Armed with a description of the killer, the team went out to pull in toms that match the description that had any connections with the crime scenes. Princess went to find Tomtom. He knew who the tom he had seen ripping apart Fluffy was. Princess sincerely hoped she was the last, and final, victim of the Tricolor Killer as the press was calling him.
He first went to where Tomtom had said he was currently nesting. There was no sign of the gray and white tom. Not all that surprised, Princess asked some questions of the various homeless cats in the area, after repeatedly assuring them that he was not interested in their activities, he was after a serial killer. He got a lead and moved on to look in the park, where he found another band of homeless cats. Feline homelessness really was becoming a problem. The humans had a lot to answer for. He finally spotted the tom he was looking for behind the fish and chips shop among a group of hopeful cats looking for a handout from the humans. Like that was going to happen.
Tomtom saw him and took to his heels. Princess raced after him. Tomtom ran down an alleyway only to come to a stop as a human animal control truck stopped at the end of the alley. The dog the human was after was not interested in cats right then, having its own problems, but Tomtom spun and ran away. Princess blocked him and grabbed him.
“Come on,” he said. “You’re under arrest.” Tomtom snarled at him, wordlessly. Princess saw the onlookers fading back. No one would lift a paw to help him with his prisoner. “Get moving.” It was best to try to control the other tom through verbal rather than physical intimidation. It seemed to work, but Princess was uneasily aware that he was there without any backup and wanted to get the nutcase tom safely locked up.
Back at the office, Sassy had brought in a longhaired gray cat with a few white splotches. Mittens had one too; his was a shorthaired tomcat. Even Crusher had brought one in, a mostly white tom with gray splotches.
“Listen up!” Crusher’s yowl got everyone’s attention. “You are all here for a lineup. One of you is a killer. The others will be released on elimination.”
“You could have told me that,” Sassy’s tomcat said in a surprisingly deep voice. “I would have come willingly.” Princess marveled at the depth of his voice. He looked more soprano than bass.
“Me too,” said Mittens’ prisoner. “There was no need to arrest us.” Crusher’s prisoner said nothing at all. He looked so cowed, Princess almost smiled. The poor cat was clearly terrified of the Boss, like everyone else, including the dog at the junkyard where the Boss lived.
“Take them to interrogation one,” Crusher said. “Give them numbers and we’ll have the witness do the identification.”
“Number 3,” Princess said. “I tell you Tomtom’s our killer.”
“Out,” Crusher said.
“Boss?” Princess was startled.
“I don’t want you talking to Doodles,” Crusher said. “She will likely corroborate your ID, but I don’t want anything to jeopardize our chances of conviction.” He supposed that made sense, but Princess hated missing the ID, though. Obediently, he left the observation room and went back to his desk. When Mittens came through with Doodles and Tabitha, Princess smiled, but acted as though he was too busy to speak to them. He wished he could watch them ID Tomtom.
“Thank you for your cooperation,” Crusher said from behind Princess who turned to watch his boss escort three gray and white toms from the office. Princess smiled to see that Tomtom was not one of them. “Princess, help Mittens take the prisoner to the holding cell.”
“Yes boss,” Princess bounded to his feet, eager to pump Mittens for how the ID had gone.
Mittens had Tomtom out in the hallway when Princess joined him.
“Hi guys!” Snowball bounced into the hallway. “Where’s Crusher?”
“The office,” Princess said. “Why?”
“I’ve got more evidence,” she said. Suddenly Tomtom lunged at Snowball. He grabbed her and swung her between himself and the two agents.
“Stay back!” he said. “I don’t want to harm this Pure One.” Pure one? What did that mean? Princess froze in position; beside him, Mittens did the same. Tomtom backed away from them, dragging Snowball with him.
“Princess! Mittens!” Snowball screamed. “Do something!” They could only watch helplessly as Tomtom dragged Snowball down the hall to the street entrance. Princess took a careful step forward.
“Stop right there!” Tomtom snarled. “I will harm the Pure One, if you come closer.” The pure one? What did that mean?
“Tomtom,” Princess said. “You don’t want to do this. If you run now, you will be probably be killed in the street. Is that what you want? Let Snowball go and we’ll talk about this.” Tomtom backed up to the door and got it open. Princess started forward again.
Tomtom suddenly shoved Snowball at Princess and raced out the door. Princess staggered under the sudden weight of Snowball landing against him. Mittens raced past both of them as they struggled to untangle themselves from each other. As soon as he was free, Princess raced out the door in Mitten’s wake. Princess’ heart sank at the sight of Mittens standing on the corner looking around.
“He got away,” Mittens said. “I didn’t see where he went. I can’t believe we let him get away.”
“Boss is going to kill us,” Princess said.
Tomtom huddled in the shadows of a stinking alleyway around the corner from the two agents. Why had the Goddess allowed that? A test was all it had been. He still had work to do. There was still vermin to be eradicated. Why hadn’t they known that? Why did they have the Pure One there? She seemed pleased to be there. He was confused.
You must kill your enemies, the Goddess’ voice sounded in his head. Of course! That’s why the Goddess had placed him there. She had revealed his enemies to him. The Large gray cat with the torn ear was their leader. All he had to do was kill their leader. The rest took their strength from him. If Tomtom could kill their leader, then his power would be Tomtom’s. The Goddess had shown him the way to gain the strength to continue his work.