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Parvenu

Book 5: Sun & Air / Son & Heir

By MultiMapper
Copyright ©2002-2021 MultiMapper.
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Chapter 14 - I Am Cat

"So what else do you need for your charm?"

"All I've got so far is the Lapis. I still need to see what Zephyr has uncovered for me." Lex said as he moved to his nuggle's side and started digging in the box that Zephyr had indicated.

As he reached the spot inside the box that Zephyr had been worrying at, he found a tarnished silver brace gathered in amongst a variety of other trinkets.

"So, is it official? Is your horse part bloodhound?" Paul asked teasingly.

"I don't know about that, but it looks like he can sniff out magical components when I need him to. That's just as good in my book." Lex said as he gently petted his little friend.

There was a sudden hiss and a flash of movement as Zah Zah leaped from Lucky's arms and attacked.

Lex was helpless to react as the nightmarish cat creature lunged at his tiny companion.

"Zah Zah!" Lucky exclaimed as he sprang forward to gather her back into the tube of fur that he was still holding.

"Is Zephyr alright?" Paul asked with concern as he rushed to Lex's side.

"Yeah. I think so." Lex said uncertainly, then explained, "I was petting him when Zah Zah attacked. He must have an automatic force field or something. I felt it activate before I knew what was happening. When Zah Zah's claws would have hit him, his whole body scooted over a few inches and the attack slid off."

"So maybe Zephyr has his own built-in protection spell." G said speculatively.

"It's possible, but it's not something that I included in his definition. Maybe that's something that nuggles naturally have." Lex said thoughtfully.

"I haven't studied enough about them to even have a clue about something like that." G said frankly.

"I'm just glad he's alright." Lex said as he petted Zephyr gently.

"Zah Zah, if you can't behave yourself, I'm going to have to put you away when I'm around other people. I don't want to do that. I want you to have lots of friends." Lucky said firmly as he held the cat-like creature close to his chest.

A meow from Ginh Zah caught Paul's attention. He considered for a moment before translating.

"Ginh Zah says that it looks to her like Zah Zah was seeing Zephyr getting praised for doing something good while she was being ignored." Paul said carefully.

"Maybe you need to give Zah Zah a chance to do something good so that she can get praised like Zephyr." G cautiously suggested.

"It's possible that whether it's good attention or bad attention, it's all the same to her. She just needs to be at the center of things." Paul suggested.

"Mission accomplished." Lex cautiously mentioned as everyone watched to ensure that Zah Zah wasn't going to attack again.

"Lex, what else do you need for your spell? I'd like to get out of here if we can." G asked uncomfortably.

"Yeah. I'm mostly going to need general jewelry making supplies to attach the stone to the brace and maybe some metal cleaner." Lex said thoughtfully.

"We wouldn't have to worry about that if Dex were here." Paul said frankly.

"He's an earth elemental, so dismissing tarnish is one of his abilities." Lex quietly explained to Lucky.

"He doesn't get to use it much, but it does actually come in handy sometimes." Paul added.

"I wonder if there are any tricks like that, that I can do because I'm an elemental." Lex asked rhetorically.

"I don't know of any, but I've never really studied the subject." Paul said honestly.

"If Mom's right, then Zephyr may have a special talent like that too, as a water elemental." G quickly added.

"I don't know if I'm sold on that, but I guess we'll all find out together." Lex said frankly.

"Lex, check this out. See if any of the stuff you need is in this toolbox thing." Paul said quickly.

After gathering Zephyr onto his shoulder, Lex hurried to the desk where Paul was located and looked into the toolbox that he had found.

"Is this the kind of thing you were looking for?" Paul asked hopefully.

"Yeah. This looks like it has just about anything that I'd need for jewelry making." Lex said as he took a quick inventory, then continued, "The big thing I need I probably won't be able to get here. I still need the spells and diagrams to do an enchantment. I spent the whole class looking for them and couldn't find even one. I was actually hoping that you might be able to help us out with that."

"Is this for a grade?" Paul asked cautiously.

"Professor Woo was just saying what an interesting project this might be and then, when we told Mrs. Cualla about it, she said that we could try it." Lex said seriously.

"Good. It sounds like they're not expecting you to use any specific method." Paul said reasonably, then explained, "I know some spells and diagrams, just not the ones that you'll probably need to know."

"How's that?" Lex asked with interest.

"For example, you're going to be limited to what magical specialties you have access to. I know some spells and diagrams, but I can't use them on my own." Paul said frankly.

"Lucky might be able to use his magic to work around that." Lex said seriously.

"Or he might not." Paul countered.

"Do you think it'll hurt anything to try?" Lex asked simply.

"Good point." Paul conceded.

"So, are we done in here?" G asked hopefully.

"Just about." Paul told him, then focused on the demons at his feet and asked, "Can you two think of anything that we'll need from here to do a clothes changing spell charm?"

Ginh Zah immediately responded with a definite 'Meow'.

"How about, if we can come up with something to help Zah Zah be less ferocious, can you think of anything from here that we'll need for that?" Lex quickly asked.

After a long moment of consideration, Mah Zah gave a short, simple bark.

"She can't think of anything." Paul translated.

"Then, are we ready to go?" G asked hopefully.

"Yeah. Where to next?" Lex asked curiously.

"Since we're in this part of the house, we could stop by the library if you wanted. Maybe you'll find the spells you've been looking for in there." G cautiously suggested.

"One of these days you're going to have to give me a tour of the place. After all this time, I'm still finding rooms that I never knew existed before." Paul said frustratedly.

"Maybe they didn't." Lex said with an impish grin.

"Part demon, remember? It's probably not the best idea to make me think I'm crazy."

"If you were crazy, I'd be a figment of your imagination and I'm not, I'm a figment of G's... and Zephyr is a figment of mine. So, the way I see it, the only way you could be crazy is if Zephyr imagined you that way."

"I'm not sure that's how it works." G chuckled.

"I'm not the figment of anyone's imagination?" Lucky asked cautiously.

"No. I'm pretty sure that you're real. But Zah Zah is a figment of your imagination." Lex finished happily.

"It's this way." G said as he led the way out of the room.

"Mah Zah, we were wondering if maybe you knew something about created life and how their minds were formed." Lex said as they walked.

The little dog let loose a few small yips, then waited as G picked her up and perched her on his shoulder.

Once Mah Zah was comfortably in place, she barked a response to Lex's question.

"She says that she knows some things about that, but a lot of her more complex magic won't work here." G translated.

"And there's no way that you could go there to have Mah Zah perform the spell. Even if I could manage to make a portal, which I can't, your physical body probably couldn't survive in that realm anyway." Paul said thoughtfully.

"Maybe it's something that Lucky could recreate with his magic." Lex said slowly.

"I'm not really that clear on how the mimicry works. I guess that's possible." Paul said uncertainly.

Ginh Zah meowed her contribution to their conversation.

"If we had to, Ginh Zah says that we could enact the Oculus Demonus, then Lucky could witness the spell being cast by demons in a hell dimension without having to go there. Maybe that would be enough for him to be able to mimic it." Paul said uncertainly.

"Yeah, um, let's put that down around plan 'C' or 'D' on the list. That sounds like a lot of things could go wrong a lot of different ways." Lex said uncomfortably.

"Agreed." Paul said easily.

"Do you happen to already know the charm spells, or will we need to get copies of them before we leave?" Lex asked cautiously.

"The ones I use have their text within their diagrams, so there's no guesswork, I remember them." Paul said seriously, then explained, "If I need to do something else, I usually just take those base spells and make the changes I need to them."

"If I can get an idea of how the spells are constructed, I think that I should be able to craft something that will work for what we're trying to do." Lex said thoughtfully.

"Maybe you'll find something in here that'll help." G said as they walked into the immense library.

"How could we have this here all this time without me knowing about it?" Paul asked as he looked around the immense room in wonder.

"Don't get your hopes up. For as many books as we have, I have never found a single thing in here that I wanted to read." G said frankly.

"Are these all magic books?" Lucky asked in wide-eyed fascination.

"Some of them probably are. But most of the ones that I've seen are the family histories of people I've never heard of or catalogues of facts about places that I've never been." G said seriously.

"It's a graveyard of useless information." Lex quietly added.

"These all look the same. Are they encyclopedias?" Paul asked as he walked to a wall of identical books.

"Those are death records, I think. I looked at them once and never really looked at them again." G said honestly.

"Numerology." Paul said in dawning realization.

"What about it?" G asked curiously.

"This storehouse of forgotten knowledge could be mined for quite a few statistical enchantments. We're not supposed to read it. We might mess it up. The power is in the organization and the sheer volume of the physically rendered data." Paul said seriously.

"Nobody in our house uses numerology." G said dubiously.

"Nobody in our house is a master of numerology. But all of us use it to some degree, it can be accessed by most basic practitioners." Paul reminded him.

"Yeah. And something like this isn't set up for a person who uses numerology as their primary magic. It's here so that the people who live here never have to worry about their numerology spells falling flat." Lex said seriously.

"Hey! Wait a minute. Aren't you supposed to automatically be on my side?" G asked playfully.

"Why would you think that?" Lex asked curiously, obviously taking G's playful comment more seriously than intended.

"I'm just saying that you used to be me. I thought we'd automatically think the same." G said uncertainly.

"Do you remember Obby?" Lex asked cautiously.

"Yeah. Of course." G immediately responded.

"Is he exactly like Shawn?" Lex asked in a leading tone.

"No. Not even close." G said frankly.

"I may be like you in some ways, but I'm not you. I am myself." Lex explained.

"I'm not disagreeing with you; I was just saying that it seemed reasonable to think that you'd automatically see my point of view." G said seriously.

"Do you think that this is not a magical reservoir?" Lex asked slowly.

"I'm not disagreeing with that. I guess it just seems weird to me because it's always been here and I've always known about it, but I never realized it's true purpose." G said frankly.

"Do you know if we have a library where we might have some magical books that could help us with Zah Zah or making a charm?" Lucky asked hopefully.

"There might be something in the back of Dad's study, but I've never really looked through his book collection. I just asked him when I needed something." G said honestly.

"Yeah. I'm not aware of any magic books around here except the ones that G brought into the house, like those grimoires that he likes to translate." Lex added.

"Where to next?" Paul asked as they filed out of the library.

"Snack?" G asked uncertainly.

"Now you're talking." Paul said happily.

"Do you think Aunt Beth will let us have something this close to dinner?" Lucky asked cautiously.

"There's one way to find out." Paul said confidently.

"What should I do with this?" Lex asked as he hefted the awkwardly big toolbox.

"Bring it." G said simply, then explained, "We can leave it in the kitchen until we're ready to go."

"Turn it and I'll help you." Lucky quietly offered.

"I can be bigger if I need to be." Lex reminded him.

"Or you can let me help you." Lucky persisted.

Rather than argue, Lex set down the toolbox and turned it so that Lucky could easily take one side of the handhold.

"With all the magic and familiars and stuff that we have access to, it blows me away that we still have to carry things." Paul chuckled.

"My illusions can't pick things up, so my magic wouldn't be much help for something like this." G said frankly.

"I might be able to summon a demon big enough to carry the toolbox, but it would take so much magic and such a force of will that carrying it myself would be easier." Paul said consideringly.

"So Mah Zah and Ginh Zah couldn't do it?" Lucky asked curiously.

"They probably could, but they're my generals. I wouldn't give them that kind of menial task unless there was no other way to get the job done." Paul said seriously.

Ginh Zah let loose a meow to inject her point of view.

"She says that in her own realm, it wouldn't be much of a chore, but she doubts if she and Mah Zah could manage to carry that thing in this realm." Paul said frankly.

"Does it really weaken them that much?" Lex quietly asked.

"Yeah. Probably about the same as we'd be weakened if we went to their realm." Paul said honestly.

Mah Zah barked her contribution to the conversation.

"Except for me, maybe. We'll just have to wait to see how much I can tolerate, since I'm a Cambion, Mah Zah says that it could actually make me stronger, there's no way to know until I can visit." Paul said uncomfortably.

"Lex, a little bit ago you mentioned that spellcasting in hell is plan 'D'. Do you have anything in mind yet for plan 'A'?" G asked curiously.

Before Lex could answer, Lucky quickly said, "If we could find a spell to create a person who can think and feel and, you know, really be a person, then we could look at Zah Zah's base spell and fix whatever I did wrong and make her right."

"You did a fantastic job for someone working on his own without any examples to follow. The rest of us will help you find a way to even out her moods and make her safe to be around people." Lex said confidently.

Lucky held Zah Zah a little more tightly as he struggled to believe.

* * * * *

"I was wondering where all of you had gotten off to." Beth said as the group filed into the kitchen.

"We were hoping to get a snack..." G began to say, then noticed the platters of fried snack foods and bowls of dips.

"D said that he'd see to your dinner tonight, so I thought that you'd need a little something to tide you over." Beth said with a self-satisfied grin.

"My mom would never let us eat something like this." Lucky said as he stared at the food with wide eyes.

"Then don't tell her." Beth said simply as she handed him an empty plate.

The boys lined up behind Lucky, and seemed to be on the verge of scooting him out of their way if he didn't move fast enough.

* * * * *

Most of the next few minutes were dedicated to devouring every last remnant of the snack feast that Beth had provided.

As the boys were finishing, the sound of a phone interrupted. Beth, Paul, G, and Lucky all checked their phones while Lex patted his pockets, momentarily forgetting that he didn't have one.

After a moment to look at the screen, Lucky answered, "Hi Mom."

"Were you wanting to put that toolbox on the train?" Beth quietly asked as she stepped away from Lucky, to afford him privacy.

"Yeah. Is the rest of our stuff already there?" Paul asked curiously as he followed.

"I think so, but you'll have to ask your father to be sure. Either way, set it on the back porch until you're ready to go." Beth said frankly before walking to the stroller to check on Kay.

"Dad always gets things loaded way early. His magic is good for that kind of a job." G said honestly as he took the other end from Lex to help him relocate the toolbox to the porch.

"What should we do until Dad is ready?" Paul asked cautiously.

"We could call Teek." G said simply as he set his side of the toolbox down.

"Yeah. That sounds like a good idea, but what made you think of that?" Paul asked curiously.

"When Lucky's phone rang, I wondered who could be calling and that's the first person who came to mind." G said honestly as he led the way back to the kitchen.

"We should wait for Lucky before we call him. Him and Lenn have become really good friends since Lucky got his phone." Paul said seriously.

"Isn't it the middle of the night there?" Lex asked cautiously.

After a moment to consider, G said, "It's a little bit late, but it's Friday night. It shouldn't be a problem."

"How do you think he'll react to getting a new cousin?" Lex asked timidly.

"He's half a world away from us, so I can't see any reason for him to be emotionally invested in it." G said frankly

* * * * *

"What's going on?" Lucky asked as he crossed the kitchen to join the rest of the boys at the doorway to the back porch.

"Nothing. We were just waiting for you to finish your call. Is your mom and Star okay?" G asked casually.

"Yeah. Star's being all weird, saying that she misses me and stuff. She never used to talk to me or anything while I was there with her, so I don't know why she cares so much about it now." Lucky said honestly.

"It's probably just a sister thing." Paul assured him.

Lucky nodded, then said, "I told Mom that I was a Child of the Sun."

"What'd she have to say to that?" Lex asked curiously.

"She said, 'That's nice, Honey'." Lucky said in a disturbingly good imitation of her.

"Then I guess that means it's something that you don't have to be too worried about." G said simply, then glanced at Beth for confirmation of his assumption.

She gave a slight shrug in response.

"We were thinking about calling Lenn before it gets too much later. How do you feel about that?" Lex asked curiously.

"Yeah! This is about the time that I usually call him anyway, so he's probably expecting me." Lucky said as he once again retrieved his phone from his pocket.

"Do you want to do a conference call?" G asked the group uncertainly.

"Lex doesn't have a phone of his own yet. Why don't we just use the speaker phone?" Paul asked curiously.

"Do you know how to do that, Lucky?"

"Do what?"

"Speakerphone."

"Oh, yeah. I did it by accident a few times. It sure is loud." Lucky said frankly.

"Yeah. Do you want to call Lenn and put him on speakerphone so that we can all talk to him?" Paul asked hopefully.

"Go to the parlor if you're going to be using the speakerphone. I don't want for you to disturb Kay when she's comfortable like this." Beth said firmly.

"Okay. Let's go." G said as he led the way out of the kitchen.

"Which parlor are we going to?" Lucky asked curiously.

"If it's ever a parlor besides the green one, I'll let you know." G said frankly.

"Do you know where that is?" Lex asked with a grin.

"Yeah. I think so." Lucky said slowly, then with a smile he asked, "You don't want me to tell, do you?"

"You've figured it out?" G asked with surprise.

"Almost, I think. By the time we get there, I'll probably know where it is." Lucky said seriously.

"I have a feeling that what you're saying makes more sense than it sounds like." Paul said uncertainly.

"Uh huh." Lucky confirmed, then gave a boyish giggle as he cuddled Zah Zah close to his chest.

Paul wanted to ask more, but was resolved to the fact that answers were likely not going to be forthcoming, however, new questions likely were. All in all, he decided to leave things be for the time being.

* * * * *

"Hi Lenn, I'm at Paul and G's house, I'm living here now. They're here with me on speakerphone." Lucky said happily.

"I was wondering why I hadn't heard from anyone in so long." Lenn said frankly.

"G and I got selected for a work study project at school, and I guess Lucky was getting ready to move." Paul explained.

"And while all that was going on, I kinda accidentally made a copy of myself and brought him to life." G said timidly.

"His name is Lex." Lucky helpfully added.

"And he's here with us if you want to talk to him." Paul said encouragingly.

"You've got a new person who you just created there with you, right now? Are you keeping him?" Lenn asked uncertainly.

"Yeah. He's our brother now." Paul said simply.

"Or cousin, depending on who you ask." G added seriously.

"We're keeping him. He's one of us, just like you are." Lucky declared.

"I am?" Lenn cautiously asked.

"Absolutely." Paul confirmed.

G nodded, then explained, "This is the best that we can do, with the way things are right now. But the next time someone in the family gets married or buried, we'll all get together again and spend every minute of it that we can together."

"This may not be the way I want for things to be, but it's still better than being completely alone with no one to talk to." Lenn said frankly.

"Hi Lenn, this is Lex. Just so you know, I have G's memories from before we were two separate people. That means that I know who you are, even if you've never met me before. You don't have to explain things to me. I don't know how you feel about that. I don't even know how you should feel. Anyway, what I was thinking is that if you need to talk to someone with a different point of view that I've got one... you know, not being born and like that." Lex stammered uncomfortably.

"Um, yeah. I don't need to talk about anything right now, but I'll keep that in mind." Lenn said cautiously.

"I'm sure Dad will be getting Lex his own phone before long, so don't be surprised if he calls you on his own sometime." G hurried to add.

"That'd be fine. It'll be nice to have another person to talk to." Lenn said sincerely.

"How are things going for you? Any news from your dad?" Lucky asked curiously.

"Not really. Nothing's happened. But I think we're getting along better than we did. Even though we've still got a way to go, we're heading in the right direction." Lenn said consideringly.

"That's great, Lenn. I'm glad things are working out for you." Paul said happily, then cautiously asked, "What about the other thing? You haven't had any reputation problems, have you?"

There was a sound of laughter over the speakerphone, then Lenn responded, "No. I haven't even thought about it in weeks."

"Then you need to be extra careful. Temptation likes to come at you strongest when you think you've got it beat." Paul said seriously.

"I honestly haven't been putting myself into a position where I have a chance to give in to temptation, but I'll try to keep that in mind."

"Just remember, day one may be tough, but day one hundred is more dangerous because that's when you're most likely to let your guard down." Paul said seriously.

"How do you know so much about it?" Lenn asked curiously.

"I grew up around a lot of damaged people making bad decisions. Now that I'm outside of it, I can look back and see patterns." Paul said seriously.

"Lucky, how are you getting along, being in a new place, away from your family? Is it hard for you?" Lenn asked, obviously ready to shift the conversation in another direction.

"We've been too busy for me to miss them much yet. Maybe I'll do it later, when I have more time." Lucky said frankly.

"Remember that if you ever get lonely that you've got a cousin in South Lanarkshire who cares about how you're doing." Lenn said seriously.

"Mungo?" Lucky asked with an impish grin.

"Me, you little arse!" Lenn barked, then broke into laughter.

"It's great to hear you laugh, Lenn." G said sincerely.

"It's nice to be able to." Lenn said honestly, then added more quietly, "I'm really looking forward to the next time that all of us can be together. I'm counting on you lot to be ready for a big party."

"We will be, at least for as much of a party as we'll be able to manage with all the parents and everyone around us making sure that we don't get into trouble." Paul said sourly.

"I know it sounds daft coming from me, but I don't think you need to get into trouble to have fun. Some music or a good movie, maybe a bonfire would be all it would take." Lenn said distantly.

"That sounds really nice, Lenn. No matter when it is or where, we'll plan on doing that." G said firmly, almost as a vow.

Paul, Lex, and Lucky were all silently nodding their agreement.

"I'm going over to my dad's tomorrow. He's wanting for us to go to the coast... I'm not sure why. At this time of year, it's going to be cold and miserable, probably insanely windy too." Lenn said speculatively, then continued, "But he wants us to do something together. That alone should make it worth it."

"We're about to leave on a trip with our dad. In fact, we're going to have to hang up soon so that we can meet him." Paul said frankly.

"Where will you be going?" Lenn asked curiously.

"I don't know. They won't tell me." Paul said dejectedly.

There was a laugh audible over the speakerphone, then Lenn said, "That sounds like something that's going to be a lot of fun."

"Even if it's as dreary as autumn on the Scottish coast, I'm sure that we'll still find some way to have fun with it." G said frankly.

"I suppose it's less about where you go and more about the company you keep." Lenn said speculatively.

"I think you're right." Paul said warmly.

"We've got to go now. We shouldn't keep Dad waiting." G said seriously.

"I hope your trip turns out to be a grand adventure... the good kind." Lenn finished with a chuckle under his words.

"Yours too." G immediately responded.

"Remember to call us if you need anything at all." Paul urgently added.

"Yeah. Even if there's not anything we can do to help, we can at least care and stuff." Lucky interjected.

"It was nice to officially meet you Lenn. Hopefully we'll get to visit in person really soon." Lex said sincerely.

"Boys? Are you ready?" D asked from the parlor doorway.

"Go now and have your fun. Let me know all about it when you get back." Lenn said quickly.

"Tell us how yours went too." Lucky hurriedly responded.

"You've got yourself a deal." Lenn promised, then quickly added, "Goodbye, everyone. Goodbye, Uncle D."

"Goodbye!" All the boys and D responded in unison.

There was a long moment of silence before Lucky picked up his phone and ended the call.

"That was Lenn." G quietly told his father.

"I had assumed so." D said honestly.

"We left a toolbox on the back porch that's going to need to go on the train." Paul quickly added.

"Beth already told me. It's on its way there now." D assured him.

"Can you tell us about what we're going to be doing?" Paul asked hopefully.

"Not just yet. This is one of those things that's better left as a surprise." D assured him.

"Is there anything else we need to do before we go?" G asked cautiously.

"Normally, I'd have you change into more comfortable clothes, but I suppose that with things being as they are, you'll have to wait until we're on the train for that." D said resignedly.

Lex and Lucky shared a look with each other, then simultaneously allowed their illusionary clothing to fall away, revealing their casual clothes underneath.

"That kind of makes me wish that I had illusionary clothing of my own. It looks really handy." D said appreciatively.

"If we can get the spells worked out, we might be able to give you some." Lex said honestly.

D looked at Lex with surprise, then after a moment to think about it, he said, "If you do, I'll wear it proudly."

"So, is that it? Do we have everything we need before we go?" Paul asked uncertainly.

"Almost." D said, then looked the group over before announcing, "Considering what each of us have been through, I feel like it's only right that we celebrate by doing something especially memorable to mark the occasion."

The excitement in the room compounded as the boys waited for D to tell them what they were going to be doing.

"That being said, our celebration will not absolve you of your school responsibilities. I don't know what type of commitments you've made, but be aware, I'm counting on you to keep them." D said firmly.

"Can I still drive the train with you?" Lucky asked hopefully.

"Yes. There's nothing I'd like more." D said with a warm smile at the boy.

"While you're doing that, I can be pumping Paul for information about how to make charms and stuff." Lex said teasingly.

"How about we put our heads together and see what we can come up with?" Paul asked encouragingly.

"What does that leave for me to do?" G asked cautiously.

"You could feed wood into the boiler." D suggested.

"Can't you do that with your magic?" G asked uncertainly.

"I can. But if you don't have anything else to do, it would be a way to pass the time." D said frankly.

"Or..." Paul interjected, "...you could help me and Lex brainstorm his clothing enchantment. To do this right, we're probably going to need one person to be dedicated to the illusion." Paul said seriously.

"He's right. Even though I can do the illusion myself, I might not be able to do my best work while I'm also concentrating on making the charms." Lex reluctantly admitted.

"Good. Now that that's settled, let's head out!" D said cheerfully.

The boys looked at each other, silently asking if there was anything more that any of them needed to do before they left.

Lucky was the first one to move, but his action prompted the others to immediately follow.

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes: I must say that I find myself wondering just what is going to happen next.

How is that different from all the other ends of chapters?

I think the idea is that whenever we finish reading a new chapter, we want to read more, and since this is a story that continues to evolve with each new chapter, then we know we need to be right here for the next installment of the saga.

I don't think I will ever be tired of reading new chapters.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher