“Don’t count yourself out just yet,” Cat muttered. “The stench coming out of your backside is pretty magical.”
“Go choke on a hairball.” Boris craned his head and sniffed, his eyes narrowing as the werecat paced around the room.
Her hand trailed over the invisible wall, testing to see if the barrier really did encircle them completely. Scowling when she could find no other way out, Cat perched on the table, her ears flattened.
“Well, that’s that. And don’t look at me. I certainly don’t have the damn things.” She exchanged a glance with Seraphina. “Sorry.”
The sorceress sighed. “Indeed. This isn’t quite what I had in mind.”
“All well and good,” Elietan snapped, shaking his mead-soaked sleeve. Ruby droplets splattered the floor. “But who’s going to pay for dry cleaning my shirt?” His upper lip curled at Seraphina. “And we never did get that explanation. No excuses now, my dear. Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum are here - so no more stalling.”
Seraphina shrugged, ignoring the way the siblings bristled at the elf’s tone. “Simple enough. My sources told me someone was out to steal the jewels.” Her gaze raked over the odd little group. “Without a way to confirm just who it was, I figured hedging my bets was the best choice. Hence my hiring Cat to steal them first.”
“Money well spent, clearly,” Boris murmured, scratching beneath his chin with a meaty paw.
Cat hissed at him, her tail twitching like an epileptic snake. “I’m damn good at what I do, bee-licker. If the jewels were gone by the time I got there, whose fault is that?”
“Enough,” Dru said. “This gets us nowhere. Though that’s a very good question.” Her mouth pursed at Metha and Trihalo. “I do believe it’s time for some answers.”
The pair grimaced nearly as one, their matching expressions only emphasizing the closeness of their relationship that much more. Trihalo coughed uncomfortably. “Well, it’s like this. We got there early and ended up at the bar.”
“I thought you said you only got there at the end,” Elietan said shrewdly. “Not even five minutes and you’re already changing your story. So which is it?”
“Erm. The bar early…and the jewels late?” Trihalo winced. “That sounds about right?”
Metha nodded. “She’s a sucker for Buttery Nipples, you know. I like a good Slippery Bald Beaver myself, heavy on the butterscotch Schnapps, but only if they put it one of those little…”
“Ahem.” They flinched beneath Seraphina’s icy stare, words fading away into embarrassed silence.
The quiet stretched out into a tension so tight Cat could have walked on it. She flexed her clawed fingers, absently studying them. “You don’t remember, do you?”
“Not a thing,” Trihalo finally admitted. “I woke up in a closet with a bottle of port.” Her eyes darted toward Boris, who took a sudden interest in his own paws. “And a bear.”
Cat sniggered, earning her a huffy ursine snort.
Metha blinked at his sister. “You what?”
“Oh, please. Like you’re one to talk,” she retorted. “At least I still had my clothes on. Not like that time when you – ”
Her words were cut off as something pounded on the door from outside. The lock shuddered in distress, finally creaking open to reveal...