Quest Of Six
I bit back a laugh as Ali bellowed the chorus of ‘Let it Go’, Prim singing gleefully at her side, the others backing them up. Even Fluffy, who had objected to watching the Frozen sing-a-long (for the nineteenth time), had joined in, dramatically singing the chorus. No offense to them, but it sounded rather like a bunch of dying cats. The song finished on Elsa’s high note, and I only just resisted to temptation to cover my ears. Six faces turned to mine.
“Crys,” crooned Ali, and I instantly shook my head.
“NO! No, no, no. I don’t sing. No way – so don’t even try with that face, Ali,”
She widened her blue eyes in a puppy-dog expression. I folded my arms and stared stonily back. Ali sighed and curled back up to watch the film.
It was fairly late when we went to bed that night, having marathon-watched all of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films. As I sat brushing through my hair, I sang the mermaid’s song to myself, looking up the full lyrics on my phone.
My heart is pierced by Cupid, I disdain all glittering gold… There is nothing can console me, but my jolly sailor bold…
The song was actually quite long. I curled into bed and closed my eyes, dozing off almost immediately.
It was the next morning, when I was attempting to tame the mane my hair had turned into, that I saw the lyrics and decided to try singing through the song.
I stopped, mid-song. There was definitely someone outside my door. I heard Sami curse, and two pairs of footsteps retreating from my door. I frowned slightly and continued with the song, listening out for any sound. Two pairs of stealthy footsteps returned to the door. I heard a soft whisper – Natalie.
“Wow, that’s amazing,” she murmured. I lowered the volume a little to listen.
“Any idea why she doesn’t want to sing?” asked Sami. I smirked, and stopped singing, getting up noisily and fighting laughter as I heard them scrambling madly to escape before I caught them. I poked my head through the door and saw Sami hurling herself up the stairs, and Natalie diving into the kitchen.
Feigning ignorance, I skipped into the kitchen, grinned cheekily at Natalie, and started making her usual pot-full of coffee. She smiled a thank you and filled her mug.
“Cornflakes, toast or porridge, Nat?” I asked, hand on the cupboard door.
“Can we have honey porridge?” interrupted Sami, bounding excitedly in to the room. I smiled at her and nodded before busying myself with pots, oats, milk and honey. I hummed the mermaid song to myself as I clattered around, feeling with some amusement the weight of their eyes on my back. When the porridge was done and I had stirred in the honey to make it a rich, amber pool of goodness, I divided it between three bowls and set about making a cup of tea each for me and Sami. I set breakfast neatly on the table, and settled next to Natalie. Sami sat on my other side, hungrily munching through her porridge while Natalie stirred hers dreamily. I quickly wolfed down my breakfast and swept my bowl over into the sink, bopping Sami on the head.
“Your turn to wash up, Sami,” I informed her teasingly, giggling as she face-planted the table with a groan. Natalie downed the last slurp of coffee and placed her dishes in the sink, before poking Sami’s shoulder.
“Come on, you. The dishes aren’t going to wash themselves now, are they?” Accompanied by several plaintive complaints, Sami grudgingly shuffled over to the sink and started scouring the oats out of the bowls. Natalie picked up a tea-towel, flicked Sami gently with it, and started drying the pots, whirling around the kitchen to put them away. The thought crossed my mind that maybe Natalie was actually a good dancer. I decided that would be the best defence if they badgered me to sing – not ‘till Natalie danced.
When the dishes were dry and we were all out of our pyjamas, we saddled up Nemo, Nevaro and Artistic Sunset, before riding over to the house that Ali, Prim and Cass shared. A purple tent outside indicated that Fluffy had decided to stay over. Natalie tapped on the door and Ali pulled it open, squealing in delight when she saw us. We were swept inside and through to the living room… where a microphone had been set up. I stared critically at it, as Ali appeared at my shoulder.
“Don’t even think about it,” I warned. Ali sighed sadly and then looked over at where the others had arranged themselves on the sofa. She skipped across the room and dived onto her beanbag. I sighed, curling into the free space next to Natalie and tilting my head to look at her, a silent ‘save me’ crossing my face.
Natalie ruffled my hair affectionately, shaking her head with a smirk. Prim cast a look around, and launched herself on the microphone before starting to sing. I watched her, rather bored. It was a song from Cinderella – ‘Lavender’s Blue’. I yawned, not really listening. Then Ali, who bellowed and giggled her way through her song. Fluffy got thoroughly overexcited singing ‘Black Hole Sun’, and Sami did a rather pretty version of her song, which was vaguely familiar. I lost interest at Cass’s turn. Natalie sang sweetly to a song I’d never heard before, and then they all looked expectantly at me. I shook my head.
“No. Way.” I folded my arms. Natalie pulled a superb puppy-dog face.
“Ple-ee-ee-ase,” she begged. I sighed.
“Fine. But you’ve gotta do a dance first. Properly,” I replied, watching with some satisfaction as her face fell. She took a long breath, apparently steeling herself, and then stood up.
As I had suspected, she was a good dancer. Spinning gracefully, her hips swaying, she pranced around the room and then flopped onto the sofa, smirking at me. I stared at her, horrified. My escape plan! Ruined! Natalie gently put a hand under my chin and pushed my hanging jaw shut.
“Nice goldfish impression,” she teased, and shoved me off of the sofa. I hit the floor clumsily and rolled to my feet. Casting a last glance back at the safety of the couch, I shuffled over to the microphone, and glowered reproachfully at my eagerly smiling friends. I considered a couple of songs, and then chose the Cup Song, a.k.a. When I’m Gone. Taking a long breath, I pushed the microphone lower so I could kneel down and sing, I tapped out the rhythm on top of the speaker, and then launched into the song. The reaction was immensely satisfying. Six jaws dropped. Six sets of eyes widened. My voice strengthened as I continued to tap the repeating rhythm, my singing keeping pace with the clicking beat. I ended the song and grinned at my stunned audience. Ali started to clap, and the others followed suit. Playfully, I took a quick curtsy, and darted back to the sofa, where I hid my face behind Natalie’s hair, my face bright pink. She twisted around to face me.
“Ya know, Crys… there’s a talent competition in the square next week,” she began, nudging me with an elbow.
“Why don’t you-”
Mira’s Magic Mishap
I opened the front door to find Prim, Cass, and Ali on the doorstep, Cass holding a parcel and looking extremely confused. Natalie appeared at my shoulder, bleary-eyed and clutching a cup of hot coffee, even though she was already dressed. Sami elbowed me out of the way to give Cass a hug.
“What’s that?” she asked, pointing at the parcel. Cass shrugged.
“I don’t know. It’s addressed to…” she studied the writing closely.
“Miss M. Berry… The Castle, Dome City,” she read, puzzlement fliting across her face. Natalie yawned.
“Dome City? I’ve heard of that place before…” Prim cocked her head thoughtfully.
“We should deliver this to its owner,” she pointed out, tapping the box with a finger. Ali nodded, and we mounted our horses, setting off for Miss M. Berry’s home.
Midnight Whisper skidded to a halt, and I gasped. I heard six intakes of breath behind me. A city of perfect, multicoloured domes branched out in the valley beneath us, radiating from a castle-like structure of red and pink, consisting of a large central dome and four smaller domes on each side.
“Guess that’s what we’re looking for,” stated Sami, pointing. Ali nodded.
“Come on,” she murmured, and flicked Hybrid Eclipse’s reins.
‘Miss M. Berry’ was in her kitchen when we knocked on the front door. We heard a faint
“Come in!” and stepped inside. We followed the sound of someone humming, and came across none other than Mira, fiddling about with pots of coloured dust and a book. She turned around to face us, smiling. I held out the package
“This is addressed to you,” I pointed out. She beamed and held up dusty fingertips.
“Just pop it on the table,” she instructed cheerfully, pointing.
“I’m trying something from this book, see? Hope gave it me for Christmas – it’s supposedly a ‘magic box’,” she explained, gesturing at the mess.
Cass snickered disbelievingly, and as Mira turned to glare, she knocked a pot of mixed orange and brown powder onto the floor. There was a sudden explosion. The smoke cleared quickly and I heard a surprised, somewhat catlike squeal. I blinked the mist away and saw…five cats? Three brown, two of them kittens, one gingery-russet red, and one a golden blonde kitten. I glanced down and saw a fluffy cream-white chest, a pair of brown paws. Then a kitten with electric-blue fur went barrelling into the littlest brown kitten – the green eyed one. My stunned brain shook itself awake and finally put two and two together.
“Mira, what did you do?!” I yowled, feeling my new kitten’s ears flatten on my head, and my fluffy tail bush up. The slightly bigger brown cat – the one with dark brown eyes like melted chocolate – cringed into the ground, ears tilting back.
“I don’t know!” she whined, her eyes wide.
“I knocked the powder over… and then this happened. The spell I was trying was meant to conjure a toy cat. Apparently if you shake the spell instead of stirring it makes you into a cat!” The blue and the smaller brown kittens were tussling playfully, ignoring us. I guessed that they were Prim and Ali. I padded around, looking at the room. Everything seemed huge now, from my kitten’s vantage point. I prowled under the table and sniffed curiously, new scents attacking my sensitive nose. There was a chair half out from the table. I pushed and head-butted Mira towards the chair, then climbed rather clumsily onto her back and jumped up to the chair. Then I sprang to the table and called down.
“Jump up here!”
Mira jumped up after me. The ginger she-cat – Cass - picked up the bigger of the two brown kittens – Natalie - and leaped up, carrying her by the scruff. I flicked my tail towards the counter.
“We need to jump over,” I pointed out. Mira’s teeth closed on my scruff, and she jumped over carrying me. To have my paws swinging in mid-air was not the best sensation, particularly when I was not in control of the motion. Mira landed lightly and put me back on my paws. The book was at the other side of the kitchen. I padded forwards along the counter, followed by Natalie, Cass and Mira. There was a terrifying moment when my hind paw slipped off and I was dangling by my foreclaws, but Cass pulled me back up by the scruff and we continued along the counter, skirting around things. I came across a plastic bowl. Stretching out one paw, I patted it. It wobbled in a pleasing sort of way, and we watched, mesmerised. I patted it again, a little harder. It twirled on its circular base, and stopped close to the edge of the counter. I reached out with both paws and gave it a tiny push. It tipped. Gracefully, it plummeted over the curved edge and fell with a tremendously satisfying clatter. We peered over the edge as it landed, up-side down on top of Sami. The tiny blonde kitten flipped it off of her back and chased it around the floor, laughing.
I saw, just ahead, a line of plastic cups. Just asking to be pushed. I crept forwards in a crouch and shoved the first one off. It hit the floor and bounced, so I pushed the next one. In hardly any time at all, each and every cup was rolling on the floor. Purring, I watched them roll, and then my logic caught up with me. What on earth did I do that for? We were supposed to be finding the counter-spell. I poked Mira with my tail.
“We need to reach the book,” She turned curious brown eyes on me.
“But knocking things over is fun?” she mewed. I lashed out a paw and slapped her. She reeled back and nearly fell off of the counter.
“What was that for!” she demanded furiously, neck fur fluffing up. I arched my back, fluffing out my own brown pelt, and growled.
“Do you want to stay as a cat forever?!” Mira flinched at my tone, and then shook herself.
“You’re right. Come on,” she agreed, but we had hardly gone ten tail-lengths further before a surprised and slightly muffled mew made me stop and look back. Mira was crouched under a large glass bowl, giggling and dabbing at it with her white paws.
“What are you DOING!?” I yowled, head-butting Cass out of the way as I scrambled back to help her. She turned her face upwards, her brown eyes dreamy, wide and relaxed as she giggled faintly.
“I like domes,” she purred, rolling onto her back to pat the sides of the dish. I muttered a quick suggestion as to where the stupid domes should go, and started trying to lever the bowl off, when a sudden sweet scent caught my attention. My newly sensitive kitten nose tingled at the soft, warm smell. I wanted to stretch out, to lie and bask in the enticing perfume. It was making me feel… sleepy. The smell danced tantalizingly I took a couple of steps deeper into it, drinking in the warm feeling. There was a pretty little plant in a pot on the windowsill, and I padded forwards, not curious exactly, but there was something about that plant. Something… nice. Something… vaguely familiar. Now where had I seen that before? The answer hit me like a dog’s bite. Catnip!
“Mira! Get out from under that bowl, and get away from the catnip!!” I yowled, darting over to her and flipping the bowl off, before seizing her by the scruff and dragging her away from the deliciously distracting scent of catnip.
Keeping a close eye on the brown she-cat, making sure her attention didn’t wander again, I aimed for the last big obstacle: the gap where the back door was. I crouched carefully, tucking my hindquarters in, and sprang, throwing myself across the gap. Mira leaped gracefully across, Cass only just made it, and Natalie missed entirely, landing splay-legged on the floor with a surprised squeak.
I flicked Mira delicately on the shoulder with a paw, and we padded across to the Book. It was striped red-and-white, with intricate golden scrollwork. The pages were thick, creamy parchment. We scrabbled through them with sheathed claws until we came across a page titled: Cat Transformation. Carefully, we mixed up the right counter-spell powder, and I gestured to it with my tail.
“You can do the honours,” I mewed. Mira stepped forwards, extending a paw, and pushed the pot off of he counter. I knew it had worked before the smoke cleared, when my two feet hit the floor. I sighed softly in relief and stretched, arching my back and hearing it click comfortably back into place. I pulled Natalie to her feet as the others that had been sitting on the floor jumped up. Mira smiled warmly at me.
“Thanks,” I grinned back and sneezed as the floating dust tickled my nose. Cass leaned against the counter and rolled her eyes.
“Maybe best not to try any more magic for a while, Mira,” she suggested teasingly. Mira shook multicoloured powder out of her hair and gently shooed us out of her dome castle. She leaned against the doorway and waved as we rode home, and I turned to call over my shoulder.
“Don’t turn anyone else into a cat!” She laughed mischievously and disappeared into her home. I shook my head slowly and turned Midnight with a flick of the reins, chasing after my friends.
Thanks, AteYou!! I love writing them, and it's great to hear that people enjoy reading my work. Up next - even though I haven't worked on one for ages - writer's block - a story in which our main characters compete in a riding contest: sprint races, jumping, dressage and a Best Presented 😀