Author’s Note: This chapter was also very hard for me write due to the emotional confrontations between the characters… Sorry if this chap sucks; I’m not all that good writing stuff like this, so I’m still trying to perfect this type of writing. Give me your honest opinions please… Thnx for your patience.
T-Bone, who was splayed out across the broken tabletop slowly sat up, grimacing at the unpleasant pain that throbbed throughout his back, neck, and head.
“Sir T-Bone! Well, this is certainly an unexpected, yet pleasant, surprise.” Callista smiled as she walked around to the dazed Swat Kats.
Abi gawked in disbelief at the fact that she was in the presence of one of the world’s greatest medieval rulers, as Feral and Felina too sat up slowly from the ruins of the queen’s table.
“My queen!” Razor gasped as he struggled to release himself from his parachute.
T-Bone scowled at the buckled table that had broken their fall.. “Sorry about your table,” he mumbled as he rubbed the back of his neck.
“You know her?” Abi gasped incredulously as Felina and Feral looked to T-Bone and Razor expectedly.
Callista continued to study the three newcomers and their attire with keen curiosity. “They rescued me and my kingdom from the Pastmaster several years ago,” she explained. “And, I think it is safe to say that you both are here because of him?” she queried, looking up at a dangling Razor with a knowing smile.
“You could say that,” T-Bone grunted as he stood up, his back hunched in pain.
“And, who are your travel companions?” Callista nodded her head over to Abi, Felina and Feral, who had also just gotten to their feet.
Razor, who was finally able to release himself from his parachute, landed softly behind the medieval queen. “That is Dr. Abi Simian, she is a historian back in our time, and beside her is Lt. Felina Feral and Commander Ulysses Feral of MegaKat City’s enforcers, or, as you would say, of the city’s army,” he introduced, trying to explain their occupations so Callista could understand.
The queen nodded in appreciation. “It is nice to meet you all, and I welcome you to Megalith City.”
Callista’s eyes drifted over to where Abi was standing, and her expression grew colder when she saw the silver chain around her neck. Abi tried to keep her sense of dignity about her as Callista walked up to her. “I don’t want to come across as officious, but would you please show me what ornament you are carrying about your neck?”
Abi’s paw strayed to where the amulet hung on her chest as she looked in alarm over to Razor and T-Bone.
“Its alright; she’s on our side.” Razor nodded assuringly.
Abi slowly pulled the amulet from inside her shirt and held it out for the queen to see. Callista’s expression turned dark when she saw the amulet, and breathed in deeply before looking into Abi’s eyes. “Where did you get this?” she demanded softly, trying to keep the hardness from her authoritative voice.
“I found it during an excavation in Egypt. I dug it up from the riverbed of the Nile.”
“And, there it should have stayed,” Callista spoke harshly, her eyes flashing. She looked back to T-Bone and Razor. “Do you know what this amulet is?” she inquired.
“Yes, Queen Callista. Dr. Sinian didn’t know of its history until the Pastmaster’s accomplice tried to steal it from the museum,” Razor informed the wary queen.
The fire in Callista’s eyes died down as she looked Abi again. “I apologize for my previous intolerance; it wasn’t directed towards you, Doctor, but for the evil this amulet contains; it offers nothing but misfortune and death to its owner and katkind.” Queen Callista stepped back so that she had the five of them directly in her sight. “You say the Pastmaster was after the amulet?” she inquired.
“Yes, your majesty. We have good reason to believe that he is going to use it to open the gateway to the realm of the gods. Lucky for us, we were able to keep it from him,” Abi explained before anyone else could answer Callista.
The queen’s expression grew grim. “Does he have the key?”
“Yes, your majesty. He has abducted your descendant Calico Briggs.” Razor sighed, his head slightly lowered in what could be called shame.
Callista closed her eyes and sighed wearily. “Do you think it was his intention to send you here to my time or was it another accident of his?”
“I’m sure it was unintentional, because he first banished us to some time in the dinosaur period; it was only by chance that we found a time portal that brought us here,” T-Bone spoke up.
“And, it was probably Miss Briggs that helped bring about that portal,” Feral spoke aloud what everyone else was thinking.
Callista smiled. “Yes, it is fortunate that you are all here. We now must come up with a solution to this predicament, for everything in the past, present, and future is at stake. Come, we shall continue our discussion in my library.”
In the Queen’s personal library….
“So, the only thing that can destroy the amulet is itself,” Felina repeated Callista’s words aloud, obviously thinking what everyone else in the room was thinking.
The queen nodded gravely.
“And, the only thing that will permanently stop the Pastmaster from going through with the ritual is to destroy it.” Feral sighed as he leaned back further into the plush chair he was sitting in.
“How can we get it to destroy itself?” T-Bone moaned, completely tired of the whole ordeal they were going through.
They all stared at the amulet that lay on the table, glistening in the cold candlelight. Callista sat down in her seat softly and looked at her guests’ troubled faces. As she looked at the amulet, her gentle voice politely disrupted the silence. “If you listen carefully, you will be able to hear the song it whispers in the silence to draw in its slaves.”
Everyone looked at her curiously, but spared the questions running through their minds to see what she meant. As several moments passed, the silence grew deafening as the air grew still. Razor’s eyes grew wide in amazement as the fiery blue opal of the amulet started to swirl with a frosty mist that danced within its body. In rhythmic harmony, eerie voices of unfathomable beauty floated upon the still air of the dark library.
An overwhelming feeling of weariness befell them all but Callista as the harmonious hymns put their minds at ease. Razor’s whole being was completely enveloped with an inner peace he had never felt in his whole life. As his vision of the library and Callista blurred, he suddenly found himself walking in a world that he knew, deep down in his inner consciousness, could never exist.
He was walking on a white sandy shore perfectly groomed by the caressing waves of the crystal blue ocean, not as Razor, but as Jake. The sound of the waves lapping the shoreline further enhanced the beautiful lyrics of the amulet’s song, making him wish that this world he was now in would never go away.
Ahead of him, he saw Callie standing on the edge of the shoreline, letting the gentle waves of the sea massage her bare feet. She was in a dress as pure and white as the clouds that streaked the cornflower sky, her golden hair flowing behind her in silky wisps, curling in the warm salty breeze. She looked over at him with a loving smile on her content face and stretched out her perfectly tanned paw towards him, as if she was expecting him to join her.
A faint feeling of shock teased his numb mind when all he could hear was her calling his name. Time seemed to pass by slowly as if he was walking through molasses, but as he drew closer to her, he could clearly understand what she was saying. He stretched his paw out, ready to take hers into his when he suddenly woke to the deafening sound of ‘Razor!’ being spoken by a voice that seemed to be right next to him.
He found himself back in Callista’s personal library, and he was standing right in front of the table, his paw inches away from touching the amulet. He then noticed that his heart was pounding rapidly in his chest and everyone but Callista was staring at him in surprise.
Callista stood up from her chair and walked up beside him.
“What just happened?” he asked breathlessly as he looked over at Callista for an explanation.
Callista smiled gently. “It was calling you to it. Out of everyone else in this room, it chose to lure you into its enchantment.”
Razor’s expression was that of alarm. “Why?”
“Your soul is weary, Sir Razor. Whether it is from hatred, jealousy, loneliness, sadness or even fear, whatever has been haunting you has worn down your defenses, making you a target for all things that feed upon such inflictions that wear down the soul. The elements that brought this amulet into being are based entirely on the fear of loss and malice of the spirit. Its ability to manipulate these imperfections into things of false light is what makes it so powerful because those who posses fear and hate have the lust for power, which is nothing but greed.”
Everyone was speechless, and the silence of the library was all the more deafening. Callista broke her eye contact with Razor and looked at the others. “Why do you think the Pastmaster wants the amulet? Everything he does is motivated by his darkest fears, and the hate that has consumed him, which has in return increased his appetite for power. It’s the same story with his accomplice; with the amulet, they will become invincible and everything will fall into his hands. Needless to say, we cannot let that happen.”
Everyone nodded in silent agreement, the weight of the situation a weary burden on their shoulders. Callista could clearly see the mental exhaustion on their faces as the horrific reality of it all slowly settled in.
“Doubtless, you’re all exhausted from this ordeal, so I think it’s wise that you all take a rest for the remainder of the evening. I will take the liberty of putting the amulet in a secure place, and we will continue this tomorrow. I will have he maids show you to your rooms.”
With a quick flick of the wrist, Callista rang her hand bell and several maids entered into the library. Abi and Felina got up and left and before Feral followed, he looked at Razor with a refounded suspicion then turned his back on him. T-Bone just stood there across from him, his green eyes looking at his friend with mixed emotions that made his irises as vibrant as flames. And then, he walked off to the maid that was waiting for him by the library entrance.
Callista gently picked up the amulet and wrapped its chain around itself and placed it in a black velvet bag, sensing the overwhelming sadness Razor was feeling as he watched T-Bone walk off. “Meditate on it tonight, Sir Razor; it’s truly a wonder what a good night’s rest will do for the mind.”
Razor nodded his head, but his thoughts were somewhere else. Callista smiled gently as she studied Razor’s face. “Your thoughts are preoccupied with my granddaughter,” she stated knowingly.
Razor looked up at her in alarm, but he was unable to deny it due to the fact that he knew she could see right through him. With a graceful nod of her head, Callista motioned the remaining maid to leave. “Come with me, Sir Razor.”
Several hours later…..at the garden’s fountain………….
The coolness of the night proved to be soothing to Felina’s frazzled nerves as she walked down the stone corridor that would lead her to the castle’s gardens. Troubling thoughts of the night’s events distracted her from the night’s beauty that shown through the openings of the corridor’s balcony that looked down upon the garden’s vibrant grounds.
A carved stone opening supported by ivy-clothed marble pillars opened a way down into the garden by a winding stairway of cracked, moss covered steps. She soon found herself walking on a simple path of cobble stones that weaved gracefully amidst the lush flowering plants and gnarled rose trees. As she walked along, she heard the faint gurgling of the immense marble fountain that adorned the middle of the garden. Its calming song seemed to lure her to it as she followed the gentle sound of running water.
As the fountain came into her sight, she saw the still figure of T-Bone, sitting on the stone bench across from the fountain, staring sadly at the graceful stone figures of the serene angels in flowing marble robes, seemingly frozen in a moment of time long past. The angels, their flawless features depicting a time of peace, glistened in the moon’s milky rays as clear sheets of water caressed their smooth bodies.
Felina studied his expression from where she stood, knowing that he hadn’t yet noticed her presence. Still unsure of what to say, she slowly walked towards him. It was only until she was standing beside the bench that T-Bone looked over at her.
“What are you doing out here so late?” T-Bone asked quietly, returning his gaze over to the fountain.
Felina smiled as she sat down beside him. “I couldn’t sleep. Why are you out here?”
“I couldn’t sleep either,” he replied blankly, his gaze still resting upon the fountain. A moment’s silence passed between them as they both watched glistening drops of water fall through the air back into the vibrantly tiled basin of the fountain.
“Do you want to talk about what happened tonight?” she asked, her tone soft.
T-Bone laughed quietly and shrugged. “There is nothing to say.”
“There is plenty to say,” Felina returned, her tone still gentle.
T-Bone turned his steady gaze over to her, his eyes an obvious indication of his inner turmoil. “There is nothing that I can say that hasn’t already been said.”
Felina smiled and shook her head. “I think you’re aware that I can be just as stubborn as you are. By the time this conversation is over, you will tell me what is bothering you.”
T-Bone couldn’t help but smile. “Wouldn’t your uncle have a seizure if he saw you sitting down here with me?”
Felina folded her legs underneath her and relaxed against the bench’s back. “He’ll never know.”
T-Bone chuckled softly. “I wouldn’t be too sure of that; your uncle has a tendency to show up in places you least expect him to. Believe me, I’m the voice of experience here.”
Felina smiled. “Nice try, but we’re not going to avoid the topic in question by wandering off on some other matter. So, I’m going to ask you again…What is bothering you?”
T-Bone shook his head, a faint smile still on his face. “Nothing is bothering me.”
Felina breathed in deeply as she turned her gaze to the fountain also. “Despite the mask you’re wearing, I can still read you like an open book.”
He turned his head sharply in her direction, his eyes slitted in suspicion.
“There is a lot of tension between you and Razor most of the time nowadays.”
T-Bone looked back at the fountain, not even bothering to give her a reply.
“And, I know that it must be really hard for you two to live two different lives.”
T-Bone stood up abruptly and turned to face her, his expression dark and indignant. “Who do you think you are… a shrink? You have NO right to assume things about our private lives,” he growled.
Felina stood up as well, returning his irate expression challengingly. “Don’t deny it; you know I’m right, you’re just too proud to admit it.”
T-Bone was now breathing heavily as he tried to fight his rising temper. But, he wasn’t mad at her; he was mad at everyone and everything that had made his and Razor’s life full of disappointments and regrets. He was mad that nobody actually knew about the life draining sacrifices they made every day of their lives, and how their deeds were most of the time unnoticed, unwanted, or unappreciated.
“You don’t know anything, and you never will!” he growled, his voice shaking furiously. He turned sharply and started to stalk off the way Felina had come.
Felina watched him walk away, her expression one of a profound sadness. Before he was out of hearing range, she decided that now was a good time to tell him.
“I’m sorry about what my uncle did to you and Jake,” she called out softly, so that only T-Bone could hear her.
T-Bone froze in mid step, not sure that he had heard Felina correctly. Felina could see the icy horror that was starting to well up inside of the tiger striped tomkat. Slowly, he turned back around to face her. “I know,” she said quietly, and then with a nonchalant shrug she added. “I’ve known for a long time actually.”
T-Bone was still slowly walking back up to her, their eyes locked in each others gaze. Soon, T-Bone was directly in front of her, his mask unable to hide the shock evident on his face.
“You’ve known?” he stated blankly, studying her face for any further clues.
Felina nodded, somewhat guiltily.
T-Bone switched his weight onto his other foot and folded his arms across his chest. “How did you…?” he stammered, his brow furrowed in disbelief under his mask.
“You two have never given yourselves enough credit… even when you two were the best pilots in the squadron.” She smiled faintly.
T-Bone shook his head, looking off to the side of him with a disbelieving look still on his face. “Does you uncle know?” he whispered, hoping that their worst fear hadn’t yet come true.
Felina shook her head. “No, just me.”
“What are you planning to do with this information?” he asked gruffly, knowing that there had to be some strings attached.
Felina smiled softly. “I was hoping I could use it to convince you guys that you could trust me.”
“Trust you, huh?” he repeated to himself as he looked off to the side of them, pretending to study a rosebush.
Felina blinked furiously as she looked down at her feet; their conversation wasn’t going the way she wanted it to. She looked back up at T-Bone, her eyes glistening as if she were trying to hold back tears. “I see…you don’t trust me because I’m the niece of the tom kat that threw you two out of the enforcers.”
“Now wait a minute, I didn’t say that…” T-Bone protested, realizing his mistake.
“No, but you certainly implied it,” she corrected him coldly as she took a step back away from him.
T-Bone was left standing speechless as she turned and started to walk away.
Suddenly, she stopped and turned back towards him. “You never even noticed… that… that I was completely infatuated with you… did you?” Felina admonished, while quietly laughing at herself. “Even after you and Jake were kicked off the squadron… I still…. I even hoped that…” She couldn’t even finish her sentence because she started to laugh.
She looked down at her feet again as she tried to find the words that would express the turmoil she was feeling. She looked back up at a shame faced T-Bone and shook her head. “When I found out who you two were… that… well… made me like you even more, and I admired your courage, your self sacrifice, and your ability to out fly every villain and enforcer that has taken to the skies. And, what I admired most was the fact that you put everything that could of dragged you down to the side and moved on with your life to help those in need. But, apparently, you don’t seem to care about that or me for that matter.”
T-Bone just stared at her, surprised and embarrassed, as he fought to find the words that would make a good reply for her confession. But, the words didn’t come.
Felina looked him boldly in the eyes for what seemed like an eternity for the both of them. “Good night,” she finally said before she turned and started to walk away again.
T-Bone was overwhelmed with the dreadful feeling of helplessness as he watched her walk off. “Felina!” he called after her, hoping that she would come back so that they could straighten everything out. But, she kept walking, and he watched her retreating figure until she vanished from his sight, leaving him completely and utterly alone.
He was so caught up in his chaotic emotions that he didn’t even notice the shadowed figure glaring down at him from the balcony above, its slitted golden eyes glowing eerily in the darkness of the night.
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