September 24th, 2008
|12:54 pm - fancy meeting you here|
The Bloodtails stared at me, in the image of the demon that built a temple on their sacred mountain and became their immortal ruler. They surrounded me, bearing their fangs and cursing me. The words were too fast and too emotional to make out all at once, but the word "Betrayer!" did reoccur in heavy sequence.
"Guys! Guys!" A familiar voice piped up in English above the fray. "That's not Bloodwing! That's my brother Ash!"
At this point I nearly blew a logic circuit.
Koen slipped between his kinsman to face me. "I was wondering when you'd get here!" He turned to face the rest of the tribe. He faltered at his ancestral tongue, then switched back to English. "He's come to rescue us!" The cats stopped shouting, but still stared at me disdainfully.
"Koen? How can you be here? Last I saw you was in New Babbage in a bear suit."
He crossed his arms. "I haven't been in Babbage since Sumalee was alive. You must mean Life Number Two. Last I saw you, you disintegrated while trying to free me from Jeremiah!"
I frowned. "So...this nine lives folklore... is more than just a metaphor for the tenacity of the feline species?"
He laughs. "Look at these guys, Ash! See how they're all in tight groups?"
[Conducting Facial Scans - Identical Subsets Confirmed]
Koen continued. "Every neko soul that was trapped in those crystal had eight other versions of themselves trapped with them. That's why we stuck together, not those humans who just screamed at each other!"
One of the other Bloodtail pointed a claw at me angrily and growled in his own tongue.
"How do I know that's not the demon?" His companions hissed similar concerns.
Koen rolled his eyes and whispered in my ear. "Sorry to do this, bro..."
He turned away from me then spun in a kick. His pronounced foot-claws raked across my hips, and the cats cowered from the scraping of enamel across metal.
He turned to them and made a chopping gesture. They all nodded and chuckled to each other.
I spoke up in the best formal Bloodtail dialect I could, if indeed there was one.
"It is an honor to meet my ancestors, but we must still rescue Koen's father!"
They pointed the stone pedestal they had dropped on the foyer tiles, then back at the damaged wall beneath the stairs. The plaster had given way to the metal frame of a door.
I nodded. "Stand aside..."