“As recompense for the damage done in the crops and subsequent battle, you will assist us in harvesting these crops and planting new ones for future growing seasons,” Jeff Musk said. “You will also help to clean up the fields and castle.”
“Additionally, you will be trained in proper battle technique, just in case we need it in the future,” Ser Jinx said. “You fought well, and with honor.” He turned to Benny. “And now, I ask that Benny read the casualty list.”
Benny stepped forward. “There were no causalities, Ser Jinx. The nurse birds have already healed the members of the invading army that suffered frostbite and burns from the cans of whoop up. There were minor scratches and scrapes from the battle and a few got tangled up when they tried to attack yarn birds on the perimeter. And then, um,” he gulped, glancing at Chloe, “other various bruises from the castle breech and ensuing melee.”
Chloe cackled. “They needed a bath, too, after sneaking in through the sewer pipes!”
Jinx joined in the cackling. “Maybe Chloe should help with your training. The ladies held up just as well as we did in the field!”
“We live in an open community that welcomes and defends all anipals,” Zack said. “I was wondering, why did you attack us? All you had to do was ask and we would have been glad to help you.”
Queen Beak stepped forward. “Our aviary closed and they were going to sell us to a zoo. We didn’t know what to do or how to survive. All we knew is that we were scared that we’d go extinct if we were mixed in a strange place with all of those big animals. We’re sorry.”
“All is forgiven,” Chloe said, putting a wing around Queen Beak, “and we welcome you to your new home.”
“And now the celebration feast!” Jeff Musk announced. “Everybody outside to begin the festivities!”
All of the anipals stepped outside in the sun to see tables set up with fruits and vegetables. The farmer birds had managed to salvage most of the crops so far, despite the weeds. Lola shyly pulled on Zack’s feathers as he took his place at the table. “Sir Zack? I heard you were worried about me and the other babies.”
“It turned out to be a fruitless worry. You did an excellent job defending us and the castle. Thank you, Lola. I didn’t mean to underestimate you just because you’re young.”
“No sir, that’s not it. Actually, I’m flattered by your concern.” She turned motioned to Seamus and Rain, who rolled a wheelbarrow of peanuts forward. “This is a gesture from me and the young birds to thank you for your protection and care.”
Zack’s eyes widened. “Oh boy!”
“We have another gift, too,” Sassy and Morty said, rolling up four barrels of popcorn with Nena and Mesha. “Jiffy Pop for your gallant capture of Queen Beak and bringing the peace.”
“Wow!” Zack said.
“We helped too, you know,” Chloe said. “And thanks for helping to heal the ones I taught you to whoop up on in the castle, too.”
“Oh, you’re so brave, Zack!” the girls gushed, crowding around and snuggling him. Zack’s cheeks flushed a deeper orange.
“I had an army out there too, you know,” Jinx said.
“You saved us all with your clever planning and ingenuity!” the girls said, surrounding Zack in a massive snuggle.
“But Chloe and Jeff and Killer worked with him, too,” Jinx said.
“You’re the best, Zack!” the girls cheered as Zack turned brighter orange.
“You know, we all worked together,” Chloe said. “Even you ladies helped too.”
“And he’s so handsome!”
“Aw, shucks. Anything for my friends!” Zack said, his voice muffled in the snuggle.
“Oh, forget it,” Benny said.
“Hey, where did Jeff go?” Chloe asked, looking around.
They heard a horn honk from the road nearby. “Hey guys!” Jeff Musk shouted from the driver’s seat of the bus. “Guess what day it is?”
“It’s hump day!” the camel shouted, jumping in front of the bus. Unfortunately, Jeff didn’t see the camel’s sudden appearance and hit him, knocking Camel into a nearby field. Jeff stopped the bus.
“No, it’s French Fry Friday!”
The camel looked up from where he landed, unharmed and smiling. “Oh yea, I guess it is Friday.”
All of the birds cheered and rushed to line up as Jeff handed out prizes from the French Fry express. Chatter broke out as the animals mingled to enjoy the fruits of the land and the treats they created from them.
“It’s such a beautiful day, and wonderful to welcome so many new anipals,” Chloe said, looking at the Queen of Bavaria’s, raccoons, and squirrels shyly mixing with the anipals that kept handing them food and treats.
“It certainly is. It’s always wonderful to welcome new friends, don’t you think?” Zack asked, coming out of the snuggle with mussed feathers.
“Muuuh,” said Un Buey.
Everybody laughed, peeling open French Fries in the sun and enjoying a perfect day filled with friends, food, fun, peace, joy and happiness.