fiction fridays

Fiction Fridays #16: The AJ Story, Chapter 15

OH MY GOODNESS, I’m so sorry, guys!! I forgot to post yesterday’s Fiction Friday! Anyway, here it is. I’m leaving out the table of contents this time, since it’s pretty easy to find the other ones with that search bar up there. ^^^

~~~

“Wait!”
The voice made them all jump. There was no one in the room with them except Peck and Crashing. It sounded like there was someone downstairs. A familiar someone.
Flora, Juniper, and Lucky, respectively, ran down the stairs and back into the large banquet room.
“Greely?”
“I need to speak with Peck.”
They moved over as the massive wolf went up the crystalline stairs. The light reflecting off of the walls hit his stormy gray fur and made him appear to glow.
“Greely? May I ask what you are doing in my palace?” said Peck with a hint of a challenge. Peck was one of the most dangerous warriors in Jamaa: her pretty, small outward appearance belied her belligerent temperament. She wasn’t a Lucky, but she was an absolutely incredible warrior when she had to be.
Five minutes later, they came down, accompanied by Crashing Cutestar.
“What is it?” said Juniper nervously. She was too soon relieved for any more bad news.
“Juniper, Flora, Lucky!” squealed Crashing. “I get to stay with you!”
“She is dear to me,” said Peck, a half-smile on her lips. “But I think it is for the best that she stays with the ones she loves.”
“You have my permission, as well,” said Greely. “Normally, I wouldn’t allow anything other than a wolf to stay with my servants, but…”
“Greely, you’re getting soft,” said Lucky with a grin. “Thanks, you two. We were gonna miss her a lot.”
“Our pleasure,” said Peck graciously.
Scooter and Fauna had stayed down in the banquet room, making sure the leftovers didn’t go to waste. Fauna, it turned out, had a taste for garlic bread.
“Scooter!” called Peck. “You can stay with me. I’ll tell your parents. They’ll be overjoyed that their little Bravescout is safe and sound again.”
Scooter said a quick goodbye to Fauna, then hopped over to where her Alpha was standing.
“Ready to go, Fauna?” said Flora.
“Ready,” said the little penguin cheerfully.
“There’s something odd about that one,” muttered Greely to Peck. “Those eyes…”

Flora, Juniper, Lucky, Crashing, and Fauna began their walk back home. Coral Canyons, where Peck’s palace was, wasn’t too close to their home, so it was a bit of a walk. They walked along the edge of Sarepia Forest, which led directly to their home.
“Crashing, what do you want to do when we get home?” said Fauna eagerly. “You can still play with me!”
Crashing and Fauna chatted vivaciously all the way to the residential side of Jamaa. They talked about everything they’d do together, now that they were staying for good. Fauna had no idea who her parents were, and sometime she’d have to either be adopted by a penguin or sent to Marco, but in the meantime she’d be staying with the wolves.
Juniper’s brow was creased as they neared their house.
“What?” said Lucky. “You look nervous.”
“Do you smell smoke?” said Juniper.
“I don’t smell anything,” said Fauna, tapping her beak. “Birds can’t smell.” Crashing giggled.
“No, I’m serious.”
“How much?” said Flora. “It could be a campfire, or it could be serious.”
“I don’t know. But there’s smoke.” Juniper looked around for any signs of a fire. “We need to hurry up and get home. It might be something bad, and we need to make sure it’s not a housefire.”
They jogged all the way to their house. “Look!” gasped Juniper.
Smoke was rising from the edge of Sarepia Forest. A bright flickering light was coming from the trees.
“Okay, there’s fire,” said Juniper, trying to sound as calm as possible. “We need to get down by the stream, but first we have to make sure everyone’s safe.”
“Everyone’s here,” said Lucky.
“Not everyone,” said Flora, her eyes wide. “It’s nearly midnight. Sparkle’s probably asleep.”
“You guys hurry down to the stream,” said Lucky. “I’ll get Sparkle.”
“Be safe,” said Juniper in a trembling voice as her golden sister ran down to the little cottage next to theirs.
“Do you think we’ll be okay?” said Fauna.
“We’ll be fine, honey,” Flora reassured her. “We’ll get down to the stream, and we’ll all be safe while we try to keep it back.”
“Do you see Lucky yet?” said Juniper once they were at the creek. She squinted. It was very dark.
“There!” A tall, fluffy black-and-green shape was following a smaller, lither gold one.
“Hurry!” called the blue wolf.
They all sat down on the bank of the river. Sparkle was shaking. Lucky didn’t look scared at all. She was shooting narrow glances at the encroaching light and fidgeting in the mud.
“We can’t just sit here!” she burst out after hardly thirty seconds.
“What can we do?” said Flora.
“Sparkle’s got a massive garden. Surely there’s a water hose somewhere!”
“There’s two on the back of the house,” said Sparkle timidly. “But be careful!”
“Careful is for cowards!” shouted Lucky, who was already halfway to Sparkle’s cottage.
“And that’s why my sister’s going to die young,” said Flora with a mix between fear and exasperation in her voice.
The fire was getting very close now. Lucky grabbed the end of the hose and ran toward the flames. She wasn’t going to let the fire get her neighbor’s house.
“Alright, guys, just stay here,” muttered Juniper. “Especially you, Crashing. And – FAUNA!”
The penguin had run away from the stream bank and was going toward where Lucky was blasting a hole in the wall of heat.
“Great Zios, Fauna! You’re going to get yourself killed!” Juniper screamed.
“Come on!” said Flora. “If an eight-year-old can stop it, we can, too. Sparkle, you stay here and watch Crashing.”
“With my life,” said Sparkle.
Flora and Juniper ran to join their sister. Flora grabbed the other hose, and Juniper grabbed the penguin.
“You are going to die if you try that!” said Juniper. “Come on. You’re going back with Sparkle and Crashing.”
“No! I want to help!”
“Fine, then! Go get your tail feathers burned off!” Of course, Fauna kept going.
“Lucky! Let me help!” Lucky tossed the water hose to Fauna, who caught it expertly and sprayed it at the fire.
“It’s too big,” said Flora. “We need help!”
Luckily for them, others had begun to notice the smoke rising from the forest. They could hear others shouting, see them pouring buckets of water onto the fire. “They’re getting it!” said Flora in relief.
The slight pause was all the heat needed. It surged forward and touched the side of Sparkle’s house.
“No!”
“Run!” cried Juniper. Even Lucky obeyed.
The four firefighters fled the scene as the fire engulfed the arctic wolf’s cottage. Flora looked behind her to make sure everyone had made it. Lucky, Juniper, and Fauna were running behind as fast as they could.
Let’s just hope it’s fast enough, prayed Flora.
“Ugh!”
“No! Fauna!” screamed Juniper.
Fauna tripped and fell, her face a picture of panic as she struggled to her feet. Juniper, Flora, and Lucky ran back to help their friend.
But it was too late.
Just as they began to run for the fallen animal, the flames surged forward and caught Fauna on the tail.

~~~

Thanks for reading!! So sorry I didn’t post this yesterday!!

Summer

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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 😀

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.

Fiction Fridays #12: The AJ Story, Chapter 11

Hey, guys!  Here’s the next chapter of my story!!  The AJ Story is not its official title; I’m still looking for one, but I can’t think of a good one.  If you have any suggestions, PLEASE post them in the comments!!

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

~~~

“What do you mean, she hasn’t come back?” cried Flora. They were standing on the edge of the plateau called Peregrine Peak on the edge of Coral Canyons. The view was beautiful, looking down on the wild forest outside Jamaa, but the three wolves and the panda had much more on their minds than the scenery.
“She was supposed to return an hour ago,” said Liza worriedly.
“Juniper’s worthless on patrol,” said Lucky with a scowl. “I’ll admit she’s a whole lot better than me in a lab, but you should have sent someone else. Or, better, never separated us in the first place.”
“All the more reason to search for her,” said Greely. “You said it yourself, Lucky, there’s far too much trouble an incompetent teenager could have gotten into out there. I’ll go find her myself, if you won’t.”
“I never said – ”
Greely had already disappeared. Flora had long suspected the Alphas had a means of teleporting, but perhaps he was just fast.
“’Incompetent teenager’,” murmured Lucky. “Do you think he meant me or Juniper?”
Flora almost laughed. “He would have to be one stupid Alpha to have known you for your whole life and think you were incompetent.”

Crashing was having the time of her life. Scooter was great with kids, and never ran out of things for them to do, Fauna was tons of fun to play with, and LaSelle was one of the nicest animals she’d ever met. All in the magnificent Raccoon Alpha’s palace.
The house had four bedrooms, all with a walk-in closet, and had a giant ballroom-like room with a fountain that they couldn’t keep Fauna out of.
“Look at meeee!” the silvery penguin squealed as she jumped into the fountain from the third-floor balcony.
“Fauna, you’re going to hurt yourself,” admonished the Raccoon Alpha. Even though an ordinary eight-year-old would have been a splat on the polished marble tiles by then, Fauna seemed to have a great affinity from heights, and had even stuck a landing from the fifth floor.
“I thought penguins couldn’t fly,” said Scooter with a grin.
“Yeah, ‘cause penguins like to swim,” Crashing confirmed.
“Well, I don’t even have wings.” Scooter tweaked one of her own long white ears. “That’s the closest I got.”
Crashing was so small she could have been a rabbit, but she was looking more wolflike by the second. She had even learned to howl.
Fauna waddled out of the fountain, still dripping wet. Scooter could not get over the penguin’s odd look. She was silvery gray with pale golden streaks, but gray was not unusual; Flora herself had a light silvery pelt. It was her eyes that looked so abnormal. Instead of dark blue like Flora’s, they were a strange light yellow, like the color of the moon. They were very fractal-looking, with streaks of white and rimmed with tan.
“LaSelle, I like your palace,” said Fauna with her pretty smile.
“Oh, you poor dear, you’ve spent your whole life in that awful cell in the Hive,” crooned LaSelle. “You haven’t seen anything; I’m a minor Alpha. I hear Peck’s palace is beautiful, though, maybe you could check that out sometime.”
“It is,” sighed Scooter. “The whole – ”
LaSelle looked up as she heard a knocking sound. “I’ll be right back, then, dears, just let me get the door.”
She came back a minute later with none other than Flora Cottoncloud.
“Flora!” cried Crashing, bounding up from where she was talking to Scooter, Fauna, and LaSelle and giving the silver-and-purple wolf a hug.
“Hey, Crashing,” she said with a smile. “Are you having a good day?”
“Yeah!” cried the little wolf. “Are we going home now?”
“Not yet,” said Flora evasively. “We’re having some problems, but you can come back with us now. Greely’s fine, and we missed our little Cutestar.” She turned to the other animals. “Scooter and Fauna, you’re coming with us, too, of course. Peck’s unconscious – ”
“Huh?”
“ – but she should wake up pretty soon, and we can get you placed, Scooter. Fauna, we may have to keep you for a little while, but I know you won’t mind.”
“Nope,” agreed Fauna.
“We can’t take you two with us right this second, but we’ll come back in a few hours.”
Flora and Lucky met back at Greely’s palace to wait for him. Crashing was playing in the big gathering room downstairs. Liza didn’t accompany them because she was still patrolling. Unfortunately, she didn’t know just how far gone the purpose of the patrols were.
Greely showed up ten minutes later with Juniper’s still form hanging limply from his jaws. With Flora’s squeal and Lucky’s hoarse shout, the two wolves ran over to where Greely had put down their fallen sister.
“Is she okay?” said Lucky hoarsely. There was a burnt hole in the back of her hood, and there was a purplish cut on her head. With a terrible feeling of déjà vu, she put her ear to the blue wolf’s chest and listened. She had a thrill of relief when she heard her little sister’s slow, shallow breathing.
“She’s okay,” said Flora, releasing a breath she didn’t know she had been holding.
“Let me wake her up,” said Greely, with an uncharacteristic air of awkwardness. Greely was usually a smooth creature, but he acted like there was something on his mind.
He disappeared for a minute or two, then returned with a bowlful of something sticky and grayish-green. Lucky gagged as he dripped a stream of the lumpy concoction into Juniper’s mouth. With a start, she awoke with a choking noise and sat up.
“Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry, I – ”
“Juniper, what happened?” Greely growled. Juniper, still not fully herself, only panicked more at his deep-voiced demand.
“Phantoms!” she cried. “I’m so sorry, there was a hundred of them, there was nothing I could do – ”
“Phantoms got in?” said Flora, trying to keep her head. This could be worse than bad. This could be the start of one of the biggest wars in Jamaa’s history, besides the first Phantom Invasion when the Alphas fought alone.
“I tried,” she sobbed. “But they attacked me, and – I don’t know, I just blacked out.”
“It’s alright, Juniper, I doubt even Lucky could have held off a hundred phantoms,” said Flora, shooting Lucky a negative look as the golden wolf opened her mouth in indignation.
“We have to tell the other guards,” said Juniper, finally coming to her senses. “We need to – ”
“Wait,” said Greely. He slowly inhaled after he said it, like he’d been waiting to get out that single word for forever.
“What?” said Lucky impatiently. “Don’t you get – ”
“I understand what’s going on here, and don’t think you know it better,” he growled. “I fought in the first Phantom Invasion, and six Alphas died. But this is serious.”
Even Lucky shut up.
“I know how you may have missed it,” said Greely carefully. “Crashing was in horrible shape when you found her, and I understand that wound of hers made her face look different, and she couldn’t have told you herself. She believed she was what you thought she was, and she believed it with all her heart.
“What are you – ” said Flora, with a hint of defense for their adopted little sister in her voice.
“I didn’t know it myself until the acceptance ceremony. I didn’t know she hadn’t already been accepted, because I hadn’t accepted her myself.”
His brow creased as his face darkened. In the moody light inside the mountain, he looked dark and slightly menacing. “That’s where I made my mistake. When I gave her the second acceptance ceremony, not my mark but Peck’s appeared.”
“What are you saying?” gasped Juniper. Lucky hadn’t moved at all the whole time. She just stood there and looked offended, but just by her slight change of expression, her sisters knew she was listening.
“She is no wolf,” breathed Greely. “She’s one of Peck’s rabbits.”

~~~

Thanks for reading! I hope you like my story! Stay tuned for the next chapter next week!!

Summer 🙂

Fiction Fridays #11: The AJ Story, Chapter 10

Hey, guys!! Here’s Chapter 10 of my story!! I hope you like it!!

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
It’s getting very hard to write the chapters out.

~~~

“GREELY!” screamed Flora again. This time no one tried to stop her, and all the eyes in the room, friendly or not, were instantly on her.
“Flora!” Greely shouted. The flames were climbing higher, and he tried to pull his rear paws up to avoid them.
“ANIMALS!” bellowed Sir Gilbert so loudly that a few of the weaker phantoms looked dazed. Lucky suddenly realized how horrible it must have been to face the massive tiger in battle. “ATTACK!”
Flora ran frantically toward Greely as her companions attacked the phantoms with everything they had. She went to the back of the pole, behind where the torch have been thrown, and used an arrow-tip to saw through the ropes binding the huge wolf to the pole.
“Greely, it’s me,” sobbed Flora. “Hold on!”
Flora was fast, but not fast enough. The last rope slipped to the floor just as the flame hit the pole. Greely fell onto all fours, but the top edge of the fire hit his back paw just as he bounded off.
“Agghh!”
“Greely, are you okay?” said Flora anxiously.
“I’m fine,” said Greely. He paused for a moment, then embraced her so tightly it would have hurt if she hadn’t been enjoying it so much. “You saved me,” he whispered.
She smiled a little. “I know,” she said back. Then she drew away. “We have to help Lucky and the others.”
“Let’s show those phantoms who’s really the warrior,” he replied, his amber eyes twinkling.
Greely, perhaps, fought harder than all the rest despite his burned paw. The others in the party, except Sir Gilbert, who merely grinned, whooped and shouted when they saw that Greely was free.
“We can go now,” shouted Flora.
“Where’s the fun in that?” said Lucky through gritted teeth. “I wanna – ”
“Retreat, animals,” called Flora before Lucky could continue. “We have what we came for. Fall back!”
They all ran out the door before the swarm of phantoms had enough time to follow them. Sir Gilbert heaved a boulder from the wall and put it in front of the door.
“The door opens outwards,” he grunted. “That should keep ‘em.”
Greely walked in silence with them up two floors, staring at his paws. Then he looked up.
“Thank you for saving me,” he growled to the three girls behind him. Sir Gilbert took no notice. “And you…” The big tiger looked around cockily. Greely gave him a withering look.
“I appreciate it,” he said finally.
“We have to get Peck,” said Flora to break the tension between the two huge warriors at the front of the group.
“What happened to Peck?” said Greely.
“Erm – we’re not sure,” said Flora. “There was a sweeper, and – ”
“The phantom searcher,” said Greely immediately. “Designed to keep intruders out of the bottom levels of the dungeons and to make them vulnerable so they can be caught.” An awkward silence followed his words.
“There she is,” said Flora. Her small form was tucked under the overhang of a boulder, still sleeping away. Greely picked her up, surprisingly gently, by the scruff of her neck and began to carry her.
“We can go now,” said Ruby, with something like wonder.
“You glad?” said Flora.
“No,” answered the rhino. “I just didn’t expect it to go by that fast.”
Juniper shivered as she walked up and down the border between Sarepia Forest and the wilderness. The familiar wood on one side clashed with the similar, yet somehow unfriendly forest on the other. Usually Juniper didn’t mind the eerie sounds of the forest, but in this unfamiliar territory it just sounded sinister. She pulled up short when she heard a hard rustling noise from the alien side of the forest.
“H – hello?” she said, trying and failing to sound brave. A small animal ran out and disappeared into Sarepia Forest. Juniper relaxed. It was just a lesser animal; one of the animals Zios had not granted with the intelligence that the inhabitants of Jamaa had.
Juniper was having a bad day already. Through the trees, she watched the sun clear the horizon as she nervously paced back and forth the Sarepia boundary. Juniper was a bit nervous and un-warrior-like at the best of times, but here, with a supposed invasion on the way, she was beside herself. Keeping her small dagger clutched tightly in her paws, she looked warily through the trees, eyes out for a glimpse of a dark tentacle or bright, malicious eye.
Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw a dark shape slide from the wilderness into Sarepia Forest and felt her fur bristle. Her dagger clutched in her jaws, she raced after the shape that had just disappeared into the peaceful wood. Luckily, she reached it and got close enough to stab the knife through its back. It disintegrated into goop and splashed all over the ground.
She turned back in horror and gasped. It wasn’t alone. Dozens of the creatures were streaming over the border, speeding into the forest of her home and bringing with them a sense of darkness and fear.
“Stop!” cried Juniper, and instantly regretted her naïve mistake. One of the largest phantoms came soaring toward her. When she raised her small weapon, he batted her paw aside effortlessly and knocked her to the ground.
Juniper felt the tentacle collide with the back of her head, and her vision went black.

~~~

Thanks for reading! I hope you like my story as much as I had fun writing it!!

Summer 🙂