Proudly with his head and tail held high, he ignored the useless chaff that hung about seeking favors from their betters. He had little respect for these courtiers who had never been entrusted with the most sacred of all duties. Being feline, all were of course Royalty, Princes and Princesses every last one, but there was only one Queen.
Disclaimer: This is fiction. All the characters and events portrayed here are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely accidental and unintentional A big thanks goes out to Paula for helping proof and generally make this readable. Another big thanks goes to Cathy who pre-read this. Any remaining errors, or mistakes are mine! Enjoy!
It had been so many years since he had last entered the court of the Queen. Proudly with his head and tail held high, he ignored the useless chaff that hung about seeking favors from their betters. He had little respect for these courtiers who had never been entrusted with the most sacred of all duties. Being feline, all were of course Royalty, Princes and Princesses every last one, but there was only one Queen. Not all had her confidence to be ‘awakened’ while abroad in the Middle Kingdom.
He was well aware of the envy of the onlookers and the disdain from his enemies. The first could take the evidence of his successes and work harder at achieving their own. For his enemies he would keep a watchful eye upon them. If it came to claws, he knew few were able to confront him and not come out the worse for it.
As always it was she who sat regally upon the dais that held his attention as well as his loyalty and devotion. Reaching the foot of the throne, he, as fitting for a feline of his stature, sat and inclined his head in respect to his one and only ruler.
She imperially returned his nod acknowledging her subject’s presence and gestured for him to begin.
The Prince addressed his liege. “My Queen I have returned to the Upper Kingdom as you have bidden.
Meeting her amber gaze with his own he asked, “May I ask why? My charge is even now undergoing a life changing metamorphosis. It has taken her many years and much pain to reach this point in her life. At no other time has she needed my services and attendance more. Why now My Queen?”
A muttered roar erupted at his insolence. To dare request the Queen of them all to explain herself! However his devotion to the one he had cared for and guided for so long demanded no less. It was not for himself but for she whom he had traveled to the Middle Kingdom to mentor so many years before that he dared question She Who Ruled.
A twitch of her Royal ears silenced her court. Meeting his eyes, her voice was stern but oddly compassionate and gentle. “You did well. The one placed in your care has come far and has arrived at the point where she will become the person she was always intended to be from the start. As you say it was the beginning, but she has made her decision. Her course is set.
“Yes, she will miss you and she will mourn your passing. Your care and devotion to her over the years has strengthened her, and she will recover and move on. In time you two will meet again here in the Upper Kingdom, but another has greater need of your particular talents.”
Her eyes blinked in a humorous smile saying, “Not many would have dared step in front of one of their monstrous machines demanding they stop for them.”
The Prince twitched his whiskers in response, “It seemed the thing to do at the time your Majesty. Speed was of the essence and it was vital I reach my charge as soon as possible. Any risk was worth it.”
The Queen nodded in agreement. “That is why I chose you. This next assignment will require all of your skills and cunning. Your new charge is another of two souls. She is in dire need of your services. Prepare yourself, for you leave on the morrow.
With that she turned her head signaling the interview was finished, but the Prince did not move. The court began another muted roar at his impertinence, but still he stood his ground.
The Queen’s ears flicked with annoyance at the actions of her court, but when she turned her head, her eyes narrowed seeing him still before her. None could mistake the so scarce nod of her head as anything but as a demand he explain himself.
The Prince spoke softy, “It is a boon, I ask your Majesty. If I am to leave on the morrow, then this night is my own. I have no affairs to attend to here for all was taken care of years ago when I first departed.”
“I ask that I be given leave to visit the Kingdom of Dreams,” he finished, inclining his head.
Disapproving the Queen asked, “You mean to visit the dreams of your previous charge?”
Not backing down he replied simply, “Yes, My Queen.”
Displeased she remanded him, “You are rude and impudent.”
He agreed with his ruler, “That is true My Queen. It is a part of my charms.”
Her amber eyes stared into his, and he feared that perhaps he had gone too far. But he truly felt he had no other choice. Refusing to back down, he merely nodded.
Sternly, with little of the compassion she had used before, she answered him. “You may have this one night, and one night only. I will not have you dividing your attention from your new duties. Understood?”
Bowing his head again in obedience he acknowledged, “Yes, your Majesty.”
With his tail still held high he departed the court, but as soon as he cleared last step he bounded away. Past the Rainbow Gardens, and past the Green Fields he ran. With a bound he climbed the steps of the Gates of Dreams. The guardians gave him a strict glare, but did not hinder him for he was there with the permission of the Queen.
Fearlessly he charged into the misty foggy banks of dreams. In less than a blink he found the one he sought. As he feared, she had not slept during the night and was only now beginning to fitfully drift into dream. Missing his presence, she had found no rest, and was awash with guilt, believing there must have been something else she could have done to prevent his passing.
The Prince knew better. When the Queen summons you, there is no choice but to answer. Yet he had managed to get this one last night with this one with which he had shared so much. On the morrow, he would once more be reincarnated upon the Middle Kingdom to comfort and guide another lost child of the creator.
He had shared his heart with so many, but he just couldn’t leave this one with so much pain still upon her soul. It was only a dream perhaps, but for now he nestled beside her as he had done so often in the past. Oh yes, one day they both would meet again upon those beautiful rainbow fields, but for one more time he comforted his charge with his purrs and love.
This hadn’t been a good day for her. The lost of her furry friend had hurt more than she could’ve believed. Now, more from exhaustion than from anything else she finally found sleep. In her dream her old friend hadn’t left her, but was resting at her side purring away. In that strange way dreams have, it seemed that he was almost speaking to her.
She had done her best for him and that was enough. He had to go soon, but one day they would be together again. His rumbling purrs comforted and helped chase away the hurt from the wound his passing had made.
Oh so slowly the grief upon her sleeping face eased and her restless tossing and turning fell into deeper slumber. Ever so slowly a smile crossed her lips as two old friends shared memories of good times one more time.
Dedicated to all of our furry little ones whom makes our lives a little happier and await us patiently upon those rainbow fields.
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