Hey, guys! Here’s the chapter where the real action begins. If you haven’t read the previous chapters, they’re at
I hope you enjoy the story!! 😀
Needless to say, Crashing slept in until nearly ten o’ clock the next morning. The banquet had lasted until after midnight, and she was pooped.
The other three, however tired, woke up at their normal times.
“Greely seemed worried last night,” said Flora. “Do you think there’s something he’s not telling us?”
“Chill, Flora, it’s Greely,” said Lucky unconcernedly. “There’s always something he’s not telling us.”
“But he seemed really worried this time,” persisted Flora. “He usually tells us when there’s something bothering him.”
“Then maybe he thinks we don’t want to know,” replied Juniper gravely. “If he only got worried last night, and after he saw Crashing, then it probably has something to do with her, and he thinks it will only hurt us.”
She bit her lip. After an awkward silence, she burst out, “I don’t suspect Crashing! She’s harmless. Maybe the reason he hasn’t told us is because he isn’t sure himself.”
“He’ll tell us when he wants to,” agreed Flora.
“G’morning!” squeaked Crashing’s tiny voice from behind them. And that was the end of their Greely conversation.
The day would have been normal if they hadn’t heard a frantic knock on the door around noon. When Flora opened it, she found their neighbor, Sparkle Wingedlily, wide-eyed and looking scared.
Sparkle was an arctic wolf that defied their unflattering stereotype. She was the most timid animal they’d ever met, and she had a tendency to get herself into trouble. She hated fighting and violence, so she turned to her neighbors for help a lot.
“What is it this time, Spark?” said Lucky from behind her big sister.
“There’s a bunch of phantoms down the creek,” squeaked Sparkle. “They’re getting closer, and I need you to help keep them away.”
“I’ll get ready,” said Lucky instantly, and shot off.
“We’ll help,” said Flora. “Just a moment, and you can show us where they are. Come on, Crashing, you can just read or play or something until we’re back, alright?”
“Okay,” said Crashing cheerfully.
Sparkle danced around on tiptoe on their porch for a few minutes while Flora grabbed her bow and spiked glove and Lucky donned her armor. Juniper, who very rarely fought, had everything she needed – a tiny crystal vial of phantom wound medicine in her pocket. It wasn’t that Juniper didn’t believe in fighting – how could she, with Lucky as a sister? – she just hated fighting. Her metal paw was a constant reminder of her lack of warrior’s prowess. Juniper was always nervous for her pugnacious little sister. She was afraid that Lucky’s ready claws would be the end of her someday.
Once they were all suited up, Sparkle trotted down to the river near their house, then whimpered and squatted into the grass as she pointed into the distance. The three wolves followed her gaze and saw three phantoms, hovering low and menacing over the water.
“Looks like fun,” growled Lucky, flexing her muscles. “Let’s go!” Flora grabbed the scruff of her neck as she was about to charge off. “Not yet.” She got close to her little sisters. “What’s the plan?”
“We run at the phantoms,” said Lucky emphatically, “we kill the phantoms. C’mon, knuckleheads, don’t just stand around and talk!”
Flora took a deep breath. “Lucky, we don’t just run at things and kill them. Juniper, any suggestions?”
Juniper looked annoyed. “You’re asking me how to fight? Get over there and – ”
Lucky had taken off before Juniper finished her sentence. With a howl, she lunged for the phantoms and scraped one squarely down the face.
“Take that, losers!” she shouted, and kicked out backwards at a phantom that was approaching her from behind.
Flora and Juniper didn’t even need to help her. Impossibly fast, she’d incapacitated one phantom with a brilliant kick to the face and driven the other two off with her screaming. The other two had to admit, the sixteen-year-old wolf was pretty scary when she was screaming and slashing and acting like a barbarian.
Lucky bragged about her effortless victory for the rest of the day. Several times she made Juniper and Flora sit on the couch while she reenacted her battle. Crashing sat there of her own accord, watching raptly as the youngest wolf yelled and slashed the air.
“Oh, that made my day!” said Lucky, satisfied, after her sixth demonstration.
“Right, because it’s a day wasted if you don’t get to kill something,” whispered Flora in Juniper’s ear.
“Let’s mix it up tonight,” said Juniper. She smoothed the fur on Crashing’s head. Her bruise had almost healed, but it left a slight scar. “Want to camp in the yard tonight?”
“Sounds like fun,” said Flora.
“Yeah!” said Crashing. “I’ll go get my blankets!” She leapt off the couch and bounded off to get her pillow and blankets.
By the time the sun went down, each wolf had her blanket and pillow just the way they liked it. Crashing had her stuffed pink rabbit snuggled tight to her chest, but she never went to bed without one more thing.
“Flora?” Crashing whispered.
“What?” said the eldest wolf gently.
“Tell me a story.”
Flora had been told many times that she was the best storyteller in Jamaa. She had a vast mental library of incredible fairy tales and true stories, and she had an enchanting voice like no one else. She thought for a moment before she came up with a good story to tell Crashing.
“Once upon a time…” she began. Crashing was instantly still and wide-eyed. “Before Jamaa existed, there was no one but Zios, the one we call the Earth-king. Now it is rumored that the Phantom King is his evil brother.”
“Cool,” said Crashing softly.
“But that’s another story,” said Flora. “He was lonely all by himself, so he created a realm and called it Jamaa.”
“That’s us!” whispered Crashing. Flora put one claw to her lips in a shushing gesture.
“Zios noticed in particular a young penguin named Micah. She was the sister of Marco, the penguin who grew up to become the Penguin Alpha. She was kind and beautiful, and Zios fell in love with her. They got married and Micah laid an egg – half mortal, half immortal. Soon after, Zios made Micah his queen and renamed her Mira, the Sky-queen, and made her immortal.”
“I like this story,” murmured Crashing
“It’s not over,” said Flora. “That’s when the phantoms invaded Jamaa for the first time. Not even Mira and Zios could defeat them, even though they fought all the harder when their egg was captured by the Phantoms.”
“Oh no!” Crashing gasped.
“At last, Mira was cornered. She was going to lose the battle, and she knew it. She called Zios for help, but he was fighting a battle of his own and couldn’t fight beside her. So he used his powers to save her life a different way. As the phantom was about to deliver the killing strike, Zios used his powers to transform her into a statue and save her life.”
“Is that the end?” said Crashing.
“Not quite,” said Flora. “No one knew – or knows – what happened to their egg, but their child is still out there somewhere.” She reached out and tweaked Crashing’s nose with one paw. “Who knows, maybe you’ll be the one to find her.”
Crashing went to sleep with the thought still in her mind.
Thanks for reading!! Stay tuned for Chapter 4 next week!