|Route of the grain peddler|
After a long winter, spring has finally arrived to Lockhaven, and the patrols of the Mouse Guard depart all over the territories to their missions. Gill's patrol has got a new member this spring, the tenderpaw Gunrey, while guardmouse Beagan and patrol guard Radulf continue in the patrol.
Gwendolyn gave them a mission to find a grain peddler, who was traveling from Lockhaven, via Rootwallov, Copperwood and Elmoss to Barkstone, but how never arrived to Copperwood. To Gill Gwendolyn also told, that the peddler might be a spy, trying to sell infromation from Lockhaven to Barkstone, trying to hide within normal commercial traffic.
The patrol was traveling the road between Rootwalloc and Copperwood, Radulf scouting ahead. A bit off the main trail he found an overturned grain cart, but he was soon to regret going alone to investigate the cart: Radulf heard an angry hiss coming from behind him, and saw a snake hissing and baring it's teeth. Alone he could not survive, so he ran away with the snake hot on his heels. At last he managed to escape, but he was really tired after all the excercise.
After Radulf had returned and received his reproaches form his foolhardy actions, the patrol decided that only way ahead was to kill the snake: it´s a risk to travellers, and the grain cart was their only lead. Even for a whole patrol the snake was not an easy prey: after the dust settled, Gill and Gunrey were lying on the ground, unable to keep fighting, but their brave charge wounded the snake enough for Beagan and Radulf to kill it. Tired and wounded, the patrol slept the night with their bellies full of fried snake. Gill suprised everybody by making something edible from the snake!
In the morning the patrol finds the peddler, killed by snake poison, lying nearby: the snake musta have been starting its diner when the patrol went by! Gunrey examines the body, and finds a detailed map of Lockhaven, but tries to hide it. Beagan notices, and Gunrey tries to attack with his fists. Seeing his pupil´s actions, Gill jumps between them and easily knocks Gunrey unconscious with his staff.
The patrol is tired, wounded, in the middle of forest with a dead spy. Who was the spy working for? How will Radulf react, if somebody from his hometown is scheming against the Guard? Why did Gunrey try to hide the map?