She paced, head low between her shoulders and large paws unsheathed front claws to dig into the frozen ground with every angry step. Blue eyes narrowed and looked at the people that huddled along the castle wall in fright as her maw opened to release an unhappy growl. Rounded white and black spotted ears flattened against sleek head-fur while her long tail whipped the air behind her. How dare he? She growled once more, whiskers turning downwards as she frowned. How dare he brush me off like some circus freak? She was none too happy and made sure that the people near her knew it again as she opened her mouth and roared wildly.
The night wind pushed snow into her face as if answering her bitter cry of resentment, the frozen water partials stinging fiercely blue eyes, forcing the raging beast to shake her head. Stalking up to an empty wall of the castle, she reared up on hind legs and clawed at the frost decorated ivy, snagging it in her dark claws.
"Please, forgive the Master." A woman called from the side, ducking her head as fierce blue orbs swung her way. "He does not know what he is thinking sometimes."
How dare he mock me? Mock my kind! She snarled again, chest heaving as her claws dug deeper into the ground. He knows that I am one of the last! One of the last of my people and he brushes me off! People trembled as she stepped nearer, tail fanning the snow around her as she swayed it back and forth. The night was cool and the longer she stayed outside, the colder her heart became.
"Please. He shall return and then shall explain where he has been."
Snorting the creature raised her massive front paws and started to box in the air, fighting against some invisible opponent. They were scared of her, the people that worked in the castle, and rightfully so for some had tried to tame the beast while she was worked up in a frenzy and came away worse for wear; some baring the mark of the leopardess for the rest of their lives. An owl hooted off the distance and then it hooted again, this time closer. Large wings flapped loudly as the snowy owl landed a few feet away from the enraged snow leopard. Black eyes watched the feline snarl, breath coming out in large puffs of steam from the black nose, and hooted again, this time softly.
A white light surrounded the owl and some people gasped as feathers melted into skin, figure growing larger and larger with each beat of its heart when finally it stopped and the light faded. "Milady! Thank goodness you are here!"
A thick cape of ebony hair swung over a lightly tanned back while dark brown eyes never left the seething animal. "How long has she been like this?"
A woman stepped forward, fingers quickly unclasping the hooded cloak from about her shoulders to swing over the naked figure of the woman in front of them. Nodding her head in thanks, she stepped towards the large cat, hands out and voice cooing softly. "Come inside with me Lady Bulma. You're going to catch your death outside."
Death? The cat roared, knowing that no one understood her growling snarls. Death? I shall show you death on this eve! I shall show you the true meaning of death and what it brings! No dearest Chi-Chi, I shall not come with you inside.
"Come inside." Chi-Chi cooed again, stepping forward again. "Come inside and let's soothe away your anger." She jumped back when a large paw swung at her threateningly. "Quit being so bloody stubborn!" The woman growled, ivory teeth flashing in the night. "Either you come inside right now, or I'll have one of the men bring me my darts!" she threatened, and relaxed visibly when the angry cat-woman stopped her growling.
You are one foul woman. And I call you my friend. Very well, I shall come inside with you but be careful, as my tongue is calling for the taste of blood and I have no fear spilling some of yours my dear. Great paws sheathed their claws and with another massive roar, she took off towards the garden entrance and up stony steps.
"I am going to need the full story from one of you in a few minutes. Elizabeth, fetch me my box and bring it to Lady Bulma's room."
"Right away Miss." The woman bowed before taking off into the large building to do as her Mistress and told her.
Chi-Chi turned on bare feet and padded inside and up wide red carpeted stairs and ran down the hall, dark green cape and her black hair waving behind her as her shapely legs carried her to another set of stairs which she took two at a time. By now, the angry feline should be in her room, pacing back and forth.
But she was wrong. Deadly wrong.
Blood greeted her as she flew into the blue and silver room forcing her running figure to skid to a halt. Crimson stained the white maw, chunks of flesh hanging limply from red teeth as blue eyes rolled into the back of her head. A large gash on chest was pulsating blood onto the floor. A scream tore from Chi-Chi's lips, echoing throughout the halls. Booted feet were heard running up the steps, coming all around her.
"I need my box NOW." Chi-Chi screamed, flying to the wounded cat.
"Move, please move... excuse me...move please! Get out of my way!" Elizabeth cried out, elbowing her way into the room only to let out a frightened cry of her own. She ran to Chi-Chi's side and ripped off the lid to the decorated wooden box and pushed it at Chi-Chi who was now trying to stop the blood from flowing freely with the cloak.
"Hot water, lots of it. I need clean linen. MOVE YOU FOOLS!" She shouted without turning her attention to the quickly staining material. It seemed that with each beat of Bulma's heart, more blood filled the cloak. It had to be stopped at all costs. "Elizabeth, I need a needed and thread." She held out a red hand to await the objects and growled when the woman placed a small embroidery needle and a spool of thread into her hands. "No, you moron, I need a thicker needle and I need it threaded with stronger thread!"
Elizabeth whimpered, green eyes watering as her pale fingers shook while trying to poke the end of the thickest thread from the box into an even thicker needle-eye. Unraveling at least a meter and a half of it, she broke it off and tied a firm knot at the end. Chi-Chi ripped it from her fingers and pulled back the material to reveal the wound. Taking a breath, she pinched the seams of the opened flesh together and forced the needlepoint through the thick skin and quickly pulled it the thread through.
Bulma growled weakly, trying to move away as footsteps once more pounded up the stairs. "Geoffrey, I need you to held hold her down." She spoke to the man that had placed a large wooden bowl beside Chi-Chi. She was glad when he didn't protest, kneeling down at Bulma's shoulders to hold her steady while her skin was being stitched back together.
Nimble fingers flew rapidly as they did their task and once the pelt was sewn back together, Chi- Chi placed a piece of white linen into the hot water and sponged the wound clean. She would have liked to have cleaned the wound before it was stitched up, but there was no way she was going to risk her friend losing more blood.
"There is nothing more we can do for her, save a numbing potion that will help ease the pain and bring on sleep. For that I shall need some more water this time. Elizabeth, I'll need some herbs from the little silver box."
Geoffrey ran back out from the room and returned moments later out of breath, clutching a wooden mug in his hands. Chi-Chi took the silver box from Elizabeth and added three pinches to the steaming water before swirling it together. Lifting up the leopardess' head, she tilted it back and poured the scalding drink into her mouth. Most of the dribbled out, and what didn't stayed on the rough pink tongue. "Damn it!"
She poured more in, this time clamping her mouth shut, and after setting the cup down, rubbed Bulma's throat, forcing her to swallow. Her efforts were rewarded as Bulma swallowed, and the process was repeated until the whole cup was gone.
"Is the Lady going to be all right?" Elizabeth asked worriedly.
"Yes." Chi-Chi said, praying that her words would come true. The flesh poked out from underneath top lips and she took it between her fingers, yanking down quickly to dislodge it from between sharp teeth. The flesh itself was a piece of pelt, shaggy black fur matted down with blood and saliva. Whoever did this meant to kill Bulma. I need to talk with Damian before he goes to sleep. "Where is the Lord and Master?"
"Milord Damian went out for his hunt after he awoke. I suspect that he should be back soon." Geoffrey informed her.
"Take the fastest horse and see if you can track him down. Tell him that it's important that he return right away, even if he has yet to feed. We need him now."
"Aye Milady." He took off once more leaving Chi-Chi and Elizabeth alone with the sleeping Bulma.
"Is she going to shift down?"
Brown eyes looked into Elizabeth's heart shaped face full of worry. Blonde hair was coming undone from the thick braid she always held it in. "I do not know. I suspect that she will any time now, but I do not know. There is nothing more I can do here. I am going to wait for Damian downstairs. You stay with her, build up the fire and keep her warm. If she starts to shiver or the wound reopens, call me."
Chi-Chi stood up in all her naked glory and turned from the room to walk down the hall into her own. Bathing the blood from her hands, she pulled on a dressing robe of dark purple, tying the golden sash around her waist tightly and then padded back downstairs, the black flesh clutched tightly in her fist. Minutes ticked away slowly as she paced back and forth in the front hall, eyes darting to and fro constantly. What if Damian doesn't arrive until just before dawn? She feared silently.
Front doors flew open, snow rushing in to press her dressing gown around her leg. "Damian!" She breathed, rushing forward.
He rushed forward, pasty fingers wrapping around her hands, blue eyes showing signs of worry. "I saw Geoffrey. What's happened?"
"Your..." she hiccuped, tears threatening to break from her eyes. "Lady Bulma has been attacked."
"Attacked? How? When?" He stepped closer to Chi-Chi, eyes peering into hers as if trying to extract the answers to his unspoken questions.
"Just... moments ago. We don't know how. She was in quite the uproar when I came back from my flight and she came inside and I was right after her. I found her in her room, bleeding to death."
"Wait! There's more. She...she took a bite out of whoever was trying to murder her." She pulled her hand away, uncurling her fingers to show him the piece of skin in her palm.