That's what soft living does for you

The trio halted beneath the lofty Abbey walls. Cluny silenced them with a wave of his tail, then vanished into the night. Ragear felt distinctly nervous at being left alone with Shadow. He attempted a whispered conversation virtual office.

"Nice drops of rain* eh, Shadow? Good for the grass. Blow me, these walls are pretty high. I'm glad it's you climbing them and not me. I'd never make it. Too fat, hahaha Carpet Cleaning."

Ragear's voice trailed off. He fumbled with his whiskers, wilting beneath the basilisk stare of Shadow's dead black eyes. He shuddered and fell silent.

Within ten minutes Cluny was back. He nodded up at the parapet. "I've been up and down the length of the wall for a fair distance. The sentry mice are all asleep, the fools! They've never had to do guard duty before - as soon as night falls so do their eyelids wet cat food."

Shadow bared his yellowed fangs and started climbing. Slowly he made his way upwards, like a long black reptile, his claws seeking hidden niches and crevices in the sandstone. Ever upwards, sometimes stopping spreadeagled against the surface as he figured out his next movement, taking full advantage of every crack and joint in the wall. No other animal in Cluny's army could have attempted such an ascent, but Shadow was a climbing expert. He concentrated his whole being on the job in hand, sometimes clinging to the stones by no more than a single claw. Below on the ground Cluny and Ragear strained their eyes upwards. They could hardly make out his shape. He was not far from the top of the wall.

Shadow shifted position and levered with his back legs and tail. Now he wedged his claws into a fissure and stretched upwards, gaining inch by inch.

Ragear's head bobbwd in agreement. "You're right, Chief. If they were in our army and old Redtooth caught them snoozing he'd?

"Shut your trap, stupid," Cluny hissed. "Are you ready, Shadow? Now don't forget your instructions."