Angel City

In the vast city of Lanci, also known as the 'Black Cat City', several strange storms are bearing down upon its inhabitants. The two cats hiding in the alley are the first to investigate the cause of the storms, beginning in the ruins of the theater...

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2. The Conductor

The world was dark. Piper could hear a strange clicking noise in her ears, tapping out a steady beat. She blinked. She was lying on the ground, with the building she had fallen from towering over her. Piper sat up. The storm had ceased completely. The clouds were drifting lazily across the gray sky, and the winds had been reduced to mere breezes.

"Piper!" Mooni had emerged from the building and was running towards her. "Are you alright?"

"What happened?" Piper asked.

"You fell off the building...and there was a flash of light. You're not hurt?" Mooni sounded stunned.

"No. I don't think anything's broken...Did you see the two creatures in the sky?"

"What creatures?" Mooni asked nervously.

"There were two specks...oh, never mind. I was so close to solving everything..." Piper said wistfully.

"Why are you caring about that now? You could've died!" Mooni said indignantly. "Promise me you won't go running into danger like that again!"

"I'm not promising anything." Piper stared up at the sky, a familiar feeling of disappointment creeping up her spine. This always happened whenever she tried to track down the source of the storms. They always ended as abruptly as they had begun.

As she stared at the city around them, her gaze fell on the building next to the structure they had just climbed. It was crumbling, damaged by past storms and had not opened in weeks. She saw the tip of a white tail disappear between its doors.

"Hey!" Piper sprang to her feet, making Mooni jump. "Spooks, there's someone there!"

"Where?"

"In the theater!" Piper pointed her paw at it. When Mooni saw it, his whiskers drew back very slightly. "Piper, we can't go in there. It's been crumbling for ages. The chances that it'll fall while we're in there are too high."

"Well, whoever entered it just now didn't seem to care." 

"Then they're crazy," Mooni said, glancing at the doors again. "If you go in there..."

But Piper had already gone.

"Piper!" Mooni called after her in desperation. "Piper!"

The front doors were still ajar, and Piper slipped into the theater, coughing as a cloud of dust rose from the dark red carpet. She tiptoed down the hallway, approaching the double doors at the end of the hall. They were closed. Piper nudged one of them with her paw, and it did not budge. She pushed the door open, and to her relief, it swung open noiselessly.

Piper stared for a moment. She could not help herself. The doorway had revealed a large auditorium with a tall scarlet ceiling. There were hundreds, perhaps even thousands of seats in the room, divided by aisles leading down to the stage. And the stage was lit with several bright lights. All of the lights were directed towards a snow-white cat on the stage, who was sitting up on his back legs, waving his front paws in the air in patterns.

"Piper!" There was a loud whisper behind her, and she turned in alarm. Mooni was in the doorway. "Piper, we have to get out while we can! Now!"

"But there's someone on the stage, look!"

Mooni stared down at the figure on the stage. "Who is that?" Piper could tell his curiosity was aroused. "That's just what I've been wondering," she said. "Come on." She stepped over to the right and ducked behind a row of seats. Mooni joined her.

The lights on the stage began to flicker. The cat paused and turned, his ears twitching, as if he had just noticed the presence of two new guests. Piper realized in shock that she had left the doors to the auditorium wide open. The white cat jumped lithely off of the stage, walking up the aisle between two arrays of seats. He was heading right towards their hiding spot.

"Who are you?" The cat peered at them, perched on top of a seat. When he saw Piper, he said, "Oh, it's just you."

"What do you mean, 'it's just me'?" Piper demanded. The cat ignored her and jumped to the ground, walking down the steps of the aisle back towards the stage. Piper, who felt it was safe to follow, walked out from behind the seats.

"Did you give your tickets to the cat at the front desk?" the cat asked.

"What? There wasn't a front desk, let alone a cat," Mooni said nervously, who was walking after Piper.

"Oh, right," the cat said absently, jumping from the last step.

"What are you doing in a place like this?" Piper asked. "Cats don't usually come here. This place was built to entertain humans."

"I'm practicing," the cat said. "And haven't you realized it yet? All the humans in Lanci are disappearing. Soon this city will belong to cats."

"Who are you?" Mooni asked tentatively.

"I'm the Conductor, not the composer," the cat said. For some reason, he sounded rueful. "Conductor with a capital C."

"Right...What were you doing on the stage?" Piper inquired.

"I just told you, didn't I? I was practicing."

"Practicing for what?" Piper and Mooni asked together.

"The concert in April," the Conductor replied. "It's only a month away, and I have to keep practicing."

"But...who are you performing for? No one comes here anymore," Piper said.

"Oh, there's always someone who watches up perform," the Conductor said idly, jumping up onto the stage. "Please silence yourselves now. The performance is about to resume." He raised his paws, but before he could begin, there was a loud crash from above. All three cats looked up. There was a rumbling noise, and then a building crashed in right through the theater's ceiling.

Mooni and Piper both screamed. The cat merely looked faintly annoyed, apparently unfazed by the shards of glass and pieces of ceiling raining down into the auditorium. "Stay back," he yelled to Piper and Mooni, who were cowering among the seats. "Get out of here."

As Piper struggled to get to her feet, coughing as dust came pouring from every direction, she glimpsed the Conductor on the stage, staring up at the sky through the hole in the ceiling. The storm had started up again. As Piper watched, two misshapen white shapes rose from the cat's back. They were raised high as the cat pushed off with his back legs, soaring up towards the sky, disappearing through the hole in the ceiling.

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