The Grim Reaper* #quote
Do optimists look at the Moon and say it's half full while pessimists say it's it's half empty? Anyway onto the flash fiction!
Nuts And Knights
“I, Sir Fluff, claim this tree in the name of the Scampering Kingdom,” proclaimed the squirrel knight while he waved his sharpened stick in the air. Though Sir Fluff didn't have strong armor like a human knight he possessed a powerful look. The knight lived as the youngest knight ever in his court, but became accepted for his famous feet of scaring a hawk away with just a look. The women of the kingdom loved his tough, brown fur.
An old voice called out to Sir Fluff from several branches above, “My people were here first boy. Before the humans set up their camps and took this tree for the many winters. I've come to reclaim it for the Bigpaw Kingdom.”
Sir Fluff needed to only a single glance at the old squirrel to know who he was. Sir Picnic used to have a different name but managed to raid human places constantly for food. A constant survivor he's managed to live longer than any squirrel despite being in constant danger. Some people call him immortal. But his gray hair indicates otherwise. Elders usually possessed either a happy or jaded expression. Sir Picnic's eyes focused on Sir Fluff with intent to react to whatever he would do next, but his body remained calm as well. His body language only prepared him to react to combat, not anything social, so Sir Fluff couldn't read him at all. A human would compare it to talking to a recording.
“It doesn't matter what stake of ownership you had so many winters ago.” Sir Fluff pointed his stick at Sir Picnic. The sword of his matched Sir Picnic's in sharpness. “By international law, human invasion resets land borders. Now that they have left it is open to be reclaimed by anyone.”
Sir Picnic responded, “I did not see you arrive before me, and you did not see me arrive before you. So there is only one way to resolve this. A duel.”
“I accept.” Sir Fluff hoped this opportunity came up. His claim to fame was scaring away the hawk with a look, but many people said something else may have caused the hawk to go away. If he won this duel he would prove himself some other way. Get glory for his kingdom and self.
The standard rules for a squirrel duel were simple. First to fall off the tree and hit the ground lost. The rules do not specify whether or not they have to be alive when this happens.
Sir Fluff jumped to the branch Sir Picnic stood on and it bounced up and down from his weight. He tried to use this to surprise the old man but the lunge from sword was blocked. They began going back and forth with their blows, the blades meeting with the rattle of clashing wood. Sir Picnic held the skill acquired from age, but Sir Fluff held the strength of youth. Neither let up.
Sir Fluff parried a blow while yelling, “You will not have a single acorn from this tree old man!”
Sir Picnic replied in a much more reserved voice, “Arrogant boy. You don't deserve to hold a sword.”
The squirrels continued their fight. A strong wind wobbled the branches. They both saw this as an opportunity and took a risky lunge. Their swords slashed the sides of each others arms. They both dropped their weapon and their fur turned red. They maintained their positions on the branches while the blades dropped to the ground.
Sir Fluff then said to his opponent, “Do we fight the savage way?”
The old squirrel's disposition changed from his difficult to read composure, to a more depressed face. The savage way meant to bite at each other. A brutish way to battle. To even come to that sullied his honor. And to him that was a dishonorable way to go. Because the second thing he knew was that he was already dead. “This fight is over. Go back home. Rest and you may live. I will die.”
“You mean, the spirits of the air?” Sir Fluff replied.
Sir Picnic then said to him, “Yes, I'm too old to possibly fight them. I don't care enough about this tree to make you have less of a chance to live. Go home, rest, and maybe you can live.” The squirrels didn't understand bacteria and sickness. They knew that when your flesh opened and became exposed to air you could get sick. They assumed angry spirits of the air did it. “Don't worry about me I'll make my death quick.”
Sir Fluff looked at the old squirrel. The gray squirrel who lived through so many perils. He then yelled, “This isn't how it was supposed to end! Tales that get passed down for generations don't end with the knights just walking away from each other!” Sir Picnic jumped from branch to branch heading nearing the ground. “You're robbing me old man!” Sir Fluff hopped down after him. “This is supposed to be the fight where I conquer the most legendary knight in all the kingdoms and my lords select me as leader of court's knights. This is supposed to be where my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren get their title. I can't come home with this kind of story! This is not what either of us deserve...”
Sir Picnic landed on the ground and picked up his blade. He turned to Sir Fluff and told him, “Life isn't a story boy. At least not the story you want it to be.” Sir Picnic then took his sword and ended his life quickly instead of being consumed by the spirits of the air. The acorn tree now belonged to Sir Fluff and the Scampering Kingdom.