It had been almost three weeks since the sisters had gone on their double date with the Curtis brothers. Neither of the boys seemed to remember anything strange happening after the bus ride home. They thought that they had delivered BekkaNeko and ReaNeko home safe.
The littermates had settled into an uneasy rhythm of going to school, then coming home to watch TV or otherwise spend the afternoon doing something fun. After dinner they would go upstairs to do their homework and then to bed. They would lay in bed, waiting for their parents to retire for the night, then step through the mirror for a few hours of training with Akira. He taught them more about how to use their weapons and helped them learn to control their little bit of magic more efficiently. Afterwards, they’d return home to bed. Every time, it seemed as if they’d only been gone for about 30 minutes or so.
BekkaNeko didn’t think that living like this was so bad, except for the fact that during every waking hour outside the house, she was constantly watching out for the demon girl or more goblins or something even nastier. Even so, these past weeks had been peaceful. Nothing seemed to far out of the ordinary.
BekkaNeko was sitting in her usual seat in the back of the school bus. Her littermate was sitting across the aisle from her, flirting with the senior in the next seat. She sat watching her sister, wondering how she could flirt so naturally, never keeping her attention on one guy too long, yet never making any of them too jealous.
“So, BekkaNeko, you going to the anime convention tomorrow?”
The catgirl looked over the seat behind her. Eric was sitting there with a big, goofy grin on his face. “Anime convention?”
“Yeah. They’re holding it at the Student Center at FU. This is the first year, so they need all the people they can get to come and support it. That way they’ll be able to hold another one next year. I’m gonna go and cosplay as Etoh. You know, from Record of Lodoss War. My mom made up my robes and I found a good hat for it. So, you gonna go?”
“I don’t know.” The thought of being a catgirl surrounded by hordes of fanboys was somewhat disturbing.
“Rumor has it that they’ll be doing a sneak preview of Nekomimi tomorrow night. And there’ll be all sorts of voice actors and artists and just a whole bunch of really cool people there.” Eric was nearly vibrating with excitement. He droned on and on about the convention for the rest of the ride.
BekkaNeko was grateful to be free of him as she walked home from the bus stop. As ReaNeko started talking about her guy on the bus, she found herself looking forward to the relaxation of homework, dinner, and TV.
“An anime convention at the Fenwick University Student Center? Sounds interesting,” Akira said. He was watching the two catgirls sparring with padded weapons.
After three weeks of nightly practice, they had become accustomed to the added weight of their armor and moved in it easily. BekkaNeko danced backwards, dodging and blocking as ReaNeko lunged and stabbed with the padded spearhead of her weapon. Suddenly, BekkaNeko swept the spear aside with one end of her staff, and swatted her sister’s head with the other.
“Not bad. Both of you will need to get better, but there’s nothing to stop you. It seems you’re beginning to remember how to fight, at least on some level.” Akira fed a scrap of jerky to Thought, who took it and flew to one of the weapon racks. “Well, I wouldn’t be too worried about something happening while you’re at the convention. There’ll be simply too many people there for our enemy to make a move.”
ReaNeko propped her weapon on her shoulder. “Are you saying that we should go?”
“Well, it should be fun. And, its as good a point as any to start looking for the other owners of the these soul crystals. We still have to find Air and Earth. I have the feeling that that kind of artistic energy, all concentrated in one place, will draw them.”
“How are we going to know who they are though?”
Akira stood up and cracked his knuckles. “I think I have something that should work. Follow me.” He gestured and led them form the dojo into his study.
Sitting on his desk was an object that looked something like a compass. It was a golden disk, about nine centimeters wide, and only a few millimeters thick. A pentagram was worked on its face, with a small stone at each point. In the center was the pointer, made of silver. Akira picked it up and held it out to the girls.
“This should help you find them. It will measure the amount of elemental energy within an area, and point to the closest person the meets its strength requirements.” He held it towards BekkaNeko. The needle swung to point at her and the blue gem began to glow. Then he moved it a little closer to her sister. The red gem flared to life, and the needle shifted towards ReaNeko. “This shouldn’t register anyone much weaker than yourselves. That should weed out just about everyone, leaving only the serious candidates.”
“That’s great! Will it point out bad guys?” BekkaNeko asked.
“Good question. I’m not entirely sure. The brighter the stone glows, the more powerful the person is, and the further away they can be detected.” He handed the disk to BekkaNeko. “Oh, one thing I forgot. If you want to dress up for this con, all you have to do is change into your armor, then focus on the outfit you want when you change it back. That should work for most things. It won’t do anything for hair style or color, but it’s a good way to cheat on a costume.” The catgirls thanked him, then stepped home through the mirror.
On the other side, ReaNeko looked to her sister. “So? Are we gonna hit the con?” Her ear twitched as she stripped down for bed.
BekkaNeko put the golden disk in her desk drawer. “We probably should. If Akira-sama is right, then we really can’t afford to miss this chance to find the others. Besides…I really want to see Nekomimi.”
“Don’t forget all the bishonen in their costumes.” ReaNeko winked and jumped into her bed.
“Well, I guess that might be a reason for you to go.” BekkaNeko winked back, then undressed and climbed into her own bed. “G’night littermate,” she said, but ReaNeko was already asleep.
The two catgirls arrived at the convention about twenty minutes after the doors first opened. They had taken Akira’s advice on cheating. They wore their armor and had braided each other’s hair on the bus ride over to the University. Almost immediately, they were beset with nearly rabid fanboys. Most of them were curious to know what anime they had gotten the costumes from, but ReaNeko waved that off with the plausible lie.
She said that they were working on one of their own, trying to sell it a studio, and they had dressed this way to garner interest in their project. She even had a plotline to talk about. BekkaNeko nearly strangled her littermate as she realized that the plot was exactly what they had been going through for the past month.
“What are you doing?” she asked when they finally got a moment to themselves. “Are you nuts, telling them all that stuff?”
ReaNeko shrugged. “Do you really expect them to believe that any of that stuff is really going on under their noses? Come on, if any of them recognized what I was saying, then they would already know who and what we are. They might even say something that would betray them as being on of the enemy.”
BekkaNeko nodded. “I suppose you’re right. I’ll start looking around with the disk. Maybe I can find someone before this place gets too crowded. Think you can keep those guys occupied and away from me?”
The red-armored cat smirked. “That’s what I do best.” She flounced off, looking for guys. As BekkaNeko watched, she found one. He was just checking in at the door. He’d come cosplaying as the semi-amnesiac hero of an older, but intensely popular game. He’d even made a giant, cleaver-like sword from PVC pipe, foam, and lots of duct tape. ReaNeko joined the couple of girls clamoring for a number from him. BekkaNeko shook her head and went in the other direction.
She took the disk out from a hidden pocket in her armor and let it sit in her palm. The needle swiveled, the pointed back towards ReaNeko. The red stone glowed. As BekkaNeko walked away, the needle swung around and around then suddenly pointed dead ahead. The black stone seemed to glow deep inside. It shed no light, but whatever was activating the compass was definitely attuned to that stone and no other.
The only person near her in that direction stood with his back to her, watching the activity below from the edge of the mezzanine. He was dressed like the villain from the same game as ReaNeko’s current interest. His shoulder-length hair was bright white, contrasting with his long black coat and gray shoulder armor. BekkaNeko knew that he should be holding a long sword, but she didn’t think the convention’s staff would have let anyone in with such a weapon. He glanced over his shoulder at her. Suddenly the catgirl saw his elfin ears and recognized him. She was very glad he carried no sword. He looked away again.
BekkaNeko took a deep breath and walked to the railing a short distance away from him. The needle spun to point at him. She leaned on the rail and stared at the milling otaku below her. The booth that caught her interest first was for the new film, Nekomimi. There didn’t seem to be too many of the film makers there, especially since all of the voice actors would be getting ready for the panel they would be hosting in a few minutes. The name on the LED marquee said that the pretty girl at the booth was Miss Maki, the movie’s character designer. She seemed to be rather popular, and BekkaNeko made a mental not to speak with her before the day was out.
The catgirl’s tail puffed out as she became intensely aware of a presence moving up next to her. There he was, the strange elf, standing less than an arm’s length away. He didn’t look at her, but she could tell he was studying her.
“You should be more careful, little kitty. You don’t want to get hurt,” he said.
“You heard me. There are things going on that you are not yet ready to deal with. You should get in some more training before you become involved. You and your sister both.”
“Will you at least tell me who you are?” BekkaNeko turned to look at him.
“I’m sorry, Merel. I can’t. Not right now. I don’t want you to get hurt.” He turned and walked away before the gaping catgirl could stop him. He disappeared into the crowd, the compass needle following him until he was out of range.
“How do you know me by that name?” BekkaNeko wondered aloud.