A young tiger slept peacefully under the giant glass Mira statue in the upper area of Jamaa. Her name was Sparkle SunnySpirit. How little she knew that the next few days of her life would be filled with excitement and exploration of the unknown...
This is her story.
Chapter OneI snoozed without a care in the world. I felt the warmth and protection of the Mira statue above me. My tail twitched as a fly landed on it.
Finally, I rolled over on my back and yawned. It had been a good nap. But now it was time to play! I sprang to my feet as any young, playful tiger would do and pawed at a huge yellow butterfly. My life in Jamaa was carefree and fun.
Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a slight sparkle in the trees. I hurriedly got up and stared at where I thought I had seen it. There was nothing there. I trembled for a second, slighty scared of what might be out there. I had only once gone into that small wood that surrounded Sarepia, when I had been gifted the power to shapeshift into an eagle. There was really nothing to be afraid of, I told myself. There couldn't possibly be phantoms out there. the Alphas kept all of Jamaa safe. But...I shook myself and trotted down into the central area of Jamaa.
There was a gigantic bunch of animals down there, saying this and that such as 'trade meh', 'gift me I'm poor' (Which was obviously a scammer, Mira had taught me), 'trading party, my den!'. I glanced at the person who said that, but then turned away. I didn't have time for that now.
I squeezed through the thick crowd of animals, heading toward Sol Arcade. As I played the various games that Mira had made for all the animals long ago, my mind kept going back to the mysterious flash in the small wood by the Mira statue. I finally couldn't stand it anymore and headed to my den.There was only one thing that could relax a young, alert tiger now...sleep!
A few hours later, at dusk, I awakened. I yawned and stretched out on my rug.
I sat there for a few peaceful minutes, watching the blazing sun sink down onto the horizon. When it finally disappeared, I slowly got to my feet and began to transport to Sarapeia. That was my favorite place to go at nighttime.As the world before my eyes slowly changed from a comfy treehouse to a cool, vast forest, I breathed in the familiar air and sighed contentedly.
I soon noticed glowing eyes in my dark surroundings. At first I was startled, but then remembered many of my other friends liked to go out at night, also. I slowly walked forward, wary of every step I took and ears twitching at every sound. Just then, I heard a sound I had never heard before...
A soft padding of feet and a deep, contented rumble came from behind me. I stiffened, not sure what this new animal, (I was hoping it was an animal) was. I turned around slowly, to meet my glowing yellow eyes with another pair of blue ones.Standing not three feet away from me, there was a sleek black and white arctic wolf looking me straight in the eye.
"Hi." I stammered. "I..I'm Sparkle. You can call me Sparkles if you want. My full name is..." I hesitated. If this black and white wolf was a bad guy, I didn't want to give that information away.
"It's okay." The wolf suddenly said. Her voice was kind and young. It made me feel safer. "I'm Happy SnowyStar, but you can call me Kmf."
Something in the back of my head jerked when she said that. Kmf? It sounded so familiar...but I had no idea who this new animal was.
Kmf wagged her thick, long tail and tilted her head. "C'mon! Let's go play! I think us two could be best buddies forever!"
I suddenly felt happy with Kmf, for some reason, whoever she was. I didn't know what made me want to be with her from that day forward, but I guess it was just a chance that we met each other and we had the same likes and dislikes. I wondered about that. Perhaps...Mira had planned my future for this...? I paused for a moment, trying to wrap my mind around that.
I shook it off hurriedly and bounded after Kmf, who had began rolling on the ground and hopping all around the small fire-ring in the center of Sarepia. I laughed and joined her.
Before long, a couple more wolves and tigers joined us in jumping all around the ring. Suddenly, a huge mass of glowing white air flung itself up from the small blaze. It took the shape of towering, ghostly bird. Mira!
I gasped and stared up at the ghostly figure. Suddenly, Kmf yowled and, writhing in pain, staggered away from the fire.
Worried for my friends safety, I jumped away from the fire and Mira and ran to her side. I put my muzzle down and licked her side. Inside, my heart was thumping so fast and so loud I could hardly stand it. My one friend, a friend that would actually play with me...I had never felt friendship like that before...Unless...long ago...A flashback swept through me of me, as a young tiger cub, and a young wolf, my age, rolling on the ground with me, playing with me...with the same kind passion as Kmf had shown but a few minutes before.
I gasped and mentally yanked myself away from the vision. I turned my attention once again to the struggling Wolf at my feet. "Happy! Kmf! Are you okay?" I said quickly, panicing. Kmf looked up at me and her piercing blue eyes met mine. "Yes...yeah, I'm fine, Sparkles. Fine..." She pulled herself to her feet carefully.
Just then, I noticed, for the first time, a glowing blue amulet around Kmf's neck. I squinted at it, not sure what it was. Kmf followed my gaze and quickly turned away. "I...I have to go, Sparkle, I need to go to...well, a secret kind of place, I guess." She immediately looked guilty for saying as much as that. "Bye". She suddenly turned away and ran onto the worn trail that led to Jamaa Township.
I stood still for some moments, not at all sure what had just happened. Happy Snowystar was gone. Kmf. But to where? Why would she keep a secret from me?
Catiously, I followed Kmf's light paw tracks in the damp dirt. As I entered Jamaa Township, a strange thought struck me. What if Kmf knew of the strange flash I saw in the wood eariler that day? What if...it had something to do with her?
My head pounding, I headed towards the Mira staute and the place where I had seen the flash. As I neared the spot, I thought I saw what looked like a dark shape of a slender wolf dart into the trees.
I froze as a long, eerie howl filled the night air. It seemed to shake the trees and send ripples throughout the ground. The howl stopped, followed by a long, empty silence.
Then, right before my eyes, a bright flash of light illuminated the area! I blinked and stared and the place where the light was coming from. There seemed to be three overwhelmingly bright spots that surrounded a dimmer light source, in the shape of a circle.
I did a double-take, then saw a smaller, weaker green flash that resembled that of an animal changing forms. Then, I saw a rather small, normal-looking sillouette of an eagle dart in front of the bright spot of light. The eagle seemed to turn and look over its shoulder, then, rearing its head back, dived into the circle of light. Then it was gone. All...gone.
I stood in the same spot for many minutes, trembling. What had I just seen? What was that?
Suddenly I heard the snap of a twig and a low, intense growl. I whirled around, my senses tensed and my brain seemingly about to burst.
I black shape slowly came forward...its head was turned...I saw the glaring green eyes...looking right at me!
I yelped as loud as I could in fear and stumbled backward to run away.
Just as I did, though, a harsh laugh of some kind of wolf or tiger rang out. I froze, shaking.
"HA! You actually...HA!" A male voice said hysterically from the trees.
I squinted into the darkness, my eyes searching for what I sought. A dark shape, rolling on the ground, obviously in laughter, was a few feet away from me. I stepped forward bravely and said, "Hello. Who are you?"
"Me?" The harsh but fun-loving voice rang out as a rather small predetor-kind of animal came out from the shadow. My nose wrinkled. A hyena! The newest power to have was to shapeshift into a hyena now.
He burst into another fit of laughter and stepped forward. " I'm Flaming Firehound. A flamingfirehound, that is." He grinned.
He then began to laugh again. "But, you may just call me Flaming. Or Flame. Whatever."
"Okay," I began. "Now, would you happen to know anything about that spot of light up there?" And I nodded to where I had seen the mysterious eagle disappear.
"Spot of light? A spot....? HAHAHA a HA! A spot?! That, my friend, is not a simple spot of light!"
I sighed. "Do you ever stop laughing?"
"Nope!" Flaming said, smiling.
"Anyway, it isn't light." Flaming said slowly, snorting in laughter again. "It's a portal. that leads to...well...you'll have to figure that out for myself." He snickered.
A portal! I thought. 'How...what...what could it possibly lead to? How could the Alphas have any kind of secret here?
"Oh, and your friend...ah...Kmf? Happy SnowyStar? She went in the portal." He said, nodding his head toward where I had seen the eagle vanish.
"Kmf? So that's why she left..." I mused.
Flaming snorted. "Yep. You see, Kmf knows what is behind that portal, and what is behinf the other---" His sentence was cut off. I noticed a small glowing green amulet around his neck beginning to shine brightly.
His face quickly turned from a fun, laughing face to a serious, almost fearful face.
He turned away and ran back into the trees.
I began to run after him, but then stopped. The last time I ran after an animal with a strange amulet on, I had learned more than I had wanted to know.
I stared at the trees where the hyena had disappeared. Then, my curiosoty took over me. I quickly changed to my eagle, Victory DaringEagle. It would make the job I was about to do much easier. As soon as I changed, flew upwards and to my left a little, then turned all the way to my left.
I let out a loud, peircing screech. A blast of bright light blinded me for a second, then I slowly opened my eyes, my courage mounting.
Then, taking a deep breath, I dived into the portal...
To be continued in my next story, The Portal Within the Portal