''So, you wait nearly two seasons before returning.'' Adin sat in the branches of the old lonely tree he visited once a week almost. He was laying over a lower branch, guarded by thick new growths of foliage the tree produced. He had his armor on, and he stood out against the stark green leaves.
Emerald stalked back a few steps, not having realized that her brother had still been in the area. ''Wait? You thought I waited? How foolish of you.'' She bared her teeth in that wicked smile she wore. ''You should know-''
''That you've been visiting here far more often than that?'' He let his head rise off of his paws, ''That I do know.'' The grey male twiched his tail as he contemplated climbing down. ''You saw my prints then. My messages.''
''What of it runt? Or should I call you rat?'' She lashed her brown spotted tail, letting the tip twich almost violently a few times.
''Frankly I do not care what you call me.'' He smirked at her from his perch, setting his head down again on his crossed forepaws. ''So long as it is not late for supper.''
''Oh ha, ha.'' She snarled. Benith the bared teeth and narrowed eyes, she wondered just how many times he'd seen her come, just how many times had he followed her in this underbrush without her knowledge. Did he know?
''Yes, I thought it quite witty myself. Now, may I come down and speak with you like a civilized cat, or are you going to try to eat me again.'' -Speaking of supper...I am actually pretty hungry right now.- His tail waved slowly back and forth in a patiant wave.
''Oh I don't know, I don't think rats taste very good. I prefer mutton.'' She sat down and continued snearing up at the cat who claimed to be her brother. ''But I'll still kill a rat if I catch one. My human rewards me if I do.''
''Alright. But I think you should know, this 'rat' has quite sharp teeth and will not be so easy to kill as you think.'' He could see that she was prepared for him to either land on her, or for him to try and run away. He thought of his last two remaining options carefully. He could either stay up in this tree and wait her out with words, or climb down carefully. The grey male decided the latter route to be the most effective. Adin didn't like to talk down at another cat.
As her brother started making his way down the tree with great care, Emerald let her snearing expression sink into a rather observent scowl. She noted the scars she'd left on his cheek as his rear paws connected with dirt and he turned to face her. Those scars made her feel guilty. She hadn't really ment to hurt him then. The shock had made her lash out. Or that was how she rationalized it.
''Oh come now, are you that unhappy to see me sister?'' He smiled warmly at her despite her agressive behavior.
''Unhappy is the wrong word.'' Her lower lip curled to expose her teeth for a brief moment. ''Try happy.''
''Happy?'' He scoffed a moment. ''You look anything but. You look like someone stole the last bite at a feast and you did not get anything.''
''Wrong kind of happy, rat.'' She sneered again. That mean grin perking up on her features for a moment. ''I get to bring you in, to meet my human, then to be put in the rings and watch you fight.''
''Oh. Well that kind of happy makes me want to go home, instead of with you.'' His smile vanished for a moment. ''Perhaps I could convince you-''
''To go with you? Not likely, rat. Yours would probably just capture me and pump me for all the information they could.''
''I was going to say 'leave me here,' but I guess I might have, given enough time.''
''You can forget about that too. What did you think I was going to do? Waltz up here, bid you good day and be done with it? You're a greater fool than I thought, rat.''
''Don't call me that! That isn't my name anymore.''
''And I am not Riverstone any longer. What name do you go by now, sister?''
''Don't call me that either, fool.'' Her ears laid back tightly, but she answered him anyway. ''Emerald is the name my human has given me. That is the name I go by.''
''The name I use was also given to me by a human.'' He watched as her ears perked with interest at this statement. ''I go by the name Adin. Emerald is a lovely name. It suits you.''
''I don't care what you think of my name.'' She kept her ears back for the most part, but one question came out before she could stop it. ''Why did you abandon your human and go wild?''
''I did not just 'go wild,' I was taken in. My partner was killed by other humans.'' It was Adin's turn to pull his ears back. He hated that memory. ''Like I was going to hang around and be killed in the rings. No thank you.''
''So what? Humans kill each other and cats all the time.''
''That does not make it right.''
''Humans are more powerful than cats. You should submit to them and thrive.''
''Submit and thrive? Is that what you think I should do?''
''That is what I just said, fool. Are you so daft as that?''
''Daft I am not. By Submit, you mean let myself be locked up in a cage, and by thrive, you mean let them slit my throat? I find it very hard for anything to thrive once it has been killed.'' He narrowed his eyes, the joking easygoing cat was almost invisible. ''If humans are so powerful, why then do they need cats to hunt for them? Why do they need you to come and capture me?''
''If I brought you to my master, I'm sure he'd keep you. With a little more training, you could work well for him. He wouldn't kill you.''
''but others would. Your cats would do the same to me, torture me and get as much information from me before they killed me. You would not be able to save me. They would brand you a trator if you even tried to. Or weak. Soft hearted.'' His features drooped. This conversation was going nowhere. ''I do not wish to fight you, Emerald. You are my blood, my kin.''
''And yet, here I sit ready to do just that, fight you and drag your sorry carcass back to the city where you belong.'' -I don't want to hurt you, brother!- a part of her screamed against what she was preparing to do.
''Do you forget we were wilders?''
''That doesn't matter. The humans rule us. You should come back with me. Even if I have to drag you back.'' She stood up, taking a pace towards him.
In responce the male also stood, taking a step back and lowering his head. ''Emerald. I am-'' He stopped, ears pricked, and planted his feet under himself, ready to spring away.
''You're what?'' She let her head raise, agressively padding in a circle around him.
The gladiator knew better than to let her go all the way around behind him, so he turned, continueing to face her. Adin was also careful to not let the tree stay directly behind him. He didn't want her to pin him against it. ''I am leaving here.''
''Do your precious empirelings even know your out here? Do they care? Will they even notice? How long before one of them starts to look for you?'' The brown feline taunted him. ''What'll they do about it if I bring you home? If I killed you here? Would they come and kill me?''
''Emerald.'' He narrowed his eyes. Adin knew he couldn't out fight her, he'd learned that much from their last encounter. If he could manage to out run her, he'd be away before she could scratch him. He knew this land like he knew his own nose. She didn't. She wouldn't dare chase him very far into the territory, would she?
She could tell he was going to run, cornered prey always ran. It made it more fun when they'd look at her in shock as she brought them down. ''I won't let you get away!'' She gave a yowl and leapt at him.
Adin ducked and dashed off into the long grasses grown high with spring weather. She wouldn't be able to chase him for long. Or so he hoped. All he could do was run around until she gave up on chasing him.