Cat Madigan is back, bitch!
Sorry. That was rude.
But I’m back. And I need to catch up on Delirium. Starting now.
“Okay, we’re moving,” Daniel said.
“What? What’s going on?” I was dragged away from Daniel’s desk where I had been sketching.
“Papa Willis isn’t on the network,” he said.
“What? He was last time.”
“And now he’s not.” He pulled me out into the hall, nearly running down the stairs.
“Daniel, stop for a moment,” I told him. He slowed down, but only to a pace. “I have to tell him that we’re going.”
“In case he can help us!”
He groaned. “If he could, he would’ve-”
“Daniel, please, let me try.”
Daniel sighed. “Fine. Just wait till we reach the armoury. I’ll get us some backup so you can get back to Reality for a bit.”
“Agreed.” He then broke off into a sprint again, this time with me following closely, with the crowds of people watching us pass by.
Upon reaching the door, I immediately dropped. When I opened my eyes, I was in my room again. “Okay…” I grabbed my iPad and typed in my message for Papa Willis. Five minutes passed, and there was still no answer. “Crap!”
Then Mum came in. “I need you to set the table, dinner’s in ten. And fix your bloody room!” She popped out just as quickly as she came.
I had no choice. “Kaya!” I hissed. No answer. So I screamed internally, because actual screaming would alert the household, KAYAAAAAAA!
What? Her sudden appearance shocked me. She spoke as if she had been there all along.
“Gods sake…” I hissed. “Listen, can you take care of things here? We’re off to get Willis.”
About time. What am I allowed to do?
“Interact with the family only if they speak to you. Do not yell at anyone, do not kill anyone. And Mum wants the table set and my room clean.” I thought for a moment. “And I need to wash my hair too.”
I can have a shower? Kaya’s voice sounded happier.
“Yes, you may.” I listened for footsteps before sitting down on my bed.
I opened my eyes to see the last person I expected to encounter again. “What are you doing in the armoury? I would’ve thought that was beneath you.”
The woman rolled her eyes. “It is. It also happens to be where you are. So I am here.”
I sat up. “What do you want?”
“You’re going to save your little human friend. Why? Isn’t Daniel good enough for your bed?” she taunted.
“Are you here to spite me or do you have something to tell me which is actually useful?” I returned. I was tired of this so-called woman of fire. She kept trying to get a rise out of me, even in the most inappropriate circumstances. It was for that reason that I could never take her seriously. If she was capable of something other than mocking me, then I would probably have been hurt by her words. But alas, she wasn’t.
“I do,” she informed me, though it was clear to me that her words were just as likely to be bluster instead of actual advice. “I suggest that you prepare yourself for the worst.”
“Let me rephrase my previous remark…whatever the hell your name is. Do you have any information that can actually help me?”
“My name is Emisair of Fire, and that was it,” she told me. “You know what they’ve done. You of all people know what they’ve done. And you of all people can imagine what could’ve happened to that boy.”
“Of course I can imagine it. Why do you think I going after him?”
“That’s my point,” Emisair mused. “Why are you going after him when he’s already dead?”
“If he’s not, he’s a very lucky man. But you wouldn’t be rushing about the castle if you were so confident about his chance of survival.”
“Papa Willis is my dearest friend in the world,” I informed her. “I would probably do anything for him, and if I can save him, then I will, and nothing you say will stop me!”
She watched me as I got up off the ground and brushed myself off. I was walking away from her, towards the forgery, when she called after me. “Since when do you care about a lost life?”
“Since when don’t I?”
“Don’t you know?” Her voice became a purr. “You’re the hangwoman, Cat Madigan. How many people have you killed now? Can you even count that amount?”
I gritted my teeth, ready with my answer. “If I could change what I had done, I would,” I told her. “But I would never have touched them if-”
Emisair walked in front of me. “That’s why I’m not calling you a murderer,” she replied. “But you’re not far off that. It’s easy to justify whatever you’ve done wrong. But then you keep justifying it, until you no longer need a reason, you can just…” She ran her long nail across the flesh of her dark throat. “That is all I have to say.”
“…good.” We stood there, the two of us, until she sighed and turned on her foot, leaving the armoury. With that, I headed towards the hot furnace that was the forgery. I had never seen this place before, but I could see why Daniel might’ve kept me away. When the smiths looked up and saw me, my ears were suddenly filled with catcalls and whistles. One of them called out, “Oi Daniel! This ‘ere ‘yer little sweet’eart?” That was when all of them came over and surrounded me, and somehow, the leering and comments became worse.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t as uncomfortable as one would assume. Instead of shrinking away from them, I just laughed. The smiths were only teasing me, and if they knew about me and Daniel, then they knew that Daniel would crucify them if they laid a hand on me.
Which is why I didn’t recoil when two arms snaked around me and held me close. “Hello,” I said.
He just laughed and his hands gripped my waist. Suddenly, I was lifted into the air, and over Daniel’s shoulder. “Oi! Put me down!” I yelled, much to the entertainment of the men. He ignored me and walked out of the forgery, the laughter following us out.
Daniel closed the door behind us, and the laughter was muffled. “My dear sir,” I began.
He lifted my body and held me up in the air for a while. “Yes, I understand completely,” I told him. “You have muscles. You can lift Cat-Madigan-sized objects. You’re also not wearing a shirt. And your eyepatch makes you look badass.” He grinned and put me down on the ground. “Will that satisfy your vanity for one day?” I queried.
“How’d you get your strength back this fast by the way? Didn’t you lose enough blood to fill a Cat Madigan?”
He grimaced. “Lots of herbal stuff from Jhaq. I just get tired now and then.”
I frowned. “You going to be okay for this?”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine.”
“What’s the plan?” I questioned.
“First, this.” Daniel held out a thin, gleaming object. Tentatively, I took it. “Not your usual type of stiletto, but still.”
“That’s what it’s called,” he explained. “You like it?”
It’s a knife, I realised. One perfect for a Cat Madigan. I grinned. “Cool. Much cooler than roses.”
“So you don’t want roses?”
“I’ve never been given roses before…”
“Back to the situation at hand…” Daniel began. “You know your way around, don’t you?”
“…a little bit. I remember Willis’ cell, but I’m not sure how long it would take to find it.”
He nodded. “We need to find Noah, then we’ll be off. Plan of attack is to set off some distraction which they’ll chase after. Then it’s just a matter of silently making our way through the place, got it?”
“Yup. I can be quiet. Silent as a cat.”
A couple hours later:
“FUCK, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!” I screamed as I sprinted through the halls, the monsters slowly gaining on me. This a good enough distraction, Daniel?
I then saw the dilapidated wall leading out toward the rocks and I jumped. Not my body though; my body dropped as I fell out of it, and my shadow stood in front of it at the ready. The monsters saw me as I was, and raised their blades.
I’m not afraid. I am the mad cat, and I will kill them too.