People barely managed to dive out of the way as the asylums prison cart dashed through the streets of Wheatstone pulled by a mechanical horse, steam billowing out of its frame. Barrels were knocked aside spraying their contents about. At every turn the cart threatened to upend as Arnold tried to get the suddenly enlarging wolf back to the asylum quickly.
Even if he hadn’t been in a hurry this would have happened, the steam horse pulling the cart always operated like this, but this was the first time the cat had been even remotely grateful!
The cart skid to a stop moments before the horse crashed into the asylum wall, and the cat went flying out of the coachman’s’ seat and landed against the wall on all fours, and then bounded to the ground below.
His heart was racing as he realized that the horse could have just broken his neck, but he didn’t have time for that. He got back and saw that Rasend was almost twice his original size, and moving again despite repeated attempts to subdue him with wolfsbane by Dr. Cyberfaustus.
Arnold cried out for help which was already on its way, and they bound the wolf with lasso’s and ropes and poles and tried to drag it inside. It was woozy because of the extra injections that Dr. Cyberfaustus had given him, but it was still a struggle as he started to sling the men about howling weakly as they forced it inside and to its cage.
Dr. Cyberfaustus and Lo arrived shortly after Rasend was secured in his cell, though he would be getting a much stronger door in the morning. When Canergak returned Dr. Cyberfaustus began a heated debate with the old dwarf.
When it was all over, and the doctor had gone home and Canergak had gone to his office below Arnold and Lo simply talked for a short time outside of the iron filled asylum, which made them both feel sick after awhile, and the bells every fifteen minutes didn’t help.
“Doctor Cybererfaustus is rather nice really.. isn’t he?” Lo asked finally, though she didn’t sound sure herself to the cat. “Caring for the poor creature’s soul and everything…”
“His blame for who let him go was misplaced.” Arnold said, recalling the Dr.’s accusations that Canergak had wanted Rasend to escape. “That fault was mine, I won’t blame someone else.” After a brief paused he added, “It was his fault for bringing him here at all though.”
“Well…I was there, rather.. it was only an accident!” Red filled her cheeks and she looked at her shoes, “And.. well.. perhaps I oughtn’t have been there.. making the creature want to bite someone.” The dwarf had accused them of that earlier in the argument and it had shocked her as much as when the dwarf had told Dr. Cyberfaustus that a soul was as useless as an appendix. Hanging her head sadly, she concluded, “Perhaps it is my fault then…”
“No, he still would have gotten away.” Arnold assured her. “I wouldn’t have suspected he was playing possum.”
It was true though that his first instinct was to get Lo out of the way, not to catch the beast. However, if he had to make the exact same choice again he still would have saved Lo first and lived with the consequences of his actions. He stood by his decision and choice, but what he felt bad about was that he had not gotten her out of there when he should have.
He would never say something like that to her, but Lo seemed to realize this as she held her hands behind her back and kicked at the ground until she could look at him again. Finally she looked at him solemnly, “Arnold? I think you saved me…when i was being rather stupid.”
“I’m not a hero,” the cat told her and then gestured towards the asylum. “I think this proves that.”
“But.. but a hero would always save his friend! And shoot down a monster.. or put him to sleep anyways…and you did both those things!”
The feline sighed. He had only done either because he had been responsible for it in the first place. He was never going to escape that stigma, no matter how hard he tried.
Oskir had been right.