That was Lisa’s opening, and she quickly spoke to Beryl. “Has Professor Vartanian talked to you yet?”
“Yes, he did.”
“Did he tell you I followed him?” She was curious to see if the professor had kept his promise to tell no one. Evidently, he had, as Beryl replied, “No, he kept that to himself.”
Lisa explained to Tepic, “Professor Vartanian can walk the Dreamfields. He went there to find Myn and talk to her. I followed him, and… he saw me there, as I used to be.”
“Blimey!” Tepic exclaimed. “How can a bloke like him do that?”
“He’s not exactly what he seems,” Beryl replied. “I think Canergak knows that, too.”
Lisa nodded, and continued, “He injected himself and Myn with… something. He also had this.” She reached into her apron pocket and pulled out the small tab the professor had given her, handing it over to Beryl.
“What is this?” Beryl asked, as Tepic looked on curiously.
“He asked that you put this next to your skin when you go to sleep. I think it helps him find you in the Dreamfields.”
Beryl shoved it in his pocket. “I think that I’ll talk to him before I try that.”
She nodded. “He said you’re welcome to do so.”
“And I guess I have to go in there to even let him reach me, considering…” He trailed off.
Tepic, meanwhile, got a faraway look on his face. “Wonder if I could go? Ain’t never been there before. Is it interestin’?”
“It’s dangerous,” Beryl quickly said. “Well, it is when I’ve gone.”
“It usually isn’t for me.” Lisa looked down at Beryl, watching as he brushed snow off his hat. “But perhaps I go someplace different.”
“There’s lots of places as is dangerous when yer travelin’, if yer not careful,” said Tepic, shrugging.
“I told you both, didn’t I, about how I found my true name?” At their unsure expressions, he told them about that dangerous adventure in his Dreamfields, then continued with his more recent foray, one which had resulted in the explosion of the Power Station in the waking world. Both Lisa and Tepic were suitably impressed. “So when I say that you should beware Myn’s dreams,” he concluded, “well, be very careful.” He peered up at Lisa intently. “What did you find in there, Lisa? Anything like what I said?”
She shook her head. “She was a large black cat, trapped behind bars. But she wasn’t alone. There was a Growler there–one who could change its form. It said that it was born the day the Growlers came to where she lived.”
“Hmph,” interjected Tepic, looking offended. “She called me a growler!”
“She calls everyone Growlers,” Lisa quickly said. “Everyone that isn’t a cat, at least.”
“Even so… ain’t nice ter say.” Tepic looked a little mollified, though.
“Worst of all,” Lisa continued with her account, “this dream-Growler could take on other forms… of those we feared. Even that of Ambrose.” She shuddered at the memory.
Beryl said slowly, looking worried, “Nothing I encountered ever changed its form. But then, no one else ever entered my head during my… issues. Except Beatrixe. Maybe.”
“Professor Vartanian thinks this dream-Growler is the key.”
“I’ll need to talk to him,” Beryl replied a bit grimly, “because that may or may not be the case.”
Lisa nodded. “I think he wants to see what your Dreamfields are like, compared to Myn’s.”
“But which type of dream are we dealing with in Myn?”
“Hers,” Tepic replied quickly. “Means she makes the rules.”
“I’m going to talk to the Professor and tell him what I know,” Beryl stated resolutely. “Helping her for the sake of science and his own learning? We can count on that much, at least.”
Lisa nodded, hearing the answer to her own unasked question in that. “She does seem a little more relaxed with me now. Though whether that would continue when she’s under real distress again, I don’t know.”
“By the way, Tepic, this was your idea,” Beryl added.
“Was it? Cor!”
“During our sparring matches, something you said gave me the idea.” He paused, looking amused before adding. “Of course, it might have seemed like a good idea because I took a blow too many that day.”
“Well, that’s bein’ a fox, yer see. We’s full of good ideas!” Tepic puffed out his chest proudly, and Lisa laughed softly.
“I’ll go see the professor about this now,” Beryl said. “You two… have fun.” He purred a little, and turned toward the asylum. Tepic called, “See ya, Beryl!” and Lisa added, “Good luck!” as he disappeared in the still-blowing snow.
“Now yer can get out an’ about, Lisa, ye’ll have ter come see me tent!”
“Yes, I’d like that!” She’d heard a little about it, but wanted to see it for herself.
“‘Fraid I gotta go do me rounds now, but I’ll show yer soon. Drop by anytime.” He gave her a cheerful wave. “See ya soon, Lisa, an’ don’t work too hard.”
“Bye!” Lisa watched him go, and took her own steps in another direction. She was anxious to catch up on anything new her cats might have to tell her, and just to see how they were faring in this snow. ‘At least I don’t have to shovel the path when I return,’ she thought with a smile.
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