The small man was standing by the far door, obviously furious at finding intruders in his private laboratory. He stepped round the machine in the middle of the room, seeing Tepic for the first time, and Miss Rouse lying bleeding on the floor, the cat having backed off at the yell.
“YOU!” he shouted, “You have any idea what you have done….get Beatrixe…”
Before Canergak could finish Beatrixe twitched as she struggled to breathe, her face and chest bloody and one ear hanging at a peculiar angle. This brought the cats attention back to the ‘growler’ and it attacked the mouse tearing into her right knee.
Tepic reached for one of the stink bombs he has prepared for emergencies and threw it in front of the cat, the thin glass smashing to release the noxious vapours, then held his breath and grabbed for the mouse’s coat. The cat shook it’s head a few times and reared back for a moment, then started to stalk it’s intended victims again. Showing a bravery that seemed out of place to Tepic, the man yelled at the cat, attracting its attention and then instructed the boy to take Miss Rouse through the door behind them, keeping his eyes focused on the feline.
The lad managed to pull his friend through the doorway, pulling the door across and slamming the latch down before turning his attention to staunching her wounds. They were in a room containing more of the solid metal cells Tepic had seen earlier on his tour, but he was too busy trying to help to note if any of them were occupied. From the far side of the door came the sound of some sort of weapon, the snarls of the cat and Cagnark’s voice calling that he was coming.
There was a last yowl and then silence. Finally the door swung open to reveal the man, weapon still in his hands, anger plainly visible on his face.
“You…” he stated coldly, “I should gun you down too.”
The boy looked up, his face as contorted in concern and anger as the mans, and he yelled back “what yer done ter Beryl, yer monster!”
Canergak snarled down at him, and Tepic responded with a snarl of his own, baring his pointed teeth.
“That was not YOUR friend,” the man spat, “That was simply the same species!”
“Then what yer done ter that un as made ‘im so cross?” the lad asked, continuing to bind his friends terrible wounds, “an what yer doin ter that poor creature in there, in all them cogs!”
The man ignored the question, stating “I am going to call on my doctors now. Keep her alive…. If I didn’t need you to do that you would never be seen again.”
He stepped out of the room, only to turn back for a final word of menace, “Keep her alive…. Or you will not survive her.”
The boy looked at the man’s turned back, tears in his eyes as he shouted “what yer think i’s doin!”
Miss Rouse roused slightly and looked up at Tepic, who turned back to his patching work.
“that’s it Miss Rouse, yer just rest there while we fixes yer up….”
She grinned up at him, struggling to speak, “I guess…the crow isn’t coming for me is it?”
He choked back a sob and replied “guess not, not yet anyhow, yer one tough lady!”
“I hear a crow though…” she whispered, and Tepic’s concern grew, desperate to keep his friend this side of the Vale. He looked down at her and tried to be reassuring, “Don’t yer listen ter no daft old birdie Miss, yer just keeps yer eyes on me, right?”
Then the Asylum orderlies arrived with a stretcher, and lifted the injured mouse carefully onto it before dashing back towards the outer rooms, the boy trailing miserably behind.