Paws dug into the ground, claws extending as the sound of snarls and screams became a crashing melody that haunted Tsinga in his waking dreams. He took in a slow breath as time seemed to slow down around him. His heart was pounding in his chest as he slowly tried to combat the demons that followed him. Surely, this had to be a dream?
That idea was soon cast aside as he realized that the cats of Air Empire were reacting to the attack in a singular instant. The pitch black pelt of the cat in front of him froze him in a place for a short period of time until he broke the hypnotic trance he was in. He had to react, and he needed to do it now. The pressure was on, and if he wasn’t careful somebody he cared about would be killed again.
He couldn’t stand for that idea.
The sound of the hunters burst forth into Tsinga’s ears and he flinched, expecting to see Scaeden amongst them, ready to kill once more. The cheetah snarled and closed his eyes, paws shaking heavily as he thought about everything Tempestas has taught him over the years. That was when he realized that there was a better option. He closed his eyes tight once more and then opened them, steadying his breathing.
He needed to find the children and ensure that they did not suffer the same fate as Mako and the other cubs of his childhood. They did not need to worry about their lives tonight. There was no reason for this to happen. Bile rose in the back of the cheetah’s throat, and he had to hold back throwing up for a moment as fear zinged through him. He had to stop this madness. He had to take control of himself again, or else his idea would not work out the way he wanted it to.
Without a second thought, Tsinga surged forward and went to grab the cubs that mattered to him most. Burlap, Ava, Tondra, where was Electron? He searched for each and every one of them and quickly pulled them away from the battle before it became too dangerous. It wasn’t possible for them all to come with him, but those that did follow along ended up following him up onto the top of the rock… whatever it might have been called… that was the center of Air’s camp… or was it the edge? Tsinga wasn’t exactly sure, considering the fact that he had never been in air’s camp before.
Quietly he hid in the background, his hair standing on end as he thought about the night of the attack on lightning. Over and over again he relived the squeals of his brother and the sound of Scaeden as he killed the children before his and Theron’s very eyes. He closed his eyes… hoping for it to stop.
Why wouldn’t is stop?
Quietly, he gulped at the air and had to figure out what exactly was wrong with him. He didn’t know what he was doing nor did he really find any joy in what was going on below, but it was safer to be at the top of a rock than down below where the hunter could get them. In that time frame, while the air cats fought below, Tsinga became aware of Ava and only Ava, who had pressed herself against his side. He closed his eyes and pulled her close, whispering that things would be alright. Though, he had no idea if it would be. All he had to hope was that no hunters would make their way up to where the group of felines hid.
Minutes felt like hours, hours felt like days, and as the sounds of the hunters slowly faded away, Tsinga couldn’t help but hold his breath as he looked around. He had no idea if it was safe to go back down into the fray or if the hunters were only hiding. Then, he heard a loud keening wail, screaming up his name to the heavens. The cheetah shuddered for a moment.
He knew that voice.
Slowly, he moved around to see if he could look down upon the camp and see what destruction had be wrought, but as soon as he came close to the edge, he realized how easy it would be for another feline to see him. He shuddered and slowly backed away, unable to call out. He had to keep the little ones safe. He had to.
He had to.
That was when a dark shadowy figure pulled herself up onto the top of the rock. Tsinga held his breath for a moment, preparing to attack if he had to, but he knew he didn’t wish to cause any cat any damage. Oh, curse the gods above why did he have to be so weak! He closed his eyes and shook his head.
In an instant, he snapped his eyes back open and glanced upwards, relief rushing through him as Roxanne plowed into him, pulling him close. Tsinga closed his eyes and sighed softly.
“Oh thank the gods.”
He didn’t know what to say or how to react.