Since it’s been a while, here’s the last part.
Artemis’s shocked mew awoke Arion form his deep sleep, only for him to yell, startled, as he stared straight into Caddie’s glowing amber eyes. After a moment a light came on upstairs, and the other four came rushing down.
“What’s going on?” Jason called as he tripped down the stairs. Dee followed close behind, stepping a little more carefully as Jason picked himself up off the floor. Nephthys and Amarantha came down after a few seconds.
“You tell me,” Caddie muttered, setting down the bag of books she was holding. “I come home to find y’all camped out in my house.”
“Where have you been?” Artemis demanded.
“At the library.” Caddie gestured to the bag of books. “The librarians let me stay late reading.”
“Not that!” the cat hybrid snapped. “Where have you been for the past two weeks?”
“With Lycaon.” Caddie seemed puzzled. “A problem came up that I had to fix, but I left a note. Didn’t you get it?”
“What note? We didn’t get any note.”
Caddie shrugged. “I don’t know. I left a note that said to go on without me. Don’t know what happened to it.”
“I don’t think we’ve met,” Jason interrupted.
“Ah, yes.” Caddie looked up. “I’m Cadmea, but most call me Caddie. Fox hybrid.” She held out a paw and shook Jason’s hand.
“What happened to your hands?” Artemis inquired suspiciously.
“Oh, uh, nothing.” Caddie shoved them in the pockets of the blue hoodie she wore.
“I’m Nephthys,” Nephthys said, giving a small wave.
“Dee,” Dee introduced himself. “And this is my girlfriend, Amarantha.”
Amarantha looked over at him. “You can put it like that too,” she laughed. “Not like I was going to introduce myself or anything.”
Dee grinned in response.
“I’m Arion.” Arion held out a hand to shake Caddie’s paw, while Artemis still looked on suspiciously.
“Well. Sorry we were using your house without permission,” Nephthys jumped in before anything else could happen. “We thought you were out, so you wouldn’t mind.”
Caddie shrugged again. “That’s alright. I don’t plan on sleeping anyway.”
There was a short silence.
“I can’t tell if that was a joke or not,” Arion admitted, breaking the tension.
“Shall we go back to bed?” Dee suggested. “It is, after all-” He checked his watch. “1:15 A.M.”
The four headed up the stairs and Arion laid back down on the couch, curling up under the blanket. He found himself unable to sleep, however, his mind buzzing with the events of what had just happened. He could hear Artemis and Caddie conversing softly in the kitchen, and pretended he was asleep to listen in.
“…small problem,” Caddie was saying. “Nothing we couldn’t handle.”
“Lycaon is missing now, do you know that?” Artemis growled. “Why are you lying to me?”
“I’m not lying!” Caddie protested. “I was with Lycaon for a few days, and when I came back, you’d already left. I decided it would take too long to try to follow you, so I just stayed here until you came back.”
“Sure.” Arion could detect the sarcasm in Artemis’s voice. “And what of Lycaon?”
“I don’t know what happened to him, I swear,” Caddie pleaded. “You have to believe me. I haven’t had contact with him since the last time I saw him, but his place is a mess. He hates messes. I’m worried something bad has happened to him.”
“We can try to send a tracker after him,” Artemis suggested. “Laelaps is an excellent tracker.”
“She had pups last week,” Caddie pointed out. “She can’t leave them.”
“We have others.”
“Might I remind you that the field workers have just been released? Everyone has the next few days off, and Lycaon’s already been gone for, like, a week. The trail will be lost by then.”
“Great Angel’s wrath,” Artemis hissed. “Talk about inconvenient timing.”
Caddie sighed, drumming her fingers on the marble countertop. “I don’t know. On the one hand, Lycaon is pretty capable of handling himself, but on the other, he was taken down anyway. By what, I have no clue.”
“All we can do now is keep searching.” Artemis slid silently off the counter to the tiled floor. “Goodnight, Cadmea. Sleep well, if you will tonight.”
“Goodnight, Artemis. Sleep well.”
Arion closed his eyes as Artemis came around the couch and settled by the fireplace once more. He heard the soft click of Caddie turning off the faint kitchen light, and the sound of the door to the back garden opening and closing echoed a little before all fell to silence.
As Arion drifted back into an uneasy sleep, all he could think of was one question.