00080. Where did this cat come from?
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Announcement
Sorry about only one chapter last week, work kept me busy. My current goal is two chapters a week, but work is extra busy this time of year till about mid January. So expect one, and hope for two.

Ezekiel was in the main base seated at his desk. He typed away on his keyboard working on an update for Vibe, his social media platforms. The user base had expanded and was now over ten million users on the main platform. While he was working, a sensor monitor flashed in one of the secure areas of the base. The place where he had stored all of the vibranium.

He changed his screen to view the cameras in that area and saw no one there. It was the third time this happened in the past hour. So he decided to go check it himself this time and double check the equipment. He picked up his tablet and then quickly moved through the base using body flicker while running along the roof so as not to hit anyone. When he arrived in the area he didn't see anyone at first.

After looking around for a few minutes he heard a sound coming from the room where the vibranium was stored. When he opened the doors he froze in place. In front of him was a black cat almost the size of a Border Collie. The cat also froze upon being found and in its mouth was a single bar of vibranium. It studied Ezekiel for a few moments before the cat's hackles raised. It dropped the bar on the ground and hissed at Ezekiel as it crouched down ready to pounce.

Ezekiel studied the cat for a few moments before he smirked and said, "You’re a naughty little kitty, aren’t you? Trying to take something that doesn’t belong to you."

Ezekiel attempted to put the cat under a genjutsu, but it just made the cat hiss at Ezekiel again. Ezekiel frowned and looked into the cat's large yellow eyes as he asked, "You aren't just a cat, are you?"

The cat tensed its body before it leaped at Ezekiel. He barely dodged the cat as it sailed past, almost hitting him in the face with one of its paws in the process. Ezekiel turned around completely as he dodged the cat and expected it to attack him again. The cat instead took off down the hallway as it landed on its feet in a run. Ezekiel ran after it and needed to use body flicker in bursts to keep up with it. As they moved out of the secure area, Ezekiel swiped the base alarm on his tablet.

The alarm blared out as Ezekiel chased behind the cat heading towards the portal room. Ezekiel's tablet started to ping with messages as he moved through the base, he swiped the screen on his tablet and then said, "Possible enemy, shaped like a large black cat headed towards the portal room." Which was heard over the blaring alarm throughout the base.

Ezekiel's tablet was still getting messages from people outside the base, but he ignored them as he kept up with the cat's unnatural speed. When they finally made it to the hallway outside of the portal room the cat finally skidded to a halt. The portal room was sealed off with a blast door and in front of it stood Steve wearing workout clothes holding his shield. Kaecilius stood beside him, along with Mikhail who was in his half bear transformation. Shisui was also with them, but he was standing upside down as he hung from the ceiling.

The cat looked behind itself at Ezekiel and the people who were running up the hallway to join him before it let out a meow as it started to enlarge. The meow changed into a full blown roar when the cat had finished turning into a massive panther. It was almost fifteen feet in length not including its tail and was over six feet tall at the base of its neck.

The panther studied both groups of people before it rushed forward at the group in front of it. Steve moved forward first and planted himself in front of the creature's charge. The sound of its claws echoed out as it slammed into Steve's shield and forced him back a step. Mikhail stepped forward around Steve and went to bash the animal back. But the panther was nimble on its feet and still dodged the attack in the large hallway.

The panther lashed out at Mikhail after it dodged his attack and caught his arm with its claws. The attack tore a chunk out of his arm that went to the bone and sprayed blood on the floor around him. Mikhail let out an angry yell and started to transform into his bear form as his arm healed. Within moments he took up half of the hallway in front of the panther. He let out an earth shattering roar as he stood up on his hind legs, challenging the panther to attack him.

The panther decided to try and rush past the smaller threat and charged at Steve. As it slammed into his shield, Steve pushed it upwards while he stepped forward. It forced the panther back and Mikhail took advantage by wrapping the panther up in a bear hug. The panther struggled in his grip and was able to twist around to bite down on Mikhail's shoulder. Which only made Mikhail tighten his grip and forced the panther to release its bite, the sound of bones creaking was heard as it let out a pained roar.

The panther struggled some more before it quickly shrunk down to its cat form and dropped out of Mikhail's grip. It landed on one of his arms and leaped away, but as it did Steve took advantage while it was in the air and smacked it with his shield. The cat rocketed into the wall with a loud thud and it let out a yowl as it bounced off the wall to land on the ground. It shook its head and let out a hiss as it focused on Steve. It tensed its legs and went to jump at Steve when Kaecilius said, “By the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak I bind you!”

As the cat jumped, neon red translucent ropes shot out from Kaecilius’s hands and bound the cat up tightly. The cat let out a surprised meow while Steve reached out and caught the cat with one hand. He lifted the cat up as it struggled against its bindings and said, “It’s kinda cute when it’s not trying to attack you.”

The cat let out a hiss and tried to force its transformation but the bands kept all of its body locked tightly together except for its head. Which transformed into a panther's head and tried to bite Steve who quickly dropped the cat to the ground. Ezekiel walked up as he worked on his tablet to turn off the alarm and to message people that the situation was handled.

Then stopped in front of the cat with its comically large and funny looking panther head as he said, “I found it in the secure area. It looked like it was trying to steal a bar of vibranium.”

Ezekiel looked at everyone who showed up and said, “Good work everyone, but the show’s over, everyone can head back now.”

Ezekiel looked over to Shisui as he pointed at the chunk of flesh and blood on the ground as he said, “Get someone to clean that up.”

Shisui smirked and did a mock salute as he said, “Yes sir!” Then his body faded from view like he was never really there in the first place.

Ezekiel smirked as he shook his head while Mikhail had shifted back to his human form and rubbed his arm where the cat had taken the chunk from. It didn't leave a scar, but the new skin was a fresh pink in color and had no hair compared to the rest of his arm. He let out a sigh as he looked at it and said, “This will take a few weeks to look normal.

Steve just patted Mikhail on the back as he said, “It’s better than losing your arm. I’m a little jealous of how fast you and Logan can heal.”

Steve then looked at Kaecilius as he asked, “How long will this spell hold?”

“As long as we need it too.”

The portal room door opened and in walked Fury, Peggy and Tao. Fury looked at the cat that was back to the size of a normal house cat for a few seconds before he asked, “So this is why you sounded the alarm? For a cat?”

Ezekiel raised an eyebrow as he said, “You should know better than anyone not to judge a cat by its outward appearance.”

Fury frowned slightly as Tao walked next to the cat and started to weave spells above it for about half a minute. When she finished, she let out a sigh before she said, “We’ll have a visitor soon.”

Everyone turned to look at Tao as Ezekiel asked, “Who?”

Tao reached down and picked up the cat as she said, “This cat’s owner. This is actually a familiar. It’s named Ebony.”

Ezekiel smiled just a little as he said, “Agatha Harkness.”

Tao nodded as she said, “I’ve met her plenty of times throughout the centuries and we’ve even helped each other out sometimes. It’s strange that Ebony is here alone though, they normally travel everywhere together.”

Tao petted Ebony’s head and the cat let out a meow before Tao said, “You can release your spell, it won’t attack anymore.”

Kaecilius released the spell and as the red bands faded away, Tao looked into the cat's eyes as she said, “Go back to your master and bring her back here in a few hours. Tell her we need to have a talk.”

The cat nodded as it let out a meow before it jumped out of Tao’s hands and ran into the portal room. Tao looked back at Ezekiel as she said, “Call a council meeting, we will have to discuss a few things with Agatha.”

Ezekiel nodded as he started to type on his tablet for a few seconds before he glanced up at Tao and said, “I set the meeting for about an hour from now. Also we’ll need to do something about the cameras, Ebony didn’t show up on them. I only caught it because of one of the temperature sensors.”

Tao nodded in understanding as she said, “Ebony has a spell that makes her invisible to all cameras and most electronics in general. It will take me a little while to fix, but I will inscribe all the cameras with runes to fix that little issue.”

“Make sure you do the medical base also.”

Tao nodded her head as Fury asked, “Would you be able to do that at a couple of safe houses I use sometimes?”

“Sure but the bases will be my priority first.”

Steve was standing off to the side talking with Peggy as Ezekiel looked over and said, “Let's head over to the meeting room and wait for our guest.”

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