“Companions? So now we’re your companions? Well, aren’t you daring one, to betray your companions like that.”
‘Moron, if you hadn’t mentioned the word companions, I probably wouldn’t even be that angry.’
“No.3 de-fur his body first, if he still won’t talk, you can pull out the fur on his tail next, if he won’t talk…then pluck out his whiskers!”
“I’ll talk, I’ll talk…just no pulling….” Clearly outmatched, he promptly caved in before the nightmarish fate could get any closer.
“Well why didn’t you say so from the start? Could have saved us the trouble of all that, right?”
“Yes, yes, yes. About that, can you have Sinmosa and Sasani let go of me first?” While he might have said that, I couldn’t help but notice that glint in his eyes. That cat was definitely up to no good…was he still thinking of escaping?
The Cerberus couple on the other hand, weren’t able to notice his little scheme from their vantage point. All twelves of their eyes turned towards me as if to ask if they should release Anmi.
‘Hmph, I know what all you cats are like, the whole lot of you have no scruples whatsoever, if I let him go now, who knows whether or not he will try to run away.’
Thus, my face darkened as I coldly stated: “Keep him pinned down and stop him from moving. Anmi, how about you just fess up now, the earlier you talk, the less pain you’ll be in.”
Not only was I the only one p*ssed off at him, so were Mo Na, No.3, Big 4, Sinmosa, Sasani and even the newborn puppy, Cinderel. Seeing that, Anmi knew he was in big trouble now and that he truly angered everyone this time. Thus, he finally gave up: “Alright, I’ll talk…”
Initially, the Shadowcats weren’t able to adapt to the harsh environment of Purgatory at all. Still, they forced themselves to acclimatize to the high heats and the sulfurous air and as time passed, a certain portion of the population changed.
That was how the first batch of Purgatory Shadowcats were born.
While life in Purgatory was hard, not every Shadowcat chose such a path of mutation. They knew that remaining purely of the shadow element made it hard for them to resist the temperature, but they still did so anyway.
Back then, their mutated compatriots simply couldn’t understand their obstinance, especially given how they all gained new abilities from their new element. Even so, their determination touched them but at the same time, they just seemed like morons as well.
Perseverance was a hard thing to maintain, it was so for humans and it was so for cats as well. As time passed, those who chose not to mutate started falling ill from some unknown ailment; the kind that made them die writhing in pain.
Although it wasn’t contagious, it was still a troublesome sickness. Its incubation period was extremely long during which the host cat became extraordinarily susceptible to any minor sickness. Essentially, it was a death sentence for those Shadowcats and not a single one of them was spared as well.
In light of that, the minority who chose not to mutate finally had to acquise.
Only a small portion of those Shadowcats chose to perseverance but of those that did, there was a certain researcher who actually managed to create a cure.
Before that however, it was worth mentioning how the sickness killed its host cat. It was a multi-staged sickness that first started with the host’s body feeling a little warm, along with that came a periodic sensation of being scalded. As this sickness progressed to the later stage, the water content in their body would completely disappear and worse…they would mysteriously burst into flames…
What the researcher discovered was that everyone living in Purgatory had the fire element within them else they wouldn’t be able to live for long in Purgatory, barring special circumstances. Having discovered that, another conclusion that was drawn was that all the food in Purgatory contained a dense amount of fire element within them. By eating such food, Shadowcats would start accumulating the fire element within their body. Being cats of the shadow element, this new element naturally didn’t play well with their purely shadow bodies and in the long term…such an accumulation would explode…
“Why don’t you all just avoid eating the food of Purgatory then. I heard the Shadowcats brought over a ton of plant life they collected from Abaddon, right?” Sinmosa couldn’t resist the urge to interject then: “All those plants we saw on the way here, and those Ashen Fur Mice, weren’t they all brought over from Abaddon.”
“It is as you say, they aren’t from Purgatory, but there’s one thing you’re not getting…” As he said that, Anmi frowned a little as if the mere thought gave him a headache.
“Because the environment of Purgatory was simply too harsh, all the plant life had to mutate as well in order to survive…even though we already knew that Purgatory was going to be a harsh environment, and even though we specifically chose those suited to high temperatures, the end result…was that only a few experimental products managed to survive…every other life form mutated…”
In a sense, it was only natural for living things to try and adapt to their surrounding…so the whole reason why they died was because of an adverse reaction to their accumulated fire element…
Furthermore, while every person(cat)s’ body had their own autoimmune reaction to unwanted elements accumulating in their body, there was a limit to that as well. To begin with, a person’s elemental balance was a fragile thing and should it ever get broken, the consequences would be dire.
(Insert author’s unnecessary analogy here)
For the Shadowcats who first arrived in Purgatory, the initial period of habitation was still a bearable one, even with their average constitution. However, what was most troubling for them was that all their food was tainted with fire element and yet they had no choice but to consume said food or die from hunger. Even worse was that the very air they breathed contained some fire elements as well…truly there was nothing worse than that.
Honestly though, there wasn’t much of a difference in the big picture. Let’s say for a second that the Shadowcats were frogs. Having the air filled with fire elements only meant that instead of being slowly poached to death, they were thrown into a vat of hot oil instead. The latter was a horrible croaky death while the former was like a warm blanket that slowly suffocated them in their sleep. Either way, they would end up cooked, it was only a matter of time.
“The researcher who uncovered all that then tried to synthesize a cure…” Having said that, Anmi abruptly stopped and a hint of grief flashed past his eyes.
“What happened next?” Mo Na, being one who loved stories a lot, was completely immersed in his recounting. To her, their tragic past was nothing more than an interesting bedtime story seeing as she hadn’t experienced it herself.
“Next…” Anmi sighed: “The synthesis failed…”
‘So it failed huh, I guess the look he had on just now was already a dead giveaway. Still, using ingredients tainted with fire elements to synthesize a cure that can purge said fire elements…no matter how you looked at it, it was a crazy proposition…at least use water or something!’
Sinmosa on the other hand, was shocked. “Failed? So the remaining Shadowcats…they mutated right…no, then what about those three candidates for the throne…”
“Even though the synthesis was a failure, that Shadowcat researcher managed to create a device that speeds up the elemental purging process thanks to his vast knowledge…”
“Mhm.” Anmi nodded his head.
‘A device huh…that means both Meisian and Weiderly have it as well…thinking back, what the two of them had in common was…’
‘Hmmm…both of them had differing statues but they were still black cats more or less. Next, they were both sitting on that platfor—platform?! That’s right, it’s that platform!’
‘Not too long ago when I pressured that cat prince, he clearly could have escaped by leaping off the platform and rushing to the elders. If he did that, I couldn’t have attacked him even knowing that the elders won’t interfere. But he didn’t do that, no matter how afraid he was, he never once tried to jump off that platform!’