The Userpedians confront an intruder in the burning Library.

Guy was yelling out for help.

Why? The sleeve of his arm was on fire.

Why was his arm on fire? He’d tripped while looking for survivors on a dangerous floor.

Why did he trip? Well... the Gods couldn't watch everything.

Guy wasn't yelling out because his skin was being burned. Indeed, as the cloth burned away, it would be revealed that his right arm was mechanical, rigged by a master engineer in the Grand Library. Instead, the young robed figure was worried that the flamed would catch the rest of him on fire. He rather drastically took his scythe, and began to sever the arm of his robe from the rest of him. Cutting through the sewing, the material fell to the ground, consumed in flames.

The Hero sighed, holding his scythe in both hands. He would have to get a new robe soon, he covered his body for a reason. He was glad, however, that Ruby already knew... and he wondered why Ruby was rushing up the staircase in such a hurry.

“Guy!” The hero in dark blue ran up to him, and stopped to catch his breath. “Did you hear it?”

“‘It’? All I can hear is the flames.”

“Okay, well, somebody...” Ruby drifted off as he noticed Guy’s metallic arm visible. “Are... you okay?”

“Yeah, don’t worry man, I’m fine.” Guy looked like he wanted to get off the subject quick. “So who’s somebody?”

“Huh? Oh, right.” If there was ever a moment for a fictional anime sweat-drop, this would be it. “Somebody’s holed themselves up in the upper levels and claimed the building. We gotta go deal with it and tell him not to mess with us humans.”

“Whuh? What do you mean?”

“Oh, yeah. I’m fairly sure he /isn't/ human.”

“Ah. Wait, what?”

“Look, I’ll tell you more when we get up there. Let’s go find Steve.”

Bean rushed through the lanes of books, hidden behind books about hey did you see that new Mario game out. When the spirits had appeared she had hidden under the receptionist’s desk, out of sight. But when her eyes spotted the person she needed to talk to, Ruby, heading upstairs, she took her chances and began to run after him.

She reached the stairs and jumped a few steps as she rushed up to catch him, but a resounding roar of flame made her turn back for a moment. a huge stack of wood and paper that had not been there before had landed on the ground floor and had caught, sending plumes of smoke into the air, making her cough. She fell to the ground as the smoke spread over the building. She thought she heard footsteps, but couldn't tell for sure. Suddenly though, she was yanked to her feet by someone.

“Bean! What are you doing here?” Ruby yelled over the noise.

“I... I had something important to tell you...”

“Well, tell me on the way up, I guess you know what the situation is.” He began to rejoin Guy in running up to the next staircase up.

Bean joined them, weaving a little spell with her miniature staff that she kept handy for spells. Instantly Guy, Ruby and Bean all felt the effects of it, as if they had been soaked in water. Both males whirled back and stared at her.

“...I see,” Ruby said in a quiet awe. They continued up the stairs to the administrative levels, where Steve would surely be. “Why didn't you tell us?”

“...I was scared...” ._.;

“Well.. we’ll deal with this later. Come on, we have somebody to deal with.”

Minutes later, the group of four stood in front of the doorway to Steve’s office. They all didn’t quite know what to expect. They knew nothing of who or what was in that room.

Ruby tried the door. It wouldn't budge. “Locked,” Ruby assumed.

But when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me, as the door was thrown open from the inside, knocking the healer to the floor.

The creature was... orange. It stood on two legs, and looked like some sort of feral cat, armored. Two bone-white horns protruded from his skull, pointing backward; he looked like he could tear a man into pieces. It carried a staff with it, one paw currently resting on the head of the magical, woven branch as the butt of the staff rested on the ground.

Oddly, the cat creature was adorned with a sort of headwrap that slipped over his eyes, rendering him blind... at least, so the humans standing before him thought. Yet, it seemed, as it gazed right into their faces, it used some other form of sight to see them.

It grunted, then spoke in a deep voice. “Foolish humans. You stand before your very doom! Surely, you wish to perish by my claws...”

Ruby stood up, shaking off his slight dizziness from the attack. He unsheathed his staff and held it as threateningly as he could at the creature. “...Sir... we find you guilty of treason and mass homicide. We’re going to have to place you under arrest. If you could just come with us please..” He reached out to forcefully grab the creature’s claw, but he never made it that far, as the creature suddenly swung out the thick head of the communing staff it carried, catching Ruby in the stomach, forcing the wind out of his body and sending him to the floor again.

Guy, already rushing toward the opponent with his scythe, called out, “To arms!” as he swung the blade toward the creature, but the cat-like thing jumped backward, the blade slicing through the air instead. Then it rushed forward, staff swinging. Guy ducked, raising his scythe in an attempt to block the thing swinging at his head. The staff grazed the top of his head, while not fatal he was still knocked to the side.

Now Ruby was up and charging, having healed himself with a ritual, and swung his healing staff at the creature, landing a clean blow to the side of the head, and surprisingly the creature fell. It just... crumpled to the ground, having suffered severe head trauma. And from the wound it began to bleed. Was it... dead? Already?

But Bean and Steve weren't done yet, as the thing’s face was soaked in water. And then Steve, making sure it was connected to live electricity, broke a monitor screen over its head, causing it to electrocute. Ruby jumped away as the now lifeless body began to spasm. Then he glared at the two. “What was THAT for? He was down!”

Bean looked away. Steve simply said, “It was coming to him.”

There was no celebration as the four returned back to base. A weary Ruby noticed that the last of the flames on the outside has begun to go down. And as the entered the cave entrance, they all simply retired to bed. (Somebody had to fix a bed for Steve.)

Ruby’s last thoughts before he drifted to sleep were about the creature they had slain. What was it? Was there more? And what was it doing in the Grand Library ruins?

...but many miles away, at the top floors of the Library, something walked up to the dead body, stood over it. “Hmmph. To have been bested by mere humans... you had best hope you do not fail us again.”

The second cat-creature began to perform a slow ritual. The crumpled body before him began to glow blue, as it was infused with life. It coughed.

The standing animal growled, and spat in its direction. “Do not fail us again.” It walked away.

And that was that.

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