Chapter five in which Josie assists in her own rescue
That afternoon, Maggie explained to the boys what she had experienced in the cave, meeting the ghosts of old cats, her reunion with old friends, and learning of the prophesy. They found a series of stones to cross the creek, and marched another day to the Meezers’ camp.
The Meezers were very untrusting, having orchestrated their own coup years ago. They ruled from the palace, but had built a secret encampment protected by a series of bramble mazes that even the wiliest of rabbits would get lost in. But with one touch from Fluffy, Maggie had been shown the way. She guided Jasper and Bear through a series of crouches and leaps and crawls, easier for her than for the larger boys. She had to restrain herself from getting too far ahead. Finally, they emerged with just a few lost patches of fur, and slinked around in the shadows to a rear entrance of the fort.
Bear took the lead, Jasper the rear, as they entered the door into a rear access hallway. They managed to travel one corridor from where Maggie was told they would find Josie when a laugh broke the silence.
“Jasper No-claws. I didn’t think you’d have the nerve to even show your hide again.” Jasper knew the voice immediately, his old rival from the guard.
“I’ve got this,” Jasper said, turning to face the scruffy tomcat emerging from the shadows. Bear and Maggie moved toward the door, entering to see Josie across the room bound up and gagged, and the Meezer Trinity gloating.
The largest of the Trinity stood near Josie, and belted out, “We expected some rescue attempt, but is this it?”
Then he spun, surprised to hear Josie’s voice. “This is just what I’ve been waiting for.” Josie had freed herself from her bonds, but was just waiting for the right moment. She launched herself, claws out, and with a mid-air blood-curdling hiss, indicated, “it’s on!”
At that same time, Jasper moved toward the tomcat. The tomcat chuckled, “Whatcha gonna do?” But his laugh turned to a dull oomph as Jasper brought both paws across his jaw, then wrapped his arms around his neck, spun onto his back, and, using his back paws, launched the tomcat four feet into the air and against the wall, unconscious, all before the tomcat even knew what hit him.
Maggie darted toward the smaller of the Meezers as he started to circle on her. She pounced, dodging a swipe. Then, in a blur of gray and brown, bit his flank, swiped at his legs, danced on his head, and finally gave a rabbit kick under the jaw until the Meezer could take no more and curled in submission in the corner.
Meanwhile Bear was approaching the third Meezer, who saw Bear’s massive bulk,and turned and ran. But Bear surprised him, as he surprised many who assumed he was slow, and was soon upon him. The Meezer turned his head when he felt Bear’s presence at the tip of his tail, and miscalculated his location, missing a quick turn and knocking himself silly against the wall.
All this took place as Josie was descending on the largest Meezer, the leader of the Trinity. He was stunned by her sudden assault, tumbled backward, and lost his breath as Josie landed squarely on his chest. Josie extended one claw under his chin. “We need to talk.”
Chapter six in which balance is restored
It was apparent to the Meezer Trinity that individually they might be able to beat Josie, Bear, Maggie and Jasper, but that they were no match them when they combined their strengths. The Trinity were exiled, the true Meezer judges were returned to make the rules again, and peaceful, fair rule was returned to the lands.
Josie’s followers were ready when she took the throne as the new queen, and took command of security, ensuring no other uprisings or coups would occur. The cats across the lands celebrated Queen Josie, Prince Bear, Princess Maggie, and their wise advisor, Jasper, and tales were told of how a little cat with one eye helped restore peace to a land in turmoil.
Jasper became Head of Security, and taught the guards that it takes more than sharp claws to win in battle. “You must use your wits. That is our gift as cats,” he lectured to his troops. “And the occasional back paws to the chest helps, too,” he added with a wink.
Huggy Bear still preferred to be called just Bear, and was regarded as one of the most fearsome warriors around. But, while he was a strong knight, that reputation was spread mostly by those who did not know him. Those who knew Bear knew that he was more Huggy than Bear.
Although Maggie was now a princess she still enjoyed the rough and tumble play of her childhood. On warm, sunny afternoons, after napping in the sun along the creek near the palace, she would challenge Huggy Bear to wrestling matches and chases through the fields and woods. Onlookers would watch, amazed, as this tiny princess would go nose to nose with the legendary dark knight. They would playfully nip, and tussle and chase until dusk began to settle on the afternoon. Then, tired and hungry, they would return to the palace to dine with Josie and Jasper.
Over dinner one evening, Jasper looked around at the other three as they shared a meal. “It’s nice to be back together again,” he remarked.
“It’s good to be home,” Maggie replied as Huggy Bear and Josie purred in agreement.
Maggie lifted her head from the blanket, looked around, and realized that she was sleeping at the foot of Mom and Dad’s bed. Huggy Bear had joined her in bed, sleeping against Dad’s pillow at the head of the bed. Josie’s foot stuck out from under the covers on Mom’s side. She could hear Jasper’s snores from under the bedside table. She raised up, walked over and curled up beside Huggy Bear. Then she stretched out one paw and rested it on Josie’s exposed paw, making sure she didn’t go anywhere, happy to truly be all together.