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The Brothers Lionheart

Though we have to do it secretly.”

“But Sofia,” I said. “Why just her?”

“Because she’s strong and knows about things like that,” said Jonathan. “And because she’s not the slightest bit afraid.”

“Afraid? But you’re not afraid, either, Jonathan., are you?”

He thought for a while and then he said:

“No, I’m not afraid, either.”

Oh, how I wished that I could be as brave as Sofia and Jonathan. But instead I was sitting there so terrified that I could hardly think.

“This business with Sofia and her pigeons flying with secret messages over the mountains, is that something that everyone knows about?”

“Only the people whom we can definitely trust,” said Jonathan. “But among them there’s one traitor, and that’s enough.”

Now his darkened again and he said sorrowfully:

“Violanta had a secret message with her from Sofia when she was shot down last night. And if that message has fallen into Tengil’s hands, that means death for many people over in Wild Rose Valley.”

I thought it was horrible that anyone could shoot a pigeon which came flying by, so white and innocent, even if she did have a secret message on her.

And suddenly I remembered what we had in the sideboard at home. I asked Jonathan why we should have secret messages in our sideboard. Wouldn’t that be dangerous?

“Yes, it’s dangerous,” said Jonathan. “Though it’d be even more dangerous to keep them at Sofia’s. Tengil’s spies would search there first of all if they came to Cherry Valley, and not the house of her gardener’s boy.”

That was what was so good, Jonathan said. No one except Sofia knew who he really was, that he wasn’t just her gardener’s boy but also her closest man in the struggle against Tengil.

“Sofia decided that herself,” he said. “She didn’t want a single person here in Cherry Valley to know, and so you must swear to keep quiet until the day Sofia tells everyone about it.”

And I swore that I’d rather die than betray anything I had heard.

We had breakfast at Sofia’s and then we rode home.

There was someone else out riding that morning, someone we met on the path just as we were leaving Tulip Farm.

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