“Violet rushed up, but Skyline felt his fur prickling at the thought of being watched. His sister, Violet, was usually excited to be announced in front of all the watching soldiers, but Skyline, on the other paw, would rather be deep in a hole than in front of everyone.”
Skyline, who was a current king remembered when he was a little kitten, when his father, King Storm would play videogames in the bathroom and blast the camp with the noise. It was kinda funny as well as inappropriate to King Skyline when he thought about it. Or he’d watch The Lion King and sing along to the songs…
King Skyline was dreaming about the time when Storm called a meeting…
“Cats of Eastern Rome!” Sky’s father announced. “I have a special announcement. I’m going to be a mighty king when I get older!!”
“What?” one of the soldiers, whose name was Thunder, asked. “Your majesty, you are a king!”
“Yeah I know. But in The Lion King, Simba sings, “I just can’t wait to be King!!!’”
“You should really grow up,” Thunder muttered. “Kitten.”
Skyline was sitting beside his sister Violet. Violet was staring intently into her father’s eyes. Skyline, on the other paw, felt miserable.
Skyline’s and Violet’s mother Saltwater was instructed by King Storm to watch their kittens so that they wouldn’t goof off at the meeting.
“Whoop!” Storm squealed. “I think I broke a sweat!”
Thunder let out a grunt of laughter. “Isn’t there a meeting?”
“Yep,” King Storm answered. “The meeting of Sky and Violet’s apprenticeship. Come on up kitties!”
Violet rushed up, but Skyline felt his fur prickling at the thought of being watched. His sister, Violet, was usually excited to be announced in front of all the watching soldiers, but Skyline, on the other paw, would rather be deep in a hole than in front of everyone.
“Go on, Skyline.” Saltwater gave her son a few licks behind the ears. “You can do it. I believe in you sweety.”
Skyline stood on his hind legs and nuzzled her. I don’t want to leave your side!
“Presenting: Skyline’s and Violet’s apprenticeship!” Storm continued. “Hey, what’s the holdup, Salty?”
“Sky’s being shy again,” Saltwater answered honestly. “Kinda funny eh?”
Storm shook his head. “Remember when I was too shy to even leave my parent’s side? That wasn’t funny. Just come up here with him if that makes him feel any better.”
It probably won’t, Skyline thought. I can’t do this! He covered his eyes with his paws. It’s too scary!
Saltwater picked him up by the scruff and carried him to his sister. “Here you are, Sky.” She set him down beside Violet.
“Shy pants,” Violet teased.
Skyline ignored her and looked up at his father. “W-what’s happening?”
“Your promotion,” the King answered. “Thunder, since you’re one of my trusted friends, I trust you to show Skyline the way of the soldier. Well done, Prince Skyline.”
Thunder looked at King Storm in shock. “What?”
“You heard me, lazy! Get up!” King Storm playfully commanded. “Nah, I’m joking. Just stay where you are.”
“No, I’m coming.” Thunder wearly dragged himself up beside the King. “I’ll do the honor.”
“I’m honored,” King Storm purred. “Honolulu?! You up for training Violet to be your successor?”
“Definitely!” The healer, Honolulu stretched herself out. “I’ll do it.”
“Good,” King Storm murmured. “I’m trusting you with my gifted daughter. Don’t let anything happen to her.”
“You can count on me!” Honolulu vowed.
King Skyline jolted himself awake. No! Father and mother are gone! He turned over and wept into his pillow, feeling like a kitten.
“Skyline! Come out and have breakfast with us!” one of Skyline’s soldiers called.
Many have died over the years, including Honolulu, leaving Violet as a lone healer. King Skyline’s soldiers were now: Alanna, who was his mate, Sofia, who was his daughter (aka the next cat in line for the throne), Shadow, who was Sofia’s sister, Thunder, who was still barely alive along with his mate, Glittery, and these new cats that Skyline had never heard of that just joined the other day, named Rosa and Specter.
“King Skyline!” Alanna called again. “Breakfast is ready!”
King Skyline wearly dragged himself out of bed, remembering to groom his silvery fur. He had the exact same silvery fur and blue eyes as his mother did and his sister, Violet, was the spitting image of their father Storm, with sleek black fur and blue eyes.
“Don’t make me come in there and drag you!” Alanna growled. “We don’t have all day! Sofia and Shadow are itching to play with you!”
If only I could wrestle with my father again, King Skyline thought miserably. I’d give all I have for that. He had watched The Lion King the other night to remind him of his father, but he ended up crying the entire time. I’m not doing that again! Never would I ever cry in front of the soldiers!
Alanna was suddenly right beside him. “What’s the matter with you?”
“Still grieving,” King Skyline said with a sigh. “It’s so hard to lose my mom and then my dad less than a year later.” His mother had died from a deadly disease, then it passed to King Storm, who was forced to retire because of it. Luckily he had gotten better, but he left to go somewhere to heal so Violet wouldn’t catch it. He survived there for a little while, but then he died because it got worse and worse until he was dead all together. One of the cats there was named Aldwyn and brought him the devastating news that his father was dead.
Alanna gave him a few licks on the cheek. “Have you forgotten about being a king?”
King Skyline shook his head. He made announcements like a king would normally do, but sometimes he got stage fright and would freeze in place with his fur sticking all over the place. Alanna and Violet would carry him to the royal tent (which was where he slept) immediately, before he could faint. One time he actually did faint. It was his first announcement when he became King and found out when his father passed away. He had tried speaking to the soldiers but he just got so scared that he froze. Everyone stared at him but then after a few minutes, he just fainted. King Skyline knew he would never forget that moment.
Alanna murmured the lyrics to Hakuna Matata in his ear.
King Skyline joined in. King Skyline went under the bed, trying to control his grief. My father used to sing that song in the shower. Even though it was gross, I loved it. I would listen every day when Thunder trained me to listen to my ears and what I was hearing from them.
“I just can’t wait to be King!” Alanna murmured. “Remember that one?”
King Skyline growled, coming out from under the bed and beginning to dance to the words. “I remember humming that to myself when I was little. I was too shy to sing that aloud. Geezus man, father would sing that song better than I could.”
“Aww shucks, Sky. You have a great voice,” Alanna purred. “Well, I’ve never seen a king of beasts with quite so little hair.”
King Skyline sang the song and demonstrated a long meow, trying to make it into a roar.
“Aww, you’re a kitten,” Alanna purred. “You can’t even roar.”
“Aww stop!” King Skyline headbutted her affectionately. “I’m a lion and I’m trying to roar!” He tried to roar, but it came out as a strangled kitten meow.
“Haha,” Alanna teased. “Lion cub. Can’t even roar.”
“I’m a cat.” King Skyline was beginning to forget about being a king, which he was enjoying. The sooner I forget about my grief, the happier I’ll feel.
“Do you like The Lion King because your father did?” Alanna asked quietly.
Skyline winced. “Uh, I like it because it best describes my life. Simba’s adorable!”
“Cuter than Sofia and Shadow?” Alanna pressed.
“Stop! I don’t like comparing Sofia and Shadow to Simba.” King Skyline threw his paws over his head.
“Get your crown on, lazy. We need to make sure Sofia and Shadow don’t get into trouble.”
“I lost it remember?” King Skyline looked at her miserably. “Oh and I still want to try to roar like Simba!” He tried once again to roar but it came out as a small kitten meow.
“Sky, stop showing off,” Alanna growled, “it’s time to be serious now. I know you want to forget your grief, but that’s not how life works. You still will have a trickle of memories with your parents no matter what. Are you sure you want to forget about them?”
King Skyline looked at his paws. “I don’t know anymore!” He stormed out of the tent and into the clearing where everyone was waiting for him. He could hear their tummies growling. We took that long singing?
“Daddy!” Shadow immediately hugged her dad. “What took so long? Were you moping and doping with mother?”
“We were singing,” King Skyline murmured. He felt a rush of love towards his daughter. “Where’s Sofia?”
“Staring at us as if we’re outta place,” Shadow answered. She let him go and went off to eat.
Sofia stared at her sister as she went. “Father, you’re late again.” Sofia was a distant cat from everyone, the opposite of her sister who befriended about everyone. Sofia was sometimes a hissy and mean cat, but most of the time she was a distant and shy cat. Skyline was also distant and shy when he was little and he still was that way now.
“Yeah I know.” King Skyline looked at her pretty sleek fur. Sofia and Shadow were both black cats with yellow eyes which was unusual because neither Skyline nor Alanna (not even Violet) had yellow eyes. Skyline had blue eyes, so did Violet, and Alanna had green eyes.
“Why so glum?” Sofia asked absentmindedly, meaning she didn’t care for an answer or care in general.
King Skyline didn’t answer. He didn’t want Sofia knowing that he was so attached to his parents even though he was too shy to come out of the bushes. His sister on the other paw would seize that opportunity to make King Storm and Saltwater purr so hard that they’d cry. Skyline, when he was little, used to get so frustrated that he’d go to his bed and cry. Thunder would reassure him that Violet would eventually have to go back to training. He would also advise him to be less shy if he wanted to beat his sister to their parents.
“Well I’m going to hang out by myself!” Sofia told her father in a high pitched voice. “Oh and I can’t wait to be queen.”
Oh boy. Not this again. What a mess ever since the thing that father used to always watch got out into the soldier’s thoughts. Everyone’s been saying, “I just can’t wait to be King!” or “I just can’t wait to be Queen!” but the problem with the song is that if someone says that aloud that means that they just can’t wait for the King to die because he sucks or “I just can’t wait for the Queen to die because she’s trash!” It’s just so mean! I should totally ban this! “Sofia…”
“What?!” Sofia backed away into the bushes with her ears flat. “Oh yeah, you’re the King. I should’ve kept quiet.” Sofia had taken over the throne for a couple of days because of Sky’s recent sickness. It had been so deadly that he had to retire for a short amount of time. Luckily, it wasn’t as bad as King Storm’s sickness.
Just then Shadow raced back. “Hi!”
Sofia glared at her sister, but she quickly went into the bush to hide.
“Father, do you still like The Lion King?” Shadow asked.
“Yep for sure!” King Skyline felt this hollow feeling in his belly when he remembered watching it with his father on his first birthday. Saltwater had been away on vacation, but Storm was still enjoyable to watch the movie with.
“Do you like being king?” Shadow chattered. “I think you should be quite lucky because you make the decisions and boss everyone around. You also get to have your way.”
That’s true, King Skyline silently agreed, but if I could get my way, my way would be to have mom and dad to myself and have Violet be too busy to check in upon them.
Just then Violet passed by. “King Skyline, you have work to do. Stop sitting there like an apprentice who doesn’t know what he’s doing!”
“Stop bullying him all the time!” Shadow spat. “That isn’t very nice at all!”
King Skyline had to admire his daughter’s defense for him. It’s like she’s one of the guards for Simba in The Lion King, except that she’s my own cute little mini guard.
Violet looked at Shadow with affection in her eyes. “You should be lucky to have your daughter in your defense. You should never take anything for granted no matter what.” She walked out of the camp to probably restock the camp’s medicine, like she always did.
Siblings, King Skyline thought in disgust, always attempting to ruin their sibling’s life! Luckily Shadow and Sofia don’t do that to each other, yet. Though I think Shadow’s embarrassing to Sofia. I can see it in her eyes when Shadow goes up to random cats and talks to them, how Sofia looks away and races off.
“Skyline!” Alanna growled. “Eat something or you’ll be starving for the rest of today!”
King Skyline wearly picked at a piece of meat.
“Come on!” Alanna moaned. “You’re going to be cranky!”
King Skyline ignored her and went back to the royal tent. He went under his bed and thought of how his parents used to tell him mysterious stories. If only father would’ve met my kittens. He could’ve taught me the stories that would suit them.
“King Skyline, you would if you search their mind. Don’t be afraid of being a mind reader.”
“King Storm?” King Skyline tried to blink the emotion out of his eyes. “H-how are you here? How’s heaven?”
“I found out your taste in stories from reading your thoughts about your imaginative characters. Remember those imaginary characters you used to have?” King Storm asked, completely ignoring him.
King Skyline winced. He suddenly remembered his character whose name was Asteroid. He was a mighty lion Skyline made up when he was a tiny kitten. He had almost forgotten about his imaginary friend. I love you Asteroid. I’d make you real if I could.
“Enough of that Sky. Now you should find out what Sofia and Shadow really like so you can tell them a story.”
“B-but I can’t tell stories!” King Skyline wailed in distress. “I-”
“There is no such thing as ‘I can’t’ my little wildebeest.”
“When will I be less miserable?” King Skyline moaned.
“You call singing and playing with Alanna miserable? Come on son, is having a mate and kittens miserable to you?!”
King Skyline looked at his matress unhappily. “I meant not having you and mom is miserable.”
“And if you die now, you might miss out if one of your kittens has kittens in a few years, if they do decide to have them. Are you sure you want to die now?”
“Can you make me die?”
There was silence. “Daddy?” King Skyline clenched his teeth together. “Dad!?”
There was still no answer. He’s gone! Skyline felt frustration course through him. He went onto his bed and buried his face in his pillow. And I just blew the conversation when I asked if he could make me die!
Alanna unexpectedly came in. “Sky?”
King Skyline didn’t bother answering.
“Your majesty.” Alanna bowed to him. “I’m sorry if I forced you out of your tent. You seemed so happy when we were singing the songs from The Lion King together.”
The King finally looked at her and saw her kneeling down. Awkward. “Rise.”
Alanna stood up. “Thanks. I was very uncomfortable.”
I’m uncomfortable too. Maybe I should’ve left you like that so you could see how I feel. Nope, not gonna work. I can already see that idea going horribly wrong.
“Shadow wants you to tell a story to her,” Alanna confessed uncomfortably. “I thought you could tell her one.”
“What does she want one about?” King Skyline asked. I want her thought to be private. I’m sorry Dad, but I just can’t invade my daughter’s mind. Maybe it was easier for you to read my mind than it is for me to think about reading Sofia’s or Shadow’s. He half expected an answer, but there was none. It was as if his father didn’t come down from heaven to visit him.
“Did you ever have any imaginary characters?” Alanna asked.
“Yes.” King Skyline suddenly felt all the memories of his kitty life flowing back to him. “Asteroid, who’s a powerful lion! He was a hero! He saved everyone’s lives!”
“Now that sounds like the movie Hercules,” Alanna growled.
“He’s a lion!” King Skyline spat. “My favorite!” he began purring as he imagined Asteroid saving someone’s life. “And his companion Belkie who’s a mighty tiger!”
“King Skyline!” Alanna gasped. “You’re being such a…”
“Such a what?!” King Skyline growled.
“No wait. I was thinking. Tell a story about Belkie and Asteroid and make them do what Shadow wants.”
“I don’t know,” King Skyline began, “I’m trying to keep them a secret.”
“Just tell them a story. They’ll never know you looked up to them your entire life.”
King Skyline remembered Belkie murmuring to him when his father died to take his place with honor just like Simba took Mufasa’s place in the movie The Lion King with honor even though he didn’t want to. Same with me. I didn’t want to become King either.
“Who do you like more? Belkie or Asteroid?” Alanna asked curiously.
King Skyline flinched. He had always thought of Belkie as a companion and Asteroid as a hero. He had always liked lions because they looked so beautiful with their mane versus tigers, who looked scary to him. When his mother used to tell him about tigers, he would hide behind her and cry. He loved it when she comforted him. Violet, on the other paw, would tease Skyline of how scared he used to be. She had said something like “tigers aren’t real, scaredy cat!”
“Skyline?” Alanna murmured. “Did I get too far?”
King Skyline shook his head. “No.” Why must I mention who I like more? I’ve never thought of this before at all in my kitty life or adult life!
“Are you sure?” Alanna pressed.
Skyline sighed. Please stop!
“Sky, I think we should have a one on one meeting,” Alanna hissed. “What do you say?”
King Skyline didn’t like meetings really. “Can it wait or is it important?”
“So you want to talk about the time when I left because of my sickness?” King Skyline asked uncomfortably.
“Yes,” Alanna answered.
“What’s up then?” King Skyline got himself comfortable.
“Did you find your crown? It’s important that kings have their crowns.”
“No! Why? It isn’t that important! At least I survived!” King Skyline growled. No! I meant to say when I nearly “drowned.” I lost my crown in the river. I was peacefully walking to stretch in the sunlight when I tripped over a root and fell into the river. There he had nearly drowned, but Alanna rescued him. Unfortunately, he couldn’t go back and get his crown because it was too deep in the river. “Is that what we’re talking about?”
“Then what are we talking about?”
“I want to talk to you about the mess we have here. We need to fix it. Cats have been dying here because they caught your sickness before you left. We only started noticing it after you left.” Alanna looked the other way.
“So what do you want me to do?” King Skyline asked, feeling useless.
“I want you to try to keep yourself healthy and not go off exploring everywhere anymore.”
King Skyline felt a surge of anger. He had always liked exploring beyond the camp, ever since he was little. The reason why was because he knew one day he’d be King so he wanted to get to know the world outside of the camp better. He’d heard that past kings were too busy ruling to get to know the world beyond the camp so when they would just peek at it, they would lose themselves. They had to literally wail to get everyone’s attention and they’d have to search for their king who had stupidly lost himself somewhere. It had actually happened to King Storm, but only once.
And I lost my father’s beautiful crown, King Skyline thought sadly. It was all my fault for not paying attention to my surroundings! I’ve lost almost everything he owned besides his silly spa bath he never used. King Skyline glared at the bathroom where his father would just soak his fur in mud. Totally eww! Who wants to get their beautiful fur messed up?!
“King Skyline, our home has been a mess since you left,” Alanna growled. “We’ve lost almost all our soldiers, if you haven’t noticed!”
King Skyline felt a jolt of realization. “So that’s why I only saw four soldiers outside?!”
“No! There’s still very few left. Here, I’ll give you the names: Thunder, Glittery, me, you, Sofia, Shadow, Rosa, and Specter.”
“What?! So Starlight, Sunlight and Atlantis… died?”
“Yep.” Starlight and Sunlight had been pretty annoying soldiers. They had been assigned to permanent guard duty because they were so annoying. Atlantis was Thunder’s sister who mostly stuck to herself.
“Who’s guarding the camp then?!” King Skyline demanded.
“You tell me. You’re the King.”
“And you might be Queen one day!” King Skyline snapped, “that is if I die and Sofia and Shadow aren’t old enough… ”
“Storm took over when he was ten months old so I don’t want to hear it,” Alanna interrupted.
King Skyline continued, ignoring the interruption, “or if I decide to bring marriage back and marry you, which ain’t happening!”
Alanna let out a purr of amusement. “If you take your shyness down a notch, anything could happen. You have crazy ideas in your mind, your majesty.”
How does she know everything about me? Can she sense it? The King shook himself out. She can’t even read minds! But she does know me a little too well.
“Sorry Sky, I didn’t know that unsettled you.” Alanna shifted her weight from paw to paw.
“Just stop talking for a sec,” Skyline murmured. “I need time to think over what you said about the shortage of soldiers. We could fall apart less than two years after Western Rome fell apart.” The current soldiers all lived and have lived in Eastern Rome which was where King Skyline and his soldiers had lived for countless years. Western Rome had crumbled because the leader of Eastern Rome before King Storm who was Queen Annabella led her soldiers into a battle which had startled Western Rome so much that they lost. Though King Storm told his son that his parents, who would be Violet’s and King Skyline’s grandparents, had been killed in that very battle. King Storm never told his son nor daughter the names of his parents though.
“I really am sorry,” Alanna repeated. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. But then again, it’s just us. No one else is here.”
“Sofia likes to overhear conversations,” King Skyline hissed. “Remember when she talked loudly to us saying, ‘why do you have to leave? You can just have your sister heal you!’? It really did scare me ,Alanna.”
“You get scared easily,” Alanna said simply. “By the way, never underestimate our daughters. Sofia may be shy and all, but she knows more than she should.”
“What do you mean?” King Skyline felt fear make his fur stick up. “She should be minding her own business.”
“That’s what’s expected of her. But no, she intrudes on a lot of things. For example, I told you that we might have a date late last night and Sofia told the soldiers to keep us in the camp so we couldn’t go outside the camp and hang out one on one,” Alanna growled. “Remember how much I yelled at her that night and how much you were clawing up your bed?”
“Yeah.” King Skyline had liked the satisfaction of blaming his problems on his bed by clawing it as well as hissing at it.
“Shadow isn’t nosy though for some reason,” Alanna said uneasily. “Well she doesn’t make it obvious if she does overhear our conversations.”
“She doesn’t!” Skyline blurted. “She gives us our space.”
“How do you know?!”
“I uh… ” Well I didn’t find it in her mind, but she doesn’t ask us any suspicious questions and the soldiers don’t say anything. But I could be wrong and she could be overhearing our conversations.
“Exactly!” Alanna growled. “You don’t know for sure, unless you ask her.”
“Nope! I ain’t doing this!” King Skyline said immediately.
“I never said you had to ask her. I don’t know if I want to ask her either. I think it’s best if we just-” Alanna began.
Just then Shadow darted in. “Sofia’s spying on you guys!” she gasped. “I came to warn you to keep your voices down!”
“Did you overhear our conversation?” Alanna growled.
“No!” Shadow gasped. “I’m always honest.”
“I believe her,” Skyline said quietly.
“Oh Skyline! You must think before speaking!”
The King ignored her. “Shadow, can you tell Sofia to mind her own business?”
“I told her to leave you guys alone, but she hissed at me!” Shadow wailed. “What should I do?”
King Skyline felt uncomfortable. “Alanna, can you ask her?”
“She won’t listen to me either. Maybe she would obey if you asked her yourself. After all, you are the King.”
King Skyline nodded and tracked his daughter by her scent. Asteroid, if you were real, what would you say?
He heard a hiss coming from behind a statue of the first king who was King Rome. No one really liked him because he was a spoiled brat but someone was probably forced to build that statue of him.
“Oh hi father, I didn’t know you were here.” Sofia came out of hiding. “I just thought I heard voices.”
“That was mine and your mother’s,” King Skyline growled. “I’ve come to find you to ask you something.”
“What is it?” Sofia asked, “and I’m not going anywhere near Shadow.”
King Skyline ignored the last part of what she said. “Can you stop spying on me and your mother?”
“B-but, I like knowing your plans-” Sofia began.
“Do I have to post guards just because you won’t give me and your mother alone time?” King Skyline pressed. I don’t even have enough soldiers to do this! Sofia, you better not be difficult!
Sofia shook her head. She looked at her paws in shame. “Sorry.”
“Good. If I hear anything about you spying on us, then I’ll have to post guards. Understood?”
“Yes father.” Sofia left the royal tent miserably.
Is this the power of a lion? King Skyline wondered as he went back over to join Alanna, and having a tiger companion?
“Well done Skyline. You’ve become a great king in my place.” King Storm’s voice surprised him.
King Skyline looked around, but didn’t spot him. “Was it Asteroid and Belkie?”
King Skyline could’ve sworn he heard his father purring with amusement but he wasn’t sure. “No son, it was all you. Those silly made up characters had nothing to do with you putting a stop to your daughter spying on your’s and Alanna’s conversation.”
Skyline brightened. But we have a shortage of soldiers. He felt his happiness fade.
“Be patient. More will come over the years.”
“What do you mean by that?” King Skyline asked, feeling startled.
There was no answer yet again. Darn!
“Who are you talking to?” Alanna asked.
King Skyline prefered not to say anything. “One of my imaginary characters.”
Alanna let out a purr of amusement. “Which one?”
“Did he help you at all?”
“Not really. He’s too proud, just like Scar is from The Lion King.”
“So Asteroid’s a villain?”
“Not exactly,” King Skyline said uncomfortably. “Well maybe in middle.”
“And what is Belkie?”
“Is she on the good side or the bad side?”
“Same as Asteroid.”
“So they’re both evil and not evil at the same time?”
King Skyline let out an impatient sigh. “Were you even listening to me?”
“You keep talking too fast that it’s impossible to actually catch anything you say.”
King Skyline gave her a weird look. “That makes no sense. You would’ve heard if they were neither on the good nor the bad side.”
“Okay, I was joking. I was just clarifying it to make sure I was picturing the right thing.”
King Skyline and Alanna both purred at the joke. “Neat,” King Skyline commented.
“That’s all you’re going to say?”
“Why? You want me to say more?”
“Not if you feel uncomfortable…”
“Oh I’m getting you for this!” King Skyline playfully launched himself on top of her and the two cats rolled around wrestling for at least five minutes.
Alanna finally untangled herself from her mate. “Man you’re heavy!”
“You are too!” King Skyline retorted.
“Well, since I’m tired I’m going to take a water break. Care to join me?”
“Count me in!” Together they dashed to the river to take a drink of water.