You yawn and open your eyes, then roll off the ledge you were sleeping on.
"So you're finally awake?" someone says. You blink, rub sleep out of your eyes and finally manage to focus on someone standing in the entrance to the passage. She smiles at you.
"Hi. I'm Shan," she says.
You introduce yourself to her. Shan is quite tall and slender to the point of being skinny.
Having exchanged names, you then look around for the cat that guided you here last night.
Shan follows your gaze.
"Lose something?" she asks you.
"I was just looking for the cat that led me here last night. I couldn't see it too clearly in the dark-I was just wondering what breed it was."
"Oh, you mean Liu? He's our resident Siamese cat. Well, my resident Siamese cat, actually. He's very shy, though, I don't think he'll come out again. You may have noticed a strange kind of disappearing act..."
"That's from his ghost blood. Oh," she says again, catching your look of confusion, "you haven't seen a Spectrum Cat yet, have you? Liu isn't actually a Spectrum; he came from Ella's Cyberpet Page. But since only ghost cats can vanish like that, we think he must have a ghost cat for one of his ancestors. Other than that, he's just a typical Siamese. Come on, I'll show you what we mean by a Spectrum Cat."
You follow her down another passage carved out of the same brown rock as the rest of the cave. For some reason, this cave is perfectly lit in the daytime, with no shadows cast on the ground. Looking down, you see it's covered in soft turf.
"I don't understand the lighting in here, either," she says. "Not that I'm complaining, mind you."
She leads you on and it strikes you that you're going further into the mountain. Finally you both arrive in a large clearing about half the size of a football field, if there is such a thing as a circular football field. The clearing itself is surrounded by the high mountains and contains knee high grass, as well as several large trees that you don't recognise. There is also a lake off to one side.
"All of the cats here in this cavern-with the exception of Liu, if he decides to make another appearance-are from Spectrum Cats," Shan tells you. "I just mention that so I don't have to keep repeating myself the whole time."
You start to make a reply when suddenly you're aware of something happening to your feet. You lift one foot up and see a multicoloured kitten clinging to it.Shan follows your gaze and grins.
"Yeah, she's the bravest of the Spectrums. Her name's Brighteyes and, in case you hadn't already guessed," Shan adds with another grin, "she's a Rainbow cat. I quite like them-they're the most friendly towards people. Somewhere around here there should be two others..." She looks around but fails to pinpoint them and gives up. "Never mind; they'll turn up. I say 'all'-but in fact most of 'em like to leave this place to go hunting, or in two cases, swimming. They can vanish for days at a time, sometimes."
You spend some time playing with Brighteyes before Shan taps you on the shoulder. "I hate to break up this little gathering so soon," she says, "but if you're heading for the Maril Ocean, you really should get going soon."
You agree. You don't know if you are heading for the Maril Ocean-but you do know that you're not too keen on remaining here for the rest of your life.
"Come with me," Shan says, and leads you outside the mountains. She indicates a narrow pass. "This will take you through quickly and easily. It comes out about ten minutes walk from the beach."
You thank Shan for her help and start making your way up the pass.