“Why are we looking for him again?” Emery asked as he followed his brother through the darkened corridors of the manor. “We should be keeping an eye on that creep, not looking for a lost cat-boy.”

“I scared him, Brother,” Miles said. “I can’t just leave it like that. I wonder where he would go.”

“I saw glowing eyes in a tower room earlier,” Emery said after some thought. He paused. “I was in the front garden, so the room would be at the front of the building. That’s this way.” He turned down a side hallway and followed it to its end. Instead of stairs, as he’d hoped, there was a large room.

Miles bounded forward and opened the door. “Brother,” he whispered, awe coloring his tone.

Emery followed him inside and stopped in his tracks as he saw the multitude of books lining the walls. “It’s a library,” he whispered. “There are more books here than there were at the Academy.” He bounded over to the nearest shelf and chose a volume at random. His eyes skimmed the page, devouring every word.

“Brother, we’re supposed to be looking for that person I saw,” Miles whispered, even as he walked further into the room. He paused as he caught sight of a form in the dim light of a lamp. It was hard to see, but he could just make out a pair of furry ears and a tail that seemed to be in constant motion. He had to smile as he realized that the cat person was just as enthralled with the books as his brother.

Silently, he crept up behind the still form. He stopped just outside of arm’s reach. “Hello,” he said, using his normal tones.

The form started and the book dropped to the floor, breaking the room’s hold on Emery. “Miles, be careful,” the older Ballard said softly.

“It’s alright,” Miles said gently. “I’m not here to hurt you. I wanted to apologize… for scaring you.”

The cat’s ears tipped back and his growled, “I wasn’t scared.”

Miles blinked his eyes slowly, as he would if something had spooked Flamel. Direct eye contact was a hunting posture with cats, he knew. He was rewarded, after a few tries, with the same gesture from the cat-boy. “I’m Miles,” he said softly.

“Arturus,” the cat replied. “Are you the human’s guest?”

“Your father, you mean?” Emery asked, stepping up behind his brother. “We were invited here by him, but we don’t consider him as a friend. He killed your mother, didn’t he? Right in front of you.”

“How could you know?” Arturus asked.

“I have visions,” Emery said. “I saw it. We want to help you. We want to stop him from getting away with murder. You want that too, right?”

“I want my freedom more,” Arturus whispered.

“Of course you do,” Miles replied. He darted a glance at Emery and added, “We can help with that too, but you have to be careful.”

“The watcher says humans would want to keep me in cages,” Arturus said.

“There are some who would,” Miles admitted. “Not us, but there are some. “That’s why we have to go carefully. Your mother could shift forms, can you?”

“I’ve never tried,” Arturus said. He closed his eyes and seemed to relax. After a moment blue light shimmered around him, beginning at his head and moving downward. The brothers blinked as their eyes were dazzled. When they could see again, before them stood a young man with the same bright green eyes and dark hair as Arturus, but lacking the fur that had marked him as a half-cat.

“Well, well,” Emery said softly. “I wonder what the governor would say about this.” He darted a glance at Miles and murmured, “Shall we find out?”

“Yes,” Arturus hissed, standing and moving past the boys toward the door of the library.