The four dogs and the cat fought their way into the tower. One of the creatures latched on to Picassa’s robes, and she kicked it hard in its misshapen snout. It fell back, and the other dogs closed the doors on it, holding them shut. Zola slapped a button near the doors, and there was a loud clunk.

“The doors are now magnetically sealed. That should keep the remaining infected out.”

Rex put the point of his sword under Zola’s chin. “Give me one reason why I shouldn’t slay you now, cat,” he said, panting.

Zola pushed the sword away, unimpressed. “Because, dog, I am the only one who knows the secrets of this tower.”

“Your tower,” Picassa accused.

“No,” the cat said in his own language, which sounded like net. “While I have claimed this tower as my own, I have only been here for a year or so.”

“But those creatures are yours,” Rex insisted.

“Again, no. They were squatting in this tower when I arrived, and cared little about me. They have since become infected, and I had them locked on the first floor. ...