Bookworm dashed along the canal edge, hurrying to the bridge at Piermont Landing. She was gulping in the damp air that had been generated by the heatwave the city was suffering through in this high summer time, and by the time she doubled back through the parkland to Lilith’s bench, sweat was beginning to stream down her back and face. Lilith looked up at her pounding footsteps.
“Come quickly,” Bookworm panted. “Prometheus is nearby.”
Lilith blinked, unable for a second to process that. “Wait… what?!”
“Hurry!” Bookworm looked back across the canal and saw a large form making its way south toward Piermont. Lilith saw it, too, and jumped to her feet, grabbing her stick for support. Bookworm lent a hand, too, though she kept her right hand clear for her revolver. Together, they hurried toward the east, Bookworm racking her brains for someplace safe to take the girl. There really was only one choice, she knew, though she hated to involve them more deeply. Crossing the canal, they headed east again, and Bookworm stopped Lilith in front of a large gate.
“Go in the asylum,” she told the girl. “That’s built like a fortress.”
Lilith nodded and hurried inside, slamming the door shut after her. Bookworm stood outside the gate, watching as Prometheus approached, her hand on her revolver.
“The asylum, I see,” Prometheus said with a satisfied growl. “I have to say, when I sent for you, I suspected you’d contact my sister almost instantly. I expected to have to track your messenger though.” He was moving forward with each sentence, and Bookworm finally brought her revolver up. “That’s far enough,” she said.
“Do you intend to shoot an unarmed Moreau?” he mockingly asked.
“One who has as much strength as I saw from your brother, and claws to match? Absolutely.”
“If I wanted to tear the gate from the hinges and smash you with it, I am sure I could give you such a show. Or you could let me talk with my sister. Your choice.”
Bookworm replied firmly, “She does not wish to speak with you.”
“Pity.” Prometheus suddenly raised his voice. “Lilith! If you do not surrender yourself of your own will, what do you think will happen? Will it not be your fault?!”
Bookworm kept her revolver at the ready, waiting for any response. Moments passed, though, and there was no sign of anyone exiting the asylum. “I think that’s your answer there,” she said wryly.
At that moment, behind Prometheus, there came a loud rawr. Bookworm glanced past the bear, and saw Beryl, Dr. Sonnerstein, and Kasa, a hand on her dagger, hurrying toward them. “What is going on here?” Dr. Sonnerstin asked, skidding to a stop.
“It seems we are gathering a noisy crowd,” commented Prometheus.
“And you the noisiest,” Bookworm riposted, guessing that the others had been attracted by Prometheus’s shouting. “Lilith wishes to live her life in peace here. If you had any brotherly concern, you’d let her make her own choice.”
“To say that while defending an Asylum where you detain those that cannot live their lives in peace, nor make their own choices,” he said snidely. “I am sure you can appreciate the irony.”
“Because they are ill, or worse. Lilith is neither.”
“She *is* ill.”
“Not in the same manner,” Dr. Sonnerstein said with a frown. “And she is receiving care.”
“You cannot provide the care I, or the Master, can. But I am done with words.” Prometheus moved forward, and Bookworm readied her revolver. But the bear… simply walked past, saying sarcastically, “Put that down, ‘Captain.’ You are embarrassing yourself.” He continued on east, and soon was out of sight.
((To be continued…))
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