Fiction Fridays #15: The AJ Story, Chapter 14


Hey, guys! Here’s the next chapter of my book! It’s one of my favorites – I’m very proud of the way it’s written. Sorry about posting the last one last Thursday instead of Friday. At least this one’s on the right day.
If you haven’t read the previous chapters:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Without further ado, here’s the story!!

~~~

Crashing had never been in Peck’s palace. Not that she remembered, anyway. She let out a little gasp when they reached the room where the gathering was being held. “This is awesome!” cried Fauna. She and Scooter were coming to the ceremony, too; Scooter was going to stay back with Crashing at Peck’s palace.
There was an enormous, intricate gold chandelier hanging from the ceiling, and its light sent blinding lights ricocheting all over the crystal walls. It had the exact same atmosphere as the ceremony at Greely’s palace; everyone was enjoying themselves and flocking around the little rabbit that acted like a wolf.
“Wow, that one’s gotta be, like, ten pounds,” snickered Lucky at a rabbit that was getting food from the banquet table.
“Be nice, Lucky, you aren’t too light yourself,” admonished Flora.
“Ah, yeah, but that’s just my awesome muscles.”
“Have you seen Juniper lately?”
“You’re just changing the subject because you don’t want to admit I’m cooler than you.”
“No, I’m serious. I haven’t seen her in ten minutes.”
Lucky looked around quickly. “I don’t see her. I’m gonna go get some more carrot cake.”
“There!” Flora spotted her by the side of the room, speaking to someone that was obscured by an arctic wolf’s tail. “Who’s that she’s talking to?”
“Dunno,” said Lucky dispassionately. “I really have got to tell Peck how good her stuffing is.”
Flora walked a little closer to the blue wolf. She was talking to…
…a rhino, smiling as Juniper said something Flora didn’t quite catch.
“Hey, June,” said Flora. Juniper jumped. “Hey, Flora. Where’d you come from?”
“I was just watching you. Who’s this?”
“Mighty Rockyrobot,” said the rhino. “Your friend here is a nice girl, ma’am.”
“Sister.” Flora studied Mighty through narrowed eyes. “Hey, Juniper. Can I talk to you for a second?”
“Sure.” She followed her big sister over by the table, where Lucky was stuffing her face with pecan pie.
“You like that rhino,” said Flora, her voice determinedly calm. Juniper blushed furiously. “So what if I – you didn’t freak out like this when Lucky started mooning over that arctic wolf!”
“No offense to Miss Shyclaws, but that arctic wolf never would have liked her back. Mighty obviously think’s you’re special. Is he nice?”
“Very!” Juniper was being more aggressive with her big sister than she ever would have been against a phantom.
“Alright, I guess. You just… just tell me if he ever treats you badly, okay?”
“I will,” said Juniper grudgingly. Then she trotted off to where Mighty was standing, waiting for her.
“What’s her deal?” said Lucky.
“You’ve got a pecan in your teeth,” said Flora, hardly taking her eyes off of Juniper’s and Mighty’s animated conversation.
“Mmm. Good stuff. Gone now, so what’s her deal?”
“Nothing. I’ll tell you later, okay?”
“Alrighty.” The wolf went off to find some more food.

“Yeah, that was my sister,” said Juniper gloomily. “I’ve lived with my sisters since I was five. The phantoms destroyed our village when we were just kids.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Mighty. “Er – not you living with your sisters. The phantoms burning down the village.” Juniper laughed.
“Yeah. I love both of them, but Flora’s a little protective, and Lucky just doesn’t get it sometimes.” She grinned slyly. “She was acting like a six-year-old with her first crush about an arctic wolf at Crashing’s first ceremony.”
Mighty rolled his eyes. “I’m the youngest of five, so I know what that’s like.” Juniper giggled. “I’m three years older than Lucky, but Flora’s twenty-one and I’m only nineteen.”
“Twenty.” Mighty glanced at Juniper’s silver paw. “Uh – I don’t want to sound rude – ”
“No, it’s fine,” said Juniper quickly. “I don’t care.”
“What happened?”
Juniper grimaced. “Long and slightly stupid story. My eight-year-old sister disobeyed a direct order, left battle camp, went into a fight, and I deserted the field hospital to protect her. Naturally, Lucky’s the last person that needs protection, so I came off worse on that one.” She moved her silver paw a little. “It still hurts sometimes, but I’ve gotten used to it.”
Mighty liked Juniper a lot. Sure, she looked kind of funny with one metal paw, but she was one of the nicest people she ever met. They talked all night, and the conversation never got boring. Juniper told him about the BOOMseed testing, her sisters, finding Crashing, and he found every one of her stories
interesting.
But Mighty knew they could never be together. She was a wolf, for goodness’ sake. Especially one that close to Greely. There was no way he’d ever let her be more than friends with him.
All they could do was wish.

“Crashing,” called Peck once most of the guests had cleared out. “I’ve got to go,” said Juniper regretfully to Mighty. They had exchanged addresses so they could send each other letters.
“Goodbye!” he said earnestly as she ran to join her sisters walking up the staircases to Peck’s quarters.
“We love you, Crashing, no matter what you are,” whispered Flora in the little bunny’s ears. Lucky pulled her close in a big hug. “I love you, my little bunnybug.”
Juniper, who was still thinking about Mighty, kissed her on the cheek and just murmured, “Goodbye.”
Crashing went through the balanced oaken door and disappeared for a few minutes. When she came out, she was their old Crashing again – Crashing the rabbit. She was carrying herself differently, somehow, but if she had prowled one paw in front of the other like the real wolves, the three sisters could see how she could make a convincing canine.
“It worked,” said Peck in relief. “You’re alright!” She hugged the rabbit tightly. “I remember your parents, little one. They were both every bit as good-looking and good-hearted as you.”
“I guess this is goodbye, then,” said Flora. The silence felt heavy, as if the air had turned to stone.
“I guess so.” Peck’s pretty face looked genuinely sorry for them. “Thank you so much for taking such good care of little Crashing, even if it didn’t have the greatest… effects.”
“Goodbye, honey,” said Juniper, kissed Crashing one last time on the forehead, and they turned to leave.

~~~

Thanks for reading! I hope you like it!!

Summer 😀

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