Nick realises that the intruder has breached his “panic room.” When he goes to check it, a large feline leaps past him for the open door. It has the waterbottle with the remains of the Acantha clutched in its teeth.
Nick shoots. The thing yowls in anger, but keeps heading for the door. Nick fires again and the animal discorporates into a misty form. It drops the waterbottle and keeps running, through the closed front door and outside.
Han, Vincent, and Stephanie all arrive at about this time. Vincent and Stephanie both see the still-misty form of the cat running into the woods and go driving after it. Han sees something else: the silhouette of a tall humanoid form, slipping behind a tree.
Vincent and Stephanie plow their cars into the woods after the cat. Han gets out of his car to pursue his target on foot.
Neither Vincent nor Stephanie are able to keep the cat in their sights for long. Once he loses the cat, Vincent pauses to take a call from Nick, who warns that he’s planted several bear traps around the property.
Stephanie discovers the bear traps the hard way, ending up with a flat tire and a broken axle. Nick phones and warns her to stay where she is until he can come get her.
Han loses his target almost instantly, but rejoins Nick and Vincent without incident. Vincent stays in the front yard to babysit the watterbottle while Nick and Han tow Stephanie back to safety.
The three of them return to see Vincent running back towards the front yard, spear at the ready. He reports that he saw a tall, thin, humanoid figure lurking about the barn.
A visibly upset Nick orders everyone into the house. He tells the group that the creature has been lurking around the farm for years, eating livestock and people.
Nick advises not leaving the farm until morning. He then heads up to the attic to watch for what he calls the Beast. Han follows.
Nick reviews the security camera footage and easily spots the cat entering the house by walking through a closed door. He also spots places where the footage fizzes out, a sure sign that the Beast has been lurking. However, there is no further sign of the Beast and the night passes without incident.
Nick offers Stephanie the use of his truck while he fixes her car. He and Han, both competent mechanics, add a few extra bells and whistles while they’re at it.
After work, Stephanie takes a blood sample of a cat to a researcher friend at the University of Nevada. He confirms that the creature’s DNA matches that of a bobcat, but that the cell structure is “off” somehow.
Vincent chats up his “uncle” Daryl about Red Reef Casino. As far as Daryl knows, there’s nothing really untoward about the prospective casino, but he does have the impression that whoever’s behind the project is trying to be a squeaky wheel.
Trying to identify the mage’s potential next targets, Vincent learns that Las Vegas city councillor Cassandra Lawrence has been outspoken against the potential development, previously voting against a motion to rezone the property of the prospective Red Reef Casino. He also learns that another city councillor, Jackson Grant, has recently re-introduced a bill to re-zone the property.
Nick goes looking for a way to keep magic ghost cats out of his house. He finds a reliable-seeming curio shop, but its artifacts are out of his price range.
The group reconvenes decides to check out the prospective Red Reefs property. The current building is a collection of somewhat run-down, single-story housing units, with central facilities connected to a front office.
Vincent enters the office to check it out before chatting up the residents. As he enters, he sees a well-kept man just leaving the building in an expensive car.
In talking with residents and staff, Vincent learns that the owner of the property, Casey Lanier, has been approached by someone at Red Reef Casinos, but doesn’t seem willing to sell.
New … friends?
The group leaves the property and is having a lively discussion about protecting Lawrence and Lanier when Nick’s burner phone rings. The caller tells Nick that she has some information about the graffiti sigils. They agree to meet in a public place to discuss.
Stephanie posts herself outside the restaurant while Nick, Han and Vincent enter separately. Han and Vincent find themselves a table while Nick goes to meet their informant, an older woman who introduces herself as Alta.
After some dancing around the issue, Alta reveals that she created the graffiti sigils in an effort to track the Acantha, which had tried to eliminate her once before. She had assumed the creature was destroyed until the death of David Walsh proved otherwise.
Alta tells the players that their adversary is Stefan Gowisse, a property manager at MGM Resorts International. Gowisse is seeking to acquire a property which will allow him to funnel more power into his magics.
Vincent casually walks by Nick and Alta on his way to the restroom. Once inside, he finds little of interest in the purse that he just pickpocketed: her driver’s license, which reveals her name to be Alanna Lucente, and a flip-phone with a handful of contacts. Vincent circumspectly returns the purse to her booth on the way back to his table.