Here is the next installment of the short story. Not sure how long this will go on but we will keep going till the story is done. Hope you enjoy!
The Feline Snow Queen
It had snowed making everything white. It was hard tracking as the forest cats had their heads almost buried in the snow sniffing for any scent that they could pick up. Keshar's cats were in the forest tracking any signs of winter faeries but there was nothing. It was like they disappeared in the night when the snow came.
Keshar walked beside Sieska silently keeping his every senses on high alert. He sniffed the air taking in a rush of cold air.
"They are well hid and when they wish to not to be found, they mean it", said Sieska.
He sighed. "That is the problem with faeries. They are tricksters and can't be trusted. You should have kept them out."
Sieska smirked as she glanced over at him. "They can be handy at times you know. You just have to be careful of their favor."
"I have never given them any favor. They will backstab you the minute your guard is down."
Sieska was about to say something when one of the forest cats lets out a howl. They both rushed forward. There was something in the snow. They both looked down at it and then looked at each other.
"What is a spring faerie doing here," asked Keshar. Sieska shook her head. "This is very wrong. This body was brought here for a reason."
"To start war," chided Keshar. "I think this winter prince has a problem and since his mother can't reign him in, someone else will have to do it."
"That someone else would be us?" Her blue eyes focused on him.
"Who else?" Keshar huffed out a breath leaving his breath in an icy fog between them.
"Where do we start," he asked.
"By taking this spring faerie back for proper burial and making sure the Spring King knows that I am not responsible for this. I don't need a war with him."
The forest cats dug the body out of the snow and dragged it out in front of Keshar and Sieska. They only went about a hundred feet when a shadow from above them cast a shadow over them. Everyone looked up. It was a large white bird like creature.
Keshar howled to his cats and so did Sieska. They all hid in the trees and formed a circle around them. Sieska and Keshar stood their ground while the thing above them got closer and finally landed at a safe distance from them.
Sieska recognized it as something that belonged to the spring court. Its long beak hung low and curved at the end-perfect for tearing. Its silver white wings with a hint of sky blue settled neatly on its back. The legs were long and furry at the feet. It started to walk toward them. Its blue black colored glassy beady eyes looked at Sieska. "Are you the feline snow queen?" Its voice was slightly garbled. Sieska took one step forward. "I am her."
"The winter faeries that you protect here have been causing some trouble." Sieska was about to say something but he wouldn't let her. "The King is upset about the death of his court member as we all are. He wants those who are guilty to be brought to justice."
His glass beady eyes took a quick glance at Keshar and his feathers slightly ruffled. He quickly turned his attention back to her.
"I am here to warn you. The King will not stand for this...
Sieska waved her paw at him silencing him. "I want you and your King to do know that I had nothing to do with this directly. This is the work of the winter queen's son. We saw it. He is out to cause trouble and has kidnapped the high queen of which we had nothing to do with, I assure you. We were on are way to take the body back and inform your King that we are not responsible."
On the bird like creatures head was a crown of long white bluish feathers. They tilted forward as if maybe he was thinking about all this. She came a little closer to him causing Keshar to take a step forward. The bird did not like that and took a step back. It appeared that he was hesitant of Keshar for some reason.
"Is your King nearby," asked Sieska. He didn't answer and he didn't have to as out of the snowy air he formed. Standing there as tall as the bird creature was the King of Spring. His piercing silver blue eyes shone in the winter's sun. The bird like creature bowed stepping aside.
Sieska and Keshar stood side by side and held their heads high. His eyes narrowed giving them the impression he was not impressed to be in the winter realm. He wore a fur covered coat down to the snow. "You say you are responsible for this death? That the winter queen's son is?"
Both cats nodded their head. His nose twitched. His eyes cast down to the snow and then the bird whose feather crown laid flat back now. "Gather the body up on your back and we will head back. It is much too cold here." The bird bowed and went over to the body by the forest cats. They all stepped aside to let him pick up the body and place on his back. The body sunk into his feathers.
The Spring King turned his attention back to them. "I sense you are telling me the truth but I still want more proof that this winter prince is to blame. He will stand punishment."
Keshar had remained silent up until now. "I warn you not to start anything with her. She is vicious and will attack. She can't be trusted any more than her son."
A grin that was almost a sneer formed on his lips. "I will not be starting any wars with any queen, I assure you but if there are any more attacks, war will be the last thing you have to worry about. Trust me on that."
The bird creature was now at his side. He climbed on its back with the body in front of him. The creature spread its massive wings and up they went into the sky above them and disappeared into the blue sky.
Keshar whipped his head around to her. "What do you make of that?" His cold tone washed over her fur making her shake herself before speaking.
"It means that we have another angry faerie to deal with and I can't blame him for being hostile when he was literally dragged into this. He means what he says. War is not his thing. He uses other methods for retribution."
Keshar looked at her. "Should I even ask?"
She shook her head. "I'll tell you later. Right now we should head over to the high queen's territory and see what is lurking there."
The snow got heavier as they got closer to the high queen's territory. Sieska kept looking up into the trees. His cats were moving along like ghosts in the snow covered trees while her own forest cats were on the ground. Her ears perked as she could hear something in the distance.
When she got closer it sounded like a screeching winter wind. Although it was not windy. Keshar's hairs on the back of his neck stood straight up. She knew he heard it too.
One of the cats from the trees jumped down and plopped into the snow and almost disappeared but it leaped out with something in its mouth. Sieska was guessing a field mouse but instead it was long and dark. It was not a mouse but a something long and skinny. The cat shook it and dropped it.
Sieska insides took a turn. She knew what is was. When they got a little closer, she was right. It was a cat tale. That's all that was left. Sieska presumed it was one of her guards from that day. With his hatred of cats, shredding one would be what he would do. It made her insides shake with anger.
She looked up at the trees and something was now different. There was a certain scent that warned her and suddenly she let out a warning howl.
They found the winter faeries. Trees started to shake and it wasn't the cats. Keshar let out a sharp howl and his own cats dropped out of the trees and ran toward him. The scent got stronger. Sieska knew they were surrounded. The trees and nearby woods were full of them. They were about to be ambushed if she didn't think of something. Her large blue eyes caught Keshar's attention. "You said what he did was kitten play. Let's see what you can do."
Keshar whiskers twitched. He nodded and went a head of her till he was almost in the center of the clearing. The trees went still. Sieska knew that they were watching him. Waiting. He shook his head. She watched him intently and then something with him was not right. He started to falter.
Her ears perked and her nose twitched as she picked up another scent. Her eyes went wide. Instantly she leaped into thin air and landed a few feet from Keshar who let out a breath like he had been holding it.
She growled. Forming under her paws was a young winter faerie. She knew it was him. His ice blue eyes were feral.
"Get off of me," he growled. She put more weight on his chest making him gasp for air. Her nose was inches from his. "You will stop this now and let the high queen go or we will see what your mother has to say about her son."
He snarled at her. "My mother does not control me and as for the high queen," he wheezed out. "She deserves what she gets. What do you care?"
"I care when you drop a spring faerie in my forest and set me up to take the blame."
"I did no such thing. I don't have anything to do with them."
She lifted her paw off of his chest and let him sit up. Sieska titled her head at him. "We will see if you are telling the truth or not. Your mother will be able to tell."
She looked over at Keshar but he had already taken his place beside her. They towered over him. The trees above them shivered. He grinned at them. Keshar waved his paw and the trees stopped. The winter prince looked up at the tree. "What have you done cat?"
Sieska looked up at the trees. All the faeries were frozen in the trees.
He glared at Keshar. "You will pay for this." The winter prince went to throw his hand out at Keshar but Keshar was faster and sent the prince back down on his back howling. He was holding his hand tight to his chest. He howled and Keshar's cats came forward and surrounded the winter prince.
"Let's take the brat back and get some answers."
She nodded but she knew that they were entering dangerous territory. The winter queen could have been the one behind all this and her son was just a pawn in her game. She wouldn't put it past her. One of Keshar's cats suddenly grew very tall. The winter prince tried to back up but wasn't fast enough when the cat grabbed him by the scruff his large mouth. He picked him up as if he was nothing but a rag doll. He led the way.
The winter queen's forest was a snowy world where the wind always howled and it was almost always storming. Sieska hated this forest. Out of all the forests, this one was the harshest and cruelest. The fur on the back of her neck bristled. Something was near and she knew not what but who it was. Keshar's cat stopped in front of them. She was guessing he knew too.
Out of the snow came the winter queen. She was holding her staff as she walked toward them. She wasn't very big but Sieska knew that was all too deceiving. With that staff in her hand she commanded the forest.
Keshar and Sieska came up beside Keshar's cat. The winter prince was sitting on the ground not moving. Sieska looked at him. He appeared to be afraid of her and by the look in his eyes wished he was anywhere but where he was now.
She stopped about three feet from them. The winter queen smiled warmly at them. "What a lovely surprise. Company from the other forest! This is wonderful!"
Sieska noticed that not once did she pay any attention to her son. "What do I owe this honor?"
Her voice almost grated against the back of Sieska's neck like a sharp claw slicing across her skin. But she held her own. "It appears that your son." She had to choose her words wisely. "That he has kidnapped the high queen."
Her nose wrinkled as she smelled something foul. "Why would he take her? He hates cats. No offense but your kind can be nasty if you know what I mean. So, where you dear feline is, I do not know and I'm sure that my son does not know either."
She still never looked at him. "I assure you, that he did take her as we saw it."
Her eyes grew wide in surprise and amusement. "No dear, my son here," she finally looked at him. "Was with me until this morning when I allowed him to go out. I apologize if he was causing any trouble in your forest. Tell him you’re sorry."
Her voice became sweeter but with an underlying tone of annoyance. He muttered something but Sieska didn't hear the words I'm sorry.
"See? All better. Would you like to stay for some tea perhaps?" She fluttered her eyes at them.
"There is also one more thing. We found a spring faerie in the forest dead. Do you know anything about that?"
She smiled. "Come have tea with me and I will tell you everything!"