Nine Lives, Ten Deaths? part six
The ruins looked as if they had existed for ten thousand years from the outside. On the inside, the site to behold would belie its age to anyone blessed, or cursed enough to enter. Alexander had regained consciousness as they were entering the ruins. He saw the woman carrying him into the huge halls. Tigers lined the sides of the hall, watching him closely, and low growls coming from their throats. Alexander wondered if he had survived the Lions only to be killed by tigers. As if sensing his fears, the largest of the tigers spoke to him.
“You do not need to fear these cats, Alexander. They know that Bastet has sent us here and that you are under her covering. None would dare defy her orders unless they simply wished to give up all of their lives… at once.”
“That gives me some comfort, though I still think they want to eat me.”
The tigress snarled her nose and shook her head. “Only on your realm do our sisters and brothers do such gross acts. No tiger in this realm would ever consume a human. Our food is provided to us by those greater than us. You are here to heal, Alexander.”
The tiger turned and faced all of the tigers. “This is Alexander of the tree-swing. He is not to be harmed in any way. He belongs to Sebastian, whom some say is dead. That has yet to be proven. We will keep this human until his body is ready to do battle.”
A tigress stepped forward and slowly sniffed Alexander. She sneezed a bit at his odor and then faced Naomi. “There is word that Alisha has been harmed in a great battle that Samantha began. They fight as we speak.”
Alexander lifted his head as soon as he heard her name. Ignoring the pain that was his, he faced the tigress. “Did you say Alisha was here, fighting?”
“She is in the east, above the sacred trees, fighting Samantha and her lions. Both have been wounded, though we don’t know to what extent.”
Alexander rolled off the tigers back to the ground. “You need to take me to where she is! I have been waiting for 6 years to find her. I can’t let her die now.”
“Alexander, you must heal before you do anything more. You are not strong enough to fight yet.”
“Then work your magic and heal me fast. I can’t wait here very long.”
“The healing has already begun. It started the moment you entered Bubastis. It will not take very long and then you can be reunited with Alisha. She still stands and fights for our realm, your realm and the love she holds deep in her heart for you, Alexander.”
Alexander soaked in the healing rays of the sun. Soon, he would be at his love’s side.
Bastet followed the trail left by Samantha when she had entered the realm. Her powers were strong, making her essence very strong. She could feel the draw of earth’s realm as she neared the opening. The lightening had followed the same essence into Earth’s realm. She glanced back one last time, watching as Alisha stood, bleeding yet wielding her sword as if she had never been struck. Samantha had been cut also but she seemed oblivious to the blood soaking her chest and stomach. Alexander would be by her side soon and together, Bastet believed that they could defeat Samantha once and for all times.
The opening pulled her inside space that would take her to Earth’s realm. She needed to be quick but just before she left the realm; she saw Samantha looked her way. She watched as Samantha gestured for two of the lions to follow her. “Kill the she-bitch! Do not let her enter this realm again!” Those were the last words Bastet heard from the realm. Just as suddenly as she had left her realm, she was standing near the huge tree with the swing. She quickly swung the swing high into the sky. She struck it each time it returned so that it did not stop.
As the Lions appeared at the swing, she struck it once more with all of her might. The lions were tossed through the air, flinging them across the yard. The first lion roared loudly as his body struck another tree. The loud, sickening sound of its back snapping like a tree branch told Bastet all she needed to know of his demise. The second lion flipped over and over in the air, its body falling rapidly towards the unforgiving earth. Without time to turn himself, the lion hit the ground on its back. He too roared loudly as his back smashed in to the earth. Trying to right himself, Bastet could see him falling forward and tumbling to the ground, over and over again. His back was broken, preventing him from walking. Bastet quickly picked Sebastian’s broken body up and carried him as she would carry her own offspring, in her mouth. She put her giant paw on the struggling lions head. Her claws extended as she drove them into the lion. Sebastian’s body slowly sunk into the fur of the lion until he no longer was visible. A light came from the lions eyes and his body was suddenly consumed by a fire from within.
“Don’t be afraid of anything here Sebastian. It is all part of the healing. Draw from this lion’s death and feel his strength become yours. Your lives are nearly spent and you need his to regain life and add new lives to yourself. It will not hurt you and you will be strong enough to follow me back.”
Sebastian lay on the lion, feeling the life ebbing from the great cat. Sebastian’s body shook and stretched as the life filled him with essence. He could feel his entire body growing, weighing down the lion enough that Bastet no longer needed to hold the lion down. In two final roars, from both the lion and Sebastian, one died and the other came fully to life. Sebastian, now the great Saber-tooth he had been before, stood and roared loudly. He bowed before Bastet and paid to her the respect she commanded. Climbing the tree, Sebastian with the swing held in his teeth, they leapt in to the air. Free-falling for only a moment, a wind blew through the tree and swept them both high in to the tree’s top. In a moment, they were standing firmly inside their realm. The battled had raged on while Bastet had been gone. More lions and tigers had found their way to the battle field. Blood and fierceness ruled the realm. The bodies of cats lay for only moments on the ground before they stood back up to fight with another life. Some laid down for their last time, burning all of their lives, falling prey to the tenth death. More humans had found their way in to the battle but they, unlike the cats, did not have nine lives to give. Once fallen, their lives were ended. The bodies disappeared, where they went, neither Bastet nor anyone else knew.
“I do not see Alexander in the fight. Tell me he is still living, Bastet.”
“He was hurt badly and I sent him to Bubastis to be healed. I had hoped to see him by the time we returned. His wounds were great, my friend and I can’t guarantee that he survived. We must save Alisha for she is the one that holds the keys to the doorway in to the realms. If she dies, we will wait another millennium to travel safely from realm to realm.”
“Then let us go fight at her side. I am tired of this woman coming in to our lives.”
Alisha saw Sebastian before Tawny did. Tawny had fallen eight times and had only one life left to give. She could survive the fight but her lives, spent but one, would not allow her to return to the earth’s realm. Alisha could see in Tawny’s eyes the defeat. She had no more will to fight as she was struck by a huge lioness. Her body fell to the ground, crushed and bleeding. Alisha kicked out at Samantha, sending her sprawling. She turned and ran to Tawny’s side.
“Do not give up, Damn you! Your love is back and coming to fight at your side. Stand up and be the great cat you have always been!”
Tawny tried to pull herself up from the ground. Her strength gone, she fell to the ground and slumped. “Forgive me, my old friend, but I don’t have the life in me to go on. Tell my love that I will watch him from another realm.”
Sebastian reached Tawny as her eyes began to close. He stood in front of her and licked her body. “You will not die today, sweet love. We have been too many places to lose you now. Get up that I can take my place at your side as it should be.”
A scream came from behind them. Sebastian turned in time to see the blade coming down. Samantha’s knife pierced Tawny’s body and stuck it to the ground below.
“No-o-o-o-o-o-o,” Sebastian yelled out. “You cannot leave me here alone, Tawny! I have waited too long for you!” Turning around, his eyes on fire with hatred, he looked at Samantha. “You, witch, will die today! You will never see earth or another sunrise!”
“Alisha!” The voice was one she had not heard in what seemed like a forever. She smiled as she turned to face her lover and best friend.
“I knew you would not leave me, Alex.” Alisha grabbed him and kissed him deep. It was a kiss that told him all he had missed and all that would be his. “Let’s finish this fight so that I can greet you in a more proper way, my man”
Sebastian and Bastet stood at their side. Lions and humans along with tigers of every kind faced off. This battle would be a fight like no other. Sebastian roared and ran towards Samantha. “Your blood and your life will be the very essence that brings my Tawny back to me. Prepare to die a most slow and painful death, Witch!”