Of this Pout did not understand too much, but his eyes glittered. "Where are your guns and everything?" he rasped. "Nearby. But since we shall need to address one another, how are you named?" "Named?" Pout blinked. His view of himself scarcely included a name. But he remembered what he had been called. "Pout," he mumbled. "I, Hako Ikematsu, you may address as kosho. This, my nephew, is Sinbiane." The kosho beckoned, and stepped through a second door on the other side of the room, followed by his boy companion. Pout also followed. Down a corridor was a vestibule; beyond that, a main entrance; then a path leading to a small lodge. Pout was exhilarated when he saw the number and variety of the kosho's weapons. He watched greedily while the warrior hung them about himself, fastening them to his harness without ever asking for the assistance of the boy. Then the warrior looked questioningly at him. He scanned the savannah again. The sun would soon be down, but the ferocity of his feeling would brook no delay. No sense spending one more minute in this place, his prison. The world lay open before him! Wait! What of the man who had set him free? He might still be in the museum somewhere. Perhaps Pout should ... "Do we leave?" asked the kosho. "Yes. Yes!" "Then you must walk ahead. We will follow at a distance." This condition disconcerted Pout. On his part it would be the clumsy precursor of treachery ... but limited though his ideas of the world were, he did know that koshos were honourable. The party set off across the grassland, lit by the red of the dying sun.
The cat woman positively purred with pleasure. Archier rolled off the low couch where they had disported, and stretched luxuriously. A warm breeze rippled across his body. He strolled down the mossy bank and stepped into the chuckling stream at the bottom, bending to splash cool water on his skin. A rainbow fish darted between his legs, evading his half-hearted attempt to catch it. "The cat girl leaped in beside him. Her sense of enjoyment, he had noticed, was more deep-seated than his own. With a low laugh she flung herself full-length in the water and rolled about until even her shiny black hair was wet. Then she climbed out and lay on the moss to dry, limbs asplay. He remembered the responsive litheness of her musculature, the way she had clawed at him during their lovemaking. Her eyes were golden and caught the light brilliantly. When the pupils contracted it was to slits rather than points. "You know," he said, stepping from the brook to stand over her, "it's hard to believe you're no more than ten per cent cat." Again she gave her mocking, deep-throated laugh. "Actually, I'm closer to twenty percent." "Really?" Archier was perplexed. "But you're a first-class citizen, aren't you?" The girl seemed amused. "You think every first-class citizen walking around is a ninety percenter? It's mostly animals and chimeras that run the tests, and they bend the rules. My examiner must have been forty percent ape but he was planning to rig first class for himself." Bemused, Archier shook his head. "Did he make it?" "I don't know. But it's easy to get round the genetic laws these days. Nobody cares." "What you mean is the administration is sloppy to the point of farce," Archier murmured. Lazily, she blinked, and Archier noticed a