Down the hallway Stealth traveled, with a hop to his step, not for jovial reasons but to get the task done and be out of the keep’s oppressive confines. Granted, it’s miserable this time of year outside but this hall seemed particularly gloomy to the courier.
And such a task made the cheetah reminiscent of that incident in the kitchens a few months prior.
However, despite the doom and gloom of the surroundings, a rather pleasant sight greeted him. Flanked by statues a small spread had been carefully laid out. Another gift from Kyia? No one else around to claim it but the cat.
Stealth gratefully snatched up one of the offerings, popped it in his muzzle and continued on his way.
I emerged from behind the statue where the blasted thing wedged itself. Where in blazes that breeze came from in the middle of an enclosed structure was beyond me. There wasn't even any windows in the hallway! This entire blasted keep was one giant mire of curses.
I sat down at the foot of the statue next to my carefully laid-out lunch. Ugh. I was beginning to accept I would never find this mythical "library"... Perhaps I was the butt of a joke every single person I ever met was in on. I had given up asking directions, knowing too well the morons that wondered the hall were too inept to give a straight answer.
Knowing I would spend my entire day off wandering this labyrinth of nonsensical passages, I packed a lunch this time. I did not expect to be so lost I would have to consume it in a random hallway lined with menacing armored statues... Ugh. My feet were too sore to continue. Time to eat.
I set my quill down next to my parchment, and went to pick up my— what in blazes—?! A bare wrapping stood in place of my jerky... I could have sworn I didn't touch it yet... I scratched my head fur with a claw. Blast, I really am losing my mind...
At that moment the uppermost parchment in the stack of notes I intended to take with me to the library blew off in a furious breeze. Blast it! I scampered off to chase it to its hiding spot behind another of the statues, crawling on my hands and knees to reach it...
Finally. With the package delivered the cat courier headed back down the corridor in the opposite direction. Stealth instinctively glanced at the statues in the spot that held a small banquet. Just as before, the area remained vacant except for the food.
He took another food item and quickly tore it up in his mouth while continuing on his way.
I slammed the delinquent flying paper upon the table-like base of the statue, then placed my pack atop it to protect it from any more such cursed hallway breezes. Ugh. If I knew I would have been utterly unable to locate this blasted library, I wouldn't have even bothered lugging my notes around. I turned to at the very least enjoy what was left of my meal when— what in blazes?!
All that remained was that odd hunk of bread from the over-priced bakery. How?! I folded my ears and sniffed the air. Something wasn't right...
He just had to forget something didn’t he? Didn’t he?
Stealth sighed and walked quickly back down the corridor lined with statues for the third time and of course he spared another glance to the dwindling food display. One item remained. A muffin.
He claimed it and popped it in his muzzle. Then something made him pause, something near where the food had been. He stared at the creature, even without the muffin in his muzzle he’d still be speechless.
"Ah ha!" I screamed, pointing as I leapt from behind the statue's base. "You wretched thief! I'll melt the flesh from your bones!" My outstretched hand erupted in flame as I clenched my fist. The spotted cat's eyes widened in terror as my cloak began to wave upwards at the swirling crimson energy. He turned tail and ran, the last bit of my lunch still in his mouth.
"Blast it!!" I bellowed, taking off after him. Blasted petty thieves think it's funny! As I ran, I reached behind me with tendrils of levitation and collected my pack and any items I left behind. Namely my fork and knife, which hovered above.
I followed the thief this way and that, keeping him in sight at all times. I knew full well I would lose him at any second in this blasted cursed maze otherwise... I supplemented my pumping legs with magic, delaying impending fatigue. I was going to be sore all over the next day, but blast if I was going to let him get away with this. He ducked into a dark corridor, and I added two burning witchlights to the items flying with me to keep the criminal illuminated.
Stealth ran as fast as he bloody well could. And still it seemed that pissed off little fox guy was catching up! The cat considered tipping over the statues but didn’t fancy having to clean up the mess afterwards as he knew the steward would make him, proceeding a lecture from the reptilian.
He entered what must be a tower because the path curved. At the end he literally ran into a hyena morph. The frightened feline grabbed the equally frightened canine-like keeper, “there’s a mad fox kit after me!” He shouted.
The hyena glanced away and back again then burst out laughing. “Pussy!” Vincent called him, “you’re scared of a kit?”
“He’s not just a kit!” The cheetah shouted, “He had a black cloak and these orange glowing witch lights!” Stealth gestured in the air.
The hyena’s cheerful visage turned to ice and he began to tremble. Stealth never did eat the muffin, without another thought the cheetah threw the muffin at the hyena, “here! I don’t want it!”
Vincent’s horror intensified from the small pastry clasped in his paws. He threw it with all his might as far away as he could. It hit the small gray fox as he rounded the bend causing him to loose balance and land on the floor.
The two larger savanna animals both stood in silence for a moment. “What did you do?” Asked the cheetah.
“You made me!” The hyena shouted. Stealth’s retort never left his muzzle as just then the gray fox stirred. Stealth and Vincent promptly scampered away.
Two of them! I didn't get a chance to see what the other looked like before they ducked around the bend. Rubbing my muzzle, I leapt to my feet, re-levitating the items I brought with. "I'll kill you both!!" Unable to take the humiliation any longer, I thrust my hand forward and let loose a brilliant burning sphere after them.
At the very least I had the presence of mind not to pour a huge amount of energy into the spell. It would be a flashy but weak blast with plenty of smoke. The orb rounded the corner and exploded, sending a huge cloud of dust my way.
Growling, I dove into the smoke head on and my visibility reduced to nothing. Flipping my cloak around my nose, I blindly charged forward.
Until I felt nothing under my feet.
I floated there for a moment, my legs kicking in thin air as I realized I just ran off the edge of a balcony. I poured my full strength into levitating myself, but was only strong enough to float for one second...
A tree branch broke my fall, then some shrubbery below that. My knife missed my head by an inch, and my fork landed between my legs. Then my pack, which had been following me the whole time, landed square on my head, exploding and burying me in a pile of papers. I crawled halfway out of the wreckage and drummed my claw upon the cobblestone road the shrubbery lined.
I hate Metamor Keep...