Nine Lives, Ten Deaths? part five
Bastet pulled Alex as far into the trees as she could get him. His body still lay motionless as she licked his face to try to revive him. She heard the rumble of thunder in the distance. She swore she had seen a flash of lightening but the skies were clear. Standing tall and silent, she listened to the sounds of the forest. Again she heard the thunder, this time; there was no doubt in her mind. She searched the sky for any signs of storms but saw nothing. She called to those she knew were in the realm so that they might help her with Alexander. People, young and older, came out of the trees that surrounded her. They were loved ones that had left the earth before their walk was finished. They had been given a chance to find peace and forgiveness in this realm. Some had known her for a millennium while others had only been here for a short while. They were trusted humans that had fought beside Bastet many times.
“My friends, you must take this man to Bubastis so that he may heal. There is something happening on the other side of the realm that I must see to.”
A woman who had been with Bastet for nearly 500 years had stepped forward. She looked to be only twenty-five years old but her eyes showed sparkles of wisdom that said differently. She reached down and touched Alexander’s face. Her touch was gentle, more like that of a mother than a lover.
“Bastet, it is forbidden for a human to enter the ruins in this realm. My kind desecrated the ruins on earth and so the laws were placed to protect your home here.”
“You speak the truth, Naomi, but this man can not die. He will be instrumental in protecting our kind on earth until such a time that the realms are no longer separate. If he dies, it will push us back 10,000 years from where we have come to. Trust in me when I ask you to do this. I will deal with Bast when the time comes to calm his angers. I must go and see what has causes the realms to clash.”
“When will you return to us, Bastet?”
“I will join you at the ruins as soon as I see what has occurred. Do not leave him alone there. He is under my covering but there are those that may still try to destroy him. Go now, before more life flows from him and the lions smell his essence.”
Naomi and the others did as they were told. Bastet moved along the tree-line towards the sounds of thunder. The ground under her feet shook as she drew closer. A flash of light shone above the trees again and she could smell burning in the breeze. It was a putrid odor she knew only too well. She was met by the river by two tigresses that were familiar to her. They were tired and their fur was matted.
“Where did you come from that has hurt you in this way?”
“Bastet, thank the heavens we have found you. I am Saharan and this is my daughter, Corinth. We stood too near the human and her Lion when they met the protected ones. Laune and the great Lion, Bastian have been defeated they say, but the woman still lives. She killed Sebastian in the earth realm and has come to claim Alisha. She no longer fears anything and her gifts have grown ten-fold.”
“Alisha is safe in the forest realm. Bastian and Laune died at our feet. I saw the woman in the trees but gave her no thought. Alexander was felled in battle and the humans have taken him to Bubastis to heal him.” One of the tigresses began to speak but Bastet held her paw in the air. “I will deal with Bast at a later time. For now, that is my order and it will be followed out.”
“Alisha left the forest. We have seen her for ourselves. She stands before Samantha now, ready to do battle. Tawny is with her but she has lost some will since finding her love has died.”
“The laws so decree that we “cats” cannot take the life of a human in this realm. It must be human killing human and cat killing cat. We can only help Alisha by battling the big cats, there-in weakening Samantha’s gifts here. She is powerful and dangerous and has turned most of the lions against their own kind. They believe she is the opening into the earth world for them.”
“Don’t they know that it is the tree and swing that are the opening? Sebastian’s family has been near the tree for longer than we can recall. If he has truly died, there is no way back in or out until another guardian is placed there. That could be thousands of years.”
“Lions are foolish buffoons that think with their claws and not their brains. The very thought that they might rule earth’s realm is enough for them to forget the truths. Samantha may have brought on her own ending by the battle she has begun. I shall follow you to where they are and try to follow the path of the lightening I saw. As long as she believes Sebastian is dead, we may still have a chance to defeat her.”
“She too has entered this realm many times and she knows that to keep the way open for her, she must defeat Alisha now and take Alexander as her own, Bastet.”
“Corinth, he would never be at her side. She knows this as we have watched her from here trying to cause him to sell the home place. She would have been the owner and then controlled the path to and from our realms.”
“Mother, it doesn't matter here if he chooses or does not. She would rule here for the humans and once she defeats Alisha, she will have full reign. Alisha is the true heir to our realms human side, not Alexander. Here, females are leaders and men follow. We must do as Bastet has said and fight with Alisha. She cannot destroy Samantha without her cat being completely alert. Tell us what to do and we will follow you, Bastet.”
“Let’s find Alisha and stand by her. I must follow the lightening and find Sebastian. Our hope must be that she lies and has not taken Sebastian’s essence for her own.”
They turned and went back towards the tree-line and the lightening. Flashes continued to burst from the trees as the cats closed in. The thundering roars echoed and the trees swayed at the power of their volume.
“Wait, we must stop for a moment!” Saharan moved in front of Bastet. “If they see you, they will stop at nothing to prevent you from finding Sebastian. Others have heard our calls and the calls of the enemy. They are coming to help us now. We can hold them down and protect Alisha until you find Sebastian and return him here.”
“I will not shun my part in battle, Saharan.”
“If they stop you in your quest, what good will you be to any of us?”
“Mother is right, Bastet; you need to go while we hold them at bay. Please go and do what you must do. I still have many lives to give to save our realm and earth’s.”
Bastet ran into the cover of the trees. She followed the smell of the sulfur from the lightening deep into the forest, along the river. She listened as she ran to the sounds of lions and tigers finding one another. She prayed that the tigers could stand firm until her return.
“So, I see you have called for some friends, Alisha. It isn’t going to do you any good because your precious kitty isn't up to par with her baby dead.”
Samantha’s taunting only worsened the situation. Alisha knew that she was right for now. She had to find some way to pull Tawny out of her slump. Alisha too needed some sort of boost to find her full energy. Their strength was in the love they had for Sebastian and Alexander and she knew that. If Samantha was telling the truth, then what were she and Tawny fighting for? Alisha saw the two Tigresses coming to her. The younger of the two bared her teeth and growled loudly.
“Ask later, Alisha… fight now! Your man is alive and healing. He will need you before we are finished here today. Too many have seen their nines lives fall into their tenth death! There is no returning from that one! I have many but my mother has not. Watch for her as we fight and I will be indebted to you for eternity.”
Without even questioning, Alisha felt a new found strength in Corinth’s words. She wanted to go home and settle with Alex. She yearned for a house and love and a child to raise together. She could only have that if they defeated Samantha and the lions.
“Tawny, if we survive this battle I promise you, we will find Sebastian and bring him back to us. We can do nothing if we lose!”
Tawny lunged forward, anger and hate in her eyes. The bodies of humans and cats clashed together, steel and ivory gnashing out at one another. Blood began to spatter across the forest floor, so much, so fast, it was impossible to know whose blood was whose. The fighting grew in fierceness and cats fell to the ground, dead, only to come back to life again and again. Humans came out of the trees on both sides and fought as viciously as the cats.
“What does it take to kill these things, Tawny?!”
“You can only hurt them until their final life. Remember only cat can kill cat and human, human here. Keep fighting until they stop coming!”
Alisha felt the cut before she saw it. Samantha raised her knife to deliver a second blow. Alisha blocked it with her arm, pushing Samantha backwards. Samantha hissed like a cat at Alisha. She felt the cut along her side as she stepped backwards. Pressing her hand to the wound, she coated her palm in blood. Bringing it to her mouth, she licked the blood from it and smiled.
“Here, in this realm, we don’t get nine lives, wench! As long as we aren’t cast back to earth, we can fight and fight! Too bad you have been here so long you no longer remember where the opening is! Once I push you through it, you are gone forever!”
“You are too kind to remind me of all I have forgotten, Sam! Quicken it too my memory and it is mine to recall. Let us fight and see who finds the opening, backwards!”