Hey Heather, remember when we agreed that I get to post twice in a row?
Yeah, I remember. I suppose you’re going to use your second post now?
Unless you can think of a better time, yes. I am.
Go for it.
Seeing me on Earth and yelling to have the power cut, Heather pulled the plug on the Tunneler. While there was no way to see if the passage was still open or not, the machine was powered down and no one was coming through. I waved my hand through the area where the passage was and it didn’t leave the planet. I said “Good job, team. We beat me. So. Who wants pancakes?”
Catherine said “Pancakes? Sure, I’ll take mine with a side order of answers. And can I get some extra clarity with that?”
“Alright. We’ve got a lot of options on our answers menu. Anything in particular you’re looking for?” I glanced over at Heather. She was petting Cedric. Not much help for answering questions, but it was my plan anyway.
She pointed at Heather and Cedric. “Who’s the peasant touching my dragon?”
“That would be my cousin Heather. Since I couldn’t use magic, I needed someone around who could. She found out about other worlds on her own, so... I just kind of took her along.”
“Am I to assume we’re on your homeworld now?”
I nodded. “Yes. Welcome to Earth! I guess I never did bring you here after all those times I visited your planet.”
“I’m still a bit confused as to what just happened. Could you expand upon that?”
“It was all part of my plan. You see, once I got to Renolia and saw the ‘Crushed World #1’ sign, I just knew that the original Tim had become the Crusher of Worlds. So, I used that to my advantage and infiltrated Renolia’s castle while Heather kept the Crusher distracted. Then I was free to find you and close all the passages, neutralizing the Crusher without needing to win a fight against the most powerful being I’ve ever run across. He’s stuck in Renolia and can’t crush any more worlds. In fact, I made sure to take Cedric with us so he wouldn’t have the materials necessary to make a Tunneler.”
“If the Crusher was basically the same person as you, why were you so intent on stopping him? Shouldn’t your goals line up with his?”
I took a deep breath. That was not a small question. “My discovery of Renolia coincided with one of the darkest times of my life. I took comfort in my newfound power. Once the Crusher-to-be was cut off from virtually all his friends and family, it was all he had left. He became obsessed with his own abilities and how he could use them for his own personal benefit.
“I, on the other hand, was cut off from my powers and forced to reach out to my friends and family for support. They helped me snap out of it and go back to being a normal human being. And let me tell you, the love and support of your friends and family is a much healthier way to deal with emotions than destroying everything you don’t like.”
“Why didn’t you fight him?”
“I was a clone, and therefore incapable of magic. Even when I became human, there was still no way I could beat him. We had the same potential, but he’s had months to hone his abilities. I, on the other hand, haven’t used magic at all since then. The best I could do was hold him off while Heather got out of there and then take the first opportunity to leave myself.”
Heather suddenly looked up, although she didn’t quite stop petting Cedric. She said “Thanks for helping me out. He had me beat. But, um, what happened to you not being able to use magic? You clearly used some back there.”
I said “Remember that ‘heart’s desire’ thing the Gatekeeper mentioned? I thought he was talking about going back to Renolia, but apparently he meant he was going to turn me back into a human.”
Catherine interjected “Excuse me, but... Gatekeeper? Who is that?”
Heather jumped at the chance to be the one answering the questions instead of asking them. She said “The Gatekeeper is the voice of the passages between worlds. The passages themselves were objecting to the Crusher’s destruction and the Gatekeeper enlisted our help.”
I said “That pretty much sums it up. Do you have any other questions, Catherine?”
She nodded. “I have one more. What next?”
I handed her the amulet. “You’re leaving without us.”
Catherine said “W-what?”
I said “We’ve seen what happens when I’m allowed to explore the extent of my powers. As for Heather, well, do you feel like another adventure Heather?”
She said “Not really. Eight worlds in two weeks is enough for me. I’m ready to go home.”
“As I thought. Besides, Catherine, someone needs to try to repair some of the damage done by the Crusher. I can’t think of a better person for the job.”
She called her dragon back to her. Heather pouted for a second but then rejoined the group. Catherine said “I guess you’re right. Considering all the damage he’s done, I should get going as soon as possible. Is there anything you want to say or do before I leave?”
Heather said “Um, actually, would you mind?” She brought her camera out of her backpack. “Just one picture?”
Catherine looked confused. “What’s a picture?”
“Here, let me show you.”