Castle Roland

Somerset Farm

by Jamie Haze

In Progress

Chapter 71

Posted: 10 Dec 15


Jamie Haze

Once back in Bachal, Medi's school chum's parents were divided according to sex; the women were ushered into the palace wing that housed Ali's wives and female concubines for reasons of protocol and to outwardly obey religious restrictions. However once safely behind closed and guarded doors that separated the special wing from the rest of the palace, Victoria and of the western women discovered that Ali's three wives and his other woman enjoyed all the freedoms of non-Muslim women who were visiting the Country; they just used a secret set of doors a tunnel that led to a garage and a fleet of their cars, to come and go as they pleased to the casinos, restaurants, to shop and even visit cocktail lounges or fly in an unmarked jet to other countries, while the boys and their fathers of course, enjoyed total freedom to do what typical visitors pleased.

Just about the only benefit of being a Muslim woman in the Emir's household, married or not, was that they could go about anonymously since no one outside the palace knew what they looked like in what amounted to a wide open, anything goes, western type city. Bachal was the Las Vegas of the Middle East; what went on in Bachal; stayed in Bachal. The women even met their menfolk socially including Ali and his apparently westernized women, although Medi's mother ruled the women's wing as the First Wife to present the Emir with his heir.

Ali was completely enamored with the Cat Peoples' clouded history, their relationship to the Ancients and the Great Cats as well as similarities with the Middle Eastern cultures, particularly the Ancient Egyptian's penchant for building pyramids. Freckles, Spot and vicariously, Fang, expressed a desire to see the pyramids for themselves because they were pyramids above ground and were disappointed that it wouldn't be possible this trip even though they were relatively close by; separated only by the rest of the Saudi peninsula and the Red Sea.

Everyone was in or lounging around a swimming pool somewhere in Ali's personal domain in the depths of the palace complex where all the servants were young men or boys who were dressed down to match the Emir's guests. Ali didn't have to announce that bathing attire was optional in the hope that some of the boys would bare their splendid young bodies for him to observe so he could set about matching individual bodies to his new collection of sparkling, solid gold dildos.

"My dear chaps," Ali said to the whole gang of men and boys, "If you wish to see the Egyptian pyramids, I would be happy to make it so. I shall just phone whatever bloke who believes himself to be in power over there just now and advise him that I shall be making a State visit and include you chaps in my entourage as Western business associates. No problem at all," he assured.

"These Great Cats see two problems…" Freckles began to point out that he and Spot never seemed to blend in with humans no matter how hard they tried, wearing clothing or not and/or even while smiling constantly.

"Three problems," Fang interrupted to inject his 1500 pound solid gold replica of his true self into the problem count.

Ali frowned while considering the Great Cats. He said hesitantly, "I don't wish to be insulting, but would it be rude of me to suggest that you both could accompany me as, well, please do not become angry, but you could pose as two exotic pets." Ali closed his eyes so he wouldn't see his death coming by being so insulting to an honored guest and while his eyes were squenched closed, he suggested golden Fang be brought along as a most prized and stunningly beautiful artifact.

He was surprised when Freckles used Bucky's gravelly laughter as he recounted a story about an unnamed Executive Assistant who once claimed that he, Freckles, a fabulous living Great Cat, was in fact a mere service Cat to explain his presence in a convenience store. "It worked didn't it?" Peter, the former Executive Assistant asked with a giggle from the side of the pool. "And we got Mr. Slurpee Machine out of the deal," Peter reminded despite the extraordinary cost in gold.

"So if you want to see the pyramids," Doug questioned, "are you willing to make like overgrown Lucy House Cats when you're out in public?"

"If we must," the Great Cat twins agreed in stereo.

"But only in public," Spot qualified and began looking around the marble terrace, under and on the furnishings. He and Freckles had already agreed that if they had to act like a common house cat, they would have to watch one so they could imitate one successfully. Earlier, Lucy followed her fast maturing rambunctious brood out to the pool, took one look at all that disgusting water and made herself unavailable, somewhere high and dry until her 'kids' first swimming lesson was concluded.

Fortunately no one told the kittens that cats of any age did not like water except to drink a bit if there was no milk available and Lucy House Cat was becoming stingy with her bounty. Since Ali was the ultimate host, after he was apprised of the problem he whispered to a servant and soon an assortment of bowls arrived that would be a kitten feeding station. The assortment included warm unpasteurized, fresh from the donors, cow, goat, camel, mare and human mother's milk.

As Douggie House Cat sampled the various varieties, he used open mind- speak to comment; "Meat or fish would be better."

"From now on, always tell me what you like to eat," Hughie instructed as he scooped Douggie up and placed him on a table with platters of assorted tidbits that included smoked fish and meat.

"Douggie like," the kitten exclaimed as he deftly plucked the first morsel off a cracker. Hughie agreed while eating his share and the lonely crackers that Douggie didn't care for.

"Y'all know you're talkin' real good," Hughie praised. "I can hardly wait until you're big enough to wear a communicator, then we can really talk."

"Don't be talkin' with your mouth full," Hughie's father, Big Pettie reminded.

"How is it that you feel free to visit another country on such short notice?" Bucky wondered to Ali.

That question brought forth peals of laughter from Princes Medi and Huss before Ali could answer. Ali explained that other countries who received regular American aid always tried to end their political turmoil and establish new governments just in time to share in the wealth that was delivered by US aid programs promptly each fiscal quarter. The result of skimming had to be hidden fast and secretly, somewhere close by and to a very liberal, progressive bank, where it was easy to get at so it could be spent, gambled or saved as backup for their eventual certain overthrow assuming they survived. Ali paused there to see how many of his guests realized that he was implying that the National Bank of Bachal was just such a place and did a brisk, regular business timed to American aid payments.

"So if these crooked politicians and military maintain very secret accounts at your bank, what happens to those accounts if someone doesn't survive the coup or revolt?" Buck asked even though he was already laughing; indicating that he thought he knew the answer to that conundrum.

"EXACTLY," Ali agreed. "We wait for a brief period of time for someone to appear with the correct account numbers and passwords before the accounts are closed and forfeited to our local government; specifically, yours truly," he admitted happily. "Just now Egypt is in yet another state of unrest and the current leaders are flowing ever greater amounts of American currency into their accounts. They fully realize that their failure to grant such a simple request as a state visit could easily result in rather disastrous bookkeeping errors or account number and password fumbling. I assure you all that our tour of ancient Egyptian pyramids will go safely and smoothly.

Safely and smoothly was something of an understatement. Ali brought along 60 domestic servants. Chief among them was Rog, the Indian boy, who had been a slave to a pair of brothers that were the sons of a man who owned a large trawler that was caught fishing in Somalian waters. Rog had been liberated after the insolent brothers met their Hindu maker and Ali hired him after he saw how very well Rog was endowed. Ali also chose Doug's troop of Mean Motherfuckers as the party's security force since they proved themselves as ready fighters by just exposing themselves to enemy fire when aboard Sea Song, plus they obviously couldn't speak Arabic and few English speakers could even understand their unique Bahamas dialect, much like the Swiss Guards originally charged with security for the Vatican and Pope.

Of course the excursion was a men only affair; while the women they left behind remained busy with visiting boutiques, fine restaurants and occasionally Bachal's casinos where surprisingly there were absolutely no losers among the women. The casino staffs steadfastly continued the polite fiction that they didn't know the Emir's wives had ever left the palace unaccompanied by a close male relative when they and their friends were out gambling.

Since Ali wanted to impress the Egyptians with the maximum amount of ostentatious display, he 'borrowed' Big Bird from Evan and when Big Bird landed at the Cairo airport there was a mad scramble by all the military and government officials to relocate their receiving line since they were expecting the Emir's 757 jet. The Egyptian officials were also confounded by the order of debarking and the nature of Ali's party of guests.

First off Big Bird was the unsmiling Mean Motherfuckers with weapons at the ready who formed a semi-circle around the foot of the stairs and almost but not quite pointed those weapons at the receiving line. The next passengers down the stairs were the smiling Great Cats who were accompanied by some little and littler boys; accompanied by the Cat warriors, with Hughie and Squeak along with several of Medi's younger, full and half-brothers. These were Ali's other sons who were visiting Egypt and the pyramids for the first time. Ali's kids loved the talking Cats, while Kad and Sidi wanted to remain close to their 'tools' that were stored in the Great Cat's Cat packs. Bani held his Tara mini-tool in his hand and Squeak just kept flexing his index fingers in the event of need because the Cat People and the Great Cats had a long unfortunate history with the military in their native territories.

The younger guys came next including Ali and his half-brother Huss with Harm, in the middle of the group with their compliment of multinational servants. Since everyone was intentionally dressed in shirts, shorts, sunglasses and flip flops, Ali was impossible to recognize. Next to last to emerge from the hatch were Pettie and Will who were apparently carrying an effigy of a Cat for some reason, so easily that it was naturally assumed to be gold painted Styrofoam. Last to debark was the fathers and guardians, and when the entire party was clustered at the foot of the stairs, the Mean Motherfuckers, Cat warriors, Cats and kids formed a flying wedge for the short walk to the line of SUVs that was to transport everyone 15 miles to Giza and the pyramids, ignoring the Egyptian receiving line altogether.

The officials were actually relieved that they wouldn't be any closer to the giant Cats who had been trained to wear sunglasses, bowties and backpacks but not restrained in any way. Just hearing intentional clicking claws on concrete and being close enough to count major teeth through constant smiles was close enough.

The Emir's party, entourage and servants with baggage was soon successfully delivered to the gates of a compound that enclosed an elegant but temporary tent city, located a bit closer to Sphinx's ass end and between the three major pyramids that dominated the Giza area. The Great Cats loped off toward the Sphinx while Taras Bani, Squeak and Peter stood around studying the crumbling pyramids.

The Taras silently agreed that something wasn't quite right about the giant structures that were actually confirmed as being nothing more than incredible graveyard headstones that were intended to stand the test of time and desert sands. It didn't seem to make sense to intentionally go to so much work to build and hide magnificent tombs and then plop millions of pounds of rock on top of them as grave markers so they could always be easily found by robbers up to many millennia later.

"Well if the archeologists think they've found everything hidden under those piles," Tara Peter the Finder said with a grin and a shrug, "they're sadly mistaken. I think there's one big city under them, that's probably 1500 feet or more down, deeper than the deepest tomb; even deeper than Cat City."

Doug took on a strange expression as he was joined by golden Fang. He looked over at Fang. "I can tell, you feel it too," he said. "It's just like when we first touched minds while I was on Sea Song and you were high up in your stonewood tree, only this time the mind is in the heart of Sphinx City. I think we're being invited to meet the owner of the mind," he added, which got everyone's attention.

Fang agreed by adding; "This strange Great Cat is beyond ancient, he is older than those rock piles he rests beneath," he observed in open mind-speak, which caused all the mind-speakers to come running with everyone asking the same question; they wanted to know who or what Doug and Fang were talking about.

Just then, Freckles and Spot bounded into the compound and joined the group. Since they rarely bounded anywhere unless they were racing after prey, chasing each other or in trouble, it was apparent that they were excited. "These Great Cats have found a sealed entrance to somewhere, under that crude Cat statue with a disgusting human head," the Cats said together both out loud and in mind-speak for good measure. They took delight in denigrating humans.

"Did any of the tourists see the entrance?" Peter asked with a chuckle. Everyone in the compound had heard considerable screaming and then total silence after the tourists fled the area in their tour busses to get away from the two giant wild cats after the Cats, still wearing their sunglasses and neckties, climbed to sit on the top of the limestone sphinx head and smile down on them from above. Everyone had a good laugh when Peter nominated the Great Cats to be in charge of crowd control while they were in Egypt.

Freckles explained more after the laughter died down. The entrance wasn't a proper Cat way; it was too small because it was located right between the sphinx's front legs. It was cut into the bedrock about 100 feet down and then the long ramp to the closed door was currently filled with sand or allowed to fill up with sand to conceal it but was actually well below the Nile water level, so it probably could originally be flooded as a safeguard, just like Cat City's main entrance.

The engineer in Doug began looking between the sphinx's elongated body that was roughly aligned with their compound, but looking away from the three grouped major pyramids as if it was a symbolic guard or placed to give warning of danger ahead. He kept looking back and forth and moving until he raised his arms with one finger pointed in each direction before he stamped a foot. "If there's a tunnel between the sphinx and the pyramids, it should run somewhere close to where I'm standing," he pronounced.

Kad and Sidi ran to the Cats to get and assemble their tools before they announced that they would remove the sand from between the sphinx's legs to expose the closed entrance. Fortunately, less impetuous heads suggested that Snoopy should look for a less obvious entrance first as well as accurately map the tunnel, if there was a tunnel, so the Egyptians and the rest of the world wouldn't be aware of what they were doing.

Peter placed his hand on Freckles' head as Freckles looked up at the sky, then the pair moved to within a few feet of where Doug had been standing and continued to look off into space. Meanwhile Doug began studying the location of the largest tent structure in the makeshift compound. It was intended to be the public part of the Emir's quarters, mostly a lounge where the temporary wooden floor was covered with rare carpets, and then bedecked with cushions and low ornate tables; it was the entire party's dining area with a large field kitchen and sleeping quarters attached.

Golden Fang agreed with Doug's plan. He announced to the group; "Relocate this structure to here then build a Cat way inside, under the flooring so it is concealed."

Of course Kad and Sidi rushed to obey. It was a rare opportunity to use their tools in some way that was more constructive than manufacturing fake artifacts from real gold. That was until Fang had a mind-speak 'word' with the eager, impetuous pair that stopped them in their tracks. "We cannot start our work until the tent is moved so we are hidden from view," Sidi announced to the rest of the group as if he was talking to school boys who should have known there would be a delay until after the tent's relocation.

Kad elaborated with a suggestion that the move could take place immediately using levitation if Chief Ali could get rid of the Egyptian military and the native servants for the duration of the visit. Ali took his brother Huss, Medi, all of Medi's little brothers and the royal personal servers into their quarters since they were the only ones with any real baggage, and it had just been delivered. All he said before they disappeared was that it was time his family appeared dressed as royals.

No one except the royals knew that the once nomadic tribe had been occupying the same oasis since around 1914 and the tribal or clan leaders at first and later Emirs had been acquiring wealth by hook or crook ever since, and more importantly, still possessed it while growing it further, more than 1000s of times over.

A short while later, the Mean Motherfuckers were neatly spaced around the inside tent walls, while the rest of the Family stood wherever they pleased and Freckles, Spot and Golden Fang, flanked the entrance to the royal's sleeping quarters. The Great Cats were the only ones seated and staring at the aged Egyptian Army General who had been standing in the middle of the room for 15 minutes in response to Emir Ali's preemptory summons.

"Where'd he get all those medals?" Hughie asked Pettie since he was sitting on his brother's shoulders so he could see better. Unfortunately, with the advantage of height, his voice and tall Pettie's whispered answer carried throughout the tent, including to the old general who of course also spoke English.

"A long time ago the Egyptians had a serious war with their neighbors, the Israelis. I think it only lasted six days and when it was all over, the Israelis won big time. I guess the youngest, fastest officers to get back into Cairo got the first pick of ribbons and medals. They sure didn't get them by leading soldiers forward and I don't think Egypt has done much fighting since the time they got spanked by the Israelis in that war," Pettie whispered up and back over his shoulder to his brother.

Evan joined the conversation using mind-speak which caused the other mind-speakers to grin or giggle at a story his grandfather, Anton, told him about the six day wars' aftermath. The USSR had been trying to gain a foothold in the Near East and had equipped the Egyptian army. After the world record short war, Anton claimed that the Israelis were trying to ruin his arms sales by advertising discounted Russian weapons for sale that had never been fired and had been dropped only once!

Ali interrupted the bored mind-speaker's levity by appearing with his half-brother Huss and all of his sons. All were dressed in full ceremonial court dress complete with flowing embroidered robes, and gem encrusted daggers and scimitars in their sashes that had been scaled to fit the size of the individual boy although the youngest prince's weapons were fake and try as they might, they couldn't draw their weapons from their jeweled scabbards.

The old general expected further humiliation in addition to the wait and the American's whispered comments, but Ali surprised him by getting too close, invading his personal space, preventing his deep bow. Instead Ali grasped his hand for a sincere two handed shake and words of thanks for being a superb host with such short notice.

Ali confounded the general further by motioning two servants forward with gifts. The first was a magnificent parade sword and matching scabbard. While the leather scabbard was all but hidden by delicate gold filigree, it was the sword's hilt, one marble size star sapphire that caused the general to blink. The second gift was boxed. Inside, resting on a velvet cushion was an award that Ali informed proudly was a 'Star of Bachal' that was previously worn only by members of Ali's family on only the most important State occasions.

Ali pulled his robe aside to reveal his Star while his swarm of sons was already proudly flashing theirs that were securely fastened to their silk covered chests. The center stone was of course another star sapphire that was surrounded by diamond studded rays in varying lengths to resemble a blazing star. Ali had to have help to properly pin the general's Star on the right side of his uniform opposite the collection of meaningless medals that were affixed to the left side from his shoulder down to near the jacket hem.

After the award ceremony, Ali called for refreshments. Then he and his guest, the General, sat in comfortable arm chairs that miraculously appeared while the rest of the party sat on the cushions. Since the General was a frequent visitor to Bachal's casinos and Ali's intelligence service was second to none in country, he didn't embarrass the General by offering him tea. The General was served a frosted glass of 'ice water' that smelled and tasted suspiciously like a very dry martini. Its actual content was only betrayed by three giant olives on a bamboo skewer. It was the General who suggested the compound's isolation before Ali could mention the subject.

He explained that wherever a Head of State abided out of their country, even temporarily, the place was legally an Embassy and therefore was sovereign territory. He then very politely requested to withdraw his security force except roadblocks, since the Emir appeared to be adequately protected. The General's problem became a new crush of tourists who were interested in visiting the area to see the Emir's giant Cats, not the sphinx and the pyramids and he didn't want to see anyone hurt, not to mention the possibility of a tourist being eaten during the brief stay. The government was constantly receiving enough bad publicity just by continuing to exist.

"These Great Cats do not like the taste of human," Ali's voice clearly said from somewhere behind the General. He turned just in time to see one Cat use his tail to eat a sandwich whole while the second Cat had his head immersed in a golden bowl while its tail was held aloft with the tip bent in his direction. Ali ended the interview after that incident by assuring the General that all his deposits in the Bank of Bachal would remain inviolate and available to him and his heirs, no matter what happened to his position in the Government of Egypt.

The General and his entourage was barely out of sight before the whole tent compound began to shimmer and shake as it began to move into the new position designated by Doug and confirmed by Snoopy. Inside the main tent, Golden Fang removed the furnishings and the floor while Kad and Sidi eagerly assembled their tools.

"What are these brave warriors to do with all the shit I mean crap, Great Cat Fang?" Sidi inquired politely.

"There will be a desert sandstorm until you are finished," Fang said. Fang then instructed the warriors to begin digging the basic shaft directly under their feet so they would always be standing on the shaft floor, while the Taras would follow to create the Cat way ramp spiraling down the shaft perimeter.

Bani, Peter and Squeak soon realized that creating the spiral from the highest end was easier said than actually done; it was impossible. Bani was doing his best using his mini-tool, Peter was following Bani cautiously but not using his tool at all, while Squeak stood at the brink with his hands on his hips without pointing his finger or even touching his tool.

"I hope you don't mind if I point out that you guys are doing a really shitty job that the Ancients wouldn't be very proud of," Doug pointed out whether the Taras minded or not. He was instantly offered not one, but all three mini-tools to see if he could do better. "I think I can, you sarcastic motherfuckers," he said and took Squeak's tool, which warmed to his touch. Then he waited until Bani and Peter safely retreated from their messy beginning effort with middle fingers and grins flashing before he disappeared in the warrior's spiraling cloud of dust.

There was a flash of blue just before the cloud thickened, began to swirl like a tightly controlled tornado, bent to the widest tent opening and exited into the desert to be blown away by a wind provided by the Great Cat brothers.

"We have found Tara Douglas the Builder," Fang announced to the group who were standing around the lip of the well, looking down uselessly since there was nothing to be seen of the three boys in the swirling dust cloud, but while they couldn't be seen, they could certainly be heard.

"Guess what guys," Doug said when he appeared beside Kad and Sidi, "for some reason Squeak's little tool will work for me, but I can't start carving a Cat ramp until we get to the bottom of the shaft, so we better get our asses in gear."

"Well Mr. Big Shot Tara Doug, the work would go faster if you could provide some more light so we can see what we are doing," Sidi challenged Doug, Tara or not. "Kad is a very careless worker and keeps getting too close with his tool, he could cut off one of my legs," he accused Kad, which was bound to cause a rough and tumble in the well, as well as stop work until they ultimately kissed and made up in their usual way.

Fang suddenly entered the warriors' minds; "If you brave warriors do not cease arguing and continue work, this Great Cat will remove your middle legs," he warned. The threat caused the brave warriors to redouble their efforts silently while attempting to look up to see if Great Cat Fang was watching. There wasn't much that scared them, but losing their couplers was right up there on the top of any Cat warrior's short list.

Doug fiddled with the buttons on the borrowed mini-tool and then pushed the clicker. The cylinder walls turned a much brighter blue instantly. "I'll be damned," he said, "it worked. That takes care of that excuse. Now I'll start cutting all around the circumference and you guys clean out the center. I don't think we have too far to go because we're closer to the sphinx. The tunnel must angle down to the City from there," he told the warriors.

Fortunately, it had gotten dark so the Cats didn't have to disguise the increased volume of sandy dust as dust devils any longer. Dust devils were common in the desert but they didn't commonly originate from inside a tent or march away in uniform rows as the volume of dirt increased.

Doug sensed the tunnel was close without understanding why or how. "Okay guys, that's deep enough. Smooth the floor out while I cut the way into the Ancient's hallway," he instructed. It wasn't long before he finished connecting the new shaft to the much older tunnel. The three guys peeked up and down the hallway but couldn't see much since the power was off just like Doug forecast.

"Cutting the ramp is still going to take a great amount of time even though our beautiful Cat way is only 300 feet deep," Kad observed.

"I know, so I thought I'd try something different."

Both warriors blinked in surprise. Then they strongly recommended that Doug not 'try' anything different with Great Cat Fang watching from above. The old Great Cat had little sense of humor and didn't like surprises. Doug risked having HIS middle leg removed if whatever he wanted to try, didn't work.

Doug shrugged before he disappeared back into the shaft where he began to use the tool to chew up the floor until he had a mix of gravel-size stone and assorted size limestone dust and sand. When he was satisfied with his work, he stepped back into the old corridor and turned the tool back on the mess he made. The warriors were shocked to see it begin the melt, bubble and then congeal to be a perfectly glass smooth surface.

"What did you do?" Sidi asked Doug.

"If I did it right, I think I just made this Cat City its first elevator. Come on, climb aboard and let's see if we can will it to levitate." The first 10 feet was a slow deliberate test but the following 290 feet was like standing on top of a flat nosed rocket that shot to the top of the shaft so forcefully, the guy's three minds weren't fast enough to stop it when it reached the tent floor. The 12 inch slab stopped five feet too high and pitched Kad, Sidi and Doug off in three directions. Kad and Sidi just somersaulted to land on their feet, while the newest Tara didn't fair quite as well, but except for a bruised dignity, he was unhurt.

Everyone else was laughing while Fang lowered the elevator deck to floor level, so the entire mob could climb on with Fang in the center. The Cats took charge of the kids by piling them up and holding them down. Only Hughie and Squeak on the bottom of the pile didn't struggle to get away since they were facing each other and couldn't be seen.

"Main level, Sphinx City!" Doug shouted as the elevator stopped at the entrance to the Ancient hallway at the bottom of the shaft. Doug's father Bill nearly knocked him into a wall when he 'patted' him on the back; he was so proud of his son and his latent civil engineering abilities.

Doug reluctantly handed the cooperative mini-tool back to Squeak after he turned on some light, although it was blue and would remain blue if they couldn't find and switch on the main power source. He was pleased and surprised when Squeak pushed the mini-tool back and said he would get another one when he next returned to Cat City. Meanwhile, he planned to rely on his fingers.

Fang sent his sons, Freckles and Spot forward to 'case' the joint (his word) for dangers ahead, but not without Squeak and Hughie. Squeak was armed with his finger while Hughie was suddenly clutching his new Christmas rifle that had been hidden in Freckles' Cat pack. The newly discovered passageway was the same width and height, with the same arched ceiling and glass smooth surfaces of Cat City but with the power off, there was none of the beautiful jungle-scape or whatever the local landscape might have been when constructed. Thus far the passage was just a plain hallway that was only relieved by the constant shade of blue maintained by Great Cat Fang, the Taras, apparently including Doug and the Cat brothers as they moved forward and deeper. There was one major difference; the slope was steeper than any passage in Cat City because Sphinx City was far deeper in mother earth. Since there was at least one Great Cat still in the City, Fang told his twin sons, Freckles and Spot to reconnoiter and make first contact without getting killed or injured if possible. Squeak and Hughie were even more determined to go along to guard the Cats despite the possible danger.

With the riders on board, the Great Cats took off down the corridor. While they were racing each other, they also wanted to be first to greet the strange Great Cat whose aura was weaker than any Cat in their clan, except kittens, which they didn't understand. Great Cat auras matured with the Cat which other Cats recognized from any distance if they concentrated. Kitten auras were silver, while maturing Cat's went from silver to pale blue that continued to darken and intensify to a radiant blue with hints of silver. Of course a clan leader like Fang sported the ultimate; a deep blue with golden rays of power. This strange Cat's aura was silver, and that was flickering.

The boys and Cats knew exactly when they entered the City's gathering place because they were no longer able to light the vast area completely; just a 100 yard radius. Enough for Hughie to see where they were going without need of looking through Freckles' eyes. But Hughie wanted to see everything just like the Cats and his friend Squeak.

The interior of this great pyramid was squattier than Cat City's with the space interrupted by four massive columns to support the ceiling, Freckles explained to the boys in a flash. The columns were necessary because Sphinx City was built in sandstone and soft limestone that was too weak for the ceiling to be self-supporting unlike Cat City that had been cut from very hard granite.

Hughie became upset when he realized that they were running along a garden walkway but the plantings were nothing more than dense brush, groupings of sticks and leafless trees. All dead for want of water and life-giving sunlight or whatever the Ancients used as sunlight, he amended.

"Perhaps not dead," Freckles suggested, "maybe they are sleeping."

"Do you mean dormant?" Hughie asked with a snicker.

Freckles took the bait, "That is what I said." He realized what he said, "Perhaps one impudent human boy would like his first flying lesson?" He added with his tail already lifting the boy in question and flailing him around, threatening to fling him into the shrubbery that might or might not be dead or dormant. The threat obviously back fired when Hughie began screaming and laughing his delight with the ride. Squeak didn't even have to ask before Spot began whipping him around even more violently because Cat warriors were far more durable than human boys. The fun ended suddenly when they reached the throne area and the hallway behind the dais beckoned with a feeble blue light and the life source intensified.

The Great Cats slowed to a creep, almost a deadly silent stalk as they and their riders entered the first and largest resting place that duplicated those at home in Cat City. The Cats weren't surprised to find an adult Great Cat there on the larger side of the double circular bed. They were absolutely shocked to discover it wasn't resting as all Cats do; stretched out on its belly with its head on its paws. It was curled in a tight ball and appeared to be sleeping soundly. It also seemed to be unaware of their presence with its unmoving tail covering its eyes, just like one of Lucy House Cat's usual sleeping poses.

The symbiotic foursome immediately reported their find to the fast approaching main party and discussed how to proceed in the universally 'spoken' and understood open mind-speak as if the strange Great Cat couldn't hear and understand them; by then the Cats were more used to voice communication through the communicators.

While Squeak, Spot and Freckles talked, Hughie climbed up on the bed, snuggled into the cushions and the side of the Cat's head and simply began petting the head, scratching his ears as if he was Freckles or Spot. Then he admired the Cat's size, probable strength, dense fur and the beauty of his patterned, spotted pelt. Hughie did not see the tail tip move in his direction or the eye lids flicker with movement.

Suddenly Hughie felt a question form in his head, "You are not of the Cat People so are you food for this Great Cat?" While the question was asked, Hughie found himself lifted and swung around so he was looking into the Great Cat's wide open eyes and touching noses.

Hughie's reaction, instead of showing fear and horror, was to giggle and laugh. He even dared to pat the Great Cat's nose. "No, I am certainly not food! I am a Great Cat's friend! See behind me?" He pointed back at Freckles and Spot who had the presence of mind to abase their bodies so completely, they looked like a pair of trophy throw rugs. He added as an afterthought, "It's a good thing you have a sense of humor, Great Cat, I thought I was Cat food for a moment."

The strange Great Cat uncurled his massive adult body and managed a stretch and toothy yawn just like Lucy House Cat while at the same time, his tail sat Hughie back on the cushions and petted him in return until his eyes settled on Squeak, then they widened in surprise. "You are a Great One Guardian," he stated, "yet you carry no tool of authority and your body is covered. Are you the present Pharaoh?"

Instead of answering, Squeak jumped to the Cat's bed to greet the Great Cat properly and allow for the transfer of knowledge as he looked into the Great Cat's eyes. The transfer worked both ways.

The old Great Cat was known to his clan as Leader, the Cat friend of the first Great One Finder so his Great Cat rank would be equal to Fang's even though Leader was the last of his generation on Earth with his Cat friend, the Finder, passed on to somewhere else thousands of years earlier after he went rogue, went up to the surface and declared himself as God or Pharaoh to all the native populations on the African continent which began the steady flow of tribute and plunder by willing himself to other mineral and metal rich areas, impressing everyone with his unlimited power and then demanding or simply taking whatever he wanted.

The first Pharaoh used his tool of power to support his declared authority until Leader Great Cat stole his tool, sealed the City and shut down all power thus greatly limiting his former Cat friend's power to abuse his position, however that was too little and too late; his godly reputation had been established. By then, the other Great Ones (All Ancients were pacifists.) took all the other Cats and all the Cat People to somewhere else; in fact the City was abandoned except for Leader Great Cat. Great Cats could never abandon their Cat friends, no matter the extent of the friend's wrong doing. Leader's last act was to shut down the power source before entering the state of suspended animation or hibernation for the next few millennia to await the return of the other Great Ones or simply some other Great Ones.

Freckles realized what Leader Great Cat required first after he and Spot greeted the living Ancient Great Cat. He found golden Great Cat dinnerware in Sphinx City's kitchens. Next to appear was food that he appropriated from the compound kitchen; first lamb, goat and beef appeared to fill the bowls topped with steamed vegetables. Of course no dinner would be complete without wine to fill three more bowls. Freckles delivered full cases; the two boys opened the boxes and poured after the corks were sent to nothingness. Shooting corks at others was felt to be inappropriate. One moment Ali's cooks had dinner well underway and the next, almost everything disappeared.

Nothing was said to the boys after Squeak brought forth cups and dinnerware he and Hughie could use when they dipped their cups in cat bowls and speared choice cuts of cooked lamb and beef from the twins' food bowls.

Leader wasn't bashful concerning breaking his fast while two young Great Cats watched with the beginning of drool and the two boys with hungry eyes and growling stomachs. After the first bowl was emptied and hunger pangs satisfied, Leader blinked to purloin more food from the field kitchen for his new friends, as well as turn on the power source with his energy renewed due to the first full belly in eons.

The main party was near the center of the gathering place which was also the center of the pyramid when the life giving daylight came on suddenly. There was blue sky with scudding clouds above and trees blooming on the distant pyramid walls; a stark contrast to the leafless real trees standing tall near the outside walls. The pool around what was thought of as a transporter, an intense light column, intensified as the circular pool at the base filled with water.

Dry fountains began to bubble and splash and off in one corner, the muted sounds of a waterfall could be heard. Except for the fountains and lower ceilings, the room was almost identical to Cat City's. Then strangely, all the walkways began to flood until there was a good inch of water everywhere. Some thought they were going to have the swim for their lives until Fang informed that the irrigation system was catching up to saturate the planting beds. It was assumed that the plants weren't dead; merely dormant.

The large group met the scouting party and Leader at the throne dais to find the two little boys had lost their clothes somewhere and that Leader had placed Squeak on the throne with Hughie leaning on the one arm holding his weapon at the ready. It was obvious that Hughie had appointed himself as Squeak's bodyguard since in his mind they were playing 'king of the hill' and he was a knight who was prepared to defend his king and the Sphinx City throne. While in Ancient Leader Great Cat's mind Squeak actually was the City's Ancient Leader, reincarnated, the reason he'd been placed on the throne. Squeak and Hughie stripped willingly when Leader implied that only the Pharos and humans covered their bodies (and the promise that they could go swimming after formal greetings, assuming the pool was filled by then).

There was a united intake of breath as Leader stood up and stepped off the dais to greet everyone according to protocol. Anyone who hadn't been to Cat City and seen firsthand just how large a mature 1000 pound Great Cat was, when walking toward you while wearing a huge smile was in shock. Golden Fang was first and made eye contact the longest since each had Great Cat knowledge from different time periods to share. Next were Taras Bani, Peter and the newest, Douglas the Builder, who was also always the most sensitive human telepath with a long standing interest in teleporting and how the column of light in the center of the pyramid was used.

Doug surprised and embarrassed the other Tara mind-speakers by being first to think of presenting Ancient Leader Great Cat with his communicator, temporarily, until one that was Great Cat size could be fabricated. After Doug attached the chain around Leader's neck, Leader gifted Doug with a thorough grooming after his shorts and shirt disappeared to somewhere else, wherever the little boys left theirs.

Doug's sudden nudity was a signal to the other guys that if they didn't also get naked voluntarily, their limited wardrobes might also disappear when Leader got around to greeting them. Since no one knew if clothing might become necessary before they got back to the compound on the surface, they opted to lay their clothing aside rather than risk losing them to join Doug's. This was the general opinion among mind-speakers and quickly agreed to by the other non-mind-speakers after the risk was explained verbally.

Doug gritted his teeth as he franticly begged Leader to not groom his body below his belt, waist, he corrected when Leader looked puzzled. When he saw that Leader still didn't understand he sent a video of his erection and what it surely would do if Leader's paste exuding tongue got down that far. It was already too late for Doug to prevent his erection but when Leader heard giggles and saw pointing fingers, he merely surveyed the surrounding audience with his eyes which caused everyone to grow uncontrollably in sympathy.

Bucky saved the day by inviting all who wanted to, to go swimming. Ali's kids were delighted with that idea, while their father, Ali, was less so, but had no choice except to play lifeguard. Then while the modest non-mind-speakers sought the safety of water, Freckles looked around at the small piles of clothing until he found an 'abandoned' cellphone.

With the phone in his tail he asked Leader if there were any large green stones in Sphinx city. He needed one that was as large as or larger than his or Spot's. Leader spoke aloud experimentally for the first time after he blinked and 20 open Ancient stonewood storage/travel boxes appeared to line up in front of Freckles and Spot for their review; "Ask if more are required," he said and attempted to look down at his borrowed communicator, surprised at the sound of his voice. The brief pause allowed Doug to escape beyond the range of Leader's tail to just behind Buck.

Leader was unperturbed. "This Great Cat will attend you and your mate when next you choose to rest," he said clearly with a toothy smile, at once more comfortable with speaking out loud.

Hughie looked to see that his father had opted for some down time in the pool while he calmed down. Of course he didn't care if his brother, Little Pettie, heard his protest and its obvious implications. "Hey Great Cat Leader, don't you remember you promised you would attend us when Squeak and me rest if you can keep my father busy somewhere else," he boldly complained.

Leader nodded, "Elders who do not have friends will rest very soundly," he assured without explaining how he would accomplish that trick.

Hughie and Squeak giggled together as Hughie dared to ask, "Don't you mean sleep?"

"That is what this Cat said," Leader argued.

"GOTTCHA!" Both little boys sang together until their four ankles were suddenly surrounded by a Cat tail and they were lashed about until they fuzzed out and disappeared without time to scream until they found themselves in the middle of the pool among the swimmers without being aware of how they got there. Of course, far from being upset by the sudden relocation, the little boys ran back to where Leader was just completing his greetings with the rest of the mind-speakers.

The boys asked, more respectfully, how the Ancient Cat moved them into the pool. They weren't thrown; there was no sense of flying, no sense of anything except being held by the ankles by a soft furry tail with an iron grip one instant and displacing water in the pool the next.

"This Cat can send or take you to any place you or this Cat has been before," Leader stated with the usual arrogance of all Great Cats.

"Well, can you take us home to our village?" Squeak inquired. "It is long past evening food and everyone else is very hungry even though you probably aren't because you just ate?"

While Squeak asked about returning to South America for evening food, Freckles interrupted the conversation long enough to replace Doug's loaner with a Great Cat size communicator that he'd manufactured from one giant emerald and pieces of someone's unattended cellphone.

"It would be a great honor to hunt swine with you," Fang told Leader as he sent images of a huge cross bred feral boar, which he was in the process of making into one or more pork tartar dinners."

"This Cat has not hunted in a great length of time," Leader said with longing. He made up his mind by asking the golden Fang if he wanted to travel or wait in the City until the party returned. While he was asking, the rest of the party, all the previously excited non-mind-speaking swimmers began to appear, mostly sprawled on the pavement in odd positions that wouldn't seem odd if they were still in the pool. All of them, even the kids, looked completely amazed to find themselves relocated so instantly without the slightest sense of moving or discomfort during the move.

Leader looked to Freckles and Spot to say in mind-speak: "It appears that Great Cat's power to move has been lost after a great length of time, so you two must learn this skill. Hold your home place and all these humans and Cat warriors in your minds," he instructed while he sat between the young Great Cats. He knew the twins, the Taras and all the Great Cats could reproduce what happened next after Freckles and Spot did it first.

Then according to some protocol, first the Taras, the Cat warriors, Kad and Sidi, then human mind-speakers and lastly all the non-mind-speakers, winked out leaving the three living Great Cats and golden Fang sitting alone in the vast Sphinx City gathering place. An instant later, golden Fang was left alone to await everyone's return.

Of course while the mass departure was orderly, the sudden unannounced arrival of strangers in the middle of the Cat People's village nearly caused a deadly defensive event even though Bani and Squeak along with Kad and Sidi arrived first. The bulk of the population were not mind-speakers and those that were, didn't have the time to inform the rest of the villagers and the living Great Cat Fang was a Cat of 'very few' spoken words; the Great Cat clan knew and that was sufficient.

Great Cat Fang was also very excited because he suddenly knew the secret of translocation or traveling as Leader referred to as 'moving'. The column of light in the center of the pyramid somehow facilitated the process but travelers didn't have to actually enter the light as was believed by later generations of Cats over the course of millennia during which the knowledge was lost because none had images of anywhere else to travel. To travel without an image was to arrive somewhere in nothingness.

Fang and his Council greeted the astounding still living Great Cat Leader warmly with a friendly rough and tumble out in the playing field. Leader was delighted to be able to rough and tumble with other Cats his size, if a few millennia short in age while the Cat People and humans watched from a safe distance.

Freckles and Spot had been invited to participate in the Cat rough and tumble as a sign that they were maturing Great Cats but the younger Cats declined. Instead they opted to slink around the cook hut with their twin noses in the air sniffing out the most delectable odors to decide what food they would enjoy for their second evening meal.

Bani was greeting his parents as Marta was supervising the women preparing the food. She was concerned about not having enough to feed the People, the hoard of Great Cats and the unexpected guests and there wasn't time to prepare more that was presently wandering around their pens at a warrior's farm, while it should have been turning on a spit over a slow fire for at least the past 24 hours.

Bani looked at the Cats sniffing the area and touched their minds too quickly for them to block. He began laughing during the instant it took to relay his discovery to other mind-speakers before he accused; "You two Great Cats have become accustomed to eating cooked meat and being served," he claimed. "You have become domesticated pussies!"

Squeak came to the twin's defense by jumping up on Spot's back as Hughie climbed aboard Freckles' in part to keep them from starting another rough and tumble with Bani and no doubt the rest of the Cat warriors for blabbing the truth. "We four are mighty hunters! We will supply the extra evening food and all will be served in the great dining hall in Cat City in a short length of time," He promised or perhaps overstated as a little boy boast, except everyone tended to forget that the little boy was also an awesomely powerful Tara who was adept at using his finger in preference to his Ancient tool. "Come along Peter, we need you to find a wild swine herd that has not been hunted in a great length of time," he ordered just before the Cats, their little riders and Peter winked out after Peter grabbed Edvard's hand to take him along on the impromptu hunt and ultimately a pig roast to be served in Cat City.

Since all the Great Cats were occupied, Cat warrior Chief Tonga decided to play host to all the visitors by giving a tour of Cat City. So with Angus as the actual guide, everyone set off on foot heading to the closest Cat way to get down into the City. They had just begun the short journey when Bani sent a thought to Doug.

Bani asked if Doug, Kad and Sidi would have time to install an elevator in the Cat way well before he and the rest of the party arrived at the entrance. Doug nodded before winking out, taking Kad, Sidi with their tools and Buck with them to be of some 'help' later in one of the sumptuous resting places. The construction crew didn't have to dig the well first; it was already done, so all they had to do was to create a platform and have it ready and waiting at the top of the Cat way. Then with a few hands full of fresh paste berries, the foursome could enjoy a quiet foursome without a Cat to assist, which always seemed to end up being an hours long orgy.

"You know I just realized that the Cats have been using traveling all along without realizing it," Buck said after they reappeared at the foot of the ramp in the bottom of the Cat way.

"How so?" Doug asked while cutting out a circular area inside the ramp and Kad and Sidi began to turn the circle into the beginnings of dry concrete so Doug could turn the result into a polished disc; the new elevator floor.

"Well, they send trash and incriminating evidence to nothingness and they've always caused their travel bowls to appear anytime it was time to eat or drink. They just bring the bowls from where they left them to where they are or send them to where they know they're going to be because they've been there before. I guess they never realized that they could move themselves or anyone else as easily if they tried."

Doug sort of agreed by giving Buck a classic lecherous look, complete with arched eyebrow as he suggested; "Speaking of traveling, why don't I send you out into the gathering place garden to pick us a big bunch of fresh paste berries while we finish up here? We've always used the berries in paste form but I've been wondering how well they would work if we crushed them fresh from the vines on each other. It would be messy but fun," he concluded.

Cad and Sidi looked at each other and conversed for a moment in mind-speak before their two 'little' heads rose to the occasion. "We have a better idea," they said in unison.

Sidi suddenly grabbed and held Kad in a choke hold so he could speak their idea without competition. He said, "We always wondered what would happen if fresh berries were added to a hot bathing pool. We know that there is some paste in the water already, but what would happen if we turned a bathing pool into a nice dark blue paste stew?"

Kad broke free and began a rough and tumble that Doug and Buck had seen before. The little warriors were fighting for dominance; whichever was the victor got to decide positions during the fast approaching sex session. Fortunately their bodies were almost indestructible so neither was injured before Doug broke up the fight by reminding them that they were going to be a foursome not two couples and by fighting they were cutting into the limited time they had for experimenting before they were called to evening food.

That reminder worked as the warriors redoubled their efforts while Doug and Buck went to the paste berry patch. Since speed was of the essence, Doug didn't bother looking for empty Ancient stonewood storage boxes. Instead he sent Buck golden Great Cat bowls he borrowed from the City kitchen.

The next question was; which resting place to use. They needed one that was out of the way so they were unlikely to be immediately discovered by the tour. Doug remembered that Peter mentioned that he'd built a secret resting place just after he became a Tara so he contacted Peter who was still on the hunt; rather, he and Edvard were watching the hunt from a safe distance. At that moment, the Cats were stalking a smallish herd of swine who were making so much noise tearing up the forest floor, no stalk was even necessary, but that wouldn't be any fun for the Cats or their riders; Hughie with his rifle and Squeak with his finger.

Freckles took Hughie's little .22 semi-auto rifle for 'inspection' along the trek and when he returned it, he mind-spoke, "Your weapon was broken brave warrior, but I fixed it so it will now fire properly," he said to the frowning boy, who knew his rifle was not broken, was clean and oiled as well as loaded with a full clip and one round in the chamber and the safety was presently on. Freckles erased Hughie's frown by adding, "It was semi-automatic but now it is automatic if you will it to be so. Please do not tell your honored parent about this repair," he cautioned with a wink.

The hunters had already divided the targets. The agreed to plan was that Hughie, as a vulnerable human white warrior would take out a 200 pound shoat who had worked its way into a thicket, too far away from the rest of the herd's protection. Freckles and Spot each selected something of similar size and age, possibly litter mates, while Squeak would bring down the rest of that same half-grown litter as well as an unknown number of 30 to 40 pound squealers, the perfect size suckling pigs for roasting, although they'd been weaned since the single adult sow had a new litter that was actively attempting to get at her dugs to feed without getting crushed, buried in mud or stepped on as she rooted for worms. The boar and the sow at 500 to 600 pounds each and the sow's newest litter would be allowed to escape to further propagate the species in order to eventually feed the Great Cat clan in the future.

The boys dismounted so Hughie could shoot from a stable platform and the Cats could attack their chosen prey without hindrance. Squeak was ready to surreptitiously drop Hughie's target if the .22 cal. bullet coated with blowgun drug, didn't do the trick but he didn't need to help. Freckles helped by surrounding Hughie's body with his tail just like he did for Little Pettie with the tail tip also fondling Hughie's not so little coupler. Hughie hadn't had time to test fire his newly made fully automatic rifle, and in the split second it took him to release the trigger, he'd fired a three shot burst, at least one of which went in the pig's ear just where he'd aimed.

The small sound alerted the herd. That's when Freckles and Spot broke from cover to pounce on their targets, sink their teeth into the neck region and turn their heads to break their necks and perhaps sever the spines. The idea was to kill but not to use teeth and claws more than necessary so the carcass didn't look mutilated as it would if they were feeding at the kill site. Both Cats were successful in that their pigs stopped moving and squealing their terror.

Then it was Squeak's turn to use his finger as a weapon as the rest of the chosen targets began to collapse where they stood. The sow and her youngest litter disappeared into the surrounding brush surprisingly fast and while the boar followed, all as anticipated, apparently the boar changed his mind. It turned and charged while the little hunting party was congratulating each other on their success before field dressing their kills prior to Squeak willing the meat to be cooked so it all would be ready to serve as soon as it arrived in the Cat City kitchen.

The Cats heard the boar coming first, Squeak next. As Freckles and Spot turned to meet the threat, both told Squeak not to stop the fight by stopping the boar, _"It is time we became true Great Cat hunters," _Spot pronounced in both mind-speak and out loud.

"We will not allow either of you to be injured," Peter promised the Cats as he readied his little Tara tool to assist Squeak if that became necessary.

If Freckles and Spot had a plan, it wasn't apparent. Spot ran 20 feet to the left while Freckles ran the same distance right. Then both sat down in Great Cat classic poses and somehow managed to look frightened, in part by neither smiling nor frowning, thereby covering the maximum number glittering teeth. The Cat's actual plan was to present their bodies as bait to the right and left of the boys; yet more bait. Whichever the boar chose to attack, he had to present a vulnerable broadside to one or both of the Cats. It also had to concentrate on its chosen quarry.

The boar veered to the left; Spot was its target. Freckles was already in motion while Spot stayed motionless until the last possible moment when he jumped straight up in the air from a sitting position. When the boar was under him, he dropped down on its back with his claws fully extended on all four paws. He very briefly looked like he was running in place as he raked the boar's back and flanks unmercifully to get its attention from surprise and sudden pain exactly when Freckles hit it in the side to throw it off balance and hopefully expose its neck to claws and/or teeth all while avoiding very dangerous tusks.

Spot spun around to face the boar's ass end as soon as he ran out of pig to claw and landed on the ground. He was also a quick swipe away at the boar's extremely vulnerable protruding ball sack. After it was emasculated, it turned to confront his tormentor, fully exposing his neck to Freckles' teeth. It fell to one side with Freckles tearing at its wind pipe and jugular exposing its belly which allowed Spot a messy disembowelment. Thus ended the battle between twin teenage Great Cats and one 600 pound boar.

During the brief time the battle raged, Squeak and Peter were acting as commentators and videographers by documenting and sending the live action far and wide to all mind-speakers. While congratulations were immediately returned, the little hunting party was also almost trampled when Fang, Leader and the Council of 12 Great Cats suddenly appeared by winking into the midst of the battlefield.

Apparently there was a Great Cat ritual where young Cats were granted adulthood after demonstrated hunting prowess. Normally the successful hunter was much older by many years, nearly as heavy as the kill and the ratio of hunter and hunted was 1:1, but this kill was the exception because the twins were thought to be too young, even as a team, to kill a full grown boar. The reward, in addition to being treated as adult Great Cats (no more being cuffed around with or without justification, by an exasperated, short tempered father) was to be groomed by any other adult Great Cats in the area.

Spot and Freckles really needed that grooming. They were covered with blood and gore from whiskers to tail tip. Additionally, since Spot nutted the kill, he also smelled like a boar, a distinct odor strong enough to attract a sow in heat. Of course the Great Cats were highly amused when they pictured poor young Spot being raped by a sow. While the Cats only managed smiles, the boys broke out in laughter much to Spot's consternation when Squeak asked for pick of litter if any such union proved to be successful.

"How do you know about my resting place?" Peter suddenly asked the sky out loud in response to Doug's mind-speak request for its location so he, Buck and the Cat warriors could use it and avoid being caught or disturbed by the pending tour of the City.

Doug explained the planned impromptu experiment; almost cooking paste berries in the pool and then soaking in the brew to see how it would positively affect their coupling. Of course since Peter spoke, the boys and Edvard wanted to know about the resting place and after he explained the chamber's creation, Squeak and Hughie wanted to be included and Edvard looked pained because he didn't know about the chamber sooner, not to mention being NOT 'deeply' involved with Peter in its christening.

"Count the four of us in if you want to use it," Peter sent back to Doug and then set to work to placate Edvard's hurt feelings before he winked he and Edvard out to reappear next to Doug and Buck in the City picking paste berries, so there was no chance that anyone would use the new chamber without him and Edvard participating. When Squeak saw that Peter had left him and Hughie alone, he resorted to 'hands free' dressing, then cooking during transport and took Hughie's hand to follow. A secret room was the perfect place for the mini-warriors to both get together AND avoid Hughie's father, Big Pettie.

None of the four boys considered that the Greats Cats, all adults, now that Spot and Freckles had been elevated despite their age and size; (apparently it was success on the hunt that mattered), had heard every word and a human and Cat warrior orgy sounded most interesting. Plus Leader advised his new Cat clan friends that he'd promised to assist Hughie and Tara Squeak, the new Great One ruler of Sphinx City, as well as Tara Doug and his partner Buck whenever they wished. Additionally, Leader still wanted a tour of Cat City, particularly the lowest level, if he'd snitched the directions to the new resting place from Tara Peter's mind correctly since he alone of all the Cat's, didn't have a permanent resting place in Cat City to call his own.

The number of eager berry pickers grew with the arrival of the hunting party, including Spot, Freckles and Leader, but not the other Great Cats. They decided to watch the experiment from afar so as not to crowd Tara Peter's resting place. Soon after Kad and Sidi appeared, they noticed that the Great Cats were being their usual imperious selves; the Cats were just sitting and watching, not helping, so they decided to get them involved.

The little warriors intentionally and very casually turned their backs to the Cats before they willed three of the plumpest paste berries they could find to fly toward the Cats at just enough velocity so they splatted wetly right between three sets of Cat eyes. Cat eyes crossed in an attempt to look before their tails rose to inspect for damage.

Leader's tail continued to rise to scan the room for the guilty party. He had never been assaulted by a Cat warrior or dreamed of an attack by mere humans. Freckles and Spot on the other hand were familiar with pranks and were fond of pranking any of the boys on a whim. They looked to the boys before they looked anywhere else. Then they saw that Kad and Sidi were facing away AND their shoulders were shaking violently because they were unable to contain their laughter.

The guilty rascals knew they'd been caught when they felt an unrelenting barrage of berries splatting on their asses, backs and heads. They started running erratically toward the others so some of the flying berries missed the warriors and began to hit the innocent berry pickers – and the first epoch paintball battle, substituting ripe paste berries for paint encapsulated balls began. No paintball guns required.

The boys were at a distinct disadvantage at first until they began to flank the Cats, surround them and send in a greater hail of berries than the Cats could deflect or simply return to the sender while shooting fresh ammo back anywhere in a 360 degree radius. It became obvious to the boys that the Cats could use their eyes or their tails to return fire, but not both ends at the same time. The Cats started to show more and more spots of blue on their pelts as the boys began to simply turn blue all over.

Then something strange happened to Leader; he decided that he was having fun, perhaps for the first time in his near immortal life. He'd never dreamed of assaulting his masters, his small group of Ancient Taras was the supreme leaders while he and the Ancient Great Cats were powerful servants and historians. The Ancient Cat People were friends but beneath them in the City hierarchy. The resident human population on the other hand, wasn't worth considering beyond paying homage and tribute to the residents of a fabled City that had been created far beneath their feet.

Now in the current age, the few reincarnated Taras were very young and hadn't the least idea of just how powerful they could be with training. Currently, human Taras emerged along with those of the Cat People. Incredibly, humans had progressed to create mechanical ways of moving, built huge cities for shelter, efficient ways to produce food to feed their populations and ways to communicate without the use of telepathy. Then remarkably, Freckles, a very young creative Great Cat, attached a thing called a cellphone; a human communicator to a pretty emerald Great Cat amulet, then used his growing powers to make the invention provide Great Cats the ability to actually speak out loud and convert those thoughts to any language as well as give any wearer the ability to communicate to receptive humans and Cat People, telepathically, using the same universal language!

Leader was returned to the moment when he felt a fast moving berry ping his ear. He turned to see the perpetrator was hiding in some greenery with his little human friend. They had a bowl of berries between them and were preparing a barrage aimed at his head since the test shot got through.

"Raise a barrier," Leader ordered Freckles and Spot, "This is amusing, but these Great Cats are losing the fight to humans and that is not amusing," he added.

"What kind of barrier Great Cat Leader? Should it be stone or metal, and where do you wish it to be located? It appears that we are surrounded," Spot questioned while he also dared to point out the obvious problem. While Spot talked, he and Freckles had resorted to stripping berry ammo from bushes closest to any one of the aggressors to get in the most hits before the boy could get away to seek better cover. A boy thus attacked, couldn't return fire while he was moving and so far none of the boys thought about picking and firing berries remotely, closer to the Cats; they were still carrying bowls of ammo with them.

"This kind of barrier," Leader informed. Spot and Freckles immediately saw that incoming berries were splatting harmlessly on a shield they couldn't see until blue juice began running down, marked its location at least four feet away, extending into the berry bushes but completely surrounding them. The young Great Cats then understood how to raise such a barrier but not completely how it functioned.

Leader rolled his eyes down to his protégés. He said, "This Cat can see your schooling is lacking. It is unnecessary for you to sit and watch, you can move berries through this side of the barrier but they cannot be returned." He demonstrated by plucking a bush clean then sending them through the barrier in a variety of trajectories to mostly splat on boys unless the boy was fast and intuitive.

Peter ducked in time to be missed while the small missiles went on to hit Edvard who had been using Peter as a shield. "Son-of-a-bitch," Peter complained to his compatriots, "that screen works like some kind of osmotic filter; stuff comes out but none gets in. That must be Leader's trick. I never saw Freckles or Spot do that. See if you can touch his mind," he sent on a tight beam to Squeak.

Squeak raised his head to look at Leader. Leader reacted by acting as if he'd been shot by a bullet when he felt Squeak's mind touch, too late to block if he ever could block a request from a Tara who was seeking information stored in his mind.

"I GOT IT!" Squeak shouted as he demonstrated by standing up and pulling Hughie along with him. Squeak's Cat friend just couldn't refuse the dare. Spot sent out a hailstorm of berries, all aimed at Squeak. Squeak was ready; if he could create a barrier, he also could defeat one.

The incoming swarm of blue stopped suddenly to bump harmlessly against Squeak's new barrier then reverse course just as suddenly to return to their source. In this case, through Leader's barrier, straight to reattach themselves to their original plant 'parent' as if they'd never been picked.

The impromptu battle evolved into a stalemate as flying berries slowed then stopped. Invisible screens disappeared as the boys who were more painted in blue berry pulp than not, came from current hides, admired each other and then looked at the Cats. Leader looked at himself first as one might expect of an autocrat, before he looked down on the twins. The boys grinned at the blue spotted pelts until suddenly they weren't; they were clean with lustrous spotted Great Cat pelts, or giant jaguars, with no sign that they'd ever been in a berry ball battle.

Peter and Tracy, the former and current Executive Assistants to Great Cats frowned at the perfectly clean Cats. They realized that their constant assistance was never really required; the Great Cats could have cleaned themselves all along. Before they could cry foul, the paste berry residue, juice and the whole berries remaining in the golden Cat bowls, disappeared from everywhere in the gathering place as if the fight never happened except the boys on the losing side; they remained blue, wet and sticky intentionally.

Before the boys could complain to the Cats about the lack of service, the damn Great Cats winked out just before the boys followed through no effort of their own. The timing proved fortunate because while the war parties disappeared to somewhere else, the tour of guests entered the gathering place hall.

"What's been going on here Chief Tonga?" Bucky asked. He was wondering why so many empty Cat bowls, normally food and drink vessels (He was painfully familiar with Cat bowls, having paid for the food and beverages that filled them regularly at his home.), were scattered around paste berry bushes haphazardly.

"I suspect our young ones had need of berries, and when enough were harvested, they took the harvest to somewhere else and left the containers," Tonga surmised almost accurately. He was still amazed by what he could do with his repaired chief's amulet as he willed the return of the bowls to the City kitchen.

Meanwhile, Ali and his small swarm of sons with Rog, their 'manny', had discovered the first of the golden benches their creator fashioned from life-like cocks in assorted sizes, lengths and contortions to make very comfortable seating. It was obvious that the little princes recognized the penises for what they were even while sized and contorted enough to create a bench with arm rests, legs and contoured backs. They laughed at each other and at Rog as they pointed at the longest and fattest of the representations and then at themselves as the perfect size each knew they were certainly destined to grow between their legs, and lucky Rog already almost was. Of course Ali had to ask if he could purchase a half dozen to place in his personal garden. He was referred to the Cats to ask the next time he saw one.

Serendipitously, the Council of 12 appeared around them at the mention of 'Cats' along with most of the younger sons of the Cat People. It should be noted that all the Great Cats loved the new found ability to 'move' anywhere they'd been before just by willing it to be so. Ancient Leader was a valuable addition to the Great Cat Clan with his store of Ancient knowledge.

All of the men except Ali, Bill Penn and his partner, Ethan, discovered that they were invited to go swimming without warning when they found their bodies in the pool and swimming for their lives along with the Cat boys, Ali's sons and apparently 11 of the Council when they splashed down among the swimmers without advance notice. That swim party was more exciting than any theme park ride in the world. Thus ended the tour as the little princes found that they were alone with Rog and a swarm of Cat boys who were near their ages and who were just as inquisitive about other boy's bodies. Of course both groups had always enjoyed the advantage of familiarity with the bodies of older boys such as Rog.

Rog literally and figuratively 'fit' right into life within the Emir's wing of the Bachal palace as well as Ali, himself so he quickly became Ali's favorite boy toy or more appropriately, Ali's best friend since the two were close to the same age, they were both slight of stature and both spoke English as a common language. The only major physical difference Rog enjoyed was that he was far better hung than Ali or any of Ali's other boys. Uniquely, while Rog had been a sex slave to his previous masters, he entered Ali's employ with a well-used experienced mouth and ass; but he was still packing an unused virgin cock. Ali took pains to eliminate that problem during the first interview. With the introduction of Stuff for regular use, Rog became a tireless favorite among Ali's other boys and his sons; the little princes. That late afternoon, the princes were proud to introduce their always cooperative, agreeable, manny, Rog, to the horny band of Cat boys to impress them with what Rog could do with his monster tool anytime they wished when he wasn't with their father.

Rog was immensely popular with all the other boys who were part of Ali's collection as well, and no one objected or hesitated when the princes requested special shows with any of the other boys to further their sex educations. At first the princes just watched the shows until they realized that they could do some things with the teenagers and young men themselves. Then classes became interactive and much more fun as well as rewarding for the most adventurist individuals at first, before they reported that the result was tasty or at least it would not make them sick.

The first time Ali walked in on a class, he appointed Rog, as the prince's manny until further notice. He'd learned all about sex from boys at first, before he moved on to girls, and then he decided to enjoy both sexes; the absolute best of both worlds, just not at the same time.

The Cat boys and the little princes with Rog in tow had just agreed by pointing, suggestive looks and signing, to leave the adults in the pool and find a quiet, private place of their own, when elder brother Medi and his partner Sean appeared with the prince's uncle Hussain and boyfriend Harman. That group was planning to swim until Medi noted his little brother's excitement, red faces and with Rog 'in tow', along with the smiling little Cat boys who couldn't stop looking at Rog's coupler and who couldn't care less about displaying their own excited couplers.

The Cat boys led the expanded party to a storeroom where Harman took one look at what was stored there and mentally summoned his brother Spencer and Tommy to the impromptu paste party. The cavernous room wasn't particularly well lit beyond typical soft blue. The walls and ceiling were undecorated and how the floors were finished was unknown because of piles and drifts of sand that resembled beachside dunes without an ocean. There were plenty of places for the group to hide among the sand dunes that were taller than the tallest humans. The only difference was the sand was gold dust, not sand. The visual affect was spectacular.

Of course the very first thing the Cat boys did was to anoint their new friends, the princes, their own bodies and their older friends, the few white warriors, with paste before they started a rough and tumble to get everyone intimately familiar with each other's bodies. That was when everyone discovered that slippery paste was also sticky. Everyone saw that everyone else had turned into living gold covered statues. That was a very big problem that just about everyone recognized; sand and sex do not mix, and very likely, gold dust wouldn't either.

In an attempt to solve the problem, Spence and Tommy combined their mental resources to call for the nearest Great Cat to lend some assistance. That would be after the Great Cat got done laughing at them, assuming they could contact one.

An answer(s) was/were promptly returned like an echo, "Tara Peter, Cat friend!"

"Tara Peter!" slammed into the boy's minds at least five times accompanied by other short bursts of mind-speak, "This Cat friend is here!" "This Cat friend wants to play!"

Medi recalled that Peter lamented that he had five little Cat friends; 50 to 60 pound kittens, that he adopted as equal friends to keep them from fighting each other to the death over which individual Great Cat kitten, the victor, would be his Cat friend. Apparently the two sets of twins and a single male had just arrived in Cat City with their mothers and of course the posse was searching for Peter, their Cat friend.

The five Great Cat kittens flew over the nearest dune like five furred remote controlled four wheel drive, toy trucks on paws. They launched their bodies at the tallest dust covered two leg bodies assuming that one was Tara Peter hiding from them in plain sight, a new exciting game of hide and go seek. First however Tara Peter had to be rid of the abrasive gold sand before they could mate his body properly with the other tall two legs they assumed to be Edvard, Tara Peter's mate. All of the kittens were eager to show Tara Peter how much knowledge they'd gained in helping him couple with his mate without duplicating efforts or fighting among themselves over which would perform a given task.

The kittens had learned how to send an unwanted thing to nothingness but not how to move or relocate a thing to somewhere else. In this case not how to direct the gold back to the floor, but the loss of a pound or two of gold was unimportant. They also cleaned the boys they thought were young male Cat People; future warriors who all liked to play with each other's couplers and Great Cats already.

The big kittens were only briefly disappointed to see strange young white warriors emerge from coatings of gold dust as well as other strange boys and of course Cat boys in assorted ages, but all were displaying rampant couplers so it was obvious that they wanted to play and to play properly, they required Great Cat assistance.

The little Great Cats agreed that they would find Tara Peter later. They could sense his presence somewhere in the City and they knew they would definitely find him at evening food, so…

The kittens also had already learned how to take a tall two legs down on their backs or fronts by leaping high to hit them on their backs or chests. Once they had a warrior down, two or three could use their tails to maneuver the body around into a desired position while they used their tongues to stifle verbal complaints until there were no complaints, only pleasurable moans. The tactic worked on Tara Peter and it worked just as well in mating Harman and Spencer, first before they moved on to Rog and Medi, then mixed up the other princes and Sean with the Cat boys in groups.

When Spencer found himself flat on his back looking up at a kitten that was stretched out on his chest with his gigantic paws on his shoulders to hold him there, he began to say, "Okay, you got…" That was as far as he got in saying he gave up. The kitten was waiting for him to open his mouth so he could gag Spencer by ramming his tongue into his mouth. The gag quickly turned into an interspecies deep throat kiss when Spencer tasted the delightful flavor of paste.

Ali, Bill and Ethan stood abandoned, wondering why they'd been excluded from swimming until Angus, Doc Meriwether and a merry band of 18 very young Cat warriors accompanied by Great Cat Fang himself, winked in to surround them. A blink later, the three new guests, Angus and Doc found themselves neck deep in the paste enriched pool in Fang's resting place, with Fang sitting on the edge, using his tail to bomb the white warrior visitors, Angus and Doc with eager, clearly excited, laughing young Cat warriors. It was obvious that Angus and Doc had played this game with Fang and the warriors before. Doc explained that the goal by him and the others in the pool was to capture one or more of the slippery wigglers for the purpose of enjoying their bodies anyway that the men wanted.

Bill protested, "Molesting one of these kids would be like molesting my kid!"

"Yes," Doc answered, "but if you can't catch one, then they, that would be more than one will gang up on you and molest you as they would a fellow Cat warrior. I assure you that this game is a win, win either way and you can return to the pool as many times as you please, that is, if you can manage to leave the bed," he qualified.

"Well, I don't know about you, but I'm not about to take advantage of one of these little guys," Ethan stated resolutely. It was just about then that one of the 'little guys' slid through Ethan's hands, down his body under water to clamp his mouth on Ethan's most private part that Bill had previously enjoyed exclusively, before the kid skittered away out of reach only to have another warrior dropped for a second attempt.

The Emir of Bachal, Ali, had no such reservations. He'd been suffering blue balls and sensory overload since he arrived among the Cat People. The males were all so perfect physically, the only way to really judge the maturity of an individual was by their height and the actual age of an adult warrior was anyone's guess. He had to remind himself that the boys Fang was raining on them, were full warriors that comprised the People's Navy; deadly efficient marines and boat captains, who enjoyed all the rights and privileges of adult warriors. The problem of the moment for him was to catch one.

He looked to Angus and Doc for advice since they apparently were experienced gamers and was surprised to see that they weren't trying; they were allowing the boy warriors to capture them. It seemed that ever popular Doc was the first conquest. Two of the smallest, he presumed them to be young boat pilots, rocketed from the pool to land on their feet just above Doc's head. Then two marines lifted Doc by his legs and threw him up and out of the pool to fall neatly into the waiting boy's arms. The move was reminiscent of a submarine launching a ballistic missile except the launchers followed Doc's body. The four boys involved then placed Doc among the bed cushions before they began a rough and tumble mostly on top of his prone, slippery body to decide which of them was to couple with him first, one on top, one on the bottom with the third boy the first in keeping Doc's mouth occupied with passionate kisses or his coupler; Doc's choice. The fourth boy knelt close by, ready to replace the first of the three winners as soon as one finished or to pounce on a buddy if he decided he was taking too long.

Since Doc had been a guest among the Cat People the longest, the little warriors used him as a willing demonstrator. Ethan was the next 'victim', then Bill and finally it was Ali's turn. Unlike the others, Ali wasn't about to lie around, he joined the rough and tumble. He was only slightly taller than an adult warrior. He was in his early 20s and was in superb physical condition; he had to be, given that he had not one, but two harems to keep him happy and them satisfied. While he serviced the women and his wives exclusively, he allowed his collection of boys to enjoy each other as they pleased when he was otherwise occupied.

When the smaller of the two conjoined circular beds (resting places) filled to capacity, bodies spilled into the Great Cat bed, and the pool was empty of contestants. Angus played ringmaster with one or more of the unoccupied boys helping him out until Fang joined them all on his resting place.

As the orgy progressed, Fang used his tail to boom boys around to different positions and occasionally to 'dry-dock' one to between his front legs to use his tongue to apply more paste whenever he saw a vital worn area. That was how Ali found himself on his back, between furry legs, looking up at Fang while a raspy tongue renewed his coupler with paste and a tail tip burrowed between his legs to further anoint his tight interior space that wasn't really necessary since he'd just coupled with all four of his little warriors. He wasn't aware of the great honor he paid the boys by allowing them to couple with a white (really light brown) warrior guest with any of them in the superior position.

By the time the band of hunters and Doug's engineers, paste berry ball losers all, splashed down into the pool in Tara Peter's secret resting place, that was no longer a secret, they discovered that all the paste berry fight debris had preceded them. The pool looked like it was filled with ink but of course the ink tasted like paste. Everyone was already hard as nails from losing the battle so no one thought a swallow or two would hurt or help them. Their only interest was in each other; they planned to couple with existing partners first.

The pool surface suddenly shimmered and then became over full from Leader's entrance into the water. Unlike Spot and Freckles, who appeared at the side of the pool before jumping; Leader entered from the bottom somehow, to make his presence known by simply standing up, displacing boys as well as paste water.

Leader's tail was already at work as he surfaced. He had Squeak and Hughie sitting on his back, with Doug and Buck held aloft by his tail and dripping a path to the Great Cat side of the bed. His side of the bed, he informed Tara Peter, his resting place whenever he was visiting Cat City.

Peter shrugged. He really didn't care. He'd created the room but left it unfinished, empty of furnishings, no bed, nor bathing pool or toilet facility. The only area he completed was the basic space with its gold veined, polished quartz walls and ceiling. He assumed correctly that the Great Cats had been at work during his absence. He also assumed that Doug and Buck, Leader, and/or Squeak and Hughie were laughing together because they were being tickled, but they were pointing at each other and Leader. When they entered the bath, they looked like escapees from the Blue Man Group, while Leader had cleaned himself so he was normally spotted. The Cat and the boys were also dry without Leader shaking off like Freckles and Spot were fond of doing.

Now fresh from the pool, they were all back to their normal skin color without a trace of blue. "How did you get rid of the blue stain and dry off?" Peter asked Leader.

Leader didn't answer verbally; he just looked up to shut off the lighting. Leader's body disappeared completely while Buck, Doug, Squeak and Hughie appeared to be unblinking, hovering fireflies with clearly defined boy bodies. The pool water also disappeared so the guys in the water looked to be moving or swimming in a bowl of air. Freckles and Spot also appeared to have disappeared but they made their presence and location known by fishing the boys out by couples and transferring them to the bed to join Leader's captures, Squeak and Hughie, and Doug and Buck; the boys he'd promised to 'assist'.

"We should have picked some energy fruit," Peter lamented as Spot floated his body over Edvard's once again just after he'd serviced Tracy.

"Ouch, something is hitting us," nearly breathless Hughie said. Leader had seated his coupler in Squeak at Squeak's request as the old Cat was helpfully relaying all of Little Pettie's erotic feelings as Pettie renewed his acquaintance with several Cat boy not-yet-warrior friends somewhere else in the City.

"You must take the time to eat one fruit each," Leader instructed to explain what was bouncing off the boys.

Just as the various orgies reached the two hour mark, the Cats stopped whatever anyone was doing by willing it to be so, and with the freeze, came the overwhelming thought of evening food along with delicious cooking odors. The Cats willed everyone to be sparkling clean before they all disappeared, then winking them into the dining hall, where as it turned out, all of the Council of 12, Freckles and Spot were already lounging in special Cat places while Peter's five Cat friends were slinking around the room ready to beg food tidbits from anyone's bowl or plate as soon as it was served.

All of the Cat People, the white warriors and their guests were present and seated, while Lucy House Cat unsuccessfully attempted to supervise her brood of five very clever kittens as they wandered the main table top chasing brightly variegated, small round grape-like fruit that some of the boys were controlling among the myriad of gold dinnerware.

Squeak had Douggie House Cat's undivided attention with one of the fruits. Squeak kept it moving just out of Douggie's reach, ever closer to Hughie's first dinner course; a bowl of soup, ingredients unknown. "Don't you dare do that," Hughie complained to Squeak when the fruit was hovering alluringly just over the center of Hughie's soup. Douggie House Cat was already crouched down, in range, ready to spring, when the fruit disappeared.

Douggie looked all around him but the elusive fruit had definitely gone missing. There was only one place it could be he decided, before he slinked forward toward the bowl, the one place it could be hiding; in the soup. After the first tentative lap, the elusive fruit was forgotten in favor of the delicious soup. Apparently Douggie House Cat informed his sisters that dinner was served if they went to a bowl sitting in front of a two leg friend. Even Lucy House Cat got the idea and went to share Doc's soup with him even though he called her a greedy slut when she was more adept at catching and eating all the meat before he could find the pieces with his spoon.

This dinner was the first in Cat City when the whole Council of 12 was present along with other Great Cats who had been in the vicinity along with a growing number of Taras and all the Cat People. It was like old times to Ancient Great Cat Leader, who was pleased to cohost the feast with Fang. He began to tell of how things were done traditionally in Ancient times while he ate.

The Cat People and the Great Cats supplied the food stuffs. The Cat women, perhaps some of the Cats and/or maybe a Tara or two for their amusement, would do the preparation and cooking. Then when everything was ready, everyone gathered in the great dining hall and the meal was served by the Cats who willed it to be so, all without so much as twitching a whisker.

Chief Tonga's mate, Marta, was concerned about the second course. The ingredients and preparation had been completed by Leader Great Cat personally without stepping a paw into the kitchen. She noted every single leaf, berry and seed that went into the largest pot, all taken from the gathering place garden, from plants that the present Cats and Cat People only admired but couldn't use because knowledge of their unique properties had been lost eons ago. But it was the main ingredient that worried her until her son Tara Bani visited the kitchen.

Bani looked in the simmering pot, sniffed with pleasure and called the dish 'pasta'. Of course Bani would know about new and strange dishes he'd eaten as Chief Bucky and the white warrior's guest while up in the land of snow and ice, where he attended school. Still she had misgivings; the main ingredient was found everywhere in the Cat lands but until Leader went on a hunt, and sent back enough to fill a pot, none of the Cat People dreamed of these as being edible Cat People food.

Everyone tucked into the new pasta food course after the Cats willed the filled bowls to appear and almost everyone found the new food delicious, except one white warrior with a more delicate stomach who still loudly objected to being served, eating and enjoying snake sushi and barbecued nutria, a fine food animal he insisted on calling a giant rat. That is, eating and enjoying before the meat was identified.

White warrior Marc, a renowned, highly regarded marksman, suddenly bolted from his seat and the dining hall screaming about eating any kind of pasta that had eyes, dead or alive!

The remaining diners all looked to Leader for an explanation. Although the Cat People without exception continued to eat the pasta with great relish. On the other hand, the white warriors and guests continued to eat, but more cautiously and considerably slower as some attempted to cut off the end of the whitish worms with recognizable eyes, assumed to be the head.

Leader explained while he ate. When the Ancients arrived they brought the Cats and the People but they also brought swine for the always hungry Great Cats to eat, and they also had to bring food for the swine herds to eat. Leader didn't call the food, worms; he called the worms, swine food. He added as an afterthought; "But the name pasta is good," he said as he swallowed the last of his pasta with eyes.

Of course the evening entrée was pork all the pork anyone could eat, prepared in every imaginable way, including raw for a few Great Cats visiting from the hinterlands that weren't into cooked food. There was even some leftover for midnight snacks; a very rare occurrence among the People and the Great Cats. The swine herds, wild and domestic would never know they could rest easy that unique evening.

While the Cats and Cat People could drink alcoholic beverages without feeling any adverse effects, the same couldn't be said for the first time guests to Cat City. Somehow drink bowls and goblets of the People's fruit punch were continually topped off during the feast. The punch tasted so good, the unsuspecting guests, including the men and Ali with his princely sons were well on their way to being snockered before the pasta course. While the older boys didn't tell their fathers about the drink intentionally, there was some whispering back and forth between Squeak, Hughie and the princes. Naturally the princes drank more at first before they were caught imbibing the forbidden drink, but by the time Ali noticed, he no longer cared. He considered the event to be another learning experience, similar to Rog teaching them about sex.

As the party wound down in the early morning hours and it was time for the surprise visitors to return to Egypt, Fang and Chief Tonga offered everyone a memento of their choice for becoming friends with the Cat People and Great Cats. The white warrior boys who had been to the Cat lands previously hurriedly advised their fathers not to insult their hosts by refusing such a gift but no one could think of anything that was meaningful while not appearing to be greedy.

During dinner, Doug told his father and Bucky about the side effect of dipping in the paste infused pool; their whole bodies glowing in the dark just like chemical glow sticks, fireflies or ghostly apparitions not just guys who had used concentrated Stuff or paste and had cocks that glowed in the dark. Leader told the boys thus affected that they would continue to glow in the dark until a Cat willed otherwise.

Unbeknown to Ali or the other fathers, Squeak and Hughie had not only told the princes about their glowing bodies, Squeak took them to a resting place and darkened the chamber to show them how he and Hughie glowed so it almost appeared that their internal organs and skeletons could be seen through their skins and better yet, their immature erect couplers really looked like glow sticks and better yet they also appeared to be far larger than they actually were.

Of course Rog didn't need to look larger but he agreed with the princes when they asked. He thought the affect had definite possibilities when making it with boys nearer his own age who weren't glowing.

After that show and tell, nothing would do but Squeak and Hughie had to take them and Rog to the pool so their bodies and couplers would glow just as brightly.

When the merry band of little boys and Rog returned to the dining hall and Squeak once again turned the lights off for the big reveal, all the boys who had already been in the pool naturally lit up as well, so the men decided unanimously; everyone would glow as a truly unique, lasting memento.

After all the visitors became walking glow worms, it was really past time for them to return to the compound in Egypt. The guys with the good sense to strip off their clothes went to the gathering place to retrieve them. The party would vanish from there when everyone was ready. Freckles hung back from the group to watch everyone dress until Little Pettie pulled on his shorts and then began to feel up and explore each of his pants pockets.

"I believe I up an' lost my damn phone," Pettie said while staring directly at Freckles, who just happened to be innocently staring up at the ceiling at that moment.

"I didn't know it was yours," Freckles sort of admitted guilt. He needed a cellphone to make Leader a Great Cat communicator.

Pettie winked at Leader. "Well, at least it was for a good cause." The incident would have been forgotten until Leader attempted to wink back only to discover that he couldn't. A simple wink was something Leader couldn't do. He tried fast only to have both eyes close and when he tried slowly; he looked like he was falling asleep.

"These humans are very strange," Leader observed to Freckles.

Freckles took great delight in agreeing, "They certainly are. You should see some of their machines."

"You're always the first one to ride in Big Foot," Peter reminded. "From now on you can run alongside."

"You are a terrible driver, I must keep you safe," Freckles retorted with a malicious grin.

Leader didn't hesitate to interrupt the argument, "Thank you. This Cat will accompany you to the land of snow and ice." It appeared that he'd been waiting for an invitation and it didn't matter that it came from another guest, not someone, a human, such as Bucky, who would be his host.

Bucky sent a narrow beam mind-speak to his wife Victoria, "You better rush order some larger pots and pans for the kitchen because an adult Great Cat is coming for a visit."

"That is wonderful news," Victoria promptly answered, "now we can start building that new guest wing I've been thinking about!" No one noticed that Bucky suddenly looked ill.

It seemed that there was some sort of signal between the Great Cats, because the entire party vanished from Cat City to reappear directly into the tent inside the Egyptian compound to find golden Fang waiting for them along with Ali's horrified servants and the Mean Motherfuckers who had turned from black to a sickly shade of gray at seeing Leader, an adult Great Cat for the first time.

It seemed that other Great Cats had learned the ability to 'move' from one place to another with a thought, when Tara Peter's five Cat friends winked in to join the group in the tent, without being invited, or being denied, having been careful about announcing their plans in advance. The kittens had been begging Peter to give them names so although he was at a loss to think of five that wouldn't cause a fight, he named them Number One through Number Five and was careful not to name the most dominate, Cat Number One, or name any one as superior to any of the others.

Of course the five Number's first most important mission was to be sure that Peter would allow them to stay and not be ordered to return to Cat City and their mothers. They immediately took Peter and Edvard down to the floor, stripped them of their shorts and began making out with them (politely disguised as grooming) while everyone else watched the show. The kittens knew that Peter's resistance to making out with one of them was faltering while Edvard came to look forward to having a paste laden Cat tongue rammed down his throat as one or more other Cat tongues caused his coupler to explode with pleasure multiple times no matter who or how many others were watching.

"Can these Cats stay with Tara Peter?" Number Four asked using his new communicator after he managed to get Peter's mouth open and his tongue at full extension. Peter wrapped his arms around Number Four's shoulders to hold him tight as he ejaculated forcefully.

"YES!" Peter declared in open mind-speak along with a strangled scream accompanied by loud cheering and applause from the audience that included Ali's servants and the Mean Motherfuckers who had completely forgotten that they were nearly scared shitless minutes earlier.

After Peter regained his shorts and calmed down enough, he asked, "How did you guys manage to follow us here from Cat City? You haven't been here before."

"These Great Cat friends can stalk Tara Peter wherever he goes," Number Three said out loud proudly while licking his lips and paws to groom his whiskers properly using his paws to savor every tiny bit of Peter's distinctive taste. His grooming was also his way of being sure that the other Numbers knew that he alone had the honor of licking Peter's coupler to completion.

Buck was casually scratching Leader's neck ruff as the Cat lay watching the humans interact when Ali told his servants to begin packing for the trip home to Bachal but all Leader heard was the word, 'home'. Since Buck was closest, Leader wrapped him with his tail so he knew exactly where 'home' was. A blink later, the scene shimmered before clearing to find everyone and everything except the tent had been moved to the ballroom inside Trenton Hall which fortunately was large enough to accommodate everyone as well as other things Leader brought along as gifts for host Chief Bucky and his mate, although Victoria was still in Bachal with the other women.

Buck started laughing at Leader's being overly helpful in moving everyone to the wrong home since the mistake was apparently easily correctable. "HOLY SHIT," Doug exclaimed while pointing to the other side of the big room. "That looks like the contents of a Pharaoh's burial vault and the neighboring chambers!"

Buck agreed with more laughing as he said, "Yup, and there's the man himself." It was his turn to point across the room at a magnificent sarcophagus that in turn was surrounded by mummified servants as well as a king's ransom in treasure, all intended for the pharos's use after he reached afterlife.

Leader corrected the assumption that the treasure was for the Pharaoh's use. He said it was all provided as a bribe to the gods to speed the Pharaoh's passing and since he was the only representative of the Ancient gods left on Earth at the time, the treasure was his to do with as he wished along with many other such tombs that had yet to be discovered.

Bucky thanked Leader profusely before he wondered out loud about what he was supposed to do with the intact tomb that the Egyptians didn't know still existed, much less plucked from their country and transplanted to the middle of New Jersey in the land currently called by some 'the land of snow and ice' or more popularly known as the USA. Leader looked down at Buck who was still at his side.

"This Cat…I mean, I will hide it for now," Leader said carefully using Buck's voice. Apparently Buck had been drafted as a Great Cat's wordsmith once again, a service he provided Freckles and the Cat warriors not too long ago. With that being said, the gift disappeared to somewhere else temporarily.

The next problem Ali was quick to point out was that of transportation. The party arrived in Egypt by plane from Bachal and they really must depart in the same manner to prevent questions being raised. Squeak told Leader, "You Great Cat, me and Hughie, Doug and Buck will stay here. Everyone else should go back to the tent in Egypt."

Leader bowed his head and said, "To hear is to obey, Great One." With that, the four boys and the Great Cat Leader found themselves alone in the Trenton Hall ballroom. There was no time for adult protests or any negotiation.

While Doug and Buck stood with their mouths hanging open, Squeak took Hughie's hand, and motioned for Great Cat to follow. "Come on, I will show you the eating place. If we are nice and polite, Hamilton will give us food."

The two little boys began to run across the room, with Squeak leading the way. When he got to where the Egyptian treasures once sat, he began the run a zigzag course. Buck and Doug ran to catch up, but got no further than where the sarcophagus had been sitting before they crashed and fell backward.

Leader went on the offensive before the first accusation, "You said to hide the treasure, you did not say where." He even managed an apologetic shrug of his shoulders of sorts as he placed the teens back on their feet.

"You big dummies," Squeak said, "why couldn't you see all that junk?" Of course he and Hughie had to hold each other up, they were laughing so hard. They had to look up at the two dummies that were being carried in Leader's tail so they would come to no further harm in the ballroom that had become an invisible obstacle course.

By the time Buck, Doug and Leader arrived in the dining room, Squeak had just negotiated food with Hamilton, the Trenton butler, for four people and one Great Cat. That was just before the usually unflappable butler saw Leader walk into the room and sit down. Leader was twice the two younger Great Cats sitting height and there was no way he could fit in one of the two chairs that Freckles and Spot sat on to eat at the dinner table. Nor would there be room on the table for the additional platters and Cat bowls when he and the two teenage Cats were present.

Hamilton was distraught to realize the antique table wasn't long enough. The room would hold a longer table, he explained to Buck, but the present table had no more sections that could be added; it was already fully extended.

Buck winked at Doug before he said to Hamilton, "We'll figure something out before the other Great Cats get back. For now, would you see what the chef might have that he could get ready for us to eat quickly?"

After Hamilton disappeared into his pantry on his way to the kitchen, Buck challenged Douglas the Builder's new found skills. "Our table needs another section added so Leader can eat with us when everyone's home," he ticked off the first item. "Then maybe try reproducing one of those Great Cat lounge chairs they use in their dining hall. Then we better add a second booster chair for Hughie that's just like Squeak's."

Doug sort of agreed, "I can do small stuff like this that no outsider is likely to notice, but nothing like really building anything until I get through college because I don't have the engineering. Plus it would be impossible to explain how something big like a building appeared overnight. Plus, in case you forgot, I'm kind of new at this," he added as the chairs at Bucky's end of the table moved back out of the way with a thought so he could crawl under the table to see how the sections were made and almost seamlessly joined together with an ingenious locking mechanism. Ingenious for 1730 when the table was made and still working perfectly.

Squeak and Hughie had an ulterior motive when they joined Doug under the table. When he reached up to release the first section table lock, they pounced to release his shorts waist button and zipper while they tickled him. He was able to fight them off only after he promised them a rough and tumble later. He warned both little boys, "But no more of that funny stuff between you little guys and us. I think we got carried away back in Cat City. You guys just play with each other tonight."

"To hear is to obey, Douglas the Builder," Squeak promised facetiously with his fingers crossed behind his back and a wink in Leader's direction. That was a trick to negate a promise that Hughie taught Squeak. Crossed fingers also made a lie into a fib. Actually all four boys looked forward to a quiet rough and tumble with just them and Leader present as participants.

Doug reappeared from under the table with his eyes at the level of the top surface, right at the first section was joined, "Here goes nothing," he warned as the largest part of the table began to move slowly toward the French doors, while Bucky's end of the table remained in position. It was apparent that he was going to create a middle section so it would be interchangeable with the other middle sections.

Hamilton walked in at that moment pushing a cart loaded with three dozen bottles of wine a Cat bowl half full of ice and smaller bowls that contained all the cut up fresh fruits as well as a big jar of maraschino cherries, everything Freckles and Spot enjoyed in their drinks. He had no idea what this huge Great Cat liked but he already had a footman bringing up more cases of wine from Bucky's cellar in case of need just as the new vacant space between table sections fuzzed, became opaque, turned the same dark brown before the fuzz cleared and the vacant space was filled with a new, old matching table section was locked into place.

When Doug saw Hamilton staring at him, he asked, "Will you promise not to tell anyone about this?" He said hesitantly.

"Mr. Douglas, are you aware that I could write a book filled with what I've seen in this home? This demonstration, while astounding is not anymore astounding than talking Great Cats. You did this at just the right moment. Our table was becoming inadequate so you corrected that problem. Now we must find something for Mr. Leader to sit on." It was apparent that Hamilton was concerned about their newest guest's comfort and since he was accustomed to Freckles and Spot, he considered Leader to be just another houseguest, although a bit bulkier to be sure. "Perhaps some wine is in order before dinner?" he suggested and stood back to get out of the way of the uncorking ritual.

Leader grinned with a thought, "Perhaps it would be amusing to shoot the corks at Freckles and Spot Great Cat," he suggested since he'd become aware of how pranks were carried out.

Squeak turned on the big flat screen before he connected to Snoopy. The picture brightened to show the gang mustered on Bachal's airport tarmac, near a fleet of approaching SUVs and limos with Ali's ultimate Humvee limo located in the middle of the line. Apparently they were about to return to the palace. Predictably, the twin Cats were sitting in front of the group so they would be first to board their transport; also predictably, Ali's limo equipped with a selection of sun or moon roofs, depending on the time of the day.

"There they are," Squeak pointed, then added gleefully, "you have got to show me how to do this," as wine bottle corks began to pop from their bottles in Trenton Hall's dining room, promptly disappear and seconds later, snap into existence behind either Freckles or Spot to hit the back of either Cat's head with just enough velocity to be felt.

The twins reacted by raising their tails to search the mob for the miscreant, before they turned their heads for a closer inspection of the mob as their tails began checking the back of their heads for damage and identify the incoming missiles. Meanwhile, the royal kids began a mad scramble to collect the errant corks as trophies as the spent corks fell to the pavement. Then everyone began to duck when Leader began selecting other targets in the group.

When the lead SUV driver saw the unusual disturbance he stopped so the convoy stopped short of the pickup point. Then strangely, Ali's giant limo pulled out of line and accelerated forward and seemed to be aiming directly at Ali in the middle of the scattered group, rather than just pulling forward to collect Ali and whisk him to safety.

"DANGER, DANGER!" Leader shouted in mind-speak, when he recognized the threat from the human made conveyance.

Freckles and Spot reacted by throwing up an invisible screen, not around the spread out group, but at the sound of the powerful racing truck engine. The engine noise stopped suddenly when the limo crashed into the invisible screen.

Neither the driver nor his passenger understood what happened. They seemed to be more interested in frantically fiddling with something they had with them in the front seat as seen through the untinted windscreen. "BOMB," Ali screamed, "EVERYONE DOWN!" Of course the royals had all drilled for this possibility so they dropped to the tarmac face first and everyone else followed their example a moment later.

That would be everyone but Freckles and Spot. They split up to stalk both front doors both wearing horrible open mouth killing frowns. "Don't kill them," Bucky shouted to the Cats. He was first to regain his feet and take charge of the situation. Next, he sent the whole guard contingent forward with weapons drawn while he ordered the Mean Motherfuckers to surround the party with their weapons pointing out.

Bucky noticed another anomaly; only two trucks in the line belched their contingents of well-armed security guards, all Ali's personal guards who were eager to help, the rest including guard drivers stayed in the safety of their trucks. Bucky and Evan diverted some of their guards to investigate. As they approached the occupied vehicles, doors opened on the opposite sides and the men began to sprint across the airport runways without regard to traffic.

Bucky challenged Freckles and Spot to see which of them could bring down the most runners. He quickly specified; without killing one, they were to be interrogated. The Cats nodded and handed off the would be assassins they held by their necks with their tails held high so the two looked like they hung from gallows already.

Buck used mind-speak to suggest that if each twin was allowed to take down the two lead runners with extreme prejudice, the rest would most likely give up rather than follow their example and die in such a horrible manner. The Cats liked that suggestion better and chose to assume those were revised orders from Bucky. They sprinted ahead of the slowest presumed conspirators, in a race to catch up and dismember the lead runners first before Chief Bucky could countermand Buck's more amusing suggestion.

"Remember I know you can clean up yourselves after you get messy, so feel free to tear them up," Tracy, the twin's Executive Assistant advised in shouted in mind-speak. "Those assholes were trying to kill us all," he reminded needlessly, _"so have fun!" _Tracy was no longer upset by the sight of blood since he found out his bosses had a self-cleaning feature but hadn't used it since they enjoyed being pampered.

Since Tracy spoke up, Spot gifted him with a freshly severed arm via airmail delivery and continued to bomb him with body parts until he scooted out of range. Freckles however, tossed parts from his dying enemy's body at the poor fool's former compatriots which stopped them in their tracks and caused them to run back to the safety of the human pursuers hoping for more humane treatment before they were executed.

While everyone, including the Motherfuckers was watching the twin dismemberments, only one of Ali's guards turned toward him and raised his automatic rifle. Squeak was first to react because he had an overview from Snoopy and was sure he'd learned Leader's flying cork trick. He just added extreme velocity. He centered the cork on the lone assassin's forehead and hoped for the best, considering that this was his first ever try.

The target's skin, a small amount of tissue and a perfect round of skull bone entered the brain the length of a wine cork. He fell back to the tarmac as if he'd been poleaxed, but was killed by a wine cork delivered from Trenton Hall in the land of snow and ice, also known as New Jersey.

"Take these scum to the fortress," Ali ordered the remaining guards like the supreme ruler he was, after he regained his composure and he made sure his sons had come to no harm.

"What's the fortress?" Evan asked Medi.

"Our only prison, there aren't many cells because prisoners who are sent there for crimes against the State, are tried within a week and executed within another week. Bachal doesn't allow appeals. Our citizens know about our judicial system so there is rarely any crime in Bachal, unless someone has a death wish."

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