“Relax please,” Ethan laughed. “You’re practically shaking.”
“That many teens in one place…is that really a good idea?” Apollo asked. “Did I do the wrong thing in letting them go?”
“There are chaperones there, you know.” Ethan reassured him.
“I know,” Apollo sighed. “But they’re getting older and I know it’s almost time for one of them to take over with the guardian’s plan. I’m terrified.”
Ethan looked at him. “You’ve decided to go along with them?”
“Yeah.” He nodded. “They’re the only ones with the power to stop Mason. I don’t know what his problem is, but he won’t leave my family alone. I don’t want him near my kids, I…”
Ethan slumped his arm around Apollo. “Calm down. You have the son of the most powerful mage in the universe as your husband. The children will be fine.”
“Don’t underestimate Mason, he’s sneaky,” Apollo said. “I’m afraid what he’ll do if he comes in contact with Pandora again. He gave her up, she’s our daughter now.”
Ethan opened his mouth to talk when he heard a shout. “Dad, come quick!”
“You relax, I’ll check on Alistair.” He kissed Apollo’s forehead before getting up.
“Little man, what’s wrong?” Ethan asked in shock. “Are you okay?”
“No!” Alistair cried. “I feel weird.”
Ethan kneeled down to Alistair’s level. “Weird how? Please calm down.”
“My hands! They feel like they’re on fire! See, look!” He held them out. Ethan touched them with his own and began to laugh. “This isn’t funny! What’s wrong with you? I’m dying!”
“You’re not dying, you’re just gaining your powers.” Ethan ruffled his hair.
“Powers?” Alistair asked nervously. “You’re not joking?”
“I’m a mage, so it’s not surprising that you’ll be one too. I can tell that you don’t believe me. Just follow me, okay?” Alistair nodded meekly and followed his father.
“Woah…what is this place?” Alistair looked around in awe. Sure, he had been in the basement before, but only to use the guest bedroom. Alistair had no idea this place even existed!
“My secret lair,” Ethan chuckled. “Pretty cool, huh?”
“What do you do in here?” His eyes darted across the mystical room.
“I practice magic,” Ethan said as if it was obvious.
“Magic isn’t real,” Alistair frowned. “That’s what my teacher said.”
“Your teacher is ignorant. Magic definitely exists, just not here. Where I’m from it’s really common.”
“Wait…you’re not from here?” Alistair held his head in his hands. “What are you going to tell me next?”
“Do you want to see something really cool?” Ethan smirked as he pulled out his wand. He pointed it towards the ground making an apple appear in it’s place.
“Woah!” Alistair began to jump up and down.”Teach me how to do that! Oh, please!”
Ethan began to chuckle. “I can teach you how to control your magic, but you have to promise not to tell anyone that you can use it. It would cause a lot of trouble. You aren’t to use it out of this room. Understood?”
“Fine,” Alistair mumbled. “I was just going to how that teacher who gave me an F on my homework. I wrote about magic and she said it wasn’t real!”
“We need to let these people believe what they think about he world. They can be dangeros, ty’ll hurt you if they find out,” Ethan said. “So please don’t or we’ll both be in trouble.”
“Ok!” Alistair nodded his head rapidly. “Our secret is safe with me!”
“Hiya Alistair!” Pepper said excitedly. “Isn’t this great? You’re finally old enough that we can actually play together. It’s going to be so much fun!”
Alistair blinked. “It’s weird that I can see you and nobody else.”
“Bailey and Ken have someone like me,” Pepper said. “And Night, well he used to be a doll like me until your sister gave him the potion.”
“Why is everything so strange all of a sudden? It’s cool, but I’m just a kid. I don’t know what to do with all of this information!”
“Exactly, which is why you should be focusing on playing, and I’m right here!” Pepper waved her hands in front of him.
“I don’t really want to play with you right now.” Alistair shrugged. “I want to play Dragon Racers, and you can’t hold the controller.”
“You’re not going to play with me until I’m real?” Pepper demanded. “That’s not fair. We’re supposed to be best friends. That’s how this works!”
“You’re not real though,” Alistair said. “That’s why no one else can see you.”
“Only you can see me because I’m your special friend!” Pepper argued.
“Fine, whatever. You can watch me play if it means that much to you,” Alistair said.
“Ok, yay!” Pepper said excitedly.
Apollo heard a knock on the door and stood up. “They can’t be home already, can they?” Apollo turned to Ethan.
“Definitely not, they only left an hour ago. Can you get the door? I’m eavesdropping on Pepper and Alistair,” Ethan said honestly.
Apollo smirked. “You’re taking this honesty thing really seriously huh?”
“Of course, don’t want to lose you.” Ethan winked.
Apollo rolled his eyes and headed for the door. “Hello, may I help you?”
“It’s great to finally meet you.” The purple haired stranger reached his hand out to Apollo, who shook it cautiously.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know who you are,” Apollo said politely.
“My name is Xerxes,” He answered simply. “I work with the guardians. I’m a colleague of your grandfathers’ and Frost Bite. My condolences for you and your family. Levi was a great man, and a close friend of mine.”
“Thank you,” Apollo said. “I take it this isn’t just a meeting to get to know me. Why don’t you step inside and we can talk.”
“I’m sorry about the mess, my son Alistair doesn’t understand that using the dishwasher is a good thing.” Apollo sighed. “Can I get you anything?”
“No thank you, I’m fine.” Xerxes smiled warmly. “But you’re right in assuming that I have to talk to you, and it’s about the future of the Gray family. As you understand, the timeline is being strongly regulated by the guardians. In order to preserve a happy and healthy future for all species, we have entrusted your grandmother with an important mission. She was to raise a family and work in conjunction with us. She passed that mission down to your father who passed it down to you. Soon it will be time for you to pass it on to one of your children.”
Apollo rubbed his temple. “I was dreading this moment. You don’t have to explain the little details, Frost Bite covered that for me. I…have to choose an heir and pass on this burden to one of my kids. You can understand why I’m a bit weary.”
“We’re sorry that you feel it’s a burden, but at this point you are the only bloodline that can help us achieve our goal. It is my understanding that Mason had been a particular nuisance in your life. He was a pest in your father’s life, and he was once married to your grandmother. Because of the familial ties, he feels a sort of resentment and feels that you shouldn’t exist. He’s trying to rebuild a future where everything turns out in his favor. Things would be so much easier for us if he wasn’t in the way. Since he’s already going to be targeting you, we can try to combat that and have your bloodline destroy him in the process.”
“I understand all of that, but…I don’t want to involve my children,” Apollo said sternly. “I don’t want to put them through anymore problems.”
“Mr. Gray, I’m going to level with you here. You need protection from Mason, and we need your cooperation. Sure, your husband is a witch, but eventually he’ll age to a point where he can no longer handle his powers. Then what can you do? Your son is a witch, but even then, he can’t stop Mason on his own. Mason has time on his side. We have the only thing that can stilt his plans, and that’s Emit Relevart. We can make a deal.” Xerxes said.
“You’re offering some sort of trade off?” Apollo stood for a moment. “What do my children need to do?”
“It’s simple. Every generation’s heir is paired with their own guardian. You worked with Frost Bite. The chosen heir will be working with me. I’m a genie. Because of my affiliation with the wish bank, I believe I’m the best suited to handle the imaginary friends which will no doubt impact your children’s lives. We won’t be bothering your children, they’re to be made known of our existence and when we ask for the heir’s help, we expect them to listen. Of course we’re not unreasonable, but this is an entire time period that we’re trying to save. Mason will no doubt target the heir and that’s where I step in and stop it. I have powers that your children don’t Mr. Gray. I’m not asking for anything unreasonable.”
Apollo ran his hand through his black hair. “Fine. But, let me make the decision on who the heir will be.”
“I can’t believe that I’m prom queen!” Bailey gushed. “Woohoo, this is my dream come true!”
“That was so awesome, the way you played that recording at prom. All those kids were in total shock! Hah!” Pandora laughed.
“Yeah,” Scarlett agreed. “It was really great how they took away the crown from Kristen. It’s a good thing you had that tape, right?”
“I don’t need your protecting,” Ken said sternly. “You didn’t have to do that. I could have handled a little rumor on my own.”
“Relax man,” Pandora began. “You won prom king. I don’t see the big deal!”
“They’re sibling, so they can’t be married like a king and queen,” Night said innocently.
Scarlett patted his head. “It’s just a title, it doesn’t work like that.”
“Just forget it,” Ken said angrily as he stormed inside the house.
“I think you hurt his pride,” Scarlett said. “But, he’ll get over it. I don’t think what you did was bad. It’s good that you were able to maintain his reputation.”
“We just got back from prom and you’re already drilling us?” Bailey whined. “I’m tired. I just want to sleep!”
Scarlett laughed. “And you were the one complaining about after prom.”
“Yeah, and you complained about prom but look who had fun,” Pandora said with a grin.
Scarlett blushed. “I did have fun. Thanks for asking me, Night.”
“Of course!” He said quickly. “I’m glad you had fun.”
“Who is this dude?” Ken asked, eyeing the purple haired male.
“Manners,” Apollo warned. “I’m sorry about that.” Xerxes nodded. “This man is Xerxes, and he’s a genie. He’s a part of an organization called the guardians.”
“A genie, right,” Ken scoffed. “Again with this nonsense.”
“I could deal with the magic, but genies, come on,” Bailey agreed.
“Hey!” Alistair nearly shouted. “Give the man a chance. I just found out a few hours ago that I can control magic like dad! So of course there’s such things as genies. Oh man, this doesn’t count as not telling does it?”
Ethan chuckled and shook his head. “Genies are real, but they’re rare. You’re Xerxes, the one in control of the wishbank. It’s surprising that you’re even able to step away from it.”
“Your father has helped me with that actually,” Xerxes admitted. “He’s made advancements in magic that you wouldn’t even believe if I told you. You might want to go and see for yourself.”
“I think that’d be a good idea,” Apollo agreed. “But that’s not why we’re gathered here today.”
Apollo turned to his kids. “I guess I should start from the beginning. Your great grandmother was an incredible woman. She had accidentally stumbled on a time portal and was taken to the future, which I’m a little skeptical of myself, never having seen it with my own two eyes.”
“I can assure you Mr. Gray that has actually happened,” Xerxes said.
“Alright, well…she got herself into some trouble when she met this guy named Mason. The guy who raised Pandora. I…I’m not comfortable sharing what exactly happened with him. I don’t find it appropriate to burden Pandora with that information. But, all you have to know is that he’s a menace. He wiped my dad’s memory clean and when I was chosen, he had my memory erased so I’d think I had skipped four years of my life. Then, my troubles really began when I met Damian, but that’s another problem entirely,” Apollo explained.
“Get to the point dad,” Bailey said. “You’re speaking in riddles.”
“Give him a minute,” Ethan said calmly. “It’s a lot for him to explain.”
“Sorry guys, some parts just seem so outlandish that I don’t think you’ll believe me,” Apollo said. “But, thankfully, Xerxes has written everything out for you. It’s your family’s history from my grandmother on. The heir will get this book.”
“Ok,” Pandora said. “But, can you explain this heir situation?”
“If you don’t mind.” Xerxes stepped forward. “I think I should explain. Your great grandmother had been given a very important mission, to create a family. She did just that, but eventually she had grown older and had to pass her legacy onto her children. Of those five kids, she chose Noah to not only keep the family growing, but to protect them. When Apollo was old enough, Noah passed the legacy down to him. He’s raised you five beautiful children and now it’s time for one of you guys to be the protector of this family.”
“Your job,” Apollo added. “is to be happy and live your lives. I want you all to fall in love and find that one person who makes your heart beat really fast. I want you to raise your own kids, or do whatever makes you happy. Most importantly, I want you guys to stay true to yourselves and continue passing down the Gray family’s values to each generation. Instill courage, compassion and loyalty into your children so that they can do the same to theirs. Never, ever, betray each other. You’re siblings and that’s an incredible bond. Be there for eachother, no matter what.”
“We’re proud of all of you guys,” Ethan said. “There isn’t one of you who isn’t worthy of this important job. Whether you’re chosen or not, the road ahead of you is paved with heartbreak and hurdles. As your father said, rely on eachother. You guys are Grays, do not let anything knock you down so far that you can’t get back up. We’re not abandoning you. We’ll always be here.”
“We both love you all so much.” Apollo wiped the tear now forming in his eye. “And, I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. The title of heir belongs to only one, and the one I think deserves this job is….”
The heir poll will be up in the next part. I’ll have pictures of all of the children as young adults, a scene from their story if you were to choose them, their fatal flaw and a bunch of other information. I’m adamant that you guys choose based on the story you want to read about, so I’ll be providing a ton of information on each kid. That should be out within the next few days, so start thinking about who you’d like to be the heir of gen 4.