Home >  Fiction >  Parvenu >  Book 4.2: Nevermore >  Chapter 30

Home >  Fiction >  Myself... In Shattered Reflection >  Book 3.2: Nevermore >  Chapter 41


Parvenu

Book 4: Nevermore

By MultiMapper
Copyright ©2002-2018 MultiMapper.
All Rights Reserved.
For full disclaimer and Copyright information visit Copyright/Disclaimer Page. Continuation of viewing this document is deemed acceptance of all terms on the preceding link. While these stories are provided for free, I would appreciate it if those who were able would consider contributing to this artist via my Patreon.


Chapter 30

"It seems that we've arrived back ahead of Andrea. Would you mind terribly if I left the two of you on your own for a few minutes while I check on a few things?" Queen Marimba asked pleasantly.

"Please go!" Agent Roberts said immediately, then backtracked and said more slowly, "I mean, please take all the time you need. I think that Otis and I could do with a few minutes of peace and quiet after all the excitement of the day so far."

"Very well then. I shall return shortly." Queen Marimba said, then turned with a dramatic flair befitting the monarch that she claimed to be.

* * * * *

Once both men were certain that they were alone, Otis quietly confided, "That woman is stark raving mad."

"I've seen things that were beyond imagining since I arrived in Waxell, but nothing has disturbed me quite as deeply as the sight of those 'babies' of hers." Agent Roberts said anxiously, obviously troubled by the encounter.

"I can't believe that you actually picked one of them up." Otis quietly admitted.

"I didn't want to offend Queen Marimba by refusing. But I just don't understand how a simple little baby doll could be so horrifying." Agent Roberts said as he looked away.

"At least Giuseppe doesn't have visible teeth. I was afraid that if I looked away for an instant, Toaster Oven was going to go right for my throat." Otis reluctantly admitted, hoping to make Agent Roberts feel a little bit better about the encounter.

"As disturbing as those dolls might have been, the only time I felt that we might be in danger is when we were taking the tour and walking along the edge of the chasm. Even though she's older than both of us put together and couldn't weigh much more than a hundred pounds, I was half convinced that Queen Marimba was going to go psycho on us at any moment and toss both of us into that bottomless ravine." Agent Roberts quietly explained.

"Actually, right at that moment I was remembering Andrea asking you if you could fly." Otis said frankly.

"Oh yeah. I hadn't even thought about that." Agent Roberts quietly admitted.

"To me it looked like a plan was coming together." Otis said as he met Agent Roberts' gaze.

"When I promised that you wouldn't be hurt here, I had no idea about any of this." Agent Roberts explained.

"I know. It's okay. And if nothing else, this at least helps to explain why they can't be around normal people." Otis said and finished with a somewhat forced smile.

"I'm not sure if this has anything to do with that, but I agree that Queen Marimba probably wouldn't do well in the outside world." Agent Roberts conceded.

"So, what do we need to do next?" Otis finally asked, more than ready to move the conversation in another direction.

"There's not much we can do until the team gets here." Agent Roberts said frankly.

"Wait... Was that there before?" Otis asked suddenly.

Agent Roberts followed Otis' worried gaze to where Toaster Oven was propped up on the couch... looking back at them with a menacing snaggletoothed grin.

"No. I'm sure it wasn't." Agent Roberts said quietly.

"Andrea and your friends should be arriving any moment now. We can go and meet them in the garden if you would like. It's a bit stuffy in here." Queen Marimba said as she glided into the room with the train of her gown slightly billowing in her wake.

"Um, yeah... yes. That sounds good." Agent Roberts said as he fought to focus his attention on her.

"If we're going out, we should take the babies with us. I'm sure that they could do with some fresh air." Queen Marimba announced decisively.

Agent Roberts did his best to maintain a neutral expression. Then in a tightly controlled voice he began to say, "Of course, we would be happy..."

His words trailed off when he noticed that the ratty little doll, Toaster Oven, was nowhere to be seen.

* * * * *

After a quick stop by the nursery to collect the baby dolls, Agent Roberts, Otis and Queen Marimba walked out the patio door.

Although Agent Roberts was disgusted by the filthy little doll that he had been given to carry, he was relieved that he had ended up with Leonid instead of Toaster Oven.

"If we had more time I would take you into Brynnhaven proper so that you could explore, but you have other things that you need to be doing at the moment." Queen Marimba said as they walked along at a casual pace.

"Maybe we can come back and visit when we aren't so pressed for time." Agent Roberts said obligatorially, not intending for it ever to be so.

"Yes. Of course." Queen Marimba said delightedly, then added, "Be sure to bring Michelle with you when she comes to visit. I'm so looking forward to meeting her."

"How do you know about Michelle?" Agent Roberts immediately asked.

"And how did you know about the picnic lunches?" Otis interjected.

"Pssh. That would be telling." Queen Marimba said as she waved it away dismissively.

"Excuse me, but I'm not going to let this go. Tell me what you know about my sister and how you know it." Agent Roberts demanded.

"I know what I know. Who's to say how or why it happens." Queen Marimba said simply, then continued more quietly, "You might want to watch your temper Agent Roberts. It could cause bad things to happen."

"Are you threatening me?" Agent Roberts asked as he glanced around the open garden area for any sign of a threat.

"Me? Goodness no." Queen Marimba chuckled at the very suggestion, then said more darkly, "But I'm hardly the most dangerous person here right now."

As she said the words, she conspicuously began to rock and soothe Toaster Oven in her arms.

Agent Roberts couldn't be sure if it were his imagination or not, but regardless, he reacted to the sensation of the swaddled doll that he was holding, shifting in his arms.

As he reflexively looked down, he saw the baby doll's cold lifeless glass eyes peering up at him.

Agent Roberts couldn't be sure if his heart skipped a beat or not as he fought between his instinct to soothe the pseudo-child in his arms or throw the hideous thing to the ground with all his might, then stomp on it.

In the end, his better angels prevailed. Although he didn't croon or talk in baby talk to it, he did rock the child-sized effigy in his arms as though it were something precious.

"There they are now." Queen Marimba said delightedly.

Agent Roberts felt a wave of relief wash over him at the sight of Miss Oaken, Corabeth and G approaching with Andrea, Cain and Deimos.

"Hi guys! I didn't expect for you to be out here waiting for us." Andrea said cheerfully.

"Queen Marimba somehow knew that you were about to arrive." Agent Roberts said with a dubious look askance at her.

"Spooky, huh?" Andrea said, barely restraining a chuckle, then continued by asking, "Are you ready to go?"

"Yes!" Agent Roberts answered immediately.

Rather than answer verbally, Otis walked up to Andrea and unceremoniously handed his baby doll, Giuseppe, to her.

"Where are we going?" Miss Oaken asked curiously.

Agent Roberts followed Otis' example and handed Leonid to Deimos as he responded, "We've located the Vinculum chamber. Right now we're gathering all the magic practitioners there so that we can plan what to do next."

"So everyone's coming here, to Brynnhollow?" Corabeth asked uncertainly.

"Not exactly. I'll explain it to you along the way. We need to be going." Agent Roberts said quickly.

"Who's this?" G asked cautiously as he looked at the stranger amongst them.

"Otis. He's from Waxell. Let's go." Agent Roberts said urgently.

"Yes. It's best If you go now and attend to your important business." Queen Marimba said warmly, then turned her ceramic face toward Agent Roberts and continued, "But don't forget to bring Michelle out here to meet us. Her eventual happiness may depend on it."

Certain that anything he might say would make matters worse, Agent Roberts turned and started walking away. Whether the others followed or not was up to them, but he had determined that he had exceeded the limit of his patience.

* * * * *

"Agent Roberts?" Otis asked as he hurried to catch up to him.

"You can call me Shawn if you like."

"Are you alright?"

"When she involved my sister she crossed the line. If I had stayed one more minute, I might have said or done something that I'd regret."

They walked through ornamental gardens for a few minutes before Corabeth cautiously asked, "Were you going to tell us about where we're going?"

Agent Roberts looked back and saw the others silently following him and trusting in whatever he decided to tell them.

The revelation was enough to snap him out of his dark combative mood and set him back on task.

He slowed his pace as he said, "The vinculum chamber connects the barriers to each other. At the same time, it also allows the barriers to share resources. The ceremony to release those shared resources is going to be conducted at the vinculum chamber. It stands to reason that the spells to remake all three barriers will probably have to be done in close proximity to the vinculum chamber to coordinate the timing."

"Have you talked to Professor Everstone about this?" Miss Oaken asked cautiously.

"That's what we're going to do now. While Otis and I have been going to get you, Agent Fastbeck has been getting Professor Everstone's team to bring them to the meeting."

"What about Mr. Hansen?"

"Archdruid Highley went to get him."

"I didn't realize that the druids were that deeply involved." Miss Oaken said frankly as the pace of their walk returned to something nearing normal.

"If we're going to have any hope of pulling this off, it's going to take everyone and everything that we have. Even then, we might still come up short."

"Can you feel that?" G slowly asked.

"It feels like we're in danger, although I can't tell where it's coming from." Miss Oaken said as she looked around cautiously.

"That's just the vinculum chamber. The feeling will pass once we're inside of it." Agent Roberts assured them.

"Are you sure?" G asked with difficulty, "I mean, are you really sure?"

When Agent Roberts looked at G he was surprised to find him in rather disturbing clown makeup. The painted-on expression that he wore accurately conveyed his discomfort with the situation.

Understanding what was happening, he couldn't resist the urge to see how the others were affected.

Corabeth's brown hair had begun to turn wispy gray or white and seemed to have lengthened. Her face also seemed to be elongated and slightly distorted. She appeared to be in a transitional state, although he couldn't determine what she might be transitioning into.

Miss Oaken's transition was less obvious at first. But at second glance, Agent Roberts could see the exposed hinges and joints, which appeared to be much like those of a puppet or marionette. Despite his recent encounter with Leonid, Agent Roberts didn't feel the least bit uncomfortable with her appearing to be somewhat less than fully 'real'.

"Otis, would you mind helping them while I go ahead to open the vinculum chamber?"

"Yeah. I'll take care of it." Otis assured him.

Agent Roberts took him at his word and began to sprint ahead.

* * * * *

When Agent Roberts reached the majestic stone structure with its ornate columns and elegant engravings, he walked to the archway with the magical blur and spoke his invocation.

The doorway immediately opened to him and he stepped inside. Although he had begun to build up a certain tolerance to the false anxiety, he still wasn't completely immune to it.

"If you can make yourself go through the doorway, it'll stop making you feel as creeped out." Otis called to the people following him.

Agent Roberts smiled at the fact that Otis was able to rise to the occasion. Trusting that Otis would be able to get everyone safely inside, he turned his attention to the vinculum chamber and its occupants.

Paul, Reaper and Milo were sitting at the table, just as he would have expected.

Professor Everstone and Filipe were both standing behind Milo and seemed to be unhappy about something. Mr. Bentley Brown was standing near them, though not necessarily with them, and didn't appear to be any more or less happy than was usual for him.

Agent Fastbeck was standing by the Southseid doorway appearing to be detached and professional. Agent Roberts immediately took that as being a sign that he should likewise remain detached from whatever drama was unfolding before them.

"Any problems?" Filipe finally cautiously asked into the silence that had fallen over the room.

"None worth mentioning." Agent Roberts responded in his most neutral tone of voice.

Just then, Otis, Miss Oaken, Corabeth and G barreled into the room, obviously somewhat distressed by their recent experience.

"Paul, would you mind making a few more benches? It looks as though our new arrivals could do with a few minutes to collect themselves." Professor Everstone asked quietly.

"Yeah. Sure." Paul said easily, then turned his head to look around the periphery of the room. As he did, benches began to erupt from the floor along the walls between the doorways.

Before anyone could react, Agent Roberts automatically said, "You'll need to be over here, behind Paul."

"Friend-Shawn is aware. It is as I was telling you." Reaper said calmly.

"But it doesn't make any sense. They use air magic and I use water." Paul retorted in frustration.

"What did I miss?" Agent Roberts asked cautiously, feeling that, however unintentionally, he might have well and truly 'stepped in it' with his innocuous comment.

"Reaper was just about to explain how the pairings and partnerships might not be quite what we were expecting." Agent Fastbeck explained.

"Like this." Paul said as he motioned toward Miss Oaken, G and Corabeth seated on the bench behind him, "It makes absolutely no sense at all."

"If you're standing in a burning building, do you want for someone to give you a lit torch to fight it with?" Agent Roberts asked simply.

"Seriously, I'm not into guessing games. Can't you just tell me?"

"I thought it was obvious. Here in the vinculum, your elemental affinity doesn't matter as much as your nature. The Magi were assembled to stand with and for the people of the colonies. You're a demon, so naturally you will stand with the cursed."

"But I channel water, so I need to stand with the Wudewas."

Agent Roberts let out a huff of exasperation, then slowly said, "Yes. You channel water, but that doesn't have anything at all to do with who you stand with. Do you remember the spell you did with G to create that little ice house out by Brynnhollow?"

"Yeah."

"You need to do something like that again, except instead of making an ice house, this time the three of you will need to work together to pull up the magic stored in the other dimensional spaces of the vinculum."

Paul turned to look at Reaper before asking, "Is that what you were trying to tell me?"

"The sentiment Friend-Shawn expressed is the point that I would have eventually made." Reaper said slowly.

"Within each barrier you use that kind of magic, but outside the barriers you use all the magic that's available to achieve your goals. I mean, what's the point of releasing it if you're not going to use it?" Agent Roberts carefully explained.

"Just when I think that I'm seeing the big picture, I find out that there's still more layers." Paul said quietly.

"So, in this new paradigm, we will use the three available magics in concert, not isolated from each other." Professor Everstone asked slowly.

"I thought that was the whole point of tapping into all the different barriers' magic at once, so that you wouldn't each be limited like you were when you were inside the barriers." Agent Roberts said frankly.

"And in making that assumption, you came to the conclusion that the fire element would need to be acknowledged and represented, since we would be working outside the confines of the barriers." Professor Everstone said speculatively.

"Yeah. Sorry. Like I said, I thought it was obvious." Agent Roberts said as he looked around the room.

"Maybe we're just dumb." Filipe suggested into the silence that followed.

"I think it is more likely that Agent Roberts has a unique perspective compared to the rest of us." Professor Everstone said diplomatically.

"Hold on. I think I'm getting it." Paul said slowly.

Everyone waited to see what revelation Paul had come to.

"Here in the vinculum chamber we are both inside and outside all the barriers at the same time. In this space, we can call up the stored magic and release it. The spellcasters will then use that released magic to recast the barriers." Paul said slowly.

"And don't forget that the demon needs to represent the cursed while the angel represents the blessed and nature guy needs to watch out for the other nature guys." Agent Roberts said frankly.

"Nature guy?" G asked with a grin.

"I might not be up-to-date on my terminology, but I think I'm making my point."

"The arcane knowledge confirms what Friend-Shawn has said. The summons is one spell, performed in unison by the assembled Magi." Reaper said slowly.

"Milo? You got anything?" Agent Roberts asked cautiously.

"Since Reaper and Paul have been helping me to craft my spell, they probably know it better than I do. That's going to make adapting my spell to work in concert with theirs a whole lot easier." Milo said thoughtfully.

"Agent Roberts, what do you see Otis doing in all of this?" Paul asked thoughtfully.

"You're the one who knows about spell mechanics. I'm just an outside observer." Agent Roberts said frankly, then continued, "But when you make a spell diagram, don't you have to make it balance, even if you don't actively use every facet?"

"Yes. Especially from an alchemical perspective, the balance of forces is necessary... the balance of humors." Paul finished in a thoughtful tone.

"Right. So I don't have any idea of what Otis is actually going to be doing, but I'm pretty sure that he's needed here." Agent Roberts finished with a smile of accomplishment.

"Just a little bit farther and it'll stop feeling so bad!" Archdruid Highley called behind him as he stepped through the Nevermore archway.

Everyone turned at the sight of Mr. Hansen, Zanner and Dex scrambling toward them.

"That really SUCKED!" Zanner proclaimed as he stepped through the doorway.

"I don't think you'll get any argument from us." Agent Roberts said with a fond smile at the boy.

After looking around to see who was present, Mr. Hansen cautiously asked, "What are we doing?"

All attention turned to Professor Everstone.

After a moment to consider, the professor finally said, "It appears that we have everyone and everything that we're going to need to cast the spells. I believe that our next step should be the crafting of said spells so that we can move on to the actual casting."

"That sounds like it could take a lot of time and I think that everyone could do with a good meal before we start in on marathon spellcasting." Agent Roberts suggested.

"Although that is a lovely sentiment, I'm afraid that we don't have time to go back to our cars, drive to find food and return. A delay like that would make it evening before we could even start the actual spellcasting " Professor Everstone reluctantly informed them.

"I brought picnic lunches from the Waxell Diner, enough for everyone." Agent Roberts finished with a smile of accomplishment.

"Oh... thank you." Professor Everstone said with surprise.

"If you'd like, we can all go through the Waxell doorway and have our lunch right now. When we're done, we can all start doing what we need to do for the barrier spells." Agent Roberts suggested.

"Is there some way we can invite Rhuru-wra to the picnic with us? It'd feel wrong to me if we did this without him." Milo asked anxiously.

"We can go right now and invite him if you want." Agent Fastbeck offered.

"You wouldn't mind?" Milo asked cautiously.

"I won't as long as you don't make me miss out on the picnic. Let's go."

"Yeah." Milo said quickly as he scrambled to join Agent Fastbeck.

"Save us some food." Agent Fastbeck said firmly.

"No promises." Agent Roberts responded with a grin.

* * * * *

As soon as Agent Fastbeck had uttered his invocation he ushered Milo out the Southseid doorway. Agent Roberts did much the same with the rest of the group, leading the seemingly endless procession of wildly different people out through the archway that led to the Old Tennyson Place.

Agent Roberts glanced toward the shade at the back of the house and called out, "Kirwin! Would you have a minute to help me with something?"

"Yeah! What can I do to help?" Kirwin asked hopefully as he scrambled toward the parade of strangers walking out of the gazebo.

"Would you mind taking my keys and showing the guys where the cars are parked? They can help you carry the picnic baskets back here."

"Picnic baskets?" Kirwin asked to confirm.

"You haven't eaten yet, have you?"

"No. I hadn't even thought about it." Kirwin said honestly.

"Good. Then go grab the picnic baskets and we'll eat as soon as you get back." Agent Roberts said happily, then noticed that Kirwin was staring and seemed to have gone a little pale.

Agent Roberts glanced where he was staring, then said, "We'll introduce you to Reaper and the others while we eat."

"Um... yeah." Kirwin said distractedly.

"Guys, who wants to go with Kirwin to get the food?" Agent Roberts called out more loudly.

Agent Roberts nearly broke into laughter when every teenage head popped up in unison and turned in his direction simultaneously at the utterance of the word 'food'.

"Follow Kirwin." Agent Roberts said fondly, then thought to add, "If you're not back here within five minutes I will use the full resources of the FBI to hunt you down! We're hungry too."

The smirk that Paul flashed in his direction did nothing to assure him.

* * * * *

"Professor Everstone, before we get started, there's someone I'd like for you to meet." Agent Roberts said as he drew the professor away from the group.

"Who might that be?" Professor Everstone asked cautiously as he walked with Agent Roberts through the tall grass.

Agent Roberts gestured ahead of them toward the old man with a walker standing in the shade of the house.

In a voice loud enough to be heard by both men he said, "Professor Everstone, may I present Steven Tennyson. He and his family have been keeping watch on this entrance to the vinculum chamber. The young man I was just talking to is Kirwin, his grandson."

"It's an honor to meet you, Professor. I've been waiting my whole life for this day. I'm glad that I lived long enough to see it." Steven said sincerely.

"I don't know who arranged all of this, but I'm glad that someone thought ahead." Professor Everstone said frankly.

"So you don't know either? That surprises me. I thought that those that we were to help would know what all of this has been about." Steven said honestly.

After a sympathetic nod, Professor Everstone quietly said, "We only know as much as we absolutely need to know..."

"...sometimes less." Agent Roberts interrupted.

Professor Everstone glanced at Agent Roberts for a moment, then gave a slight nod.

"Steven, will you and Kirwin share in our picnic with us?" Agent Roberts asked hopefully.

"Are you sure having us join you isn't going to interfere with your plans?"

"Even though you're not going to be included in everything we do, the truth is that none of us will be. We each have our own part to play and all of us will contribute to the overall project." Agent Roberts said soberly.

"Am I allowed to know just what this project is? I mean, I know that our family made a pact with beings greater than ourselves and that it has been a great honor... but I've often wondered just what the purpose behind it all is." Steven said earnestly.

"The short version is, we're working to protect those who can't protect themselves. Should we succeed, our reward will be knowing that these communities of people will continue to exist." Agent Roberts said honestly.

Steven looked across the overgrown lawn to where the others had gathered and finally asked, "The tall thin one, is he one of them who will be saved?"

"Yes. Since there's no equivalent to his name in our spoken language, we call him Reaper. But he's only one example, there are others who are more removed from what you would define as 'human'."

"You said that because of what we're doing they will continue to exist. Just how literally do you mean that?" Steven asked cautiously.

"If we fail, at the very least, the colonies that we're protecting could be destroyed. At worst... I suppose that it could mean the complete extinction of three groups of people that we could have preserved."

"And you say that Kirwin and I will be able to help you to protect these people in some small way?" Steven asked hopefully.

"By protecting the Waxell gate you're making it possible for us to perform the ritual to protect all the colonies without being discovered by the mundane human world." Agent Roberts explained.

"By the way you say that, it sounds almost like you don't include me and Kirwin in with the other mundane humans." Steven said speculatively, almost hopefully.

"People like you, me and Kirwin are human, but we're far from mundane. We've been included in something that is almost beyond belief. We're getting to see and experience things usually reserved for only the most brilliant and insightful..." Agent Roberts trailed off, then thoughtfully added, "...and insane."

Steven chuckled and nodded in understanding.

"Come, the food will be here shortly. Please join us." Professor Everstone said warmly.

"Yes. Thank you. I would be honored." Steven said sincerely.

Although Steven's pace was incredibly slow due to the combination of him using a walker and the tall grass, Agent Roberts and Professor Everstone didn't betray the slightest impatience, either in word or deed, as they walked along with him to join the gathering.

* * * * *

After assurances that they would help him stand when it was time to do so, Agent Roberts and Professor Everstone were able to help Steven get into a comfortable sitting position on the ground.

The children had taken it upon themselves to divvy up the food and were doing their best to make the picnic meal a pleasant experience for all of them.

"You didn't start without us, did you?" A familiar voice called out from behind them.

Agent Roberts didn't even have to look to know who was there.

"We're just getting everything set out. No one has started yet." Agent Roberts said assuringly.

At Steven's wide-eyed stare of horror, Agent Roberts turned to confirm what he already suspected.

"Steven, I'd like for you to meet Rhuru-wra, known among his people as 'the Wanderer'. He's the young wizard who will be acting as a bridge between the magic users and his people in the coming spell." Agent Roberts explained.

"Are you..." Steven began to ask, then trailed off when Agent Fastbeck began talking quietly to Rhuru-wra.

"He can't understand us so Agent Fastbeck has to translate." Agent Roberts explained.

"What is he?" Steven finally asked.

"We call their people Wudewas, but I think that around here they're most commonly known as 'bigfoot'." Agent Roberts said carefully.

"Kirwin and I are going to be helping to preserve a colony of bigfoot?" Steven asked in wonder.

"Yes. That's okay with you, isn't it?" Agent Roberts asked, although he was fairly certain of the answer.

"Grandpa! Isn't this great?" Kirwin asked as he ::plunked:: himself down at his grandfather's side.

"I would have said 'beyond belief', but I think 'great' is a more appropriate description." Steven said warmly as he gathered his grandson into a one-armed hug.

"Here you go." G said as he placed metal camping plates, loaded with food in front of Steven and Kirwin.

"Thanks!" Kirwin said sincerely.

"Corabeth will have some drinks for you in just a minute." G said before hurrying away.

Before anyone could respond, Rhuru-wra growled something inquisitively.

Agent Fastbeck immediately translated, "Rhuru-wra is interested to know about you and your people. I didn't know what to tell him. What would you like for him to know about you?"

Steven and Kirwin were both surprised by the question and looked to Agent Roberts for guidance.

"A bigfoot is asking you what it's like to be you. I think that this might be one of those 'once in a lifetime' opportunities that you're always hearing about." Agent Roberts said frankly.

"Kirwin and I are here to be part of something bigger than ourselves. I guess, looking around, that that's what we're all here for." Steven said introspectively.

Agent Fastbeck quietly relayed what Steven had said.

Rhuru-wra seemed to ponder that for a moment, then slowly growled something in response.

Rather than relay what he had said, Agent Fastbeck gave his own response.

There was another long silence, then another growl.

"Rhuru-wra is still mourning the loss of some friends and members of his family. He said that Kirwin reminds him of his younger brother, Hru-wra, and seeing him here, participating in this, makes it hurt just a little bit less."

Kirwin didn't even hesitate.

He immediately got up from his grandfather's side and walked directly to Rhuru-wra. After a long moment of looking him in the eyes, Kirwin moved forward and gave Rhuru-wra a firm hug, although due to their vast difference in size it was almost like Kirwin was trying to hug a wall.

After a moment, Rhuru-wra slowly raised his arms and ever so gently returned the young teenager's embrace.

Rhuru-wra growled something deep in his throat which was nearly a purr. Before Agent Fastbeck could say anything, Agent Roberts quietly said, "No translation needed."

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

It has happened to me many times while reading one of MultiMapper's stories, but when I was reading that last paragraph, my eyes started leaking. That is so beautiful!

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher