The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Seven)
"Why, yes, I would like to have another sardine," mumbled the slumbering feline. Going by the voice, I'd take a guess that she was a lady cat.
"Ahem!" coughed the cat with the monocle. Then in a loud voice, he announced: "Presenting Her Majesty, Cait Sith!"
"Fiiiish," went the blue cat on the throne.
After letting out an exasperated sigh, the cat with the monocle repeated, louder, "Presenting Her Majesty, Cait Sith!"
The sleeping cat just turned her back to everyone as she rolled in her sleep.
"Bwa!?" the cat exclaimed with a jolt up. She turned left and right, blinking sleep from her eyes until she glimpsed me and Delilah.
"Like I said," said the monocle-wearing cat through clenched teeth, "presenting Her Majesty, Cait Sith!"
"Cait Sith?" I said, probably wearing a puzzled look on my face. They all stared at me like I was some kind of weirdo. "What? I never heard about Cait Sith before."
"Really?" Delilah said. "Not even a little? I mean, there are even comics with Cait Sith in them."
"Cait Sith is the title given to the cat who would rule all other cats," the blue cat explained. "It just so happens that the title was given to me."
"So, you're the ruler of the cats," I said, unable to hide the disbelief in my voice.
"Believe me, Jay, I've more than earned that title," Cait Sith said with menace in her eyes.
"I told that idiot not to make her mad," the monocle-wearing cat grumbled. I didn't know who that cat was talking about, but I guessed that cat had wanted to be Cait Sith, but lost to the blue cat.
"What was that?" Cait Sith growled.
"Nothing," the fancy cat quickly replied.
"Now then, what do I owe the pleasure of this visit, Delilah Douglas, Jay Lin?" Cait Sith asked.
"Wait, how do you know my name?" I asked. "I never told you that."
"I don't need you to tell me that," Cait Sith said. "I am the Cait Sith, ruler of the cats. And if there is one thing us cats stand out in, it's our information network. My power over information is comparable to that of the Oracle of Delphi or the hundred-eyed monsters of Japan known as the Hyakume. And it helps that us cats have the power to cross dimensions as if the whole of Creation were our territory. For instance, I can tell you what your grades are, starting from your elementary school days. After so many years, I cannot believe you've not improve one bit in math, even though your mother could be called a genius at the subject."
"How - ?"
"Cats are everywhere," Cait Sith said with a toothy grin. "Everywhere. And we know . . . everything."
Great. At that point, I just knew I'd get a phobia of cats. Seriously, that cat definitely made that scary face and whispering just to get under my skin. I could see the amusement in her eyes as she spoke. But hold on. If this info network she has was impressive as she said, then maybe I could ask her about the people who kidnapped Mom and Terry.
"Well, I don't really know everything. Even we have our limits, so we might not be as much help as you'd think. That's why you shouldn't get your hopes up."
It was a bit of a let down to me when she said all that.
"But moving on, you're here for a reason, aren't you, Miss Detective?"
"That's right," Delilah said. "I wanted to ask you-!"
"No need," Cait Sith said. "The cats have already told me enough to paint a picture. You are here to know about the Eripmav, am I right?"
I turned to Delilah in surprise, but she ignored me.
"That is correct," she admitted to the small cat.
"Before we get to that, there is something I need to tell young Jay here, since it concerns him."
"What?" I asked.
"As I'm sure you can understand, here, information is not free," Cait Sith said. "For the secrets my network of cats have uncovered, you need to pay a price. Normally, Delilah would be the one paying, since she's the one asking the questions. But since you're here, and also seeking answers, I believe that it's only right that you have to share the bill with her. What you and Delilah here want aligns, after all."
I paused to think.
"Wait, hold on here," Delilah began, before I interrupted her.
"Do you really know everything?" I asked.
The cat smiled. "Well, if not everything, I know quite a lot."
"I don't think that's necessary," Delilah quickly cut in. "I can pay for the whole thing. I'm the one making the request, after all."
"Oh, are you making the request on his behalf?"
"He's my client," said Delilah. "Obviously. He'll pay me back when the case is over."
"Then there is no reason for him to be here," said the cat. "What I need of him is something that he's the only one who can do for me. Off with you, then."
Turning to me, Delilah said to me: "Mind waiting outside for a bit? This won't take long."
"Oh, okay," I said. And then: "Are you kidding me? Like I'd really mean that! No way! Name your price."
There was no way that I was going to skip out on learning more about the guys who kidnapped my mom. Not to mention, I'm sure that Delilah would hide some things from me in a misguided attempt to protect me, or keep me from doing something stupid. Adults are all like that.
"Wha-!?" Delilah exclaimed, flabbergasted.
Cait Sith grinned. "My, this kid's got moxie. I like you. Very well. But don't ask me where they are, because I don't know. The Eripmav has powerful, ancient magic in their arsenal, and are already using it to keep their . . . treasures hidden."
Yeah, well, I kind of figured that it wouldn't be that easy, so I wasn't all that surprised when she said that. She did admit that she didn't really know everything, after all.
"Ahem!" Delilah coughed. "Well, then, Mr. Client, I'll be handling things from here. So just sit back on this one."
She looked kind of mad. Was she mad? I thought so.
"Let's get right down to business," Delilah continued. "First off, is he back?"
He, who? I wondered.
"No," Cait Sith immediately answered. "The original Eripmav, the first one, and the one who began generations of Eripmav, is not back. He still sleeps as he has had since the stabilization of the world after the second World War."
Delilah breathed a huge sigh of relief.
"Oh, thank goodness," she said. "I wouldn't know what to do against an immortal with an army to command."
"Well, even if he was awake, I doubt that he would have started something like this," Cait Sith remarked.
"What do you mean?" I asked. "Isn't the Eripmav supposed to be a vampire like in the movies, going around biting people, drinking blood, and making them into his underlings?"
"Yes, but while the blood drinking hasn't stopped, the making more Eripmav has," Cait Sith said. "He's already made a country out of his underlings, so he doesn't need to make more."
"Really?" I said. "How come?"
"I'm going out on a limb here to guess that you think that the Eripmav either mindlessly creates more Eripmav out of instinct like in the movies, or that he's villain hoping to take over the world. Am I right?"
Actually, yes. Well, I kind of figured that he was a villain who wanted to take over the world. I mean, why else would he create more Eripmav like him?
"You would be dead wrong," Cait Sith said. "The real reason behind his turning others into vampires who share his . . . unique tastes and perspective is much sadder. But I'll leave that for another time. We are not here to discuss the life story of one of the ancient elders. Just know that he doesn't have a hand in current Eripmav affairs."
"Okay, then, what are the Eripmav over here up to?" Delilah asked.
"They want to take over the world," said Cait Sith. "And they're building an army of teenagers to do it."
"Wait, seriously? But I thought -!" I went.
"I know what I said," Cait sith cut in. "But just because the father doesn't have nefarious goals, doesn't mean that the children won't either. There are certainly those among the Eripmav who want to use the power of their founder to build an army for conquest. For some, the temptation would be too great. Even though the first Eripmav was actually careful about who he wanted in his fold, down the line, their children, or their children's children, are bound to get a black sheep in the family. And there are quite a lot of black sheep in the Eripmav's family who want to take over the world."
"So they're definitely the ones who're behind those kids disappearing?" said Delilah.
"Oh, yeah, definitely," said Cait Sith.
"Do you think you could tell us what their next move might be?" asked Delilah.
"I believe that they'll try to take the girl again," Cait Sith answered.
"You know, the girl they tried to take before Jay interfered," said Cait Sith. "April Gonzales, I believe?"
My heart nearly skipped a beat.
"Why?" I asked. "Why her? Is it because they didn't get her the last time? Because she's a witness, and they can't have witnesses?"
"If that were true, then there would be just as many eyes on you as there are on her," said the cat on the throne. "After all, you are just as much a witness as she is. But as far as my cats were able to tell, there has been a strong sinister presence around areas wherever that girl had set foot. It could just be a coincidence. That is possible. But after last night, that possibility is now close to zero. They're after her for a different reason entirely. Of that, I'm sure. What that reason is, I don't know. I doubt even she knows."
"Can you explain to us in more detail why you think there's an entirely different reason for the Eripmav to be after her than all the others they've kidnapped?"
"For one, they decided to go after her while she was still on the grounds of the school. And that school's the territory of Pembrooke, the Hero of Heroes, the same hero that took down a servant of a sinister space deity of chaos and destruction. The Eripmav's got some powerful magic on their side, but even they can't be dumb enough to risk starting a war with someone like that, unless there was a special reason."
Seriously, is my new principal really that impressive?
As if she read my mind, the ruler of the cats looked straight into my eyes and said: "All old people were young once, and all heroes end up old people."
"So, you know as much as to say that these rogue Eripmav want April Gonzales for a special reason, but you don't know what that reason is?"
I was really curious about that unknown reason Cait Sith was talking about. Seriously, why would the Eripmav be so interested in April that they would go against Pembrooke, if she is as powerful as Cait Sith said she is?
"Hey, what we cats do with information is no different from detective work," Cait Sith said. "Or rather, what we do is actually detective work. Seriously, with me around, I can't believe this town still needs a detective agency. I think I've just done over half the work for you."
"Ha ha, well, I already figured all that out," Delilah said, looking away from the cat. "I just wanted to get another person's perspective on this."
That earned a sideways glance from me.
"Oh, really?" the cat said with a mischievous grin.
"Is there anything else that you would like asked?"
"Yeah," I said. "I have one question. What are the Eripmav's weaknesses?"
Cait Sith and Delilah gave me funny looks, but I ignored that fact and just continued to stare ahead at the cat on the throne.
"Well," said Cait Sith, "running water is effective, as well as stuff that are holy or sacred. That much is actually true. But at best, it'd just give them a bit of nausea that any normal person could weather through, not like any of the intense suffering or fear that they show in the movies. Something about how feelings and energy affect their magic. Garlic's also effective, but that's mainly because the original Eripmav was intensely allergic to garlic and happened to pass that down to his followers as well as his thirst for blood. At least that's what history buffs think. Well, there's a lot of evidence to back that up, so they're probably right. Garlic would be your strongest weapon against the Eripmav, but even with that, it might not enough going against a whole gang of Eripmav, especially for a teenage boy with no magic powers or fighting experience.
"So, is that everything you wanted to know?"
"It'll do," I replied.
"Good," said Cait Sith. "Then, now for payment."
"I'm not sure how much I can actually pay, but maybe with my parents, we can work something out," I began, before the cat cut me off.
"It seems you're under the wrong impression," she said. "While money is sort of important here, as with anywhere else, we're also a bit on the old fashioned side, trading with things and services instead of with paper or gold. Instead of money, you can just do me a favor. Since this is your first time here, I'm going to be lenient, and start you off with just a simple task."
"Okay," I said, thinking how lucky I was. To be honest, I was flat broke after I spent almost all of my allowance on a couple of video games that came out a few weeks before. "What do you need me to do?"
That's when a book suddenly dropped down from the ceiling, nearly hitting my head.
"Whoa!" I cried out, jumping back several feet.
"Jay Jin-Jun Lin!" Cait Sith called out. "I task you to take that tomb and return it to whence it belongs!"
A gust of wind blew into the room, adding a very dramatic effect.
"Huh?" I went.
The winds died down, and Cait Sith answered: "In other words, take that book and return it to the library for me."
"Say wha . . . ?"
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Six)
And another new life starts for Jay.