Here is the next installment of the novel. Hope you enjoy. Remember if you would like you can leave me some tea money at the end. Happy reading!
The Feline Snow Queen
"Are you always this skittish?"
Keshar let out a low feral growl. "Going anywhere with you would cause anyone to be skittish as you put it."
A light laugh made its way back to Keshar and his cats. Keshar let out a huff. "I'm glad we amuse you."
The winter Prince stopped and looked around. Keshar watched him as he closed his eyes. Keshar was about to ask what he was doing when the scent hit him. All the cats hissed as they looked up. There was a death bird circling above them.
Keshar shouted at him. "Did you call that thing?"
The winter Prince smiled at them. "It is my love who has come for me. She will pick me up and much to your delight I'm sure, you will never see us again."
Keshar looked up at the bird to take a closer look but he couldn't see anyone on the bird.
"Are you sure that is the right bird? I don't see anyone on the bird."
The winter Prince looked up again. By the look on his face, Keshar could tell that he now wasn't sure. He cursed under his breath. "We have to further into the forest where it is darker and thicker with brush and trees. It won't get us there."
It didn't take convincing of Keshar's cats to start bounding for the trees to take cover. They all just got to the edge of the forest when the bird landed in the small clearing behind them. It let out a high pitched squawk. The winter Prince whirled around and threw out his hand sending out a wall of snow towards it but it flew up into the air before the snow got to it. It landed a bit closer to them.
Keshar stood behind the Prince while his cats stayed in the darkness of the forest, ready for anything. The death bird stood tall and eyed them with its large glass blue eyes. It appeared like it had something to say but Keshar wasn't aware that these birds could communicate.
The winter Prince walked out and Keshar's eyes went wide. What was he doing?
"What message have you got for me?" Keshar couldn't believe that he thought this thing had a message for him. They should be running into the forest away from this thing.
The death bird brought down its long neck and tilted its head at the Prince. The thing appeared to be sniffing him. Keshar knew instantly that this bird meant business.
He shouted at the Prince, "Get back here!" But it was too late, the bird had grabbed him. He howled. Keshar shook his head. He turned back to his cats. "Stay here unless I need you."
Keshar leaped out to them. With his one paw he held it up and threw out a ball of blue light at the bird causing it to drop the Prince. Keshar grabbed the Prince and dragged him back. A few of the other cats helped.
The winter Prince stood up and looked at them all. Keshar looked at him for a moment. "You're welcome."
The Prince swallowed hard and mumbled a thank you. "We should get going before it’s too dark. I'm sure the right bird will be coming real soon."
Keshar could hear the doubt in his voice. Keshar shared his doubt as well but didn’t say it out loud. He knew the spring princess should have been there already if she was coming. He was figuring something had happened. Where was she? Did her father find her?
They went deeper into the woods and Keshar and his cats were getting more and more uncomfortable as they went. His cats were sniffing everything.
The trees shook above them suddenly. All eyes looked up. Keshar didn't have to. He knew what they were-trolls. Lots of little bodies were moving from limb to limb sending snow down to the ground and making lots of twig snapping noises that echoed around them.
Keshar's cats stayed close to him. He knew that they didn't not like this and also knew how dangerous the trolls were. Their weapons of poison arrows were well known.
Keshar was ready to use his magic again. The winter Prince had led them to a very small clearing in the forest and it was getting dark as the eyes of the trolls were shimmering like a cats in the dark. Now they were surrounded by them. All they had to do was jump down at them or start firing their arrows. They were all in the middle ready for anything.
Suddenly a loud squawk erupted and the trolls let out shrieks as they ran for cover. It was the death bird again and he was about to land on top of them. Keshar and his cats ran for the forest. The winter Prince almost made it but the bird caught hold of his leg and was in the process of dragging him away.
Keshar observed as he struggled against the bird. The thing really wanted him and didn't appear to care about them. Then something came to Keshar. He rushed out to them. "Wait! I think this bird wants to tell you something or take you somewhere."
"It wants me dead, you fool cat! Kill it with your magic."
"No, let's try to find out."
"I already asked it once, they can't tell you anything." The Prince almost freed himself but it was faster and had a firm grip on him. Keshar looked at it and using his powers he tried to communicate with it. But he got nothing.
Finally Keshar shouted out to the bird. "Where is the princess?" It stopped and looked at Keshar as if it understood that time. Its blue beady eyes looked at Keshar. A loud and clear message came through.
"She's been caught and not by her father,” said Keshar.
The Prince looked from the bird and then to Keshar. "Well?"
"The fox felines have taken her."
"Why would they take her," cried the winter Prince.
Keshar shook his head.
"Then we have to go and get her." Keshar looked at him and sighed. "Do you know how dangerous they are?"
"I don't care, we have to get her." The winter Prince stood up and flung himself onto the birds back. "Take me to where she is-now!"
"Are you crazy? They will capture you as well, then what?"
"Use that fancy magic of yours then and make sure I don't get captured."
Keshar could see that the bird was wanting to go. Keshar nodded and the bird took flight.
He looked at his cats, “let's go but we don't go in untill we know what is going on in there."
They managed to keep up with the bird that flew above them. The cats and Keshar caught scent even before they reached the border. Keshar held his cats back while the bird went ahead. Keshar focused on the bird and tuned himself into where it was going. He could see flashes of the castle and the grounds where large cats were running.
Keshar was guessing that they had spotted the death bird. He kept hold of his touch with the bird. Keshar could see they were about to land and it looked like a balcony. Why would they land there? They would be caught right away. The next image he saw was the Prince running to the glass doors and trying to open them but he couldn't. It was only a blur but he saw the face of the spring princess. But what he saw next shook him. Two more faces came to his vision. It was Sieska and Shae. He shook his head trying to get a clearer vision but it was gone and all he saw was clear blue sky.
The death bird had taken flight. He didn't know if the Prince was with the bird or not. The Prince was as good as dead if he stayed.
Crashing out of the forest was a gang of cats. Keshar knew instantly that they were the high queen's cats and that something was wrong. Keshar went forward to greet them. Before they could say anything, Keshar asked them, "Is your high queen and Sieska with the fox felines?"
They all nodded. One of them came forward, a large brown tabby. "They were both invited there but I think it was a trap. They have not come out. Then that death bird came."
"Yes, the winter Prince was riding it. He tried to rescue the spring princess. Did you see him ride away on it?"
"No, it was by itself." Keshar almost shivered. Now he feared the fox felines had quite an assortment of prisoners to make use of. This would cause all-out war when the spring King and winter queen found out. He looked at the high queen’s cats and his own cats. "It looks like we are going to be the bearer of the news to these courts." He sighed. "We must prepare for war."