Project Update: Chapter 9 || One Key to Rule Them All
Chaos erupts. The dragon cat rears on its back legs, smoke exploding from its mouth as it tries to locate the source of the overwhelming catnip smell. By now, the scent is everywhere, flooding everyone’s senses. Seconds later, the creature shoots out a jet of fire that sends a small stall up in flames.
Abitail whelps, evading another shot of blue flame. “Okay, I hate to say this, but I don’t think we can subdue this guy. We need help.”
Tuff blinks. “Aren’t you part of a summoners guild? Tame it or something.”
Abitail grimaces. “Yeah, some of our guild maybe could because they’re crazy enough, but I think they’re probably part of the main expedition party.” Her hands glow as she pulls up a magical wall to avoid a spray of debris. “Someone needs to get Soot, and maybe Olivier.”
They don’t have time to ask who that is before they avoid another burst of flame that carves molten black patterns in the ground and are separated. Fluff and Floof look at each other, then Floof nods at her twin who starts spinning healing spells in the air.
Fluff taps Gray and Tuff. “C’mon guys, we need to get that Prince out of harm's way. I’ll help direct Floof’s spells. The fire shouldn’t hurt you for now.”
The obvious warning of ‘for now’ hung in the air as the two male cats shrugged off their nervousness, pulling out their weapons and turning back to the scene. Tuff breathes in once, then moves first, baring his teeth at the dragon and running in, capturing the dragon cat’s attention and the fire hits his shield and sword.
Gray takes this as his queue and darts in, grabbing the Prince’s paw roughly and dragging him back, throwing him away from the action. The Prince goes willingly enough, something in his face saying that he realizes that his plan was incredibly dumb and not thought out.
A voice booms over them, and they look up to see a small black cat standing on the edge of the rooftop, holding a long rope in his paws. “You, warrior, pull him over here. Rogue, get that carriage door closed and get it out of here.”
Tuff follows the command because it seems like a better option than letting the dragon cat melt his newly-purchased sword, and Gray leaps toward the carriage, slamming it shut. Seconds later, the black cat jumps through the air, landing deftly on the crowd of the dragon cat’s head, muzzling him with the rope and jerking him back as if controlling a mount.
The dragon cat, eyes blown, wheels backward in coiled circles, and crashes through the fence. The rest of the adventurers rapidly run after them, and find them in a messy pile. The black cat leaps back first, then the dragon cat rises, its entire body bristling in the motion.
The singing of magic fills the air, as Catalina appears behind them all with her small summon, and Pesto walks a few steps before shooting a giant jet of water in the dragon cat’s face. The dragon cat is yet again thrown back, but when it rises this time, it seems to blink away the daze of the catnip and glances at them all warily.
Catalina sighs, collecting Pesto into her arms. “Dragon cats aren’t violent creatures. If it was coming into the city, it wanted something. Do something about it. And this Prince.”
She leaves as quickly as she’d come, leaving a confused Prince in her wake, who stares at the whole scene with a slight hint of embarrassment. The dragon cat’s attention is immediately on him, eyes narrowing again to slits.
“The King sent me on a mission… to capture you,” the Prince starts to say.
Surprising everyone, the dragon cat sits, its long tail curling around itself. “Dumb cat. Dragons are not captured.” Its teeth bare and smoke trickles out, but in a way that looks far less lethal than before. “I look for my friend, but need help. The lich takes, and I cannot follow.”
“Your friend?” Tuff questions, and the dragon cat eyes him.
“Yes, Unknown. He is small. Bad at making friends. Easily lost.” The dragon cat huffs. “I have many shiny objects. Will you trade for your help?”
Abitail’s eyes go large and she steps in before Gray can shoot down this offer. “Please show us.”
The dragon cat pulls out a small bag, and begins placing items down in front of them. There seems to be a little of everything, and Fluff sees a set of keys on the ground and recognizes the shape of the ring. She pulls out the chest that Nightshade had given them and taps the top, with the same pattern engraved into it. “That’s the key,” she exclaims.
While Abitail is still pouring over negotiations to ‘save’ this friend, Tuff picks up the little keys and holds them up. “Should we open the chest?”
Happy post-Halloween! Sorry for just getting this update out now. Yesterday was a bit of a mess travelling back from Atlanta, and I got swept up trying to fix some other documentation. Was also feeling a little off today/yesterday - not COVID, thankfully - but gotta keep trucking. 9 days left of the campaign!! :D
Next update I'll also show off the new variants for the D20 unlocked with the stretch goals! Each maker will have their unique coloration. These are the two AA are debating - thoughts?
Any other colorations you'd like to see?
🐾Mel, Jess and Venetia