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As Betsy led the group around the village she said, “Keep quiet and keep your eyes open. This late on a Saturday I wouldn’t expect anyone to be out in the woods, but you never know.”
It took the group over an hour to get into position. Betsy knew of a cave nearby where they could shelter until it was time. Just as they were settling in Henrietta arrived carrying a bundle. She had a firm grip on the handle with her beak and so landed and dropped it before saying, “Here are some supplies. Georgette thought you could use the food and she also included a couple flashlights.”
“Excellent,” said Harriet. “Now I won’t have to go scavenging to find us food. Thanks, Henrietta!”
Henrietta stayed with the group. “I’ll be your lookout as you get close to the village and I’ll hoot if I see anything. Then once you get your diversion going, I’ll head over to the other group so that I can see the rescue. Stay hidden until I come back to let you know that the rescue has been successful.”
Everyone agreed that this was a sensible plan and after eating the food Henrietta had brought, they settled down to rest. Sabrina and Juniper huddled in the far corner of the small cave.
“Are you scared?” asked Sabrina. “I know I am.”
“Me, too,” said Juniper. “But I’m also mad! I’m tired of the bullies, the anger, and the meanness. I sure hope we can help.”
With that the two of them tried to nap. Sabrina realized that she must have finally dozed off because Harriet was shaking her shoulder, saying, “Time for action, girls.”
Sabrina and Juniper shook themselves awake and went to join the others.
Betsy was in command. “We are going to follow Harriet to a spot she knows not far from here on the edge of the village. Now you two,” she continued pointing at Juniper and Sabrina, “stay close and stay together. If something should happen, run back to the cave and we’ll find you there. That will be our rendezvous spot. OK?”
Both girls nodded. The group crept quickly and quietly to the edge of the village. They stayed behind a couple of trees while Harriet readied her bow. “Right, now Harriet is going to fire her arrows as soon as we rouse the village,” said Betsy. “I want you two to come out from the tree as I shout ‘Dragon!’ As soon as you see folks coming out of their homes, run like the blazes. We’ll cover you.”
Sabrina looked at Juniper and then the two friends nodded to Betsy.
“Harriet, wait to fire your flaming arrows until the leaders of the village decide to give chase.”
“Got it! I’ll wait until Mayor Cuthbert sends out the hunters. And I think I’ll send the arrow into the granary. That will cause a lot of folks to try to save the crops.”
“Excellent,” said Betsy. “That should keep everyone occupied one way or the other. Ready? OK, let’s do this.”
Sabrina and Juniper stepped out into the open and Betsy yelled at the top of her voice, “Dragons, Dragons, we’re being attacked.”
Sabrina and Juniper covered their ears, as Betsy’s voice was truly stupendous. Nothing happened for a few minutes and then suddenly, villagers started stumbling out of their homes in their nightclothes. Someone caught sight of Juniper and yelled, “Dragons! Over there!”
“I see them,” yelled another.
Just then Harriet whispered, “There’s the mayor. As soon as he gives the word, I’ll fire.”
The words were no sooner out of her mouth than Mayor Cuthbert yelled, “After them, men! Let’s teach those abominations a lesson!”
With that, Sabrina and Juniper ran and Harriet fired several flaming arrows into the granary, before she and Betsy headed after them. Harriet quickly took the lead and said, “Follow me! We need to take a different path so that we don’t lead them to our cave.”
The four of them ran as quickly as they could, first one way and then another, until Sabrina was completely turned around. She could hear the villagers crashing through the woods, but they weren’t getting any closer. Harriet was doing an excellent job.
“Fire!! Fire!!,” yelled Mayor Cuthbert, calling off the pursuit. “Come back! We need you!”
Soon Sabrina, Juniper, Harriet, and Betsy were back at their cave. “Did we do enough?” asked Sabrina.
“I think so,” said Betsy.
“Yes, even if they aren’t still chasing us, they’ll be really busy trying to put out the fire before the winter supply of grain is totally destroyed. And the granary is far enough away from where Roger and his family are being kept that no one should see them being rescued,” agreed Harriet.
“What now?” asked Juniper.
“Now, we wait for Henrietta. We can’t move until we know Roger and his family are safe,” said Betsy.
They all sat and rested, tired from all the running. After about thirty minutes, Henrietta landed at the mouth of the cave.
“Everyone is safe,” she reported. “The guards raced to help with the fire, so it was easy to get the family out. Georgette and Tom are taking them to one of our safe locations and I’m supposed to guide you there as well.”
“Excellent,” said Betsy. “That is great news.”
Then she turned to Harriet and said, “What will you do now?”
Harriet looked sad as she said, “I’m not going back. I’ll go with you to the safe spot and then ask Georgette and Tom how I can help the most. I know there are others who don’t believe Mayor Cuthbert but who won’t speak up. And now, thanks to me, the villagers are going to have a rough time getting through the winter. They’ll need help, but getting them to see that will be tough.”
“You’re right,” said Betsy. “Well, we can’t solve that tonight. Let’s head out and find the others. Lead on, oh wondrous owl.”
Henrietta chuckled as they set off for the safe camp.