I wrote this series when I was nine and ten, and it was my first foray into 'official' storytelling. (My VERY first stories were dictated to my mom when I was a toddler!) Like any first attempt at anything, it was AWFUL. Absolutely craptastic. And yet, like any first attempt, it's really fun to laugh about now. It keeps me humble and reminds me how far I've come. If you are from any of the countries listed, please forgive me for the transgressions younger me committed against your country, and culture.
The narrative on this one is hilariously awkward and clunky, with so many adverbs it makes my head swim. That's part of what makes it so darn funny, I guess. ;)
Prologue (In which most of the last paragraph is completely and utterly irrelevant)
One night, a mysterious vine sprouted on an island in the most remote waters ever known… The little-known Jiyuca Sea. The vine was olive green, and had many leaves, one for each country. Once all the leaves were taken, legend is that it would shrivel up, dead, stripped of its leaves. Legend also says its leaves were used for medicine in ancient years.
Years past, and only France and Arabia’s leaves were left. About this time, the two Queens of these countries fell ill. The Kings fell desperate, and sailed to the Jiyucan Island to find the vine. They found it, took the leaves, and left. The vine shriveled up, and disappeared. The kings ground up the leaves, and medicine was created from it. Only one of the queens got better, but both had baby girls.
The French queen got better, but the Arabian queen’s last words were, “Name her after me.” and then she died. Now, the queen’s name was Arikana, and the king did what she wished. So the Arabian girl was named Arikana.
The French girl was also named after her mother, whose name was Celeste. Both of the girls had dark hair, Arikana had beautiful, raven black hair and black eyes, and Celeste had beautiful chocolate ( )own hair and azure blue eyes. But both hid an amazing secret.
They secretly could turn into white tigers that protected Christians around the world. Although their countries were far apart, that didn’t stop them from meeting one sunny day in France. And despite there being lots of Christians in the world, evil still lurks…
Tiger Dawn (In which Arikana's nationality makes absolutely no sense and Celeste becomes almighty Queen of the Sues. Also what the actual crap is geography?)
Once, in two countries, France and Arabia, there were two kings. Their wives both had died, the Arabian queen after giving birth, and the French queen when her carriage careened off a cliff while trying to avoid a rock. There had been much grief when the queens died, but their daughters lived on, for Celeste was at home when her mother died, and Arikana was born healthy, but both had no memory of their mothers, for Celeste was two, and Arikana had just been born when their mothers died.
Now, I suppose I should go on to when they were both 12-almost-13. Arikana’s dad knew a lot of karate, for he was a ninja, and he taught her all he knew. Celeste’s father ran away, and left the girl to fend for herself when she was 11. After that, she never saw him again.
So Celeste became queen at age 11, even though her father remarried and had 9 other girls by his second wife before he ran off. The other girls loved Celeste, and cared for her. The mother of these girls was a Nez Perce Indian, and her name was Black Knife. Black Knife ran away with Celeste’s father, and so the 10 girls, Celeste, White Sand, Swift Wolf, Pouncing Puma, Hawk Eyes, Lovely Rock, Hummingbird, Open Meadow, Leaping Deer, and Little Mouse, were abandoned by their parents.
Now, White Sand, being the eldest Indian child, knew lots of Indian medicine techniques and Indian recipes, so she did all the cooking.
Hawk Eyes hunted all the meat they needed, and Open Meadow gathered edible plants.
Lovely Rock mended the clothes, for she was a great seamstress.
Little Mouse was the youngest, at age 5, but she loved to do chores, so she was the “Janitor” when the sisters joked.
Swift Wolf loved to run, but she was very haughty.
Hummingbird loved to sing, and, (on Sundays) sang hymns at the local Christian church.
Pouncing Puma played the flute, and Leaping Deer could dance any dance imaginable.
Celeste wove beautiful blankets to keep the girls warm.
The girls each had a beautiful French-styled dress adorned with pearls. Celeste had a lavender dress; White Sand had a white (Of course!), Swift Wolf had a crimson one, Pouncing Puma had an azure blue one (She adored Celeste’s eye color!), Hawk Eyes had a deep ( )own one (It helped her hunt), Lovely Rock had a sky blue one, Hummingbird had a dark purple one, Open Meadow had an olive green one, Leaping Deer a violet one, and Little Mouse a baby pink one.
They all wore that one color that I mentioned under each of their names. They also each had a work dress of the same color as their pearled dresses, because all of their clothes were the same color. Their only other outfits were their nightgowns and swimsuits.
Arikana only had one other sister, and she was adopted. Her name was Linn. She was from China. Linn and Arikana were very close, and both wore sea foam green.
Well, one day in France, Celeste and Open Meadow were out gathering berries. “Pre ouvert, regard a ce buisson!” Celeste said excitedly in French. (She said, “open meadow, look at this bush!”)
Open Meadow looked and said, “Oui! (Yes) There is something very ( )illant (shiny) in it!” and walked over to where Celeste was crouched low, looking at the thing. She pulled it out.
“Un collier d’or? (A gold necklace?) What’s it doing in this bush?” Open Meadow gasped.
Celeste looked over the horizon and said “The Italians, they’re at it again.” Just then, a French guard came running.
“Le prince! Le prince de l’Italie!” (The prince! The prince of Italy!) He gasped, “He wants to see you!”
“Prince Alex?” Celeste asked, puzzled, “To see ME?”
“Yep.” The guard replied. Now, Celeste was in her working dress and had torn it a little on a thorn while gathering blackberries.
“Ok, just let me go inside, change into my pearled dress, and take this to Lovely Rock.” Said Celeste. When she got inside five minutes later, Swift Wolf asked sarcastically, “What’s the hurry, going to a ball without us?”
“No, and you can be quiet. I can do without your sarcastic remarks.” Celeste replied smugly, for Swift Wolf was not easily outsmarted.
Little Mouse said “Celiste, (Little Mouse’s nickname for Celeste,) where are you going?”
“To see Prince Alex…” Celeste said, trailing off when she caught sight of Pretty Rock.
“Where, Celiste, are you to meet him?” Little Mouse asked curiously, “Here? England?”
“No, Italy.” Celeste replied, a hint of disgust in her voice, and then she cheered up and called to Pretty Rock, “Pretty Rock, can you mend my work dress, please? I need it for tomorrow.”
“Sur, soeur!(sure, sister!) I can’t believe it! The first work I’ve had in quite a while! Finally!” Pretty Rock exclaimed happily.
“Little Mouse, could you ( )ing my pearled dress into the powder room, please? Just slip it under the door. You just waxed the floor, so it will stay clean.” Celeste told Little Mouse.
“Oui, Celiste!” Little Mouse said, and ran to get it. A moment later, she returned with the dress, and then said, “Someone is here to see you. Hurry up, get dressed!”
“Quelqu’un est ici pour vous voir. se depechent vers le haut, obtiennent habille.” (Someone is here to see you. Hurry up, get dressed.)Mimicked Swift Wolf annoyingly, “Blah, blah, blah… why doesn’t anyone come to see moi?”(me)
She grumbled and went away. Celeste finished dressing and went into the parlor.
“Little Mouse, let him in.”(Celeste thought it was Prince Alex.)
“But Celiste, it’s a she.” Little Mouse said.
“Let her in!” Celeste said excitedly, for she hadn’t seen another girl (Besides her sisters!) for quite a long time.
“Bonjour.”(Hello) The girl said when she walked into the parlor, “Mon nom est Arikana. Comprenez-vous l’anglais?”(my name is Arikana. Do you understand English?)
“Oui, oui! Je l’etudie a l’ecole!” (Yes, yes! I study it in school!) Celeste cried in French, then said, “So, Arikana, my name’s Celeste. Je suis heureux vous parle francais.” (I’m glad you speak French.)
“Yes, so, Celeste, can you turn into a white tiger?” Arikana asked. Swift Wolf, who had been eavesdropping, gasped.
“She can’t. No, she can’t!” she muttered under her ( )eath.
“Yes, Arikana, I can! And each of my sisters can turn into what noun is in their names, too.” Celeste replied. Outside the door, Swift Wolf, still eavesdropping, gasped. Celeste heard her and said “Swift Wolf, go to the master.”
The master was the man who sentenced punitions (punishments) for everyone. Swift Wolf went, and was told to stay in her bedroom with stale ( )ead and water for a day. Swift Wolf bought the stale ( )ead, and got the family’s old ten-quart water jug, and filled it halfway with ice, and poured the water in.
“Cela Celeste!” (that Celeste!) she grumbled as she struggled to carry the water jug up the flight of stairs to her room. Little Mouse saw her and said, “Swift Wolf, Why are you carrying that jug?”
“I have to stay in my room for a day with a loaf of stale ( )ead and water.” Swift Wolf explained pitifully.
“Who told you that, Swift Wolf?” Cried Little Mouse.
“Le maitre.” (the master.) Swift Wolf said disgustedly.
“Oh. I see.” Little Mouse said sarcastically, “I’m sorry I talked to you.”
Meanwhile, Celeste and Arikana were talking. “So, I live on Tiger Isle, in the Jiyucan Sea.” Arikana was saying.
“Oh!?” Celeste sounded interested.
“Yep, if you want to move there, my sister, Linn, can help. She is so strong, she can lift your mansion without ( )eaking it, and plus, she can turn liquid, and can get you across the sea.” Arikana said.
“I’d love to move!” Cried Celeste happily, “Can you call Linn right now?”
“Sur!”(Sure!) Arikana sounded happy. Arikana then pulled out her cell phone, and pressed ‘speed dial’. She pressed L, and ‘Linn’ came up. Then she pressed ‘talk’. A few seconds later, Linn’s voice came into the speaker.
“Hé, Linn!” (Hey, Linn!) Arikana said into the phone, “Yeah, I’m fine! Listen, my friend Celeste needs you to move her house to Tiger Isle. Where? Let me ask her…” She turned to Celeste, “Where do you want to live?” She asked.
“A big meadow, please!” Celeste said.
“Jagtooth Meadow, Linn.” Arikana said into the phone, “Bye, Linn.” She said, and then hung up, “Looks like you are moving!” she grinned at Celeste, “Linn’s on her way right now!”
“Oh, and the master needs to come, too!” Celeste cried, “For Swift Wolf will get into more trouble then a pack of teething puppies if he doesn’t!”
“No problem! I just secured his house to yours! I built a shaft so you can get to him from your house, so Swift Wolf better watch out!” Arikana laughed merrily. All of a sudden, water hit the house with a SPLASH!
“That’s Linn!” Arikana yelled over the noise, “She allows people to get out and swim in her when she’s water! WOOHOO!” and with that, she jumped out the window.
Celeste didn’t need to be told twice, so she told everyone but Swift Wolf to put their swimsuits on. Celeste was the first to jump out the open window into Linn’s raging waters.
“I’m scared.” Little Mouse said shakily.
“Hold my hand.” Hawk Eyes said, and, holding Little Mouse’s hand, jumped in. Hummingbird was the next to jump in, and, while jumping, yelled, “THIS IS SO FUN!!!!!!!!!!!” and landed with a huge SPLOOSH!
“WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!” Screamed Leaping Deer excitedly as she jumped in, then Pretty Rock ( )ought out a long board and nailed it to the windowsill, then sewed it a leather cover, and dove off it, doing a triple front flip while she fell.
Soon all of the girls except Swift Wolf were in, yelling and laughing, as the water raged and occasionally quieting, but only for a split second, then it would rage on again. The time passed quickly, and the girls soon went inside, giggling and laughing all the way.
“Did you see what Hummingbird did when she jumped? That was FUNNY!!!!” One of the girls said, giggling,
“Leaping Deer was hilarious!” Said another, who was laughing so hard she was crying,
“Well, Little Mouse, was that fun?” Celeste asked her sister.
“YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Screamed Little Mouse happily. Swift Wolf, still in her room, wondered what everyone was laughing about.
“What is that annoying noise?” she asked herself, then peeked out the window. “AAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” she screamed. Downstairs, the master spoke to Celeste,
“Swift Deer can come out now.” He said to her. Then they heard Swift Deer yell, “This flood has lifted our house off the ground and is carrying us out to sea and we’re probably going to end up on some deserted island in the middle of nowhere!!!!!!” then she started to sob.
She sobbed so long that everyone thought she would sob her heart out if she sobbed for one more minute. Finally she stopped and said, “May I come out of my room now?”
“Of course! Your time is up!” said the master. Then White Sand rang the dinner bell. Everyone rushed to the table, pulled out a chair, sat down, and started passing the food around the table. They had Rotisserie Chicken, fresh baked croissants, and a lovely berry salad, which was lettuce with fresh berries on top of whipped cream. For dessert, they had Vanilla ice cream parfaits topped with chocolate granola. They had water to drink.
After everyone ate, they went upstairs to their powder rooms, (Everyone had their own powder room.) ( )ushed their teeth, changed into their pajamas, (Don’t forget, the master is there, too!) and went to bed. During the night, Celeste had a dream.
She was walking in a jungle, and then, her father, dressed in black, appeared with Black Knife, also dressed in black.
“Father? “Black Knife?” she said, puzzled.
“Yes, my dear…” Her father spoke harshly and firmly.
“Why are you dressed like that?” she asked.
“I am evil now. I am forced to destroy you. Black Knife?” He spoke cruelly, and the words slithered into her head. Black Knife, laughing evilly, held a knife in one hand, and a sword in the other. She was about to stab Celeste when Celeste woke up.
“AAH!” A shriek came from Little Mouse’s room as Celeste felt a bump.
“WOAH!” she cried. Arikana came into Celeste’s room and said, “We’ve arrived.” Celeste went into Little Mouse’s room.
“Celiste, I’m over here…” Little Mouse’s voice came from under the bed.
“What happened?” cried Celeste, as Little Mouse crawled out from under the bed.
“I felt a bump, then rolled out of bed and then rolled under it.” Little Mouse said.
“Oh, well… at least you didn’t fly out the window like a little torpedo.” Celeste laughed.
“Yeah, like I did.” Everyone turned and saw who spoke, “Out the OPEN window, at least.”
It was Swift Wolf. She had ( )uises all over, and her arm was in a cast.
“Luckily White Sand knows how to put casts on,” She continued sarcastically, “or it’d have to be amputated.”
“Well I’m glad you’re ok.” Celeste said firmly, “That’s what counts, even though you are going to the master.”
“Aw, Celeste! I didn’t even do anything!” Swift Wolf whined.
“You were sarcastic in a bad way.” Celeste replied firmly. Swift Wolf’s head drooped, and she slowly walked toward the shaft that led to the master’s.
“You will not be present at the moving dance tomorrow.” The master said to her. The people of Tiger Isle do a special dance when other people arrive.
“But I-“ Swift Wolf started, but was interrupted by the master who said, “No buts. You will NOT be present.”
“Rrr!” growled Swift Wolf angrily, but obeyed. That night Pretty Rock sewed them each a new dress, which was made especially for dancing, and was decorated with pretty seashells. Most of the shells were scallop shells, but there were some cowry shells mixed in with them. Thin tulle floated around the waist in little puffs. The dresses went down to the knee, and were loose, so they puffed out when you twirled.
White Sand and Celeste put on makeup, and then got everyone except Swift Wolf together, and they floated out, gracefully and slowly. Celeste was surprised to see that Prince Alex was among the crowd.
“May I have this dance and peace with your country?” He asked her as she glided past.
“Sure,” Celeste said, uneasiness in her voice, “I’m tired of war.”
“I…I really do mean it this time.” Prince Alex said in reply. He had tried to kill Celeste before, and she wanted to be extra cautious around him. They started across the meadow where Arikana had set up some colored lights set on fake trees.
Then a fast Irish dance song came on the music of the world CD, and then something fell out of Alex’s pocket. It was a pocket-gun! Celeste gasped, then glared at Alex.
“YOU! You didn’t mean it! You want my country! You are hungry for power! Starving for it! I can’t believe I trusted you!” She yelled.
“No, Celeste! I was trying to protect you! I received word that an evil woman would be here! Honest! Look, I have a lie detector!” He pulled one out of his pocket. BEEP, BEEP, BEE-BEEP. The lie detector turned green as he said what he had told Celeste.
“Oh, now I can trust you!” Celeste cried as she hugged him tightly, “Oh, sorry, that must have been strange, being hugged by a girl.”
“That’s alright…” Alex started toward Celeste and said, “Do you want to dance some more?”
“Sure!” Celeste said, grinning. So they went outside to dance some more. Just then, a lady with a horsehair dress (made from the mane and tail) came floating into the meadow.
“That’s the woman I was talking about.” Alex said, cocking his pocket gun and putting his finger on the trigger, “Horsehair dress, and evil looking eyes. She’s a real danger!” he pulled the trigger, and BANG! A shot rang out. It missed the woman, but nearly hit the master! He turned and glared at Alex.
“Come with me.” He said sternly, and dragged Alex off. A short while later, Alex returned alone.
“What happened? Are you all right? What did he say?” Celeste had tons of questions she wanted to ask.
“Yeah, after I actually explained what happened, he told me just to be more careful.” Alex ran his hand through his hair.
“Oh, that’s good. He can be a little… uh,” Celeste tried to think of the right word, “Stern at times, especially with Swift Wolf- Oh! Look at the time! I have to go help White Sand cook dinner now!” She hurried to the house. White Sand had stayed at home to make sure that Swift Wolf didn’t get into any more trouble.
“I’m here!” Celeste had promised she would help cook dinner that night. They had chicken cordon bleu for dinner with home-pressed grape juice.
“Mmm, this is good grape juice! Who made it?” asked Hummingbird dreamily.
“Celeste made it, Hummingbird.” White Sand answered.
“Thanks, Celeste!” Hummingbird said to Celeste, who was beaming.
“You’re welcome!” Celeste replied, “Ok, so I saw Prince Alex today. He warned me that there is a woman who wears a horsehair dress. She is evil, and is threatening to destroy our island, and all of the people on it!”
“Not our beautiful meadows, and trees, and all that!” cried Open Meadow.
“I’ve heard of her.” Arikana, who was a guest along with Linn, said, “Her name is Black Knife. Her husband’s name is Pierre, but he changed it to Black Sword.”
“My father! My stepmother!” Celeste was furious, “So THAT’S WHY!”
“So what’s why?” Little Mouse asked. “Nothing, nothing.” Celeste replied, more calmly, “Sometimes I think about father and ask God why he ran away with Black Knife, your mother.”
“Oh.” Said Little Mouse. Celeste finished the last of the cake they had made and went upstairs to get ready for bed.
“God,” she prayed before falling asleep, “Please, don’t let me have to destroy father. But if I have to, please don’t let me kill him in a very violent way. Amen.”
Then, she fell asleep. The next day was full of surprises. At ( )eakfast, Celeste, who had lost track of the time, went downstairs. The house was dark, and it looked like no one had gotten up yet.
“Hello?” she said timidly.
“SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” Yells rang out from every corner of the kitchen.
“How? What day is it, White Sand?” Celeste asked. White Sand, who kept time for everyone, replied, “April 13, your birthday! You’re 13 now! Surprise!!!!”
Then she handed Celeste a package wrapped in gold foil. Celeste unwrapped it, and then opened the box, “A golden necklace set with amethysts! Oh! This doesn’t look like it’s from you.”
“No, it’s from me.” Prince Alex walked into the kitchen, “I asked your sister to give it to you because I was a little shy.”
“Thanks so much, Alex! It’s so sweet!” Celeste thanked him warmly, “I love it!”
Then, Hummingbird gave her an odd rectangular package.
“This is for you.” She said. Celeste unwrapped it, and all of a sudden four ( )ight black eyes peered up at her.
“Two guinea pigs? Oh, thank you, Hummingbird! They’re SO cute!” She cried as the little creatures squeaked with pleasure as she petted them gently.
Little Mouse gave Celeste a wood block for them, and Swift Wolf gave a bag of guinea pig food to her. She also got shampoo for them, and fertilizer to start a garden so she could plant vegetables for them to eat, and the seeds for the garden, and tons of other stuff for the little piggies.
“What are you going to name them, Celeste?” asked Hummingbird softly, as to not frighten the animals, “The guinea pigs’ genders are male and female. I have two separate cages for them. The female is going to have babies soon, so you can keep the babies, too!”
“The male is Peanut, because he’s colored and shaped like one, and the other is Popcorn, because look at her! She’s jumping around like she’s a popping popcorn kernel! Hey, Peanut and Popcorn!” Celeste said as she lifted Peanut out of his cage. Peanut was scared at first, but soon was happily squeaking.
“Thank you for all of the wonderful stuff! White Sand, you get to wear the shells of honor today.” Celeste said, gesturing to the box where the necklace was kept. (The shells of honor were on a necklace that was worn only by the sister that Celeste thought would be right to be honored by her.)
“Oh, thank you, Celeste! I’m honored!” White Sand cried, “I’ll never forget this day!”
“You’re welcome, White Sand.” Celeste said to White Sand, who was beaming. Then Alex stepped up to Celeste, “I have a question, when we get older, do you want to marry me?” he asked.
“Yes!” Celeste hugged him tightly.
“Then this is yours.” Alex slipped a ring onto her finger. Celeste beamed and said, “When we’re 20, right?”
“Right.” Alex said, and he went to the door, “Come on, I have your other birthday present from me outside!”
Celeste hurried to him, and they went out. Outside, there was a giant cream rosebush in the shape of a heart!
“Wow!” Celeste cried as Alex took a rose from it and presented it to her.
“I thought you’d like it!” he said. Celeste took a deep ( )eath,
“It’s lovely, Alex!” she cried gleefully. And she kissed him on the cheek. That night, she fed and watered the guinea pigs. When she got to Popcorn’s cage, though, she got the food bag down, and put food in the bowl. Popcorn peeked out, and then went to the food. Two little guinea pigs followed.
“Baby guinea pigs! How adorable!” Celeste cried, “Sisters! Come see!”
After everybody left her room, Celeste picked up the babies and saw that there was one boy and one girl.
“I’ll name the girl Cracker and the boy Jack!” Celeste said to herself and then put the babies back with Popcorn. She watched the babies run to their mom, and curl up in a little ball, then went to bed.
“This was the best birthday ever.” She said to herself and fell asleep. The next day, Celeste awoke to Little Mouse shaking her awake.
“Celiste! Wake up! A bee stung Open Meadow, and she’s allergic to them! White Sand needs your help!” Little Mouse cried.
“Ok, ok, I’m awake!” Celeste said. She went downstairs, and was surprised that Swift Wolf was actually worried about someone other then herself for once.
“Oh, Celeste! Come quickly! I’m glad Little Mouse woke you! Open Meadow NEEDS help!” She cried (Literally). White Sand was by Open Meadow, and was dabbing aloe on the sting. Celeste rushed to help, and said, “No, you put tobacco on it, White Sand! Aloe won’t do.”
(The only thing White Sand didn’t know how to do was how to cure bee stings!) All of a sudden, Arikana came in with some ground tobacco.
“Thank you, Arikana!” Celeste said to her friend. She applied the tobacco, and cured Open Meadow!
“Thank you, Celeste!” Open Meadow gasped as she tried to catch her ( )eath. Then Alex rushed inside, “The people of Indonesia! That’s where that evil woman lives! The people are trying to demolish Tiger Isle! Help me fight!”
“On it!” Celeste and Arikana said together, “Girls, let’s go!” and they all rushed out into the battle in animal, quicksand, rock, and meadow form. Celeste and Arikana led the charge. They soon drove away all of the enemy troops, and returned home victorious. Then, Little Mouse started a game of tag by touching Hummingbird.
“Tag!” Hummingbird touched Pretty Rock. And when it fell dark, they had a picnic outside, then went inside and got ready.
“Arikana,” Celeste called, “Come stay the night!”
“Ok!” Arikana said. When they had settled down for the night, Celeste fed the guinea pigs, and lay down in bed.
“This,” She told Arikana, “Is only the beginning.”
Foreward of Tiger's Land
Please, if this is the first Tiger Queen book you have seen, read the first book before this one, as it tells how Celeste lived when she was twelve and thirteen. This is three years later along Celeste’s timeline. Please read Tiger Dawn, the first book, first! Thank you, - Lissa Grayson, author, Tiger Queen books.
Tiger's Land (In which the Magic Queen Sue lords over her people with grace, poise, and an inability to be punished.)
Celeste sighed happily. She was 16, and her birthday had been the best day of her life. She had gotten a lovely French doll made from porcelain and cloth. The head, arms, and legs were porcelain, and the body was cloth. The porcelain was light peach, the regular French skin color, and the doll had beautiful velvet and silk dresses.
Celeste had named the doll “Belle” because she was so beautiful. Her sisters also had dolls. Celeste also got beautiful velvet and silk dresses made for her by Pretty Rock, of course!
Her guinea pigs, Peanut and Popcorn, had died when she was 14, but their puppies, (baby guinea pigs) Cracker, the girl, and Jack, the boy, lived on.
Celeste sighed again, and lay down on her back in the grass, daydreaming. But then, Pouncing Puma’s flute squeaked.
“Celeste! What was the name of the girl to call to tune my flute?” Pouncing Puma called.
“Shaela, Pouncing Puma!” Celeste yelled back, “I’ve told you about 20,000 times!” she had gotten very annoyed with her sister for being so forgetful.
“Come on, Celeste! It can’t be helped!” Pouncing Puma snapped madly, “Ooh. What about the master?”
“Stop it right now! I am very annoyed with you! You right now are being like Swift Wolf! Too bad she’s in the South Seas right now with that English prince, or she would’ve been able to see how she looks when SHE’S like this!” Celeste spat back angrily. She couldn’t be punished anymore, for she was the head of the household, but her sisters could.
“Ugh! I’m going to Shaela’s house!” Pouncing Puma said, for she had felt a raindrop, “Before this gets REALLY bad, like your temper. HA!” and she ran off laughing.
“I think I’ll go inside and play with Belle.” Celeste muttered under her ( )eath, “How will I make up with her?” then her thoughts turned to Pretty Rock. She ran inside, and asked Pretty Rock to make a handkerchief for Pouncing Puma, and em( )oider ‘I’m Sorry’ in cursive on it. 5 minutes later, it was done.
Pouncing Puma, feeling bad for being sarcastic, went into a jeweler’s, and asked for a pretty amethyst ( )acelet set in gold. 5 MORE minutes later, it was done. She practically skipped the whole 12 miles home. Both girls met each other at the door, and exchanged gifts.
“Oh, Celeste! It’s lovely!” said Pouncing Puma of the handkerchief.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to get you something so small compared to what you gave…” Celeste said, but was interrupted.
“No, no it’s fine! Fine, fine, fine!” Pouncing Puma said quickly, “I had no idea if you were actually going to forgive me at all! But you did!”
“Oh, thank you!” Celeste said, relieved that Pouncing Puma had accepted the simple gift. Pouncing Puma held up her flute and grinned, “Looks like squeaky flute here had really bad tuning by that French guy.”
“Wait, what was the dude’s name?” Celeste asked warily. “Umm… Tan Rust.” Pouncing Puma remembered.
“Right. So I’m going to ask Arikana about this ‘Tan Rust.’ Of yours.” Celeste said, and ran to Arikana’s mansion, which was lucky for Celeste because it was right next to Queen’s Hill, Celeste’s mansion. Linn, Arikana’s sister, greeted her at the door.
“Arikana is in the parlor.” She said with a smile.
“Thanks, Linny!” Celeste said back. Linny was the nickname Celeste and Arikana called Linn sometimes.
“So Pouncing Puma said she had called a guy to tune her flute before, and his name was Tan Rust. That’s why I’m here. He sounded suspicious.” Celeste told Arikana all about the argument, and ended with the mention of Tan Rust.
“Hmm, you were right to come here. I have a huge memory. Tan Rust is a close co-worker of your father. He pretends to tune flutes, but actually is evil.” Arikana said grimly.
“Ok…” Celeste said, “I have to tell Pouncing Puma!” and she raced back to Queen’s Hill.
“What?! Tan Rust?” Pouncing Puma said, perplexed, “I-I… he… was so friendly! Him, evil? I-I…” She stammered.
“I’m telling the truth! I’m serious!” Celeste’s face was solemn, “I’m really serious!” “
Oh. Ouch.” Pouncing Puma said. Just then, Leaping Deer came over with Swift Wolf. They were arguing.
“I said… I am not learning any stupid dance of yours!” Swift Wolf yelled.
“Irish dancing is NOT ‘stupid’!” Leaping Deer shot back furiously.
“Yeah right.” Swift Wolf said sarcastically, “Like I would even want to learn!”
“Stop it! Stop it!” Celeste yelled above their squabble, “RIGHT NOW. Both of you! Go to the master! On the account of arguing!”
The two girls looked down and mocked, “Yes, boss.”
But then Celeste looked at them sternly, and they ashamedly said, “Yes, Celeste…” as they walked away to the master’s. There, the master said they must not talk for three days, or they would be banished from the living areas of Tiger Isle forever.
Of course, Swift Wolf was not about to do that, so she talked whenever no one was looking, she even chatted lightly on the phone! But one day, Celeste found out. She heard Swift Wolf tell her friend Jillica on the phone that she could come over Saturday, and stay the night. But she was banished that day, and Celeste told Jillica that Swift Wolf unfortunately wouldn’t come back ever.
Swift Wolf packed, and secretly smuggled one whole loaf of white ( )ead, ten jars of grape jelly, a pocket-knife, seeds to plant for food, and a whole case of silverware that was not yet unpacked, for it had been in the cellar for years. She kissed each of her sisters, stuck her tongue out at the master, and left slowly.
She traveled to Lush Meadow, an uninhabited meadow that had plenty of food, and lots of game. Hawk Eyes had taught Swift Wolf how to hunt as a wolf, and also with a spear.
“Sneak up,” Hawk Eyes had said, “And surprise your prey. Then chase and kill.” Swift Wolf remembered those words as she spotted a jackrabbit dashing through the meadow grass. She spun into wolf form, and stalked it. The rabbit heard her approaching, and ran! It raced to its hole, but was blocked by Swift Wolf, who bit its neck and killed it. She spun into human form, and carried it back to camp, its limp body dangling from her hand as she carried it by its two hind legs.
She scavenged two forked sticks, and a straight one which she whittled its two sharp ends to make them sharper. With her pocket-knife she skinned the rabbit, and poked the stick through it. She gathered some ( )acken, and soon had a fire going. The two forked sticks were put on either side of the fire, and the straight stick with the rabbit was laid on them, so she had a roasting spit.
The rabbit was soon done, and she gathered ( )eadfruit from Lush Tropics, the tropical area next to Lush Meadow. She roasted them too, and spread some jelly on them. She was sad, yet happy, for this place had all she needed. She found wheat near the rabbit-hole, and gathered some. She found an old axe, but found a stone, and it was soon as good as new. She felled several trees, and started building a house.
When it was finished 15 days later, she gathered 14 eggs that were close to hatching, and incubated them. Soon, 14 tiny ducklings popped out! At Queen’s Hill, Celeste was sobbing. She missed Swift Wolf badly, and wanted her to come home.
“Oh well,” She sniffled, “I hope she can come for my w-w-w-wedding!” and she burst out crying again. Little Mouse, on the other hand, was having fun, for Swift Wolf was always mean to her.
“French Toast!” White Sand yelled from the kitchen.
“Coming!” everybody yelled, rushing down the stairs.
“Mmm…” everybody sighed, as they tasted the ( )ead floating in Maple Syrup. Every single plate was empty, and soon everybody was asleep.
Swift Wolf made friends with a boy who could turn into a wolf, and they decided when Celeste was 20, they would marry, for they would be 18 by then. The boy’s name was Howling Wolf, and he was the only wolf boy on the island. He was the one who helped her dig a garden plot. But on the 4th month that she lived in the meadow, she told him, “I need to go back. Howling Wolf, my sisters will miss me by now.”
“I’m fine with that,” He said, “If you promise you will always love me.”
“No. I can’t leave you here!” She cried, “Come with me!”
“I can’t…” he said, and disappeared into the trees. Swift Wolf ran home, swam across the river that separated the meadow from Tiger Village, the village where Celeste lived, and ran to Arikana’s mansion. She went in, and blurted out, “Do you know Howling Wolf?”
“Why yes, he’s your mother’s army general.” Arikana said.
“Oh…” Swift Wolf said simply, and then ran home to Queen’s Hill. She was welcomed and forgiven, but she just ran up the stairs, lay down in her bed, and sobbed. Why had she told him her story? She had betrayed Tiger Village, and she would never be welcome again.
That night, she had a dream. Her mother was there. “Darling, come with me! You can see Howling Wolf!” She said, as Howling Wolf melted out of the shadows behind her.
“No!!!!” Swift Wolf cried. Howling Wolf wore a smug smirk on his face, “Ha, I will rule after your mother. I’ll have you (He pointed at Swift Wolf.) KILLED!”
Then Swift Wolf awoke screaming. She sprayed her special gift, bad dream exterminator, from God himself, around her room, and soon was peacefully asleep. Celeste awoke the next morning, and went to the mailbox. There was a letter from Alex inside. Here is what he wrote:
“Dear Celeste, I was badly wounded. I am coming home to the hospital. I am writing this while on a ship. I heard about your sister. Please, if I die, protect your sisters. I am not recovering quickly, and chances are I will die. Love, Alex.”
Celeste was shocked, and went inside to write a letter to him. She wrote:
“Dear Alex, I am sorry about your wounds. I pledged my love to you when we got engaged. I’ll do anything for you to get better. Last night I saw a wish deep in the woods. I’ll try to get it, for no one else knows about it. I do hope it’s still there! Give my love to your parents, King Alex the first and Queen May the first. Love, Celeste Elizabeth Fairwaters.”
Celeste sighed as she put the letter in the mail. Queen May was probably worried about her son, and King Alex was probably pacing, waiting for news of the 16-year-old prince. But her thoughts were interrupted by Arikana, who said, “You are now queen of Tiger Isle, Celeste! Come quick!”
“What?” Celeste walked out her door, and there stood the old king on her doorstep! He motioned toward a striking white gold carriage drawn by cream-colored horses.
“Get in,” He said, “Get in! But first, choose the horse that is to be yours from the royal stable. One of these horses could be yours, too.”
“Um, where is the stable?” Celeste asked.
“Right there!” the old king said. And for the first time in her life, Celeste saw that the stable was right next to Queen’s Hill!
“Oh!” she gasped, and ran towards it. When she got inside, she stopped suddenly,
“Oh!” she gasped again. The stalls had all the horses you could dream up in a year. One of the stablemen was crouching near a stall.
“It’s here, sire!” He said excitedly.
“Who’s here?” Celeste asked.
“The new foal! It’s a filly!!!!!” The stableman was excited, “Come see!”
The filly was a dazzling white, and she was none other than a Morgan, the fastest horse ( )eed!
“I’ll take her.” Celeste decided.
“Ok, your majesty.” The old king said, bowing, “What will her name be?”
“Um… Lightning? No… Lily.” Celeste decided. Then, the little filly was put at the head of the carriage, and she pranced around like a heroine. The driver shook the reins, and all the horses plus the filly cantered to the plaza where a stage sat in the corner, and great throngs of people stood, waiting to see their queen.
Alex was on a hospital bed, for he was the new king. He had chosen a strong black Arabian colt for his horse, and the colt was prancing around in front of HIS carriage, like the white filly. The king and queen were crowned, and so King Alex the 2nd and Queen Celeste the 1st became.
The king and queen horses were crowned, and so King Thunder and Queen Lily became. Then, magic sparkles came forth, and an angel appeared.
“Celeste, I will grant you three wishes.” She said.
“I want Alex to be well, there to be no more sickness on Tiger Isle, and a shield around this island so we can get out, but evil can’t get in.” Celeste said excitedly. Immediately, Alex’s wounds were healed, and the hospital disappeared, for sickness was no more. And then, a clear dome passed over the island and protected it. It was the shield!
Celeste and Alex kissed, and then said, “Thank you!” to everybody. It was the beginning of a life that was safe, happy, serene, and beautiful.
<( ) />
Foreward of Tiger's Eye
Now, this is why you read the first book first and second book second. This is four years later along Celeste’s timeline. You absolutely HAVE to read the first book first and the second book second in this series! Please, if this is the first Tiger Queen book you’ve bought, PLEASE get the first and second and read them before you read this book! This series is supposed to be read in order. Thank you! – Lissa Grayson, author, Tiger Queen books
Tiger's Eye (In which my younger self offends every Indonesian ever, and the Magical Queen Sue, Beloved of Angels, discovers she has ruined the lives of couples who want children the natural way.)
Celeste sighed, she was 20, and Prince Alex had not yet replied to the letter she had sent asking him when he would return home from going to Indonesia to fight in the war there. She sighed again and walked to the mailbox he had built before heading to Indonesia. She looked inside, and gasped excitedly. A small package was inside the little mailbox. The return address read “Prince Alex, Sicily, Italy!”
She was so happy she ran the mile back to the house and didn’t stop till she opened the door.
“Hello, Celeste! Want a cookie? I made some with White Sand today!” Little Mouse greeted warmly. (She was older now, and had stopped calling Celeste ‘Celiste’!)
“Oh thank you, Little Mouse!” Celeste took a warm cookie from the platter Little Mouse held out, “Mmm, sugar cookies! My favorite!”
“What’s that?” Little Mouse asked, pointing to the little ( )own box Celeste held tucked under her arm.
“It’s a gift from Alex!” Celeste answered and got a box cutter out of the drawer. She opened it, and inside was a beautiful portrait of Alex. There was also a note saying, “Start planning the wedding, because I’ll be home in three days. – Alex”.
Celeste put the note down, and called her sisters, Arikana, and Linn together, “My wedding is in three days, and I’ll give everyone a job. White Sand, you bake the cake and make the refreshments. Pretty Rock, you sew the clothes. Pouncing Puma, Leaping Deer and Hummingbird, you provide the entertainment. Open Meadow, you and Linn gather white lilies and cream roses. Arikana, you get the drinks. Nothing alcoholic, mind you. (They didn’t drink alcohol anyway.) Hawk Eyes; go hunt some of the best meat anyone has EVER seen. Be sure to kill plenty of duck, Prince Alex and I love duck. Little Mouse and Swift Wolf, put decorations up, and tidy the ballroom and banquet hall. Also, one more thing for Open Meadow, you arrange the flowers. Remember, three days!”
Celeste herself would be getting Alex’s ring from the local blacksmith, and taking care of the guest list. She got a papyrus scroll, and a quill and ink, and started listing the guests. An hour later, she finished, and went to help Pretty Rock.
Meanwhile, Swift Wolf decided to write a note on one of the fancy cloth napkins, and did not stop to think about what might happen. She wrote, “You stink like rotten cheese and smelly socks dipped in skunk perfume”.
Little Mouse, who was on the other side of the banquet hall, putting up some streamers, said, “Swift Wolf, get over here and help out! You’ll get in trouble if you don’t!” and made Swift Wolf suddenly remember the master and she left the napkin immediately.
“Sorry, I… I kind of forgot what we were doing…” She said, trying to sound absentminded, “What can I do?”
“Dust.” Little Mouse said, and handed Swift Wolf a feather duster. Swift Wolf STARTED dusting, but only skimmed over the tables. But Little Mouse caught her and told her to go to the master.
However, the master, being a 40-year-old man, was taking his noontime nap, so Swift Wolf went without a punishment. Then, she went to her room, so she could pretend to have been punished. But, all too soon, it was dinnertime, and she had to come out.
Dinner was a stew made from a wild pig Hawk Eyes had shot. They had fresh spring water to drink. There was also a pot of boiling water from a geyser on the table, and there were a few fresh ears of corn in it. For dessert, Celeste served up the best Lemon Meringue Pie anyone had ever tasted.
Then they went to bed. Swift Wolf chuckled at the success of her little cover up plan, and fell asleep. The next morning, everyone was busy after a ( )eakfast of chocolate chip pancakes. Celeste and Open Meadow worked on the dresses, (They had also worked on them until 12:00 AM the night before to save time.) and only had the ( )ide’s dress left.
The ( )ide’s dress was long, and had a full skirt. It was white, with pearls along all of the seams of the bodice. The veil was just as elaborate. It reached all the way down to the floor! The tiara was gold, and had amethysts like the gold necklace Celeste had gotten for her 13th birthday from Alex.
Swift Wolf also had sneaked some ginger ale from Arikana when she (Arikana) wasn’t looking, and had squirted yellow food coloring in all the toilets, which got her a whipping. (For the food coloring, not the ginger ale!)
Swift Wolf also decided to wear a necklace to the wedding, but Celeste found out later and was furious, for on Tiger Isle, you are not supposed to wear necklaces to a wedding. (The ( )ide can!) So Swift Wolf got another whipping for that.
The last prank Swift Wolf set up was a dorky one. She put a little recording device inside the napkin she had written on. Whenever you poked a button, the device said, “Do not use this napkin or you will be laughed at greatlEEEEE! You are a dork!”
Then it was dinner. Everyone ate and got ready for bed, then fell asleep. All except for Pretty Rock and Celeste. The two finally finished the dress at midnight, and fell asleep. Celeste awoke to Alex shaking her.
“Get up and into your wedding dress and veil!” he said gently, then left the room. Celeste got out of bed and got ready. She put on her necklace, tiara, dress, makeup, and veil. Then she got ready. The master waited for her outside her door. Since her father was evil, he would take his place.
“Everyone else is in their places.” The master said, and took her arm. Celeste grabbed her bouquet from the table outside the ballroom, and went in. The master escorted her as far as the front row of chairs Little Mouse had set up, then Celeste was on her own.
The vows were taken, and the happy couple ran down the ballroom into the banquet hall. The cake was cut, and everyone was served. But when the master picked up his napkin, the recording device set off, and he read what Swift Wolf had written. He turned toward her and said, “Oh really? I took a shower this morning.”
And Swift Wolf turned as red as red can be. Then, the dancing began in the ballroom. Beautiful music filled the air, and everyone except Swift Wolf (She was too embarrassed!) started dancing.
Celeste and Alex then announced, “We aren’t going to go on a honeymoon!”
“What?” Everyone stopped dancing except for Swift Wolf, because she hadn’t been dancing before!
“That’s right! Living here is just like a vacation! There’s no need!” The happy couple said with happiness in their voices. Then Celeste announced, “And I have decided to adopt two children, for I won’t have children! No one does here, since there's no hospitals!”
There was a knock on the door. Celeste opened it, and an adoption agency man held two babies, a boy and a girl.
“Here they are, your majesties, Alexis and Alex.” He said, bowing.
“Thank you!” Celeste said, taking them.
“Here are your supplies.” The man said, grinning as he carried two bassinettes, bottles, pacifiers, and 15 boxes of diapers from his truck, “Have a good day!”
“You too!!!” Celeste called.
“Wow, Alexis and Alex Jr, huh?” Alex said, grinning at their new children.
“Yes, and they’re twins!” Celeste said, face shining, “Their first birthday is a week from now.”
“Oh, wow. Dad is now a grandpa with two kids named after him and I!” Alex said. Then a man who they didn’t recognize came up and said, “Daughter.”
Celeste looked up, “Father?! I thought- you…”
“Shh…” Celeste’s father, Pierre said, “I’ll explain.” Everyone gathered around him. He then told his story:
“When my daughters were still young, my second wife convinced me to run away to Indonesia. There I joined the evil ways of her people instead of sticking to my Christian ways. I began a life of heathen ways, and worshipped the really, really fake ‘god’ Tesani, like my wife. But Tesani is NOT real, and I was miserable after a week, for the worshippers of Tesani had to eat only cocoa beans, ( )eadfruit, and hazelnuts. I wasn’t used to this food, so I vomited several times before figuring out a way to sneak healthier things into my ‘diet’, as I called it. But my wife found out, and was angry. I remember she yelled, ‘Go play with a Christian!’ and it was then that I remembered the one true God, and I yelled to my wife, ‘You rotten lady! You and I aren’t even related anymore!’ But, (at this point a Christian lady with sparkling eyes came into the room.) then I found Michelle. We are now husband and wife!”
Then he turned to Celeste, “I’m sorry, darling. This time I’ll stay with you, and never let you out of my reach again! Now,” he scanned the room, “Where are my other lovely daughters?”
And all of his daughters came rushing to him, laughing delightedly at the sight of him.
“Wow, how you have grown, Little Mouse!” he said. Then a rope dropped down. Pierre pulled it, and a bucket of water dropped on his head! Swift Wolf came over, her eyes glinting mischievously. Pierre grinned at her and said, “Good old Swift Wolf!” and sat down in a chair that Little Mouse had pulled over.
No one noticed the shadow that was creeping closer, closer… “YAH!” Hawk Eyes jumped up. Everybody laughed. It looked like this family would have a new, fresh beginning!
I hope you had a good laugh! Thanks for suffering through this! ;)