“Haven’t you got anything better to do?” I said, my frustration unmistakable in my tone. “Maybe you should go snaking elsewhere and continue your annoying romp of the night without out me!”
I ended with a bit of a shout, my pace quickening, hoping the bothersome feline would tire of either me or walking. Both inwardly I knew was futile.
“Oh, come now!” woofed Burgone, his furry chest puffing out, “A lady such as yourself requires an escort, and to leave you unattended in the Culverts – why! I wouldn’t dream of it.” He so delicately perched himself on a gargoyle ahead of me, his tail swishing in rhythmic poise, and his well groomed paws he crossed in such a aplomb calm over the stone creatures horned head I thought him graceful.
How I wanted to knock the whiskered smug off his face.
“Don’t pretend you don’t need me,” he purred, “I’ve seen that look before; it’s the look of a twatty little school girl whose fussing over time. Time she’s lost, time that isn’t going fast enough, and time that isn’t going anywhere. The ones who are always in such a hurry but indeed have nowhere to be. Whining whilst she dines on peacock and daydreaming her life away, then accuses the world of stealing her time.”
I was certain my look of annoyance had turned to stark glare. Having been trudging through murk, rat feces, and rivers of water without a drop to drink for several hours, I was no longer in the mood to be tolerant of Burgone’s musings.
“Well, Burgone,” I sneered, “if I am so much trouble why make effort? Clearly my incompetence has spoken for itself as I have let you tattle along with me all this way after you tricked me, played coy with me, AND had nearly gotten my head lopped off while being chased by a couple of Cwn Annwn! Which you undoubtedly – !”
“Oh come now, Hell Hounds? HA! Hardly!” he barked. “Mere puppies, I assure you – ”
“Regardless of what beasts they were! Since being in the grace of your gentlemanly company, you have done nothing but be a pompous thorn in my side!”
“HUH! Well then!” Burgone huffed in an airy lark, flashing his pointy, pearly white canines as he laughed. I had called him straight out and still his fur laid unruffled, his ears all a swivel and his tail still swishing like a pendulum. I suddenly realized nothing I could say would phase him; Burgone’s composure was unshakable, the embodiment of Cool Cat. I would have to outsmart him if I were to be rid of him, which at the moment seemed unlikely…
“Listen to you, all spitfire and guff.” Burgone said, taking his polished claws and scratching under his chin as if he had fingers, his smirk unmistakable. “Was it not I who found you frightened and alone in the dark? Warmed you with my body and brought you food? Have I not led you through the Culverts, and alerted you when danger neared?”
“You led me to the hounds chamber, where I almost got eaten!” I puffed, bringing my hands to my hips.
“It was the only way to go and had I not been with you, you would have never gotten through or more to the point, alive.” he said matter-of-factly. “I had to get you out of the eastern tunnel system and that’s what I did. Had I told you where we were going and what to expect when we got there you would have given us away, and as such I presently would be picking at your bones from the hounds leftovers.” He licked his paw.
My arms were crossed over my chest now as I tried to stare him down, but he’d have none of it, as he decided to take this time to clean himself and further groom his impeccable calico coat. I figured he wouldn’t stop doing this until he could see himself in it.
“You still tricked me.” I scoffed as I turned on my muddied heel and tromped on through the muck.
“All is fair in love and war.” I heard him say as he followed down through the dark.