Freya woke up on a tiny mattress in a sparse, windowless, bricked room breathing heavily with a throbbing pain in her leg and a cool cloth on her forehead. At first she was confused, she had never seen this room before. It took her a few moments to remember what happened last night: Lilith, Lucas, running, the wolf, the bottles, and finally being taken by…something. The part after she had been bitten was almost incoherent but she remembered being taken by some monster.
She looked around the room, searching for the ‘behemoth’ that had taken her. She had not known what to expect, but she was still very surprised to see a vaguely familiar, small, black cat moreau covered in bandages. Their breathing was labored and also had a cloth on their forehead. Freya did not remember their name but knew they were a friend of Liliths and they worked at the hospital.
The cat seemed to be asleep for now, and Freya could slip away if she wasn’t chained up and could avoid making noise. She wouldn’t risk running on her leg but she could crawl. Freya tried to sit up carefully, reaching for her belt pouch and her morning medication.
It was gone.
She looked down to see that the cat had removed the belt while Freya slept along with her cloak, which she was laying on as a sheet between her and the mattress. Her leg had been expertly treated and bandaged during the night as well. Others might have been horribly maimed for life from a bite like she’d had, Freya might be be running again in a week.
“Good morning,” came the labored reply from the cat in the corner. Their eyes were still closed and they hadn’t moved. Freya looked at them, wondering if she could still slip past the cat before she remembered that she would have to crawl. “My name is Beryl,” the cat shared. Freya said nothing for a long time as she tried to make sense of the situation.
She wasn’t chained up and she wasn’t in the hospital, asylum, and militia headquarters had been destroyed. Why had the cat brought her here instead of any of the places where Freya would have been surrounded by her enemies?
Freya sensed that something was wrong, she stared at the cat suspiciously, “Where have you taken me?”
“After you stabbed me I didn’t have many options,” Beryl replied slowly, quietly, and Freya lowered her ears slightly in remorse. Recalling that she was a prisoner now made her bare her teeth instead after a moment. “The wolf was going to recover soon and I needed a place to hide you until morning. Lilith kept bandages and other things she needed here along with wolfsbane…and disinfectant.”
Smelling the room Freya realized that it was covered in Lilith’s scent. Had this small cramped room been where she had been hiding from Prometheus for over a year? In that case she was well hidden from her brothers now. Had Beryl known she was running away from them and wanted to help her get away?
Thinking of this she started to relax, slightly, and think of a way she could use this information to escape when Beryl began to speak again, “It should be dawn by now. You’re free to go back to your brothers when you can walk.”
“I’m free to go?!” Her previous reassurance disappeared. This had to be a trick. Militia members or children probably lined the walls and roofs waiting to watch where she would go. She may have run away but she wasn’t going to betray her family to them.
Beryl’s eyes were still closed, and they nodded absently, “I’ll just want you to deliver a message for me to Lilith. Tell her that we have not given up on her. You can tell Prometheus that too if you like.”
Freya remained silent. She was a prisoner no matter what the cat claimed. She had been conditioned to distrust strangers, especially Moreau that she had never met. But there was nothing she could gain from silence and there was the possibility of building and exploiting trust if she played the cats game for now.