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May 7th – Cat’s Cradle

It was close to four when Strifeclaw first scratched at Bookworms door and announced his prescence in feline. He continued until she finally allowed him into her home.  He let a sigh escape as he entered which caused her to smile wryly, “Do I want to know what occasioned that sigh?”

“No, but I’m going to tell you anyways,”  Beryl let himself grin slightly before he made his way to the couch.  He got on it before Bookworm, covering the fur that Mrs. Pritchard had not managed to remove from his last visit without noticing. 

He quickly told her that Janus had approached Snow and that he had offered to let him join his pack. 

“Oh, dear,” Bookworm said as she sat up straight on her couch, trying to keep her voice in check, whether she was more upset at him or Janus he couldn’t tell.  “Sounds like your assessment was right.”

Beryl stared at her blankly for a few moments before he continued, “He apparently noted that Snow was just part wolf and not actually created by Rasend or his victims.  So for him it was a choice, but he didn’t take no for an answer from the others.”

Bookworm grimaced in understanding; partial understanding.  He didn’t think she truly wanted to hear the full truth, “I felt the same way at first, but then I remembered when they went missing.”

“What do you mean?”  Bookworm asked curiously, but Beryl decided he had better move on quickly, “Professor Rance seems quite ready to take Rasend back into custody if even one body is found.  I would be hard pressed to argue, seeing as I’m considering making my departure permanent after all.”

That was yet another lie, or at least a half-truth, he had told Bookworm since he had begun showing up at her door.  It was a foregone conclusion that he was going to quit all his jobs at the Plank Staff Appreciation party.  He needed there to be witnesses.

Bookworm didn’t approve either as she looked at him shrewdly, “Lisa would probably be unhappy about that.”

“Very.” The cat admitted, but she had been one of the reasons he had delayed the decision. “But I meant as an orderly and not as Dr. Maddox’s personal assistant there.  I will work for her as an unpaid volunteer.  Which would leave me with about the same amount of authority I have now.  None.”

“Ahh,” Bookworm smiled at him, pleased that he wasn’t going to completely abandon his friends and the inmates to Canergak. “Well, you were never happy with that amount of responsibility.  It’s a great deal for anyone to take on.”

“It was what made me so unhappy there, and at the hospital.  I’ll no longer perform nurse duties, and I’m even going to be leaving the Plank,”  He couldn’t help adding musically, “Riiiight after the staff appreciation day.”

Bookworm tried to hide her smile behind her hand, “Yes, definitely wait for that.”

It didn’t do her any good as Beryl laughed and soon she joined him.  When the two had contained themselves the clocks had struck four ‘thirty.  Bookworm looked at her friend and asked him, “What will you be doing?”

“What I should have from the start.”  He explained, “I will be Dr. Maddox’s assistant and watching and protecting her.  I will be a guardian for all whom I feel deserve it.  I can’t do that working all the time.”

“Yes, I can see where that would take up a great deal of time. Especially here.” 

Beryl had to admit he had been surprised by the question.  He wondered how much he had told her already,  “You knew I was searching for my identity after I was shot.  I found it.”

“That’s good! That puts you ahead of a fair number of people.”  Bookworm replied with good humour.  He supposed he hadn’t told her.

“I already knew then my employments would get in the way, I just needed to look at the situation a bit longer to find my solution.” He explained, “And then there was the threats.”

“Threats?”  She asked once again sitting upright, her good cheer gone.

“You know, the ones I received after the urchins gave me a medal?”  Beryl blinked in surprise of his own at her exclamation of surprise, “You didn’t know?” 

Bookworm raised a hand to her mouth and once again tried to hide a small smile, despite the other news, and failed, “I think it’s deserved.”

“I always felt that it would happen, I tried to avoid it, but the day came and the threats were faster than I expected.  Janus probably overheard me talking to Tepic and threatened my life for fun.”  He was certain of it in fact.  “Chess probably won’t actually finish his Beryl Strife Extermination Device if he sees something shiny. Avariel just threatened to pin the medal onto me and drill it there.  But I got a letter that night that didn’t sound as if it was joking.”

Beryl took out the letter from out of his pocket and gave it to her.  She read it with mounting concern and confusion.  When she was done she looked at him, “Do you know who this P.J. is?”

Finally he was able to respond with complete honesty, “No.  I thought perhaps Parx was a first name, or maybe it was professor something.”

“Well, thank you for showing me this. I’ll look into it.”  Bookworm said as she began to take the letter with her, but he reached for the letter, “Make a copy.  I want to keep that one.”

Bookworm nodded and she made her way upstairs to quickly scribble a copy, before she came back downstairs to hand him the note.  Beryl put it back into his pocket, and then looked up at her for a moment, but then changed his mind.

Bookworm looked down at him puzzled and said, “I hope you know I’m always here for you if you need to talk.”

“I would Bookworm,”  He said, thinking about the many levels of deceit he had yet to perform in this murmurs tale. “But some things are best left unsaid.”  He left Bookworm at her doorstep intending to make his way to Lisa to share the same news, and then to Momoe, and others.  His departure was going to be well known ahead of time.

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