A few days had gone by since Beatrix and Jade had been rescued from the forest by a warrior princess by the name of Tika, and had been punished for going into the forest on their own. Their story continues . . .

Beatrix was awoken at 7:00 in the morning by a bright light illuminating the entire room. She tried to focus her eyes, but could not see anything at first, until a form took shape in the light. Slowly, the brightness of the room faded, and all that she could see was a figure at the foot of her bed. Beatrix could not believe her eyes, when she recognized her older sibling, Layla, standing before her. She had always admired Layla for her graceful nature, silvery coloring and yellow almond-shaped eyes. What Beatrix noticed about her sister now was the light glow emanating from Layla’s slender feline figure. Layla appeared more beautiful and peaceful than ever before, and Beatrix was happy to see her once again. It had been too long since she had seen Layla, and it was the first time since her passing that she had appeared to Beatrix like this.

Beatrix watched in amazement as Layla spoke, “Hello Beatrix, how are you? I saw that you had an exciting day, a few days ago.”

Beatrix smiled and reminisced about that wonderful day, but then her face turned to fear for a moment and back again to true happiness.

“It was magical, except for the part when those terrifying Hawks attacked. But we did meet some wonderful friends, though,” replied Beatrix, with a smile on her face.
“Yes, I know. I was in the forest the whole time. I wanted to make sure neither of you came to any harm, so I watched over you; at least until I could send Tika to the rescue. I did not want you to see me until the time was right, like now,” commented Layla in a sweet sing-song voice.

An hour later, Jade had awoken, rubbed her eyes to adjust them to the brightly lit room, and cheerfully jumped off her bed and hopped over to Beatrix’s room, as she did every morning. She always wanted to know what wonderful ideas Beatrix had in the mornings. As Jade approached her sister’s bedroom door, she overheard Beatrix talking to someone. She stopped and listened, becoming excited when she recognized the other voice.

“It could not be! Layla died two years ago,” thought Jade as she continued to listen in on the conversation. She stood outside the door with her ears pressed against it for a little longer before she suddenly burst through. Upon entering, she stopped short once she saw the figure in white, gracefully floating in mid-air. It was Layla, appearing as gorgeous as ever.

“Hello, Jade, how are you?” asked Layla, with a warm smile.

“Fine,” replied Jade. “Are you here to stay?” she added anxiously, a silly grin splitting her face.”

“No, I’m sorry Jade. I’m just visiting,” smiled Layla.

“Oh,” replied Jade, disappointed.

“Come on girls, have a seat, I have come with dire news.”

Layla appeared quite serious at this point, and began to discuss the matter at hand, before it was too late for Tika. Both girls were sitting side-by-side on the bed, listening intently to what Layla had to say.

“Tika needs your help. She is your cousin, and you must go to her. The castle, in which she lives, was overrun by the Hawks. They came at night with such force, that all was lost in one night.” Layla paused for a moment before she continued. “You see girls, when Tika rescued you from the forest a few days ago -- she took many of their lives. Now, the Hawks decided to seek revenge on Tika, and all whom she loves.”

“I’m sorry. We did not know that this would happen. I’m sorry, it was my fault, since I’m the one who suggested idea of the idea of going into the forest in the first place,” replied Beatrix.

“And I agreed,” added Jade, with sadness in her voice.

“Don’t blame yourself girls, it is not your fault. It is never your fault and besides, you only met Tika later that day. They would still have sought revenge on Tika for another war that the Hawks started in the first place. The Hawks are very vengeful, and they will stop at nothing to continue a war. Anyway, the battle was lost, and now she is imprisoned within her own castle. C.B Avalon is with her in the dungeon where they have retreated. She lost the courage to go on the moment her parents were killed in the battle.”

“We want to help, but what can we do,” asked Jade.

“Yes, what can we do? We have never been in battle before,” cried Beatrix.

“I just need you to be there for her and comfort her. If she sees you and Jade, it will build up her confidence and strength once again to end the battle -- knowing that she now has you girls to protect.”

Beatrix and Jade headed towards the mountains, but when they arrived it seemed so high that Jade wanted to return home. She never did like heights and always preferred to keep all paws on solid ground. Beatrix comforted and encouraged Jade to move on, for Tika’s sake.
“Come on. This is for Tika. It was not that long ago that she saved us, remember?”

“Yes, I know, but I’m scared. I don’t want to fall,” cried Jade, still terrified.

“Don’t worry. You won’t fall, I will make sure of that,” exclaimed Beatrix, as she tried her best to comfort her little sister.

“Okay. I have just got to remember that this is for Tika, right?”

“Right, now come on. You go first, and I will be right behind you.”

Jade took a deep breath before she began the climb and when she reached the top, she was relieved that she had not fallen as she thought she might.

“Wow, I made it. I made it. Can you believe it?”

“Yes you did, and I knew you would. When you set your mind on something, you’ll be surprised at what you can do. I learned that myself two years ago when I was afraid to jump in the pond across the courtyard. Remember when I kicked my toy in, by accident?”

“Yes, and daddy, encouraged you. He said you could do it if you put your mind to it, and you did it.”

“Yep, and I was proud of myself, too,” exclaimed Beatrix, remembering that day of triumph.

“And now that I have made it to the top, I can make it to the bottom,” exclaimed Jade in excitement, still with a little fear in her voice.

“Yes, you will,” replied Beatrix, encouraging her sister on.

The breeze was a little stronger where they stood, and the sun was even hotter, which caused their throats to become dry. As Beatrix and Jade stared at the valley below, they saw a stream in the distance, and desperately felt the need to get to it. They also saw the Hawks circling Tika’s castle, waiting for their next prey.

“How are we going to get past them,” asked Jade, terrified at the sight of the Hawks.

“Don’t worry, we’ll figure something out. But first things first. We need to get some water, and soon. My throat is becoming quite parched, and I can barely talk,” said Beatrix, now feeling her thirst building.
The girls climbed down the mountain cautiously. Once they were both at the bottom, Jade felt triumphant that she had made it without falling.

“Yay, I made it, I made it,” she cried in excitement.
Both girls turned to head toward the stream, but just before they did, Layla appeared before them, holding two cloaks with hoods attached, and handed one to each of them.

“You will need those cloaks for invisibility from the Hawks.”

“Thank you, Layla,” said Beatrix

“Are you going to come with us,” asked Jade, eagerly.

“I’m sorry girls, but I cannot risk the Hawks seeing me just yet. At least not until we have rescued Tika from the castle, but don’t worry I will be watching over you -- the rest of the way.”

The girls watched as Layla vanished into thin air and then put on their cloaks. Before the girls got close to the stream they reached for their hoods and pulled them over their heads. They walked to the edge of the stream and lapped up the cooling water until they quenched their thirst, and then continued on toward the castle.

They arrived at the castle unseen, with their cloaks still covering them from head to toe. They gazed for a moment at the Hawks soaring above them, and then opened the castle door just enough for them to squeeze through. Beatrix and Jade were glad that Layla appeared with the cloaks when she did; otherwise they would not have been able to get this close to the castle.

Once inside, the girls saw Layla waiting for them. Layla guided them to a darkened room in the dungeon, where they found Tika and C.B.Avalon in a corner, snuggled up to one another. It was so cold inside that they began to shiver. They helped Tika and C.B. Avalon to their paws as they led them out of the room. Tika and C.B. were glad to see the girls, but were curious as to how they were able to enter the castle at all.

“Layla gave us these and they made us invisible, so the Hawks would not see us approaching. Is it not cool....?” exclaimed Jade, as she showed Tika the cloaks she and Beatrix were wearing.
“Come on. We need to get out of here,” cried Beatrix abruptly as she hurried everyone out of the dungeon and to the exit.”

It was then they saw Tika and C.B Avalon pull out their swords to continue the battle to the end, while Beatrix and Jade hid under their cloaks and ran to the nearest bush. From there the girls watched as Tika fought the battle with a new found courage, C.B. Avalon at her side. Layla was also helping with the battle by creating a hole in the sky that pulled many of the Hawks into its darkness, and just then Layla closed the hole with a swipe of her paw, before those Hawks were able to escape. They battled on for what seemed like hours, until the Hawks retreated from the castle grounds, defeated.

Once the battle was over, the girls came out of hiding and congratulated Tika and C.B. Avalon on a victorious battle. Tika then thanked the girls for showing up when they did. She also wanted to know how the girls knew she needed help. She turned to Beatrix.

“How did you know we needed rescuing?” asked Tika, now curious, as she slid the sword into its holder hanging off to her side.

“Layla came to me yesterday morning, and explained to us your situation and that you needed our help,” replied Beatrix.

“She also told us that you are our long lost cousin,” exclaimed Jade happily.

“Yes, I am. My father is related to your mom, and it was explained to me that he is her brother.”

“It’s so cool to find out that we have a cousin who is such a brave warrior.

“Well, when you go into battle, you have to be brave, or else you will be defeated forever.

“Will you teach us how to fight, please?” asked Jade in excitement.

“Of course I will, but first we need to get you girls home.”
Beatrix then thought about home, and was dreading it. She knew they were not supposed to leave the castle, no matter what. Now their punishment was going to be extended, but she did not say anything to Jade about it. She did not want Jade to worry, especially if she had forgotten about it.

Tika then jumped onto C.B. Avalon’s back and helped the girls up in front of her and took the reins. They headed off towards Beatrix’s and Jade’s castle.

An hour later Tika helped the girls down as King Phoenix and Queen Missy came running. It was obvious that King Phoenix was furious with the girls, but Queen Missy was relieved to see that they were home again, safe and sound.

“Where have you been?” bellowed the king.

“Sorry, daddy, but Tika needed our help. Layla visited yesterday morning and told me that Tika needed rescuing,” cried Beatrix, now in tears.

“Please daddy, we did not mean to run off again, but Tika needed our help,” cried Jade, also with tears running down her cheeks.

Even Tika jumped off C.B. Avalon’s back to confront the king, and explained her whole situation and what had happened to her parents and their castle.
The king was now calm, but sad to hear what had happened to his wife’s brother. He put his arms around his wife when she began to cry. She had not spoken to her brother since her argument with him many years before. It was just before the girls were born. They argued until they found themselves disowning one another, because they never saw eye to eye on things. She remembered the whole incident just like it was yesterday, and now she will never see her brother again.

King Phoenix then coaxed the girls and his wife into the castle after inviting Tika and C.B. Avalon inside. He spoke with the girls in one room while Tika and C.B. Avalon were guided into the family room by one of the servants.

“You two had us extremely worried. We are not happy that you went against our word, but it was for the sake of Tika’s safety and wellbeing,” said the king, now calm.

“We’re sorry daddy. We won’t do it again,” replied Beatrix, as she looked up at the king with sad eyes.

“I will not add to the punishment this time around, but if there is ever a situation where someone needs rescuing, please let us know. If I am not able help, I will send a couple guards with you, okay? Is that clear?”

“Yes, daddy,” replied both girls with relief.

“Now girls, you mentioned Layla’s name. Why did you bring her up? You know she has been dead for a couple of years now,” exclaimed Queen Missy, still saddened by the thought of her brother’s death and the mention of Layla’s name. “Come on girls, tell the truth. You could not have seen Layla since she passed on a year ago.”

“It’s true. I did see Layla early this morning. She was standing at the foot of my bed,’ exclaimed Beatrix.

Just then Layla appeared. The girls were glad that Layla showed herself, because it meant that what they were telling mom and dad was true. The king and queen were awe when they saw Layla hovering over them, smiling, and just as she appeared, she faded away.

Both parents were to see their beloved daughter, even if she was in spirit form. Tears rolled down their faces for a moment before they realized that they still had company in the family room waiting for them. The king regained his calm and wiped his eyes, and the queen did the same.

“Okay, girls let us go to the family room. Tika and C. B. are waiting for us,” said the king.

“Yes, daddy,” replied both girls.

Tika and C.B. Avalon were waiting patiently, sitting on a sofa by the fireplace. The king then offered them a room for as long as they needed until Tika’s castle was rebuilt. He also offered to help with the construction. He figured that since Tika was old enough to go into battle, then she was old enough to run a castle.
Beatrix and Jade were happy that Tika and C.B. Avalon were going to stay with them for a while. Now they would be able to get to know their newly found cousin and perhaps have her show them some battle techniques.

Later that night, when everyone was in bed, Layla paid Beatrix and Jade a visit once more. She wanted to let them know how proud she was of their courage and bravery, and to honor and thank them for rescuing Tika. Layla then gave each girls a kiss with a short sweep of her tongue onto their foreheads, before she faded away into thin air. Once she was gone, the girls said goodnight to one another and fell fast asleep.


Texte: Indira Nankoosingh
Lektorat: Valerie Byron
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 17.11.2012

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This collection are dedicated to my fiance who encouraged me to write these stories, and my cats, who inspired me.

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