“I’m incredibly bored, Rickie. This isn’t as fun as you said it would be,” Amelia huffed.
“That’s because you took over when I died,” Rickie clarified. “You turned this place to hell. I gave you very precise instructions when I made you. Do you know how many strings I had to pull to get you sent to the Grays? It was not easy, I had to do a lot of favors for the toy maker.”
“You’re the one so hell bent on revenge,” Amelia said. “I could care less about that family. I’m supposed to be connected to someone else and you took me from her.”
“Look at the life you have right now,” Rickie said. “I’ve made you queen of Imaginationland. What more could you want? Love? That’s what you want, isn’t it? You know that’s impossible. The Grays can’t give you that. Bailey can’t give you that. That’s why she’s suffering now. To make up for it.”
“Whatever,” Amelia mumbled. “I just want to meet the little girl I was suppsoed to be bonded with. You screwed with everything. The only one you couldn’t corrupt was Night, and now look at him, he’s roaming freely with a family. While Ryder and I do your dirty work, and suffer.”
“Do you think Ryder is suffering?” Rickie asked. “I gave Ryder exactly what he wanted, Ken. You’re too negative. I’m back and I will be reunited with my human very soon. I just want him, once I have Ethan, you can do what you want.”
“Just a little longer than?” Amelia sighed. “Fine, I can handle that.”
“Lady Amelia, Sir Rickie, I’ve brought the human and the witch.” Victoria kneeled down in respect. “What shall I do with them?”
“Where is Lution?” Amelia asked.
“He is tied up at moment. There was another witch who came along,” Victoria said.
“Of course,” Amelia sighed in annoyance. “It can never be easy can it? It was that little brat, Alistair wasn’t it? I never quite liked him. We need to handle him.” Amelia looked at Rickie who was fixated on Ethan’s figure.
“I told you, none of that matters anymore. All I wanted was Ethan. The rest can all torch for all I care.” Rickie stood up and approached Ethan slowly.
“Sir, Lution is a respected member of the council-” Victoria began but Rickie silenced her by raising his hand.
“I am your ruler. Not the council, not Amelia…but ME. Understand that Victoria. You are lucky I’ve let you live for so damn long. Now, step aside and let me get my prize.”
“Rickie?” Ethan asked angrily. “Damn it, I should have known….Actually, I did know. I was hoping I was wrong, but no such luck. This was your plan all along? Divide and conquer?”
“Not exactly, no.” Rickie shrugged carelessly. “I had no idea that you were going to die, or that someone was dumb enough to bring you back to life…or that you’d bring your son with you on a rescue expedition. All of those were forks in my path, but I managed to weed out the obstacles, rather, you all did that on your own.”
“Daddy, who is that?” Scarlett asked.
“My imaginary friend,” Ethan said. “Don’t worry. I won’t let him hurt you.” He turned his attention to Rickie. “If you want me, have me. Just leave my children alone. I want all of my children safe and sound if I’m even to consider this option.”
“We could do that,” Rickie said. “But I know what you are capable of, my dearest. I need to know that you won’t try to turn me into a frog again.”
“I don’t care what happens to me, my kids are a different story entirely,” Ethan said.
“No, dad!” Scarlett said forcefully. “You won’t go with him. We’re all leaving, together. We’ve been apart for too long.”
“Are you done?” Rickie asked, crossing his arms over his chest. “Ethan is not leaving Imaginationland, ever. I planned this entire thing since the minute you triplets were born. It took years and years of planning to get him here, I will not stop until I have him.”
“You knew this would happen? All of this?” Scarlett asked angrily. “How is that even possible? I was born before Ethan met my father!”
“I have this friend, he’s a time traveller, who happens to be extremely fond of your family, dearest. You weren’t chosen so you haven’t had to deal with any of his backlash, but-”
“Mason!” Ethan growled. “Mason helped you with this!”
“Mhmm.” Rickie nodded. “He was the one who approached me about the triplets. He gave me three opportunities to lure you here. But, I guess the toy maker is smarter than he seems to be. He didn’t give the pink haired girl the wrong imaginary friend. Night has been a thorn in my side since the beginning. The toy maker must have known, but still, it seemed to have worked out in my favor. All I had to do was give the chosen one to Mason.”
“Damnit,” Ethan muttered. “Alistair isn’t safe. I knew it was weird when he told me that Mason hadn’t interfered. Someone like Mason doesn’t just disappear.”
“You shouldn’t have betrayed me, Ethan. I was giving you everything you ever deserved. Power. You should be the keeper of magic right now. It is rightfully yours. Not Dax’s and certainly not that little brat of yours. You belong in power.”
“Shut the hell up!” Ethan shouted. “I have had enough of your crap, RIckie. You have done nothing but cause me pain in my life. I killed my own brother because of you. How could you make a teen grow up like that? I had to run away from home, live on my own with no parents, and no steady income. While you got to go scott free?”
“You killed Dax on your own, out of anger. Because you loved me, and it hurt you that your brother didn’t understand us. I didn’t tell you to kill Dax,” Rickie said.
“You son of a bitch,” Ethan roared, readying his wand. “Give me one reason not to blast you right now.”
“Dad?” Bailey asked in shock.
“Look what the cat dragged in. Why aren’t you doing your work?” Amelia glared at the black haired girl.
“I’m sorry I-” Bailey began.
“This is what you’ve had my daughter doing?” Ethan asked angrily. “She’s been serving you?”
“Don’t look at me, that’s all her.” Rickie passed the blame on Amelia. “I don’t deal with the children, I only want the father.”
“This isn’t safe, you should go,” Bailey said.
“Baby, I’m here,” Ethan said. “I will not let anyone hurt you. Not after Jordan, that was a promise I made to you.”
“Daddy…” Bailey whispered, tears stinging at the corner of her eyes.
“Everything will be okay,” Scarllet said, coming over to hug her sister. “We’re going to leave with you, and then go find Ken.”
“How many times do I have to tell you that Ethan isn’t leaving? He is going to pay for betraying me, and then dying and killing me.”
“Let my children go and I will do as you say,” Ethan said through gritted teeth. “All of them.”
“No! Dad!” Scarlett cried. “What about Alistair? I can’t save him from Mason if anything happens, and my children, what about them?”
“What’s wrong with Alistair?” Bailey asked, alarmed. “He’s here?”
“I haven’t seen him since he ran off with my son,” Scarlett said.
“Son?” Bailey asked in shock. “Holy hell, you and Night? I knew you two would end up together, but children so soon?”
“Enough of this chit chat,” Amelia said angrily. “I have heard enough. I am still Queen, and I want Rickie expelled from Imaginationland immediately.”
“Look who has a spine now,” Rickie laughed. “Who is going to help you? Victoria?”
“Ethan, I have never got along with you, but if you can get rid of this monster, I will allow you to leave, free of harm. Victoria, go and free Ken. Direct him to Night’s house, and make sure he is not harmed on his way there.”
“Yes madam.” Victoria bowed her head and left the room.
“You know where my husband lives?” Scarlett asked, worry spread across her features.
“Of course I do,” She said. “I am queen, I know where everyone lives. I have no interest in your family other than the boy. Alistair you call him, the full imaginary friend born of a human. We must do more research on him.”
“More?” Scarlett asked in shock. “You mean you’ve done some already?”
“Oh yes, we had to check his reproductive organs to see if he’d be fit to birth more imaginary friends, which he is capable of. In that case, he cannot leave Imaginationland. Neither can Night for that matter, because of his ability to reproduce imaginary offspring.”
“We’re not helping you if I can’t have Night and Alistair with me,” Scarlett said angrily. “They’re my family.”
“Help me instead, and I will allow all of you to go with the exclusion of Ethan,” Rickie said. “I don’t care about more imaginary friends running around. I simply want to torture Ethan a bit.”
“Why would you admit that?” Bailey asked.
“Ethan knows I am angry with him, but I will not kill him. He is, after all, my life source. So, you can be assured that I will not do anything to huurt him too seriously.”
“Can’t you blast them both and we just leave?” Bailey asked. “Amelia is just as bad as Rickie. Neither are fit to rule an entire nation. They are harmful.”
“Magic cannot harm me here,” Rickie said, finally. “It is a perk of working with the time traveler.”
“Time traveler?” Bailey asked. “Ok, what am I missing?”
“Dad, we’re wasting time!” Scarlett exclaimed. “I need to see how my family is. I have to see them!”
“What are you doing?” Amelia cried out. “I am on your side.”
“You used my daughter as your slave. You lured her out here, when you knew the danger. Imaginary friends are unstable and I cannot let you roam free. I thank you for freeing my son.” Ethan readied his wand and pointed it towards Amelia.
“You cannot trust him!” Amelia cried out. “He will not let your family go! He is a liar. To torture you, he has to torture your family. You are strong and only vulnerable when they are not around.”
“I will not harm anyone,” Rickie said. “And Night and Alistair will be free to go.”
“I’m sorry,” Ethan murmured. “But my children have given up enough in their lifetime. I cannot ask my daughter to give up her husband and child. I’ve done that fpr so many years and it hurts. I saw how it hurt my dad, and I will not have it repeated for a third generation. I’m sorry Amelia, you will not stop their return.” With a swift movement of his wand, Ethan zapped Amelia.
Amelia let out a piercing scream before hitting the ground with a loud thud. With a frown, Ethan muttered a quick sorry. “Is she dead?” Bailey asked quietly.
“Are you upset?” Scarlett wrapped her arms around her sister’s waist.
“No,” Bailey mumbled. “She hurt me in unimaginable ways.”
“I’m sorry you had to endure that Sweetheart,” Ethan said, coming over to kiss her forehead. “I wish I could have come sooner.”
“Well, you’re here now, and that’s all that matters.” Bailey pulled her father into a tight hug and began to sob into his shirt.
“I’ll give you a few moments to discuss things with your family and see your boy one last time before I go to claim you,” Rickie said. “So, I will see you in a few minutes, toodles!” And with that, he literally vanished.
“What now?” Bailey asked.
“We leave,” Ethan said, holding the door open for his children.
“That’s the best idea you’ve had all day,” Scarlett yawned. “Let’s find Alistair and just leave.”
“No,” Ethan said firmly. “That’s not what I meant. We go back to Night, and then you guys go home.”
“We’re not leaving without you dad,” Bailey said.
“She’s right,” Scarlett said. “We have been without you for so long. I want Alistair and Cadence to know their grandfather.”
“You have a duaghter too?” Bailey asked. “This is exciting, I’m an aunt.”
“Alistair has twin daughters as well,” Scarlett said.
“Yes, so many kids!” Bailey said excitedly. “I’m excited to get out of here.”
“Listen to me girls,” Ethan said seriously. “Whatever happens, do not abandon each other. I want you to all recconect with your father who is probably going insane right now all by himself. Alistair is going to have to go to Moonlight Falls to finish up his business there. He may even have to stay there. He is on a different path than you girls and Ken. Do not worry about him, he will be okay. He has a strong man supporting him.”
“Declan is it?” Scarlett grinned mischeviously. “I’m glad that he has found someone.”
“What? Alistair is gay?” Bailey asked. “You guys have got to fill me in.”
“Scarlett knows everything, she’ll fill you and Ken in. I’m going to try to bargain with Rickie and see if he’ll let me search for Pandora. I can’t place that unneccesary stress on Alistair when he already has so much on his plate. I’m telling you this now because, well, I’m not sure what is going to happen after this.”
“Daddy, please don’t talk like this,” Scarlett mumbled. “There has to be a way.”
“No more risks,” Ethan said. “Think of your kids, Scarlett. How willing you were to bait yourself so Alistair wouldn’t be hurt? It’s the same thing for me.”
“But, we aren’t even your blood,” Bailey whispered. “And you’ve always done so much for us.”
“It doesn’t matter if we’re blood,” Ethan said. “It doesn’t make me love Pandora or Alistair more than you guys. I love you all so much, we’ve been through hell and back, and there is no stops that I wouldn’t pull to keep you all safe. I love you all, remember that.” He hugged them both. “Now, let’s go lecture your brother. Hopefully both AListairs are with Night.”
“And if not?” Scarlett asked.
“We’re in some serious trouble,” He answered.