|Starlit Sky 9: Map of the Worlds
Author: warriorfreak PM
Sequel to Last One Over. Skye seeks out life beyond his little cave and finds his father. But a new world is intruding upon Eris...seemingly identical, but is it bad or good? And why do its inhabitants seemed so afraid of something? Rewritten!Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Fantasy - Chapters: 12 - Words: 19,015 - Reviews: 151 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 06-04-08 - Published: 07-25-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3680939
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 12, Settling In
Robin opened his mouth but Kuii interrupted. "Not now. Robin, is Natasha back?"
Robin glanced around. "Not yet."
"What's going on?" Skye demanded loudly, "Where am I?"
Kuii turned to look at him, and Skye realized, like Robin, he also was a cheetah, just a tad smaller with bigger muscles, a sturdy build, an intense face and dark brown eyes.
"As I said before, you are safe. You are in the hideout of the Kushanis. I am the leader of the Kushanis. We are a group of rescuers. We take hurt animals off Aster and put them here, in out hideout. If they were wounded, like your father, we heal them.
"There are many here?" Skye asked.
"No. Just your father and you, now." Kuii said, "Natasha should be home soon. We haven't been around long. We decided we needed to help after the Kinetics started bombing and taking over."
"Who are the Kinetics?" Skye asked quickly, excitement rising.
"They're the German Shepherds. They decided to take over Aster. They basically have. The other side of Aster is uninhabited. Everyone was killed."
Kuii shook his head. "While they finish up with Aster, they're moving to Eris. They've been bombing it. You probably don't know what Eris is."
"I'm from Eris," Skye said.
"My apologies. So you must be unfamiliar with Aster. Aster is Eris's identical twin. They used to look exactly the same, until the Kinetics started to mass kill off Aster. Then, of course, nobody took care of it anymore, because there was nobody to do so."
"Stop," Skye said, "How come I never saw Aster from Eris?" "You always did," Kuii said, "Aster is the large moon you see every night."
Skye's heart stopped. This awful place was the moon he loved? "The big nearly the size of Eris, right? It is only looks a little smaller because of the thirty miles between it and Eris. And it doesn't look auburn because of the atmospheric colors distort it."
Skye stared. "So…all the time I saw that big, lovely moon, it was actually this awful Aster place?"
"Yes," Kuii said, "But Aster has only been awful since recent times. It used to be pretty and nice, like Eris. Those big empty places you see are shooting camps-killing camps that are unfinished. When they are done there will be large walls bordering them, like the place where you went."
"And who are the Kinetics?"
"They're police forces from Aster. The police forces on Eris are greyhounds, right? Those greyhounds are called the Kanetics. Kinetics are trying to take over everything. Our goal as the Kushanis is to stop them from them from doing just that. We fight them. We kill them silently. We work hard to eliminate them. But there are only three of us against one thousand. We may never succeed, but we can try. We have already deducted their population by thirty."
Skye's tail thickened. "You've killed thirty Kinetics?"
Kuii nodded. "We have. Now, you are wounded from the bullets. Lie down on the bed until Natasha gets back. She will help you. I will be in the other room cleaning our…uh…weapons." With a small leap, he went through the door, locking it with a click after him.
Skye, whose head was still spinning about the Aster-moon thing, padded to the back of room where Robin was lying.
"So…how did you get on Aster?" Skye asked, forcing him to answer. "How come the bullets didn't kill you back on Eris?"
"When I fell I left my body almost instantly," Robin said. "It's a certain life skill that runs in my father's family. So when the Kinetics peppered me with bullets, I was long gone. When I came to my body again though, I was in pain. About how I got here? I was sucked onto Aster like everyone else. I was grievously injured of course, and Kuii found me. Part of the Kushanis job is to find those that are injured. They found you because I told them about you. I said you were probably here, at the nearest killing camp. Kuii ran to get you. He was almost too late, obviously. He would have liked to take all the animals that were being shot, but most wouldn't fit down the tunnel and they wouldn't fit in these rooms."
Skye looked at him. "How did you know I was here?" Robin turned to run his teeth along a long line of stitches on his side. "I saw you at the camp while I lay there half-dead. Then Kuii came."
"Yes!" Skye said, "What is that camp for?"
"It's an easy way of rounding up the citizens," Robin said, "That's what Kuii told me. And the Kinetics make it seem like its some fun summer camp, with all those activities." "It is a bit fun," Skye agreed. "Robin, I met this one cat back on Eris…I mean, we're not friends or anything. Actually, we're not really on good terms. But I saw her just last night and she was covered in blood and bullets holes. She's back at the camp, in the bushes. Could Kuii maybe…go and get her?"
Robin sat up. "Go ask him."
"Alright." Skye said. He headed to the door again, but found it locked. "I have no key." He said.
"Better wait then," Robin said, "Kuii said that it is essential that all the doors stay locked, incase the Kinetics find us."
Skye sat down again and as he did the pains from his bullet wounds pierced him. He gasped and snapped his head to the shoulder one, licking it. The flesh was raw and painful, bits of torn skin hanging around the wound.
"Natasha can put bandages on that," Robin said.
"Who is-," Skye began but as he did, a door that was half sunken in sand opened and a cheetah padded in.
Skye looked up, expecting it to be Kuii, but it obviously wasn't, with a darker orange fur, so dark it was almost brown, and very pale amber eyes. She stopped at the door and looked back.
"Come on, Joseph," She said. Her voice was soft and gentle, and as she spoke, a tiny cheetah cub tottered over the threshold and tumbled into the room.
At that moment Kuii walked through the other door. He stopped when he saw the female cheetah and her cub.
"Skye, this is Natasha, my mate," he said, "And my son, Joseph."
The tiny cub squealed and pounced on Kuii's tail. He was like a tiny, fuzzy little ball of pale orange fur and miniscule black spots. He turned to Skye and stared, unblinking with bright yellow eyes.
"So many cheetahs," Skye said as his silver and large black spotted fur ruffled. He felt like the odd one out, long-haired and blue-eyed, even if he was the size of an adolescent cheetah.
"Joseph is pure bred, obviously," Kuii said in his serious voice. Skye shook his fur out.
"Not a very good thing, though," Natasha said calmly, giving her son a small lick.
"Why not?" Skye asked.
"Pure bloods are wanted. They're being herded out of the rest of the citizens. The Kinetics think this world is being over run be dirty-bloods. Eris, too."
"Are you a pure-blood?" Skye asked.
"I am," Kuii said, "So are my parents. Natasha is too. We come from long liens of pure bred cheetahs, unfortunately."
"Why is that unfortunate?" "Because we're wanted. We have to work harder to hide. At least we aren't half-bloods. They're really wanted."
Robin coughed slightly.
Kuii looked over at him. "What's your blood, Robin?"
He shrugged. "Dirty." He glanced around. "This didn't use to matter when I was…younger."
"It's a Kinetic thing," Natasha explained. Joseph gave a squeal as she tried to lick his belly, and she nipped his ear. "The Kanetics—Eris policemen-don't think it matters. The blood segregation has been on Aster for ages."
"It just matters more now as the Kinetics take over," Kuii put in grimly. "Now, Skye has a lot of bullet holes. Natasha, could you put the bandages on?"
"Sure, but what are you going to do?" She asked, looking up at him.
Kuii flicked his ears. "I'm going to…" he trailed away, looking intently at Natasha.
She jerked her head. "Oh, that. Alright."
He nodded and turned to leave the room.
"Wait!" Skye called after him, "I have a friend who was shot, back up on the land, by the camp! She's hurt, could you…get her?" His voice faltered and became puny at the last two words.
Kuii twitched his tail. "Yes, I think I could do that." He turned and left the room now. Skye moved to Natasha.
She reached underneath a pile of leaves and polled out some silk bandages. "These are silk," She said, "So be careful and give them back when you're done. The silkworms are almost extinct on Aster."
She examined the holes on his chest carefully, then slowly began wrapping the silk around and around his chest until it was tight and firm.
"Don't take these off unless I say so, because the wounds might be infected."
He nodded helplessly. She turned and wrapped it around his leg then, right up at the shoulder. Then she got the one on his hind leg.
"There you go," She said. "I have to go talk to Kuii. Keep Joseph in your eyesight." The dark cheetah turned and leaped through the door. As she disappeared, Skye noticed a silver key hanging from her neck.
Skye sat down. "I hope Kuii's getting Selena," he muttered. There was no answer, and Skye looked over to see Robin snoozing.
Joseph was rolling on the floor happily, purring loudly. He stopped on his back, tipped his head back and saw Skye. He opened his mouth.
Skye stared at him then flumped down on the soft ground. He heard a strange rumbling from the ground above him and wondered dimly what it was…