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SHardsOfGold

"A long time ago, there used to be a gate to Jamaa. On the gate was a lock crafted out of pure, hard gold. Only the good could go through to the town. Imposters and phantoms were forced out, the gate having a strong electric circuit running through it that only shocked phantoms and any bots the phantoms sent out. The electricity produced from the gate ran through the phantoms and overwhelmed them, even though they had a different kind of electricity. This lock kept Jamaa safe from the menaces with tentacles.

But one day, the golden lock was broken.

A massive hoard of phantoms stormed to Jamaa's gates and began to try to destroy the gate and lock, the electricity running through them. They used the electricity as an advantage, shocking the lock multiple times until it busted, large golden shards scattering on the ground. The phantoms invaded Jamaa, terrorizing the animals that lived there.

The alphas had to take control, along with an emergency phantom-fighting team. The phantoms were forced out of Jamaa. The gate had collapsed and the shards of the lock were scattered in an unknown land west of the town. If someone can find the shards, the gate can be constructed once more and the lock returned."

The snowy white owl finished her speech, her wide yellow eyes scanning Sarepia for a moment. She looked back at the three tiger cubs, one of them being bigger with a black ribbon scarf, while the other two were smaller that wore red ribbon scarfs. There were also two identical black wolf pups with white lightning markings and red eyes. They looked up at the owl, who wore a leaf necklace.

"Can we hear another story?" One of the wolf pups pleaded, her ears pinning back as she play-bowed.

"No," the owl responded. "That's the only story I've got for you. Maybe you can come back tomorrow."

"Pleeeeaaaaasseeee?" The little ones pleaded.

"I can't. I've gotta finish up some stuff. Come back tomorrow. I promise, I'll have another story for you!"

"YAY!"

The white owl hooted, flapping her wings and lifting herself up into the air. She flew off, her wings beating in the air. A feather fell to the ground. She whisked away into the trees.

"That was a good story," the black-and-white tiger cub with a dusty underbelly said, her red eyes very dimly glowing. She smiled, looking at her brothers, who were white with black stripes. They both had yellow eyes.

"What do we do now?" One of the wolf pups asked.

"I have an idea..." The black tiger cub chirped.

"What is it, Juniper?" The younger brothers Admiral and Lucky asked. Their ears perked up, whiskers twitching.

"We can go find the shards."

"ARE YOU CRAZY!?" Admiral growled, jumping up, his ears pinned to his head. "WE COULD GET OURSELVES KILLED!!"

"Shoooosh, calm down. We can do it, you know. Our foster mom probably won't even notice- she NEVER does!" Juniper laughed. "Be confident. You all know we can do it. Besides, I don't think the journey will take that long."

"Fine... Are you two coming?" Admiral grumbled, turning his head to the two wolf pups.

"No, we can't come. Dad may get worried and send a search party," one of the pups said sadly, her ears drooping.

The tiger cub nodded, watching the pups pad off. After a few seconds, the wolves had vanished into the greenery. The cubs exchanged looks for a moment. They thought for a moment. A silence swept over the forest, except for the chirps of birds.

"Are we gonna go or not? We could just run to the house and grab something," Admiral spoke.


After the three had packed a few snacks in a backpack, Juniper wearing it. They easily slipped out of the border of Jamaa. They expected to see a gruesome sight, but instead, they were greeted by a large field of flowers, the grass swaying as a warm breeze blew. A feeling of peace swept over them. The field stretched for a long ways, a sea in the distance.

"Did we go the wrong way?"

"I dunno.. We'll have to keep on going and find out."

Juniper broke into a sprint, the soft grass brushing against her legs. Her brothers followed, quickly catching up. They raced across the fields, the black sky above them painted with stars, thin clouds hovering in front of the moon. Light casted down on the fields, the water in the distance shimmering with moonlight. A silence swept over them, except for the chirping of crickets.

A loud noise split into the air, the ground rumbling. The three jumped, Lucky letting out a squeal of surprise. Juniper turned her head to where the sound was coming from. It was a large, white ship with large black words on the side of it, spelling out "JAMAA IMPORTS." On the boat were many crates stacked on one another. There were dark figures of animals loading a large crate onto the ship, which was by a long dock.

"Where are they going?" Admiral asked.

"I dunno. I know they wouldn't deliver items back to where they brought them. Maybe they're-" Juniper was interrupted by Lucky squealing.

"They may be bringing it to some other land!" The goofy tom squealed.

Juniper nodded silently. "We'll have to see if that's true..." She turned her head to a crate, the top of it popped off. The crate was aside a few others, which were sealed shut. Juniper rushed over to the crate, Lucky following along with Admiral slowly catching up. She crawled into the large crate, hitting the wooden ground with a thump. Her brothers followed her in.

A loud yell caused them to jump. The noise of two animals talking caused Juniper to freeze. Pitch black filled the box as the top of it was sealed onto it. The animals began lifting the box, carrying it onto the boat. They threw the box down, tilting it.

"This is gonna be a long ride..." Admiral grumbled.


After a few hours of being crammed in a crate with no snacks left, since they had ate them all, the ship had stopped rocking back and forth. Their stomachs were yowling at them, as if they were begging for food. They couldn't move due to being crammed in the crate for so long, their limbs locking in place. They had sat in darkness for a while.

"When are we-" Lucky tried to complain, but Juniper lightly growled.

"Hush, I hear noises. Stay as still as you can be."

Lucky froze at the sound of three animals talking. It was muffled, since they were in the crate. A tiny light appeared from the top, slowly brightening. They all froze in place, trying not to breathe so hard. They appeared to be large figures with fur.

"Eh? Who made these ol' statues?" A grouchy white wolf with green eyes, a gray spike collar and black gazelle horns growled, lifting the top off the crate.

"Dunno. Maybe some idiot made 'em and put 'em on board. Just throw em out, there's no other figures like this. They won't sell," another scratchy voice said. After the animal finished, the white wolf dragged them out. Lucky's limbs fell like a ragdoll.

"These ain't figures! They're plush toys!" The wolf growled. "They've even got 'emselves some realistic features!"

"Just throw them off board!" An arctic wolf growled. It was an orange arctic wolf with a white face and body, blue eyes, dusty brown elf bracelets, and a white sailor's hat. He let out a growl, demanding the wolf again to throw the tigers off board. The wolf nodded, dragging Lucky by his tail. Two standard-colored wolves padded over, one wearing a black worn and a red fox hat, and one wearing a spiked wristband, a spiked collar and black-and-red tail armor. The two dragged Admiral and Juniper. The tigers forced themselves not to move.

Juniper shut her eyes. She heard two loud splashes. The cub felt herself being lifted. She braced herself for a hard fall into the water. The wolves stopped to talk for a second until the arctic wolf snarled. She felt herself fall.

Splash!

A cold feeling swept over her as she hit the water, her fur soaking. She felt as if she was freezing. Her backpack floated off her back, sinking in the water. She began to furiously paddle when she reached to the surface, gasping for air. Her brothers were swimming to the sandy shore of an island.

Juniper turned her head to see the wolves talking loudly. "They were alive!?" "SCRAM YOU LIL' RUNTS!" "Why would they board the ship!?" They said things like that and so forth.

She clawed her way onto the sand, coughing. Her brothers lay there, their fur soaked with the salty water. She shakily stood up, coughing once more before shaking the water off her pelt, the salty droplets flinging in every direction.

"Y-You two okay...?" She asked, nudging Admiral's side. He nodded, raising his head. Lucky slowly got up, slipping on the wet sand twice.

The arctic wolf rushed down to them, barking his head off. "SCRAM!" The cubs broke into a sprint, their wet fur slowing them down. The wolf began chasing them, forcing them to move quicker. They didn't dare looking back. When they had ran into a forest, they turned around, seeing that the wolf had left.

"W-Where are we!?" Lucky whimpered, looking at his pelt. Leaves stuck to his wet fur, which disgusted him. "EEEEW!"

"Maybe we can find someone to help..." Juniper shakily commented. "We just have to keep walking."

They began to trek through the woods. Oddly colored birds flew through the trees, unlike any they've seen before in Jamaa. The forest brighter than Sarepia, the trees different. Ferns poked at their paws as they walked.

After a while of walking, they came across a small, wooden cabin. The door was swung open. The three padded over to the building. Juniper peeked inside, seeing a couch, a television on the wall, a rug, a bookshelf and a small table. Nobody was inside. She padded over to a fridge, swinging the door open. There was lots of food inside.

"What're you doing?" A voice echoed through the house. Juniper jumped at the sudden sound, whirling around to see a... a...

Small, striped feline with big eyes, small ears and green eyes that wore a white scarf. What was that animal...? A sand cat...? Weren't they all gone? Juniper thought. She froze, but then loosened when she saw that the feline was just about the same size as her.

"You can't make us leave! Three versus one!" Lucky blurted. Admiral slapped him with a paw.

A dark shape hovered behind the feline. A pair of purple eyes opened, staring right at them. The feline stepped in. The figure was a massive snow leopard, having a dark gray tint to its fur. It wore a black scarf.

"And who are YOU?" The sand cat snapped at them, the snow leopard eyeing the cubs.

"GET-" Juniper slapped Lucky across the face with a forepaw, causing him to fall back.

"Excuse my brother. My name is Juniper. That's Lucky, and this is Admiral." The feline nodded, turning to the snow leopard, whispering something.

The little tom-sand cat coughed. "My name is Selkirk. Mind my friend here. His name is Drava."

"We're from Jamaa," Juniper calmly responded. "What's this place called?"

"This land is called Ziphora. Our god is a cat named Kissan. Her statue is in the middle of the Town of Ziphora. This forest is the Flowerlight Forest. The mountain is Snowshine Peaks. Plus, there's a waterfall- Blossom Falls. The beach you were on was Salt Shores, since you're soaking wet. Jamaa doesn't know of our existence. We've heard that there are some gold pieces around town-" Selkirk was interrupted by Juniper.

"Gold pieces? I think they're from the golden lock!"

"Exactly," Selkirk mewed. "We can't have a gate. We live on this island. These weird things with tentacles had dropped by to leave some large pieces- were they phantoms?" Selkirk turned to Drava, who nodded.

"We're looking for the shards of the lock," Juniper responded.

"You need some rest. You look tired and hungry. Let us help you," Selkirk meowed.


"Where are the shards exactly?" Juniper asked Selkirk, who was sitting on Drava's back, the leopard curled up on a couch. Juniper sat on a rug, her brothers sitting beside her.

"We do have a piece. If you wish, we can keep the ones you find," Selkirk responded, his whiskers twitching. "You should go now."

Juniper nodded, nudging her brothers up. They jumped up. "C'mon, we need to find the shards of gold."

The three waved goodbye and headed out, looking at the woods once more. The leaves swayed with the cool breeze that blew, a few leaves drifting away with it. Juniper watched as a long-feathered, white bird flew, a feather falling off its wing and slowly drifting to the ground. The pointed tip of it was flower-petal pink. She sniffed it. It had a sweet scent to it, oddly, like a flower.

"Flower-birds?" She silently questioned herself. "I never thought those would exist."

Flowabirb

One of the many flower-birds. This one is less exotic.

She kept padding through the woods, the cabin far behind them. A feeling of peace swept over them. This wouldn't happen in Sarepia, since everyone would be fighting in clans or packs. There were no owners of any territories here. It was calm and quiet.

While walking, she stopped. She looked to see a gap in the trees, the statue of a cat sitting toward her catching her attention. It was a shiny statue, probably made of metal, although it had a golden color to it with glassy blue eyes. The eyes had no pupil or iris. The whole eye was blue. Its tail was curled around its paws. The cat's back was straightened, its head lifed up and ears perked. It had a neutral expression.

"That must be the statue of Kissan..." Juniper muttered.

A few animals passed the statue, just like they would pass the Mira statue in Jamaa. Most of them wore some sort of accessory. There were a few new animals that they had never seen, such as pigs, African wild dogs, cobras and mountain cats. There were also accessories that were never worn in Jamaa.

"Woah..." Lucky silently gasped.

Juniper stepped out into the crowd. The town was very large with a clothing shop and a furniture shop, just like in Jamaa. The massive clearing was shaped like a circle with concrete ground. The sun shone down on the town, trees outlining the space. It was like a hole in the ceiling of a dark room. Kissan's statue shined in the sunlight, its eyes faintly glowing. Some of the flower-birds perched on the shops, their vibrant feathers neatly flattened. The town was beautiful.

"Wow... This is cool!" Admiral said amongst the noise of animals talking.

They began to ask the animals if they knew where any pieces of the lock were. Most of them responded with no.

"Sorry kid, I don't know what you're talkin' 'bout."

"Apologies. I haven't heard of any gold pieces.

"Gold pieces? Pfffbt. Get lost."

"Dunno. Go try the next animal."

Ask after ask after ask, they all said no. Juniper turned her head to a white bunny with blue stars, icy blue eyes, a necklace and round silver earrings that never appeared in Jamaa. The bunny sat on a rock under a tree, her pet kitten beside her, which was black-and-white with goggles. Juniper calmly approached the bunny.

"Have you ever heard of the gold pieces of the lock of Jamaa?" She asked. The bunny nodded and responded, "Yes. I know one of them is in Blossom Falls and another is in Snowshine Peaks. That's all I know."

"Thank you so much!" Juniper thankfully purred, reaching into her bag and giving the bunny an apple before dashing to a bridge with a sign that said "SNOWSHINE PEAKS." She looked up, seeing the snow-topped mountain reaching to the sky. Juniper and her brothers crossed the long bridge over a small river that circled around the trees that outlined the clearing.

They reached a dirt path that led to the mountain. The mountain had a wide path that spiraled around it, leading somewhere in the mountain or to the top. Juniper instantly began to follow the snow-covered stone path up the mountain, Lucky and Admiral following her. Tiny flakes of cold snow drifted down from the sky, piling up on the path. The three began to grow cold.

They felt numb. They couldn't feel their paws anymore due to the cold. The siblings were shivering, tails tucked and heads hanging low. When a moment of trekking through the cold passed, they came across a decent-sized cave, a large campfire sitting inside it. Lucky rushed into the cave.

But unfortunately, he slipped on the wet stone and tumbled right into the fire, his pelt lighting up with flames. He let out a horrified cry.

"LUCKY!" Juniper and Admiral gasped. "STOP, DROP AND ROLL!"

Lucky didn't listen. The goofy cub was running around the cave, fire crawling up his back. He cried out, tears streaming down his face. He rushed out onto the path, trying to run back down.

And he toppled off the edge, a long cry echoing.

"LUCKY!!" Juniper loudly yowled. Her eyes began to water, cold tears streaming down her face. She slumped down on the ground, her paws dangling off the edge. Tears fell off the side of the path. She saw her brother fall into an abyss of white below them, as it seemed. The ground wasn't visible due to how high up they were. His cry echoed through her mind.

"He's g-gone..." Juniper sobbed, Admiral beginning to tear up as well.

"This is all my fault. I dragged you here!" The she-cub yowled, rushing into the cave and sitting in a corner, the flickering light of the campfire behind her.

"I'm sorry, Admiral, Lucky... This should've never happened."


Juniper didn't come out of the corner she was in until the next day due to hunger. She unzipped the backpack, taking out a frozen chicken leg that was in a bag, heating it up above the crackling fire.

"So you finally got up outta your sulking corner?" Admiral asked, who was curled up against a warm stone. The falling snow had worsened overnight. The crisp white flakes began to pile around the cave's entrance, but most of it melted from the heat of the fire- the fire that got Lucky killed when he toppled off the edge.

Juniper nodded, sinking her teeth into the meat. She didn't dare speak like she usually would whenever they ate. Dread swept over her. Lucky wasn't supposed to die- it was never supposed to happen!

This is your fault.... Juniper thought. You did this. You should've made sure that Lucky was in control! She growled at herself, her tail tip twitching in anger.

"What is it, sis?" Admiral worriedly asked.

"Nothing..." she responded, her ears pinning against her head.

"Shouldn't we continue now?"

Juniper froze at his question. She had forgotten about the shards, since she was trying to get over her goofy brother's death. She threw the leg aside, standing up. She flicked the meat off her whiskers before nodding, stretching her back and padding out of the den. Admiral slipped the backpack on and followed her up the path.

Every few steps, they seemed to get colder. As they went higher, Juniper began to notice strange, thin objects on the ground that had writings on them. Some of the objects had a few dots of a dried red substance on them, blocking out some words on the longer ones. She stopped to investigate, sniffing the thin strips of something...

That wasn't just ink, it was blood. These were notes that all read something different.

Turn back now!

Run, before it gets you!

BEWARE OF BEAST!!

Juniper's fur began to bristle. She wanted to turn back now and go home, safe in her den. But she couldn't- they had came so far. They couldn't go back. This was an island in an unknown sea. The wolves on the boat probably wouldn't take them back. The two were stuck here for good. She forced herself up the mountain, Admiral following. She had to drag him through the same situations.

More of the notes began to appear, snow scattered over them. Skeletons of animals began appearing, their necks and skulls broken. Some of the limbs on them were decapitated, bodies twisted around. She stiffened at the sight. Something must've killed these animals. Animals don't just die like that.

Juniper had to keep moving. A voice in her head was urging her to move forward- Lucky's voice. He was telling her to move forward, as it seemed to her. With the voice urging her, she pushed through the cold winds and snow, ignoring the notes, skeletons and warnings.

They finally reached to the top of the peak. There was a large carving of stone, the top of it covered with snow. It was a wolf-like creature with large wings that were folded back, its muzzle sticking out. Its head hung low, but its muzzle pointed up. The carving's ears were perked with sharp tips. Its eyes were half-shut, its slit pupils seemingly staring into her soul. Its forelegs were pressed together, claws pointing forward, which were pointed at the tips. The rock statue sat on a round, shiny rock. Was this the statue of the beast that the notes described?

A growl erupted from behind the two with the sound of wings beating in the air. Warm breathe puffed against their backs. They froze in place in fear of the beast. It let out another scratchy growl, a long, feathery tail curling around them.

The beast circled them. It was just like the statue. It had pale maroon fur with white underfur, deep green eyes, small spots on its muzzle, very dark gray paws, shiny white claws and massive wings with white tips of each feather. Its whiskers twitched. The beast sniffed the two, who were too frightened to move. It ripped the backpack off Admiral's back, lifting him up a bit before dropping him right where he was, the straps breaking The monster flung it off the peak with a growl.

Oh no... No, no, no.... Admiral thought, his legs locked in place. The beast growled, causing him and his sister to jump back. It let out a roar, its jaws swinging open, revealing razor-sharp teeth. Two large front teeth on both jaws poked out.

The beast spoke without moving its mouth. "Get out."

Juniper whirled around with a yowl, but stumbled back due to a blurred figure rushing in front of her, knocking a cold boulder down to block the path.

"Too slow," it growled. "Now ya gotta get through me."

The beast flied over to the statue, landing on it. It curled its tail around it, wings half-folded. It let out a shriek, flying behind the two and swiping at them. Luckily, they dodged. The cubs were too small and weak to fight a creature that big- but they could dodge well. They dodge every swipe and snap the creature tried to deal.

After more of the dodges, they began to grow tired. Juniper was hit by one of the large paws, knocking her to the ground, snow piling up around her. She began shivering while Admiral fought- well, not for long. He too was smacked by the large paw, hitting a rock near his sister. He crawled over to her, seeing five long scratches on her side. Juniper's eyes began to close as Admiral let out a yowl, a thump following the cry.

Juniper's eyes opened. She was surrounded by darkness. She felt herself on something prickly, sharp edges poking her skin. She groaned, raising her head. Darkness swirled around her, a cold wind blowing. There were no noises except for the blowing of the wind. There was nothing to see. Her mind was empty like a black void.

A light shone above her. She saw the pointed, shriveled grass under her. She looked at her side, seeing the wounds from the claw marks, which were bleeding. They didn't hurt though, as if they were numb. Two blue balls of fire floated in the air, the white outline of a cat appearing.

A white cat with blue eyes floated, the balls of fire above its eyes. It had a gray outline. The cat looked at Juniper, floating over to her. A feeling of rage rushed through her as the cat bumped her nose, static flashing in its eyes. Energy pulsed through her veins, thoughts racing though her mind. The cat broke away after a few seconds.

"Go get them," the she-ghost said. It nodded, its body slowly parting away into darkness.

"Wait! What is your name?" Juniper asked. The voice replied. "My name is Airellyc. Now go defeat the beast- you have someone on your side."

Juniper's eyes snapped open. She was still on the ground, her brother lying in the snow stiff. Energy pulsed through her veins, warming her. The beast watched her stand up, a grin stretching across its face. A bright outline appeared beside her, a pair of blue eyes with no pupils or iris fading in. The figure turned to a golden-furred cat with a pale spot above its nose.

KissanSOG

Kissan.

She turned her head to Juniper, then looking back at the beast. She brushed her tail over Juniper's shoulder. Juniper jumped, her eyes snapping shut. She slowly opened them, her red eyes fading to blue. The cub growled, blue fire swirling around her.

She let out a growl, the fire crackling as it began to light up her fur. After a few seconds, she was flaming with the blue fire, gray smoke filling the air. The beast laughed, but was cut off by an orb of blue fire hitting its jaw. It let out a shriek, swinging its head around as it swallowed the orb. Its belly began to glow, the light brightening in a matter of seconds. It let out a roar, but was quickly cut off as its stomach burst, blood flinging in every direction.

Juniper quickly dragged her brother behind a rock, avoiding the crimson streaks. The beast began stumbling, coughing up massive amounts of blood. The white snow was now red as blood spilled from the winged creature. It fell back, tripping off the peak and falling. A crack split the air, then silence.

Dead.

Juniper raised her head slowly, looking over the stone, which was now covered with blood. There were a few feathers soaked with blood on the red snow, but one thing caught her eye.

Three large pieces of gold. She gasped, rushing over to the pieces. Her eyes began to change to red, the fire fading away. Kissan's ghost began to form beside her.

"Well done," she said. "I see that you are very quick. You can use the fire ability without any practice. No other animal, even an adult, has been able to do that. You are very brave for a cub. Take the golden shards as a reward. There is one more in the falls. I will deliver these to Drava and Selkirk."

The pieces of the lock began to vanish. Kissan nodded, her body fading out. Her eyes vanished lastly, the light draining from them as her ghost left them.

"We need to find the last shard."


The two cubs padded out of the cabin, returning to the town. They were greeted by the statue once more. Animals rushed by them, ignoring them like usual. Juniper turned her head to another bridge, a sign pointing to it saying "BLOSSOM FALLS" in black letters. She rushed through the crowd, Admiral catching up. They quickly crossed it, following another dirt path.

All around them were trees, the noise of flowing water in the distance. Flowers outlined the soft dirt path, some of the colorful petals scattered up and down the path. The air was cool, the bright grass and ferns swaying with it.

The two came to the large, stone waterfall, a pond formed beneath it. Water rushed down into the pond, a large stone rising from the center of it, the tip of it smooth. The stone glistened with the fresh water like a crystal under a light. The falls were beautiful, light shining down on the water through the small gaps in the trees.

"This is beautiful..." Juniper purred.

While gazing up and down the forest, she saw a cave with wooden planks covering its entrance. She padded over to it, looking at the scratches on the boards. The claw marks were larger than most claws would be. There was a sign on the ground that read "DO NOT ENTER - STAY OUT!".

"I wonder what's in here.." Juniper muttered, carefully crawling under a gap in the wood large enough for her to slip through, Admiral following hesitantly.

"This is a bad idea..." Admiral croaked. "I just know it."

Juniper shushed him after slipping in. The cave was long, stretching into darkness. Juniper gulped, stopping to think after putting a paw forth. Maybe this isn't a good idea... But do it for Lucky- he lost his life here. You can't turn back now. She took a deep breathe and began to walk forward, darkness engulfing the two. The cave walls began to close in, their whiskers brushing against the stone. Her fur brushed against the cave walls as they began to close in on them. The path grew narrower every few steps.

Juniper stopped walking. Something had stopped her. She tried backing up, but she was stuck. She began squirming, her head hitting the wall. Admiral couldn't move either.

"I told you this was a bad idea...." Admiral grumbled, his ears pinning to his head.

Juniper began to thrash, her head hitting the wall multiple times. She gave up, her head hanging heavy. Admiral was right. Her head began throbbing and she felt dizzy. A voice in her head urged her to go on.

"Come on sis! You came all this way and you give up? C'mon, keep trying, you'll get out!"

Anger built up inside of her. She remembered Lucky falling off the mountains, how tired they were when they got here, how she defeated a monster. She began squirming, slowly moving forward. She popped out of the small space, falling forward. Admiral furiously squirmed, soon following.

Juniper felt herself fall. She let out a squeal as she was submerged into some sort of liquid, her eyes closing. She could hear Admiral fall in as well. She swam up to the surface, gasping for air. She was in a round pool of crystal-clear water. They were still in the cave- with no way out.

She swam to a stone poking out of the water, pulling herself onto it. Admiral coughed, swimming over as well and sitting on a smooth stone. The water sloshed around them, ripples running through it.

"Told ya," Admiral growled again.

"There's gotta be a way out of this," Juniper said, her voice echoing. Silence fell over the small room, except for the sounds of drops of water hitting the ground. "There's no doors."

"Then why not look underwater?" Admiral said before plunging back in, squinting his eyes. He surfaced for air and dived back under, seeing no openings. He swam back to the stone and sat on it, his fur getting cold.

"Then we have to look up..." Admiral turned his head to the ceiling, seeing a ledge with an opening with some sort of door on it that had a lock on it.

"You could get hurt...." Juniper growled. "Let me-"

"No, I'll do it. I'm smaller and I'm flexible." Juniper nodded, her ears drooping.

Admiral swam to another stone, leaping onto one of the small rocks on the walls. He pulled himself up, leaping onto another. The water began to drip off of his pelt. He shook the liquid off of him before leaping onto another stone, slipping.

Luckily, he snagged his claws in a few holes in the stone, his legs dangling. He growled, pulling himself up with all his might. He kept his balance as he stood on the ledge, nearly slipping again. High above him was a stalactite, a key tied around it by a string.

"I say that I'm sorry now," Admiral said sadly, "but this is for you. Go on."

"What do you mean...?" Juniper asked shakily. "What are you sorry f-"

Admiral leapt onto the sharp-ended rock that hung from the ceiling, clinging. He wrapped the string around his claws on one paw, the key between his toes. The stalactite began to loosen. He let go, falling on his side. He growled at Juniper when she tried to drag him out of the way. The stalactite fell.

And pierced his head, cutting right through the flesh, a loud crack splitting the air.

Admiral's Death

Juniper let out a shriek. His head began bleeding, the stalactite cutting right through his head. Blood gushed out of his wound, his breathing heavy. Blood dripped off his bottom jaw. His ribbon scarf slid off. Juniper was froze in place.

"A-Admiral!" Juniper croaked, finally rushing over. Tears formed in her eyes, streaming down her face. She lost a brother again. Blood flowed around her paws from her brother's head. Her brother looked at her with dull eyes.

"Forget about me. Just go." His eyes closed and his breathing began to shallow. He grew stiff, his shaky body slowing. His bloodied fur flattened. He took one last breath before lying stiff on the cold stone, blood flowing into the water.

"N-No..." Juniper stuttered. "D-Don't leave me!" Her legs began shaking. Tears flowed like a river out of her eyes. She growled at herself. Admiral told her to carry on. She grabbed the key from Admiral's paw and began to leap on the rocks on the walls, leaving her brother's corpse.

She got to the door. It was made of metal with a small keyhole in it. She unlocked the door and it opened by itself. She padded inside another room. She didn't expect to see what she saw as a bright light shown.

Gold. Gold everywhere.

Gold coins and jewelry were scattered around the massive room. The room had golden walls and on the wall in front of her was a golden dragon head, its jaws gaping wide open with something in it.

The last gold shard.

Juniper gasped. She rushed down a gray staircase slowly made her way through the gold. She padded up to it, standing on a large gold brick. The black eyes of the dragon head seemed to stare into her soul, knowing everything. She reached out to touch the shard, but was cut off by a rumbling noise.

The door slammed shut, a clicking noise following. Another trap?

A hole began to open in the ground, a golden dragon foot reaching out of it. The hole grew bigger, a golden dragon sliding out of it, its red eyes glowing. It let out a growl, causing Juniper to shrink to the ground. It roared, the ground rumbling.

"And you think you can just take something?" It growled. Its wretched voice frightened Juniper at first. "Get through me first. The shard is mine. You're such an easy target... You'd make a great snack."

Juniper growled as the dragon swung its tail at her, the massive spines on it almost hitting her as she ducked. It growled, swinging its head at her. She leaped onto one of its long horns, clinging. She crawled onto the head as it violently shook, gripping her claws under its scales. The dragon slammed its head against the ground, Juniper still clinging onto it.

"So ya want a challenge?" The dragon snarled. The dragon then slammed its head against the ground multiple times, flinging Juniper off. It raised its head, but stopped right before it would crush Juniper's fragile frame.

It was the white ghost cat Airellyc, the blue flames above her eyes still crackling.

She turned around, her misty tail brushing against Juniper's pelt. Juniper's eyes began to fade to blue once more, the ground around her heating up with tiny blue embers bursting into the air. After a few short seconds, Juniper's pelt was lit with pale flames.

The dragon gave them an odd glare. It froze as two figures began to form.

It was Admiral and Lucky. They had bright outlines and empty, yellow eyes, a purple aura swirling around them. The two stood beside Airellyc and Juniper, floating above the ground in the golden room.

"What!?" The dragon snarled. "How-?"

Without a word, the two brothers growled, floating upward. The aura began to shape into fire, engulfing the room by accident. The dragon's jaws swung open, a ball of light forming. It began brightly glowing until it was shot at the wall.

Juniper blinked as a white light filled the room, her head buzzing. Her head began horribly throbbing as her ears wildly rang. A shock pulsed through her veins.

And with that, she couldn't see a thing. Her senses were drained from her. She could only see the images of her family and brothers flash by as her mind went blank.

Some things will never be accomplished.

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