tagSci-Fi & FantasyPuppeteer Ch. 04

Puppeteer Ch. 04


Many thanks to my beta, Cassiopeia! Without her this would be hardly readable!


Arriving at Arrandar

I woke up with a groan. I raised a hand to my pain-throbbing head and opened my eyes. My vision was still blurry and I blinked to get my surroundings to stop spinning and shifting. A sharp rock that stabbed in my thigh made me painfully aware that I was naked and laid on the ground. I lifted my head and saw Sorr'an using me as a pillow. Again! Though this time he was bare and he actually felt great on me. A wave of pain and qualm distracted my thoughts.

"Urgh... You know kitty, if it wasn't for you being delirious and me feeling like I boozed for three days while working in a quarry non-stop, I would say that I rather like waking up with you sprawled over me." I carefully rolled him off of me and sat up, pressing my palms against my forehead and temples.

A heftier wave of nausea washed over me and I stumbled to my feet and out of the cave. The next tree was mine and I supported myself on its trunk while I heaved up. 'Good bye trout, hope you had a nice trip in my stomach.' was my last thought before I lost the content of my stomach to the forest soil. My eyes got watery and a stray tear rolled down my cheek as the color of the puke took a red staining, indicating that my stomach was empty but didn't calm down. Finally the retching died down and I rested my forehead against the bark, trying to settle down.

After a moment I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and stood up straight. I felt a little better, weaker but the queasiness almost gone. I spat to the ground, an insistent acidic and tart taste in my mouth, my throat sore and aching.

'Fucking fine. Way to spend the day. Carry a catboy through the middle of nowhere, transport with him by draining your power and puke your last five meals and then some.' I groaned. 'Though on the other hand you undressed him, had him on top of you twice, once at least on his own will, so it's not that bad, right?' "Shut up!" I said to the voice in my head that provided me with the second thought -- and the matching mental pictures.

I shakily returned to the cave where I found my kitten curled in a fetal position in a corner. I stood over him, looking down. I wouldn't be able to carry him all the way to Arrandar and he was naked. I thought having a bare cathuman plastered to my back would get me stares even in the anonymity of a city as big as Arrandar.

"Sorr'an?" No reaction. I nudged him with my foot. "Sorr'an!" Another nudge. No reaction. I sighed, kneeled down and felt his forehead. I pulled my hand away quickly. I was sure you could fry an egg on his skin this moment. "Shit!" I cursed silently to myself. I picked him up and staggered out of the cave to a tall and protruding tree.

"I don't know if you can hear me and I know you don't understand me, but yeah. Don't freak, Sorr'an!" I got no answer and shrugged, then concentrated. I tried to make a connection but there was a resistance I wasn't expecting. Sure, I was tired but he was unconscious and sick so there shouldn't be any mental barrier. It took me several tries but then my hands had silvery strings attached to his body. I directed him to the tree and made him climb up several meters and lay down on a broad branch. 'I hope you're safe there.'

I reached into the space-time pocket of my vest and pulled out a trouser. Well, loincloth would have been a better term. I put it on and looked up to the catboy who rested on the tree. "I'll be back. Don't die on me now, after all the hassle I went through for you!" With these words I took off to Arrandar.

I arrived at the gates to the big city. I was dressed in a long, simple cloak I stole off a clothesline from some outskirt house I came across. A middle aged woman with a kid in her arms clamored at me till I pierced her with my gaze, which made her stop her ranting instantly.

I was tired and my legs were heavy when I passed the guards. It was late afternoon, the sun already touching the horizon, hot, dusty air made breathing difficult. No one paid attention to me; the hood of the cloak hiding my face I was just another anonymous traveler visiting the city to spend the night. I walked through the busy streets, people crowding around me.

When I reached my destination I stood in front of a big manor. There were fewer people in this street -- well alley would be a better term. The massive iron gates guarded the estate from unwanted visitors. I rattled a rope and heard low ringing from the mansion. A moment later the door opened, a somewhat surreal looking man came to the gates and scrutinized me. I pulled back my hood and he addressed me.

"Master Niven. It's nice to see you. You want to see the Lord?"

"Yes Gerald. Would you be so kind?"

"Of course. Please follow me, Master Niven."

He opened the gates, invited me in and closed them after me. He led me through the house into the second level to the library. He pushed the door open, stepped in and raised his voice.

"Lord Korondar. Master Niven is here."

A middle aged man with silver-white hair and a well trimmed beard looked up in surprise, removed his reading glasses and squinted his eyes.

"Niven?" He stood up, crossed the room and placed his hands on my shoulders. "Niven, it's you!" He embraced me and I returned the hug. When he withdrew he lifted an eyebrow. "You look like shit."

"Thank you, it's nice to see you, too. And you're as charming as ever, Arias."

He laughed and then spoke to his servant. "You may leave now, Gerald."

I shook my head. "No, please stay. I have a favor to ask, Arias."

He snorted and grinned a little. "Should have guessed so. You never just visit to see me and have some wine, hmm?"

I smiled tiredly. "I'd like to tease back, but I have someone who needs your help -- fast, that is."

He furrowed his brows and then looked around me. "Who?"

I sighed. "He's at the Versetzer."

He blinked and his gaze darkened. "You used that thing? Together with someone? You didn't pay for him, too, did you?"

I massaged my temples. "Please Arias, not now. Help him or my effort would be going down the drain!"

"Okay, but we'll have a serious talk about this, my boy!" He nodded and motioned at Gerald. "Have two horses ready now!" Arias looked at me. "Or do we need more transportation?"

I shook my head. Gerald rushed out of the room and Arias sighed. "You're unpredictable Niven! You never do what people tell you!"

I had to laugh a little. "Things would get boring otherwise, right?"

He snorted then steered me through the mansion. "Gerald should have the horses ready. Come on, let's bring him here."

I nodded and followed him although I knew my way around his house perfectly. We arrived at a stable addition to his house which was quite impressive. Arias was quite the horse aficionado in contrast to me. I never was fond of those hay gluttons. I have two healthy legs and I don't need a sore ass at the end of a day just for getting a little further. Then you have to feed them! I mean, look at that huge dentition! Hell no, I rely on my own strength to get to where I want to.

But now I was glad that we were going to ride back to my catboy. Exhaustion got to me, more so now that some part of the tension fell off after arriving at Arias'.

Arriving at the mews Gerald held two bridles in his hands. One was attached to a brown, old mare that I've ridden often in the past. She was a calm and good girl, a little slow but that worked in my favor. The other bridle connected to the stallion from hell. Black, big and wild! His eyes glowed dark red and you could see a fire aura billowing around him. He focused on me and I swear he grinned devilishly at me. I rode him once because Arias kept prodding me and I still can feel my tailbone ache from the resulting downfall.

"You still keep this horse from the netherworld?" The stallion snorted at my words.

"Arjunoor is the best I've ever had." Arias grinned at me and I could have sworn that this devil's horse chuckled!

"The best you've ever had? I didn't know you swing that way!" This got me an angry neigh and a lifted eyebrow.

"Well, if I'd go for cocks I'd go for Arjunoor. I'm sure he's better developed in this department then you are." This time the equine demon whinnied approvingly, rubbed his muzzles against Arias' shoulder and again grinned at me.

"Whatsoever. You two seem a little bit too friendly with each other." I mounted my good old mare and Arias did the same then grabbed the reins, Arjunoor neighed ferally and stood on his hind limbs and then thundered through the open mansion gate and Rosalinde, my mare, trotted after him.

At the end of sunset; the sky in dark indigo shades, deep carmine where the sun had vanished behind the horizon; we reached the tree where I left my kitten. I dismounted and climbed up the tree to where Sorr'an laid. He was still unconscious, so I lifted him on my back and descended from a tree.

"Oh, I see you already get to know each other quite well, hmm?" I just glared at Arias because I was tired and I knew that he knew that it's extremely draining to transport unanimated objects with the Versetzer. He grinned and then handed me a blanket from his saddlebag. I wrapped it around the naked form of my catboy and Arias extended his arms. "Give... well is it a boy or a girl?"

"A boy."

"Well, then give him to me." When I hesitated for a second he added: "Arjunoor is much stronger then Rosalinde and I ride much better then you, so it won't be a problem to keep him steady." With a lot of effort I lifted Sorr'an towards Arias who took him but struggled a lot to get him on Arjunoor's back. "Holy, he's heavier then he looks! I thought he was a boy."

"I think he's full-grown."

Arias lifted an eyebrow. "Full-grown?" He suddenly blinked and felt under the blanket. "Do you know that your "boy" has a tail?"

"Well, actually he has two. But yeah, he also has cat ears." I nodded.

"He's a Katze?"

"What do I know, he has a cat tail, cat ears but I think the rest is quite human. Can we please return and treat him or we can wait and I'm sure in some hours you can perform an autopsy on him to see what else is cattish!" I mounted Rosalinde and spurred her, hearing a chuckle from behind me.

With Arias' popularity it was no problem to get through the city gates even after sunset and soon Sorr'an laid on a bed, the upper part of his body naked, the bandage on his shoulder removed. Arias stood beside him, bent down and examined the bolt-hole, Gerald behind him. "When did this happen?"

"Three days ago. Bounty hunters shot him."

"Weird..." Arias shut his eyes and dipped his index finger quite deep into the wound, a small groan emitting the mouth of my kitten. "Really weird. That's Scharfgras, an essence of a poisonous plant."

"Why would bounty hunters use such a slowly working poison?"

"That's what's weird. Scharfgras normally takes effect a lot faster. After one minute you start to lose your equilibrium sense, you get feverish and after two minutes it feels like your body is on fire. You lose consciousness after 4 minutes at the latest. In most cases the poisoned person dies within ten minutes because the body temperature keeps rising and rising. Oh, and if you get the poison directly into your circulation, like our lad here, all these time spans halve."

"But he was able to fight and even to run with the bolt in his shoulder for hours! And he lost consciousness this noon!"

"I know and that's what so weird. He must be resistant and heavily so. He's a lot tougher then he looks."

"You should have seen him fight!"

Arias took a deep breath. "Okay, let's remove the poison from his body. Gerald, get ready!" The servant nodded. Arias laid four fingers at the edge of the wound and only stuck his middle finger into the gash. He began to murmur words I couldn't understand and his head fell to his chest. Suddenly Sorr'an quivered and Arias' breath quickened. A blue-black, viscous fluid crawled up his finger and diffused into his palm.

This went on for a few minutes, then the stream abated and Arias' eyes fluttered open and he turned around to where Gerald was waiting, an earthen bucket in his hands. Arias bent over it, opened his mouth and the same liquid poured out of his nose and mouth. When it all left his body, my friend spit out and then placed his right hand over the wound in Sorr'an's shoulder and reached for Gerald's neck. The servant gasped and went limp, only maintained on his feet with the help of Arias' hand.

Arias seemed to vibrate with energy and Sorr'an's bolt-wound started to heal in front of my eyes. It closed and after a moment the spot was completely unmarred. My friend then moved his hand to the two gashes on his other shoulder and to the deep scratch on his jaw line. The same happened here, no scars or any signs that my catboy was heavily wounded some moments ago.

My friend let go of Sorr'an and Gerald and the servant woke up from his trance like state. His face looked more haggardly and his shoulders hung low, his eyelids drooped. "You may go and rest for the night, Gerald."

"Very well, Lord Korondar. Good night Master Niven."

"Good night Gerald. Thank you." Gerald smiled weakly at me and then silently left the room.

"What, I don't get a thank you?" Arias asked me.

"Thank you Arias."

My friend blinked and frowned. "What no teasing or telling me that it was the least I could do?"

"New tactic. This way you never know when the blow comes." I grinned a little. "But you said he's a Katze. You know that race?"

"Only a little. I read about them once. Regarding to my memory this guy is quite tall for them. The book didn't provide much information about them anyway. Where did you meet him?"

"Anarkon forest, near some small village. He was hunted by some bounty hunters and I happened to help him." I hit my forehead when I suddenly remembered something. I walked to the bed and turned Sorr'an on his stomach and pulled back the blanket.

"Okay, so much to modesty."

"Never knew what it was good for. And it's not like you are the one to talk here. Whenever a pair of big tits walks by your eyes practically jump out of their sockets and hop into the décolleté."

Arias smirked. "Like you wouldn't watch. Oh, and I don't want anything from this catboy here, so you don't have to touch his butt so possessively."

I blushed lightly and slowly retreated the hand that somehow had come to rest on one of his butt cheeks. "Yeah, you just go back to your horse."

Arias lifted an eyebrow. "I don't go for horses. This lad here just has a little too much southwards and way too few in the chest region, that's all. Oh and why did you pull back the blanket? Just to show me his ass or better: to ogle it yourself?"

I sighed and snapped my eyes back to his face. I grabbed the limp tail of Sorr'an and showed it to Arias. "They chopped of a part of his tail. I forgot earlier, should I wake Gerald?"

Arias examined the stump and shook his head. "I can't heal this wound. Look at this tail, is has muscles and blood vessels, it's like a limb. I am not able to re-grow a limb if I don't know how it works and even then it is complicated. You don't happen to have the cut-off piece with you?"

"Oh no, I'm sorry, between getting attacked and covered with anti-magic dust and fleeing with a wounded catboy for three days I forgot to look for it. And I also didn't ask the gentleman's name who hacked off the tail."

"That's more like you. Sarcasm is what I'm used from your mouth. And anti-magic dust? Tell me the whole story!"

So I told Arias the events of the last three days. I ended my story with :"So, now you know. Hey, stop petting his tail!"

"Mhhh, it's fluffy and feels great, don't you think?"

"How would I know, I don't molest people in their sleep!"

"I doubt that statement and if it's true, you should try it sometimes!" Arias grinned at me, leaned forward and put a hand on my shoulder. "You have a crush on him!"

My eyes went wide as saucers and I gaped at him. "Come again?!"

His grin transformed into joyful smirk. "You have a crush on him as huge as Hannaror's treasure room. You're nuts about him and nuts is a keyword here!"

My face blanked. "It happened. Finally you've snapped. It was just a question of time, I always knew it."

"Don't deny it, or why's your hand on his ass again?"

I looked down and swore silently to my traitorous limb. "Well, you have to admit he's having a great butt, so perhaps I just want sex with him?"

"Well, if you just wanted to screw him, you could have done so earlier; you didn't have to drag him through the country for three days. And he wouldn't even fight you!"

"That's right, but I like the praise I get afterwards and he was in no condition to do so."

"So, what did he do or say to make you fall so hard."

"Stop saying this or you'll fall hard - down the stairs. And well, he pissed on me!"

"I always knew you were having some weird kinks, but I didn't know you go for water games. But that can't be all, right?!"

"Well, he said 'Mrgsrbl' or so, fought for me, got ill and lost consciousness, that's all. So I hardly could have fallen for him!"

Arias smiled brightly. "I see, now I know why he got under this thick skin of yours so easily."

"He got nowhere!"

"Then why did you help him in the first place?"

"Erm... Well, it was five against one?"

My friend snorted. "As if you'd care for shit like this. Why did you help him afterwards, even gave him piggy ride?"

"He saved my life when he killed that Randalor?"

"You saved his in the first place, so you were even. Hell, you even paid for him in the Versetzer!" His teasing face faltered and he approached my personal space, looking stern. "You shouldn't use these things, they can kill you."

"I used them before and it was all okay. You showed me how to use them, remember?!"

"For emergencies. These things are so old and they were built while the magic was stronger in people. If you don't pay attention, they suck out all your power and then you won't be able to regenerate!"

"Hell, it was an emergency!"

"No, it was not! You don't know this Katze; you don't even know his name!"



"Sorr'an. That's his name."


"No, Sorr'an. It's not that easily to pronounce. You have to roll the "R" with your tongue and in your throat."

He tried it several times and got a decent result; well what I'd call decent, I don't know with Sorr'an. "Okay, so he speaks our language?"

"No, that's the only thing we could converse about."

"Okay, but Niven, listen! Never ever use the Versetzer together with him. Or get someone else to pay for him. These things can get greedy. Promise me!" I looked at him and just lifted an eyebrow. "Damn, you don't get it!" He sighed and stepped back a little. "Anyway, but what do you plan to do regarding the language barrier?"

"I don't know. You don't have an elixir?"

"No, Magica Communicatia isn't my area of expertise. You know who to ask." He grinned at me meanly.

I groaned. "Oh no, not her. I don't want to ask her anything!"

"Well, you can also kick the catboy out. He's healed and I think tomorrow he will wake up and then after a decent meal you can boot him out. Though I don't know why you saved him then in the first place..."

"What do you mean?"

"Oh start using this thing on your neck called a head! He'll be lost; he can't communicate and doesn't know where he is. I even doubt he ever was in a big city before. And he's obviously not human. Why do you think these bounty hunters were chasing him?"

"I don't know. Perhaps he committed a crime?"

"Don't judge others by your own standard! I've heard they are coveted pleasure slaves once you break their will. Don't ask from where I know this. Or the other possibility is that they were after his tail. The book I have my little information about the Katzes from has one entry about their tail being a very powerful aphrodisiac. I don't know if this is true; I never had problems in this department;" he winked at me, "but on my travels to the south and east people would pay a fortune for just a piece of it!"

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