Felisa spent that first night in her old nest in the wall, her sisters curled around her. When she woke the next morning, she asked what might have happened during the night.
“You muttered in your sleep,” Tealla answered. “We couldn’t understand it, of course, but beyond that, you did nothing.”
Felisa chewed her lip a little as she thought. “Well, if that’s all I do, it should be safe enough.” She left her hiding place to find some breakfast and receive reports from the other cats–locations of metal raptors and spinny things, and whether anything got close to the urchins’ hideout.
Their vigil at the hideout was interrupted by Arnold’s abrupt departure, but the raptor attacks–or, rather, attack attempts, as all cats were now well on their guard–continued. Felisa was, in a way, relieved when Arnold returned. He was the nexus; no resolution could be accomplished without him. She never would have guessed, though, at the direction his own attempt at a resolution would take.
“Felisa!” The yowl carried to her ears on the still night air. “Large-cat is out, and being chased by the metal lizards!”
Felisa hissed in alarm, and stepped aside into an alleyway. There, from the darkness, she sent out her own loud Feline cry. “Find him! Lead him to my nest, once it’s safe!” She heard her words being passed from cat to cat, even as she ran through Clockhaven and ducked into the wall, trotting south to her own place. After what seemed an endless time of pacing, she heard her sister Tealla softly call out that she was coming, and the large-cat was with her. She looked up as they approached. “Well, Arnold, you’ve certainly stirred things up,” she said mostly in Feline, though she spoke his name in the human tongue, where it sounded out of place.
Arnold seemed to think so as well, as he looked at her unhappily, “Call me Large-cat if you want.” It wasn’t his cat name, the name he had been known by before he’d had to adopt the name Arnold, but he didn’t like that name anymore.
Felisa nodded. “What have you done?” she asked wonderingly.
“I started a game,” he yowled softly. “Where I hope to distract the lizard away from other cats, and my friends who are actually able to stop his plans.”
Felsia sighed. “The thought does you credit, but my friends were handling it on their own. There was no need to put yourself in so much danger.”
He didn’t respond very quickly, and sounded apologetic when he did, “I hope I have not brought him on your home…he will not stop hunting me now.”
“Well, he’ll have a long, hard search before he finds you here,” she said, pricking her ears at the sounds she heard faintly down the wall passage. “My friends are making sure your scent is masked. And if they do come–well, there’s another way out.” She beckoned Arnold over to a small alcove off the main passage, one that led to a small opening. Smiling a bit, she pointed down to the rough wall beneath them, and the rocks that led to the small bay. “Those metal raptors will have a hard time getting down that.”
Arnold stared down at the rocks and the bay, frowning, “I’m going to have to jump head first into those, aren’t I?” He asked himself in the tongue of M’an.
Lisa shook her head. “There is a way to climb down. I did it once in this body, to be sure I could still do it. If I can, you can.”
In this body? He didn’t know what she could mean by that, her scent was human enough…he puzzled about it for a moment, and then nodded softly. He turned away, back towards the nest and the other cats. He stared at them for a time and then turned towards Lisa, “I haven’t spoken to them yet. I don’t think I should…”
Felisa cocked her head to one side and stared at him, frowning slightly. “Why not?”
He didn’t answer as he looked around the nest, “Where should I stay then?”
“You can stay here,” she said, gesturing to a platform where two nests of blankets cushioned the hard stone.
He accepted as he started to lay down, circling twice to get comfortable, and finally laying still, watching her with his teal eyes curiously. Why did the other cats accept her so readily, and how could she speak to them? He knew she didn’t want to talk about it, but he couldn’t help his curiosity.
Felisa felt the intensity of his stare on the back of her head, even as she settled herself in her own blankets, and watched Tealla disappear down the corridor to take up her watch post. Her other sister, Hespi, curled up beside her, ready to wake her if she did anything other than mutter during the night. Lisa closed her eyes, thinking hard. She knew what occasioned that stare from Arnold–his curiosity about her relationship with the cats, how she could speak the Higher Singing, what, ultimately, she was. But she couldn’t decide yet whether or not she’d answer his questions. She wasn’t sure if she trusted him with that, especially as she knew he was close to some people she’d rather not have learn about her. She finally sighed and settled deeper into the blankets. Perhaps the decision would come to her in the morning.