Here’s the awaited Chapter 2 of the AJ Story. It still doesn’t have a name, so PLEASE post suggestions and feedback in the comments!
If you haven’t read the previous chapter, it can be found at https://tweenfictiongirl.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/fiction-fridays-2-the-aj-story-chapter-1/
“Wake up!” Crashing squealed, tugging on the covers on the three elder wolves’ bed. It was only around six o’clock in the morning; even before Flora was awake. She woke sleepily and sat up. “Crashing, what is it?”
“It’s the day of the banquet! Come on, let’s get ready!”
Flora flopped back into her bed with a groan. “Crashing, it’s not until tonight.” Juniper stroked her velvet-soft fur absently with one paw. Lucky hadn’t even woken up. “I know, I’m excited, too,” purred Juniper, if wolves can purr. She wasn’t remembering her own acceptance ceremony, but Lucky’s. Her parents never even got to see it. Juniper had only been six at the time, but the bittersweet memory was crystal-clear.
After around half an hour, Crashing’s quiet snoring woke up Lucky. Juniper made French toast – Crashing’s favorite – and they began to prepare for the day. Juniper, always over-cautious, made herself a checklist on what to do to get ready for the ceremony.
“It’s not being held at the house, you know,” Lucky had pointed out. “It’s not like you have to dust.”
“Yeah, well, it’s a timekiller,” said Juniper.
Crashing felt like she’d been holding her breath all day. When 4:30 came around, Juniper, adhering determinedly to her schedule, began preparing Crashing for her big night. She brushed her fur, gave her a bath, and dressed her in an adorable pink tulle dress. At five o’clock sharp, the four left for Greely’s palace.
Crashing’s breath caught in her throat when she saw the palace. The whole thing was made inside an enormous dormant volcano, and was rimmed by a high, spiked obsidian fence. The setting sun behind it gave the sky a reddish glow, and Crashing felt the hair on the back of her neck rise at the whole scene.
To Juniper’s irritation, they weren’t the first ones to arrive. A few other wolves were milling around, doubtlessly waiting for them to get there, but once the gold-and-ruby studded front door closed, they were swarmed by the wolves of Jamaa as they greeted their newest member. Not everyone at the party was a wolf; about a third of the guests were another type of animal, but the wolves were the ones that really cared.
Flora and Juniper stared as four arctic wolves strutted up to them. The arctic wolves of Jamaa weren’t true wolves, but there was no Arctic Wolf Alpha, so they leaned on Greely. Arctic wolves were known in general as vain and snobby, but that wasn’t what the two older wolves were staring at. It was Lucky’s starstruck expression.
“Hello there,” said the one Lucky was staring at. “My name’s Captain Shiverwolf. To who do I owe the pleasure?”
“Whom,” muttered Juniper.
“Uh…” Lucky jerked out of her euphoria with a start. “Lucky. Lucky Shyclaws.”
The other three introduced themselves as Daredevil Arcticwolf, Sir Spiritwolf, and King Frozenclaws. When they began to walk away, Lucky kept staring.
Juniper pulled Flora away by her spiked collar. “She likes him!” she hissed. “Lucky likes an arctic wolf!” Juniper in particular couldn’t stand the arctic wolves’ self-absorbedness, and was appalled that her close friend and sister was mooning after one.
More and more guests steadily streamed in as the night wore on. Juniper had even managed to forget about Lucky’s affliction. The food was incredible, and under the watchful eye of Greely, all of them felt right at home.
When everyone began to leave, Crashing started to feel depressed. The awesome night was over, and Crashing was out of fun. “Are we going to go home now?” she asked when all but a few of the hard-partying wolves had left. Flora actually giggled. “Of course not!” she said. “You still have your acceptance ceremony!”
The many different kinds of animals of Jamaa weren’t actually different species. (They had been created as a higher order by Zios, the Earth-king, and many suspected they were actually a completely separate race.) It was legal, for instance, for a wolf to intermarry with a panda, but it almost never happened. The Alphas in particular were very careful about inter-breed interaction; Greely more than the others. They were all far too proud to mingle with other animals.
The other Alphas were Liza the panda, Peck the rabbit, Graham the monkey, Cosmo the koala, Sir Gilbert the tiger, and a few minor Alphas for the other animals. Greely himself was a major Alpha and knew it; he was the proudest of the Alphas and was generally secluded and secretive.
Flora, Juniper, and Lucky took Crashing up to Greely’s quarters for the ceremony. It was a story of the building all to itself; held in the very top of the volcano, it had a domed ceiling and fiery look. When they arrived at the massive ruby-studded doors, the four sat and waited. Hardly ten seconds later, though it seemed like hours to Crashing, they heard a rasping bass voice say, “Come.”
Crashing’s heart was beating like a drumroll as she walked into the magnificent room. Deep red torches lit the room with an orange, flickering light, and seated opposite the enormous doors was the Wolf Alpha himself. His thick, rough fur gave him a striking shape, and his cold, proud eyes looked down on the tiny pup as she walked in. Greely looked sharply up to the doors, and, as if on cue, they slammed shut with an earsplitting boom.
“F-flora and Juniper and Lucky aren’t coming?” said Crashing in barely a whisper. Greely shook his massive head. “What goes on in this room is for you and you alone. You have to promise never to tell anyone exactly what happens while you are here.”
“I won’t,” promised Crashing in her squeaky voice.
Greely bounded down from the throne-like chair he’d been sitting on and prowled over to the quavering pup. He bent down to touch his nose to hers. “I, Greely of the Alphas, accept Crashing Cutestar as a member of the Jamaa Wolves for as long as she may live.” Crashing’s eyes screwed shut as the room began to glow with a bright corona of light.
“What?” growled Greely. “It never – ” He cut off with a gasp as the light disappeared as if sucked up, and became a symbol above Crashing’s head. A thin pawprint on a shape like an artist’s palette.
The mark of Peck.
Thanks for reading!! I hope you’re enjoying the story so far. I really liked writing it, and I hope you appreciate it as much as I do!!