Bookworm was about to open the front door of her home when Daniel flashed into view at her side. “One of the cabbits is on this street,” he said softly. “The one called Hally. You said you were looking for her?”
“I was–thank you.” She grabbed her revolver and quickly buckled it on, peering out the small window set in the door. When she saw the figure on the other side of the street, she quickly flung open the door and stepped outside. “Hally Xiang,” she called. “I need to speak with you!”
“What?!” The cabbit jumped, startled, and looked around wildly, finally seeing Bookworm. “Who the heck are you?”
Bookworm stepped into the street, approaching cautiously. “I’m Miss Hienrichs.
Hally backed away just as slowly. “And you are what, exactly?”
“Militia captain. I need to ask you about the two recent fires.”
The cabbit’s eyes widened a little. “What would you want to talk about that for?”
“How did those fires start?” Bookworm asked sternly.
“Heck if I know,” Hally exclaimed, shrugging. “The second one just happened! The first was kind of… an accident.”
“I was trying to set my poster on fire, to show how serious this was…” She trailed off.
“And?” prompted Bookworm.
“And then a fire happened,” said Hally impatiently. “What, do you think I wanted to burn the Militia building down?” Bookworm barely caught her follow-up mutter of, “Least, not with Omig in there.”
“What about at Mr. Underwood’s building?”
“Now, there is no way that was my fault,” she emphatically replied. “I just threw a bottle through a window. It’s a *window.* Is that even illegal here?”
“What was in the bottle?” Bookworm was trying to keep her tone patient, but it wasn’t easy.
“I don’t know, actually. I thought it was rum.”
“You… don’t know.” Bookworm sighed and shook her head.
“No. I got it from someone. A bear-looking fellow, actually. Much like that Baird fellow, but not him.”
Bookworm’s interest was piqued at that. “Do you know his name?”
Hally shrugged. “He just said, ‘Call me Prometheus.’ Said he was looking for justice, and told me about the cats and Moreau being experimented on. So naturally, I told everyone else, and we marched.”
“I see…” Bookworm trailed off thoughtfully. Could it be that, in this recent instance, someone had orchestrated the protest, and used the protesters for his own ends? This was something that definitely needed investigation.
Movement caught her eye, and she saw that Hally was backing away a little, looking uncomfortable. “Well then, Hally,” Bookworm said sternly. “No more protests. I mean it, and I’ve told the rest of your friends that, too.”
Hally laughed. “Not going to happen.”
“I mean this, Hally,” she continued, frowning. “You protest again, and you’ll be in jail for incitement to riot.”
“‘You don’t ever truly believe in anything until you’re willing to go to jail over it,’” Hally said proudly. “Prometheus said that, and I have to say it makes a lot of sense to me. If there’s something that is wrong or unjust, you can slap me in irons.”
“I’d very much like to meet this… Prometheus.”
“Well, he shouldn’t be hard to find. He hangs around the Alley Cats pub sometimes.”
“I see.” Bookworm eyed Hally, seeing her own distrust mirrored in the cabbit’s eyes. “You may go, Hally. But remember, no more protests. I don’t want to have to fight yet another fire.”
Hally backed away, her hand drifting toward her own firearm. Then she whirled and ran up the street, and was soon out of view. Bookworm watched her go, wondering where the trail would lead next…