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“Is Miss Hienrichs there?” Even through the heavy door, they all recognized Canergak’s voice. Lisa stiffened, and Tepic slipped his sling into his hand.
“I’m afraid she’d currently engaged right now. If you give me your card, I’ll let her know you called.”
“Very well. Please let her know I wish to speak with her shortly, alone.” They heard the door close, and waited a moment.
“It’s all right,” Bookworm finally said. “Sounds like he’s gone now.”
“He can see through walls, though,” Lisa whispered, “with those strange eyes. I know.”
“He can?” Bookworm said in surprise. She sighed and stared at the door, rubbing her chin, wondering what else Canergak’s eyes allowed him to see.
“Don’t reckon he can, though, not right through,” Tepic said, “cus otherwise he’d’ve seen me when… err…”
Lisa broke in on Tepic’s attempt to backtrack. “Are you going to arrest me?”
“Arrest you?” Bookworm looked back at Lisa, startled.
“For killing Amborse.
“Needed doin’,” Tepic muttered.
Bookworm, still staring, suddenly put two and two together. “Wait–did Beryl tell you I’d do that?” When Lisa nodded, she rubbed her forehead in exasperation. “He really should know me better than that.”
Tepic hastened to reassure Lisa. “If yer confessed, under caution, like, reckon that’s as would happen. But yer ain’t, and yer didn’t, so ain’t nuffin but hearsay, so yer’s safe!” He nodded challengingly at Bookworm.
“Even under oath, Tepic, I won’t arrest her for that.” Bookworm looked directly at Lisa. “You did what you did out of self-defense, and out of a desire to save the lives of others. I have no quarrel with that,” she said firmly. “Dr. Martel’s report at Militia headquarters says he was killed by one of his laboratory subjects. I see no reason to change it.” She smiled crookedly. “In a way, it’s still true.”
Lisa was looking much better now, and Bookworm, too, felt relief at finally having answers to her questions about Dr. Martel’s death. Tepic, though, was evidently still itching for some action. “So when do we break in an’ get Beryl out?”
“No break-ins, Tepic.” Bookworm looked sternly at him. “We’re lucky Lisa’s still free–sort of.”
“Well, she ain’t done nuffin’,” he replied stoutly, ‘cus she ain’t the lass as set fire ter that place–”
“And to prove that, we’d have to tell the world what she truly is,” Bookworm broke in. “Which I rather doubt she wants.” Lisa shook her head vigorously.
Tepic thought that over. “Well, yer could always tell ‘em that in the course of yer extensive investigations, it’s come ter yer notice that Lisa ain’t the Lisa that done the deed, so the case is closed. Ain’t no one gonna ask questions then, an’ yer don’t need ter tell nobody nuffin!”
Bookworm shook her head. “That probably won’t wash, Tepic. She matches the description of Lisa Nyquist, in the death certificate, too well to fool anyone that way. We’ll simply have to leave matters like this for now.” Tepic shook his head, looking unconvinced, but Bookworm turned her attention to the girl. “Lisa, I promise I’ll check in on you often. That’ll be my job as supervisor of your probation.” Looking again at Tepic, she continued, “Tepic, I promise, I’ll also look for Beryl. But unless we have more evidence, we can’t go barging into the asylum.”
“So… no barging?” He smiled a bit gleefully.
“No barging, no sneaking.”
“Err… no sneaking?” His gleefulness diminished.
“No,” Bookworm replied firmly. “Do not set foot in there unless you are invited.”
“Oh… all right, Miss.” Tepic looked down, apparently crestfallen.
Bookworm sighed and stood up. “We’d best get you back, Lisa.”
“Back?!” Tepic’s head shot up, and he stared at them. “Yer goin’ back ter that place? Yer all lost yer marbles?!”
“I…” Lisa paused, looked at Bookworm, and back at Tepic. “I can’t leave Lo and Angel shorthanded.”
“She’ll be under my supervision, Tepic,” Bookworm said. “If she’s mistreated, I’ll know, and I’ll get her out of there.”
“Well… if yer sure, Lisa…” Tepic got up from the floor. “I’s got ter go see Kasa at the Tower, so I’ll walk that way with yer.”
“That’s fine,” Bookworm replied, opening the door for them all. As they stepped outside, Mrs. Sawyer handed her Canergak’s card. Wordlessly, she let the two children out the front door, and led the way back toward the asylum.
((To be continued… still…))