While the SWAT Kats were making their stand, back in Megakat City, things were remarkably quiet. The pair had been gone almost two months so far, but Callie held out hope they would be back before the year ended. Feral wasn’t so sure but kept that to himself.
The two of them had agreed between them to do a magical inspection of the ‘portal area’, as they were the only ones who could detect it opening. At first, they did this every day, but, as time stretched on with no sign of trouble, that became once a week then what it was now, every two weeks.
The peaceful period allowed Feral to get much needed training done on newly graduated Enforcers. They were badly undermanned, and he needed new blood injected into the ranks as fast as possible, but the constant battles with the omegas and this more recent one from another dimension kept them chronically behind. This breathing space was very welcome.
Except for monitoring the park, Feral very rarely used his new magical powers though he’d been warned that once awakened it couldn’t be ignored or it would end up using him. But, despite that very real fear, he still loathed using it.
On one recent patrol, he voiced his annoyance to Callie. They usually talked shop on these walks, which had the advantage of bringing them closer together and mended a lot of the irritations they had with each other over the years. Though they wouldn’t admit it openly, they had become friends rather than just combative colleagues who worked for the city.
“I know we’re supposed to use our magic at every opportunity so it doesn’t build up within us, Callie, but I just can’t bring myself to do it at work and barely do it at home. I don’t want my Enforcers becoming afraid of me. Respect I have, fear I can do without,” he told her with some concern. “It’s bad enough dealing with all the weird stuff they have to, but having their leader do some of that stuff too could cause dissension.
“Hmm, well I can see your point, but, unfortunately, you really don’t have a choice. You can do magic without making it obvious, you know. I use it to sort files, bring me files, even write up reports when my secretary is too snowed under. It has made my working life much easier and the biggest benefit is getting off on time,” Callie remarked.
Feral snorted in amusement at that, then sighed. “You have a point. It would save me a great deal of time sorting through all those reports. It just makes me uncomfortable is all.”
“I can sympathize, but, having used it more regularly than you, I’m getting used to it finally. Actually, I’m finding it rather handy… even practical in my personal life. When my car broke down, I was able to fix it with magic. And, when the elevator was out in my apartment building and I was too laden with groceries to climb the stairs, it was a godsend,” she said, a twinkle in her eyes.
“Huh, I never even considered such things, but I could imagine it being very useful to you. However, you’re right, I do need to find more ways to use it and just do it rather than find reasons not to,” he sighed. “But, I still won’t like it much.”
She smiled and gave him a pat on the arm in commiseration. Unlike him, though, she was finding magic to be extremely useful. She thought it might just be because he was male and she was female. Too often females needed assistance with a great many things. Being able to do it herself with magic gave her an unexpected feeling of freedom. He had no need of such assistance usually, hence his reluctance to use magic for anything much. Unfortunately, he had to get over that or his magic would become a danger to them all. A thought came to her…
“You know, Ulysses, perhaps we should start sparring with each other. Though I’m using magic, I’m not staying combat ready, and I strongly suspect neither are you,” she said thoughtfully, voicing a real concern.
His eyebrows rose then lowered in consternation. “You’re right, and I can’t believe I failed to realize that. Obviously, I must have a strong aversion to using magic for me to fail to remember that considering what I do for a living,” he said, chagrined.
Callie chuckled lightly. “Well, if we do some weekly sparring that should take care of getting you over that.”
“A sound idea, but how do we make our schedules accommodate it?” he asked, his eyes roving the area they were walking through that had a large stand of pine trees in it.
“Sparring will drain us, but if we limit it to… let’s see… Our patrol takes us thirty minutes, add thirty more minutes for sparring… Yes, that could be one of the times we can practice. Saturdays for an hour and perhaps an hour during the week, around six at night, perhaps?” she suggested, turning her head to see what he thought of that.
The big tom’s eyes never stopped looking around, but his expression showed her he was thinking about what she’d said. “That should work.” He halted suddenly, making her stop as well.
She noticed they were nearly finished with their patrol and had reached the meadow that was behind the portal location.
“How about we begin now and here is an excellent area to do it in too?” he asked.
“Works for me.”
“Okay, then I’ll go to the edge there and you wait here.” Putting words to action, he walked until he reached the area he’d indicated then turned and faced her.
First, they put up a protective shield so no innocent walking by could accidentally wander into their practice area. That took about ten minutes as they were still rather green at it, which also proved Callie’s point. That was really not good.
With the shield up, Callie got off the first volley of spells before Feral was quite ready. Grunting, he was glad she had opted for only light spells first. He shook himself out and erected his personal shield.
For the next thirty minutes, they cast spell after spell at each other until sweat rolled down their faces and errors began to be made. Callie just missed getting clipped by a nasty hex by Feral, but she managed to actually take Feral’s feet from under him with a binding spell that hobbled an enemy’s feet. That effectively ended the session as she walked toward him and removed the spell. He rolled to his feet, looking both annoyed and chagrined.
“You were right. I am out of practice. You shouldn’t have been able to get through my shield that easily,” he said ruefully.
“It wasn’t easy, and I suspect you were just getting too tired, which gave me a lucky opening.”
“There is no such thing as luck,” Feral quoted Prince Conall’s favorite saying.
She grimaced at him sourly. “I’d like to think there is, so stop quoting that darn homily at me,” she said tartly.
He smirked and shrugged his broad shoulders. “Hey, it’s true, at least most of the time.”
“I don’t care,” she snorted petulantly.
He wisely let it slide, knowing she was just feeling tired and sweaty and hating it when she still had work to do in her office.
“Thank you for the work out, though, Callie. It proved to me how important it is to keep magically fit,” he admitted sheepishly.
She gave him a wane smile, “You’re welcome, and here’s where magic is truly handy…” she passed a paw down her body and was immediately refreshed as if she’d just taken a shower, her clothing was neat and pressed as well.
Feral shook his head but gave in and did the same. “Okay, I concede it definitely has its advantages. Let’s get back to work.”
She smirked and headed out of the park to where they had parked their vehicles.
Feral and Briggs fell into an easy practice habit and improved quickly, which was a good thing as the Pastmaster finally made an appearance some two months later.
It was a crisp fall day and a couple hours after lunch on a Tuesday when there came an urgent call from the guard unit at the park. Feral’s radio toned from the corner of his desk. He absently reached for it and said his name.
“Commander, a tempest portal has formed in the sky!” Dispatch told him, voice tight with fear and worry.
“On my way!” Feral barked. He rose quickly and went to pull his coat on. He was about to head out the door when he paused. Wait, dispatch said tempest portal… the Pastmaster! I need Callie, and we need to get there now and faster than a chopper, he thought, quickly picturing the deputy mayor’s office.
He appeared near the window and in front of her desk. A shout of alarm and fear told him the mayor was in the room as well. The fat kat gaped at the big tom before his expression turned to one of irritation and anger.
“Feral! We use doors here, not pop in and out willy-nilly…” he began to rage.
“Stuff it, Mayor. Callie, the Pastmaster has dropped in, and I felt we needed to get there quicker than either of us could normally,” Feral said, ignoring the mayor and addressing the she-kat standing behind the desk.
A look of consternation and fear flashed across Callie’s face before it settled into a look of determination. Not bothering with her purse, she came around her desk and stood beside Feral.
“Ready whenever you are. You direct the trip,” she commanded, closing her eyes.
Feral said nothing as he made sure he included her in his transport to the park. They appeared not far from the park portal’s location but among the trees so they weren’t immediately in view. Both quickly and cautiously scanned the area before taking any action.
Not more than thirty feet away, his Enforcers on the ground and choppers in the air were surrounding the Pastmaster, who was riding one of his huge dragons. His tornado style portal was already gone.
Using his watch, the sorcerer ported to the ground, leaving his dragon to keep the Enforcers busy. Not seeing Feral and Briggs, he walked to the exact spot the portal had been then used his watch to apparently study the area.
Callie guessed he was using his own magic to ‘taste’ the foreign magic that had invaded what he considered his territory. By his sour expression he wasn’t too happy about what he was finding. Both she and Feral had been warned that their magic was the same as the Pastmaster’s because they were from the same world. This meant they wouldn’t have that great an advantage as the short sorcerer was very skilled and they, most definitely, were not.
The only weakness they had been able to determine the Pastmaster had was his watch. Conall posited that it was what this creature used as a focal point for directing his magic and for drawing more from time itself. Since the Pastmaster was dead, Conall said he could not contain any but that which kept in a living state within him. The rest he must obtain outside himself. Which was why they were able to defeat him each time he attacked by separating him from his watch. So, getting the watch in those first moments of surprise was imperative.
Leaning close to Callie, he whispered into an ear. “Bind his feet; I’ll get the watch!” She nodded and raised her paws. He did the same then hissed, “NOW!”
The Pastmaster never knew what hit him as his feet were bound suddenly, making him fall backwards and a strong tug pulled his watch from his paw.
“NOOOOO!” he screamed in shocked anger and surprise. Raising his paws, he began to cast a spell toward his attackers.
Callie quickly applied a saran wrap cover that flattened the sorcerer to the ground and handily blocked all sound from coming out of his mouth and slapped his raised paw to the ground, pinning him there.
Meanwhile, the watch floated into Feral’s paws. The pair walked out from their hiding spot and stood over their madly squirming prisoner, who glared up at them with his one good eye in anger and disbelief.
“That was faster and easier than I dreamed it could be,” Callie said, smiling in relief.
“I agree, but that was because we never allowed him a chance to attack first…” Feral began to say when a roar reminded them both they still had something else to deal with.
The Pastmaster must have a mental link with the behemoth as it left off attacking the Enforcers and headed their way, flaming the ground as it came toward them.
Tucking the watch into his pocket, Feral quickly raised his paws. “Watch the Pastmater! I’ll handle this,” he warned her as he stepped away from them both.
He shouted something in Latin. The dragon screeched as it flew into a suddenly appearing sticky net that bound its wings up, causing it to fall to the ground with a hard thump that nearly knocked Feral off his feet. The Enforcers that guarded the park ran up and fired balloons of iron filings from sling shots onto the dragon. No one knew if that would work on the Pastmaster’s created dragons but thought it was worth a try. To everyone’s relief, it did with the dragon disintegrating into powder, leaving Feral’s magical net to drift to the grass. He immediately dismissed it.
“Great job!” he shouted to his officers.
They grinned in relief and pleasure.
Turning away, Feral went back to Ms. Briggs.
The Pastmaster lay still, his expression stunned. He was finding it hard to believe he had been defeated by just two people and that his beast had been so easily destroyed as well. What had happened here that Megakat City had magical defenders and knew about iron?
“That was a good idea on your Enforcers part, Commander. And, it’s nice to know we now have a defense against the Pastmaster’s creatures,” Callie said with satisfaction. “So, what do we do about him?” she asked, toeing the creature’s side.
“Hmm, well we could keep him in that special cell we made until the SWAT Kats open the portal again then send him there,” Feral said, thoughtfully.
Callie smirked. “Now that would be justice indeed and finally put an end to his constant attacks, and I think Queen Callista would be very pleased as well. I agree with it and will insure the Mayor and city council don’t get in a snit having to pay for his keep. When they learn he will be permanently out of our fur, they shouldn’t complain too much.”
“Since he isn’t alive and so doesn’t need food or other amenities, keeping him won’t be that costly. However, you and I will have to keep magical controls over him just in case,” Feral warned.
“I agree. So, should we escort him ourselves to his cell then?”
“Good idea, but I think we shouldn’t use magic for that as he is too experienced with dimensional travel than us and I don’t want him doing something we can’t prevent to escape,” he cautioned then signaled to one of the choppers to land.”
“Whatever you think is wise, Commander. I think I’ll keep that on him for now. There’s nothing I want to hear from him,” Callie said archly as she watched four Enforcers lift the prisoner and haul him toward the waiting chopper.
Less than thirty minutes later, the Pastmaster was incarcerated in Megakat Prison and the special cell waiting for him. Once he was confined, both Callie and Feral wove special containment spells to ensure he couldn’t break out.
“How came you to learn magic!” the Pastmaster’s rough voice demanded.
“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Callie snorted, not enlightening him.
He scowled angrily at her but nothing he said or did would get the two unlikely magic users to tell him what had changed in this time period. He only knew he was well and truly caught.
As they flew back toward city hall where Feral would drop her off, she raised a paw, and, after a moment’s confusion, Feral grinned and did the same as they high-fived each other.
“We did it!” Callie crowed, elated.
“We did indeed,” Feral said smugly. With that threat out of the way, the rest of their enemies would be very easy to manage. But, there still was the matter of that other dimension. He hoped the SWAT Kats were successful. Only then would he celebrate the city’s freedom from their enemies.
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