Ch. 49.2 — Janine screamed.
Prince Korim held up the limp cat and smirked at them. Then the fey prince tossed the body into the trees. He nudged his horse and started for Janine once more, but someone on a white horse charged towards him, roaring with anger.
“He was worth ten of you!” Old Bob raised his sword and attacked. The horses squealed as they bit and kicked. The two brothers slashed at each other, fighting furiously.
Janine rushed into the trees. After a few moments she found the cat’s body caught in some low brush. With tears streaming down her face, Janine picked up Felix and carried him back to the tent. She sank onto a cot with the cat in her lap and stroked his soft fur, something he had never allowed before.
“No,” she sobbed. Not Felix. He had been a complicated person — brave, snarky, funny, mysterious, sometimes greedy, and loyal — he had died trying to save their lives. Her tears dripped onto the cat’s fur, and steam rose from the knife wound.
Bee’s fingers tightened on her shoulder. “Janie, look at him.”
Janine opened her eyes. To her surprise, the cat transformed into a small boy with brindle hair, who looked about five years old. His wound was bleeding.
“He’s alive,” Bee said in wonder. “He’s still alive.” She quickly smeared Miracle Mix onto his wound, bandaged him, and then wrapped him in a blanket.
As the other medics cared for the rest of the wounded, Janine and Bee sat side by side, waiting and watching, hardly daring to breath. At last the boy opened his tawny eyes. He seemed confused. Then he lifted up one small hand and stared at it. He groaned.
“I’m a boy again.”
Janine choked back a laugh. “Yes you are.”
Felix scrunched up his face and closed his eyes. Then he opened them and again stared at his hands. His eyes widened in panic. “What’s wrong with me? My magic is gone. Bring it back. Bring it back now.”
Janine felt sad for him. “I’m sorry, I don’t know how.”
Felix glared at her. “Well, find out. Immediately.”
Stung and hurt, Janine said nothing.
Bee frowned. “Janine just saved your life. You should be grateful you’re alive.”
Felix sat up and shouted. “Don’t you understand? I’m a hundred years old, and now I’m stuck in a little boy’s body. I’d rather be a cat. I must have magic. I can’t live without my magic.”
Bee gave him a cup of water mixed with Miracle Mix. He drank it down, then tried again. Nothing happened.
“Sorry, Felix,” Bee said. “You’re a human now. Get used to it.”
Felix’s eyes were wide with fear. “What will happen to me? Who will want me like this?”
Bee spoke gently. “I would want you just the way you are. Will you be my very own son?”
Janine saw the moment he decided to trust Bee. “Yes.” He climbed onto her lap and clung to her. She wrapped her arms around him and kissed his forehead.
Janine turned away, fighting tears. She opened a trunk and pulled out some clean clothing for him. Then three of them began to tend the wounded.