Chapter 3 was ready a little sooner than I thought, so here you go! Things are starting to get interesting.


Munkustrap ran an eye over the junkyard for what felt like the millionth time that afternoon. He and Alonzo had spent all morning investigating the fire and had come to no definite conclusions as to what caused them in the first place. It was very discouraging.

"You know what I think." Alonzo announced, draping himself over the edge of the tire next to Munk. "I think Macavity's behind this."

"You always think it's Macavity." It took all Munk had to keep from rolling his eyes.

"Well, it makes sense. He does like to cause havoc and destruction around the Jellicle Ball. And setting fires on opposite sides of the junkyard to keep us distracted sounds like something he would come up with."

"But why?" Munk asked. "No one's been kidnapped. No one was even seriously injured besides Plato."

"How should I know?" Alonzo shrugged. "How is Plato, by the way? Has he remembered anything yet?"

"No. I was going to check up on him later. Both him and Pouncival."

Both cats fell silent at the thought of what could have been. If they hadn't found Pouncival when they did there was no telling what the kitten would have done in his currently muddled state. Munk allowed himself to settle down next to the black and white cat, intending on taking a moment to collect himself in relative peace and quiet.

"Let's say Macavity is behind this." Alonzo continued, ignoring Munk's groan.

"Lonz, why-"

"No, really, it's the only lead we've got." Alonzo insisted.

"It's a very poor one." Munk sighed. "Fine. What if- and if- Macavity is behind this? We have no motive. No one even saw any of his henchcats, let alone Macavity himself. And you know he loves it when we know he's behind it all."

"Maybe… maybe he wanted us out of the junkyard? Everyone evacuated pretty quickly." Alonzo said.

"But why? What has he to gain?" Munk let a little bit of his frustration bleed into his voice.

"I… I have no idea." Alonzo admitted.

"Usually Macavity's schemes aren't so convoluted." Munk pointed out.

"Maybe he's upped his game?" Alonzo shrugged, rolling over onto his back and staring up at the sky. "Look, I'm trying to figure this out. But beyond knowing that there were two fires started in opposite ends of the junkyard, Plato getting attacked and knocked out but not kidnapped, and Pounce going missing for a brief period of time and developing memory loss, there's nothing out of the ordinary."

"You say that like it's just any other day." Munk said dryly. "I miss the days where we were kids and all we were worried about was finding a date for the ball."

"We can still go back to that. After we figure out who started the fire, attacked Plato, and traumatized Pounce." Alonzo said rather unhelpfully.

"Blaming Macavity might make it easier after all." Munk muttered, standing up and hopping off the tire.

"Where are you going?" Alonzo sounded disappointed.

"I'm going to go find Plato and Pounce. Might as well talk to them and see if they have any answers."

"Alright. You know where to find me." Alonzo gave the cat a lazy wave goodbye.

Munk's wanderings led him over towards Tumblebrutus and Pouncival's den, a small space in a corner of the junkyard that was just big enough for the brothers to sleep in. Traveling this way meant that he wouldn't be able to keep an eye on the majority of the junkyard, but things had been quiet since the fire yesterday. It didn't hurt that Alonzo could keep an eye on things too.

Kitten like shrieks met his ears. Quickly he moved closer, only to pause at a bewildering sight.

Tumblebrutus and Pouncival were wrestling in the dirt. Rather, Tumble was simply sitting there while Pounce was rolling around in the dirt, clutching his sides and shrieking like a banshee. Plato was napping on a handy platform above them, somehow able to tune out the shrieks in his slumber.

"What's going on?" Munk asked. "Is he-"

"He's fine." Tumble said, rolling his eyes. "We were wrestling. Turns out Pounce is now extremely ticklish."

To demonstrate Tumble stretched out a leg and poked Pounce in the side. Immediately Pounce rolled over, laughing his head off.

"Well, that's better than what I thought." Munk sat down next to Tumble, raising an eyebrow at the sight.

"He's never been this ticklish before." Tumble said. "I used to be able to throw him around but now if I so much as touch him he does… well, this. Do you think it's part of the amnesia thing?"

"Honestly, I don't know." Munk admitted.

"At least he remembered who we were this morning. It's a good start." Tumble sighed.

Pounce finally stopped laughing and sat up, brushing dirt out of his face. "Hey, Tumble, what'd you-" As soon as he caught sight of Munkustrap he froze.

"Hi, Pounce." Munk said calmly.

"Hi." Meekly Pounce crawled to sit behind his brother.

"Pounce, do you remember who this is?" Tumble asked patiently.

Pounce shook his head.

"My name is Munkustrap." Munk said, trying not to let his disappointment show.

"You… you brought me here." Pounce said slowly.

"Yes."

"And you said I'd be safe."

"Yes, I did."

"And my brother? He'll be safe too?" Pounce hesitantly asked.

"Of course." Munk said. "Are you worried about him?"

"He gets scared sometimes. He doesn't like to say it but he gets scared when I'm not around." Pounce rubbed up happily against Tumble before slowly approaching Munk. "Do I need to worry about Tumble too?"

"No, you don't need to worry about Tumble." Munk was lost.

Somewhere the conversation had taken a turn and Munk couldn't figure out where it was going. At least Pounce had started to warm up to him. The kitten was now batting at his own tail, slumped up against Munkustrap for balance, completely over the fear that had previously frozen him in place. Along with the amnesia Pouncival had seemed to revert back into a younger, more addled frame of mind. Hopefully with time he'd be back to his usual self.

Plato interrupted Munk's thoughts by coughing loudly, jumping down from his platform before he fell off of it. Both Pounce and Tumble scurried out of his way. Munk helped Plato sit up, rubbing his back as the younger tom tried to hack up a lung.

"Are you alright?" Munk asked once the coughing subsided.

"Yeah. Bad dream." Plato rasped, massaging his throat. "And throat's still- still sore from the smoke."

Pounce bounded up to Plato, rolling over onto his back to stare up at him. "Bad dreams? About what?"

"Nothing important." Plato cleared his throat. "Just me being someone I'm not wandering around places I've never been."

"Huh?" Pounce frowned.

"Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either." Plato shrugged before breaking into another coughing fit.

"Maybe you should get that checked out." Tumble suggested.

"You should. Smoke inhalation is nothing to mess around with. I'll help you back to Jenny's." Munk helped Plato to his feet, tracing a now familiar path back to Jenny's. At least he was getting his exercise. Jennyanydots was, as expected, not entirely thrilled to see Plato back at her den so soon after he had left.

"First Tumble, now you again." Jenny sighed. "I swear the entrance to my den is a revolving door."

"Tumble? What happened to Tumble?" Munk asked as he helped Plato sit down.

"He doesn't want anyone to know but I might as well tell you."Jenny busied herself making some tea for Plato's cough. "The poor dear burned his leg something awful. Wouldn't tell me how it happened though."

"Tumble burned his leg?" Munkustrap asked, confused. "When did this happen?"

"Jerrie and Teazer brought him in about half an hour ago. Poor thing could hardly walk. He's currently sleeping in my bed. I kicked Jerrie and Teazer out even though they were insistent on keeping watch. I can very well keep an eye on my own patients, thank you very much."

"Tumble's here?" Plato asked, giving Munkustrap a worried look.

"That's… that's not possible. Plato and I were just speaking to him not even ten minutes ago on the other side of the junkyard. He's fine." Munk said.

"I assure you that Tumble's been here the whole time." Jenny placed her paws on her hips. "If you are so determined to say otherwise then you can see for yourself."

Munk followed her gaze to the back of her den. Her bed was just around the corner. There was an empty chair where presumably Rumpleteazer had been keeping watch before Jenny kicked her out. Silently Munk approached, leaving Plato with Jenny.

Just a quick look and the confusion would be sorted out. Munk peered into the room. The window above Jenny's bed was open, the late afternoon sun illuminating the pile of blankets. Someone was sleeping with the top blanket thrown over their head.

"Tumble?" Munk asked quietly, hoping he was wrong. He pulled back the blanket.

There was no mistaking the cat in the bed as anyone else. It was Tumblebrutus, curled up in Jenny's bed, deeply asleep. There were fresh bandages on his leg, presumably covering the aforementioned burn. The kitten appeared to have been sleeping for a while. Judging by the tension lining his face and the way he clutched the pillow to himself he was not resting peacefully.

"But… but you can't be here." Munk breathed, dropping the blanket and slowly backing away.

The figure in the bed sleepily sat up, rubbing his eyes. Upon seeing Munkustrap he froze.

"How did you get here?" Munkustrap asked.

Tumble stared back at him, eyes huge, body still as a statue. Munk wasn't even sure if the kitten was breathing.

"Jenny said you burned your leg. How did that happen?"

Tumble's mouth moved but he did not make a sound. Every bit of his body language screamed of fear.

"I'm not upset. I just want to understand what's going on." Munk angled himself between the room and the doorway. It was unnerving how still Tumble was, how only his eyes moved. "Tumble?"

"P…. P….." Tumble's voice was barely a breath.

"What is it?" Munk asked, leaning closer.

"… please." Tumble whispered. "Please don't- don't-"

"Don't what? Tumble, are you alright? Can you explain what happened?"

Tumble shook his head, scooting backwards on the bed to put as much space between himself and Munk as he could. The bandages on his leg were very noticeable in the sunlight.

"Don't follow me." Tumble whispered.

"What do you-" Munk was interrupted by Tumble suddenly darting off the bed and diving out the open window. Quicker than he could blink Tumble was gone.

"Tumble!" There was no way Munk was going to be able to fit out the window to follow him. Quickly Munk ran out through Jenny's den, tearing around the corner in pursuit of the kitten.

Munk made it to the edge of the junkyard before he gave in and slowed to a halt. Tumble had simply vanished. Of course, there were numerous little tunnels and paths that the kitten could have escaped through, but with his injured leg it was unlikely unless Tumble didn't care if he put himself in excruciating pain in order to escape. The thought of Tumble willingly putting himself in pain to get away from him sent a cold shiver down Munk's spine.

"Munk- wait-" Plato gasped behind him, doubling over as he coughed. The young tom had followed him in his pursuit despite his limited ability to breathe efficiently.

"Plato, what are you doing?" Munk helped Plato to sit down so he could catch his breath.

"Following- you." Plato let out another cough but waved Munk away. "I'm fine. Just- just need a second."

"Tumble's gone. He ran off." Munk said, sitting down next to Plato and shaking his head. "He was terrified of me. Told me not to follow him."

"That- that wasn't Tumble." Plato said.

"What?"

"Couldn't've been. We saw him. With Pounce." Plato gestured off towards the junkyard. "There's no- no way he could've gotten burned and then ended up at Jenny's before we got there."

"I know who I saw." Munk frowned. "It couldn't have been anyone else."

"Something's not right. I… I remember what happened earlier. During the fire."

"You do?"

"Most of it. After I got Jemima and Etcetera to safety I ran back towards the fire to see if I could help anyone else. I found… I saw Pounce and Tumble. Tumble had been hurt. He had burned his leg."

"That was yesterday though. We saw Tumble today and his leg was fine."

"I know. It doesn't make sense. And then… and then… there were other cats. With masks. Ones that… I thought they were trying to kidnap Tumble and Pounce." Plato clutched his head again. "But I can't remember that part very well. I must have gotten hit then. But I'm sure that Tumble's leg was burned."

"I believe you." Munk said, putting a comforting paw on Plato's shoulder. "Something isn't adding up. We need to find Tumble."

"Pounce might know where he could've gone." Plato suggested. "Even with the amnesia he seems to at least remember his brother."

"I certainly hope so. Are you alright to walk back?" Munk helped Plato to his feet.

"Yeah. Just a little winded." Plato winced. "And I might have thrown Jenny's tea on the floor when I ran out after you."

"Well, we can deal with that later. Once she settles down a bit." Munk gave Plato a reassuring pat on the shoulder as they headed back the way they came.

It wasn't hard finding Pouncival. He had ventured out into main part of the junkyard, planting himself in the dirt and drawing a portrait with a stick. It was an odd sight, seeing as neither Munk nor Plato thought of Pounce as particularly artistic. As they drew closer they could clearly see that Pounce had drawn Tumble, although this Tumble looked rather sad and nothing like his usual happy self.

"Hey Pounce, have you seen Tumble?" Munk asked, careful not to step on the drawing. It really was rather good.

"Yeah, he's over there. Said he was getting snacks." Pounce said, not looking up from his drawing. He gestured with his tail back towards the path leading to his and Tumble's den.

"Thanks." Munk said as he and Plato started to head down the path.

"Do you want Tumble for something?" Pounce asked, sitting back and looking at his work.

"We just have a quick question for him."

"Can I come?" Pounce finally looked up, ears twitching as he took in their worried expressions. "Is he in trouble? Am I in trouble?"

"No, no, it's nothing like that. You know what, why don't you and Plato hang out here? It'll just be a second." Munk said, looking at Plato meaningfully.

Plato nodded. "Yeah, Pounce, why don't you show me what you're drawing?"

"Oh sure!" Pounce immediately scooted over, gesturing proudly at his work.

"It's very well done." Plato said, gesturing for Munk to leave.

"I think he'll like it. Normally he doesn't like me drawing him 'cause it makes him sad but I like it 'cause it makes me happy." Pounce said, wiggling at the praise. "I just wish he'd smile more. I miss him."

Munk left before he could ponder the odd conversation, nearly running down the path before Tumble could elude him again. In his haste he ran straight into the kitten in question, knocking them both to the ground and sending food everywhere.

"Munk!" Tumble yelled in surprise. "I'm- I'm so sorry!"

Munk grabbed Tumble by the shoulders, holding him still so he could get a good look at the kitten's leg.

"You're… you're not hurt."

"No… I mean, you startled me more than hurt me." Tumble sighed. "Is Pounce okay? I didn't mean to be gone for so long. I thought Pounce would be fine by himself for a minute."

"Tumble, look at me." Munk said, shaking Tumble's shoulders a little.

"What?" There was a shadow of uncertainty in the kitten's eyes, but none of the terror that Munk had seen before.

"It's not possible." Munk muttered, checking Tumble's leg again.

"Munk, are you okay? Am- am I in trouble?"

"I need to take you to Jenny's." Munk took Tumble firmly by the paw and led him away.

"But what about the food-"

"Leave it." There was no way Munk was going to leave this to chance. He marched Tumble back into the main section of the junkyard, passing by Plato and Pounce.

"Tumble?" Plato asked, mouth dropping open. "Tumble, your leg-"

"We're going to Jenny's." Munk told him.

"We're coming too." Plato skirted around the drawing, motioning for Pounce to follow.

Pounce fidgeted with the stick. "Is Tumble in trouble?"

"No, Pounce." Plato said, desperately trying to get the confused kitten to follow him.

"Oh, okay. Am I in trouble?" Pounce asked, trotting along behind the older cat.

"No, you're not." Plato said. "We just need to figure some things out. I think."

"Oh." Pounce bounced around his feet, almost tripping Plato. "You think a lot. And dream a lot. Like someone else I know."

"Uh, thanks, Pounce." Plato stepped over the smaller cat.

The four of them made it to Jenny's den without incident. Jenny had finally managed to get her living room back under control. No longer were temporary beds set up all around the space, instead being replaced by her customary assortment of cozy seats and cushions. The fireplace had been lit, filling the space with a cheery warmth that was oddly contrasted with the anxiety Munk and Plato were experiencing.

Munk none too gently barged into Jenny's den, dragging Tumble in with him. Jenny jumped, whirling around and opening her mouth to give him a piece of her mind.

"Here." Munk interrupted, pulling Tumble forward, ignoring how the kitten squeaked at the sudden movement. "Jenny, look at his leg."

Jenny's mouth fell open in shock. It took her a moment to compose herself. "I… I don't understand. Your leg… it was badly burned."

"No it wasn't!" Tumble cried, trying to pull away from Munk's grasp. "Why does everyone keep saying that?"

"Because it was. I saw it with my own eyes. I treated you myself." Jenny said.

"I- I don't understand. I've been with Plato and Pounce all morning. Tell her." Tumble looked helplessly over at Plato and Pounce, who had slipped into the room behind them.

Plato shook his head. "I know I saw you get burned yesterday. But I also saw you this morning and you were fine. And then… then somehow you ended up here before Munk and I could get here, and you were burned. Again."

"Tumble's not burned, look!" Pounce said, wiggling out of Plato's grasp and hugging Tumble tightly.

"Tumble, I need to know where you were and what you were doing when the fire started." Munk said, finally letting Tumble's arm go.

"Please, somebody tell me what's going on." Tumble pleaded, eyes flicking from Munk, to Jenny, to Plato, and then back to Munk.

"It's possible that the impossible is happening. And I'm trying to get to the bottom of it." Munk sat down, trying to look a little less intimidating.

The kitten was obviously scared, holding on to Pounce as much as Pounce was holding on to him. Jenny corralled them both to an empty cushion in front of the fire. Plato perched on a seat next to them, angling himself so he sat between Tumble and the nearest exit.

"Tumble, please. You're not in trouble. But you need to tell us where you were yesterday before the fire." Munk asked again.

"Well… I was with Plato and Pounce. And Jemima and Etcetera. We were learning how to do dance lifts for the Jellicle Ball. Uh, the ball is still happening, right?" Tumble nervously pawed at Pounce's ears.

"Please, just try to focus." Munk said. He didn't have the capacity to even think about the ball right now.

"Okay. Uh, then Pounce and Cettie got into a fight. Kinda. So I left to get some food. And then I saw the smoke." Tumble bit his lip. "Jelly and Asparagus took me out of the junkyard. I didn't get hurt. I didn't even go back until after the fire was put out. Then you saw me, Munk, when I asked you if you knew where Pounce was."

Munk sighed. He had no doubt that if he asked Jelly and Asparagus for their input they would confirm that they had taken Tumble out of the junkyard. And he would definitely had noticed if Tumble had been burned at that point.

"If you were with Jelly and Asparagus, then who did I see get burned?" Plato wondered out loud. "Pounce was with a cat that looked exactly like you, and that's who I saw got burned yesterday."

"Pounce?" Munk asked as everyone's attention turned to the kitten.

Pounce stared back at them with wide eyes. He tilted his head to the side, mirroring there perplexed gazes with one of his own.

"Pounce, do you remember what happened yesterday after you saw the smoke?" Munk wasn't counting on receiving a straight answer but he still hoped the kitten could remember something.

"Before… I was talking with… with my brother. Then I was waiting." Pounce said slowly. "I was waiting for him to come back, but then I saw the smoke. I- I ran. I got scared. He said I had no choice. I had to stay. But I got scared. I- I- I left him behind!"

To everyone's shock Pounce burst into tears, curling up on the cushion and wailing like the end of the world was upon him. Tumble tried to comfort him but Pounce was having none of it. The kitten shuffled away, hiding his face in the corner of the room with his tail drawn up around his feet.

"Pounce, dear, you didn't do anything wrong. A fire is a scary time for any cat, kitten or adult. Anyone would have run away." Jenny soothed, kneeling down next to him. "And Tumble's fine, he's right here."

"Yeah, Pounce, I'm fine." Tumble gave Munk a troubled look. "I'm not burned, I'm not lost, I'm not left behind. I don't know who Plato saw you with but it wasn't me."

Pouncival shook his head, still not looking at the rest of the room.

Plato, who had remained silent up until now, cleared his throat. "Is it… is it possible for a cat to be disguised as Tumble?"

"You think there's some sort of impostor on the loose? But who'd want to impersonate Tumble of all cats? Sorry, dear. I didn't mean it like that." Jenny said, shooting an apologetic look at the offended kitten.

"It would certainly explain why there appeared to be two Tumbles in different places at the same time." Munk said, trying to keep the uncertainty from his voice. He didn't want to admit it just yet but it did readily explain why Tumble could simultaneously be burned and not burned.

"I don't like this." Tumble said, ears flat against his head. "I don't like this at all."

"You're safe here." Jenny reassured him. She had managed to coax Pouncival into her lap and was gently rocking him back and forth, his face hidden in her shoulder.

Tumble looked like he wanted to crawl up in her lap with Pounce but thought better of it. "So… what can we do?"

"We have to find this impostor." Munk stated the fact as if it were the simplest thing in the world to do.

"Where do we even start?" Plato asked.

"Jenny, you said that Jerrie and Teazer brought the burned Tumble here?" Munk asked.

"Yes." Jenny said.

"Then it would be best to start with them." Munk stood.

"Well, if Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer brought an impostor into my home then I certainly want to know where they found him." Jenny huffed.

Pounce shuddered, still hiding his face in Jenny's shoulder. It was very clear that the turn the conversation had taken was greatly distressing him. Munk could only imagine what kind of state the poor kitten's muddled mind was in after hearing that there was a fake version of his brother running around.

"Tumble, it's best if you stay here with Jenny and Pounce." Munk said, tone heavily implying that this wasn't a suggestion. "I believe you, but I'd be more comfortable if I knew where you were until we can catch whoever's behind this."

Tumble sadly nodded. "Okay."

"Plato, you can come with me if you feel up to it." Munk nodded to Plato as he headed outside. The younger cat quickly followed him before Jenny could say otherwise.

"Are there any other times you can remember Tumble acting strange?" Munk asked as soon as they were out of earshot.

Plato thought for a long while, idly scratching at the bandages on his head. "Yes. There was one other time. I was showing Tumble and the others how to do lifts right before the fire started. Tumble- the real one- left. But… as soon as he was gone I saw what I thought was Tumble hiding behind a pile of junk talking to someone."

"Who was he talking to?"

"I don't know, I couldn't see them. But Tumble- or this impostor- sounded upset. Said he was running out of time. He wanted to try something out and then leave if it didn't work. Then he left." Plato's eyes widened. "And then the fire started. And then Tumble suddenly appeared, taking Pounce with him. Do you- do you think the impostor was trying to kidnap him?"

"We can't be certain, but it's likely that was the case." Munk frowned. "Let's keep that idea to ourselves until we can be sure. I don't want Pounce to think that someone's out to kidnap him. He's scared enough as it is."

"I understand." Plato nodded.

"Let's find Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer. Sounds like they've had more contact with this impostor than anyone else."

It was easier said than done. The notorious couple of cats always seemed to know when Munkustrap was looking for them and were conveniently never around when he needed them. Of course, normally that was because they had done something and he was looking to punish them, but that was beside the point.

Their search took the rest of the afternoon, leading both Plato and Munkustrap outside of the junkyard. Munk was tempted to send Plato back and continue on by himself, but with the idea of multiple Tumble's running around he thought it would be best to travel in pairs. At least until they could be sure that the impostor was only masquerading as Tumble and no one else.

The thought of multiple Mungojerries and Rumpleteazers running around made Munkustrap shudder. Hopefully they would only find one copy of the duo. He still couldn't puzzle out why the impostor had chosen Tumblebrutus as his target. It had to have been something to do with Pouncival, since Tumble was the closest cat to him. But why go after Pouncival at all?

"Hold on." Plato's voice broke Munk out of his disturbing train of thought. "This is where Jerrie and I were hiding out from the rain a couple days ago. The day before the fire."

"This seems to be an odd place to hide." Munk commented, looking around the dingy alley.

"Well, the rain caught us off guard." Plato muttered. "Should have listened to Asparagus after all. But that's not the point."

"This is as good a place as any to search." Munk said.

Their investigating led them out to the street, where they quickly spotted a familiar pair of cats lounging on top of a tall brick wall.

"Hey, what are the two of you doin' out here?" Mungojerrie asked, looking down at Munkustrap and Plato in surprise.

"It's a long way from the 'yard." Rumpleteazer added.

"We were looking for you." Munk helped Plato up the wall before making the climb himself.

"Oh, really?" Jerrie and Teazer looked at each other, identical guilty expressions exchanged between them.

"It has nothing to do with whatever heist you may or may not be planning for the near future." Munk said quickly. "It's about Tumblebrutus."

Their simultaneous relief turned into worry.

"What about him?" Teazer asked. "Is he… is he alright?"

"We know you found him with his leg burned and brought him to Jenny." Plato said.

"Oh. That was supposed to be a secret." Jerrie sighed. "Poor guy was really embarrassed. Didn't want anyone to know."

"Where did you find him?" Munk asked.

"Here. Up against this wall. He seems to like hangin' out here." Jerrie motioned to the wall they were all sitting on.

"Has he been here before?"

"Yeah. I found him sittin' here day before yesterday. Out in the rain. He seemed… off." Jerrie said.

"In what way?"

"I dunno, for starters he didn't want me hangin' around. Seemed upset about somethin' but wouldn't tell me why." Jerrie scratched the side of his head, staring down at the brick beneath them. "Said whatever was botherin' him concerned only him and Pounce. I thought they had got into a tiff or somethin'."

"He said that he was concerned about Pouncival?" Munk clarified. "Or that whatever was making him upset was because of Pouncival?"

"Seemed to me that he was upset because of somethin' that he and Pounce were doin'. Or that something was gonna happen." Jerrie fidgeted under Munk's intense stare. "What's goin' on?"

"I just need to be sure of one thing before I explain. Was this Tumble that you were talking to the same Tumble that got burned? Did he act and speak the same way?" Munk asked. "You need to be certain on this."

"Well, yeah, I'd say it was the same Tumble. I mean, both times he was rather gloomy and upset. 'Course, with his leg burned when I found him here the second time I can't blame him for bein' in a bad mood." Jerrie said.

"Munk, why are you askin' all these weird questions?" Teazer interjected. "Did something happen to Tumble?"

Munk sat back, turning his gaze up to the sky. Plato nervously pawed at the brick.

"I need you two to keep this a secret for now." Munkustrap said slowly, fixing both Jerrie and Teazer with a serious stare. "This is very important."

"Sure, Munk. We can keep a secret." Teazer said, huddling up against Jerrie.

"I'm serious."

"Yeah, Munk, we get it. Now will you tell us what's going on?" Jerrie put an arm around Teazer to steady them both.

"It is becoming steadily apparent that there is a cat running around disguising himself as Tumblebrutus. And I believe that the Tumble you two saw here and took to Jenny's, the one with the burned leg, is actually the impostor."

"No. That's not possible." Jerrie said, ears pinned back against his head in alarm. "Tumble sounded and looked just like himself. Sure, he was a little out of sorts, but-"

"It's true." Plato spoke up. "Tumble- the real one- isn't burned. Munk and I have seen that for ourselves."

"But we saw Tumble's leg all burnt up!" Teazer exclaimed. "And we carried him back to Jenny's ourselves. He was in real bad shape."

"Yeah. You… you can't be serious. An impostor?" Jerrie shook his head.

"It would explain why the Tumble you were talking to was acting out of character." Munk pointed out. "Because it wasn't actually him."

"Ooo, that's gonna give me nightmares tonight." Jerrie muttered.

"But if the impostor's still hurt, then he should still be sleepin' at Jenny's." Teazer's eyes widened. "She kicked us out. She's all alone with that-"

"No, Jenny's fine." Munk quickly interjected. "The impostor ran off after he saw me. I went to check on who I thought was Tumble when Jenny told me he had gotten hurt."

"Which Munk and I knew wasn't possible because we had just seen Tumble ten minutes before without a scratch on him." Plato added.

"All this talk of impostors is putting me right off." Teazer complained. "What do we do now?"

"We need to find him and figure out why he's doing this. Both Tumble and Pounce could be in danger." Munk said.

"Well, we can certainly help you look. This whoever he is has at least shown up here twice." Jerrie said.

"Your help would be appreciated. But we have to be cautious." Munk warned. "I didn't outright say to the impostor that I knew he was a fake. There's still a chance that he might think that we don't know that he's not actually Tumble."

"Small chance." Teazer muttered.

"Still, it would be best if you two didn't let on that you know the truth. Since you've helped him he might be more trusting of you both." Munk said.

"Don't you worry, we'll keep this a secret." Jerrie shuddered. "But I dunno what I'll do if he shows up again."

"Act natural. Try to bring him back to the junkyard. Or one of you come find me or Alonzo and let us know." Munk was aware of Plato staring at him out of the corner of his eye. "Plato, I need you to stay with the real Tumble and keep an eye on him."

"Sure, Munk." Plato said, looking a little put out.

"Lonz in on this too?" Teazer asked.

"He will be. I'm heading back to update him on everything." Munk sighed. "So far only the four of us, Jenny, Tumble- the real Tumble- and Pouncival know that there's an impostor. And I want to keep it that way for now. If word spreads then we might lose this chance to catch him."

"Understood. We'll hang around here and see if he shows up again." Jerrie saluted.

As soon as it started getting dark Munk and Plato headed back to the junkyard, Munkustrap heading for Alonzo and Plato heading for Jenny's den. Neither discussed their conversation with Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, both too mentally exhausted to delve into any further mysteries until they could get some rest.

Plato staggered into Jenny's den just after the sun fully set. Pouncival and Tumblebrutus were curled up together in front of the fire, Jenny watching over them while doing some knitting. As soon as she saw him she guided him over to sit in front of her

"Let me check your head and see if these can come off." Jenny said, removing the bandages around his head. "Did you find Jerrie and Teazer?"

"Yes." Plato said, shutting his eyes. "They definitely talked to the impostor. Munk's having them start the search tomorrow."

"Hopefully they can find him." Jenny made a small noise of satisfaction and smoothed down the fur on Plato's head. "Looks good up here. The bandages around your chest I'll take a look at tomorrow."

"Thanks, Jenny." Plato slumped over to the nearest cushion, not even bothering to open his eyes.

Jenny sighed. "This has gone above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined. You poor kittens. Yes, I'm including you too."

"I'll always be a kitten to you, Jenny." Plato muttered as he sank further into the cushion. He didn't catch her response, already well on his way to falling asleep.


Stay tuned for chapter 4!