AN: This chapter fits in with the end of The Halfling's Gem and adds a little into the epilogue and prologue of the next one. It's loosely connected to my earlier fic Twinkle, Twinkle, but can be read alone. It's slightly more fun put together with that one. For the curious, more Author's ramblings at the end, but for now, on with the story!
A Cat Called Curiosity
Part the First: Wherein Guenhwyvar does some hunting and realizes something is off...
Guenhwyvar burst out of the astral tunnel alongside the pack of otherworldly cats, dumping the clever little halfling into the guild's upper hallways. There was no time to waste! The nasty viper-man who thought he could order her to kill her master's friends was waiting to be found. The halfling – uncharacteristically speedy – darted in front, then paused at the top of the stairs.
There he was: the round-faced viper-man who smelled of spices and fear! Guenhwyvar leaped over the halfling, ignoring his silly attempts at quips. She could rectify Regis's poor attempts at gendering panthers later; she had a viper-man to fix.
Pasha Pook hardly had time to recognize the dark form that was his doom.
The viper-man proved easy prey. It was almost disappointing, how quickly the life fled from him. But, the kill was still quite satisfying to the big panther. Even more satisfying was the voice she heard, saying her name, as she casually released the human shaped viper-feeling man's neck and let his still body fall to the guildhall floor.
As the rest of the pack cavorted and bounded off to hunt the funny-wrong-giant rats infesting the halls, Guenhwyvar joyfully loped to her beloved master. She rumbled a greeting, rubbing her cheeks over his arms and sides, happy to finally feel and enjoy his presence.
But wait: something was different. Guenhwyvar pulled away slightly, sniffing carefully, inspecting her drow.
There! Her drow was carrying a new scimitar! The blade sparkled ever so slightly to her astral eyes; the twinkle was subtle, though she suspected that in times of danger it would become bright even to young, mortal eyes. The blade also held a whiff of magic, of a kind just ever so slightly familiar…
Guenhwyvar shook her head, deciding to leave the puzzle alone for just a little bit. The blade felt right, and felt good, and that would do for now. Her ears perked at the dwarf's incredulous "Ye brought cats?" and she gave a rumbling cough of agreement to the halfling's statement that cats were the best way to get rid of the wrong-funny-giant-rats.
She rubbed against Drizzt's side a final time, bouncing her nose lightly against the new-bright scimitar as she passed and lightly padded off to get some of the giant-wrong-rats herself. She heard Regis, the good-clever halfling, say as she left "The regular thieves are hiding in their rooms - if they're smart - but the panthers wouldn't hurt them anyway."
While she loved her drow, it was nice to have a two-legger who understood her so well.
…Even if he did smell like a sneaky-thief sometimes.
They'd have to work on fixing that bad habit of his, before he caused more trouble. She did not want to have to do this again, even if giant-funny-rat hunting was such great fun.
Guenhwyvar bounded through the tunnels. The last few weeks had been busy! Her drow had called quite often since they reached the northlands again. There had been lots of goblins and grey-angry-bad-feeling dwarves to hunt, lots of tunnels to search, and the occasional 'nap' to catch on top of her favorite red-bearded, dwarven mattress. She had tried doing so to her drow's pet barbarian, too, with mixed results. The young man was certainly honorable and even clever, though sometimes Guenhwyvar suspected that the Wulfgar thought that her drow was his, which was very much not allowed.
He appreciated being a mattress about as much as the dwarf.
He was also wigglier than the dwarf, writhing and heaving to try and extricate himself from under her six hundred pounds of sleek muscle. But, his tendency to avoid the heavy, sharp, and pointy metal armor that her red bearded mattress loved so much was definitely a perk.
"Well, Guen, I think this might be the last of them," her drow said, softly. His voice was cheerful, but Guenhwyvar recognized the sad, wistful edge that he almost always had when he said goodbye. She turned and bounded back towards her drow and his young barbarian patrol-mate, swift and silent. She slowed to a stalk and brushed against their legs, winding behind, beside, and all around her two-legged pair of younglings.
That sword, with its twinkling! And that whiff of something, something she was sure she should recognize! Carefully, subtly, she poked the pommel with her nose, trying not to disturb its bearer.
"Guenhwyvar really seems to like your blade. She's sniffing it, again." the young barbarian said, with laughter in his voice.
Fried fish! Guenhwyvar growled and then fixed Wulfgar with a haughty stare. As her drow looked over his shoulder at her, grinning, she stubbornly reached out a large paw and batted the sheathed blade once. Just once!
"So, have you told her about the blade yet?" Wulfgar's voice was teasing, like a carefully waved tail in front of a young cub.
Drizzt stopped smiling, and studiously not-glared at his young barbarian friend.
"What about it? It's a fine blade, and I'm quite grateful to Malchor Harpell for it."
She recognized that tone of voice and the careful indifferent facial expression. Her little drowling wasn't saying everything.
He had told her about meeting with the Harpells again, while watching one cloudy sunrise. He had leaned against her side gazing enraptured at the diffuse glow through the misty clouds, both of them getting well soaked by the lightly drizzling rain. His story about the banshee and the little town of Conyberry had even been somewhat funny, and she had rumbled her amusement. But, it seems her drow had left something out.
She wound her way in front of her drow and studied his face closely, then sniffed the pommel once more, delicately.
He wasn't telling her something, and it had to do with this good-feeling, subtly sparkling, somehow familiar new blade of his.
Her drow dropped to a knee and hugged her, breaking her inspection. He mumbled some reassurances about how much he loved her company, and some wishes for a good rest and hunt in the astral plane. Guenhwyvar rubbed her cheek once on his flank, then rumbled as she padded back into the astral tunnel.
I'm going to find out, little drowling. Enjoy your break, cub…
AN: This story is cross-posted over at AO3 under the name Just_Jesting. It should only be a couple chapters, maybe three by the end, with a few short scenes in each chapter.
A kind reviewer for Twinkle, Twinkle pointed out that I had neglected Guenhwyvar. That problem is now fixed.