“I’m so sorry to bother you,” the young elven waitress said timidly, “but there is a problem with one of our customers.”
“One that the bouncers can’t handle?” Jared asked. Most of those were trolls—large enough and strong enough to take on most anything.
“It’s a bakeneko and it has reverted to its cat form. At the moment it is in the wee folks’ area, hunting.”
“It couldn’t go after the mice in the basement,” Daniel grumbled as he got up. “Okay, lead the way.”
Once they arrived on the second level it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out in which room the problem was. High-pierced shrieks of fear seeped out into the hallway from behind a closed door at the far end.
“Shall we?” Jared said as he strode toward the door.
Daniel grabbed his arm before he could open it. “Be careful. These damned things throw fireballs, in case you’ve forgotten.”
“I hadn’t.” Jared shot him a look. “I’ll be fine.”
Opening the door, he moved quickly into the large, airy room. It was as if he’d been transported to a forest glade replete with flowers, flowering bushes and exotic trees, some that no human would have recognized. Any other time it would have been idyllic. At the moment it was far from that. Fairies, pixies and other like creatures flittered in panic high above the ground, while brownies and gnomes zig-zagged between the bushes trying to avoid the golden-furred bakeneko as it chased after them. It leapt up suddenly to a low-hanging tree branch sending a fireball at a fairy who had dared to land on a nearby tree. The fairy shrieked as one of its wings was singed, plummeting towards the ground. The bakeneko jumped after it, claws outstretched.
“Bad cat,” Jared hissed; catching its attention before it could capture the fallen fairy.