It was a beautiful day at the Rainbow Bridge. Miss Priss' peepers were keeping the kiddens entertained with their antics. There wasn't a safe tail in sight. Tiny Bubbles and Little Hobo were in the thick of it, dashing to and fro and tagging anyone who happened to cross their paths. Eatbugs was lounging in the sun watching the peepers. "Hey Rocky! You'd better watch out!", he called as a peeper launched himself at Rocky's tail. Picnic and Beethoven, who were sitting beside Eatbugs, chuckled. Picnic had his tail neatly tucked under him. He was taking no chances.
The friends were so intent in their conversation that they did not hear Isolde and Puppie approaching. Eatbugs looked up and pursed his whiskers, "Why the long face, Isolde?", he asked.
Isolde bowed her head, "Picnic, Eatbugs, come. The Council of the Elders meets and would speak with thee".
Eatbugs eyes grew wide. Why would the elders want to talk to him? Quickly he and Picnic rose and followed the girl kiddens to the clearing. There sat a circle of cats so ancient and wise, that Eatbugs felt like a peeper in their presence. He bowed deeply and stood respectfully. Isolde, Puppie, and Picnic took their places in the circle. An elegant queen stood, spoke quietly to Picnic and then turned and addressed the waiting kidden.
"Eatbugs, Today is a special day on the Bridge. A new elder comes to join our ranks. On earth she was a beloved companion, but today she comes to fulfill her destiny and sit at Council. You are charged, young one, with her welcome".
"I will welcome her," said Eatbugs, "But we welcome every kidden. What am I to do?"
Elizabeth smiled, "The company will join thee, as always, but you are to smooth her way. You are to teach the ways of the Bridge and comfort her passage. This is a great honor, young one. She is a queen of the highest honor, and my kinskidden."
Eatbugs felt the importance of his charge and bowed deeply, "I will honor her and welcome her" he said. Elizabeth smiled at him.
The air began it's familiar song. "It is time".
Eatbugs bowed to the council and began his journey to the Gate. He was aware of the others as they walked behind him, and as the company of kiddens joined from their activities, but his mind was on what lay ahead. The music of wind sang as it had never sung before. The bittersweet, wistful song seemed more intense than Eatbugs had ever heard it. The air was charged and the company of kiddens sat alert, their eyes focused on the Gate.
When the blue flash abated, there sat a regal queen. She lifted her eyes and surveyed the company of cats and sighed. Eatbugs slowly approached Virginia and respectfully offered his nose in greeting, "I am Eatbugs, Welcome to the Rainbow Bridge". Virginia looked in to his eyes, and he saw such wisdom there that he bowed his head.
Virginia smiled and licked his forehead. "Thank you for you greeting", she said.
Eatbugs looked up and saw the kindness in her eyes and smiled back. He turned to the company of kiddens. "May I present Virginia, let us give her honor and welcome", he said in his most formal voice. Virginia chuckled quietly. One by one the kiddens came forward to greet her. Then Eatbugs offered her his paw and led her to her new home.
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