Closer to midnight the alarm triggered at the Megakat City Museum of History. When the guardsman went to the sound of the broken glass he saw the intruder didn't care much about its hiding.
A middle-aged she-kat woke up from a sudden phone call. What time was it?... 1 a.m.? Who would bother her so lately? She groaned:
– Gosh, when will I sleep out?
A fall rain was driving against the window and lullabying back. But the caller was persistent. The phone was still ringing. It looked like she had no choice. The kat left her bed and directed to another room.
– Doctor Sinian, sorry for bothering you...
The museum guard? Well, now she could certainly not hope for a dream.
– But we have an intruder here. I may sound very weird but it seems like it is once again that living dead from the Evil Legends.
– Do you mean Pastmaster? - The drowse vanished as if by magic.
– Probably yes, he does such unnatural things and... oh, holy kats!
– Mike?... Hello?
The only things doctor Sinian heard were running and a wild roar. Obviously, it would be better to check this out on herself. The police should be already there.
Already flying in Turbokat over the dark skyscrapers Razor quirked:
- I guess you'll never get to read that comic.
T-Bone mumbled something. And he wasn't very good at hiding his discontent.
- Just tell me, why did he decide to get out now? Not this afternoon when we were languishing with clients' cars?
- Maybe his watch runs behind, mm?
The ghost of a smile flitted across T-Bone's face.
- If speaking seriously, I don't understand why it's so quiet this time in the city. Usually Pasty invokes someone big and extremely clumsy like a cyclops or a dinosaur.
- Aaaah! Somebody! Help!
A frightened guard ran from the museum. How many years he worked here, how many times he saw the magic of the Pastmaster? But his nerves still couldn't stand with it.
- Look, Razor! What the...
Barely crossing the threshold of the museum, the dinosaur chasing a guard fell apart. It seemed the Pastmaster wasn't planning any massive actions this time. Well, then this case should be easier, probably. After that, the sound of the museum alarm system became the only thing interrupting the depressing atmosphere of a spring night. The Enforcers were likely to come here very soon.
The palm trees were swinging heavily from side to side while the vigilantes were landing their aircraft. It started to rain a little bit. The cold wind whipped the hair on their faces. Razor stopped in indecision. T-Bone was already headed for the entrance, with his glovatrix in front. He guessed the tabby wanted to finish up as soon as possible and go home.
To prevent the Pastmaster from leaving, they decided to split up. T-Bone went to the left side, toward the hall of ancient manuscripts. Razor went to the right side of the building, the hall of prehistory, where the skeletons of extinct animals, including dinosaurs, were exposed. The light was almost nowhere. Here in the darkness, vision drew danger around every corner and in every silhouette. The alarm went off abruptly and the museum was immersed in the unnatural silence. Irritation gave way to cautiousness. Maybe the wizard had already left the place? Or, on the contrary, he did notice them and for once in a way lurked for an attack, not willing to show up?
When T-Bone entered the next room, he shuddered at the noise of his own radio.
- Did you find anything?
- Not yet, Razor. But it's very, very quiet here.
The cinnamon kat continued to walk along the glazed wall of the museum. A rainy and empty street of the city was seen behind it.
- Yeah, finally! - a voice sounded somewhere near the museum curator's office. And this voice was far too familiar to be mistaken.
- Razor, come back. - T-Bone whispered to the transmitter.
- Copy that.
Meanwhile, T-Bone ran up the stairs and ended up in a room with arcs. On the right side of the door, the rustling pages were heard.
- I hope you'll wait for me. - Razor's voice spluttered.
T-Bone didn't reply, he was looking at the Pastmaster standing with his back to him and mumbling something over an old book. One spider missile could finish this story in no time. But the Pasty was too far. Only some more steps and...
The tabby sneaked into the room silently. Suddenly, the doors slammed and without turning around, the undead pronounced:
- Tellen me, doest thou really think I'm that stupid?
Running past the front entrance, Razor was called by some she-kat and stopped for an instance. She ran up the steps into the unwelcoming hall and recovered her breath.
- A SWAT Kat?
- Dr. Sinian? What are you...
- Mike, the guardian, called me. Hope he's okay... Where are you running?
- T-Bone is one on one with the Pastmaster. - he said and disappeared.
The doctor remained alone. She stared after Razor with unconcealed anxiety. Soon she went in the same direction.
– Thou doest not have to worry, mortal. This time, I'm here on my own business. Goen away.
He was spotted, and there was nothing to lose. This time without hiding T-Bone made a forward thrust and fired a missile. Already above the hood of the wizard, the nets were turned to ashes. That time the Pastmaster turned around. He was noticeably dissatisfied, but he didn't seem to be going to fight.
– I don't speak a language so old that thou canst not understand me.
Without taking the gunsight off one-eyed kat, the tabby mocked:
– I'm not stupid either. I don't think you've come here to admire the exhibition.
– I'm here for my Callista and I don't need any outsiders!
The doors burst open. The Pastmaster went back to the book.
Everything in this scene was against the vigilante. He didn't want to leave at the mercy of the rival. He didn't want to leave a dangerous criminal at large. Finally, no one canceled the fact that the Pastmaster had committed a burglary.
There was a noise of military equipment outside the panoramic window. The Enforcers finally arrived at the museum. The car doors slammed, the helicopters were on their way to land. The blinding spotlights came in the room.
– Line up! Stand to! – the loudspeaker carried Feral's voice. The Pastmaster shot a glance at the window. Taking advantage of the moment, T-Bone moved left and fired the pincer missile towards the book. The book was roughly nailed to the wall.
– Argh! I'm tired of thee! – the Pastmaster raised his hand, several cannonballs from the exposition flew up to him. One by one they flew towards the "mortal", and he barely had time to hide behind the arches or run from place to place.
– Why just can't you just go into oblivion? *one of the arches collapsed* Your time is over! Your precious Callista is history too!
Pastmaster stopped and looked on T-Bone in shock. He stuck out of a broken arch.
– She never loved you. What for this rattle?
Pastmaster's eye showed deep grief for a moment. Or it only seemed?
– No, no, you stay here, Doctor. It's very dangerous.
– And I don't want to hear it! First of all, I've helped you more than once on these occasions. Finally, - Dr. Sinian smiled a bit. – When else can you see a person from that era alive?
They had already seen the Pastmaster standing in the middle of the room when the door slammed again. Razor started breaking down the door.
Having lost his carefulness, T-Bone came out of hiding.
– All your epoch has gone! So leave this city to the ones who are alive here and now!
– Enough! – he shouted and thrown the kat himself with an extremely strong wave to the wall.
The tabby groaned from the pain. Did he break a rib?
– Thou! Little! Living! Breathing! Pest! - Pastmaster was desperate and furious approaching the prostrate rival with every word. - I hate thee!
– I'm *cough* not surprised, Pasty, - T-Bone snorted. He didn't recognize he just crossed the very dangerous line in his mockery.
Pastmaster opened the renovated Tome of Times and scrolled pages. T-Bone tried to shake off the bricks and stand up, but...
– Manibus tenebrae!
Some bloody unnaturally long paws arose from the floor and grasped the tabby's arms and legs.
– What's the?! - T-Bone was not joking anymore.
– Did you hear that hit? And the groaning...
Razor broke even more desperate. Things looked nasty for his pal.
– Thou canst not imagine how miserable my non-life is.
The hands grabbed stronger. T-Bone let himself a stifled cry. Yes, seems like he broke a rib on the left.
– Thou breathest and feelest the warmth of sunlight on thy fur. Not like me with my bones. I would give all my power to inhale the fresh air one more time...
The two upper hands drew aside the paws of the vigilante, now he looked from above like being crucified. His bosom was palpitating fitfully.
– Razor, where are you? – he whispered.
Pastmaster took a rusty sword down from the wall.
– Enough talking. I shall end it.
– T-Bone, I'm coming!
Pastmaster turned back and took down the arisen sword. Once again he threw the greasy eyeball on his victim.
– I was saddened when I saw my Callista being buried. She favored the life of a mere mortal! My only love oldened, died, and now rests in peace in heaven while I, who sold my soul to the Devil, still wander the world.
That was the end? Not the air crash? Not the bomb exploding? Some undead skeleton with an archaeological exponent? That was so wrong!
– I shall make thee understand my pain. Thou will be like me, a living dead!
T-Bone switched face.
– The death will seem to be a gift to thee. But thou won't have it.
The door was wrenching under someone's strong hits.
– Thou will outlive everyone thou lovest, thou will bury all of them one by one...
T-Bone felt a rare guest in his heart: the fear.
– The time will ruin thy mind. The delirium will be thy only companion. But thou will exist.
Pastmaster put his hand up and a pentagram appeared around the still-living creature.
– Listen, Pastmaster, Guess I was too rude...
– Silence! - another paw arose and closed his mouth. The disgusting smell blasted his nose.
– May thy heart make no beat...
The pentagram turned red and buzzed. T-Bone gasped, his head was spinning. No, not now!
– May the air quit thy lungs...
The probably last exhalation turned into a rattle. The Pastmaster's voice became raspy and defigured not as usual. Now, droning on, he did sound like a lich.
– May thy chest lose its heat...
T-Bone felt his body frosting. He was trying to wrest out, to cry for help, but those cursed paws impeded him. With the last ounce of his strength, he tried not to fall unconscious. The door was smashed out.
– To this world, thou doest not clung!
– Raz... - tried to mumble T-Bone.
The tabby strained momently and closed his eyes. His head turned lifelessly sideways.
– No! – shouted the cinnamon kat. – No!
– No "requiem aeternam" for thee, – the Pastmaster whispered in the ear of his victim and went to a portal.
The Enforcers broke into the museum. It was heard well, that part of them was heading to the second floor.
Razor approached with a heavy heart. Dr. Sinian was tactful and remained where she was, but she was looking at a motionless body with horror. This couldn't be. This couldn't be.
T-Bone had a little bleeding cut wound on his side and bristled fur on his face. Still keeping some hope Razor took his cooling paw. No pulse. With tears in his eyes, he put his ear to the chest. No doubt. His partner passed away. Without a word, he reposed his head on the body and let himself cry silently.
– Why do you cry, Razor? - he heard the voice near his face.
With a yell of surprise, the cinnamon kat jumped up wide awake.
– But... what... how?! - he wiped his tears. - Buddy, you're alive!
T-Bone woke up without any gasp or anything showing pain. The fur turned to be a bit decolored. The wound was still bleeding. He looked at the partner with some irritation.
– What do you mean? Of course, I do. But Pastmaster...
He didn't finish since Razor hugged him with the whole force he had. The big kat felt confounded but touched.
– Hey, I also...uhm... appreciate you, but it's not the right place for sentiments.
– But I saw you dead! You didn't breathe, you didn't have a pulse!... Wait a minute.
Dr. Sinian lost her patience and approached the duo.
– T-Bone, how do you feel?
– A little exhausted, but it's OK.
The doctor frowned as she looked at the bleeding wound, then she looked at T-Bone's face without saying anything. Razor took his paw once again and paled.
– You don't have a heartbeat.
– How do you think I'm standing in front of you? - the big kat asked arrogantly. – Pasty threatened to make something with me and even started some kind of his damned magic, but I went off... and still am here.
Razor was suspicious leaving a paw on his wrest. Unwilling to distract them, Dr. Sinian went to the table from which The Tome of Times had disappeared. The tabby ripped out his hand.
– You are cold. And for the last minutes, you didn't blink even once.
– You'd better go, Feral will gladly accuse you of all the sins of the world, said the she-kat. – Give your partner some help. I think the missing book can wait until tomorrow.
She pointed her hand at the inconspicuous door.
– It's the back door, go away. I'll find something to say.
Commander Feral supervised the operation from outside on the radio. He was told that there was nothing suspicious anywhere. Someone assumed the call was false.
- That's me who makes decisions here, – he barked.
The Turbokat standing nearby was surrounded by armed soldiers. Of course, these daredevils had to appear. But where were they now? None of his men met the masked duo yet.
– Commander, here they come!
– Huh? – Feral turned. He saw the slender kat carrying the big one shoulder-high towards the aircraft. Commander was about to stop them when he saw a crimson line left after the vigilantes. He approached to see that the carried one had a severe bleeding wound. His eyes were mid-closed.
– Next time for questions, okay? Look for the Pastmaster. – Razor said grimly.
Without missing words, Feral waved his hand. Soldiers have retreated from the aircraft. Razor put the T-Bone down as carefully as he could and closed the lid. When the Turbokat flew away, the rain got heavier.