She pushed out again with her mind and felt a large presence moving slowly toward her, tracking west as if to cut off any attempt to flee back down the trail. “I don't fear you, ya know.” Belle said.
“Well, you should.” A calm, oily voice spoke in her open mind. Belle saw a tiny movement in the bushes directly to her left and turned just in time to witness a huge Moor cat shimmer into view as he exited the brush. He was large and powerful, like Sebastian, but that is where the similarities ended. Unlike Sebastian's golden glow, this cat's fur was dull, dark brown, like wood smoke. Though powerfully built, he was leaner with dark brown, almost ebony eyes. He had a patchy scar on his left flank where the skin was exposed, the hair would not grow. The monstrous cat circled Belle making a growling sound in his throat also very unlike Sebastian's chirp. Belle could feel Sebastian's growing anxiety and the urgency with which he tore his way up the mountain.
“Oh, he will not make it in time, little cub.” The newcomer showed her his long teeth.
“All right.” Belle said aloud. “So who are you and what do you want?”
“I am Lesca and I want nothing from you, except of course, what I came to take.”
“Well, hello Lesca. What is it you came for?” Belle tried to remain calm.
“Your life, little cub.” Then Lesca projected to Sebastian “You really should not have let her get so far from you. The two of you might have had a chance. On second thought, probably not.” Lesca turned to Belle, his muscles tensed to pounce.Sebastian's voice in her head said, “He hates fire.”
As the big dark cat sprang, Belle dropped and rolled out of his reach, all the while her mind screamed, “Igneoos , igneoos, igneoos!” A burst of flames shot towards the beasts face, singeing his whiskers and eyebrows and causing him to turn away. Belle took the opportunity those few seconds allowed to leap to the lower limb of a big pine and scramble up the tree, clawing her way up as quickly as possible. Lesca let out a deafening roar of anger. Belle did not pause to look back. She just kept climbing, using her acrobatic skills to swing from limb to limb and scurry up higher and higher.
She felt the tree shudder at Lesca's first leap at her. One of his enormous claws cut a slice in her boot just as she lifted her foot. Belle looked down just in time to see Lesca poised for another leap. “Igneoos, igneoos, igneoos!” Belle stretched out her hand toward the lunging animal. Her bewilderment at why he wanted her life gave way to anger. She unleashed a blast of green flames fueled by her rage. This time the sound Lesca made was of pain. He yowled loudly as the hair was burned off the left side of his face. The flesh underneath sizzled. His huge claws were dug into the tree but instinct made him jump down and away from the fire.