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Who was spreading those rumors? (Part 4: A conversation with Petharic)

It was almost fifteen minutes to midnight and a fog covered the ground of the cemetery behind the Mechanix Arms as Petharic hid himself behind a tomb.  He kept his hand on his gun, waiting for the cat to come into his sight.  

Arnold had just so happened to be hiding on the other side of the that tomb when he made the round and saw the man around the corner.

“Pethar-,” Arnold began, and the man turned and fired his Colt.  Arnold hid himself safely behind the tomb, his heart beat accelerating as he heard Petharic approaching.  He prepared his claws and let out his growl as a warning.

“Stay right there or else I’ll have to drag your corpse before the Militia!”  Arnold didn’t want to do that.  It would bring his investigation to a complete stop while it was all sorted out, but it would certainly expose Petharic if he did just so happen to constantly come back from the dead as Emerson had suggested.  “I’m here to talk, nothing more.”

Petharic didn’t seem to be advancing anymore, but he sounded suspicious as he called out, “If you just wanted to talk, why did you sneak up on me cat?”  

“I wasn’t sneaking up on you, I just happen to surprise people…often,” Arnold crouched on two legs ready to pounce should the man round the corner.

Petharic narrowed his eyes, “That is a good way to get shot.”

“No, a good way to get shot is jumping in front of a bullet,”  Arnold countered, as he recalled the events last July when he had done just that.

“Lets practice that shall we… you first,” Petharic commented.

“If you insist, I’ll get out my gun and you do the jumping,” Arnold replied wryly. “Oh wait, I don’t carry a gun on me anymore.”

“For all I know you have one hidden in your hat,” Petharic countered.  “And I’d like your claws where I can see them.  Come out of the shadows cat, paws above your head, and slowly.”  

“I don’t intend to get shot today,” Arnold said after a few moments.  “Put the gun away and meet me on the other side of the graveyard, and we can try this again.”

It took several minutes, but they did finally meet face to face, though Arnold was crouching as he tended to do, half his frame beneath the fog.  Petharic approached him,  but left a good ten yards should the cat decide to try anything.

“What word have you on that scoundrel, Lighthouse?” Petharic asked first.

Arnold stared at him intently, “I only heard thus far about his death from rumors, I haven’t received any other news.”

Petharic frowned at him, “And you are his only heir?”

“Yes, that was his idea.”  A clock chimed, revealing it was now midnight, he wouldn’t get any rest at this rate. “I’m going to skip to the point of this meeting.  I think you’re spreading those rumors of Emerson’s death.”

Petharic raised an eyebrow, “And why on earth would I spread rumours when I want nothing more than the real thing?”

“Pay back for the graveyard that had been behind his home,” Arnold replied, and wondered vaguely if Emerson had bothered to dig up the bodies.

“You see…. you can’t believe the scoundrel,” Petharic scoffed. “Did you ever see a corpse?”

Arnold shook his head slightly, “No, but whether it’s true or not is irrelevant in this case.  It gives you a motive for making up his death as well.”

“I don’t want to ‘pretend’ he is dead,” Petharic said resolutely as he patted his Colt.  “Spreading unfounded rumors would be a waste of my breath, that’s the kind of thing Emerson does…as you can see clearly by my standing here.”

Arnold frowned.  He had to concede that Petharic was probably telling the truth, especially after he had confessed that what he wanted most in this world was Lighthouse’s demise.  

Petharic remained silent for a moment, as if he were contemplating something unpleasant.  “May I ask you a question?”

“Go ahead,” Arnold replied.

Petharic continued quietly, “You have heard first hand Lighthouse boasting of my death?”

“I wouldn’t call it boasting,” replied the cat.  “But yes.”

“Do you believe him?”  Arnold’s nose twitched at the question, but before he answered Petharic waved a hand dismissively.  “Never mind.”

Arnold stared at him for a few moments and shrugged, “Unless you have something else to say, it’s late and I don’t get much sleep as it is. Miss Lionheart will be upset if I don’t show up tonight, and I have to be at Mumsy’s at 5 AM.”

Petharic looked surprised for a moment, and then snickered at him, “Is that what you have to deal with?”

Arnold raised an eyebrow at the man, “Is servitude funny to you Mr. Petharic?”

“Absolutely,”  Petharic replied.  “Nothing funnier.”

“I can think of something much funnier,” Arnold countered as he looked Petharic up and down.

“Try me.”

Arnold pointed at him, “A man wearing sunglasses after midnight, in a fog, with no moonlight, thinking he can hit a black cat.”

Petharic frowned and considered proving his aim, but Arnold wasn’t done, “And let’s not forget that you’ve been trying for years now to capture or kill a man who has constantly outwitted you, and he’s a dragon chaser.”  

Arnold grinned at the outrage on Petharic’s face, and also because of how many ways Emerson fit that description. He then added, “You do realize the most ironic thing about you is that your name is almost spelled the same as ‘pathetic’ right?”  

Petharic sneered, “Hahaha, you are a funny one Mr. Cat.”

“Not that I think I’m the first to notice.” Arnold admitted. “I’m sure kids your age were merciless.”

The dark haired man turned and walked away, “Can’t hear you.”

“You wouldn’t say that if you really couldn’t,”  Arnold yelled after him, and after he was sure the man had gone the cat made his way back home.

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