“I hate this,” I said finally. “This is a stupid idea. It’s dangerous.”
“Alistair,” My dad said sternly. “Think about it. What other choice do we have?”
“Guys,” Sienna said. “I talked to Robin the other day.”
“What?” Declan asked incredulously. “Why didn’t you tell us sooner?”
“Look around us Dec, all I see is chaos! I couldn’t just burst in and say that I’ve been meeting with Robin, Hayden and Miles-”
“Miles too?” I asked. “Miles is okay?”
“Miles is okay, but he’s working with Damian now. He’s tried to convinced me that he was dangerous, but I’ll never believe that Miles would hurt me. Point is, Robin and Hayden want to help and Miles knows something. If we can get Miles to break down and tell us what exactly he’s not telling us, than we can get the girls back. Declan and I can handle this situation from here. We have Hayden and Robin and Miles will come around.”
“How do you know that yoiu can trust them?” I asked.
“What other choice do we have?” Declan asked. “I want you to have your siblings and your kids. Sienna and I will try everything that we can to save the girls. You and your dad go to Imaginationland. It’s why I risked everything to begin with. Don’t make my sacrifice for nothing.”
“I’d never do that,” I defended. “I just don’t want you to get hurt. Altiere is so much stronger than even my dad realized!”
“How about this?” Ethan asked. “Let them scope out the situation. Let them see where Altiere is holding the kids and if theres a smart way to get them back. Do you think that Altiere would leave them right in the open? There needs to be some preperation and it shouldn’t take us that long in Imaginationland. We’ll be back right away, then you can confine Declan to the house.”
“Hey,” Declan muttered. “I’m right here.”
“I’m sorry,” Ethan said. “But your powers are gone, and Alistair has right to be wary. You can’t defend yourself against magic anymore.”
“Let me do the protecting for once, okay?” I asked. “I’ll be a good protector if ou’ll just trust in me.”
“I trust you,” Declan confided. “I’ll always trust you.”
There was no arguing with anyone. Declan, Sienna and even my dad were all strong minded individuals. They had presented their case and left no room for disagreement. And so, dad and I entered the hole that he had constructed. Officialy, we were in Imaginationland…hiding behind a rock, after at least a half an hour of walking to find civilization. Finally, we had found it, but it didn’t seem so wlecoming. “Dad?” I whispered.
“Shh!” He placed a finger to his lips. “I need you to be as quiet as possible. What’s up?”
“Why are we hiding exactly?” I whispered. “How dangerous is it here.”
“Very dangerous, especially if you don’t have an imaginary friend with you. Which we don’t.” He peered over my legs. “Shoot. They’re still there. Looks like we need to wait it out. Sneaking past is too risky. They’re so close.”
“Damnit,” I muttered. “What are they going to do to us if they find us?”
“Nothing,” Ethan muttered. “They won’t take another child from me. Over my dead body.”
“I like you alive,” I whispered. “So try not to do anything stupid. I can’t lose you twice.”
“Don’t worry about anything Alistair. I will never let you down. I promise.”
I nodded, not knowing what else to say to him. I trusted my life in his hands, I just didn’t want him to risk his. There was no use in trying to stop him though. My dad was the hero type and he’d always be. I couldn’t stop that. “Where do you think the triplets are?”
“I’m not sure, trial and error?” Ethan posed.
“Trial and error!?” I tried hard to keep my voice down. “Dad, that’s ridiculous. It’ll take us forever to find them that way.”
“What other plan do you have?”
“None,” I frowned. “But there has to be something better than yours,” I whispered.
“Let’s just worry about getting passed the next five minutes.” He placed his hand over my mouth. “Shh, listen to them speak. They might have some valuable information.”
I leaned against the rock and closed my eyes. I strained my ears to hear them. There were two of them, a girl and a boy.
“Lution, tell me, where is this kid?” Victoria looked at her companion and frowned. “Master will not be pleased.”
“Master will get what she wants in due time,” Lution said. “Please be patient. I know he is around somewhere.”
“I can’t believe a halfbreed is roaming around so freely,” She spat. “It’s disgusting.”
“Darling Victoria, I believe that there’s two of them.”
“Two!?” She laughed bitterly. “What is our home becoming?”
“Master will take care of him, we just need to find him. He’ll lead us to the human and they’ll be taken care of like the others. Really, they should heed our warnings when we send them out.”
“They think this is some kind of playground,” Victoria rolled her eyes. “All those humans want to do is exploit us! Using us for personal gain. We are not the toys that they know. When imaginary friends flee here, it’s to avoid their human counterparts…to evade the connection. Can’t the humans get the hint?”
“We should keep looking. You’re no help when you’re angry, sister.”
What are you guys doing behind here?” I looked up to hear another voice, one I didn’t recognize. I nearly screamed from getting pulled out of my thoughts. My father had tackled me to the floor and covered my mouth.
“Quiet, remember?” He whispered. Turning to the source of the noise he laughed. “You’re just a kid.”
“The kid that they’re looking for?” I asked, when my father had gotten off of me.
He placed his hands on his hips. “Maybe, what’s it to you? You’re a bunch of humans aren’t you? I’ll turn you in unles syou do exactly as I say!”
“Kid, we’ll turn you in,” I said. “You’re in just as much trouble as us.”
Hitting the back of my head, my dad turned to him. “Don’t be rude. he’s just a child. What’s your name?”
“I’m not telling you that important information!” He exclaimed quietly. “I don’t know you guys.”
“My name is Ethan,” He gave the boy a reassuring smile. “This is my son, Alistair.”
“Alistair?” The boy scrunched his nose up. “That’s a funny name.”
“Gee, thanks kid.” I rolled my eyes. “Hey, maybe you can help us. According to them, you’re a halfbreed, meaning you know where the humans are.”
“I’m not taking you to my mom. Like I’m some kind of idiot? Sure, let me just reveal where my human mother is. Do you hear yourself?”
“Your mother?” Ethan turned his head. “That’s why they want you then? Is your dad an imaginary friend?”
“Yeah, duh. Kind of what half breed means!” He stomped his foot indignantly. “I stopped you for imnformation, not the other way around.”
“Well what do you want to know?” Ethan asked. “We’ll tell you anything.”
“Why are you here? Hunting humans?” He lowered his eyes at me. “I trust your father, but I don’t like you Alistair.”
I rolled my eyes at the kid and my dad just laughed. “We’re here to find my children,” Ethan explained. “They’re humans, but it doesn’t sound like such a safe place for them.”
“It isn’t,” He confirmed. “But it isn’t easy getting out of here. Dad has been trying to get us to leave for a long time but the Queen won’t grant us access and it’s hard to open the portal on our own. We need magic or something, that’s what dad said.”
“You’re in luck then,” Ethan said. “We have the magic, and you have the resources to help us. I promise to help your family, if you help me find mine.”
The boy was quiet for a moment before speaking. “Fine, but you have to promise alright? If not, I’ll turn you in to the queen and she’ll have you detained, or worse, killed!”
“Dad?” I asked. “You don’t think that thats what happened to the triplets do you?”
“We’re just going to have to trust that it isn’t.” He gave me a grim look and ran his fingers through his hair. “We have no time to waste. Let’s get a move on kid.”
“You guys have to promise me something,” The purple haired boy said.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Don’t tell them where we are,” He said seriously. “Please. Dad is trying everything to protect us, and I can’t let you guys hurt us.”
“You wouldn’t lead us here if you didn’t trust us, would you?” I asked. “We’ll deliver on our promise. We want the same thing. Safety for our family.”
“I know, your name is Alistair. I heard stories about a guy with the same name. He was a hero, fought some evil vampires and won. He had all the bravery and charisma that anyone could ask for. Of course I know that vampires don’t exist, but still.”
“See that Al?” Dad smirked at me. “Even he believes that you’re hero material.”
“Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, you need to prove it to me. When we go inside, you have to be on your best behavior okay?”
Ethan leaned down to his level. “Yes sir, anything else?”
“Yes, don’t get mad,” He said sheepishly.
“For what?” I asked. “Do I really want to know.”
“You’ll see, Alistair.” He waved me off. “Now come inside.”
I turned to my dad who seemed more than amused. “Really?”
“What?” He laughed. “He reminds me of you when you were that small. Way too mature for your age, and a bit of a smart ass.”
“I can hear you, you know!” He exclaimed.
I rolled my eyes. “What can we call you then, if you won’t tell us your name?” I tunred to my dad and whispered the next part. “Is he leading us into a trap?”
He shook his head. “Actually, right where we need to be,” He whispered back.
“Mom! I’m home, and I brought some visitors with me!” The boy called out.
“Visitors?” The familiar voice was panicked.
“Is that!?” My eyes widened.
“Alistair!” She scried out and pulled the boy towards her chest. “You’re alright. Don’t do that again, you nearly scared me half to death. You know it’s dangerous out there for you, stop leaving the house without your father.”
“Sorry mom,” He mumbled.
“Now who are these visitors?” She asked, finally looking up to see us. “Alistair? Dad!?” She rushed to Ethan and threw her arms around his neck. “You did come! I knew you would! I’ve missed you so much!”
“Relax darling. Everything will be alright.” Ethan kissed the top of her head. “This is your son?”
“Yes, this is Alistair. He’s a bit of a character isn’t he?” She ruffled his purple hair.
I raised my eye and looked at the boy. “Your name is Alistair, huh? Did you know who we were this whole time?”
“Duh, of course! Mom told me about her little brother Alistair and her dad Ethan. Did you think I was just going to lead some strangers to my house? I’m not an idiot.”
“Well I’ll be damned,” Ethan chuckled. “He is definitely a Gray.”
I opened my mouth to say something to the boy but he poked me in my stomach. “You promised not to get mad, remember?”
I nodded. “I’m not mad, you led me to my sister, and you’re my nephew.” I turned to Scarlett now. “Is Night…?”
“Look at him Alistiar.” She laughed. “He’s the spitting image of Night. What do you think? Now come inside and we can talk because I know you have a lot of questions, and I have some of my own.”
“Nice house you’ve got here,” I said in awe. “It’s very…colorful.”
“Code of conduct for Imaginary friends, actually,” Scarlett said. “If you don’t stick out, then I guess, you stick out? It’s like we’re harboring a fugitive, or several for that matter.”
“It’s not safe here,” I mumbled angrily. “Damn it, if it wasn’t for those time distortions and Aria, I’d have been here 3 years ago.”
“Time distortions?” Scarlett asked. “Wait, before we delve into anything else, how is everything at home? Is dad okay?”
“Yeah, is he?” I asked, turning to Ethan. “I can’t believe I never asked you. Everything has been so damn hectic.”
“He’s fine.” Ethan’s answer was short and curt. I looked at Scarlett who frowned.
“What’s wrong with Dad?” We asked in unision.
“Nothing is wrong, it’s just that I miss him, and I know he must be in so much pain right now, not having any of his family with him for so long,” Ethan said. “He’s probably sitting by the window right now, i can picture it.”
“I don’t get it? Alistair wasn’t with dad?” Scarlett asked.
“No, I was training with our grandfather, Lucas Nair in Moonlight Falls. I’ve been there for 3 years, it’s the promise dad made to the Guardians.”
“What about Pandora?” Scarlett asked.
“She’s not here?” I asked. “Where are Bailey and Ken!? Are they in trouble? Damn it, am I too late!?”
“Calm down, Al!” Scarlett nearly shouted. “They’re safe. Not in the best conditions, but they’re safe. I don’t know about Pandora.”
“What does that even mean?” I cried. “And what about Pandora?”
“Hey,” Ethan said. “You’re upsetting Cadence.” He rocked Scarlett’s daughter in his arms. “As for Pandora, think about it. Don’t you think its strange that Mason has been absent despite his vow to destroy the Grays? I know you read the history book. You saw what he’s capable of. Pandora was raised by him, that’s why she’s around the same age as the triplets and not you.”
“Another enemy?” I groaned. “I can’t do this anymore, dad. Altiere, Damian, the Guardians, Aria, now Mason?”
“What aren’t you guys telling me?” Scarlett frowned. “Tell me what’s happening with you and then I’ll explain the situation here.”
I nodded and began to tell her everything. The day I first arrived in Moonlight Falls all the way up until we were forced to leave my boyfriend and his sister in Moonlight Falls to face Altiere’s threat. I may have left out the part about bringing Dad back to life though. I didnt want to worry her. “I have cousins?” Alistair asked. “How old are they?”
“Just a year,” I said. “They’re twins, Charlotte and Adeline. Twin vampires actually. They are real, and that story you were told sounds eerily similar to my life.”
“Vampires aren’t real!” Alistair exclaimed. “Are they?”
“Yes they are, you’ll see when you meet my girls,” I told him. “Whya re you so shocked? You’re part imaginary friend, and your dad can turn into a doll. That’s not strange to you?”
“Everyone here can turn into dolls.” Alistair shrugged.
“Where is Night anyway?” Ethan asked.
“Every night he goes out to get us supplies. We’re all in hiding. Everyone knows that we’re here, essentially, but they never cared to look for us until now,” Scarlett ecplained.
“Why are you here? Did Night make you come here?” I asked. “It’s too dangerous for you to be here.”
“I wanted to protect my siblings Al. I couldn’t leave them out here to die. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get to them and I can’t leave. Not that I would without them.”
“Where are they?” I asked. “With Amelia and Ryder?”
“Mhmm.” She nodded. “Once they brought them to life, they went haywire and led Bailes and Ken here. Bailey is in the castle with Amelia. I think she’s her servant or something, and Amelia is the queen. Ken is somewhere with Ryder, no one has seen him. But i know that Amelia or Ryder will not kill their best friends. They’re not like Night though. They’re mean and obsessive, selfish beings.”
We all turned towards the door when we heard a click. “Babe, I’m home. Have you found Alistair? I heard some people talking. The guards are on high alert.”
“He’s safe and sound, and he brought some people with him, come take a look,” Scarlett said sweetly.
“Alistair? Ethan? It’s so great to see you! What are you guys doing here?” Night asked in shock.
But I didn’t want to talk. Not in the slightest. I stood up and walked over to him. “You have some fucking nerve. Bringing my sister here!”
“Woah, calm down,” Night said. “I understand that you’re upset but, please listen to me. This wasn’t my intention. We needed to save your siblings. It was at her insistance that we come here.”
“And you listened to her? You were supposed to protect her!” I shouted.
“And I have!” Night shouted back just as angrily.
“Really? That’s why you lured her here and had no problem laying down next to her in bed everynight, right?” I seethed. “Was this your plan? To get her to be with you?”
“I’ve been nothing but respectful to your sister. I love her more than anything in this entire world, and I’ve done nothing to hurt her. How dare you even accuse me of something like that! Alistair and Cadence are products of our love.”
“Alistair! That’s enough!” Scarlett shouted angrily. “Do not yell at Night in front of my son.”
“Scar, don’t you see it? He’s just like the rest of them!” I shouted. “If he loved you why would he put you in danger?”
“He hasn’t! He protected me! I love him, Alistair. You know what it’s like to love someone like this! He’s the father of my kids.”
“You don’t have to love the person who helped make your kids,” I growled. “Trust me, I know that better than anyone.”
“I love Night. You,” She looked at her son. “Go upstairs. It’s your bed time.”
“No way!” Alistair stood up. “Don’t yell at my dad. I don’t care who you are!”
“Alistair, stop yelling at your uncle!” Scarlett demanded. “I want both of you upstairs now. Show Alistair where he’s staying tonight. I know you need a place to stay.” Her eyes softened depsite her aggressive tone. “I love him, Al and I love the kids he gave me.”
“You shouldn’t be here,” I mumbled. “You should be home with dad. This should have never happened. You all should have listened to dad when he said to ignore the imaginary friends.”
“Alistair,” Ethan warned. “This is Scarlett’s house. You have to follow her rules. You’re acting very immature right now. Think of your own kids and Declan. How would you feel if Scarlett attacked Declan and accused him of hurting you?”
“It’s different. Declan didn’t put me in this situation!” I exclaimed.
“Didn’t he?” Ethan asked. “Because of his association with Altiere?”
“That’s not the same thing. It wasn’t his intention,” I argued.
“It’s not the same? Seems to me like it is,” Dad said. “Can’t say that I haven’t put your father in some incredibly difficult situations either. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love him, because you know that I do. He put me in some bad places as well, and you’ve done that to Declan, unintentionally, but he’s still in trouble. Isn’t he? Life gets in the way, it doesn’t have anything to do with love.”
I turned to follow the very unethusiastic kid who shared my namesake. I was not happy, but my dad was right. Still, I couldn’t help but be angry at the situation. My world was crashing down around me and I couldnt control it.