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“Ahh. Mr. Canergak.” Bookworm’s voice was less than enthusiastic as she came downstairs, having received word from Mrs. Pritchard that the asylum administrator had come. She couldn’t help but sigh. “Has something else happened?”
“I wanted to speak with you about… the fox child.”
“What about Tepic?” she asked warily.
“Calm yourself. If he has done something since his last attempt, I know nothing of it.” Bookworm nodded, but didn’t really relax. “I am here because I believe he will try to get inside again,” Canergak continued, “and I am growing weary of the attempts. The next time he does, I shall use my right to shoot trespassers.”
Bookworm frowned. “You may have that right, but shooting Tepic would not endear you to many of the citizens of this city.”
“Then we must prevent him from coming below.”
“I have spoken to him, and I believe it made an impression.” She wished she could say more, but Tepic was his own man… or boy… or fox.
“I believe that I have another idea, one that would leave him too busy to break into my facility.”
Bookworm raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”
“Would you say that creature actually cares about my employee, Beatrixe Rouse?”
Canergak shook his head. “I say that creatures such as I despise care about no one, and only pretend to show it as a means of lulling one into a false sense of security. If your Tepic is not one of those creatures, then let him prove it.”
“I am going to give the boy the bill for Beatrixe Rouse’s medical treatments. You want to see if he truly cares? I say he will not work or lift a finger or try to pay it off. But if he does, he will be too busy to break into anywhere.”
Bookworm thought that over a moment. “That would be a great deal for one boy to try to pay off,” she finally said.
“You are assuming he would even try,” Canergak replied with some scorn.
“I’m sure he would try, but it doesn’t seem fair to saddle him with something he has no chance of paying off completely. Can we not find some… middle ground?”
“Miss Hienrichs, if that boy can convince me that he is actually trying and actually cares, I may pay the rest of the debt off myself.”
Bookworm nodded, knowing that that was as close to fair as she was likely to get from him. “Who shall propose this to him?”
“Both of us together.”
“All right. I will get in touch with him.”
Do not tell him the extra terms,” Canergak warned. “We should want him to believe that he will have to pay it or Beatrixe will not receive care.” Bookworm nodded, and opened the door for him as he moved toward it. He paused in the entryway. “This is to prove a point to you… or perhaps to me. We shall see. Good evening.” With that, he walked down the darkening street toward the asylum.
“We shall see, indeed,” Bookworm mused. She, at least, had no doubt about Tepic’s loyalty to his friends, and knew there was very little he wouldn’t do for them. This would likely be hard on him in the short term, but the results might well be worth it.
I often end up paying the urchins medical bills through the AP&E companies philanthropic medical fund. But as I do not know anything about this we can let young Tepic do his thing…
I guess it is worth knowing that if young Tepic did come to harm in that place and I came to know of it I would very likely follow Professor Parx lead, he is not the only citizen who knows how to build a death ray capable of destroying a building, no matter how well armoured it is, after all I do have an entire power station to provide power for such a device…
But of course I know nothing about all of this…