Greetings And Goodbyes 22-06 (Heretical Edge 2)

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For a moment after the monkey man said those words, I just stood there and stared at him in disbelief. Which, to be fair, was the same thing Tabbris, Jophiel, and Elisabet were doing as well. It was obvious that none of us quite knew what to say or do in response to that little revelation. The two adults may have been calculating how much of a chance we stood against him if it came down to it. Honestly, I kind of doubted their odds even if Elisabet had still possessed her Committee powers. The man was incalculably strong. His words bounced around in my head before I abruptly found myself snapping a confused and taken aback, “You work for Ehn?” 

It was the man’s turn to stare at me, which he did for a few long seconds before abruptly bursting out laughing. His guffaws filled the small grove, and he actually put a hand against a tree to steady himself briefly. There were practically tears in his eyes. “Oh, they said you were amusing, but I had no idea. Working for him, that’s amazing. You have to tell me more funny jokes like that as soon as you come back.” He was still grinning with amusement, wiping one hand across his face before adding, “No, no, no, of course not. He asked very politely for a favor. And he convinced me that you are a very interesting person who gets into the most amazing situations.” As he said that, the man literally booped my nose with his finger, that tail of his patting my head excitedly. “And I’ve got to say, he was right about that. It’s been a long time since I had this much fun. I can’t even imagine how much more I’ll have when people think I’m you.”

Elizabet stepped in then, not quite moving between us but at least stepping next to me. “Ahem, I believe there’s been a bit of a misunderstanding. Miss Chambers here hasn’t been asked to go anywhere with this… Ehn. He certainly hasn’t extended any invitation to be considered.”

Sun chuckled again, still very clearly amused by the whole situation. “Oh, that’s because I’m the invitation. Or the inviter. Or the–” He frowned, trying to think of the word. “Never mind. I’m here to tell you what’s going on, now that there isn’t anything else of immediate importance.” 

“And just what is going on?” That was my mother, coming out of the nearby trees to stand on the other side of me. She gave Jophiel a short nod, making me realize the other woman had contacted her the second this whole situation started. And boy did that ever help show just how much had changed in the time since I had first met the Seosten woman. 

Feeling Tabbris take my hand as she stepped in front of me, I looked down to see the younger blonde girl making sand float in front of her. We were still connected through that spell. She wasn’t actually sending it to attack Wukong or anything, of course. But it was responding to her emotions by swirling agitatedly through the air. I could just imagine how bad things would get if she did lash out, however, so I squeezed the hand she had taken before putting the other on her shoulder. Silently, I urged my little sister to stay calm. Wukong had already helped us this much. Without him, a hell of a lot more people on this world would have died. So beyond the fact that I didn’t think we could win a fight with him, I really didn’t want our relationship with the man to go bad. If we could navigate this situation without a fight, maybe he could help us later.

“Ah, mother of Felicity, of course,” Sun didn’t sound at all annoyed or upset by my mother’s arrival. “I was just about to suggest that she call for you, and her father. Oh, and those girls she enjoys the presence of. This is, of course, a very important moment.” 

Mom started to say something, but I could see the anger that flashed across her face, so I quickly spoke up first. “Hang on, what exactly do you think is supposed to happen now, Mr. Wukong? You said–I mean… Ehn wants what from me?”

The man slapped his forehead. “Oh, silly me, totally failing to explain properly. Right, no wonder you seem confused. Okay, let’s start from the top. My good friend Ehn is ready to train you.” 

“Train me?” I echoed, another wave of confusion washing over me. That was not the answer I’d expected, considering everything I’d heard about this Ehn guy. “What the hell is that supposed to mean? He’s Kwur’s boss, right? The insane plant guy we blew up. Isn’t Ehn pissed off about us beating one of his top lieutenants?” As soon as Wukong had said that bit about Ehn wanting to meet me, I’d assumed he was finally getting around to paying us back for that. Though even that didn’t seem to fit what I’d heard about him, so… yeah I was confused. 

Sun, however, informed us that not only was Ehn not upset about what had happened with Kwur, he had apparently been amused by it. But that apparently wasn’t what had convinced the man to have me come meet him. No, the cause of that was what had happened with Fossor. Specifically, the fact that I had killed him and taken his power. 

Yeah, that led to an even bigger conversation. During which Avalon and Shiori showed up. So they heard all about how Ehn had apparently planned to use Fossor’s power the same way Denuvus had so recently explained its intended use was when the people of this world had created their necromancy. He wanted to destroy the Fomorians once and for all. And to do that, he needed an incredibly powerful necromancer. It was why he’d allowed– no, made Fossor become as powerful as he was. It was all part of his plan. Thousands of years worth of growing that power, and making it stronger. Strong enough to do what Ehn wanted. 

Suffice to say, I had never come as close to wanting to punch Sun Wukong in the face as I did right then with that revelation. I didn’t, of course. Even as angry as I was at the thought that this man he was working with was responsible for everything that Fossor had done and become, I wasn’t quite that stupid. Besides, he was just the messenger. It was really Ehn I wanted to hit. But I was pretty confident that wouldn’t go any better than punching Wukong would. 

Avalon, standing right behind me, spoke up sharply. “So now that his plan for that piece of shit fell through, he wants to salvage it by abducting Flick?”

Sun blinked back and forth between all of us, clearly reading our defensive postures. Then he chuckled softly once again. “Oh no, no, no. You’ve got it all wrong. This isn’t an abduction. Think of it more like… wait, what was that term?” He took that pad of his out that was apparently some sort of translation dictionary or something and tapped his way through it for a moment. “Ah! Field trip. Think of it like a field trip! Ehn wants to teach and empower you. He wants to make you stronger. I mean, not as strong as me. That’d just be ridiculous.” He laughed at the very thought. “But strong enough. He wants to help you become as strong as you need to be to use that power of yours and stop those Fomorians for good.”

Mom shook her head. “Listen, thank you for everything you’ve done since you showed up here, truly. But we can help my daughter learn and grow into this power just fine without him.”

“Can you?” Despite his specific words, Sun’s voice didn’t seem mocking or anything. He was genuinely curious. “I had no idea you were capable of providing as much power and training as a Dragon-Bonded with thousands of years of growth and experience. You must be truly remarkable.”

Shiori spoke up quickly. “The point is, you’re not taking Flick. It doesn’t matter how strong he is, or how strong you are. You’re not taking her away from us.” She stood behind me as well, right next to Avalon.

Wukong tapped his computer pad thoughtfully for a moment. “Maybe I’m confused. Or I used the wrong term? Is a field trip supposed to be forever? I don’t think so. She won’t be leaving forever. Just for a little while to get stronger. You want her to be strong, don’t you?” He said it as though the very idea of anyone preventing someone from becoming stronger was completely incomprehensible. 

Before the others could say anything to that, I raised one hand from Tabbris’s shoulder. “Wait, just hold on. How exactly is Ehn planning to take me for a field trip when he’s locked up?”

Sun looked at me with a completely blank face. “I don’t understand the question. When he’s ready to take a trip, he’ll take a trip. His hosts will simply have to wait until he’s ready to come back.”

A dozen different possible responses floated through my mind at that, but it was my mother who spoke first. “Assuming he can leave his current accommodations, you expect me to allow you to simply walk off with my daughter to be trained by a man I know nothing about, and don’t trust at all? Oh, my mistake, I do know something about him. He allowed the creation and empowerment of the monster who destroyed literally billions, possibly trillions, of lives. Why would I simply sit still for that?”

Jophiel was the one who responded, rather than the man in question. “Ehn is one of the strongest beings in the universe. More importantly, he is capable of bestowing incredible strength on those he favors. If he truly intends to aid Felicity and gaining the strength she needs–”

“No!” That was Avalon, whirling to glare at the woman. “You tried to take Flick away before. Of course you’re all aboard this train!”

Elisabet shook her head while putting a hand on Jophiel’s arm. “It’s not like that. You’re right, we did not go about things properly when we first met. We do regret that, believe it or not. But stop and think for a moment. Think beyond your own personal feelings and wants. How many opportunities will Felicity have to be trained and empowered by someone as strong as a Dragon-bonded? Think of the dangers she has already faced and what awaits her.”

Jophiel spoke then, her voice clearly as calm and neutral as possible. “Think of the future. If some threat comes out and the worst happens to Felicity, would you be able to live with yourself knowing you prevented her from being given this sort of tutelage and strength?” Her gaze moved to me then. “If the worst were to happen to someone you love, would you be able to live with yourself knowing you denied yourself the opportunity?”

Oh boy, now I wanted to hit both of them. And I could tell the others around me did too. But they weren’t exactly wrong. That was the worst part. 

While we were processing that, Sun raised his hand. “Oh, a little correction. I won’t be walking away with her. I’ll be staying here. I’ll take her place.”

That definitely made me blink, forgetting myself for a moment. “I’m sorry, what the fuck? What do you mean you’ll be taking my place?”

He grinned at me. “That’s why you had to be an interesting person, of course. I could hardly fill in for someone who was boring. Ehn knows you care a lot about your family and friends. He said you wouldn’t want to leave here because they could get hurt while you were gone.” As he said that, the monkey man slapped his own forehead. “Oh, that’s why you were being so weird about it! Of course, I should’ve started with that. Ehn knows you wouldn’t just take off and leave your friends all helpless and unprotected without you! I’ll be here like this.” He snapped his fingers and suddenly shapeshifted into me. Well, a version of me with a monkey tail. Was it weird that I felt jealous about that? Now definitely wasn’t the time.

Sun continued while looking basically identical to me. “I’ll pose as you while you’re gone, and anything that tries to come for you or anyone you care about will just have to go through me first. Believe me, they won’t get very far.” He said that while adding a feral, dangerous smile that was weird coming from my face.

Okay, well, I’d thought that his first bit had been a lot to take in. Now he was saying that he would be here, or rather, back at the Fusion School pretending to be me? Granted, he was right that everyone I cared about would be a lot more safe if he was there. After seeing how dangerous he was, how easily he went through things as powerful as Revenants… they were even safer with him than with me. Aside from how distracted he could get sometimes, of course.

But still, it made me feel a little weird that he wanted to pose as me. On the plus side, at least he was being open about that whole thing? I could only imagine how badly this whole thing would’ve gone if he tried to send me away and then pretend to be me in front of the people I cared about. That… yeah, it wouldn’t have been pretty.

Taking a breath, I looked at the man. “Could you walk away for a little bit and let us talk without you, please?” I tried to keep my voice as calm and reasonable as possible, holding both hands out for everyone to stay quiet when they immediately began to blurt their own opinions.

Sun gave me a cheerful nod and spun, walking away, still looking just like me aside from that tail that was flicking back and forth. Oh boy, that really didn’t help my confusion. 

As soon as he was out of sight, everyone started talking at once. My dad showed up and had to be filled in, which caused even more loud talking. Everyone had their own thoughts, largely revolving around how badly this whole thing could go. Jophiel and Elisabet, of course, were arguing in favor of it. They insisted that the potential benefits, especially if this actually led to me having what I needed to use my Necromancy to stop the Fomorians, completely outweighed the risks.

That led to a near shouting match, until I whistled sharply. When everyone looked at me, including my dad, I faltered a little. I knew what I needed to say, but it was almost impossible to actually do it. “You guys are right,” I managed. “This whole thing could be too dangerous. Maybe it’ll go wrong. Maybe Ehn’s lying about what he wants and all that. But just… stop and think like they did.” My hand gesture toward Jophiel and Elisabet. “If I really can get stronger, strong enough to stop the Fomorians I mean… forget all that stuff about how I could protect you guys, or what could happen to me or to you in the future. Think about all those people out there we don’t even know. Think about all the people the Fomorians are killing every single second of every single day. Think of all the worlds they’re washing over. Think about what happened to the Meregan world, or what will happen to Earth if they get to come back. Nothing is being solved while we hide on Earth and let that war go on. And I don’t think it’s one the Seosten can win in the long run if things just go on the way they are. Fossor spent thousands of years making this power stronger. I have his and Manakel’s, but I’m still nowhere near as strong as either of them were on their own. And yeah, I’m getting stronger with it. But not fast enough. If he can really help with that, even a little bit, how could I really live with myself if I said no? Think about all the innocent people the Fomorians are annihilating just while we stand here talking about it.” 

I swallowed hard, my voice cracking a little. “Believe me, I don’t want to do this. But how can I say no and then think about everyone who is going to die while I’m just living my life? Do I want to go back to the Fusion School with you and just live that life? Yeah, of course. But it wouldn’t be right. I’d spend every second thinking about the people who were dying because I was selfish.”

Dad took a step my way, then another. He went down to one knee in front of me, his hand taking mine. “What if he doesn’t want to let you come back?” He asked in a voice that shook from emotion.

Squeezing his hand, I stared into my father’s eyes and answered, “That’s why you guys need to find Gaia. And then wake up Arthur.” They reacted with surprise while I looked over to Avalon. “You have to wake him up, bring him back, whatever. If anyone can help deal with Ehn in case this goes badly, it’s him. He’s the only chance we have.”

There was a bit more talking after that. Okay, a lot more talking. We argued back-and-forth while I was embraced tightly by everyone in turn. But we all knew the choice had been made. No one had to like it that much. I certainly didn’t. Yet there was no question that it was the right choice. I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to get stronger, not when we all knew what kind of threats were coming. I just had to hope that the others could actually get Gaia and Arthur so we might stand a chance if this went wrong.

In the end, I called Sun back and told him that I would accept the ‘invitation’ but he had to wait three days. I wasn’t going to leave for however long this took without talking to everyone else I cared about. I was going back to the Fusion School first, and I was going to have a real going away party.

Three days. I had that long to say my temporary goodbyes to everyone at the school. 

Then it would be time for me to visit and learn from one of the most dangerous and powerful people in the universe, just so I could become strong enough to do something about the creatures who wanted to annihilate every bit of life in the universe. 

Yeah, this was going to be one hell of a going away party. 

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  1. Oh look, it’s a new chapter! And Flick gets to be uhh… kidnapped probably isn’t the right word. Invited with some impressive motivating factors? Yeah, that works. And you know what else works? Boosting this story on Top Web Fiction! Which you can do right here! Thanks so much for that and for reading, and your tags are: Avalon Sinclaire, Elisabet, Felicity Chambers, Flick, If We Don’t Get To See Someone Try To Ambush Sun As Flick While Taking Her Place‚ Everyone Riot, Jophiel, Joselyn Chambers, Lincoln Chambers, Shiori Porter, Sun Wukong, Tabbris, Three Days Warning To Say Goodbye Has Got To Be The Most Polite Way Flick Has Ever Been Separated From Her People

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  2. If We Don’t Get To See Someone Try To Ambush Sun As Flick While Taking Her Place‚ Everyone Riot

    Oh, I already have my pitchfork ready, just in case. And a shotgun too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, so this your plan to tie up all the loose threads. Have Flick go away to deal with Ehn, and come back to find all her lesser living foes dead in her absence. Then all she has to deal with are the Formorians, Seosten, and the various Tartarus and extra-universal threats, and the remaining Heretic fanatics. Maybe throw in an evil daughter/son from the future for good measure. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. After Flick gets back, she’ll just have to fake the monkey tail and literally no one will go for her….

    Alternatively Litonya is going to end up 0 for 2 against “Flick” on rescue missions…

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  5. Gaia: I knew you guys would come to rescue me, I… Flick, are you feeling alright *stares at “Flick” who is scratching her butt and seems to have grown a monkey tail while she was in captivity*

    Flick: Hm? Oh, I’m feeling great! How are YOU? 😀 Wait, should Flick know you already or no. Uh, it’s nice to meet you *holds out hand that she just used to scratch her ass cheek*

    Avalon: *whacks “Flick” upside the head with her gauntlet*

    Liked by 1 person

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