Tiger

“Transform!” wei Lin cried with a command as forceful as a crack of thunder announcing the onset of a gigantic storm.
Instantaneously the smoldering embers of the campfire exploded into an immense blue flame that shot straight up into the darkness of the cave and rolled along the caves ceiling out into he night sky. The impressive flame blasted the twins with an ice cold wave of air and showered them with a fluorescent blue glow that left azure sparks that shimmered upon their bodies and all around them. The sound of the blast bore the familiar boom and crackle of the new years firecrackers that Shanzen loved. Their pop and fizzle echoed throughout the cave. Shanzen’s mind was filled with confusion but she was certain she felt the freeze of ice crystals on skin precisely where the blue sparks had upon her. She instinctively brushed their icy cool tingle away from her face. Their coldness melted on her palms and turned to water.
Shanzen now knew an incredible truth about her long lost twin sister. Wei line was indeed a powerful entity. Wei lin possessed the all powerful knowledge of magic!
“The ice crystals! They’re real Wei lin!” Shanzen stammered with disbelief. “what in the holy name of all the gods have you done?”
How could Wei lin have done such a thing? No one in the monastery knew magic. The monks knew it was dangerous, strictly forbidden. Practitioners were banished for life, never to return. Some especially powerful mages had been thrown from the cliffs to their deaths.
“Keep quiet sister. Not a word.” Wei lin instructed Shanzen, her form not more than a blue blur.
The brightness of the explosion had shocked Shanzens eyes and left an indigo aura in them that tinted her vision. In the quickness of a second Shanzen thought of how thankful she was that the fireball had contained Wei lins element of water and ice, rather than her own. Surely the two of them would have burst completely into flame and died horrible, painful deaths if it had. It would have been days before the master monks found the devestating site of the twins charred remains clinging to each other in that cave high atop the mounts. By that time their souls would have passed to a place beyond the reach of blessed reincarnation.
The cave was still and dark. In that stillness Shanzen made out a faint noise, like the sound of an animals growl. Or was it a bark? Somehow it was both yet not quite either. What would make such a sound? And how was it that it was just outside the cave entrance and at the back of the cave at the same time. How could this be? shanzen had no answer. She dared not ask Wei Lin.
“Focus Shanzen! Your acuity is what fuels the flame. It must not die.” Wei Lin ordered her sister.
Her sharp tone reminded shanzen of her most trusted kung fu instructor master lee’s barking voice when he instructed Shanzen and the other students on how to perform the dancing crane death kick, the most formidable of the fighting kicks.
Shanzen gathered herself and concentrated all her spirit energy on the fire pit, summoning it to stay lit. The dying blue embers in the hearth responded and began to glow a little brighter.
Wei lin began to chant again in a quieter and softer tone, as if coaxing the embers the way a mother bird might encourage a nestling to take its first flight.
The young woman’s hands started to dance over a medium sized blue flame that now burned at the fire pits center. A rich blue smoke began to rise from the smoldering sapphire embers. It swirled and danced among the two kneeling twins. It took specific shapes that smoke could never have formed if rising naturally….perfect circles and dynamic zig zags appeared and dissipated in synchronized routines that filled the cave with a dizzying blanket of haze. Its movements made whispers about the cave that tickled shanzens ears.
“Open your eyes Shanzen!” Wei lin called. “And your mind..”
“My eyes are open! What am i supposed to see? I only see smoke!” called Shanzen to her twin. But the pleasant whisper of the smoke had grown to a roaring rush louder than all the monks calling for meditation at once had filled the cave and drowned out her questioning voice before it had a chance to reach wei lins ears.
“Transform!” Wei lin yelled again, loud enough to be heard over the roaring sound in the cave.
The blue smoke’s hue began to fade like deep black calligraphy ink fades to grey when water is added to it. but unlike the black ink changing to a lesser shade of itself, the blue smoke ranged the color spectrum of the rainbow as it changed. First it assumed a green as brilliant as any emerald upon the ring of the dowager empress, then a rich red like the crimson lanterns in the great hall when lit. Next it turned purple like the silk robes taoists priest word during special ceremonies during dynasties past, and finally its melted into a warm shapeless yellow that faded magically into a fuzzy orange brown, all the while swirling around the girls in the cave.
Black dots appeared about the length of the coloured smoke as it began to descend from the cave ceiling down onto the twins. Shanzen observed with awe as the burnt orange cloak enveloping them collapsed like a blanket of morning mist on her and wei lins body. The black dots lengthened and became horizontal lines, outlined by a brilliant white in certain places.
“Its…. Embrace.. it…!” Wei lin cried through the roar.
Shanzen only heard parts of what her sister was trying to say. As wei lin spoke she seemed to be inhaling large quantities of the smoke into her mouth and nose, quantities that might kill her.
Wei Lins face appeared to change into a different form under the blanket of the colorful smoke. Her aquiline features took on feline shapes; wide set almond eyes, a broad flat nose and mouth, dagger sharp white teeth, and big round ears..then her body followed. Within the span of a minute shanzen’s twin looked perfectly like a tiger, a tiger wearing Wei lin’s shreded brown tunic and pants. Her deep orange with jet bladck striped fur with beautiful white highlight peaked through what remained of the too small human clothes.
“Sister! Is that you! Shanzen cried through the roar “you’re a…tiger!”..

(Excerpt from The Question)

written by: odie mama

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2 thoughts on “Tiger

  1. so stunning! this is exactly how i imagined the girls to look when transformed. i even like that the tiger is the rare white color. interestingly enough i also had a picture of a white tiger that i wanted to put up for our story a long time ago but didnt. this picture inspired me to do so today…. I also added so many pictures on the complete question. check it out!!!

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