“There’s a lot more than what they’re telling you,” The cat said in a rough voice, raspy and devoid of any real feeling, other than disdain and dislike.
It’s truly the kind of voice you would expect to come out of a great black tomcat, if cats could regularly speak.
Glancing back nervously over my shoulder at the hall I came down, I let out a huff of breath before looking back at the cat. “I figured as much.” I said.
The cat made a noncommittal noise and lifted a paw, spreading his toes and applying a surprisingly pink tongue to the task of cleaning his claws and the fur between them. For a long moment, one that felt like forever for me, he concentrated solely on that, before putting his paw down and focusing dark vermillion eyes on me, eyes that almost glowed in the dull green light of the gaslamps.
“If you’ve figured that much out, what are you going to do about it?” He asked, and though his face didn’t change, the raising of an eyebrow could be heard in his gruff tone. I narrowed my eyes at him and lifted my own brow at him. “Ask the only one here who apparently has half a clue,” I told him, feeling rather annoyed with him.
Something in his eyes looked pleased, and he padded gently down a few of the stairs towards where I stood at the bottom. “The rooms back here are soaked with blood,” He began, a purr entering his voice, and the cat sounded rather happy with the situation. “Not so much literally, of course. If you had a nose suited to it, you could smell the metallic stench permeating the air.”
I pressed my mouth into a thin line and shook my head. “So they’re lying about the number of deaths here, are they?” I asked, and the cat replied with a shake of his head. “I wouldn’t be so sure, I think they’re either unaware, or just don’t care as much about the deaths of their servants.”
Frowning to myself, I thought back over what little evidence I was able to gather from the heads of the household before I had excused myself to the water closet I never visited. From what they had already said, I’d expected the aetheric barrier to be rather thin here already, but if what I just learned from the cat is true, then the situation was much graver than I had expected.
“Go back to your investigations then.” There was a slight creaking down the hall behind me, the sound of wood warping beneath a heavy step, that caused my body to stiffen automatically, and I glanced back down it again, leaning to try and peer around the corner of the alcove. The servant’s stair sat behind a small wall, off the better lit main hallway, but it wasn’t quite hidden enough for me to stand where I was without being seen.
I swallowed slightly, and looked back towards the cat. “I’ll see if I can ferret out this demon before it strikes again. We can’t afford to have a real rip here.”
For a moment he sat on the stair, almost red eyes locked on mine, and then he stood, tail lifting as he turned his back to me and almost pranced up the stairs. “Yes, Lord...