Aiko stuck her tongue out in concentration. Crouched over, she bent her knees. Her hands dangled and her hair fell to her chest. Her eyes shifted rapidly in opposite directions until they settled right center. She could hear herself breathing, the sound of the wind moving the trees branches and the running sound of the stream she was now within.
Her eyes focused carefully on the fish in front of her, the cat tail that attached itself to her bottom began to get wet as it submerged itself in the glossy blue tinted water. It was very cold liquid, causing the hairs on her tail and feline ears to stand on end. She wiggled her nose as it acquired an itch.
Of course, she would get an itch during the most pivotal moment of the hunt. The itch though, it took over her mind. The urge was so much for her to take that she had no choice but to raise her shoulder up and rub it against her nose. This gave the fish, which was almost within her grasp, a warning and it began to swim faster.
“No!” She screamed.
She jumped out, flinging her whole body into the water only to raise her hands up from the liquid to see an empty grasp. She grew angry. This was a rookie mistake, while she was a master at this craft.
At least there was no one here to witness such a –
“Hey! I can teach you how to catch fish if you want!” She heard a voice yell out to her.
Aiko tilted her head and pressed her hands into her hair to get the excess water out of the strands. She growled under her breath. As if she needed help from this man. He looked so innocent. Yet, he had this enduring quality about him that just aggravated her more.
She stepped out of the water only to see his hand reach out to her in a friendly gesture but to her it just came off as demeaning. She could get out of the water by herself. She didn’t need his help to step out of mere water.
“Come here sweetie, you’re all wet.” He said alluringly.
He pulled her close and grabbed a cloth within his pocket and rubbed the water off her face.
She hissed at him, “I don’t need your help. I know how to catch fish.”
He just chuckled at her, “I’m sorry. It just didn’t look like it.”
She pushed herself away from him as he continued to talk, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.”
He did not give her time to respond until he went into the water, crouched down and swiped a fish cleanly out of the water and executed the maneuver perfectly, to a point where it made her leave her mouth agape.
Who was this man? Was he here to show her up? Had he been watching her just so he could gloat and showboat his skills?
She was intrigued by him as much as she did not want to admit it. As much as she felt her ego ache at his skill, she wanted to learn from him.
The man walked over towards her and handed her the fish.
“This is the one you missed.” He said in a happy tone.
She took it slowly, willing to open up from such a nice gesture.
“Thank you…” she said slowly, “I do know how to catch fish, just in case you thought I was some sort of beginner.”
The man smiled, “Oh no, I know you are not a beginner which is why it was so funny to me as to watch you fail. Sorry to be so blunt about that. I saw you put fish in the town fountain and it made me laugh and really appreciate you as a person. I thought maybe we could get to know each other a little more. Perhaps exchange ways to hone our skills?”
As much as Aiko wanted to trust this man and as much as she wished he was not so handsome, she felt like he was hiding something big from her and she couldn’t put her finger on it. She did just meet him but it was made obvious he had been watching her for quite some time now. The incident with the town fountain had been about a month ago. She wanted to learn what other skills he had to offer and she would accept the chance to get better but she would also, at the same time, keep her guard up until she learned a little more about this equivalent fish catching feline.
“You want me to show you something?” He asked. His black hair shaded one of his eyes from her view, his clothing seemed torn up but at the same time stylish.
Aiko knew she had nothing much else to do so she nodded, “Why not? What is it?”
The man smiled, “Well,” he took a deep breath, “I know you like to fish. It is a shared connection I think all felines have. I want to show you a large lake that lies just outside the city. It is the most beautiful site and breeding ground for fish. Can I take you there?”
Aiko cocked her head to the side, should she trust this man? She was almost outside the city so she knew if anything did happen she would be able to run right back into the safe domains right away.
The man grinned, seeing her inner battle come in his favor, “My name is Alec by the way. It is nice to meet you…” he hesitated, “What was your name?”
Aiko became flustered and spoke back quickly, “My name is Aiko. It is nice to meet you Alec.”
Alec nodded and began to walk, “Well, follow me.” That was all he said to her until she followed many steps behind him.
She still did not feel fully at ease with him around just yet, she still had no idea whom he was. As they walked, she watched him from behind. He strolled so delicately but with a style that she was not used to seeing among other male cats. He had a way about him that spoke confidently to his ego and personality, so she yearned to know more about him.
She looked down at the floor, wondering just how big this lake was going to look like. If it did in fact hold a bounty full of fish for her to eat. Her tongue slithered around in her mouth, her cheek secreting saliva as she thought about the delicious taste of the fish.
“We are here, Aiko.” She heard his voice ring out to her.
She looked up and as he moved to the side she saw the most beautiful lake she had ever laid eyes upon. All she was accustomed to was seeing the small stream by the village but this…this was magical. There were birds of all kinds flying around and animals drinking from the large body of water. She could hear the fish splash around in the water and her ears twitched at the beautiful sound. She wanted to eat them and licking her chops she began to walk but Alec’s hand stopped her.
“Yes?” She said, looking back towards his view. She stopped as she saw a group of fellow felines. They all looked regal, with a touch of toughness that she could not pinpoint. They looked at her with hungry eyes and she stepped back, laying her ears angrily on her head. She opened her mouth slightly to taste their foreign scent.
“I knew I wouldn’t be able to trust you.” She said, turning around and went to sprint away from them but the one female of the group jumped out in front of her in such a speed that it caused Aiko to trip right over her, slamming her own face into the dirt.
She cursed to herself and looked up at the woman who took no time speaking out to her, “We need you, Aiko.”