls waited before Shingetsu. A rabbit quickly came and spoke in Shingetsu’s ear. Worry washed over Shingetsu and he seemed to shake. “Get as far from here as you can Blackstone. If the seers agree to live with you then I’ll have Prince Rainbow bring them to your warren.”
“Thank you Shingetsu.” Blackstone, Birch and Zen took off and made their way back to the rabbits waiting in the tunnel.
Shingetsu turned and the phantoms disappeared. Leaving his three new Owsla members at the entrance to Inle Warren he ran down the stone path and stopped as he saw the spot where Kosetsu’s ice jail had been. His Owsla got out of his way and he stared in shock at the doe before him?
“Shingetsu,” the doe said walking towards him shakily. “Shingetsu!” The Owsla members sat back and watched in happiness as the new moon and the snowfall were reunited after so long.
Fire and rock exploded from the hole and shot up into the sky before falling on the ground. A few Brimstone rabbits who had ran away but had come back after the Black Rabbit had gone watched the hole and jumped out of the way as the fire covered rocks fell around them. Under a pile of rocks Thanatos opened his eyes.