AN: Before I say anything, I must warn you. This is a very short chapter. I'm sorry. I'm doing the exact things that frustrate me most: slow updates and short chapters. But I was able to come up with a very good reason after I though really hard ;). And that is: I can't continue past this point until I read Deep Secret, The Merlin Conspiracy, and a few others. You do the math to find the reason. It's staring you in the face.

So anyway, I wasn't gonna update at all, but then I saw that I was favorited by seven people!! You like me! You really really like me!

Again, thanks to my faithful reviewers (in reverse order): Elven Bunny and the Butterfly Lion, blackmunji (who was too lazy to log-in, so thanks for the review and I'm laughing my head off at that insult!), demon sloth, toasty fresh, who once again gave me great criticism, Araminta18, the-rainbow-dreamer, and laal ratty. Look, it's a full three and a quarter lines of reviewers!

Disclaimer: So, I was reading this book, and like, I looked at the top and it said "by Diana Wynne Jones" and I was all like, "Wow! That is totally not my name!"

Chapter 3: In Which We Realize with Dread that the Author was Indeed not Lying About Being so Bi-Polar with Her Updates, and that She Loves to be Favorited. Also, in which Chrestomanci Declares War

Cat breathed a sigh of relief and leaned against the banister for support. After the cramped, magically charged house-in-the-middle-of-the-foyer, the normally stifling air of the castle felt refreshingly light. "I need tea," he said to no one in particular, and set off to get just that.

He came across Klartch on the way. The young griffin was practically vibrating with excitement. "No one will let me anywhere interesting!" he huffed to Cat.

Cat directed him to the foyer to get rid of him. He usually didn't mind Klartch when he was in an overexcited mood, but right now he could feel a headache creeping behind his eyes.

Ironically, the kitchen, usually the most bustling part of the castle at any given time, was empty. Cat savored the silence, and set about heating water.

He was steeping the leaves, and hoping that the strange wizard would leave soon, or at least stop provoking Chrestomanci, when he felt a rush of magic behind him. Instinctively he dashed forward, away from it—it had a tangible unfriendliness about it. He'd gotten two magic-aided steps when his left hand was seized and twisted behind him painfully. Something else—something cloaked in an invisibility spell—clapped firmly over his mouth, and whatever held him started dragging him roughly back towards the source of the magic.

He dug in his heels; the invisible thing lifted him so his feet were dangling inches from the floor. With his free hand he flung out a rope of magic and coiled it as best he could around the counter nearest him. If it had been his left hand, he knew nothing would've been able to move him; but it was his right. The rope slipped between his fingers, burning him with the friction. He caught a glimpse, out of the corner of his eye, of a rip in the air just like the one in the drawing room, getting closer. He tightened his grip on the rope, and managed to wrap it around his wrist once. His left hand was completely numb, but his arm burned. The hand on the rope started to slip.

The door to the kitchen swung open. "Cat, you can't disappear on me at a time like—" Chrestomanci made a noise very unlike anything Cat had ever heard from his mouth before, and in the blink of an eye had lassoed his apprentice firmly with his own magic rope. The nine-lived enchanter gave a grunt of irritation, leaning against the pull of the something mightily. Then his shoes started slowly but surely sliding forward.

Howl marched in behind Chrestomanci, his mouth open in rebuke. He gave the scene a once-over: Cat thrashing against what seemed to be nothing, said nothing dragging him towards a familiar rent in the air, Chrestomanci trying to drag him back and having little to no effect. "Is this some sort of strange version of Cowboys and Indians?" he asked cheekily, eying Chrestomanci's lariat.

"If you insist on staying here, make yourself useful," Chrestomanci bit out through gritted teeth.

Howl gave him an offended look, and flung his arms out, booming an indistinguishable word. For a moment nothing happened. Then Cat came shooting through the air to land in a heap on top of Chrestomanci, and the malevolent magical presence abruptly disappeared.

"That," grunted Chrestomanci, with an accusing look at the rent, "was planned." He rose, smoothing a hand over his rumpled suit. The creases immediately melted before Howl's appreciative eyes; Chrestomanci smoothed his hair back with an annoyed air. "That's it. This means war."

AN: Like I said, short. Thanks for reading anyway.

Question: whenever I load a document into my document manager, it always disappears after I upload it as a chapter. Is it supposed to do that? I think it is...