“Where is he?” I mumbled to myself. Xerxes was practically begging me to go to Moonlight Falls, and now, he’s nowhere to be found. I impatiently tapped my foot on the ground, jumping backwards when a metal contraption rose from the ground.
“What the hell!?” I exclaimed.
“It’s the time portal,” Xerxes chuckled. “How else do you expect us to travel?”
“Using a bus, or a train?” I raised my brow. “Or you know, a taxi?”
Xerxes chuckled. “Oh no, Moonlight Falls can only be accessed by supernaturals. The only reason that your dad was able to get there in the first place was with the guardian’s help. Fortunately for us, Damian has reopened the portal to his world. You see, there are several of these portals around each world that can transport us. They are deeply hidden and can only be summoned by a select few. That’s why your people will use different modes of transportation, like the taxi. But, Moonlight Falls in in no way reachable by those modes of transportation and is unknown to many. Damian, unfortunately, can control the portal and he sealed it when your father was trying to escape. The only reason that I can think of that he’d reopen it is to weed you out, so we must be extremely careful.”
“You can’t be serious.” I rubbed my temple. “This sounds like the exact plot to Ninja Warrior 4. It’s this cool manga where this guy needs to go to a different world and defeat the imperial ruler. Of course he’s a ninja, so it’s a little different.”
Xerxes rolled his eyes. “That isn’t the same thing at all, because it won’t be that easy. It never is when it comes to Damian. He’s skillful, and I only wish that we could have realized his plan from the beginning.”
“What exactly is his plan?” I asked. There was a lot of talk about Mason and Damian, but what did they really want?
“To single-handedly become the most powerful being in the world. Frankly, he’s really close. If he would have brainwashed your father with his crazy dimension shifting ideas, then he would have probably been able to take out the guardians, in which the only other people he’d have a problem destroying would be Lucas, Mason and Xepher.”
“Xepher?” I questioned.
“We really should be going,” Xerxes said quickly. “So please step into the portal.”
That was definitely suspicious, but I had already made up my mind. There was no going back, I would destroy Damian and then come back home to be with Madelyn. The quicker I finished this, the better.
“Ouch,” I mumbled as I hit the pavement. “That was so strange. I don’t ever see myself getting used to that.”
“It’s a common mode of transportation, and if you can successfully defeat Damian, I’ll teach you how to summon it,” Xerxes said.
“Seriously?” I asked. How cool would it be to take Madelyn to another world? Obviously, one less dangerous than Moonlight Falls, one in which we could live happily and create a family. Of course, I’d bring my father and Emil along as well.
“Mhmm.” Xerxes nodded. “Look over there, see those three?”
“The ones looking directly at us?” I rubbed my neck nervously. “They don’t look too happy to see us.”
“Well yeah, because nobody here likes the guardians. Angel kind of just left and formed her own team. But, what can we do about that? They hate me, but they won’t hate you. Those are the three you’ll be staying with.”
“Please tell me that they know I’m staying with them.” I let out a deep breath. “My magic is nowhere near that good. I cannot fight off three people on my own.”
I trudged along behind Xerxes, terrified of meeting these new people. “Sienna, Miles, Declan,” Xerxes said as he approached the tiny porch.
“You’re actually here,” The female, I’m guessing Sienna, said sarcastically. “You didn’t just promise us things and leave.”
“What exactly did you promise them?” I asked them.
“Relax, I told them that you needed a place to stay and wanted to train under Lucas, in which they are his pupils. In return, the guardians wouldn’t interfere with anything Lucas decides to do unless he asks us personally.”
I let out a deep breath once again. So he didn’t tell them about my goal to destroy Damian? Did he even tell them that Lucas was my grandfather? Was he expecting me? “Which better not be a lie, or else,” The pink haired male threatened.
“You don’t want to upset Declan,” The blonde boy, Miles, said.
“I don’t plan on it. I’m just here to strengthen my magic,” I said carefully.
“And why is that?” Sienna asked. “Are you trying to overthrow Lucas or something?”
I shook my head. “No, I want to find my siblings.” And destroy Damian and Mason, so they’d finally LEAVE my family alone. The last thing I needed was for any of them to resurface and hurt my father. He had gone through enough.
Sienna’s gaze seemed to soften, which I was relieved to see. “They’re missing? I’m so sorry. See this guy right here? Declan is my older brother. Miles is our best friend, and he’s basically like our brother, so I understand what it must feel like to lose family members. It’s just that this guy over here can’t really be trusted, so I don’t want his interference while you’re here. That’s our terms. You make decisions on your own or you leave, understand?”
I turned to Xerxes who only shrugged. “Seriously, you’re going to just leave?”
“You heard the girl. You don’t need my guidance. Your staying here is much more valuable,” Xerxes said. What happened to protecting me and not letting me die? Well, there goes that idea.
“Fine, whatever,” I mumbled and looked towards them. “I’ve been doing things on my own my entire life, I don’t need him here.”
“I’ll come back for you when this is all over, but not any sooner understand?” He asked. I watched enough anime to know what that meant. There’d be no seeing my family again until I defeated Damian.
Once Xerxes disappeared, Declan turned to me. “What exactly is your name?”
“I’m Alistair. Alistair Gray.”
“Nice to meet you Alistair,” Sienna said sweetly. “I’m Sienna Gage, you already know that his name is Declan Gage and he’s Miles Forrest.”
They led me into their house and gave me a quick tour. There wasn’t much but a kitchen, living room, bathroom and two bedrooms. None of which had an alchemy station or spell book.
“You’ll be staying with us in our room,” Declan said. “You can stay in my bed if you want and I’ll camp in the sleeping bag.”
“No, it’s fine,” I stated. “I’m intruding so I’ll stay in the sleeping bag.”
“He can just stay with me Dec,” Sienna said. “There’s more room that way.”
“To hell he’s sleeping in the same room as you!” Declan exclaimed, causing Sienna to giggle.
“She’s just messing with him. It’s sort of their dynamic,” Miles told me. I only nodded, missing my sisters even more now. As I watched the two, I couldn’t help but stare at Sienna. There was something about her…
Declan seemed to have caught on because he glared at me even more. “What the hell are you looking at my sister for!?”
“I..uhh…” Her skin was pink. I thought it was a little strange, but wouldn’t it be rude to say it out loud? He’d surely kick my ass.
“You better say something or I’m going to punch you in the damn face!”
My eyes widened in shock as I took a step back. “She’s pink…”
Sienna bursted out laughing. “Yeah, I’m a berry. Declan is too, but his pink is much lighter so it looks kind of like a pale vanilla skin tone. There’s not very many of us here, but I can tell that you don’t have any where you’re from.”
“That’s it?” Declan questioned. “You moron. I thought you were checking out my sister or something.”
“I have a girlfriend back at home,” I said. Technically it was true.
“Where is home?” Miles asked.
“Sunlit Tides,” I answered.
“Never heard of it.” Sienna shrugged. “We’re kind of isolated here. I’d like to go see it one day.”
“You better not offer to take my sister there,” Declan warned.
“What? No! Stop putting words in my mouth!” I ran my fingers through my hair. “Im here just to practice my magic. I’m not trying to hit on anyone or anything. My business here is strictly professional.”
“Good, let’s keep it that way. Now, go and put your stuff down. We’ll be meeting Lucas in twenty minutes. I know that you want to get this over with as soon as possible, and so would we so we’ll get straight down to business.” Declan shot Sienna an angry glance before leaving the room. “No flirting with him.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it!” She winked at him. Well this would be interesting.
I looked at the house in front of me. It was very, what’s the word? Victorian, I believe? It kind of looked like a dollhouse, Madelyn would have loved it if she was here with me. “Hey, Ally you like the place?” With my eyes closed, I could only picture Maddie’s beautiful voice asking me that. But it wasn’t, when I opened my eyes again it was only Sienna.
“Please don’t call me Ally,” I said. “I hate that name.” It’s reserved for someone special.
“Sorry, I’ll pick another nickname. How about, uhmm….Al? Nah, I hate that. I dunno, I’ll get back to you ok?” Sienna smiled the same bright smile that I assumed was her trademark.
“That’s fine by me,” I told her.
“Listen up, alright?” Declan shook my shoulders. “Lucas is THE most important wizard in all of Moonlight Falls, the world even. Which means, you have to show him some respect. You’re lucky that he’s even seeing you. He’s illusive even to most of the residents here. Getting a meeting with him is freakin’ difficult. So, don’t screw shit up, otherwise he won’t work with ya, understood?”
I only nodded. “Make sure that you smile, and don’t look like you hate your life. Oh, and be friendly…Lucas is not the easiest person to get along with, so just be respectful,” Miles coached.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” I asked. “My father taught me much better than that. I’d never disrespect anyone. Especially not Lucas Nair.”
“Yeah, guys, lay off. Ally, oh oops, uh Alistair seems like a nice guy. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, alright?” Sienna patted my back. “Let’s head on inside and meet him. Of course Declan called ahead so he’s expecting us.”
When we entered the building, Lucas motioned us into the living room without a word. “Just sit down, alright?”
“Sir, are you alright?” Declan asked.
“I’m fine, Mr. Gage. Thank you for the concern. I’ve just heard disheartening news. I’d like to share it with you all but..” His eyes fell on me. “Nevermind. Who exactly are you, sir?”
“No need to be so formal,” I mumbled. Being in this house…it made me uncomfortable. I didn’t belong here. I wasn’t one of them, and my own grandfather made that clear. Would he be saying the same thing once he found out who I was? I wondered if I should even bother telling him at all if he was already acting so cold towards outsiders. “My name is Alistair Gray. You might know my dad, Apollo Gray.”
For a second I thought that I could see a small change in expression in his face, but it stopped so suddenly that I was questioning if he had even done it in the first place. “Mr. Apollo Gray? I never thought I’d see the day.” For a moment, he looked troubled, but again, it was a fleeting moment. “You’re mother is a witch?” His voice was low, as if he hadn’t wanted the others to hear him.
“What does that mean, exactly?” Sienna whispered to Miles.
“He’s a Gray, right? Why didn’t we piece this together sooner? The Grays are the family that are working with the guardians. I’m pretty sure his father is a human,” Miles whispered back. “And so his mother has to be a witch for him to inherit it, and still, he wouldn’t ever have full control over his powers like us because he’s a half breed.”
I remained quite so that I could listen to the whispers happening around me. Half-breed. I would never be able to control my full powers? No, that wasn’t true. That’s why I was here. Lucas would help me. If I could just get through to him.
“Mr. Nair, if you’ll listen to me.” I stood up to face him. “I don’t have a mother.”
“I’m sorry…” Sienna said quietly.
“No, don’t be sorry. It isn’t like that at all. I don’t have a mother, because I was born to two men. I have two fathers, and Ethan Nair is one of them.” I paused before continuing, knowing that I’d have to explain. “I’m sort of like a test tube baby from the future. The guardians created me in Oasis Landing with Ethan and Apollo’s genes. That’s why I’m a witch, and that’s why I’m here.”
“That’s impossible,” Lucas muttered. “I saw him go off with Apollo, but were they really in love? Why the hell am I so oblivious to my son’s life?” He stared at me, a pained expression on his face. “You’re my grandson then?”
“Grandson?” Declan nearly fell over. “Seriously? You believe him sir, how is that possible?”
“I worked a long time with Frost Bite. In fact, she only left Moonlight Falls recently. I suspect of order from another guardian member? Xerxes, correct?” I nodded. “She claims she’s not a part of the group anymore, but she does as they say. Emit is the timekeeper so he no doubt has access to future technology. It is entirely possible.”
“It’s here, in this book.” I reached into my bookbag and pulled out a leather covered book. “This is the Gray family’s history. It says everything about my dads. According to this, you never stopped watching Ethan. So, then you know?”
“I don’t follow,” Lucas said. “I was only able to keep a watch on Ethan when he was here in Moonlight Falls, and when he didn’t use a sealing spell on himself. The sealing spell makes it impossible for him to detect. The early stages, I was able to keep track because it was weak, but as time progressed it got stronger, leaving me bllind to his whereabouts.”
“Then you don’t….” I paused. Should I tell him? Was it worth it? “Sir, Ethan is dead.”
The room grew silent. All eyes turned on Lucas to see his reaction. It was one of pain, regret and anguish. “Dead? How can that be? He is a powerful mage.”
“Two gunshots to the chest. He may have had magic, but that’s no use against a close ranged pistol. They found the bullets belonged to an antique gun, but that’s all they could tell us. There are no records of his existence in Sunlit Tides and according to Xerxes, the blame falls on Damian’s shoulders.” I crossed my arms over my chest. It made me angry talking about him like this. I shouldn’t have had to meet my grandfather like this.
“That’s…” Lucas stopped speaking. “I won’t have anymore of this conversation right now. Declan, Sienna and Miles will take good care of you while you’re here. No one is to know that Alistair is my grandson, alright? Especially not Damian who will no doubt catch on to your presence here soon. Come back tomorrow around the same time and you can observe the magic lessons. Declan, you stay here, we have things to discuss.”
“Yes sir.” He nodded.
“Thank you for your time sir.” I nodded respectfully and took a step back. I knew how it felt better than anyone. Lucas needed time to adjust. I didn’t want to be in this room anymore, it carried with it a sense of dread. I silently followed Sienna and Miles out of the room with a heavy heart.