Standard disclaimer: I do not own the Happy Tree Friends; they are the property of Mondo Media. I own only my own characters and this story. Now here's chapter 3:

3 – BARRY AND DANE

"There you are" said Dane in a serious tone, "I've just received an unsettling call from Toothy."

"Yes?" said Barry.

"Is it true?"

"I don't know what he told you, but – "

"Did you really fight a Marauder scout?"

Barry sighed. "Yes" he said, "and not just any scout, an I-class scout. I was lucky to escape alive."

"Haven't I told you" said Dane sternly, "not to go wandering around outside the city?"

"I can take care of myself" retorted Barry hotly, "besides, it's easier to practice in privacy outside in the hills. And it's a lucky thing I went there today, or else – "

"I know, I know. Tell me what happened."

"There's not much to tell really. I went outside to practice some moves, and literally stumbled into the thing hiding behind some rocks. We fought, I won."

"You have a talent for understatement" said Dane, "when I look at the scratches on your arms and face I think there was more to it than that."

"I fell a few times, but nothing serious."

Dane looked at Barry for a while.

"How do you know it was an I-class?"

"He was camouflaged like they always are. If I hadn't seen movement out of the corner of my eye he might have gotten me."

Dane sighed. "It's only been a year since the last attacks. If only their leader would leave us alone." Barry laughed without humor.

"XL-Jack-3 isn't about to do that. You know what he/it is like."

"I know" muttered Dane, "and a I-class scout means a full scale attack, and soon. I almost wish you two hadn't fought. They'll know we've discovered them. They'll attack sooner rather than later now. The question is, just how soon will that be."

Dane picked up his personal communicator and turned towards the window.

"Go get cleaned up" he said to Barry, "Toothy told me that he sent Flippy and Splendid out to do some searching. As soon as those two get back the council will have to meet – and act."

"Well it's about time" said Barry, smiling, "life has been so boring lately" and with that he left the room.

(To Be Continued)