Look What the Cat Dragged InbyJukeboxEMCSA©
"Look, I'm awfully sorry about this," Gavin said, "but I'm afraid I'm going to have to eat you." The cat just stared up at him. "It's no good giving me that look! My father is dead, my brother has disowned me, and the only thing Papa left me in the will was a cat and a pair of high-heeled boots. My stomach is howling. I've got to eat you, and before the week is out I'll probably have to eat the boots as well." Gavin would have eaten the cat already, but he wasn't quite sure how one prepared a cat for the table. He'd asked three women how exactly one ate pussy, and had gotten slapped twice and received a rather disgusting proposition from an elderly woman down the street. Clearly, this was something he'd have to figure out for himself.
The cat wasn't making it any easier. It didn't mew pitifully in anticipation of its fate; it simply stared at him with a vaguely contemptuous look on its face. "I'm no happier about it than you are!" Gavin said plaintively. Then he paused. "Alright, I'm slightly happier, I suppose, if I were to be honest, but I'm definitely not thrilled. A week ago, I was living a life of comfort and ease, son of a wealthy landowner, and now look at me! Dusty, starving, and penniless. Papa must have been mad in his old age to think that my brother would take care of me. Or he must simply have been mad. Let's face it, when your will reads, 'I leave my youngest son the cat and the boots', the bit at the beginning about 'sound mind and body' seems a trifle suspect."
The cat blinked haughtily. Gavin sighed. It was no good, he just wasn't the sort of person who could kill an animal, at least not while it was staring him in the face. He sat down and started absently scratching the cat behind the ears. He'd just have to try to figure out how to stomach the boots. "I suppose it could have been a cruel joke of some sort," he said. "I always thought Papa doted on me, and certainly my brother thought so as well. But this...it's not the sort of behavior one thinks of as 'loving'."
"Oh, I don't know," said the cat. "He gave you his two greatest treasures in all the world, the tools with which he made his fortune. That sounds fairly nice to me."
Gavin leapt back to his feet. "You can talk!" he said.
The cat sighed. "So can you," she said, "but I don't feel any great need to shout about that."
Gavin blinked rapidly in astonishment. "But lots of people talk!" he said. "You're the first talking cat I've ever seen!"
"Yes, well, you've probably led a sheltered life." The cat got up and stretched. "Look, we've got rather a lot to get through, here, so can we simply take it as read that you've gotten used to the fact that I can talk? I'd rather not spend the next twenty minutes guiding you through the culture shock of learning about magical animals."
"You're magical?" Gavin said, his voice filled with wonder.
"I'll take that as a 'no', then," the cat said, sitting back down in a bit of a huff. "Yes, I'm magical. I'm an immortal, magical, talking cat that happens to be very clever to boot. Your father saved me from a pack of wild dogs, and in return, I promised him that I would make him and his children and his children's children wealthy and prosperous."
"But--but--I thought he kept you around the house to hunt mice!" Gavin said.
"Oh, I do that too, but that's only because he was already wealthy and prosperous. I'd rather hoped that having gotten him a big pile of money, the children and children's children could take care of themselves, but he decided that primogeniture was the way to go when making out his will, so I'm right back to square one. Well, square two. I had to help him get hold of the boots, originally."
"The boots are magical too?"
"Sharp as a tack, aren't you?" the cat said, although not too unkindly. "Yes, the boots are magical. Go ahead and stand them up, and put me into them feet first."
Gavin reached into the cloth sack that was his brother's only gift to him on seeing him out of the house, and pulled out a pair of high-heeled boots. They were quite tall, probably coming right up to the thigh of most women, but given that they looked dusty, old and cracked, he doubted that many women would wear them. Still, he didn't know much about the taste of women, or of cats for that matter, and so he stood the boots up and, holding the cat up just underneath its front paws, awkwardly put its two rear paws into them.
The resultant blaze of light made Gavin squinch his eyes shut, and so instead of seeing the cat change, he merely felt its flesh twist and stretch under his fingers as it grew. Within seconds, he could no longer feel his hands touch each other around the cat's chest. Within moments, the cat felt as big around as a human being. As the light subsided, Gavin cautiously opened his eyes.
Where he had once held a cat, his hands now wrapped around a female of a decidedly different persuasion. She still had the fur and whiskers of her former feline self, and her face had a decidedly feline cast to it, but her shape and size had become human. Very human, Gavin realized with a start as he noticed where his hands had wound up after the transformation was complete. He whipped them away with a start.
The cat pouted just a little. "I was just beginning to enjoy that!" she said. "It felt a bit like going into heat. Is that how human women feel any time someone touches their breasts?"
Gavin blushed. "How would I know?" he asked indignantly. "I'm barely eighteen, and not yet married. I don't know how cats do these things, but among humans, we don't even see those things until our wedding nights, let alone have casual chats about how touching them feels."
"Oh, my," the cat said. 'Sheltered life' doesn't even begin to cover it, I see. Well, I suppose I can educate you as we go along."
"Go along?" Gavin asked. "Go along where?"
"To make you wealthy, of course." The cat idly looked at her hands, wiggling her newly-lengthened fingers and sheathing and unsheathing her claws a few times. "I'm bound by Deepest Magic to honor my promise to your father--you're not the best material I've had to work with, but needs must, I suppose. Just try not to say or do anything too stupid. When in doubt, remain silent. You're good-looking, well-built, and you smell nice. That's probably your best asset. Well, that and me and the boots."
"But--but you can't go wandering around like that! People will think you're a demon, or a monster or something! Besides, how are you going to make me wealthy with just a pair of old boots?" Although, he noticed, they didn't look old anymore. On the contrary, the red leather looked shiny and new against the cat's white fur.
"You're absolutely right," the cat said. "I'll also need a stone with a hole in it, and a piece of string."
The string didn't take long--Gavin pulled out a lace from his own dusty boots, leaving his right shoe quite a bit looser on him, but giving Puss (for so she'd insisted on being called) the string she needed. The stone, on the other hand, took quite a bit longer. But eventually, Gavin found one that had sat under a tiny waterfall for long enough that a hole had worn right through the center of it.
"Perfect," Puss said, taking the stone and slipping the shoelace through it. She tied a knot around the stone. "All we need to make a fortune. Come on, let's head down to the town."
"How will that help us make a fortune?" Gavin said as they walked. "Is it a sort of luck charm? Is it magic too? I've heard that stones with holes in them are supposed to bring you luck."
"No, that's just something people say," Puss said. "Not everything's magic, you know. You've lived eighteen years without seeing anything magic, why would you start assuming everything is just because you've seen two magical things in one day?"
"Because without some magic, a stone with a hole in it isn't much good for anything other than making a necklace," Gavin replied, a bit stung.
"The magic is in the boots," Puss said. "They don't just turn cats into people, you know. Well, people-ish. That's a side effect; the boots adapted my body into something that could wear them. No, the boots amplify animal magnetism. Anyone who's wearing them becomes a master hypnotist."
"So that was how you made my father his fortune? You hypnotized people into giving them money?"
"No, no," Puss said, stopping as they passed close by a farm. "I advised. He did all the hypnotizing himself."
"He hypnotized people? Then..."
Puss hopped over the fence and headed up to the farmhouse. "I only advise, I don't judge or morally censure. Besides, they actually looked rather good on him." She looked around. "A-ha!"
"A-ha?" Gavin looked around too, but all he saw was a girl feeding chickens. She was a pretty young thing, far prettier than you'd expect from a farmer's daughter, but not exactly anything to 'a-ha!' over. Especially not given that Puss was a...Gavin looked over at her for a moment, wishing he knew where to lay his hands on some ladies' clothes...a female cat.
"Our first step on the way to prosperity," Puss said. "Wait here, and don't look in my direction or listen to anything I say." She walked up to the girl. "Excuse me, miss? What's your name?" she said.
"Bess," the girl said, still feeding the chickens. Then she looked up. "Goodness," she said, "but if you aren't the strangest cat I've ever seen!"
Puss smiled ingratiatingly. "I'm a rare breed," she said. "Felis financis, the selling cat. I've come here today to interest you in my line of luck trinkets." She held up the stone, letting it dangle and swing from the shoelace. "This is a stone with a hole in it. I'm sure you've heard of their magical properties."
"Well, yes," Bess said, "but I thought that was just something people said." She looked at the stone. "How does it work?"
"Well, you just continue to stare at it," Puss said, her voice taking on a soft purring quality, "and soon the magic begins to do its work. It starts by attracting your eyes to it. Notice how you're already finding it very difficult to look away from the soft, gentle swinging motion?"
Bess nodded absently. "Yes, but that doesn't seem very..." Her voice stilled for a moment as her eyes followed the dangling stone. "Um...very magical."
"That's only the beginning, my lovely," Puss said. "Just stare at the stone a little while longer, and you'll see that it has all sorts of magical powers." She added a little flick of her fingers to the gentle motion of her wrist, causing the stone to spin as it swung. "For example, it has the magic of affinity. You understand affinity, don't you, my dear? The way that some things become like other things when they are near each other?"
"Um..." Bess furrowed her brow, her glassy eyes still watching the spinning, swinging stone. "I..."
"Just say 'yes', dear. It's easier."
"Exactly!" Puss smiled. "The stone has the power to make you become like it. It dangles, heavy and pulled down at the end of the string. And because you are near to it, you too feel heavy, like you're being pulled down." The girl began to sway dangerously, and Puss spoke quickly but calmly. "But just as the stone is dangling from the string, you are dangling from my words. My words hold you upright, just as the string holds the stone."
Bess steadied slightly, but she still looked like she wanted nothing more than to slump to the ground. "Uh-huh," she mumbled.
"And just like the string is tied around the stone, my words are tying around you. My words are just wrapping around your mind, because your mind is becoming like the stone now as well. The stone doesn't think; it doesn't need to think. The stone just goes where the string directs it." Puss raised the stone slightly as she spoke, putting it just an inch or two above the girl's eye level, making her have to look up to see it. Her head kept drooping downwards, and her eyes rolled up slightly as she tried to keep following the motion of the stone. "Your mind just goes where my words direct it."
"oh," Bess said, her voice empty and her face placid.
"You can feel how powerful the stone is now, can't you, my dear?"
"uh-huh..." she sighed out.
"So you'd definitely like to purchase it, then." Puss didn't even make it a question.
"Good, good. Luckily, we're running a special today. How old are you?"
There was a long pause while Bess tried to remember how to respond to a question that couldn't be answered with 'oh' or 'uh-huh'. "Nineteen," she said.
"And still a virgin?"
She smiled vacantly, back on familiar ground. "uh-huh..."
"Perfect, perfect. Luckily for you, that's the cost of the stone, the complete mindless obedience of a nineteen-year-old virgin. Once you agree to do everything I say without questioning, totally subservient to my will, the stone is yours." Puss paused. "Do you agree?"
"uh-huh," Bess responded, her eyes glazing over completely as she became blank and docile.
"Very good," Puss said, letting the stone come to rest. "Here you go!" Bess held out her hand obediently, and Puss placed the stone in her palm. "Now, my dear, you know you must obey all my commands, yes?"
"uh-huh," Bess replied.
"Good. Give me the stone." Bess handed it right back to Puss. "Good girl. Now come along, we've got things to do." She headed back down to the fence where Gavin waited, knowing that Bess followed. "One down," Puss said, "twenty-three to go! Although I don't think we'll be that lucky every time."
"You..." Gavin just stared open-mouthed at the hypnotized girl for a long moment, trying to frame a response. He knew better by now than to say, 'You hypnotized her!' in astonishment, but it took a while before anything else came to mind. "You don't think it'll work every time?" he said at last.
"I don't think we'll find twenty-four virgins in a row, that's what I think," Puss said. "God, I don't know how human women handle it, not knowing when they're in heat or not. At least when I was a cat I wasn't horny every day of the month."
Gavin didn't quite know how to answer that. He just kept staring at the hypnotized girl, his cock stirring in a way that left him thinking that perhaps waiting for marriage wasn't all they said it was after all. "I'm sure we'll find plenty of virgins," he said absently. He found himself walking towards the girl almost without conscious volition, as though led by his stiffened cock. "In fact, I was just thinking..."
"Don't," Puss said, holding out a hand between him and Bess and letting her claws show. "It's not your strong suit. We need twenty-four virgins before the king and his retinue head down this road in a few days, and I don't have the time to indulge your appetites on top of that." She leaned up against the fence, letting her legs spread and her hindquarters show. "If you want to stick that somewhere, you can slip it into me. I won't mind one little bit."
"You?" Gavin said, aghast. "But you're all...furry!"
"Only on the outside," Puss purred. "Inside, I'm just like any other girl." She wiggled her hips a little and twitched her tail. "Find out for yourself."
Gavin held up a hand. "No thank you," he said. "It's nothing personal, you understand. I just remember you when you were less than two feet long and ate mice. It's kind of difficult to get that out of my head." He looked back at Bess. "Are you sure I couldn't just..."
Puss stood up, her fur quite literally ruffled. "Quite sure," she said. "I'm going to make you wealthy and prosperous if I have to drag you along kicking and screaming, thank you ever so much Deepest Magic. We need twenty-four virgins, and we need them fast."
"Why twenty-four?" Gavin asked.
"Because it's twice as impressive as twelve, and four times as impressive as six. And frankly, given that you're a penniless boy with nothing to your name but a cat, a pair of boots, and a stone with a hole in it, you need to be as impressive as you can get in order to catch the attention of the King."
Gavin frowned. "What king?"
"The king," Puss said. "King Mark. He's touring his kingdom after a long border campaign against the giants to the south, surveying the lands and making note of what's been going on while he's been off at the wars. Frankly, we have good timing here. He's scarcely got any idea at all of what's been going on in his kingdom, and passing you off as a nobleman couldn't be easier."
Gavin raised his eyebrows. "How do you know all this?"
"I listen." Puss still sounded a little sulky over having her offer of sex rejected. "People don't tend to worry if a cat is listening when they talk. Now come on, we've got a lot of walking to do and a lot of girls to talk to." With that, she headed down the road, and Gavin fell into step beside her.
Bess, of course, trotted obediently behind them.
Three days, fifty miles, and twenty-three virgins later, and Gavin was beginning to feel quite put out with his 'benefactor'. Puss had found a number of girls whose past behavior had made them quite unsuitable for her purposes, but had she let Gavin touch a single one? No, she had not. She'd set those girls to cooking them meals, cleaning their clothes, or giving them a place to sleep, but afterwards, she'd set them free without giving Gavin even a single chance to dip his wick.
Gavin could tell it was just out of jealousy. Puss didn't even try very hard to hide it. She refused to take any clothing, leaving herself shamelessly naked save for the red boots. Every time he brought up sex, she suggested that she would make a far better bedwarmer than any of the mindless girls she'd enslaved. By this point, though, he was determined not to sleep with her as much out of obstinacy as anything else. He'd be damned if he went crawling to her now, just because his cock was like an iron bar in his trousers and his balls ached with every waking moment. There were so many pretty young human girls; why would he decide to rut with a beast?
That, of course, seemed to have made Puss as obstinate in her desire to have him as he was to avoid her, and just as irritated with him as he was with her. By the time they stopped by the far side of the river, all they'd been doing for some time was bickering about sex. So when she said, "Strip out of those clothes, Gavin," it certainly didn't seem unusual.
Gavin sighed heavily. "We've already gone over this, Puss," he snapped. Behind them, the girls chattered amiably in the manner of servants everywhere, their minds now only loosely held in the grip of trance until such time as Puss needed them to go deeper. "I don't wish to seem ungrateful for your services to myself and my family, but I wasn't the one who added 'and your children and your children's children' to the end of that promise, now was I? The way I see it, it's this 'Deepest Magic' thing that owes you a roll in the hay, not me."
"Believe it or not, Gavin," Puss said, "I am able to think about more than just sex with you. My hearing's better than a human's, and I can hear hoofbeats approaching and the creak of carriage wheels. That means the King's party is coming. They're not far off, either. And since humans don't have enough taste to like a good strong smell on their manfolk, you need to wash off a bit in the river before you're fit to meet the king."
"What about you?" Gavin grumbled, pulling his shirt off. "You're almost completely naked, and the only bathing you've been doing is licking yourself off at night!"
"Ever hear the expression 'A cat may look at a king'?" Puss said. "It works both ways, especially when the cat has breasts like these. He might be surprised, but he certainly won't mind."
Gavin finished stripping. "Alright," he said, wading into the river as Puss followed his movements with her eyes. "But--but..." He ducked down into the cool water, hiding his body from view. "At least stop enjoying this!" he cried out.