“Welcome back, darling!” Alecia greeted. She had changed her clothes, and was now wearing a different, even shorter blue dress and some dark stockings that made up for its length. Her smile was as radiant as ever, with her perfect teeth arched up into her eccentric, cute smile. The sky in Charles ship had switched from day to night, and there were five orbs hovering above him in the night sky. Alex couldn’t believe he was back in this place. He wasn’t happy to see Alecia, but he knew she probably had no clue about Charles’ whole plan. It would be nice if Maverick told him about it, but he figured that guy wouldn’t talk when he was around Alecia, and Teddy. They were probably under watch by the system, and moreover he was probably under the same watch when around them. Why did things have to be so complicated? The girl had her arms spread wide open, with her skin glowing under the moonlight. Alex just shrugged as she rushed in to hug him. Luckily, he felt calmer as her arms swept around him. It was going to make the next twenty minutes easier for him. It wasn’t an easy twenty minutes.
“You did so well, sweetie! I was very impressed by how well you took care of those mean minutemen. I told you that you were overpowered, darling! It was enjoyable to watch you perform. Me and Teddy were watching you the whole time and cheering over your excellent performance. Even in the beginning when you were talking to yourself, which I didn’t mind at all sweetie. The kids found it quite odd though, dear. You know Ted said you really got to work on that habit. Regardless, you were the finest out of all the contestants. I’m so happy I get to work with you and do so much more with you like be your trainer. Now, before I regress more, in honor of this day me and Ted have prepared a special party! Well it was really the kid’s idea, sweetie. Come, come this way!” Alecia latched on.
“You haven’t forgotten how to lead the way have you Alecia?” Alex remarked
“Come on. It’s for the kids, darling. They aren’t going to be around forever.” Alecia pulled Alex in and wrapped her other arm around his neck. “You really are quite handsome, darling.” She commented
“Do you have to remind me about the kids? And how exactly am I handsome?” Alex replied
Alecia giggled and leaned on his shoulder. “You know that minutemen don’t lie, Alex. Even the guy with the bushy eye brows called you a pretty boy. You should just be happy that your looks are attractive. It’s a shame you 21st folk are known for your self-esteem issues. In our time we don’t have to worry about that. I wish I could tell you all about it, darling. I’ll just let you know one little secret today, Alex, as long as you promise you won’t tell Ted.” Alecia smiled
“Alright, I promise I won’t tell, Alecia. Now, can you get off me for a second. It’s hard to hear when your so close to me.” Alex replied
“I’ll make sure you can hear, dear. Is this far enough away from you, sweetie?” Alecia cackled and slid away from Alex. Her dress had on these little reflectors that glistened and sparkled. Her legs split, and she landed in an odd pose. It looked cute in a way, but it wasn’t a pose that fit her looks.
“Yeah, that’s good. So, you had a secret to tell me?” Alex asked
“Oh, did I say something about a secret, dear? I’m afraid I’ll have to tell you after the party.” Alecia giggled and dashed off. She really did have a secret to tell Alex, but it wasn’t time to tell him yet. She turned around and saw Alex speedily chasing after her. She giggled as she loved moments like these. She could feel as happy as a human on days like this, and Alex finally caught up to her as they neared the familiar cabin in the middle of the craft. Ted was waiting at the door with his four arms akimbo. He politely waved Alex into the room. Next, he was greeted by the kid’s eager screams.
“The knight is back!” Sammy screamed.
“Yay, he’s back.” The group replied
“Start the procession, Amanda!” a boy yelled
Amanda walked down the stairs in a blue princess dress holding on to the wooden railing. She almost tripped on her way down. She was nervous. Her skin was shining as she was still in her second identity, but you could still see her original features. In the background the house was still the same, but the doors upstairs were open, and the lights were shining brightly behind the little damsel in the tiara.
“The princess is delighted to welcome Alex to Sir Charles’ castle. On behalf of the king, I formally invite you to our home.” She bowed.
“Hey Amanda, don’t forget to give it to him. We spent so long on it!” A girl said
“Shh, your ruining it, Sarah” Sammy butted in.
“Thank you, Amanda. By the way you kids are too much. What’s this about a castle?” Alex replied
“Please follow me.” Amanda waved and started walking up the stairs. The dress was too long for the little girl, and she had to step on it as she walked up the steps. It was funny. Alex felt like he was following behind a grown-up Molly. He climbed up the stairs, as the crowd of kids scrunched in on him and eagerly followed him. A young boy in a small chef’s suit was waiting for the crowd to arrive. He had his chef’s hat crooked to the side and seemed to fit the role very well. His little chubby cheeks smiled as they entered the hall.
“Welcome to the Castle dining hall!” The little boy exclaimed.
Alecia and Teddy were already waiting for them sitting over at the largest table in the hall. Alecia waved at him and leaned in. Teddy nodded and pointed to where Alex was supposed to sit. The little crowd followed behind him eagerly like a pack of baby ducks. It made him feel like a dad again. He arrived by his chair at the table as Alecia brushed her hands against his back. On the other hand, Teddy was smiling but it seemed forced. Did he have the same thoughts about these kids? Was he as sad, and happy all at once as Alex was? He stood by his chair as a little girl in a hospital gown ran up and pulled on his legs. Her name was Sarah, and she seemed to have become another spearhead of the group.
“Give him the award, Amanda” Sarah urged
“Don’t give it away Amanda. It’s not time yet.” Sammy said
“Please have a seat, Knight. Your chair is next to miss Alecia.” Amanda smartly interrupted, giggled and walked over to her friends.
“Bring out the main course!” the small chef yelled
Alex looked over as a rather large fairy flew in through a window carrying a tray. It was clearly a morph toy, or a bunch of morph toys put together. It arrived in front of Alex and carefully placed the food down on the table. He did that fancy maneuver that pretty much meant you are now welcome to eat, which Alex had only seen in animated movies. Alex braced himself, opened the tray, and saw the main course. It wasn’t something on your normal menu. A fake fried dragon was on his plate. It wiggled when he saw it. Alex couldn’t help himself from giggling. It was odd. When was the last time he laughed?
“I see you caught a dragon, little knights.” Alex pointed over at Sammy.
“Your supposed to eat it! Eat it Mr. Knight!”
Alex put his face down in the food and tried his hardest to pretended to eat it. Alex looked like a dog munching. The little dragon morph toy below him squirmed around in fear, and the kids laughed. It plopped down after it realized the whole thing was a ruse and let Alex finish pretending. They spent a few minutes talking to each other before Alecia waved to Amanda.
“Give him the present, Amanda. You shouldn’t make the man wait all day.” Alecia motioned.
Amanda soon walked over in her little gown, as the rest of the kids eagerly followed behind her. She pulled out a small box in her hands and dropped it on the table.
“For your bravery in battle we award thee with the ultimate medal!”
“Yeah for your mettle!” Ted chimed in
“Your ruining it Ted!” A kid whined
“Keep your big mouth shut!” a youngling yelled.
“Oh, I’m sorry children. I was just trying to fit in.” Ted replied.
Sammy walked over and grabbed the box. He deftly opened it and handed it over to Alex. The case glowed – it was a nice effect - and all the children opened their mouths in sheer excitement. A small medal was in the box. Alex reached down to grab it, and finally noticed the picture on the pendant. It was quite a nice choice. It had a picture of Alex and the kids on it. The scene from when he was on the grass with them. The rest of the medal was gold and looked like a bonified Olympian medal he wished he could have gotten back when he was at school. He grabbed it and placed it around his neck.
“You guy’s didn’t have to do this. I don’t deserve an award like this.” Alex enthused
“But you’re our hero Mr. Knight. We wouldn’t be able to live on without you.” Sammy said. “Now fire the cannons!”
“The morph toys shot out a salvo into the sky, and little morph fireworks splashed against the roof of the building.
After the show ended Amanda walked over to him with her pretty dress. Alex looked at her seriously because he could tell she was going to say something serious. She leaned into Alex and used her hand to cover her mouth.
“I know you can’t save us mister, but thanks for spending time with us. We will never forget it.” She grinned and hugged him. The rest of the kids joined in a second later wrapping their little arms around him. He felt so warm, and so sad. How would you feel if you were in his situation? The strongest feeling of poignancy spread across his body, and he couldn’t help but reach out and try and grab as many of the kids as he could. He would save every one of these kids if he possible, and there was nothing time could do to stop him. Was it wrong to want to save these kids? He didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. If you had the technology, why not use it to your advantage was what he thought.
He spent the rest of the time with the kids, and the time went by quick. They planned lots of little small events, and even had a play going on in the background. It was the kiddy version of Romeo and Juliet. He was pretty sure the kids didn’t know the story very well.
In their story Romeo and Juliet were disgusted by each other, and in their version, and at the end of the play they agreed to team up to destroy their families. Finally, for the finale the two playing Romeo and Juliet decided it was best that they fought it out to the death, and at the end both died. It was quite a good play.
Alex watched the kids head off with Ted after the ‘dinner’ was over. He was glad that they got over their fear of Ted.
Alecia was leaning her head on her hand. She was clearly satisfied with the party that the children had prepared. Alex leaned into her seriously and asked her for that secret. She leaned even further and placed her lips by his ears.
“You’re going to love me, darling. You’re going to love me forever, Alex.” Alecia coquettishly said. “I think I found a way to save Amanda, and Samuel, but you’re going to have to think about it Alex. You would lose your reward if you saved the kids.” Alecia said
“What are you talking about, Alecia?” Alex inquired
“You haven’t been told of your reward yet, but apparently It can be put to good use for those kids. It seems that both Amanda and Sammy are in a lot of trouble right now, Alex, and as soon as it hits 11:12 they might just die. If you use your reward to help them, I guarantee they will live.”
“What is there to think about, Alecia? Your acting like I could say anything but yes.” Alex replied
“You will forget about them, darling. If you give them your reward, you’re talking about giving up Meghan. What about Molly? Doesn’t she need her father? Also, you won’t even remember the good deed you did, Alex. You’re talking about your life verses theirs.” Alecia pointed out.
“Your acting like you want me to say no. I’m not going to answer you yet, Alecia, but you don’t have to be the voice of reason on this. I’ll decide on the matter once I finish the second mission. By the way I still don’t even know where we’re going Alecia. What is the second mission?”
“You’ve heard of the Bermuda triangle right Alex? Well, we’re going there for your second mission. Aren’t you glad were going on vacation. I prepared my bikini, Alex!” Alecia replied.
“Out of all places, the Bermuda triangle. They couldn’t pick a normal place like Miami?”
“It’s not as bad as you’ve heard about, darling. All that paranormal stuff was just to sell newspapers. You might not believe me yet, but it’s true Alex. You’ll see when you go down there that there is nothing to be scared off. We will be parked on the island watching you from a distance.”
“Alright, so I land on an island? Then what do I do?” Alex asked
“Well, I don’t really know, Alex. I’m sorry I can’t say about the mission, darling. But I can tell you about the island we will land on, and all the beautiful things you will see on it, sweetie. For your information darling, the organization figured the triangle would be a great place to put a time paradox. Of course, you can only access it in time scape, sweetie. Now, I’m guessing you want to know what a time paradox is right? Well, its rather simple darling. It’s when different years of history are layered on top of each other, and all of them exist at the same time. You will be able to see people there from different competitions, and of course some from your own time!” Alecia explained
“I can’t believe it. That sounds so ridiculous, Alecia. You mean I could run into my young dad or something like that? Alex crossed his arms.
“No, darling. They make sure to separate any ties. If you ran into your dad, you wouldn’t be able to battle him in the competition that they decided on, would you? They make sure to limit the participants up to four strings of connections, and they do an unbelievably thorough search, darling. I promise you won’t run into your dad, or even your grandmother’s best friend’s husband’s cousin. Oh, and I forgot to tell you that you will be working in teams with people from your year. Isn’t that great, Alex! Finally, I get to see you put your amazing charm to use! And just for your information I will let you know your year is highly favored. I can’t wait to watch you perform, honey.” Alecia finished and rubbed her head like a pet against his arm. She really was silly for an AI.
Alex pat her head and looked down at her. It really wasn’t her fault that any of this happened. He figured out along the journey that if Alex told Alecia the time keepers would have found out. Likewise, he also couldn’t tell Teddy. He still wanted to distance himself from her. It was hard to explain, but if he had to it would come out as a metaphor. He had been kept in the dark, and all those around him seemed responsible if they were surrounding the guy who had the light. Well, it’s not like he wasn’t informed by Charles, and at his own risk. He probably would get in a lot of trouble if Maverick was found. Now, what should he do with this cute thing that was rubbing on his arm? He patted her head one more time, and then got out of his seat.
“So, you said you could tell me something about the island. I’ve never been to the Bermuda triangle before, but I’m guessing the time paradox is on a tropical island.”
“It’s quite a lovely place, dear. You’ll see it when you get there. It has lots of palm trees, and rocks, and all sorts of beautiful birds. There is only one building, but it is a big building. It’s like a stadium for champions, sweetie, and I’m sure you’ll have a good time. Sometimes they don’t even use the colosseum. Like one time, all the contestants had to deal with a labyrinth. It’s really a surprise once you get there, Alex. Just promise me you’ll be careful, darling. We need you to win for all the kids!” Alecia cheered.
Ted walked in with his head dropping down past his neck, and with his back similarly arched. He was wearing his emotions on his sleeve, and Alex could feel his pain. The kids could be heard outside, as they were back on their mission of maximum enjoyment. Ugh, that little girl popped up in his head. Why did Amanda have to come up and say that to him? “I know you can’t save us but thank you”. Did she have to sound so fine with the idea of dying? Now Alex had no choice, and he had to save the girl. But what about all the other kids watching him? He couldn’t even imagine the hell he’d have to pay to get them to bring out the cure for cancer. He watched Ted arrive before him. He placed his arm on his shoulder and smiled at him.
“You can’t let the kids see you down.” Alex said
“You’re right, Alex. But It’s not my fault. I have some sensitive circuits.” Teddy said
“I don’t know what circuits you have in there, but you got to change them for the kids. Your seventy percent human, right? I’m sure you can do it.” Alex encouraged
’Thank you, Alex. I’m sorry to let you see me like this right before your big mission. You’ll surely do well considering your abilities, my friend. I’m not Charles, but I can understand his decision better than anyone else in the world. You can probably understand why right Alex? I can see what he saw in you. You really stick to your values, and care about what you do. So, what if you’ve had some drinking problems in the past Alex? You have character my friend.” Teddy praised
“Well, I guess I appreciate it Teddy, and yes I can see why you would be able to understand Charles.” Alex replied
“Well, before you two get too emotional, let’s get you out of here, darling” Alecia ran up and latched onto his hand. “I hope you don’t mind, but we won’t be able to land.” Alecia commented
“How will I be getting down there then?” Alex gasped
“The same way you came up a few moments ago, darling. Just please have a good time out there, and don’t you give any of those other years a break!” Alecia demanded
“You got it Alecia.” Alex held his thumb up, and one of Teds metal hands pushed down on the console he was carrying. Alex teleported away.