Tepic was relaxing in the rebuilt Sneaky Vole when Beryl the cat came by. They chatted for a while concerning the vixen and how the soap gathering was going, then Beryl said something a bit odd.
“Tepic. If something happens to you I’ll take care of your vole traps, I want you to know that.”
“That’s good of yer,” the boy replied, wondering what that was about. “though don’t expect things will go that far astry….”
“Tepic I’m telling you this because… I’ve had dreams about…a fox and a wolf.”
” a fox an a wolf yer say? well, dreams is dreams ain’t they…”
” The fox is being killed by the wolf…… I didn’t want to tell you that for a long time.”
” hmmm…… that don’t sound likely, probably one of them metypaws things….” the boy said, then a smile crept across his face, ” but….. if it were true, i don’t need ter worry bout the vixen or the bear, do i?”
“Tepic…..” Beryl said warningly, “She’s behind you.”
The lad turned, and saw several yards away the young vixen looking sullenly at him.
“ello lass….” he began, then continued ” we got that stuff ter yer buddy, yer knows….”
“I know…” she stated, then with reluctance said “thank you….”
” an yer know there’s some stuff in it as makes yer a bit…. suggestible?”
The girl seemed to squirm and made a small sound almost like a stifled whine.
“I know…but it…its not needed anymore. We…” she paused, “Prometheus he…”
“somethin up, lass?” Tepic asked, for some reason feeling concerned “yer know we’s tryin ter help, don’t yer?”
There was a longer pause as the vixen steeled herself to say “Rufus was killed Saturday… One of my brothers….”
“Rufus? i’s sorry ter hear that, lossin yer mates ain’t good….”
“Prometheus says we’ll kill the wolf that did it…” she said with determination, then her voice wavered “But….. He isn’t upset, he says he’s…proud of him and Kuga…”
“Proud?” interjected Beryl.
“no…… i guess he wouldn’t be…… some is like that, full of pride,” the lad said, considering his words carefully, “but yer care fer yer brothers, don’t yer?”
“He says one went to jail to bring our family together, another…Rufus….died! And he didn’t care!” he voice began to rise, almost in hysteria “He hasn’t changed or gotten angry! He’s just going to go through with the asylum attack and hunt the wolf and capture si….”
Her voice tapered away as she realised what she was saying.
“why’s he so hot ter get yer all together, when some of yer don’t want ter be, an others is gettin hurt ter make it come true?” he asked, puzzled as to why the bear was so determined, then, when the lass just remained silent he tried another tack, “hmmmm……. dunno what yer gonna try gainst the Asylum, but that place ain’t somewhere yer gets into easy, an harder ter get out, an i should know….”
“Prometheus already figured that out. That was easy.” she retorted dismissively, as if such a thing may be hard for a small boy, but was easy for his elders, “He’s….”
She tailed off again, realising she was revealing more than she had intended.
Tepic decided he had better give her fair warning, if she was to participate in an attack on the Asylum and said “there’s some as i cares for in there too, an i don’t reckon it would sit well if they gets hurt, same as yer feel fer yer brothers an sisters…”
She thought about that and then nodded slowly, the idea that others might have families and feel about them the same way as she did for her’s beginning to make an impression.
The boy thought about the urchins and some of the troubles they had gone through in the past, then began softly “sometimes family goes their own way, an it’s fair ter get together an talk bout it, try an find a solution…..” he paused, then continued more strongly “but ter force em to come back, well…… that never ends well, an i reckon yer’s seein that now….”
“What else can I do?” the girl almost wailed.
“yer in a hard place, when one of yer family ain’t gonna move…..” Tepic said, thoughtfully, remembering back to the last weeks Gadget had been with the urchins.
“It’s…” the vixen began, then continued in a rush “Prometheus has a plan…he’ll have Lilith within an hour… Kuga by tomorrow.”
“WHAT?!” exclaimed Beryl, startling the girl, who said “I…i already said too much!”, turned and ran off down the street.
“I’ll follow her, Tepic.” Beryl stated, “Tonight..”
The boy gazed after the vanishing vixen and asked “reckon yer can follow her?”
“She’s faster than me, but not by enough.”
Tepic considered this for a moment, then a penny dropped..
“Leon sent a letter…. sayin Lilith needs more of her drugs….”
“an asked fer a pick-up…..” he finished.
The cat stared at him, light dawning, and asked “Is he on his way… Say in one hour?”
“yes, reckon so, though he didn’t say quite when…” the lad confirmed.
“Tepic…. Warn Leon if he does get here!”
The boy reached over a pile of barrels and drew out an ancient Very pistol, loading it with a red striped flare, smiling to himself/
Beryl nodded, then declared “I have to go!” before sprinting after the fox girl, knowing Leon in his airship would be warned off well before he came within reach of danger.