Fiction Fridays #14: The AJ Story, Chapter 13


Hey, guys!! Here’s the next chapter of my awesome story! I hope you like it as much as I do! I still don’t have an official title for it, so if you have any ideas, I would LOVE to hear them in the comments. Thanks!!

~~~

The wolves had a hard-earned peaceful day the next morning. The wolf sisters were pooped, and they all slept in until ten o’ clock in the morning. Crashing’s five-year-old mind was a little overworked after two trips to other people’s house and the truth about her identity – well, some of it, anyway. Even Scooter was taking a day off. Only Fauna rose at the normal time that day.
When Juniper woke up, she had an awful headache. Blame it on the phantoms, she thought. She hoped Crashing hadn’t minded waiting so long for breakfast.
She took one look at her beautiful kitchen and nearly had a heart attack. The oven door was hanging open, there was what looked like pancake mix all over the counter, a bunch of eggs had broken in the sink, and someone had spilled milk all over the floor.
“Fauna?”
The penguin was frantically trying to wipe up the milk. “Sorry, Miss Spiritbird,” she said guiltily, and Juniper winced.
“No, it’s fine,” said the wolf quickly. “I just – er – ”
“But I made breakfast!” said Fauna brightly, abandoning her towel for a bowl sitting next to the stove. It had one decent pancake and a bunch more very lopsided ones. Juniper couldn’t help but smile at her pride in her breakfast.
“I’m sure it tastes great, Fauna.”
“Try it!” She put the bowl down and ran to the pantry, coming back with a bottle of syrup. She poured it into the bowl and stood with a bright look in her golden eyes. Juniper had no choice but to eat one.
They weren’t actually that bad. A little bland, maybe, but then Fauna was just a kid.
“They’re great, Fauna,” said Juniper with a smile.
Just after she said it, Flora and Lucky came into the room and stopped dead.
“I made breakfast!” said Fauna brightly, holding up one misshapen, syrup-covered pancake on a fork. Neither wolf replied.
It turned out there were enough pancakes for everyone. Even Lucky, who was firmly used to Juniper’s light, fluffy, perfectly circular pancakes, ate two with liberal helpings of maple syrup.
Later that day, Sparkle appeared at their door, crying and apologizing profusely. When Flora asked her what she was sorry for, she said she was sorry that she’d got Greely captured.
“What on earth do you mean?” said Lucky gruffly.
“If I hadn’t called you to get rid of the phantoms, they never would have wanted revenge and captured Lucky and Greely wouldn’t have had to rescue her!” bawled Sparkle. All three wolves promised that it was all forgiven, and shut the door in her face.
“Frankly, if she hadn’t told us, I wouldn’t have been able to figure out how they were connected at all,” muttered Juniper.
When they went to bed that night, Crashing was thinking about her excitement about her second acceptance ceremony. Now she felt a strange mixture of nostalgia and dread. She wondered if she was the only animal to have ever had three acceptance ceremonies.
Even with her late start to the day, she fell asleep before Flora came to tuck her in. The eldest wolf quietly closed the door and proceeded to her own bed.
Fauna couldn’t sleep. Fauna usually had trouble sleeping. She was a true night owl; she just felt like there was so much to do at night.
“Crashing,” she whispered, shaking the rabbit’s tiny pink shoulder. “Hey. Wake up.”
Crashing wouldn’t wake up. She kept snoozing on despite the penguin’s quiet calls.
Fauna sat back in her bed. She decided to lie down and try to go to sleep. When she finally managed to sink into sleep, she had a dream.
She was in a beautiful, ethereal place. It had a feeling of dizzying height, but Fauna had no problem with that. In fact, she felt right at home there.
She heard a deep voice behind her and turned around. She gasped, but it didn’t make a sound in her dream. It was Zios, in his golden magnificence, and he was speaking to another figure, this one a beautiful female – a penguin like herself.
“What will it be?” whispered the female. “The egg?”
“Even I don’t know that,” said Zios. The female smiled. “I guess you couldn’t say, ‘Zios knows’.”
Zios gave a hint of a smile. “I suppose not.” He took a deep breath. “I have made a decision.”
“What is it, my dear?”
Zios glowed with power, and Fauna was reminded irresistibly of a phantom, but one that brought benevolence instead of fear.
“Micah, my love,” he began. “You have my blessing. You will no longer be Micah, but Mira, my queen. The queen of the sky.”
“How – ” began Micah, but Fauna gasped as she began to glow like a torch as she changed shape. Her wings elongated, as did her legs and beak. In the blink of an eye, she was no longer a comparatively plain penguin, but a beautiful bird with a crest that shone like a sun and incredible white feathers that sparkled like opals.
“My love.” Zios embraced Mira and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “So beautiful.”
Mira turned her long, swanlike neck to look at their nest. It seemed to be made out of clouds. “What about our child?”
“That,” said Zios, “is yet to be discovered.”
Fauna opened her eyes with a start. It was still dark, but she could see the sun rising through the window. She wondered why she had that dream so often. It had nothing to do with her, or her thoughts.
Or did it?

Crashing was ready for her ceremony. She would finally be what she was meant to be again, and everything would be okay. She got out of bed and went into the kitchen, which was already full of life as Lucky criticized Juniper’s porridge.
“It’s fine, I guess,” she said, putting her rear paws on the table. Flora had long since given up telling her to stop. “But it’s just oatmeal, right? Needs a big bang to it. Besides, it’s too sticky. I can’t talk with it in my mouth.” She shoveled a spoonful into her mouth and shrugged at Juniper. Her voice sounded weird with her mouth full. “Y’shee?”
“You eat this every time I make it,” said Juniper. “Besides, you’re not supposed to be able to talk with food in your mouth.”

The three wolves were a little more relaxed as they prepared Crashing for her third ceremony. Flora remembered the first one they’d attended with a pang: it had all felt so exiting, fresh, and new. Now there was an air of sadness as Juniper combed Crashing’s pale pink fur. The little rabbit knew exactly why: she wouldn’t be returning from Peck’s palace.
It was good-bye for the three wolf sisters.

~~~

Thanks so much for reading!! 🙂

Summer 😀

Update: Sorry, I accidentally posted this on Thursday!!! Oh well, you get it a day early, I guess. Whatever.

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