Last time on The Shadow Cats, a jaguar broke into the castle, and Lupita went missing. Is Lupita still alive? Find out after the cut.
Part 1: Gathering a Rescue Party
I cannot sleep, not while the soldiers are out searching. I stand on the wall and watch their torches wink and flash as they wind through the hills. And I’m still awake long after midnight, when the last of the men returns empty-handed. The wedding is scheduled to take place the sunrise after this one, but based on the crying and arguing that rings through the castle late into the night, I am certain it will be canceled.
Alodia really wants this wedding to take place. And, okay, she’s kinda worried about Lupita. So she gets dressed for adventuring and heads out to the eastern garden. There, she runs into Zito, who was also worried about Lupita and decided to investigate things.
Zito noticed a few odd things in the garden: there’s far too much blood around for a jaguar attack, and there’s two sets of claw marks at two different locations on the wall. So apparently Elisa’s assessment of the scene was right. Alodia still manages to criticize Elisa for not combining her book smarts with actual real-life experience, though.
Anyway, Alodia wants to find the jaguar before the soldiers resume their search after breakfast. She thinks that she could easily track down the jaguar and kill it, since it will be tired. And besides, if she returns with the jaguar’s body, she’ll be hailed as a hero and the wedding will go on as scheduled. So she and a reluctant Zito climb over the garden wall and head into the jungle to find the jaguar.
Part 2: A Wild Jaguar Appears!
Hours later, I’m beginning to recognize this trek as foolhardiness. I hate giving up on anything, but we’ve seen no sign of the cat, and my ankle is swelling. I’m about to suggest we turn back when we come face-to-face with a steep slope of loose rock, marked by dark spots that might be caves or shadows or pockets of vegetation. The air is still – too still. No birds sing, even though the sun now edges the eastern horizon.
And then this happens to Zito — well, the surprise attack part, that is. Caution: language is NSFW.
Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:
Alodia’s not quite Pimped-Out Adventuring Outfit: riding breeches, stiff leather vest, calfskin boots.
Alodia has been in love only once in her life. It didn’t go well.
Alodia tweaks her ankle when she jumps over the wall. This will bite her in the ass later.
It’s Translation Time!
Translations of Spanish and Spanish-influenced words in this chapter:
- Princesita = Little Princess (Zito’s nickname for Alodia)
Next time: a boss battle.