Tepic grinned, “There ya go Mr Wolf, if Mr Arnold says he woun’t, yer can rely on that!”
The canine growled and Tepic nodded quickly again. “Well yes, he’s a hero, so has ter do what he says, it’s the rules!”
Rasend was silent for a few moments, and then howled as he started to tear at his straight jacket, the seams coming loose as they began to pop from the strain. “Don’t think that’s a very good start, is it Mr Wolf?”
Arnold took Tepic back a bit, and muttered, “Stop telling everyone I’m a hero…”
“Oh… alright, yer incog,,, inter… ummm…. in disguise.” Tepic said, winking. The cat rubbed his head as the boy turned back to Rasend.
“Anyhow Mr Wolf, yer can trust him, I knows that!” A snarl answered him and the fox turned back to the cat. “He says he wants to run free, Mr Arnold….”
He shook his head, “Last time he ran free he scratched at least one person, maybe more.”
The fox turned back, “But Mr Wolf, yer’d chase people an hurt em if yer were free, wouldn’t you? An then they would come after yer with them knives and stuff…” Rasend growled, even angrier than before. “Says he was the one hunted first, can understand that, us foxes are always being hunted fer no reason by daft blokes on horses….”
The cat didn’t like what this conversation was revealing. He could believe it from the notes in his files, but he was also reminded of the sheep in wolfs clothing and several other cautionary tales. The wolf finally managed to rip the last of the stitches loose and was now free of the jackets constraints. Now only the bars kept them from the creatures claws…
“Say…… you come from somewere a long ways off, Mr Wolf?” Tepic nodded as the wolf grunted and then continued, “Did they hunt you there?”
“You are wasting breath,” Canergak stated as he came up the stairs, he was wearing that strange, heavy pack on his back. “Step away from the specimen.”
Arnold knew that he couldn’t justify Tepic’s presence here, so he wasn’t even going to try. They were both ignored as the old mans weapon began to hum as the back of his weaponry began to release steam.
Tepic stared at the man approaching the cell and grew apprehensive. He shouted through the bars, “Go back ter yer room quick or this bloke is gonna be nasty!”
The fox was forced out of the way as Arnold and he watched the man brandish his weapon at the wolf, who snarled at the dwarf. The fox cried out imploringly, “Mr Wolf! Please!”
The old man unleashed a familiar, horrible torrent of blue and orange lightning which pushed the wolf away howling. The smell of burnt fur filled the asylum as the strange energy arced out of the weaponry and pushed the struggling wolf against the far wall.
Tepic and Arnold watched the events in horror, and then the old man opened the gate and entered, firing again on the wolf who was down and writhing in agony. The young fox turned to the cat pleadingly, “Can’t yer stop him, Mr Arnold, tain’t right!”
It was already over by the time Arnold entered the area after the old man. Rasend was down, cringing on the floor. Canergak turned back to Arnold, his face impassive but his voice annoyed as he commanded, “Get him to his room.”
Arnold had transported Rasend, fitting him in new restraints, as carefully as he could under the owners scrutiny. After the old man had left, satisfied, Tepic looked at the cat determined after what he had just seen and learned, “We gotta think of some way ter help Mr Wolf….”
“I am thinking,” Arnold said, and he was. He was thinking about the first time he had met Canergak, and why he had agreed to work for him in the first place. “About some way short of setting him loose and losing my job in the process.”
He had wanted to play a part in keeping people like Henri Metier off the streets of Babbage, but more than anything he had wanted to keep an eye on the old man who had approached Dr. Maddox with this venture in mind. He would no longer be able to do that if Canergak terminated his employment.
But it wasn’t Canergak that he should have been worrying about. It was Dr. Solsen who called Arnold into the office the next morning and told the cat that he was going on an extended leave of absence that would be enforced, and that he would not be allowed to enter the asylum or think about work at all.
“The place is not going to crumble to dust without you,” The kindly man said making it sound like a favor and not a nightmare. “Now go out and relax…before the stress makes you end up in a straight jacket yourself.”