The group gathered in the parlour.
“Thank you for your help, and keeping the entire Universe safe.” Cheryl Olive began.
“Oh, it was nothing!” Firetop commented, not exactly sure what he had done.
Beryl looked at Lycralad, who looked away quickly and into the eyes of Adam. He then looked away quickly once again, down to the floor. Adam smiled broadly.
“OK,” Charlie wanted to know what they had just been through. “It feels calmer now, somehow, that is very clear, but will you please tell us what has just gone on?”
Merrell began. “When we captured Ganthenex, the demon of all demons,” “Yes, we get that…” Firetop was now impatient. Merrell glared at him for interrupting, and he sat back sheepishly. “We made sure he was securely incarcerated in the Realm of the Underworld.” Merrell continued, regardless. “But we hadn’t taken into account his daughters.”
“As soon as Ganthenex had been imprisoned,” Beryl took up the tale, “his daughters captured the three of us, and trapped us separately within three crystals. They then took our forms, our thoughts, our memories and our places. We were scattered across Middlehaven Isle in the daughters’ hope that we would eventually be forever buried, thus lost forever.”
“They didn’t take our minds into account,” Cheryl Olive now took over. “Using our final source of available magic, we enchanted the crystals to be guarded by whomever so found them, which they were by these three. When the time of their reveal was necessary, we made it clear that there was to be little resistance in their finding, as you have all discovered.”
“I wouldn’t exactly say ‘little resistance’” Lycralad now interrupted, “but you did make it rather easy for us.”
“Ganthenex’s daughters,” Merrell continued, “needed to destroy the crystals at midnight on the day you know as Hallowe’en, when the mystical energy levels are at their lowest. And with the crystals destroyed, the gateway to the Realm of the Underworld was opened, and Ganthenex would once again be free.”
“So Adam was a guardsman?” Lycralad asked, nodding towards Adam.
“As was Ammeloc the Elder,” Beryl gestured toward the elderly man, who smiled towards Firetop. “And the banshee” Beryl continued, looking now at Annabeth. Charlie watched as Annabeth changed her appearance, quickly to that of the banshee, before returning to her normal human appearance. She smiled as Charlie jumped slightly in his chair.
“But I found Annabeth the mermaid by chance,” Charlie asked, thinking back to the cliff top.
“You did,” Annabeth responded, “and you graciously helped me for which I am eternally grateful, but the banshee are a collective, and are from many forms. Mermaid, human, any form.”
Lycralad looked at Adam. “Shadow is a banshee?” he asked, desperately trying to keep up.
“No, my strange friend,” Adam laughed, “Shadow is merely a horse, but the Huntsman’s horse. He has the same tracking abilities as I, hence our ability to reach you tonight as swiftly as we did.”
“Ah…” Lycralad thought he understood.
“So how did Sue know to…?” Firetop suddenly remembered the mouse Sue was speaking to him through. “Sue – “
“I was wrong, Firetop. I felt so small; I thought I was ‘inside’ a mouse. It turns out it was a spider.”
“Ugh!” Cheryl Olive shuddered. “I can’t stand spiders!”
“Ah!” Firetop snapped his fingers, thinking of the scene with the spider in the garden. “But wait – the son? Me?”
“You are not the Son of Ganthenex, Firetop,” Cheryl Olive laughed, “although the son is still free somewhere. The Children of Ganthenex have strength when together, so, although still powerful, he shouldn’t be too much of a threat should he surface.”
“Once Sue connected psychically to the crystal energy through the daughters’ reflections in the crystal ball, we were able to send our locations directly to her, and command your ‘methods of transportation’ to bring you to us. The daughters thought you had selected them through their enchantment, but it was us. We apologise for the rather uncomfortable journeys you would have undertaken to help us.”
“Think nothing of it…” Lycralad commented, remembering the scripulus.
“The daughters’ intention was to destroy the crystals, but by selecting you four from the Elite Force of Britain they actually entrapped themselves.” Beryl said with a smile. “That was a little intentional on our part. We have to protect ourselves, you know! And, of course, we knew you were the perfect choices for the job.”
“So, the Universe is safe once again!” Sue declared. “On that note, I think it is time we start to bid our farewells, and make our way back to the EFB headquarters in Mid.”
“One of these days I’m going to save the Universe actually knowing what I’ve done!” Firetop said, feeling quite good that another job had been well accomplished. “Thank you for your help, Ammeloc” he said to the elderly man, shaking him vigorously by the hand. “I told you I wasn’t a demon.”
“You are still the Son of Igbon to the tribe, my friend,” Ammeloc replied, “but I shall make them understand that rather than being the swallower of light, you are in fact the giver of it!”
Invisible Charlie walked out of the parlour with Annabeth. “So, what are you going to do now, Annabeth – or…”
“Annabeth is fine,” she said, “I like it. I’m going to stay here. By the coast I will become mermaid again, and all that luring takes its toll, even if we aren’t fully aware of what we do. But, that is one aspect of the life of a mermaid. I’m still banshee as well, so going back to the lighthouse may also mean I rejoin the collective; I’d like to give being human a go!”
“Good choice!” He said, giving her a warm hug. She hugged back, starting to feel just a little more human already.
Outside, Lycralad spoke to Adam, who was patting Shadow. “Thank you for your help, Adam,” Lycralad said, “We seem to share a bond you and I.”
“It is entirely my pleasure, Alex,” Adam said, “Although you hide behind name and mask, I understand the bond of which you speak. Feel free to return here at any time, and call upon my help whenever needed.”
“And the same goes to you too, Adam.”
Adam mounted Shadow and waved with a smile as he sped off through the trees into the darkness beyond.
“Seems you’ve made a good friend there,” Sue said, placing her arm around Lycralad’s shoulders. But you’re good at that.”
“Helloooooo my sweeeetttt…” the scripulus whispered from behind Sue. Lycralad made a move to run back inside, and Sue stopped him.
“Relax!” She said, and Lycralad suddenly felt very calm. Sue then looked at the scripulus. “Thank you for your help also. I release you from my control and compel you to return to your kin. You will also be compelled to forget what has happened here… although,” she looked at Lycralad who was looking across the garden towards Igor, “I think I shall keep the channels open. If we are to be fighting demons, you may be of great help to us.”
“Offff courssseee……” the scripulus replied, “take care of my sweeeetttt…” She took to the skies, and also vanished into the night.
Lycralad and Sue walked over to Igor. Lycralad released him from the tether. “There you go, Igor. You are free once again. Return to your family, and thank you for your help.” The wyvern gently rubbed his head into Lycralad’s chest before flying away from the cottage.
“I sent him that way.” Sue said, with a smile.
“I thought mind control was bad?” Lycralad asked.
“It is,” Sue replied, “But gentle prompts don’t hurt. Besides, we can’t have your friends at each other’s throats now, can we?”
Lycralad smiled, as he and Sue joined Firetop and Invisible Charlie in the centre of the lawn.
Beryl, Merrell and Cheryl Olive, and Annabeth, stood before them.
“Thank you for all your help this evening,” Cheryl Olive said. Cheryl Olive, Beryl and Merrell then lifted their left hands, and in a flash they, Annabeth and the cottage were gone. In front of the EFB now were the helicopter and the clearing in which they had landed upon their arrival to the island. A couple of wyverns flew overhead.
“Another job well done,” Invisible Charlie said, “Let’s go home… And Happy Hallowe’en everyone!