Great Bear Lake (Seekers Series #2)by Erin Hunter
Destiny has brought them together . . .
Three young bear cubs—one black, one polar, and one grizzly—and a mysterious shape-shifting bear have each been following a path toward a mystical destination. All four bears are finally united at the sacred Great Bear Lake, where bears gather to celebrate the Longest Day. But danger lurks ahead, and the young… See more details below
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Destiny has brought them together . . .
Three young bear cubs—one black, one polar, and one grizzly—and a mysterious shape-shifting bear have each been following a path toward a mystical destination. All four bears are finally united at the sacred Great Bear Lake, where bears gather to celebrate the Longest Day. But danger lurks ahead, and the young bears must test their determination to reach the promised wilderness if they have any chance of surviving the harsh realities of the wild.
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Seekers #2: Great Bear Lake
Lusa stared at the grizzly cub. He was twice her size; in the struggle when she was trapped under his weight, she had thought he would kill her for sure. But she wasn't scared of him now, as she watched him crouched in front of her with his flanks heaving. Red light from the setting sun trickled through the leaves, speckling Toklo's brown pelt with spots of burning russet.
She had found Oka's missing cub.
I could have searched for him all my life and never found him. Did the spirits guide me?
Toklo glared at her. "How do you know my name?"
"I—I've been looking for you," Lusa stammered. "I've come all the way from the Bear Bowl—"
"The Bear Bowl?" Toklo curled his lip. "What's that?"
"It's a place where bears live," Lusa explained, on more confident territory now. "Black bears like me, and grizzlies, and huge white bears. Flat-faces feed us and mend us when we get sick, and other flat-faces come and look at us. There are other animals, too," she added. "Tigers, and flamingos, and animals with long, dangly noses."
Toklo interrupted her with a huff of contempt. "You lived with other animals?" he growled disbelievingly. "Flat-faces fed you? Proper bears don't do that. What sort of bear are you?"
Lusa felt her belly go tight; he looked really angry, and she knew she wouldn't be able to fight him off a second time. But she had promised Oka that she would pass on her message to her only surviving cub. "The flat-faces brought your mother to the Bear Bowl. She. .. she died there." She decided there was no point making Toklo evenangrier by telling him how Oka had been crazed with grief for her lost cubs, so deranged that she had attacked a flat-face. "Before she died she gave me a message for you. She said—"
Toklo turned away. "I don't want to hear it!"
Startled, Lusa took a pace toward him. "But I promised—"
"I said, I don't want to hear it! I don't want to hear anything about that bear. She abandoned me. She is not my mother." He stalked away, his paws crunching through the dried leaves until he stopped under a twisted fir tree.
"She was sorry," Lusa murmured.
She didn't think Toklo had heard her. Without looking at her, he snarled, "Go back to the Bear Bowl!"
Lusa blinked, puzzled. She had risked her life to find him, and to tell him what Oka had wanted him to know. She had expected that Toklo would be grateful to her. Maybe he would even become her friend, so she wouldn't be on her own anymore. What had she done to make him so hostile?
She couldn't go back to the Bear Bowl. The wild was bigger than she had ever imagined, scary and confusing. But it was exciting, too. After the freedom she had known in the last moons, she couldn't think of returning to the little space where two or three trees made a forest. But what would Toklo do if she didn't leave? She clamped her jaws shut to stop a whimper from coming out. There was no way she'd show Toklo how scared she was.
Lusa turned to look at the other brown bear cub, who was sitting watching her with bright interest. She tipped her head on one side, remembering what she had seen just before her struggle with Toklo. She had been chasing a hare, hadn't she? A growl from her belly reminded her that she was hungrier than she'd ever been in her life. She'd been chasing a hare and it had turned into this cub.
Her mother hadn't said anything about hares that turned into bears, or any other animal for that matter. Was this a bear, or a hare? Would it change again? Lusa stared at it suspiciously, looking for long ears suddenly shooting up.
The brown cub stood up and padded over to her. He was smaller than Toklo, and his eyes were warm and curious. "My name's Ujurak. You're Lusa, right?"
Lusa nodded. "Are. .. are you a bear or a hare?" she burst out.
Ujurak lifted his shoulder in a shrug, rippling his shiny brown fur. "I don't know," he admitted. "I can be lots of other creatures, too. A salmon, an eagle. .. sometimes I'm a flat-face cub."
Lusa stiffened. Would Ujurak be a kind flat-face like the feeders in the Bear Bowl, or one of the dangerous ones who shouted and shot their metal sticks? "Why would you want to be a flat-face?"
"I don't exactly want to be anything," Ujurak replied. "Except a bear, of course. It just happens." He glanced at Toklo. "I'm trying to control it, but I'm not very good yet."
"So you're really a bear?" Lusa stretched her head up and checked. His ears were definitely small and round right now, nothing like a hare's.
"I think so." Ujurak blinked. "I hope so."
Lusa looked around. The trees grew close together here, with little room for berry bushes underneath, but there was no scent of flat-faces or dogs. "Is this Toklo's territory?" The big grizzly cub looked quite strong enough to score his clawmarks on the trees and defend his feeding ground from other bears.
"No, we're on a journey." An amber glow lit deep in Ujurak's eyes. "We're going to the place where the bear spirits dance in the sky."
Ujurak looked at his paws. Definitely bear's paws, Lusa thought. "We don't know exactly," he confessed. "We're following the stars." He looked up again. "But I have to get there. However long it takes."
Something in Lusa prompted her to reach up and touch her nose to the cub's furry ear. "You'll find the place, I know you will."
Ujurak turned his head to stare at her. "You understand, don't you?" he said softly. "Because you kept going until you found Toklo."Seekers #2: Great Bear Lake. Copyright © by Erin Hunter. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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