We had discovered an automaton..of disturbingly similar design to my golem form..collecting fuel on the grounds of the Mason estate. There was no question now that the elder Dr. Mason had the Spark. The questions now pertained to WHAT was still active down there in the underground lair. Darien never mentioned anything like this. I doubt he would have known.
We returned to the site the next day. I was in my full steam armour, and Koen wore claw bracers. We decided we weren't taking any chances. I was ready to descend slowly downwards into the pit when Koen said he smelled something upwind, in the direction of the bay side of the property. Just to be sure there would be no threat waiting for us at the exit, we approached.
We saw several blue floating amorphous blobs floating above the murky water, about the size of human heads. They were darting in and out of the water. One emerged from water with a fish suspended in its translucent body. The fish dissolved in a matter of seconds..the fish skeleton dropping back into the river as the plume of blood turned the blob red. It then floated towards us, then dropped from sight about halfway into a smaller sinkhole.
A moment later another blue blob rose from the same hole. It froze in place..then made a beeline for us. I quickly drew my weapon and fired, ripping it to pieces with steel shot. Then the swarm of shapes over the water raced towards us. I shot down several, but while I was reloading one tried to stretch itself around Koen, but he sliced it in midair, causing it to fall away and dissolve.
I suggested we fall back to the other end of the property, but as I've learned nekos are infamous for following their own directions. He followed the water's edge to the abandoned pier where the infamous boathouse lay, where Koen's mother survived a deadly trip only at the intervention of a young Darien Mason. I defiance of logic, there was a circular patch of thick green grass. In the center was a metal ankh, matching as best as I can tell the dimensions of the one worn by our missing neko.
Koen tread on the grass and wrapped his paw around the talisman as he crouched down.
"This grass has been growing since the Spring." He said. "The soil is still sandy. This is the first time anything's grown here in a while."
He lifted the ankh to his cheek and purred. "This feels like her."