How was this to be approached? He wasn’t sure. At the very least, he had to feign respect, for Twigs had been a rich client early on in Shroomsworth’s history of corresponding in lieu of PK. “Er... well, the good madam is out right now. I respectfully ask that you return at a later date.” He wished badly that there was a way to avoid talking about the Tao crisis, and hoped Twigs would comply.
Of course, as anyone could guess, Twigs did not. “No. I wish to see her now. Are you hiding her? Where has she gone?”
“She’s out, as I’ve told you. I know not where. She... didn’t tell anyone before going, you must understand.” This was an extremely uncomfortable subject for Shroomsworth, but he did his best to answer honestly. Well... it was all factually correct at least, even if not the whole truth.
Displeased, Twigs crouched down and wiggled his rump. Shroomsworth immediately tensed, prepared for an attack, when Twigs sailed right over his head and landed up a dozen steps or so. Shroomsworth whipped around to see the cat sprinting to the top and down the hallway.
“Oh, for the love of...”
Before that thought could be finished, he heard the very particular, very piercing sound of glass shards exploding. He raised a pair of claws to his face and wrung his cheek in an exasperated motion. Wondering if a troublemaker snuck in while he was dealing with his finicky client, he hopped around the corner to confront the source of the broken goods. He discovered he was half right: it was indeed a troublemaker that had taken advantage of the gap in Shroomsworth’s attention a minute or so before, but no sneaking was required.
It was simply Styx. He held another mirror in his paws, of the same variety as the shattered one now on the ground, and smiled vacantly. He loosened his grip and dropped this second one straight down. Shroomsworth felt himself turn a little paler; these were expensive! Handcrafted! Particular design around the edges! And, what? Just because his brother was rich, this little fool thought he could do as he pleased?
Shroomsworth’s patience was being drained much more rapidly than the brothers’ deficit was adding up. “Stop that, this instant! You are ruining perfectly good wares, and I shall have you removed at once!”
The Meowth continued its little smirk, empty of any real emotion, and crouched down. Shroomsworth leaned forward to grab him before any more profit could be sacrificed (for who knew if Twigs would really pay?), but Styx had fooled him in the same manner as Twigs. He made a very large leap up to a shelf reserved for boxes of overstock. Hardly being the most adept of climbers or jumpers, one of the boxes was knocked over in his wake.
What sounded like a few dozen glass items shattering at once could be heard as the box hit the ground, spilling shards and a rich, purple goo in a single wave outward.
Shroomsworth made a sort of little squeak that was the byproduct of extreme anger and disbelief, and wet his lips, getting ready to yell. Simply incredible.
In this situation, with a cat racing along the tops of the shelves, Shroomsworth found himself not knowing how to proceed. Dashing after the cat would result in more broken goods, undoubtedly. So, what was there to be done?
In the middle of a crazy leap from one shelf to the next, Styx was yelling, “I saw him go outta the mirror, nyeh heh!” He zoomed behind the boxed goods and made another leap of faith, during which he spoke his nonsense once more. “He went back to his castle where he rules the plebes, nyehah!”
Shroomsworth saw his opportunity in these leaps. He had to wait for a pattern in the Meowth’s seemingly-erratic laps, and catch him up during one of these jumps. If he could do that, Styx would be his.
He followed Styx with his eyes, moved carefully into place. If there was something Shroomsworth was adept at, it was seeing a pattern in what looked to be a random set of movements.
“He’s gotta wear his crown until it gets broke, but he can’t do it himself, nyehehe! He told me so himself, and so did his friends.”
Another crash from a box thrust from the shelf thanks to the tiny cat’s momentum. Almost, though. Styx was almost assured to make a flying jump from the left to the second shelf behind him... it was in his body language, in the crazed look contorting that face otherwise devoid of emotion.
The leap was made, as foreseen, and Styx was plucked midair by a perfect stretch of the arms. Shroomsworth had caught his quarry.
Right in time for Malt to gaze below, confused, from the railing above. “Hey... what’s going on?”
Part 10 of "Complementaries"