Edwin was standing before me looking rather smug. He'd gotten up from the chair that had kept his head above mine and the chair ceased to exist. That was the least of my concerns. I knew he wasn't simply a supernatural creature, but I wasn't willing to assign him godhead status despite the tales he'd shown me in my thoughts and the skills he had demonstrated. The small cat, barely past kitten stage, was now host to Eddie when he willed his spark into that cat's form. He'd then rather shockingly further showed the talent of domination by slipping up from the cat form into a naked man. That one was going to play well to the dull humans that littered earth. I refrained from showing too many reactions, as I had quickly concluded that he fed off me in a way.
"Delilah, what cat got your tongue?" He taunted.
"No, I just was trying to figure out how precisely following me around will help you retrieve your lost trolls and souls? Hmmmm..." Even resting against my backpack I didn't allow any of my concerns to flavor my words. The little bomb shell of shape-shifting from deities to humans and animals was twirling steadily in my worries. I knew fairy tales of old weren't all fictional works, but to now have to explore the entire pantheon of the Roman and Greek gods wandering around mating with maidens was disconcerting to say the least and a bit terrifying. Not a topic I wished to explore at the moment for sure.
His green eyes glowed in both his male form and the cat's haunted eyes. Jeff wasn't happy with hosting a creature inside his fur, and I could see the cat trying unsuccessfully to push out Eddie. I had stopped petting the cat and I wasn't ready to pet him again quite yet. A bit of evil ran through my thoughts and I casually asked, "So when Jeff gets neutered, will you suffer much?"
"I will not allow Jeff to be operated on, it is not necessary." Noticeably he hadn't answered the question, and I shoved that deep into my mind as something to explore later.
"Okay," I said agreeably, "Eddie, now what? I see you can follow me as Jeff, but does your shiny frame over there," I nodded at him (not the cat) standing over me still, "stay here in the in-between cave?" I had no other term for where we were but that seemed to fit.
Again that marked look of displeasure chased across his features at my question. He really had to work on his poker face if he wanted to pass as a human or a cat. The cat would stand a better chance of being ignored than he would. Jeff must have shoved past Eddie's mind control, because he purred softly and head butted against my hand. Automatically I stroked the cat's ears and earned a slight sigh. Fury lit Eddie's eyes, and I watched him literally will himself to stay still. The glowing and pull of energy was dancing off his frame, but the cat wasn't caving in quite yet.
"Yes, this body remains here," his tone was snotty and he wasn't pleased watching me pet the cat. I was pretty sure he was being pushed into Jeff's hind brain and not feeling anything but anger. I tapped the cat's nose and edged away from the feline as I watched energy shoot out from Eddie back into the cat. Jeff's eyes blinked and they turned back to the green orbs of Eddie's making. I stood and then said, "So how do we do this?"
"I'd rather explain more to you." He wasn't quite ready to let go of the man form in the cave, I guessed.
"Trolls-a-wasting. If you want my help we better roll while I still care," I snipped, and shook off the last bit of dream sleep from my thoughts. I shifted my head right to left and heard the snap-crackle-pop of my kinks working out and a pulse of my hunter energy soothed my nerves. Picking up my backpack, I was ready.
"We'll do it your way, for now." And Eddie scooped up the cat and dropped him into my arms. There was a sparkle of blue-silver and the link grew fuzzy as did my eyes. Then I stumbled and fell into nowhere ending up in the church where I'd first been. The musty air still danced with flickering offering candles, the scent of furniture oils and time. I was back.
Jeff leapt from my arms and began prancing towards the exit while grumbling beneath his breath. I don't think Eddie much cared for being on the ground. He stopped once and shook off something that must have been caught in his paws. He shot me a look and sparkled up and naked. Flashing his taut ass at me before he covered up with his jeans, boots and t-shirt attire, again he was taller than me. Opening the door, he tilted his head to listen and pronounced, "The caretakers are all still asleep. Let's make our way back to the Ruby woman's home."
I stopped short and said, "Are you out of your ever-loving mind?"
Grinning quickly he said, "In a way, yes." Then without waiting for me to move, he headed out into the breaking day. I looped my arms through both sides of the backpack and followed uneasily, aware that people had a way of waking up when they heard unfamiliar noises ... much like the tromping through the walkways that Eddie was currently doing, seemingly without any sort of care. A thought about gods striking folks dead crept through my worries and I sighed again.
Eddie flew down the path and found a weak spot in the fence closer to the canyon behind the school grounds than the spot I'd made my way through in what seemed like days, if not weeks, ago. I missed the company of Jeff's cat form, while irritated by the idea that I was going to have to slink back into Ruby's house and hope I wasn't thrown to the wolves, or in my case the wretched hands of Archie. My legs weren't nearly as long as Eddie's, so it took my undivided attention to keep up with him as he nearly skipped back to Ruby's neighborhood. I stopped briefly once or twice to take a swig from a water bottle and catch my breath. All too soon the sun was starting to crest the canyon walls and we were in Ruby's yard.
A song bird warbled out a greeting and Eddie flipped back to Jeff's cat shape and quickly ran up a tree after the bird. I hissed out for the cat to leave the bird alone, and to my relief Jeff came back down and the bird flew off before the cat could change his mind. As Jeff began to groom himself with a paw carefully licked, I concluded that Eddie had dropped out of actively controlling the cat.
The back door flew open and Ruby pounced on me with a soft, "Are you all right? I couldn't find you anywhere." As it had probably only been a few hours since I'd left the area, I found that to be an odd statement.
Then I saw she had a candle in her left hand, and some stray hairs that looked like mine were wrapped around the taper. Catching my glare at the evidence in her hands, she fumbled to tuck the lavender candle out of my view while dropping her eyes from mine. Lovely, Ruby had been searching for me by witchcraft. Like that wasn't going to raise a huge flag in the already overcharged skies. Before I could challenge her, Jeff ran to her and leaped up into her arms, causing her to drop the candle which I swooped up and dropped without a word into my bag.
I never figured Ruby for a cat person but Jeff was immediately meowing gossip and mumbling in cat speak, while Ruby to my stunned amazement was answering in baby talk.
"Oh what a precious kitty! Look at those purty lashes and lovely dovey eyes! You want mama to bring you some nummies? You do ... don't you baby?" She was beaming and kissing Jeff's head. I knew that Eddie was loving the nuzzling up to her ample cleavage, and I watched a paw tap her face softly. I think I threw up in my mouth a bit at the cuddling. This was most definitely feeding Eddie's ego.
"Where did you find this love?" Ruby asked over her shoulder, completely forgetting her concerns about me. I didn't know where to even begin much less how much I was going to share with Ruby. She still could use me as a get-out-of-San Diego, aka jail, card.
"Oh, he found me. His name is Jeff," I said while trailing behind. I hadn't expected to be back in her home any time soon, and found an exotic aroma scenting the air. It dawned on me it was part of her spell-casting as my skin rippled with awareness. The magic in the wind latched onto me with a thickness that was disturbing. Seeing a trace of revulsion chase across my face, Ruby spoke a powerful word in a bastardized form of Latin she preferred, and the pressure surrounding me immediately dissipated. In her small niche area, I saw a dish with coppery thick blood. She'd definitely been using the darker side of her skills trying to find me. I hated my paranoid thoughts, but at the same time she was under a sentence that was causing her distress. She'd always been one of the larger fish swimming in the various ponds where she played, and to be condemned to just one area while probably being watched was pushing on her and cornering her very nature. Nothing good would come of all this, but I was only worried about my own skin at the moment.
Ruby smiled and softly cooed to the cat, "Jeffie, baby. You are so precious. Look at that facey-wacey. Let me give you some cream for the purring tummy." I felt my blood sugar spike at the nauseatingly sweet nothings Ruby was saying to Jeff. I could feel a pulse of energy from Eddie basking in the attention. She kept the cat cuddled against her breasts with one arm while pulling out a small dish from the shelf next to the refrigerator where she found the cream. Placing the dish on the counter top next to the cream, with one hand she poured an inch of rich cream into the container. The cat pushed off her breasts and stood on the counter top lapping at the liquid, to my disgust. She was delighted and petted the cat while it drank the cream. I found myself holding back from snagging Jeff and running to the nearest room to keep the two away from each other. Every time Ruby spoke sweetly and lovingly to the cat, its energy began to crackle and fill the null spaces in the room.
I was appalled and more than a little frightened by the energy building.
Ruby turned her attention back to me while stroking the cat.
"Where did you go?" She focused on me with an intensity that wasn't good.
"Outside," I offered while looking out towards the back yard where the fog was cloaking the yard, and the spider webs between the various plants and trees were accented with small bits of damp air that created intricate designs that patterned in the approaching morning light. I was exhausted by everything in my head and wasn't up to answering any questions. That didn't stop Ruby.
"Out maybe but not outside. There was no trace of you anywhere for miles!" She accused and folded her arms over her chest and looked at me.
"Well, I am here and you found me outside so what can I say?" Nothing was going to be volunteered by me, and since Jeff was in fur form not Eddie's naked body, it wasn't like there could be another side to the tale I was spinning. I brushed past Ruby and snagged out another container of water. If I was going to avoid answering her I needed props to keep my mouth shut. She did know me fairly well and my mind was brimming with so much, I needed to be careful not to slip up.
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