“I caught you red handed, what else do you have to say for yourself!?”
Eyes glued to the two fruits in Mo Na’s hands, the flames around Anmi roared with an intensity matched only by his fury. Beneath him, the twisting shadow shot towards Mo Na like some kind of shadow demon.
“Step back.” Even while all the arguing was going on, Sinmosa’s and Sasani’s gaze never once left Anmi. Thus, the moment he launched that shadowy attack, the couple immediately dashed in front of Mo Na. Suddenly, the twisting shadow, upon being stretched to its utmost limit, waved about like a palm tree in a hurricane and sprayed a barrage of countless shadow blades at Mo Na.
Seeing that, the two Cerberuses opened all six of their jaws and let loose a sea of flames from their mouths. Husband and wife working together, this showdown between fire and shadow merely lasted two seconds before the roaring flames completely overwhelmed the shadow.
Still surrounded in flames, Anmi hissed furiously before rushing forward in a blind fit of rage.
Like that, cat and dogs met once more and a heated battle ensued.
Sinmosa and Sasani were already at the level of Five-stars but Anmi was clearly stronger than them, though he still wasn’t quite at the level of a Six-stars yet. Because of that, this battle was basically a done deal right from the get go. This was especially so since the Purgatory Shadowcats didn’t really possess much of an advantage in a melee, let alone in one where they were outnumbered.
While Anmi’s shadow magic was still a fearsome and unpredictable threat, it wasn’t to the extent where he could take on two enemies roughly at the same level as him.
Seconds later, a visibly suppressed cat laid before us on the ground, held down by a paw from Sasani.
“Hmph, and here Mo Na thought you were some kind of super kitty. Look at you now, you ended up pressed against the ground after all.” Now that the battle was over, Mo Na was more than ready to resume her gloating, having stowed away some of the fear and shock she had on just now. “Hah, next time pick a fight with someone your own size.”
“If it wasn’t for them ganging up on me…I wouldn’t have…oof pfft..lost in the first place!” Having been pressed to the ground by Sasani’s paw, the furious cat struggled to even talk as pieces of black weeds entered his mouth from time to time, causing him a great deal of discomfort in the process. “Pfft pffft pffft…let me go, you fiendish thieves!”
“Thieves this, thieves that, how annoying, ever since we met you, you’ve been saying that we stole your fruits, well then, do you have any proof that the fruits belongs to you?”
“Those Meowberries were all grown by me, if I say they belong to me then they belong to me.” Anmi obstinately staked his claim over the fruits. However, the very next second later, he was thunderstruck by what Mo Na said.
“What a joke, it’s yours just because you say so? Mo Na says these fruits were all grown by Mama and me.” As she said that, Mo Na lifted up a fruit to eye level and gave it a thorough look see. A long while later, she then shamelessly declared: “You say this is a Meowberry? But I don’t see your name on it, how about you call out to it and let’s see if it responds to you.”
“…” Anmi almost spat out blood upon hearing those words, his chest heaved and if looks could kill, his eyes surely would have murdered us all: “You claim to have grown those Meowberries, well, are your names on it then? Will it respond to you if you call it?!”
“Names huh, of course they are, just give Mo Na a second, she will find them for you.” She then pretended to search around the fruit while in actuality, she was clearly etching her name onto the fruit in question.
“Alright, here you go, those devil words are Mo Na’s name.”
Mo Na lowered the Meowberry to Anmi’s eye level and lo and behold, the devil words she mentioned were etched on it as she stated. The only problem however, was that they had clearly been etched on not too long ago…
Furious, Anmi spat out each and every word with deliberate force: “…I’ve never met such a thick-skinned, shameless thief in my entire catlife…”
“Hehehehe…you’re too kind.” Meowberry still grasped tightly in her hands, she placed a finger on her lips and gave a very, very smug smile.
For the most part, I didn’t find her mischievous and carefree nature to be a bad thing. However, I knew I had to separate the two of them before she thoroughly incensed Anmi. After all, we still needed the help of the Purgatory Shadowcats and offending Anmi too much was clearly not a good way to start that off.
Hearing me cough, Mo Na knew that the gig was up so she unwillingly stepped away albeit with a pout on her adorable lips.
“Mister Anmi, if I let you go, will you calm down and talk to us?”
“…isn’t it a little too late for that…” Anmi tried to glared at me but he was swiftly fed a mouthful of dirt by Sasani’s paw press. Clearly humiliated and in great discomfort, the restrained cat did his best to struggle free but upon discovering that there was basically no hope, he finally caved in: “If…and I’m just saying if…you all are willing to talk…”
‘…you make it sound like we were the ones out for blood instead.”
I nodded at the Cerberus couple and the two lifted their paws off the poor cat. Still not too sure of Anmi’s trustworthiness, the two of them maintained a wary posture even after letting him go.
Thankfully, Anmi still had some sense in him and cleverly chose not to fight back.
Truth be told, he was a lot stronger than either Sinmosa or Sasani, but that was only if it was a one on one fight. Too bad for him, we clearly outnumbered him and as the saying went, “Four hands are better than two.”
“We came here looking for you..”
Just as I said that however, Anmi immediately cut me off and gave me a highly guarded look: “How do you know of my name?”
“An elder introduced us to you, he was the one who told us to come find you.” Having mentioned that certain ‘elder’, I threw a dirty look at Sasani and Sinmosa. That unreliable dog uncle of theirs truly gave me quite a headache back then.
“Elder?” Following my gaze, Anmi looked at the two Cerberus who had just beaten him up, staring at Sasani in particular with shock: “Don’t tell me the elder you’re talking about is a Cerberus?”
“That’s right, he even said he’s pretty close to you.”
‘So they do know each other, looks like Sidarth wasn’t lying to me after all, I guess he’s still pretty reliable in a pinch.’
“Is that old dog named Sidarth?”
“Mhm.” It was then that I realized something was up and as reality would soon prove, I was too immature, too simple in my thinking.
The moment I nodded my head in confirmation, his face immediately changed. From the cooperative feline of just moments ago, Anmi straightened his body and his fur fluffed up in an instant once more: “NYAAA! So you were sent here by that old dog to humiliate me, I knew it! No wonder you stole my Meowberries…this time I won’t show any mercy, die!”
“Hey hey hey…calm down for a second, why are you acting crazy all of a sudden…” With just one answer, Anmi reverted back into a crazy cat. His mood swing came so inexplicably quick, my brain had difficulty processing it.
‘Weren’t we just playing nice a while ago? How did we end up fighting again?”
“So it’s not enough that he tries to steal my Meowberries, he even asked others to form a group to steal them…how despicable, I won’t stand for it…NO MORE!!”
‘What is he raving on about this time? Ah, hold on, why does it seem like he only went crazy after hearing Sidarth’s name? Don’t tell me he has a grudge with Sidarth…that’s right, that has to be it, why else would he act like a spurned lover who just had his partner stolen?! That d*mnable old dog…I knew he wasn’t reliable!”
“Nya nya nya nyaaaa!”
Anmi charged at us with maddened fury, this time not even bothering to defend. His fiery energies mixed with his shadow element and continuously lashed out at the two Cerberuses, causing a chain of explosions and shadow lashes. However, the two were more than able to handle such a relentless barrage of attacks. With perfect coordination, husband and wife split up to deflect each attack separately and once more suppress Anmi with their numbers advantage.
“Demon Flame Charge!”
The more he fought, the worse his situation became. Whatever sense he had left in him told that defeat was inevitable if he continued like that. Thus, he decided to go all in. All we saw was his feline silhouette leap backwards several dozens of meters before h came rushing towards us in fiery, dark red mass of flame and shadows, ‘Nya’ echoing about in the air. Not only was he a mass of scorching hot flames, tendrils of shadow writhed around him as well, giving his flaming figure a fluid appearance that changed with every passing second.
However, this fluidity wasn’t due to some kind of flexibility but rather was caused by the instability of the skill, as if Anmi had turned himself into a ticking time bomb. The troublesome thing was that this time bomb was one we couldn’t stop from exploding and not only that, it was one whose fuse length was unknown to us.
As Anmi careened through the air, his figure seemed to blur and his speed surged. In just the blink of an eye, he rammed into Sasani with a speed that our eyes could barely perceive, and sent him flying over dozens of meters away. Because of that however, his speed dropped but the berserk Anmi wasn’t one to mind such details. He immediately turned his sights on Sinmosa and blasted off towards her. This time, there wasn’t nearly as much room to build up speed and with his already lowered speed, his charge ended up being blocked by Sinmosa.
“Raging Flame Charge!” Her body burst out in roaring flames that wrapped her in extreme temperatures. Unlike Anmi’s charge however, hers was more stable and resembled more of a cloak of flames than a ticking time bomb.
Dark red and crimson red collided in a deafening explosion that sent out a massive shockwave mere seconds later. Just watching them fight, I was nearly sent flying away with Mo Na hugged tightly in my arms.
Like the faithful bodyguards they were, No.3 and Big 4 promptly stepped in front of me to absorb the raging forces. It was at that moment that Sasani came galloping back and he too joined in the protection duty.
“Sinmosa…” Vision obscured by the ensuing dust storm, I called out in concern to the mass of dust and soil ahead of men. Worried for his wife, Sasani rushed into the dust cloud without a second of hesitation.
As the dust settled, what came into sight were three figures cut out of a gray backdrop. Of the three, two were lying prone on the floor, both just as injured as the other.