Hello everyone! Here is the next installment of the story. I hope you enjoy.
The Feline Snow Queen
Sieska had gotten word that Keshar was resting comfortably. She now had to prepare for the spring kings arrival. Sieska only hoped that he wouldn't bring an army with him to take back his daughter. The last thing she needed was to get involved with a war with the spring king.
The forest cats were on guard for his arrival and when they got near they were to report to her to let her know how many he was traveling with. In the mean time she went over what she was going to say to the king when he arrived. She would be gracious to him, hoping that would make things go over smoother. Sieska was about to go to leave her room and start her way to where she was going to meet him when one of her forest cats came bounding in.
It was scrapper. "What have you found out?"
"He's in the forest now and he has an entourage of five with him. Two are guards and I believe one could be his queen? They ride those faerie horses with wings." His nose screwed up as if he could smell them.
Sieska nodded. "Good. It looks like he's not here to start a war anyway. I'll take it as a good sign. I'll be downstairs in the room waiting for him. Bring him right away." Scrapper nodded and went bounding back out.
She padded quietly out of her room and decided to ask one of the servant cats to bring refreshments for their guests. Noises from the foyer drew her attention. Some loud voices echoed in the entrance to the castle. Sieska quickly padded to where all the fuss was. When she got there, she saw one of her guard cats standing firm in front of the spring King. A female was standing behind him and all she was doing was trying to stay away from all the cats. It was like she was scared of them.
The spring King soon spotted her. "Finally, now you can call off your feral felines." The guard cat let out a low growl.
"That is all for now." The guard cat backed away but not before giving the king one last scowl. The spring King just smirked.
"Welcome to my castle. Come into the room where refreshments wait for us." She looked at the female behind him who was still eyeing up all the cats.
"This is your queen?"
He didn't even glance back at her. "Yes, this is my queen and you will have to forgive her. She doesn't like cats. She thinks they are evil and made of dark magic."
Sieska raised an eyebrow. "Well, maybe I can convince her that we are not all evil and made of dark magic. Follow me." They all went into the study and were sat down. They were offered drinks. The queen wouldn't touch hers but he did take a drink. "So, you have my daughter and her companion. I will take them back today with me. I thank you for letting them stay here safe and sound. I will show you my gratitude once again."
Sieska didn't know why but she got the feeling that maybe what he was saying was all lies. He would not really give her any thanks and she was okay with that if it meant that they stayed out of her forest. "Your daughter does not want to go back at this time. I will let you two talk this over and if she still doesn't want to go home, she can stay here for a couple of more days to figure something out."
He grinned as he took another sip. "That won't be necessary. My queen and I will be taking her home today. All you have to do is bring her here." The spring queen never took her eyes off of Sieska. She knew that the spring queen didn't trust her.
"Fine, I will have her sent down here so you both can talk to her. Siena will probably be with her." They both nodded.
Siena came in first and bowed to both of them. Their princess wasn’t coming in right away and it wasn't until Siena went back and nudged her into the room that they saw her. They both stood up and Sieska could tell that her mother wanted to rush over to her but held herself back when she saw the face her daughter was making. She was not happy to be in the same room with her parents. She stood there with her arms crossed tightly with a frown that almost hit the floor.
"My dear princess, you had your mother worried. You don't want to stress her by running away all the time do you?"
The princess looked over at her mother but didn't waver. She looked back at her father and with determination she marched up to him and looked right up at him. "I will not go home with you. I have said over and over that I love him. He loves me."
The spring king sighed. "My darling. You know nothing of how love works for us. You do not get to choose." His eyes drifted over to his wife who quickly looked away. "You have to marry someone from our own court. Not from the winter court. We do not mix our courts together. It's just not done." She defied him all the more. "I don't care about your stuffy rules. We love each other and if we have to we will go into exile far away from here."
The spring queen let out a little gasp. The spring King frowned and Sieska could tell that he was losing his patience. He took a deep breath. "There will be no more talk of taking off and living in exile in some unsafe place where you could be killed. It's not going to happen. The winter queen for your information dear has already made arrangement for her prince to marry someone from their winter court. They are set to be married this day." He smiled down at her as her expression soon dissolved into disbelief. Her eyes went wide at the news. "You are lying. I do not believe you." Sieska wanted to say something but she held her tongue. She knew the spring King was playing games with his daughter. She did not know if what he was saying was lies or not and she didn't really care. She just wanted them all out of her castle.
Siena had been staying in the back ground taking it all in. Her white tufted ears were drooping and she looked sad at them fighting. Sieska felt a bit sorry for her.
One of her forest cats stood outside the door. Sieska went to them. "There is trouble outside."
Sieska looked back at them and then back at her cat. "Take me to the trouble."
She was led out to the front of her castle where there was a disagreement going on. It was one of her guard cats facing off with one of the spring faeries that came with them. It looked a bit like Siena in some ways. This cat like creature had small wings and it towered over her forest cats. It made her feel uncomfortable. When she approached the spring creature stood attention. Its feral eyes met hers.
"Is there a problem here?" It shook its head and let out a huff. "The only problem here is your aggressive guard cat."
"My guard cats only get aggressive when they are challenged."
It threw up its head at her. "Are you accusing me of...?
"Stop it." They all turned to see Siena padding towards them. She went right up to the spring creature. "Are you not supposed to be back there keeping guard on the border?"
It eyed her carefully. "I was not posted there. I was told to stay in the court in case I was needed."
She sighed and looked over at Sieska. "I'm sorry for his trouble. Sometimes, Karia can be aggressive without even trying."
He let out another huff. Siena glared at him and that silenced him. He backed up with his tale dragging behind him as he went back to the others.
Sieska looked over at Siena. "I thank you for that."
"Your welcome." Her ears were still a bit drooping.
"I'm sure your princess will be fine. If the winter prince is really getting married, then maybe this will be over."
Siena bit her lip as her ears came forward. "My princess is quite stubborn. She won't take her father's word that this is true. She will have to see it for herself."
Before she could respond the king and queen were coming toward them with their daughter walking behind them. Sieska could tell that she looked crushed. Siena padded over to her and rubbed up against her. The princess stopped and hugged her friend.
Karia came forward and greeted them. "Take my queen back to her horse and help her get on. We are all leaving to go back home." Karia smiled.
The spring King looked down at Sieska. "I thank you again for keeping my daughter and Siena safe." Sieska nodded. "Have a safe journey home."
Sieska watched them all get on the horses with wings and take off up into the sky. They just got away when one of Keshar's cat came up to her. " Keshar would like to see you."
"Is he alright?"
"Oh yes, but he has news for you and wants to tell you in person."
"I'll be right there." Along with her own forest cats and a few of his they soon arrived at his forest. Keshar met them in a clearing. He looked the same and didn't look too injured anymore thought Sieska. "You have some news for me?"
"I do indeed. Our dear friend Shae has been up to lots of things."
"What has she done now?"
"She has formed an alliance with another band of cats who live in another forest situated in the mountains. They are the of fox felines."
"Why would they form an alliance with her?"
"I'm sure she offered them something valuable. I have an idea what that is."
"Oh? What is it that you think she offered them?"
"Access through her forest into ours. They are large animals and can take on our toughest cats with no problem. I don't' even like to do battle with them."
"What does she get out of this?"
"I do not know, but it will be something worthy I'm sure. How did your meeting with the spring King go?"
"They all just left. The king told his daughter that the winter prince was getting married today. The princess didn't believe him."
"Hmm, I wonder if Shae has something to do with this."
"I don't know what is going on but I now do not want any faeries of any kind in this forest. Their court politics is something I can live without."
“I agree but what about the fox felines? We don't need them here either."
"Yes, I don't want them either. Maybe we should pay Shae our high queen a visit and get to the bottom of what she is doing."
"She won't tell us nothing. That would be a wasted trip. I could send spies in to find out."
Sieska shook her head. "No, we will give it a day or two to see what happens. I have this feeling I have not seen the last of the spring princess and her companion Siena."
Keshar eyed her carefully. "What are you suggesting?"
"I think there is more alliances going on behind our backs than we know about. If the spring princess comes back. I will use her to get information on what she knows. Her companion Siena will certainly know as well."
Keshar grinned. "I want to be there if they show up. I have some questions as well."
Some of Keshar's cats came bounding out of the forest. Both Sieska and Keshar turned to them. "What have you found," asked Keshar. The cats both looked at one another. "We saw large felines coming this way and they had someone with them."
Keshar let out a breath. "Did you see who it was that was with them?"
"The fox feline King."
Keshar looked over at Sieska. "The king himself is going to pay us a visit." He looked at the cats. "Did he have a lot of fox felines with him?"
They both shook their head. "No, but enough to challenge us."
Sieska looked over at her cats." Gather everybody up and be prepared for anything."
They all took off. So did Keshar's cats. Keshar walked beside her. "Do you want to greet them with me?"
She smirked. "Since we have an alliance, I guess we are in this together."
"Don't worry. You will be safe. I have my magic to keep us safe."
She tilted her head slightly at him. "I'm still curious about this special magic you have."
His nose twitched. "Well, maybe I will get to show you some of it today when we meet our fox felines."
Sieska let out an uneasy breath. "Does that mean you anticipate trouble?"
"One never knows." They both walked a little farther when the scent hit them both. They looked at each other.
Their company had arrived.