I am Sergei. No, not the rather large fellow in the ice cream ads who said you look like his sister and he will crush you. Hmph. More mind-bleed from Angel, I suppose.
I’m Sergei the shinobi, and this night-dimmed day, I run with cats, the mooncats of Dream.
We seek the missing grandchild of a matronly colonel in the army of cats. There are only two options I see before me: to ensure the safety and well being of the old queen’s granddaughter, or to enact my own unique and rather unforgiving brand of vengeance for any harm done to either.
I’m in the process of formulating a third, just in case, though there may be some risk. I formulate a basic idea, then file it in my mental cabinet labelled “amusing but completely batshit failsafe plan that just might piss off Angel if I have to carry it out” and putting it aside for the task at head.
We journey to the Moon, unlit by the Sun, of course, but still there, myself being carried along with the cats by synchronizing my leap with theirs.
But that’s the easy part. The fun begins when we find the colonel’s grandchild. As we soar through Dreamspace, the Moon begins to faintly shine of its own light. It is an analogue of the Waking World’s Moon, and yet not, it seems as we get closer to its surface.
It seems an altogether different world, yet oddly familiar. I push the thought from my mind as I note the seas of pitch, the cratered face covered with fungal forests, and mountain peaks taller than any on Earth reaching into the dimly lit grey sky.
Even here, the light of the Sun does not reach.
We land, and my legs go lax as my feet touch ground, the soil oddly firm, not at all like the dust trod in the Apollo moonwalks of the waking world. More mind-bleed? Probably. I raise myself to my feet, making sure to position myself with the local terrain features for best effect.
I go into tactical mode and my eyes minutely scan the area, alert for any sign of barghests or kitten, the old colonel trilling and softly mewing a command to the others and myself. I follow her lead, quietly telling her all I see in the fewest possible words, and despite my human speech, she understands it all.
Perhaps by some coincidence, I’m speaking a language common among humans in their region of dream…but no matter.
There are signs of recent passage here, the matronly Persian says with a purr and a soft hiss, this is the likely landing spot of our foes. Our shinobi says there are signs of flight, kitten prints in the ground, here, and here, and here are barghest tracks in pursuit.
The colonel points with her paw to the spoor left by those we seek. I begin thinking of roast barghest on a spit over an open fire, using Angel’s favorite cooking spices to liven the taste up perhaps, but I find such thoughts distracting, and banish them. We follow the trail, which leads to a forest of phosphorescent shelf fungi, themselves growing from the stems of enormous mushrooms of dull colors, mostly browns, olives, and luminescent greys.
The trail terminates at a low-mouthed cave among the fungal forest. There are signs of a struggle, some fluid, what type I’m not sure, but bluish, so not the blood of a kitten barely two months old. Probably of her assailants, and I signal the colonel, who purrs an order to the sturdy old toms with us to take defensive positions outside the cave entrance.
A plaintive mew comes from the cave. A good sign. The old queen tells me likewise, that her granddaughter yet lives. Dark and twisted thoughts cross my mind unbidden concerning the possible fates of the missing kitten, but the colonel has seen and won more battles than I against the most horrid foes by the look of her, and I follow her lead.
I draw my blades silently, as I do, and the colonel and I step unseen and unheard into the cave entrance, swiftly as thought and concealed in shadow the two of us.
Today we save a life, or avenge one. But either way, blue ichor shall be spilt. Death and destruction shall have Her fill. Even if the price is mine to pay. It matters not to me. I’ve made a deal, and I will see it through to completion.