He was being taken along the uneven dark paths of the Old Quarter towards the Academy by the undead lizard when he felt the pull of the other world. But it was weaker than it had been–
–Arnold had walked out of Sonnersteins home some time ago. It was only now that Cyan had found him near that Church that he really came to himself. He looked at the cheetah and in his daze asked him about the Courthouse.
“Courthouse?” Cyan asked, confused. But it caught his attention, and despite the cats insistence that he must have dreamed that or something; the cub insisted on looking to see if there really was a buried court.
He knew he should have gone back to Sonnersteins. The wound, his whole head felt like they were burning. But he followed Cyan and eventually got stuck again on a simple thought and slowly faded back–
–Arnold had been brought within a hair’s breath of his goal. The Brunel lay across the street, but it was unattainable as he was now inside the crumbled ruins of the Cocoa Java while the Dinosaur growled at him.
They were alone for the moment, and on a nearby broken table Arnold’s sword, cane, and bag were resting. The raptors flesh and scales had deteriorated horribly; the places where Arnold had torn him with his claws were the worst. The reptile was pointing the Tesla rifle at Arnold, and it was primed, “I can’t believe that a little minion like you killed me! How embarrassing is that?! I won’t be able to show my face around other villains for years! If the raptors out there knew…”
Arnold stared at the lizard, confused, “Minion?”
“Don’t deny it!” The raptor cried as he fired a warning shot to Arnold’s right, causing the cat to jump. “You work for the Bad Horse! The Nightmare!”
“Bad Horse?!” Arnold tried to think with his racing heart, and then realized he might mean Dr. Maddox’s husband, Heliotrope Lionheart. “I don’t work for him!”
“I told you not to deny it!” The raptor roared as he shot to Arnold’s left. The cat ducked to the floor, where the Raptor pointed his rifle, following. There was movement outside, and the doctor paused, and then intentionally calmed down, “It will go much easier for us both if you just admit that you are nothing more than a mindless minion that works for the Bad Horse!” Arnold didn’t say anything, until the raptor pointed behind him towards a red uniform with a face mask, which held the emblem of a horse shrouded in fire.
“No!” Arnold shouted as he got to his feet growling, resisting that moment where he would be in the uniform without his consent, “I am not putting that on!”
“Don’t try my patience, cat! The only reason you’re alive is because I need to find that blood!” Arnold had even less incentive to tell him where it was now, but figured there was no point in saying so. “If you don’t tell me where it is, I’ll send you to that Toothsayer! See if I don’t!”
“Toothsayer?” Arnold’s memories of the dinosaur painted an insane reptile, and it seemed that was true even though he was now undead. “What’s that?”
“Some kind of Church man in the Old Quarter,” He explained dismissively. “Feeble mammals such as you have proven to be–I’m asking the questions here!”
There were sounds from outside, raptors and humans screeching as the sound of fighting, and the scent of putrid blood, filled the air. Doctor Dinosaur turned away from Arnold confused, and the cat seized upon the only opportunity he’d seen to dive after the raptor tackling him from behind and carrying the Raptor forward and onto his own gun.
There was the sound of something breaking, but Arnold did not try to finish off the undead creature with his bare claws. He went and grabbed his items quickly, taking his sword and cane in one hand, and his bag in the other as he rushed out the back of the cafe.
Doctor Dinosaur had regained his feet, firing his weapon, but the weaponry blasted into a wall harmlessly as the raptor cursed. Outside Arnold saw zombified men dressed in black fighting the undead raptors using blades. The only difference was a symbol on their clothing that he thought he should recognize. He left them to their battle and rushed towards the Brunel…which was a combination of several different buildings that had become stitched together with thread and glue.
He ran inside and then waited at the doorway for his pursuer, but from the sound of the fighting Doctor Dinosaur had joined his raptor friends and was shooting at the men.
Arnold breathed for a moment, and then made his way to the bar intending to get in and out as quickly as possible. He was not surprised to find that the Brunel had been pillaged. Tables had been overturned, plates lay shattered on the floor, there were no cigars to be found as they had been crushed underfoot to the point of being mud, and no liquor bottle had gone unsmashed.
There was nothing here that would help him complete the quest that Emerson had placed him upon, and so he was left to figure out what he should do now.
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